Valid: Friday - Monday, March 26 - April 2, 2012

The feature of interest this week will continue to be a relatively stable and fresh Easterly to South-easterly airflow over the NW Caribbean, generated by a weakening Atlantic High and a broad low pressure system over Texas and Mexico. An active cold front system will move off the Texas Gulf coast at the end of the period on Monday, and will move vigorously south eastwards across the Gulf, reaching Yucatan and Belize by late Tuesday of next week.

We can therefore expect seasonally fair and sunny weather to continue through this week, with a few brief, daytime showers, especially in the central coastal areas during the morning hours, and over inland regions during the afternoon. Prefrontal thunderstorms are likely on Sunday, with increasing showers on Monday and Tuesday of next week.

Daily rainfall accumulations during this week will be minimal, ranging from 0.01-0.10 of-an-inch, especially over central regions and the hills. The 2012 Dry Season will continue across the nation over the next seven days. The best chance for thunderstorms and showers will be over the weekend on Sunday and Monday. The unsettled weather will continue on Tuesday of next week. Beware of Bush Fires! Avoid setting fires…

CLICK HERE for the full Belize Weekly Weather Report

The San Pedro Sun

Fantiki Four Win the Water Olympics Challenge!
The Snack Shack located at the San Pedro Fitness Club held their second “Adult Water Olympics” competition on Saturday, March 24th. Three brave teams of four individuals each stepped up to the challenge; Daddy’s Little Swimmers, Fantiki Four and the Mighty Jaguars, who showed up sporting a jaguar canopy tent complete with whiskers, nose and pointed ears. The super fun and very entertaining competition began with the teams thawing out a block of frozen T-shits. The teams were not allowed to use water during the challenge and it proved to be a tough one. In the end Daddy’s Little Swimmers were the first to complete the chilly task, putting them in the lead. The second challenge was a water relay with the teams having to swim an inflated beach ball the length of the pool to each other. Some were quite clever in pushing the ball under their T- shirts or even bikini bottoms to transport the ball while swimming. It was a very competitive relay with the Mighty Jaguars Some clever relay racers carried the beach ball inside their shirts. winning the challenge. The third challenge was the Sponge relay where the team members had to pass a water saturated sponge over and under their line-up squeezing the water into a bucket at the end of the line. The first team to fill their bucket won and Fantiki Four took the game, placing all teams at an even status.

No foul play suspected in death of Canadia
A Canadian national was found dead inside his room at a hotel in southern San Pedro Town. The person is 51 year old Jan Peter Sol and was in the country on vacation. While a full post mortem examination is expected to be performed on the body, San Pedro Police does not suspect foul play. The body was discovered shortly before 10AM today Monday March 26th by one of Sol’s friends. According to SP Police, vacationer Mandy Lee sent her children to check on Sol sometime on Sunday. According to Police, the children reported to Lee that when they knocked on the door, Sol did not respond. Lee told police that she sent her children again on Monday morning but again there was no response. That’s when Lee became concerned and asked another friend living at the same resort, Howard Grosch, to check on Sol. Police said that when Grosch went to check on Sol, he discovered that door was not locked. Grosch then entered the hotel room and discovered the motionless body of Sol, slumped under the table. Sol’s body was observed as semi-clothed, with a gash to the head and a small pool of blood next to him. Police believe that he obtained the gash after Sol either hit the edge of the table or the concrete wall before sliding under the table in a seated position. Update In speaking to Doctor Laurenzco Nicholson from the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Poly-Clinic, he explained that Sol appeared to have died sometime between 9PM and midnight on Sunday. Dr Nicholson further explained that Sol may have died from some unknown previous medical condition which will only be determine following a post mortem examination.

Ambergris Today

SPHS Students Display Projects at Open Day
Every year the students of San Pedro High School get to showcase to the public what they have learnt throughout the scholastic year. On Friday, March 23, 2012, San Pedro High School hosted its annual open day and students showcased different projects for all to enjoy. Students had been preparing for several weeks and their hard work finally paid off as many who attended the open day enjoyed all the presentations. Students were divided into groups to work together on several projects and they displayed their strong knowledge on the subject assigned to them. During open day, visitors enjoyed various presentations such as, cultural presentations as part of a Spanish class; having live puppies, dogs, insects and even a chicken for a biology presentation. Third Form physics students demonstrated how to make a rocket with a recycled plastic bottle, water and pressurized air.

The Very First Ones (Pt. 2)
First Power Plant, First Corn Tortilla Factory, Our First Priest

Misc Belizean Sources

PHOTOS: Maya Day 2012
Hundreds of people from all over the Toledo district and even from beyond came out to witness and take part in Maya Day 2012. It was a day where the spotlight was placed squarely on the Maya culture and all that these indigenous people had to offer to the development of Belize. Congratulations to the organizers of the event.

VIDEO: Belize in the mid 80′s
Check out this short documentary on Belize that was produced back in the mid 80′s.

VIDEO: A Great Sunday Morning Dive
PADI 5 Star Team, Ecologic Divers, Ambergris Caye, Belize

PHOTOS: Destiny Preschool at the San Ignacio Public Library
Destiny Preschool paid a visit to the San Ignacio Public Library. Children's Month has seen hundreds of kids getting to visit the library.

PHOTOS: Women in Art Fair
The Benque House of Culture has posted pictures from their Women in Art Fair.

PHOTOS: National Barrel Horse Association Belize Highlights
Pictures from the Barrel Race at the Belize Equestrian Academy.

Channel 7

Since 7News showed you the photograph of Yolanda Schakron's American passport which our newsroom received anonymously, we've been keenly following the story of the outcomes, particularly, the February 17 rejection of her Lake Independence Candidacy. Well, the elections have been held and Mark King has been sworn in as the duly elected area representative for Lake I, but that is far from the end of the story. Last week, Schakron's attorney filed for leave to apply for an election petition, and today the preliminary hearing took place in the courtroom of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. If the leave is granted, the appellants will seek to have the election results in Lake I voided.

Tonight the parents of a 6 year old child are detained pending investigation by police -after the little girl was accidentally shot and killed by her 11 year old brother. The shooting which is described as an extremely tragic accident -happened this morning around 8 in the small western community of Valley of Peace - inside the family home. 6 year old Lucy Cano and her 11 year old brother Jorge Cano were playing inside a room in the house. Reports are that it was a pump-12 shotgun concealed under a mattress that the little boy pulled out and was playing with when he accidentally shot his little sister in the chest area. The little girl was rushed to the hospital but died minutes later. Today 7news travelled west to Belmopan where we spoke with the aunt of both children.

Belize City resident Solomon Gabourel was killed early on Saturday morning. Gabourel was stabbed to death by the aunt of a female hot dog vendor - whom he had just robbed. It happened at around 4:30 am. It is alleged that Gabourel held up a 19 year old female hot dog vendor by holding her the neck and placing a sharp object against her abdomen. He then took her entire apron with eight-hundred dollars in cash and her cell phone. He was going back into the car he had arrived in when the 19 year old's aunt intervened. He allegedly punched her, and she threw a bottle at him - when he tried to run off, she picked up a machete with a 13 inch blade and stabbed him in the left side of his abdomen. Gabourel managed to make it into the car he had arrived in - and his associates rushed him to the hospital. Gabourel succumbed to his injuries while undergoing surgery and was pronounced dead at 5:55 a.m.

Today, The Notorious Darren Banks, said to the leader of the PIV gang, was sentenced to a fine of $10,000 and 3 years imprisonment for 26 ½ pounds of marijuana which was found on top of the roof of his Oleander Street home on November 16, 2010. According to police, when they conducted a search on the house, they found an AR-15 rifle, twenty nine 5.56 live rounds of ammunition, and thirteen .223 live rounds of ammunition. As a result, they ended up charging Banks and his wife, Desiree for kept prohibited firearm, kept prohibited ammunition and drug trafficking The case came to a close today, in the courtroom of Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer who informed him that she has reviewed the evidence of the prosecution and she is satisfied that he was guilty of drug trafficking.

A Sunday hunting trip proved deadly for one man who was shot and killed. Salvapan resident, Antonio Jimenez, a 44 year old Guatemalan Farmer, went with 4 friends on a hunting trip about 6 miles behind the Maya Mopan Area at about 5 yesterday morning. When they arrived, the men cordoned off an area and sent their dogs in to chase out the wild animals. At about 9:00 am, the dogs came running in behind a deer. 40 year old Jose Antonio Ramos fired one shot at the deer. Shortly after, Antonio Jimenez emerged from the bushes, with a gunshot wound under his right armpit and below the right arm. He survived briefly, but it was a long haul to get him back to the Western Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The shooter, Jose Antonio Ramos has been detained.

The partial audit investigation into irregularities at the City Council has been completed and it shows that tens of thousands of dollars were unaccounted for under paymistress Shirlene Sabal. The audit only covers the years 2010 and 2011 and it shows that approximately seventy thousand dollars is unaccounted for. It is believed that these monies went missing through Sabal's department in bogus overtime payments and payments for bogus loans. The auditors believe that if they dig further into the records more irregularities can be found but this initial report is just a one year snapshot. We do know that the mayor Darrell Bradley met with Sabal today - but he did not answer our requests for a comment on what will happen next - whether she will pay it back, or if criminal charges will be brought. We hope to have an answer from the mayor tomorrow.

Today, just over two kilos of suspected cocaine was found in a hotel room in Benque Viejo Del Carmen - that's over four and a half pounds of suspected cocaine. At around 3:00 this morning, police spotted 48 year old Belize city resident Jes Fobres on the second floor verandah of Hotel Maya where he was staying. When the police stopped in front of the hotel, Fobres ran to his room, alerting the police. They followed him, hearing signs of hurried movement. They ordered Fobres to open the door, and conducted a thorough search of the room. Under the pillow they found three plastic bags containing suspected cocaine along with a cream colored waist band and a roll of tape. A further search revealed the Celotex from the ceiling near the wall had been stripped down, indicating that the suspected cocaine may have been hidden inside. When the substance was weighed, the three packages totaled 2021 grams, approximately 71 ounces. By 11 a.m. police had officially charged Forbes with drug trafficking and he has been remanded until April.

A private, U.S. registered Amphibious Aircraft, crashed while landing in the sea off Abalone Caye in Punta Gorda, Belize. There were no fatalities and only the pilot, James Glen Wagner, 57 years old, a US National of Lake Land, Florida, was onboard at the time. While the cause of the crash is still unknown, police say that on Saturday, March 24, 2012, shortly after 3:30 p.m., Wagner was landing the plane in the sea and it flipped over. Wagner was submerged in the water but managed to escape the aircraft unhurt. The information we gathered indicates that the eight seater, had just finished dropping off 7 tourists in the Placencia area and was landing off the Abalone Caye area to pickup other tourists, who were out fishing, when it flipped. We have also learnt, unofficially, from a source that this aircraft has been in Belize for close to two weeks. We could not reach the civil aviation department for comment.

A 15 year old girl has been reported missing by her mother. It has been three weeks since Doris Ramclam has seen her child, Catherine McKoy. The last time she saw her was around 7:30 in the morning when her daughter left for classes at Eden high school in Santa Elena. The mother says Catherine has no history of running away and is pleading with the public for information. Doris Ramclam, mother "She went to school on the 5th of March and at the time when she should come home she didn't reach home, so I went to the police to make a report. I haven't seen or heard from her since." "I am here to ask the public for help if they had seen my daughter to please contact the nearest police station or to contact me at 621-9001. And if she is watching this newscast to please contact me also." If you have information on Catherine Mckoy's whereabouts you are asked contact the nearest police station or call her mother at 621-9001.

Sharima Hoare of Vista Del Mar is the owner of a new car - and she got it free - because she bought a ticket for a raffle in support of the Red Cross. Belize Estate Company - which is the country's Ford Dealer put up a new Ford Fiesta as the raffle's grand prize. Now the raffle didn't do quite as well as they would have hoped, but Sharima still got her new ride, and Red Cross got some needed funds for its programmes. So, we spoke to both winners, with the Red Cross first:.. Lilly Bowman, Director General - Belize Red Cross "The contribution of course will help the Red Cross a great deal. Any monies that are donated to the Belize Red Cross goes straight into our core programs if they are not earmark like this donation. It will assist us to do more, reach further and do much better in our programs and reaching to the vulnerable people of Belize." Sharima Hoare, winner "I am very happy, excited, overwhelm, words cannot describe. When I was purchasing the ticket I told my co-worker that I have never won anything but I was only supporting the cause."

7176 Students across the country sat Day 1 of the PSE today in 306 classrooms at 28 centers for the 274 primary schools with students taking the exam. Day one was comprised of the English and Science sections. It started at 8:15 and finished at 1:45. We waited to speak to a few of the city students when they finished at 1:45. Carlos Mendoza, Hummingbird Elementary "It was kind of hard, but more like challenging. Some questions were hard and some questions were easy." Robin Schaffer "For you?" Joshua Pott, Hummingbird Elementary "It really depended on how much you studied. If you barely study then of course it will be hard for you. If you studied a lot then it would be easy. I found it easy." "The Science had questions that you really had to think about. The English was easy in terms of reading out the paragraphs and answering the questions." Robin Schaffer "How are you feeling?" Carlos Mendoza, Hummingbird Elementary "Relieve, I couldn't wait until I did this and then now I feel a lot better."

18 year-old Casey Lozano, an apprentice electrician of Ladyville, was arraigned for burglary when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer today. It is alleged that he and another person invaded the home a senior Ladyville resident, tied her up, and robbed her of $56,000 worth of personal belongings. According to the police, on February 28 at around 11:15 a.m., Lozano and other person allegedly entered the home of a 66 year-old female and cleaned out her house, taking an assortment of electronics, jewelry, 2 suitcases, underwear, assorted liquor, and her 2005 Toyota, all to a total value of $56,039. In court today, no plea was taken from Lozano, and the issue of his bail arose. When Senior Magistrate Frazer asked him for a valid reason that he should be granted bail, he told the court that he asked police to put him in an identification parade, and when he was placed in the line-up, the victim did not pick him out. As a result, Senior Magistrate Frazer granted him bail of $20,000, and adjourned his matter until May 11. Up until this afternoon, Lozano's family was having problems making arrangements to meet bail.

He was just trying to be a good Samaritan, but that earned Kenroy Flowers a stab wound to the abdomen. Just before midnight on Saturday, 26 year old Kenroy Williams, a Belizean Labourer, came upon an argument on Kut Avenue. Jason Mckenzie was quarrelling with Darwin Howard, a 25 year old Belizean security officer, when Kenroy Flowers intervened. Mckenzie then took out a knife, attempting to stab Darwin Howard. He missed, however, and caught Flowers on the left side of his abdomen. Police responded shortly after, and saw Williams lying face up on the street side.

San Ignacio Streets Will Be Paved
Last week we told you about the launching of the Municipal Development Project in Punta Gorda where a contract for about $425,000.00 was signed. Well, this AFTERNOON a $218,000 contract was signed to enhance safety and traffic flow on the busiest roads of San Ignacio, Santa Elena and Belmopan. It was signed in Belmopan at the Social Investment Fund headquarters by the Executive Director of the SIF, Mr Daniel Cano and Mr. Hugo Lemus who signed on behalf of Modern Construk a construction company. It represents the formal launching and first civil works projects as a part of the Belize Municipal Development Project. This 5 year project is being financed by the Government of Belize through a 30 million dollar loan from the World Bank. The main objective of the BMDP is to improve access to basic municipal infrastructure and to enhance municipal management in selected Town and City Councils.

Channel 5

Yolanda Schakron in Supreme Court for bi-election battle
Last Friday, P.U.P. Attorney Lisa Shoman was in the Supreme Court to file an application for leave to present an Election Petition by Yolanda Schakron. The P.U.P. were back in court today tor day two, before Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin. The case the P.U.P. are presenting is that the Retuning Officer, Noreen Fairweather did not ...

Attorney Denys Barrow believes election petition will fail
And while Attorney Shoman maintains that this application is apart and separate from what Justice Legal had ruled in February, Attorney Denys Barrow says they may have some grounds, but he believes their opposition to the application for leave is very strong.   Denys Barrow, Attorney “I don’t think I would want to answer it ...

Brother shoots and kills sister with father’s unlicensed gun
Though anti-crime measures have targeted gang murders and shootings, there are some deaths that can be avoided. Tragedy has struck a community in the western region of the country as a child has been shot and killed. It’s a sad tale that has been told before; a father introduces a firearm to the house to ...

Stabbed to death while robbing hot dog vendor
Battlefield Park, aside from being among the oldest public spaces in the city, is a refuge for loiterers. The venue is also littered with fast food vendors around the clock and the combination makes for a volatile mix, one which has contributed significantly to a spike in crime and violence in the area over the ...

Man charged for murder at Scotia Bank acquitted
Twenty-three year old Frank Edwards, the only accused culprit detained for the March 2010 robbery of Scotia Bank in Spanish Lookout which ended in the fatal shooting of security guard Steven Lopez, walked away a free man today after being acquitted of murder. Edwards appeared before Justice Troadio Gonzalez in Belmopan this morning represented by ...

Banks convicted for almost 27lbs of weed
One man who has seen a litany of charges and always manages to walk away clean is Darien Banks. The thirty three year old is tonight behind bars where he will serve a minimum of three years after being found guilty of drug trafficking. Banks was convicted for trafficking a little under twenty-seven pounds of ...

Seaplane flips over, but pilot unharmed
An airplane flipped over when it made contact with the sea. The seaplane is designed to take off and alight on water. However, some models of these floatplanes can’t handle waves greater than twelve inches. And on March twenty-fourth, a routine exercise shook up fifty-seven year old James Glen Wagner, the pilot. Wagner, a United ...

Loggers meet in the South to discuss Rosewood
Since she took office only about two weeks ago, Lisel Alamilla had hit the ground running. Government confirmed this morning, that the portfolio responsibility of Indigenous People has been dropped from Minister Lisel Alamilla. When the responsibility was first announced on March thirteenth, the Maya Leaders Alliance (MLA) came out saying that there are eminently ...

Over 7,000 students sit P.S.E.
Today marks day one of the annual Primary School Examination. All across the country, thirty six high schools y are being used to host students from two hundred and seventy four primary schools. You may have noticed the smiling faces and the energy rushing out of the high schools as the primary school students ended ...

Blind and Able, Rowan Garel, takes P.S.E.
Of the seven thousand one hundred and seventy six students who sat the exam, one hundred and forty were registered as special needs candidates. One of those individuals, Rowan Garel, is blind but is clearly not disabled as he recently climbed Victoria Peak. Garel, a student of Hummingbird Elementary explained how he did on today’s ...

Cops recorded allegedly targeting George Street men
A compact disc allegedly from the George Street area was delivered to Channel Five minutes before news time. We have not been able to verify for certainty the names of the individuals that are on the recording. However, sources say that the voices belong to officers of an elite police group who have had more ...

Former U.S. Ambassador to Belize passes away
Two prominent individuals who have dedicated portions of their life to social justice have passed away. Misses Audrey Courtenay was a founding member of Belize Red Cross, a former nurse and a matron. Courtenay died on Saturday morning at her home and following a service at Saint Mary’s Church, she was laid to rest today. ...

Mom misses missing daughter. Have you seen her?
A teenage girl from the Cayo District has been missing for weeks. Her family does not know if she ran away or if she is being prevented from contacting them. It’s a situation that parents would want to avoid at all costs; that is not knowing the fate of their child and Doris Ramclam, the ...

New building for Samuel Haynes Institute
A groundbreaking ceremony was held this evening at the Samuel Haynes Institute on Mahogany Street where a new building is set to be constructed. The existing facility, which has been declared a child friendly space, will be expanded with an addition to be funded by the Japanese government. On hand for the ceremony was Pickstock ...

Belizean Fashionista in Caribbean Design Show
Mission Catwalk is a Caribbean show that airs on TVJ. Its purpose is to find and develop talent. When it first aired it focused solely on Jamaican talent, but for season two the show sought a more regional audience. Amongst the islanders is someone from the mainland, Belize. Rebecca Stirm, a resident of Belmopan joined nineteen ...

Cycling Association Rides with a Donation
The annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic is less than two weeks away and while Belizean riders train diligently to bring back the coveted garland, the Belize Cycling Association is hard at work soliciting gifts for the competition. Over the years the association has struggled with finding cash and prizes but this year it ...

Sports Monday with James Adderley
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   The future of Belizean cycling was in full bloom yesterday with the 13th running of the Junior Cross Country Cycle Classic. 20 of the most promising young talent were suited at the Succotz Ferry for the start of this 74.6 mile journey chasing a ...


No one hurt as sea plan crash lands
There was a small plane crash in southern Belize over the weekend. Our Toledo Bureau Chief Paul Mahung filed this report on Sunday. Police have released more details on the crash of a small plane in southern Belize as investigators from the Civil Aviation Authority have been dispatched to investigate. According to the new information ...

CJ hears application for leave to lodge election petition
On February seventeenth Yolanda Schakron’s bid to seek electoral office in the big leagues was quashed when the Returning Officer, Noreen Fairweather, rejected Schakron’s nomination. Fairweather’s rejection was based on grounds that Schakron, who said she had already begun the process to renounce her US citizenship, was still deemed a US citizen until the process ...

Two accidental killings in Cayo
There are two tragic fatal shooting incidents coming out of the Cayo district tonight; but neither of them would fit under the banner of crime news. In the first incident, a Belmopan man was fatally wounded while on a hunting trip. Our Cayo correspondent Fem Cruz has the details. In the second incident, a seven ...

City Council aims to recover stolen funds
Today the Belize City Council met with one of its employees who it claims misappropriated at least sixty thousand dollars of its funds between 2009 and 2011. Mayor Darrel Bradley told Love News today that the Council will terminate the employee’s services and seek to recover the funds. Bradley said that within the next week, the Council will have implemented new systems to ensure that something like what happened with the missing monies does not recur.


Hunting trip turns deadly for father of seven
What should have been a fun hunting trip between friends turned sad yesterday morning when one of the men was accid...

Family of missing Belmopan man asks public for help
A Belmopan man is missing and his family has no idea where he is. Karen Gillet of Ontario Village reported that on ...

Nerves frazzled as students sit the PSE
It’s an annual nerve-wracking day for the young standard six primary school students who make the yearly pilgrimage...

Proceeds of car raffle goes to the Belize Red Cross
The Belize Red Cross has received a cash donation from the Belize Estate Company (BEC). The BEC had completed the r...

10 year-old boy accidentally shoots and kills younger sister
Earlier, we told you about the accidental shooting death of Antonio Jimenez. While that incident was unfortunate Pl...

Two killed in tragic road accident
A road traffic accident over the weekend has left two occupants of the vehicle dead. On Saturday a gold Toyota Hilu...

Air craft landing goes wrong
Punta Gorda Police is investigating an Air Craft crash that occurred in the sea, off Abalone Caye. At 11:00am on Su...

34 year old dies trying to stop robbery
A man lost his life whilst trying to stop a robbery. At approximately 5:00 a.m. on Saturday 24 March, 34 yr old Sol...

Cane farmer recovering from multiple stab wounds
Police visited the Corozal Community Hospital at about 7:40pm on March 24, where they saw Albino Garcia, a 31 yr ol...

No payment to farmers for orange deductions
Taste of sour orange is in many citrus farmers mouths. Citrus farmers in the Stann Creek district were informed on ......

Man stabbed while trying to break up argument
A resident of Tropical Park is stabbed after he attempts to break up an argument. On March 24 at 11:50pm, Police vi...

Wal Yi Restaurant in Santa Elena robbed
A Chinese business owner is held up and robbed in his restaurant. Police made a visit to Wal Yi Restaurant in Santa...


Belize Spice Farm
Bruno reached up with ease to grab a pepperberry – green and shiny in the afternoon light. The thick of the vines shaded us from the late day heat. “Here Miss Kristin. Try this. Let me know if you think its hot!” He then handed me a small, round kernel. I bit into it and a numbing, spicy shot filled my mouth. I turned away from my guide and host. “Oh my god. That IS pepper.” I cracked a smile as the burn headed up my nose and down my throat. I heard the snickering and felt a playful “ha-ha” slap on my back. Almost as soon as the burn surged, it dissipated. I faced the group. “Ok, What’s next?” I said with a triumphant smirk “Vanilla beans.” said Canti. “Ok. I KNOW those.” My baking and pastry prowess strengthened my tone. ” Just watch me.” I said in a snuff. The Belize Spice Farm is open for visitors. Watch the hand pollination of vanilla orchids, tour the nursery of local and exotic plants, and tastes spices from around the world that have adapted to the climate of Belize, and that grow in its rich tropical soil.

Maya Kek’chi cooking
I could say this about most Belizean women I have met: “Insert Name Here” is a hard working woman. Rita at work on her daily tortilla orders In this case, Rita Chi’Quien sets the standard. She has close to thirty acres of farmland at the back of Forest Home, just outside of Punta Gorda in Toledo, Belize. She farms, teaches sewing and makes school uniforms, runs a small store, grinds corn on her own belted grinder, fills daily orders for corn tortillas (10 for 50 cents US) and is a wife and mother to nine children. Chi’Quien (pronounced sheh-queen) has worked with Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) to help grow her farm and support her businesses. The foundation’s mission is to support families in Central America by teaching methods of organic farming and agriculture business “best practices”.

Caldo, Kek’chi style
Rita Chi’quien gave me her recipe. “Thank you!” I said profusely and she looked at me cross-eyed. “Of course. Why not give you the recipe? Why I not do that?’ I realized that my profuse gratitude was out of step with the local custom of “recipe generosity.” Getting a cook to turn over their recipes at home was like asking for their first-born child. Words like “proprietary” and “copyright” ring out loud. Here in the jungle – everyone shares because you need to know how to cook. Not knowing a recipe is akin to not being able to eat. I understood her quizzical look that said, “If you know this, then you can start feeding yourself. Of COURSE I will give it to you.”

The Caves of Belize
8 caves mentioned, and of course they are all located in Cayo! "Rio Frio Cave If you’re in the mood for something less strenuous than Actun Tunichil Muknal, this cave located in the Mountain Pine Ridge area is the ideal destination. You can park not too far from the massive 65-foot arched entrance, where the large boulders allow for climbing up along the side of the cave. The cave is only half a mile long – you can see front one end to the other. A river runs through the cave, but in the dry season it’s possible to hike through to the other side. Che Chem Ha Cave Located in the upper Macal River area of Belize, Che Chem Ha is accessible by a healthy 40-minute climb through the bush from the Morales farm. Discover the cave’s Mayan pottery-filled chambers with large, intact pots."

Toledo:Coleman’s Cafe
Coleman’s Cafe is in Big Falls, Toledo Belize. Here are some fast facts about the Cafe: Tom and Pearlene Coleman opened the restaurant 11 years ago. They have three sons and of course, one grandchild on the way. They are part of the East Indian Community in Belize whose families are descendents of the Indian’s who came to Belize to work sugar and agricultural plantations. Tom and Pearlene moved to Big Falls initially so that Tom could work in the Rice Mill. The same mill is up the hill from the cafe. They decided to follow their passion and use Pearlene’s local recipes that are peppered with Indian spice influences, to open their own restaurant. Each year, the cafe expands and now hosts a large outdoor covered seating area. The current large kitchen used to be the indoor restaurant. “It was too hot and we have such a nice outdoor spot so we moved it outside. ” said Pearlene. I can attest to this “nice spot” description: the cafe sits in a shaded area on a hillside that catches the breeze.

International Sources

IFC/WB: Ease of Doing Business in Belize 2012
This page shows summary Doing Business 2012 data for Belize. The first table lists the overall "Ease of Doing Business" rank (out of 183 economies) and the rankings by each topic. The rest of the tables summarize the key indicators for each topic and benchmark against regional and high-income economy (OECD) averages.

Tracy veterinarian helps out in Central America
“Last summer I was thinking on a global spectrum, what else can I do?” she said. “A friend said check the website for Doctors Without Borders. I picked a week, and that was the trip I picked.” World Vets is a non-government organization that provides veterinary aid, training and disaster relief around the globe. Its mission statement is to make veterinary care accessible to the 99 percent of animals in developing countries that never see a veterinarian. Operating with more than 3,500 volunteers, the group has projects across the world, including teams working in Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Tanzania. Valdez, along with five veterinarians and eight ancillary people, worked on the Belizean island of Ambergris Caye. Although it’s a beautiful tropical island, Valdez said the canine population can seem overwhelming. “Dogs were everywhere. It’s crazy. You walk 100 yards and pass probably 10 dogs,” the majority being strays, she said. Working with a local humane society based on the island, the aid group set up shop inside a small three-room building. Each room served a specific purpose, including post-operative, pre-operative and one room for five simultaneous surgeries.

Report: Oil spill culprit for heavy toll on coral
After months of laboratory work, scientists say they can definitively finger oil from BP's blown-out well as the culprit for the slow death of a once brightly colored deep-sea coral community in the Gulf of Mexico that is now brown and dull. In a study published Monday, scientists say meticulous chemical analysis of samples taken in late 2010 proves that oil from BP PLC's out-of-control Macondo well devastated corals living about 7 miles southwest of the well. The coral community is located over an area roughly the size of half a football field nearly a mile below the Gulf's surface. The damaged corals were discovered in October 2010 by academic and government scientists, but it's taken until now for them to declare a definite link to the oil spill. Most of the Gulf's bottom is muddy, but coral colonies that pop up every once in a while are vital oases for marine life in the chilly ocean depths. The injured and dying coral today has bare skeleton, loose tissue and is covered in heavy mucous and brown fluffy material, the paper said. "It was like a graveyard of corals," said Erik Cordes, a biologist at Temple University who went down to the site in the Alvin research submarine.

Among conservation biologists, Rachel Graham is sometimes called the aquatic Jane Goodall: She has developed new information about the lives of her research subjects and, like the famous primatologist, she has successfully deployed science to create a constituency for their preservation. RSS Feed But Dr. Graham’s subjects lack the all-but-human charms of Dr. Goodall’s chimps. As the director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Gulf and Caribbean Sharks and Rays Program, Dr. Graham must overcome deeply held fears and prejudices in her efforts to outlaw fishing of various shark species, including the whale shark, a playful and friendly creature that migrates to the western Caribbean every spring. That species of shark is now protected off the coasts of Belize and Mexico, and last May Dr. Graham received the 2011 Gold Award and about $100,000 from the Whitley Fund for Nature in England for her work on its behalf. We spoke for three hours at a hotel here, then later by telephone. A condensed and edited version of the two conversations follows.

Spring Break in tropical Belize
About four years ago, my wife and I decided to take a holiday during Spring Break. The destination was Belize, in Central America. It is a nation that doesn't always get lots of publicity and if people have been there it was on a one-day stop for cruise ships. But after reading about the destination, there seemed to be much more in Belize than we imagined. Susanne always says that she "should have been born under a palm tree." Well, there are certainly lots of those in Belize -- and we found out that there is a lot more. International visitors flying into the Central American nation generally land at the international airport outside of Belize City, the capital. The ride from the airport to the capital is at first a pretty one, with views of lots of greenery and water. The capital itself is nothing to scream 'hurray' for, since many of the buildings are a bit run-down and there are sometimes interesting characters wandering the streets. The real charm of Belize is outside of the capital. For that reason, Susanne and I chose to include a stay in the island of Ambergris during our last visit to Belize. Only a 20 minutes ride in a small plane from the local airport to the island, it seemed like another world. Yes, we were still in the tropics. But here was an island where people were walking up and down the main street in sandals looking in shops or stopping in any number of bars or restaurants for tasty, tropical fare. Cars are not allowed there so people get around in golf carts. Our golf cart ride to our hotel took us past plenty of hotels -- big and small, simple and luxurious. There were some signs referring to the island as 'la isla bonita' - a name given the island by Madonna in a song she wrote years ago about Ambergris and the only town there, San Pedro (anyone remember "last night I dreamt of San Pedro?") After arriving in our small hotel, we decided to take advantage of the view of the sea and sit outside for a while.

Last edited by Marty; 11/17/12 10:48 AM.