Valid: Friday-Monday, March 2 - 5, 2012 Issued: 3:00 pm, Friday, March 2, 2012

A subsiding, dry south-easterly airflow prevails over the western Caribbean and Central America.

A cold front will enter the NW Gulf of Mexico during the next 12 hours and will continue tracking south-eastwards across the Gulf this weekend. This cold front is expected to reach the central Yucatan by Sunday afternoon and cross the country of Belize early on Monday, slowing down or stalling in the NW Caribbean by Tuesday morning. This feature will trigger outbreaks of thunderstorms over inland Belize on Sunday, and generate an increase in showers over the country on Sunday night and Monday. This activity will become concentrated over southern areas later on Monday and Tuesday.

Rainfall will little or none on Friday and Saturday, increasing later Sunday, with daily accumulations ranging from 0.50-0.75 of-an-inch, especially over inland and hilly areas by mid-day Monday. Daily rainfall totals will be 0.25-0.50 of-an-inch in over southern districts and southern coastal waters on Tuesday. Most districts, especially the coastal zone will experience showers on Wednesday of next week.

CLICK HERE for the full Belize Weekend Weather Report

The Placencia Breeze, February 2012
A recap of February events on the Peninsula and more!

The San Pedro Sun

GOB absorbs fuel price increase
Ministry of Finance wishes to advise the public that as a consequence of the continuing rise in world oil prices there will be a further sharp increase in the CIF prices of fuel products on the next shipment due to arrive in Belize on 2nd March 2012. The Government of Belize, mindful of the negative effects that this would have on the public, has taken a decision to absorb the price impact by varying import duties on this shipment only, in order to maintain fuel prices at their current level, with the exception of kerosene, which will increase by only six cents per gallon. This is a one-off action and will be reviewed when the next shipment of fuel arrives in the country. The impact of the CIF price increases, if not mitigated, would have resulted in pump prices of gasoline and diesel increasing by slightly over fifty cents per gallon and twenty seven cents per gallon respectively. The cost to Government of its intervention to save the public from the higher pump prices is estimated to be $1.5 million over the next four weeks. In the meantime, the Government of Belize intends to urgently seek new sources of supply for imported fuel on more favorable terms, so as to provide stable prices and lasting relief to consumers.

Belizean Fashion Designer to showcase creations for Prince Harry
Joris Hendrik, a young Belizean designer, will showcase an eco-fashion show at the Xunantunich Maya site in honor of His Royal Highness Prince Harry of Wales' visit. Alongside representatives of several of the world's major media houses in tow, HRH Prince Harry will visit the archaeological site of Xunantunich to take in more than panoramic views and ancient ruins. In a special show titled "Playing with Dolls" - a puppet and puppeteer drama - female models will assume mannequin poses while Hendrix gives the royal an explanation of each outfit. They will be wearing high fashion outfits made from recycled materials like newspaper, bottle caps, plastic tarps and magnetic tape. "So many Belizean girls would like to meet Prince Harry while he's here and my models are no exception. They are so thrilled about this opportunity. I've made sure they know that if the Prince asks them anything, they can break composure to respond," said Joris, who is all too aware that Saturday's event may well be the highlight of his career. "I was ecstatic when I found out I was getting the opportunity to meet Prince Harry and show His Highness, and indeed the world, my designs."

Red carpet rolled out for Prince Harry's Arrival
The Government of Belize has rolled out its red carpet to warmly receive Prince Harry, the third inline to the British throne. Prince Harry's visit to the Central American country of Belize is part of Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee. This is the third royal visit to Belize, the last being in February of 1994. Over 100 feet of velvet red carpet has been rolled out to the door of the private jet that is transporting the 28 year old Prince. Flying at each side of the carpet is the flag of England and the on the other side is the flag of Belize. Prince Harry is expected to receive a royal salute once being greeted by the Governor General of Belize, His Excellency Sir Colvin Young. The Prince will also meet with the Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow and the Leader of the Opposition Hon. Francis Fonseca.

Prince Harry arrives today in Belize!
His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales, also known as Prince Harry, arrives in Belize today Friday, March 2st. Prince Harry's visit to Belize is part of the Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebration. The Prince is expected to arrive at 4:25PM on board a private jet at the Phillip Goldson International Airport. He is will be greeted by some of Belize's highest leaders and the Governor General of Belize His Excellency Sir Colville Young. The visit by the adventurous Prince is his first trip to Belize and is expected to last a little less than 24 hours. Even though Prince Harry will be on an official visit, the occasion will allow the Prince to experience many of the country's natural wonders and the extraordinary and diverse cultures of Belize. The Royal Visit has attracted the attention of international and local media houses. Considering the importance of the visit, the Government of Belize will be maintaining strict security but will still allow for Belizean interaction with the Prince during his various stop-off points. So how does the Prince feel about his visit to Belize? In speaking to the Belizean media, Prince Henry's Press Secretary, Miguel Head indicated that "the Prince is excited."

Prince Harry is here! Greeted with a warm Belizean welcome
After much anticipation, His Royal Highness Prince Henry Charles Albert David, also known as Prince Harry, arrived at the Philip Goldson International Airport. Moments after the plane landed, the Royal flag was handed over to an element of the Belize Defense Force (BDF), who hoisted the Royal Standard of Prince Henry of Wales. As tradition, once a member of the Royal Family is on an official visit, the Royal Standard is flown next to the Belizean flag. Before exiting the private jet Prince Harry was greeted onboard by Diane Lock, Chief of Protocol in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Lock then escorted a smiling, happy and enthusiastic Prince Harry off the plane where he was officially introduced to the Queen's representative in Belize, Governor General Sir Colvin Young. The Prince then proceeded to an elevated platform where he was presented with the Royal Salute followed by the Queen's Anthem and the Belize National Anthem, which was performed by the official band of the BDF.

Cohune Walk renamed in honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince Harry parties with the locals
Prince Harry, the happy Prince of Wales arrived at the Diamond Jubilee Block Party in Belmopan this evening where he was welcomed to the community and honoured in the renaming of Cohune Walk to the Queen Elizabeth II Boulevard. Prince Harry speaking at the renaming of Cohune Walk to Queen Elizabeth II Boulevard As Prince Harry was announced entering into the grounds, a jubilant crowd of Belizeans cheered, clapped and chanted for the Prince, some with signs saying "Welcome to Belize." During his arrival the Our Lady of Guadalupe Panarifics played popular Belizean 'bruk-down' style steal band music. Just as the Prince made his way to the stage, he was welcomed with a loud round of applause. In welcoming the young Prince to the party, Mayor of Belmopan City, Simeon Lopez reminded Prince Harry about the contribution that Queen Elizabeth II made to the financing of the building of our capital city, Belmopan. He said that it is a privilege for the people of Belmopan and Belize to Honour Her Majesty on her Diamond Jubilee. When delivering greetings on behalf of Her Majesty, The Queen, the crowd applauded Prince Harry, especially when he comfortably interacted with them.

Ambergris Today

Ghost Hunters International Explore Maya Mystery in Belize
Belize has garnered lots of international coverage and attention with famous television shows and series such as Temptation Island, House Hunters, Andrew Zimmern - Bizarre Foods, Man vs. Wild and most recently one of the hottest TV shows, ABCs The Bachelor. Well this time Belize will be featured once again in an international TV show - Ghost Hunters International on the SyFy channel. The Belize episodes of Ghost Hunters International will premiere this month! First on March 7 at 8pm Belize/9pm EST, the GHI team investigates Actun Tunichil Muknal cave system. Local guides and visitors have experienced plenty of paranormal activity in the cave... is it the ghost of the Crystal Maiden? Then, on March 14 at 7PM Belize/9pm EST, GHI investigates the ancient Maya site of Cahal Pech in San Ignacio. The Ghost Hunters International team, Barry FitzGerald, Kris Williams, Joe Chin, Paul Bradford, Susan Slaughter, and Scott Tepperman, were investigating in Belize for about two weeks. Although he team members may not be able to reveal anything specific about their investigation such as location or paranormal happenings, Scott Tepperman of GHI posted the following on his facebook page: "These two cases in Belize have been absolutely awesome, but very crazy - and dangerous. You guys will love 'em!!!"

Kim Simplis-Barrow on British Magazine - ComplexD
The First Lady of Belize, Kim Simplis-Barrow was sadly diagnosed with stage three Breast Cancer on November 7, 2011; she became the first public figure in Belize to go public with her illness in such a fashion. And her brave embrace to this dreaded disease has placed Mrs. Barrow on the cover story of the British digital magazine, ComplexD. It's the magazine's feature on "Women of Strength Issue" and in Mrs. Barrow's cover story the article states: "Her courage and honesty in dealing with her diagnosis is truly honorable and epitomizes the definition of a woman of strength." Kim Simplis-Barrow was interviewed by Kered Clement and photographed by Lebawit Lily Girma (One of Belize's former Road Warriors). The magazine feature on Kim is an 11-page one that includes the cover; all photographs were taken by Lily.

The March 1st, 2012 issue of The Northern Star is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • The Prime Minister Tour Marches on to the 7th.
  • Editorial: "We must maintain Belize Sovereign Manadate and insist that they compensate, not dictate" contributed by Sharon Pitts-Robateau
  • MESSAGE FROM THE CLERGY by Rev. Dr. Rudolph Anthony, Last Sunday after the Epiphany
  • Photos: Nomination Day in Belize City
  • Party Leader's Message: UDPmanifesto Action Plan 2012-2017
  • The Other Side of the Coin By Norman Rodriguez: Collateral Damage
  • HEALTH AND NUTRITION: Love and Romance
  • Low Fat Apple & Cinnamon Muffins Recipe
  • Message from Prime Minister: Town Council 2012-2015
  • Orange Walk Mayorial Candidate Ivan Leiva Message
  • Pledges
  • Your Weekly Horoscope
  • Bus Routes & Schedules
    • Benque Viejo to Belize City
    • Belize City to Benque Viejo
    • Southern Zone Schedule - Belize City - Punta Gorda
    • Southern Zone Schedule - Punta Gorda - Belize City
  • Organization of American States Electoral Observation Mission arrives in Belize
  • Maya Doom Teaches Climate Lesson
  • Mexican Journalist on Drug Lords: "If they're going to kill you, they're going to kill you'


Guatemala Quick Links
Barry and I been overwhelmed by all the positive comments we've received on our blog postings on our recent sailing cruise to Guatemala. We've heard from readers in blog comments, on Facebook, on the forum (where the moderator posted each daily update), and in person. We're delighted and honored that we were able to share this incredible journey with each of you and appreciate knowing that you enjoyed our words and photos. Since Weebly makes it difficult to find older posts at times, and scrolling through posts with many photos takes awhile, I wanted to include a list of direct links to each day's postings on the trip for those who may have missed it or want to bookmark this page for later reading. I hope this is helpful -- it will even help me find each page in the future!

Belize Citizen Pedro
It's official Pedro aka Peter Lawrence is now a Belize Citizen. To celebrate he threw a big Friday night party at his bar, Ruthie and I had lots of fun playing with our tech toys and seeing which one had faster facebook upload speed.

Prince Harry Comes to Belize: My Scoop
I'll be upfront with you from the beginning. I do not have the best pictures around. REAL media was at this event...BBC, Australia's Channel 9, the Associated Press. And they had real press passes. Ones that allowed them to get really close to the tall, slender, young prince. But I travelled from San Pedro to Belmopan to catch a glimpse of Prince Harry's first trip to Belize for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. And I got close. REAL close. So let me describe my day to you.

Belize Diving Adventures at Esmeralda
Dolphins, Eagle Rays, Grouper, Sea Turtles....another good dive here on the Belize Barrier Reef.

Caracol Photo Blog: New Photos from an Ancient Maya Site
The interior of Belize is chock-full of amazing natural wonders. I recently had the opportunity to visit one of the most impressive (and yet least-visited) Maya sites in the region: Caracol. The site flourished around the same time as Tikal in neighboring Guatemala, and there is evidence of contention between the two. Archaeologists believe Caracol toppled Tikal around A.D. 562. The Maya site at Caracol lies in the remote rainforest of Chiquibul National Park. Getting there is an adventure in itself. The dirt road winds its way up to the highland forests of the Mountain Pine Ridge before descending into the misty Chiquibul forests. The site itself occupies 177 square kilometers, and but a miniscule portion of this area has been mapped - only 5,000 of its estimated 36,000 structures have even been identified.

Sunday Brunch at Red Ginger inside The Phoenix Resort
One of the "must try" Ambergris Caye Sunday Brunch spots I keep hearing about from my friend Rebecca at is Red Ginger at The Phoenix Resort. When I was down in October I had hoped to make a visit, but like usual, ran out of time. Ironically, we were spending a couple nights at The Phoenix (including a Sunday) during my trip last month, so we planned a morning dive with my friend Robbie, giving us just enough time to hit brunch before it ended. Red Ginger has developed quite a reputation both on and off the island for its tapas, wine specials, and of course, its Sunday Brunch. The menu is simple as compared to other restaurants you might be used to back home, but the options are excellent, and there are some lunch entrees and flatbread pizzas available as well.

Channel 7

Prince Harry Arrives In Belize
Grandson of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Henry of Wales, known as Prince Harry is in Belmopan at this hour. He arrived in Belize at the Phillip Goldson International Airport today at 4:30 via private jet. The Prince was greeted by the Governor General on the tarmac and then went into the VIP Lounge where he held a brief meeting with the Prime Minister. After that, he was taken to Belmopan - where he is at this hour - about to make an address. His visit is to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee - and it is his first time on foreign soil representing the monarch. The centerpiece event of his visit is the Diamond Jubilee Block Party in Belmopan where he will observe a number of cultural dances and Belizean dishes. Tomorrow, he travels to the OAS Adjacency Zone at the Benque Viejo border and Xunantunich.

Barrow Says Yes To Referendum
And before he went to meet with the Prince at the airport, Prime Minister Dean Barrow sat down with 7news for an extended interview. It is an interview which will air separate from the news on Monday night - and we have also invited the Leader of the Opposition to do the same. He has accepted, and we await an opening in his schedule. So those will air next week - in extended form outside the news - but tonight, for the news, we did ask the Prime Minister about the People's referendum. As we've been telling you for the past two nights - the referendum organized by OCEANA and the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage was a huge success - getting more than twenty nine thousand people to vote - 96% of them voting no to offshore drilling. And when we spoke to the Prime Minister today, he was duly impressed - and agreed that indeed, a referendum must be held:

Bank Robbery Update: Police Recover 190K, Two Suspects In Custody
Police have recovered over one hundred and ninety thousand dollars that was snatched in a daring, bank robbery yesterday morning at the Firs Caribbean northside branch in Belize city. It happened at 9:00 am in one of the busiest areas of town - near the Belcan roundabout. Four bank robbers held up the bank went into the safe and walked out with two bags of money. Police responded - and ended up killing one of the robbers - while also recovering what appears to be most of the money and two handguns. Here's the latest on the police investigation:

Man Wanted For Bank Robbery Says It Wasn't Him
And as we told you in that's story two men have been detained. They are from the Darren Banks crew in the Lake Independence area. One more man who is wanted is Brandon Battery Smith. This morning, he told us that police want him for the robbery - and he knows the people who did it - but was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The police saw him near the drug store - across from the Bank while the robbery was occurring so now he is a wanted man. Today he told us via cell phone that he's lying low until Monday:..

Family Of Man Killed By Police Doesn't Want To Talk
And while those men are detained, one of the alleged robbers is dead. He is Alberto Benito Assi, one of the four robbers. While trying to escape across river to get to the La Croix Boulevard, responding officers got into an exchange of gunfire with the 4 men, and in the end, police ended up shooting Assi to death. With all that placed into context, we have since attempted to get a comment from Assi's family twice about their response on what happened. Both times they refused to speak to us on the record, but a member did tell us that they are angry at the responding officers for not letting up on their attack. They told us that their information suggests that Assi was shot after he and his accomplices already abandoned their weapons; he had already been injured also. As a result of this, Assi's life in their opinion was unnecessarily taken away, since he was no further threat. We attempted to convince them to speak to us on camera, but they said that it would have no effect.

Small Businesses Step Up!
What is considered a small business in Belize and what makes them important to the economy? That's what was considered today at the launch of the Small Business Development Centers Project. It is an event sponsored by BELTRAIDE along with partners from the OAS, the DFC, the Caribbean export Development Agency and the University OF Texas. It's a major undertaking for businesses often considered to be minor - and the DFC representative explained why it's important: Natalie Goff - General Manager, DFC "This day is a big day for Belize in that one of the challenges we have faced at DFC, since resuming lending in 2009, is the complaints that we are not moving fast enough in terms of loan delivery services. One of the reasons for that is that a lot of people - especially small businesses, small entrepreneurs - walk in an idea. It's hard to fund an idea, and if there was that missing link between that idea and the business proposal. And so, with the idea of this small business development center, I think that the missing link has been - that missing link has been put into place."

Elections, Prince Harry...Who Cares? It's Women's Month
With all the buzz of the Election Season, and Prince Harry visiting, one would think that March 2012 is a month already full of activity for the Belizean public. Not quite so, says a representative the Women's Department who came to speak to us today about their calendar full of events to commemorate this year's Women's Month. Cynthia Williams, the Human Development Coordinator, spoke told us more about the month and it's special meaning under this year's theme, "Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures". Cynthia Williams - Human Development Coordinator, Women's Department "Well, this year's women's month is being celebrated under the theme 'Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures. This year, we felt that it is important to ensure that we also include girls. In order for us to truly empower women, we need to begin very early on, this we felt that this year, it is more appropriate to go along with the global theme of 'Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures. This year, we are looking at a variety of activities, not only from the Women's Department. In every district we have activities every day.

Man Dodges Remand When Girlfriend Fesses Up to Bogus Report
30 year-old Keyon Cleland, an employee of CYDP residing on South Street was able to walk out of Magistrate's Court a free man today. That's because the sitting magistrate withdrew an aggravated assault charge which was brought against him by his ex, who claimed in court that she made the whole thing up. It's unusual for a complainant has come to court and withdrawn saying that she made a malicious report. That was the case today in the courtroom of Magistrate Dorothy Flowers when Cleland was called up to be arraigned. The complainant who made the malicious report is 30 year-old Jacqueline Bermudez, a resident of Bocotora Street in Belize City. According to her report which she gave to police, that Cleland committed an aggravated assault with a firearm against her.

Channel 5

HRH Prince Henry of Wales arrives in Belize
Prince Harry touched down at the Philip Goldson Airport in a private aircraft a few minutes earlier than anticipated this afternoon. It is first solo trip and his first official visit to mark the Queen's sixtieth year of reign. Other members of the royal family are similarly being deployed to countries in the Commonwealth where ...

Another Poll Result for Election
Economist and Statistician, Yasmin Andrews has been doing polls for five years and in the last election, the results of her polls proved accurate in voting patterns and results. Andrews also predicted the outcome on Wednesday's People's Referendum. Her survey showed a ninety-four percent saying no to oil drilling and exploration. She came extremely close; ...

Poll on media preference shows preference to Channel 5
There are no Neilson ratings in Belize to determine viewership and programming on television stations. But Yasmin Andrews, surveyed the media preference in the country in television, radio and print. Her question focused on which is the preferred newscast. Yasmin Andrews, Economist/Statistician "We also did one part of the media poll, which was looking at ...

Decision 2012; Viewers' poll on who will win Election
It's the countdown to Decision 2012 so the guessing game and predictions on the outcome are fast and furious. This week we asked viewers: who do you think will win the 2012 elections? The options were P.U.P., U.D.P. and others. If the results of our online poll are any indication, it's going to be a ...

HRH Prince Harry addresses gathering in Capital City
In the capital city, the air is festive with the visit of Prince Harry. On arrival at Belize House, he viewed the First Day Cover Stamps commemorating the queen's anniversary. On the boulevard, a street fest is taking place to showcase three prominent cultures. We go live to Belmopan where Jose Sanchez is standing by. ...

People's Referendum an awakening of Belizean electorate
On Wednesday close to thirty thousand electors across Belize voted in the People's Referendum. It was a resounding success for an event organized in a short period driven by the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage. Of the total votes cast, ninety six percent voted against offshore oil drilling, while a mere four percent said ...

CIBC First Caribbean Bank at San Cas Plaza closed until further notice after Thursday morning heist
On Thursday morning the CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank at the San Cas Plaza was the target of a major robbery. Police are reviewing surveillance video to help determine the identity of the robbers, who were unmasked during the daring hold-up. Up to midday today, no arrests had been made. The armed robbers entered the bank ...

Intensive security measures in place for Election Day
Intensive security arrangements are being put in place for the double election next Wednesday. Police presence will be felt at polling stations and on the streets to prevent any election violence and to keep order. The police are also entrusted with securing the transfer of ballot boxes to the counting stations. At a press briefing ...

4 women charged with Wounding after brawl on Mayflower Street
There was an all out brawl on Mayflower Street on Wednesday and today the four women involved are facing criminal charges. Twenty-three year old Shari Chaplin, fifty year old Claudette Uter and a seventeen year old were all jointly charged with Wounding for allegedly attacking twenty year old Shanique Meighan. Chaplin was additionally charged with ...

Small Business Development Center project piloted in Belize
BELTRAIDE believes Belize is one step closer to establishing small business development centers across the country. And with the help of the Organization of American States (OAS) it may be possible. The OAS is including Belize in its five-country pilot project, to expand the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) model to the CARICOM region. A ...

McGregor Brothers; Chino and Di Genius in concert in Cayo
And while Belize is abuzz of the English Royalty, the sons of a regional music royalty, legendary Freddie McGregor, are in Belize. If you are a dancehall fanatic, then the names Chino and Di Genius are familiar to you. With hit tunes like 'Bounce a gal', 'Never Change' and so many more, the McGregor brothers ...

Women's Month; celebrating women in fitness style
Women's Month kicked off on Thursday and the Women's Department is celebrating it in fitness style for the entire month. For a second year, the department is collaborating with Body 2000 to promote healthy lifestyles in women and girls. Cynthia Williams of the Women's Department tells us more. Cynthia Williams, Human Development Coordinator, Women's Department ...

Prince Henry celebrates in the festivities
Prince Harry arrived this afternoon in the Jewel. He is currently in Belmopan where he is attending a street fest. Hundreds of citizens turned out to welcome the prince. We go back to Belmopan for a wrap up with Jose Sanchez. {Live broadcast from Diamond Jubilee Block Fest}


It has been around since June of 1882 and is responsible for the education of a significant percentage of the Belizean society since then. Now Wesley College needs your help to construct more classrooms for its rapidly-growing enrollment. On Saturday, the institution is having its fair and you and your family are invited in order to make it a success. Teacher, Joel Wade, says it will be an event for one and all. Joel Wade - Teacher, Wesley College "It's our only fundraising venture. We are trying to raise funds to put the second floor of a building. You hear about fair and you think it is just the norm, for us at Wesley College it is different, like our slogan says, it is more than just a fair it is a reunion, it is an event where people come out and look forward to see their past classmates. We have food stalls, we have Spanish food, chicken nuggets, bar b que, turkey dinner, rice and beans. We have games, the usual games, tombola, video games, and bouncy house. We hope to come up with $22,000.00. That will be used for more classrooms; we are desperately in need of more classrooms." The event runs all day on Saturday and will take place at the school's compound on Yarborough Road. Story at

A concerned parent from San Ignacio is asking for the public's assistance to get a much needed surgery for her son. Elaine Berry reporting... "On the twenty sixth January in front of Three Flags on the Western Highway, on the pedestrian ramp five year old Damien Flowers was heading to school when he was hit on the pedestrian ramp by a Tacoma driven by Daria Beuller. He was admitted to the Karl Heusner for two nights and was released and went to Belmopan Hospital for an emergency surgery. Damian is now admitted at the La Loma Luz Hospital after a month at home in bed. Juanita Vanegas is his mother. Juanita Vanegas "He has a lot of pain, all through this month I am suffering with him all this time. I am not getting assistance from the lady, just getting a little bit from the insurance and I need to call them when I need assistance, waiting for them to make appointment at the hospital while my son is in pain and I cannot do nothing for him. I am very worried and I need to take him out of the country for a surgery." Juanita is asking for assistance so Damian can get his surgery in Guatemala. You can contact them at 662-4214. Story at

A stakeholder's meeting for the Small Business Development Center Model (SBDC) is being held by The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), in collaboration with the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) at the Best Western Biltmore Plaza Hotel on the Northern Highway. The role of the SBDC model is to promote growth and competitiveness for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises by offering training, technical assistance and help in the growth and export readiness of these. A special media briefing was held in Biltmore's Palm Court where Executive Chairman for Beltraide, Michael Singh explained today's meeting. Michael Singh - Executive Chairman, Beltraide "We are holding a consultation today with the main stakeholders particularly those agencies that affect small business development to present a case for adopting a model for small business development centers in Belize. It is a model., Mr. Selgado who is with the University of Texas in San Antonio, Al and I have met twice where we have looked at this model and we've see the need for bringing a model similar to that to Belize for us to formalize the way we deal with developing small business again recognizing that small business are an integral part of the contribution to our GDP, contribution to increasing employment. Story at

Sometime around midnight last night Corozal police visited Maya Guest House on 2nd Street North in Corozal Town where they awaited the arrival of Mark Mckenzie. The 35 year old fisherman of Dangriga Town was escorted to his room where police discovered 2 packs of suspected cocaine wrapped in obvious plastic and weighing 1085 and 1095 grams respectively. Inside the room, police also found more than 100 packs of assorted brands of cigarettes. Police initially detained Mckenzie and a Corozal man. So far Mark Mckenzie has been charged with one count of drug trafficking. Story at

Belize has assumed the rotating presidency of Council of Social Security Institutions of Central America and the Dominican Republic. The formal handing over is taking place during the group's thirty third ordinary meeting which ends today in Belize. Panama's Marlon de Souza who is the deputy director general of the Social Security Institute of Panama is passing on the presidency to his Belizean counterpart Leticia Vega who is the acting chief executive officer of the Belize Social Security Board. During the two years of Belize's presidency of the regional grouping of Social Security Institutions, member countries will continue the word towards a strategic four-year plan with the general theme of: "Advancing social security through integration and collaboration." Belize became a part of the Council of Social Security Institutions of Central America and the Dominican Republic in 2004 as an observer, and a full member the following year. The organization's goal is to promote projects and activities aimed at universal social security benefits coverage in member countries. Story at

Rice farmers in the Toledo district are back in the news today, and again the fury of their discontent is aimed squarely at the Ministry of Agriculture. Their latest concerns revolve around the sale of equipment which the farmers say are very much needed in the Toledo district. Paul Mahung reporting� "According to officials of the Toledo Rice, Beans, Corn Producers Association the availability of needed rice production agricultural equipment from the Ministry of Agriculture to Toledo rice farmers has been a major problem and set back during recent years and especially last year. The issue now of the sale of such needed Ministry of Agriculture rice production equipment and removal from Toledo is a major concern raised by the Toledo Rice, Beans, Corn Producers Association as explained by Chairman Dennis Usher. Dennis Usher - Chairman, Toledo Rice, Beans, Corn Producers Association "The only heavy duty harrow that we have in the district is being sold for a mere $2,500.00 and I am looking at the copy right here. The excuse of Government will say that this equipment is not serviceable which is totally untrue. As a matter of fact the last person this equipment worked for was Minister Juan Coy. Now the time of preparation for land and so is at hand the farmers are getting prepared and I want the farmers to know that the equipment are presently been sold. Story at

The Government of Belize today announced that it is absorbing the full impact of the latest increase in the acquisition of price of fuel products. A statement from the Ministry of Finance says that had the government not intervened, there would have been a sharp increase in the pump prices of gasoline and diesel. The official release says that a decision was taken by government to vary the import duties on this shipment only in order to maintain fuel prices at their current level. Only kerosene will see an increase of 6 cents per gallon. Had the government intervention not taken place, consumers would have been paying an additional fifty cents per gallon of gasoline and twenty seven cents more for a gallon of diesel. The official release says that by varying the import duties on this latest shipment of fuel, government is giving up one point five million dollars in revenue over the next four weeks. It's a one-off intervention, and the official statement says that this decision will be reviewed when the next shipment of fuel arrives in the country. In the meantime, government says it intends to urgently seek new sources of fuel imports for Belize on more favorable terms in order to provide stable prices and lasting relief to consumers. Story at

The Phillip Goldson International Airport was filled with pomp and pageantry yesterday as Britain's Prince Harry arrived for a brief royal visit. The private jet carrying the twenty seven year old prince touched down just after four o'clock yesterday afternoon and on his arrival, the Queen's Envoy was given the red carpet treatment. Governor General Sir Colville Young met the Prince, and after he took the royal salute, he was introduced first to the Prime Minister Dean Barrow and then to Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca. The Prince will spend just under twenty four hours on the ground in Belize at the start of a Caribbean tour as part of the diamond jubilee celebration of his grandmother's ascension to the throne.


PUP Supporter Assaulted By UDP Fanatic In The Village Of San Joaquin
Tensions ran high this morning in the village of San Joaquin as PUP and UDP supporters came head to head over a phrase that was painted on one of the walls of the village's clinic. San Joaquin is considered one of the strongholds of PUP Standard Bearer for Corozal Southeast Florencio Marin Jr. who is running against UDP Standard Bearer Raul Rosado. This morning when villagers woke up they noticed that someone had written "Vote PUP 7 Marin" on the wall of the clinic. Now, without even investigating who actually committed the act, one of Rosado's supporters quickly found a culprit and without any hesitation decided to take physical action against the individual.

Dean Barrow Closed Camp 5 Oil Refinery And Now Promises To Build A Local Refinery
In six days, at 6:00am on Wednesday March 7th, the polls will open for the General and Municipal Elections. Countrywide there are 74 candidates running for General Elections in 31 constituencies and a total of 315 polling stations. As it pertains to Municipal Elections, there are a total of 170 candidates and 168 polling stations countrywide. Across the country, independent candidates and those of both major political parties' will try to convince voters to cast their X next to their name on the ballot sheet. As Assistant Chief Elections Officer Francisco Zuniga mentioned a few days ago on CTV3 News, Belizeans, who will be voting for the double elections, as in the case of Orange Walk Residents, will vote for the General Elections first.

O/W Central Area Rep. Strong, Firm And Ready For March 7th General Elections
The first time that John Briceno ran for politics was in 1993 when he went up against Lelise Carballo, the then Area Representative for Orange Walk Central. Brice�o has been the Area Representative for Orange Walk Central for four straight terms and is once again seeking re-election under the party that saw him grow as a politician, the People's United Party. With Briceno's win in 1993, 1998, 2003, and 2008, Orange Walk Central was properly labeled as a PUP stronghold. Even when he needed to take on other roles including Leader of the Opposition, the work for Briceno in Orange Walk Central never stopped, despite the fact that his party is in opposition. Under Briceno and the P.U.P's mandate, Orange Walk Central saw the construction of the Multi Purpose Complex Building, the Banquitas House of Culture, the Fort Cairns Market and the list goes on. With elections right around the corner the people of Orange Walk Central are looking forward to cast their vote and once again show their support for John Briceno.

First Caribbean Bank Robbed In Broad Daylight
Tonight one of four robbers who held up a Belize City Bank in broad daylight is dead. The First Caribbean Bank located in the San Cas Plaza in Belize City was robbed around 9:00 this morning when four male individuals, armed with two 9mm pistols, walked right into the bank and proceeded to rob one of the teller's of BZE$230,000. The robbers ran out of the bank making their way to the dock of the Belcan Bridge where a small boat was waiting for them. Police officers were able to intercepted the robbers at the south side of the Haulover Creek, where at that point, a cross fire ensued between a person inside the alleged getaway vehicle and police officers. After a barrage of bullets were fired into all directions by both parties, one of the alleged bank robbers, 20 year old Alberto Assi, was shot and killed as he was jumping into the Haulover Creek. Police officers were able to retrieve around BZE$160,000 of the stolen money which was in a nap-sack and a black plastic bag. BZE$70,000 have yet to be accounted for. After quick investigations, police approached a house in the Albert Hoy Street, in the Belama Area, where the suspected getaway vehicle was parked; a white Honda Passport which was later impounded. The other three robbers have not been detained by police.

BMHS Holds First Ever Youth Mentorship Expo
Representatives of various institutions and organizations in the North were invited to take part today in the first ever Youth Mentorship Expo organized by Bishop Martin High School. The expo, which saw the participation of both the educational and business sector, was held under the theme, Choosing Life and Education. Reporter Janine Ayuso and Cameraman Kenric Simpson visited the expo this morning and filed the following report. Janine Ayuso-Reporting Today Bishop Martin High School held its first Youth Mentorship Expo at the school's campus. The main objective of the expo was to introduce students to various institutions and organizations that could offer them career opportunities. Participating in the today's expo were banking, educational and governmental institutions. Each organization displayed all the necessary information for the students while some even prepared educational presentations.

Results Of the People's Referendum Show Belizeans Are Against Offshore Drilling
After having over 8000 signatures rejected and their first try to trigger a referendum on Offshore Drilling basically thrown into the garbage, the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage held it's People Referendum countrywide yesterday. The polls opened at 6:00 in the morning and closed at 8:00 in the night. After the results were counted and publicly made, it was clear that the people had spoken and for the first time, in a People's Referendum.

Election Machinery Process Explained
In six days, at 6:00am on Wednesday March 7th, the polls will open for the General and Municipal Elections. Countrywide there are 74 candidates running for General Elections in 31 constituencies and a total of 315 polling stations. As it pertains to Municipal Elections, there are a total of 170 candidates and 168 polling stations countrywide. Across the country, independent candidates and those of both major political parties' will try to convince voters to cast their X next to their name on the ballot sheet. As Assistant Chief Elections Officer Francisco Zuniga mentioned a few days ago on CTV3 News, Belizeans, who will be voting for the double elections, as in the case of Orange Walk Residents, will vote for the General Elections first.


Police gear up for March 7th Elections
While police hands are full preparing for Prince Harry's visit - they are also gearing up for two major political e...

A district breakdown of the results from the Coalition's mock referendum
As we reported yesterday, the results for the People's Referendum on offshore oil exploration & drilling were offic...

The Coalition boasts on people's referendum success
The Coalition also sent out a press release today saying the results of the People's Referendum showed an overwhelm...

Prince Harry greeted by dignitaries at the Philip Goldson International Airport
Prince Harry is in Belize for the Diamond Jubilee. It's the Prince first overseas solo trip on behalf of his grandm...

GOB says it will absorb fuel cost increase
Belize is scheduled for a fuel cost increase but GOB says it will absorb the cost. As a consequence of the continui...

Belize Red Cross to reactivate San Pedro branch
The Belize Red Cross will be reactivating its San Pedro Branch. The first community information session and volunte...

BDF partners with the US to provide free medical care in southern Belize
The Embassy of the United States of America has announced that the U.S. Southern Command has once again partnered w...

Three found guilty of drug trafficking
Three men have been convicted on drug trafficking charges. 30 year-old Denroy Williams was convicted for traffickin...

Belize Karate Federation in Panama City for Central American tournaments
The Belize Karate Federation is in Panama City participating in the XVII (17th) Central American Karate Championshi...


"Captain Wales" to arrive 4:25 p.m. Friday
Prince Harry will depart Belize on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.... Prince Harry, a.k.a. "Captain Wales"-grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, the younger son of The Prince of Wales and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and the third in line to the British Throne-is due to arrive in Belize at 4:25 p.m. today, Friday, March 2, 2012, via a private flight, for an official visit to mark the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen's reign - 60 years since she ascended to the throne in February 1952.

"We noh want no offshore drilling"
96% of 28,208 registered electors who voted said "NO" to offshore drilling... True to the chants of Oceana's campaign song, "We noh want no offshore drilling...," a total of 28,208 registered Belize voters or 96% of electors who participated in The People's Referendum on Wednesday, February 29, 2012, on the question: "Should there be oil exploration and drilling in offshore Belize?" said a resounding NO!, in line with the results of polls conducted by Belizean researcher Yasmine Andrews for the Coalition.

Oceana suing GOB over offshore oil contracts
The Government of Belize has issued several offshore petroleum exploration contracts to companies such as Princess Petroleum, SOL Oil, Providence Energy and Island Oil, but Oceana in Belize has gone to the Supreme Court asking for judicial review, in a claim calling on the court to declare the contracts invalid, on the basis of violations against the Petroleum Act.

Louisiana house explodes in the dead of night
Reymundo Dominguez, 46, a welder, was about to enter his house around 12:55 a.m. when the explosion hit, blowing the walls of the 20 by 22 foot cement bungalow house apart, the roof 15 feet away and household items damaged. The blast could be heard for miles around, but no one was inside at the time.

Four years later, fugitive Vilma Guzman, 31, captured
After over three years since fleeing Belize after learning of her imminent re-arrest for the 2008 Belize Bank robbery in Corozal, Vilma Guzman, 31, a naturalized Belizean, is in the custody of police after they sighted her at the Belize Western Border Station this morning.

Bank robbers grab 230 G's: cops kill one, save 160!
At around 9:00 a.m. four men armed with 9 millimetre pistols loaded with ammunition walked into the First Caribbean International Bank at the San Cas Plaza, which extends from the north side of the BelCan Bridge up to the beginning of the Northern Highway, held up the tellers, walked to the vault and then stashed about $230,000 contained in the vault into two bags - a knapsack and a plastic bag.

Belize Karate Federation in Panama City
Today, six Belizeans participated in the Central American Officiating training and thereafter took written examinations. All six Belizeans were successful and will be permitted to do practicals tomorrow during the Championship. Belizean Judges who sat examinations are Audrey Curling-Newsham, Aaron Juan, Rito Fernandez and Edward Williams. Successful Referees are David Diego and Herman Pastor, Jr. Judging and Referee Grading Class will be awarded depending on results of practicals. Visiting Referees from the World Karate Federation are Shihan Guido, rated Top 5 Referee in the world, and Julius Parniczky of the USA. Coaches also participated in a coaching workshop which was facilitated by Shihan Oswald Mata, President of the Central American Karate Federation.

Water sports climax on Baron Bliss weekend, Harbor Regatta and the Ruta Maya
The dry season is here, and so are the fresh south-easterly winds, and it is the time of year when all outdoor sports thrive in "my old home, Belize".

Silence from FFB Electoral Committee
On February 21, the FFB Electoral Committee sent out a press release declaring that three different slates of candidates had all been accepted for the FFB Executive elections to be held on March 15. It only named the three heads of the slates, who would be running for President of the FFB; but said that the names of the other candidates on their respective slates would be released "at a later date." Those vying for President are Mr. Gerald Henry, Sr., Mr. Ruperto Vicente, and the incumbent, Dr. Bertie Chimilio.

A chat with veteran footballer Gerald "Speedy" Henry - Part 4
(in Kremandala yard, under the coconut tree, around 10:15 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Wednesday, January 18, 2012. Continued from previous issue of Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A legend passes
Merv was born on April 27, 1941; he, along with his siblings, came from humble beginnings and worked hard and honestly to achieve their many accomplishments. Many patrons of the now defunct Palace Theatre may remember that he and his siblings used to sell right outside the theatre's viewing room.

Referendum on BTL?
In the fever of discussion, speculation and debate on the likely outcome of the upcoming general elections, last night on Love FM's "Election Watch" show I heard one of the panelists, F.G., say something quite amazing and almost unbelievable.

EDITORIAL: Politicians are hypocrites �
After six decades of these exciting, but inevitably inconclusive, processes we know as national elections, the masses of the Belizean people are conscious that these processes are not really the end of the world, and that some very important institutions and realities will essentially remain the way they have always been.

International Sources

Coconut Oil Touted as Alzheimer's Remedy
Researchers say the ketones found in coconut oil have slowed the progression of Alzheimer's disease in some people and may actually prevent it. Free printable guide: Fight Alzheimer's Disease With Coconut Oil.

Dancing Prince Harry is a crowd Belizer
PRINCE Harry became a rum drinking, street dancing, crowd pleasing royal left dripping with sweat during his first encounter with the people of Belize.