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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Costa Maya Festival 2012 date set for August 2nd - 5th
2012 is the year of the Maya, and one celebration set to celebrate it in grand fashion is the annual Costa Maya Festival. Organizers and committee members have already begun their preparations for what is sure to be an exciting festival indeed. Following the format from the 2011 Festival, this year will see Thursday as comedy/family night, followed by the Reina de la Costa Maya Pageant on Friday. Saturday will remain as International Night, while Sunday is being planned as a beach party to cap off the weekend's festivities with friends, family, sun, sand and FUN! While Saturday's International star has not been revealed, there is a lot of excitement over potential musicians and acts that will be bringing people to the grounds at the Old Football Field. Stay tuned for details as they emerge, and remember to start planning ahead for your tickets. Adults' Season Passes are $120 and Kids' Season Passes are $50. Single night passes are as follows: Thursday - $40/$15, Friday - $40/$15, Saturday - $100/$50 and Sunday is FREE.

San Pedro Cultural Committee to host massive fundraiser and Full Moon Concert
The San Pedro Cultural Committee (SPCC) is hosting a massive fundraiser on Saturday May 5th that will end with the first ever Full Moon Concert. The all-day event has a dual purpose to raise much needed money for three dance groups on Ambergris Caye and to showcase local talents from the island. It is scheduled to start at 10AM and will run up to midnight at the Central Park in San Pedro. According to the SPCC, Little Dynamic Stars, San Pedro Dance Academy (Company) and Barbara's Dance Group are facing financial problems in meeting their bills in order to continue as dance groups. After sitting down with the groups, the SPCC explored the possibilities of engaging the community in assisting the three groups to raise monies that will offset their mounting expenses. As a result, a full day event has been planned that will include performances by live local bands, dance presentations by all of the dance groups at different intervals during the course of the day and a massive food sale. The event will be televised live on local television and will be transmitted via Reef Radio. During the event, which will cater to the entire family, business establishments and the general public will be able to make pledges on air via phone lines that will be available on the day of the event.

Blanca Velasquez wins sailing regatta in Orange Walk
Nineteen young sailors formed the latest Team San Pedro and trekked to Honey Camp Lagoon in the Orange Walk District for a weekend of camping, sailing instruction and racing on Saturday April 28th to Sunday April 29th. Team San Pedro faced and overcame new challenges netting 12 of the 15 invitations to race in the regatta final. On Saturday, all the young sailors were instructed on shore about the frequent and sudden shifts in wind strength and direction that often typify inland lake sailing conditions. Then they took to their boats to try what they had learned while exploring the beautiful lagoon. On Sunday, Team San Pedro's ability to handle the unfamiliar conditions was put to the test in the regatta, racing against 26 others from Belize City, Liberty Children's Home, and a scrappy new team, The Consejo Yacht Club from the Corozal District. In the first heat, Team San Pedro took the top five out of 15 finishes. In first place was Louis Blanco, who had only been in three races before this. Mitchel Sersland placed 2nd while Blanca Velasquez, Christian Tejo, and Zulema Ayala, took 3rd, 4th, and 5th respectively. Current National Champion Alexander Rhaburn finished in 7th, still in the top half. San Pedro's Jerdon Anderson sailed to victory in the second heat, followed closely by Lily Hayden in 2nd place while Faith Noel finished 4th in this 15 boat heat.

"More Boots on the Ground" with SP Special Constable program
The San Pedro Police Department is in the process of reintroducing the Special Constable Program to the island. The program will see "more boots on the ground", having more law enforcement representatives on the streets in an effort to reduce crime on the island. The program held its first meeting on Sunday, April 29th when members of the SP Police Formation met with interested members of the public to outline the details of the Special Constable Program. The program falls within the community policing initiative of the Belize Police Department. Representing the police was Officer in Charge of the SP Police Department Assistant Superintendent of Police Vienie Robinson. According to ASP Robinson, about 24 people attended the meeting which took place upstairs of the San Pedro Police Station. "We want to revive the whole program of the Special Constable where they assist the police in basic patrols around the island," said ASP Robinson. During the meeting, each attendee filled out a registration form, specific information was requested, after which the information was compiled and submitted for vetting against bad character and criminal records at the Belize Police Department.

John McAfee arrested by GSU Police for illegal firearms; claims political vendetta
John McAfee, the inventor of the McAfee Virus Scan is claiming that members of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) stormed into his estate located on the outskirts of Orange Walk Town and was a victim of an aggressive search. The wealthy US investor, who moved to Belize in 2008 and spends his time between homes in San Pedro and Orange Walk, claimed that not only was he a victim of an aggressive search but his doors were bust open despite being unlocked and one of his pet dogs was shot and killed. Sometime around 6AM on Monday, April 30th, GSU personnel descended on the mainland property belonging to the 66 year old McAfee, namely the Belize Ecological Foundation Limited, located next to the Tower Hill Bridge in Carmelita Village, Orange Walk District. After the GSU officers entered his estate, McAfee said that his dog, Caramelo, was shot and killed after which the men broke down doors and ransacked the nine houses on the compound. According to Police, present at the time of the search were John McAfee, his 17-year-old Belizean girlfriend who is a minor, four security guards, 33 year old Emerson Michael who claimed to be the Chief of Security, 23 year old Emerson Dominguez, 46 year old Austin Allen and 23 year old Tyron Morales who are all Belizean nationals. Also present was Michael's common-law wife Princesa Ericson.

'Man at Work' (Terryl Godoy) to hold Reggae Bus Concert and CD Launch
San Pedro resident, Artist and Musician, Terryl Godoy aka Man at Work will hold his first Reggae Bus Concert and CD Launch, at the House of Culture in Belize City on Friday, May 4th from 7PM to 10PM. Belizean born, Terryl started painting at the young age of six and has travelled the world creating art from the landscapes he stood on. Speaking of his artwork, Terryl stated, "I focus on realistic landscapes. I go out and capture my scenes live on the spot. I've painted in several parts of the world. I have painted in Trinidad, Grenada, St. Lucia, Guatemala, Honduras, London, Germany, Netherlands, New York and so many other places." Terryl is recognized in San Pedro as a local artist as well as a musician. His paintings are available at Rene's Art Gallery and Belizean Arts at Fido's Courtyard. Terryl plays various instruments and sings as well. In San Pedro he performs as a one man band at venues such as Hidden Treasure, Belizean Shores and Ramon's.

GOB dispels rumors about the health of PM Barrow
There has been news circulating that the Prime Minister of Belize, Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow had fallen ill during a Cabinet meeting a few weeks ago. According to Audrey Wallace from the Office of the Prime Minister, three weeks ago, Prime Minister Barrow had an episode of vertigo. He felt so "extremely ill" that he had to leave the Cabinet meeting. A doctor from the Ministry of Health was called in to evaluate the PM Barrow's health. After receiving medical attention, he returned to Cabinet and carried on with the meeting. A release from the office of the Prime Minister states that, "On occasions, Prime Minister Dean Barrow has experienced a very common medical condition known as vertigo, which causes dizziness. Three weeks ago, the start of Cabinet was delayed by half hour because the Prime Minister experienced one such episode. As a precaution, the staff called for a doctor to meet with the Prime Minister. He has since had a full check-up and received a clean bill of health."

Enjoy the pride of Belize at the National Agriculture & Trade Show!
Less than one hundred miles from San Pedro, Belize's largest yearly Agriculture Show is held in the capital city of Belmopan. While many island residents choose not to attend; complaining of extreme heat and crowded, dusty fair grounds, The San Pedro Sun decided that we'd make a go at it and see for ourselves whether this highly anticipated three day event is worth the journey and the seasonal temperatures. While the event started on Friday, our best bet was Saturday and Sunday to get a really good feel for the show. Being that the last time I went to an Agriculture show was over fifteen years ago, I must admit I was quite excited. So much so, that I took the first flight at 7AM on Saturday from San Pedro en route to what could quite possibly be one of the best weekends in a long time. After a short fifteen minute flight on board Tropic Air, I arrived at the municipal airport in Belize City. A cab ride took me to the City's bus terminal where I boarded a packed bus to Belmopan. Two hours later and after various stops along the way, we arrived in Belmopan. At 10AM, the sun was not at its highest point and there was a nice, constant breeze. With heightened security at the gates, each individual was checked for weapons as a metal detector was moved along the body. Once cleared at security and the $5 entrance fee has been paid, the entire grounds are yours. This year the show was held on the 27th, 28th and 29th of April under the theme "Agriculture creating greater business opportunities, a healthier population and a more robust economy."

Ambergris Today

Condolences on the Passing of Mr. Severo Castillo
Ambergris Today and the community of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, mourns the passing of Mr. Severo Castillo who left us on Thursday, May 3, 2012. He is survived by his wife Valeria Castillo, children Addy, Milly, Ermita, Ciela, Lupita, Rosie and Mundo and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We extend our sincere condolences to the Castillo family. May he Rest in Peace.

Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings
Currently there are three AA groups in San Pedro. * The Bilingual group meets every night at #5 Boca del Rio Drive at 7:30 PM. * A Spanish speaking group (Ultramar) meets Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 7:30 PM at the San Pablo Catholic Church and also practices the Narcotics Anonymous program. * The English speaking group meets in the Rectory of the Catholic Church across from Central Park on Tuesday and Friday at noon. Anyone seeking help for alcohol or drug addiction may call 627-1585 or come to any of the above listed meetings.

More Speed Bumps, More Wardens, Traffic Safety Continues
The San Pedro Town Council embarked on a Road Traffic Safety Campaign in early April with intentions to promote safe driving on the island. During the campaign banners were placed all over town while speed bumps and street corners (no parking areas) were given a paint job. During the Town Council's familiarization visits to schools, Councilor Kenrick Brackett made mention that in order to keep the island's children safe pedestrian ramps would be placed near every school. "Presently we have placed speed bumps by the San Pedro R.C. School and the San Pedro High School," commented Councilor Brackett to Ambergris Today. "These speed bumps were purchased by the previous administration and we are currently using them as a test to see if this will work better than having pedestrian ramps."

Kindest Kid in San Pedro Award 2012 Nominations
Be Kind Belize is looking for the "Kindest Kid" in the community and with your help they are selecting one out of these four nomination who were selected from a larger list of entries. Following are the final nominations for the Kindest Kid in San Pedro Award 2012. Every primary school in San Pedro was invited to nominate students that they felt could represent them as Kindness Ambassadors. With the fantastic support and assistance of Mr. Gustavo Ramirez, the Guidance Counsellor at San Pedro High School, along with students, the heart warming nominations made by primary schools, were narrowed down to the final four. This was done anonymously and on a scoring basis. Now it is up to the public to decide. Every vote will count. So please read these nominations and vote for the one you think best represents the sort of kindness you believe is at the heart of the San Pedro community. One winner and one runner up will be announced on the 24th of May. Voting ends on the 18th of May.

Space Object Falls Down to Guatemala/Belize Border
It was reported that residents of Benque Viejo del Carmen, Belize and neighboring Guatemala area sighted a bright white light cutting across the sky on Monday, April 30, 2012. Reports have been confirmed by the Space Command in the United States about the entry of a space object that fell into Earth and crashing near the Belize border, specifically in the town of Melchor de Mencos, Guatemala. Reports coming from Guatemala are that police and firefighters were mobilized to track and recover the presumed meteorite that possibly fell in the archaeological site of TZIK�N TZAK�N of the Melchor area.

Misc Belizean Sources

BEL Requests Intervention by Labor Commissioner to Bring BEWU Executives to the Discussion Table
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) has submitted a request for intervention by the Labor Commissioner in an effort to bring Executives of the Belize Energy Workers' Union (BEWU) to the discussion table. This request follows a public communication by the BEWU to the media on April 26, 2012, listing six points of action they are demanding from BEL's Management. To date the BEWU has still not presented their concerns directly to the Company. Since April 26, 2012, BEL's Management has extended two invitations to the Executives of the BEWU to meet and discuss any concerns of the Union in an effort to find a resolution. Following the most recent invitation, issued on Monday, April, 30, 2012, the BEWU Executives informed that they are willing to meet with BEL's Management at a location away from the Company's premises; a "neutral" location. The Company continues to await confirmation from the BEWU Executives on the venue, date and time for the meeting.

Westminster College Athletics Hires '93 Alum, Belizean, Kevin Siroki, as New Head Men's Basketball Coach
Westminster College has named Kevin Siroki ('93) its new head men's basketball coach. Siroki previously was the athletic director and the head men's basketball coach at Galen University in Belize, Central America.

Belize's BETEX Tourism Expo: Gaining a New Respect for Travel Agents
This past week I spent traveling throughout Belize with a group of travel agents as press on behalf of the Belize Tourism Expo (BETEX), a travel industry event designed for wholesalers and some retail travel agents. Following the two-day conference, there were post tours available that attendees could sign up for that specialized in different aspects of Belize travel. Admittedly, I am one who books my own travel outright versus going through a travel agent. I am also one who is guilty of the belief that booking through an agent is more expensive or that I can do everything easier on my own. Going into the conference, I knew it would be an interesting experience given my pre-conceived notions on travel agents as a whole. After the conference, we spent the four days traipsing around different parts of Belize on what it is commonly referred to as a "FAM" trip. I lost count of how many hotel site inspections we did, how many mosquito bites I have, and the number of blisters still on my feet. But one thing I've taken away from this trip is a newfound respect for travel agents. This was really a FAM trip on steroids as I started every day with a 5am wake up and usually ended the night drooling on my keyboard while passing out at 11pm after failed attempts to get any work done.

San Ignacio Hotel's Family Day pictures
The San Ignacio Resort Hotel had their Family Day recently, and by the looks of it, they had a wonderful time. Jumproping by the pool looks like great fun. "In celebration of our 35th Anniversary - Our Annual Family Day at San Ignacio Resort Hotel. Food, Drinks, Games, Children & FUN!" They have a write up about it on their website.

TAS Belize's Tell A Story Thursday episode 8
This episode sums up the season of Tell A Story Thursday. The edited it pretty well, capturing the best information. "TAS Belize's Tell A story Thursday finale. In this episode, see a full recap of sesion one and hear more practical tips that couldn't fit in the previous episodes."

Jumping The Big Boa Opens Friday
Cayo's very own Winsom Winsom has an art exhibit at the Image Factory Gallery(in Belize) which has its opening reception Friday night at 6:30. It's entitled 'Jumping the Big Boa.' If you can go represent Cayo, you are invited to attend. Click on the picture to see some of the unique pieces that will be on display.

Ducunu is a sweet tamales type dish that's made with corn. This dish is rich because it's made with coconut milk. This side dish can be eaten with Stewed Chicken or Stewed beef or it can be eaten alone. Ducunu is usually made plain or it can be stuffed some type of meat or with spinach as I've done in this video.

Ish's shark attack takes half his Grouper!!!!
With perfect fishing conditions, our wonderful Ish went out fishing with his long time friend Esley Usher (Eslito) yesterday. Both men are highly experienced fisherman and therefore the 'outside of the reef or the deep sea' on a windless day was beckoning these two sea lovers with their 400ft of lines!! Early on in the day Ish's Rock fish or Black Grouper as it is called caught the line and for almost 2 hours Ish spent trying to haul this 50lb fish on to the boat. At what seemed like almost the end of the fight both fisherman saw the 12ft long Bull Shark that was lurking around the boat. Quicker than they imagined the shark attacked the Grouper and in one bite, cut the fish in half!!! The photo above of Ish and his half eaten Grouper tells the story - poor Ish, he had a lot less to eat that night than he originally expected!!!

Top 10 Hotels in Belmopan [LIST]
Everyday people visit Belmopan City to experiment on the different cuisines, adventures and for the peacefulness that the city proudly has to offer. Some come for a day but some come to spend a few days and for that they need a safe and humble place to stay. Normally people would prefer staying at a hotel or an apartment. In Belmopan, finding a place to stay can be a hard task depending on which method you use to search. People come in an out of Belmopan and enjoy the tranquility that the city provides but some are left unsatisfied by the the customer service provided by some of the spots they pick to say at. I am here to make it easy for everyone by listing the Top 10 Hotels in Belmopan. In that case you won't have to go through all the trouble of selecting a place to say while being in the city. I have personally been to some of these hotels and is safe to say that these are some of the best hotels Belmopan has to offer.

Channel 7

For the past week, the Belize Energy Workers Union has been agitating against management. And tonight, the news is that the temperature of the dispute has increased - on both sides. First, four workers assigned to the Gas Turbine unit at Mile 8 on the Western Highway have been declared redundant. And second, BEL's management has asked the Labour Commissioner to intervene in the dispute. It has all the ingredients of an ugly, increasingly bitter standoff and the Belize Energy Workers Union held a press conference today to discuss the new developments. Here's what they said:.. Sean Nicholas, Vice President, BEWU "The company has invited the union to a meeting. After the union accepted the invitation to the meeting they went ahead and sent the employees letters of redundancy." Marvin Mora, President BEWU "The update was that BEL has already acted against the demands. That is the update. BEL has already made well the position of the four guys at the GT. That has got us to this table."

And so while the BEL Union is not happy, neither are the gang truce participants. 7news has confirmed that they got their pay cut this week. 7news has confirmed that the 200 gang truce participants from 13 gangs all got one or two days of pay cut from their weekly salary, which averages about $175.00, And so is ita punitive measure because the violence has increased? Well, not likely. The gang truce coordination committee had been assured by the Prime Minister that there would be no cuts to the gang truce work programme - once the gangs continued to participate. But, word to us is that there are cuts to the Poverty Alleviation programme, so at best it might have been a mix up - but one that has left many gag trucers none too happy tonight.

And while that development is sure to cause some executive discomfort, we doubt it's enough to make the Prime Minister sick. Still, there are all kinds of reports circulating which say that the PM is ill after he supposedly "collapsed" in cabinet three weeks ago. The rumour gained momentum this week with a report in the Belize times that a senior minister collapsed during cabinet. Well, according to multiple reports, here's what really happened. The Prime Minister seemed to have gotten an episode of vertigo before a cabinet meeting. If you don't know, vertigo creates acute dizziness and nausea. The PM - as we understand it - had to take a break, was seen by a doctor, and half hour later, he led the cabinet meeting. A press release from the Prime Minister's office today says that, quote: "On occasions Prime Minister Dean Barrow has experienced a very common medical condition known as vertigo which causes dizziness. Three weeks ago, the start of Cabinet was delayed by half hour because the Prime Minister experienced one such episode. As a precaution, the staff called for a doctor to meet with the Prime Minister. He has since had a full check-up and received a clean bill of health." End quote. The Prime Minister is presently in Miami accompanying his wife as she receives cancer radiation therapy.

A Belize City man is in a critical condition at the KHMH intensive care unit with serious burn after a car accident this morning. At 1:00 am this morning, 31 year old Lincoln Wells who lives on East Canal in Belize City but works in Orange Walk was driving his Volkswagen Jetta when he crashed into the San Estevan/Orange Walk bridge. The vehicle burst into flames and he was very seriously burnt. Wells was transferred to the KHMH due to the seriousness of his injury. Today, his cousin, city councilor and Doctor Alain Gonzalez told us that due to very serious burns, his chances for survival are slim:.. Dr. Alain Gonzalez, Relative of burn/accident victim "I saw Mr. Wells this morning at the hospital. He was in a very critical and unstable condition. He has just came out of the operating theatre because he had suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns of 45% of his entire body; That's the entire head, the neck, the upper thorax, the abdomen and both upper extremities and he has also suffered a left fracture. He was in ICU recovering, he was on respiratory ventilation because he was not breathing by himself; the flames from the fire actually cause burning to his throat and to his larynx." "He is very critical at this time. I spoke to the doctor in charge of the case, the internist at ICU and he told us that the best solution at this moment would be for us to try to get him in a burn unit out of the country, possible United States of America. The chances of survival are very low at this time."

A robber successfully pulled what you might call a Jackie Chan style robbery early this morning in Belize City. It happened at La Popular Tortilla Factory on Vernon Street at 5:30 am. Three workers were inside the factory when they saw something they never would have expected. They told us that a tall, very slim man ran up to the entrance of the factory, leaped over the barrier, and dived, dived! right through the small square opening in the grill - where they pass the tortillas and collect money. He made it through, sprung to his feet - and then put a gun to the head of one of the workers, who was trying to run out the back. He demanded to know where the money was - and they showed him the cash drawer. He then collected about one thousand dollars - mostly in small change - right down to the one-cent coins. He then left - not the same way he came - but through the back door. Police have no suspects.

29 year-old Jervis Valencia, who is no stranger to the law, was convicted of drug trafficking yesterday in Magistrate's Court. On May 26, 2011, police searched a car on Ebony Street, and they found Valencia in the passenger seat and Douglas Gill driving. Police say that they found 3.3 ounces of marijuana under the passenger's seat, and 0.1 ounces of crack cocaine in another section of the vehicle. Both Gill and Valencia were charged with two counts of drug trafficking. In the trial yesterday, the prosecution called the arresting officer to testify where exactly the drugs were found. When the prosecutor closed his case, Gill's attorney, Ellis Arnold, made a no-case submission saying that the prosecutor failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Gill had any knowledge that the drugs were in the vehicle.

According to an article in the Cayo Star newspaper, there is a backlog of 15 bodies awaiting post mortem examinations because police pathologist Dr. Mario Estradabran is awaiting a contract renewal. Estradabran told the paper that his 2-year contract with the government expired on February first of this year and that he is still negotiating a new one with the Ministry of National Security. The STAR reports that although the contract expired, Estradabran would still perform autopsies when requested. But, as of last week he had totally stopped, pending his new contract. But the backlog is beginning to be cleared: Police say three post mortem examinations were conducted today. The morgue fee at the KHMH is twenty five to fifty dollars per day.

Last night, we told you about 18 year-old Emmanuel Polanco being charged by police for the double murder of the cousins, 22 year-old Javier Larios, and 23 year-old Moses Orellano. Well tonight, it runs out that that Polanco was the 2011 valedictorian at his graduation from Ecumenical High School in Dangriga Town. Now, just one year later he is being accused of not one, but 2 murders. Police have also charged his brother 19 year-old Francisco Polanco for grievous harm, which he allegedly committed against Javier Larios. The bloodbath all started with a brawl after the National Agriculture and Trade Show.

27 year-old Kenneth Dobson will stand trial for the murder of 22 year-old Erwin Staine. A preliminary inquiry was held today and after prosecution finished tendering all the evidence against Dobson, Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith found that there is enough evidence for him to stand trial in the Supreme Court. The evidence includes a crucial witness statement which details Staine's shooting, and Dobson's positive identification as the gunman. He is currently on remand, and he will remain so until the case is heard. On June 1, of 2011, Staine was standing on North Creek Street along with a friend, when two men rode up on bicycles and fired several shots at Staine, which fatally wounded him.

The novel Beka Lamb was first published 30 years ago in March of 1982. Since then, it has come into its own as a Caribbean Classic - and has earned admirers and devotees worldwide. Now, Saint Catherine's Academy is turning it into a play. In a sense, that is taking it back to the start because the idea for Beka Lamb first came to Zee Edgell when she was teaching at the all-girls Academy. That was back in the 60's - and 13 years later, she birthed a novel that would come to define Belizean literature for a generation and become the first Belizean novel accepted into the CXC curriculum. Now, it's been adapted for the stage and our intern, Robin Schaffer got a preview yesterday. Here's her report:.. Robin Schaffer reporting Beka Lamb is a celebrated Belizean novel that focuses on many social issues that are prevalent in Belize and the rest of the Caribbean. So, was this the reason that it was chosen by Saint Catherine Academy to be performed as a play? Melissa Espat, the director and cowriter of the play says, yes.

The Hicatee turtle is a critically endangered species but it's also a much sought after delicacy in Belize. And that's why balancing cultural practices and preservation is always a delicate balance. But - all of the May month is the time for preservation. A public notice form the Fisheries Department reminds the public that the closed season for Hicatee is from May 1st to May 31st, 2012. During this time, the purchase or sale of the Hicatee including cooked Hicatee is prohibited under the Fisheries Laws.

Channel 5

B.E.L. Workers Union's final call for negotiation with Company
The time to buy candles or check your lanterns for kerosene may be very soon at hand. The grievances filed by the Belize Energy Workers Union (B.E.W.U.) against Belize Electricity Limited (B.E.L.) is at a stalemate. A week ago, B.E.W.U. showed its sincerity to impose any option available to bring the electricity company to the [...]

To avoid blackouts, B.E.L. calls for Labor Commissioner to intervene
It may well be the National Trade Union Congress of Belize which could ultimately bring pressure on B.E.L.'s management. But B.E.L. has decided to contact the Labor Commissioner of Belize to offset B.E.W.U.'s next possible move. In a press release sent this evening, B.E.L. said that it had submitted a request for intervention by the [...]

Arrests made for 3 murders
There were no new murders in the country tonight, but that has not stopped the police from investigating and finding suspects for recent crimes. Belmopan police have arrested and charged eighteen year old Emmanuel Polanco, a resident of mile twenty-five on the Hummingbird Highway, with two counts of murder. His relative Francisco Polanco was also [...]

Kenneth Dobson to stand trial for North Creek Murder
Twenty-eight year old Kenneth Dobson has been committed to stand trial for the murder of Ervin Staine which occurred less than a stone's throw away from his home on North Creek on June first, 2011. A preliminary inquiry concluded before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith this evening where Dobson, who appeared unrepresented, was informed that [...]

Dedicated team flips on highway bringing you daily news
A Channel Five News crew unwittingly became part of tonight's report. While heading to the capital this morning to do a feature story on employment, the station's Hilux became a victim of a slick portion of the Western Highway. Inside the vehicle were driver Stephen Ferguson, cameraman George Tillett and reporter Andrea Polanco. According to [...]

The awesome Miss Y pageant brings decades of entertainment on stage
It's that time of the year again for the eighteenth annual Miss Y pageant. The pageant, sponsored by the Young Women's Christian Association of Belize (YWCA) is specifically designed for 'seenagers'; women over the age of sixty with an extra spunk in their step and the bell of the ball. Six ladies from across the [...]

Honing skills to start up and manage your own company
Have you ever thought about honing the skills necessary to open and manage your own business that caters to tourists visiting the jewel? The Belize Tourism Board, through the Sustainable Development Program, is offering three training sessions in Belize City, Dangriga and Punta Gorda. Although limited only to twenty-five persons each, the training is intended [...]

Jamal Galves wins regional awards because of his love of conservation
A local conservationist is the recipient of two regional awards. Jamal Galves, whom we call manatee boy because of his love of nature and the endangered species, is in Antigua on a training exercise. His colleague, Nicole Auil Gomez told News five that one of the awards will actually provide funds for further developing management [...]

Aerial manatee count signals increased population
Auil Gomez who is the National Consultant for the Coastal Zone Management Institute said that they recently conducted a flyover manatee count. That particular exercise was not conducted for six years. However, the results of the national aerial surveys had positive results.   Nicole Auil Gomez, National Consultant, CZMAI "The last time this was done [...]

Finding victims of Human Trafficking
While the business of finding manatees can be quite a difficult task, also equally daunting is finding victims of human trafficking. The rate of convictions for the crimes of human trafficking in Belize remains fairly minimal despite an increase in the number of offenses. On March twenty-seventh, Guatemalan national Jose Alfaro was arraigned on two [...]

Symposium of Human Trafficking leans towards conviction of oppressors
According to Paul Holmes, a presenter at the symposium, the idea of the seminar is not necessarily to teach participants about the law, instead the aim is to provide new information on methods of conviction.   Paul Holmes, International Organization for Migration "My task is to share with the justices of the Supreme Court most [...]

Ordination of Bishop to be televised live on 5
We end the newscast with a programming note. The ordination of a bishop is a rarity in Belize. The last known ordination was that of Right Reverend Phillip Wright of the Anglican Diocese. But on Saturday, Christopher Glancy of the Roman Catholic Church will undergo an Episcopal Ordination to the Auxiliary Bishop of Belize. Channel [...]

Honest thief told judge he wanted to smell right
There are quite a number of characters that end up at the courthouse. An honest thief presented himself before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer Thursday. We're not sure to what degree his secret move in a supermarket would have gone until he received the axe effect by an employee who caught him. If you didn't get [...]

Marijuana and crack in cab, but you pay for ride in Court
Twenty-nine year old Jervis Valencia, a well-known Belize City street figure, was found guilty of drug trafficking on Thursday evening inside the courtroom of Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith. Valencia, a resident of Mayflower Street, was on trial along with Douglas Gill following the discovery of marijuana and crack cocaine during the search of a [...]

He paid his insurance premium, but can't collect his claim
There are many insurance claims that people say are taking too long to honor by their agent. Last year, the regional winner of the Unsung Hero program was unable to receive his claim after his vehicle was totaled. A local businessman with a similar story said he has done everything, including winning a case in [...]

School fair in PG brings returns to Mayan Roots
Amazing events are happening around the country this month including the Village Arts & Crafts Expo on May twelfth, the Toledo Cacao Fest on the weekend of the eighteenth, Hopkins' Mango Festival at the end of the month and more. But one event that may not have turned up on the radar is the Feast [...]

Local book on Mayas available on
One man is also determined on turning a new page on Mayan culture. Manuel Novelo is a new author who has written a novel; The Sacred Maya Smoking Shell. The book is a fictional account of the once powerful Mayan city of Lamanai in Orange Walk. The story encompasses the adventure, war, courage, tragedy, love [...]

Zee Edgell's daughter here for the Premiere of Beka Lamb; the Play
While that book will be a new read, an old but favorite that is still a page turner in high schools, is getting a makeover. Earlier this week, we highlighted the play, Beka Lamb on Stage; that is being presented by Saint Catherine Academy. It is a two-day show starting tonight at the Bliss Center [...]

Inside Marie Sharp's pepper Power Plant
Marie Sharp is probably one of Belize's best promoters because everywhere she goes; she shares the spicy side of local life in the Jewel. Sharp's exquisite brand of pepper sauces is making its own journey to different continents. Today, Sharp went on an excursion that will lead to South Korea where she will have an [...]


Lincoln Welch, a resident of Belize City who had been working in Orange Walk is badly injured after his vehicle collided into the San Estevan Bridge in Orange Walk Town. The incident happened around 12:15 last night when Welch reportedly lost control of his Black Volkswagen Jetta on th...

The Ministry of Rural Development and other relevant agencies today rounded up representatives from throughout the rural communities countrywide to begin the process of planning their respective areas in a strategic and systemic fashion. Orlando Jimenez, whose expertise was used ...

A number of fishermen who gathered at the offices of the Northern Fishermen Cooperatives were not happy. Natalie Novelo reporting� "Members of the Northern Fisherman Cooperative were not in such a good mood today at the office located on North Fron...

Residents of Belmopan attended a consultation on the building of a market in that municipality. Marion Ali reporting� After a round of public consultations and two proposals to build a permanent vendors and farmers market in Belmopan, the Belmopan City C...

Last week it was announced that Belize and Guatemala have agreed to hold simultaneous referenda towards settling the territorial dispute. The announcement has been warmly received by the Foreign Office Minister for Latin America, Jeremy Browne. In a release issued by the Be...

American businessman John McAfee could be headed for more problems with Belizean law enforcement authorities. The Gang Suppression Unit of the police department raided McAfee's compound near the Toll Bridge in Orange walk on Monday morning and is reported to have detained t...

Last Thursday members of the Belize Energy Workers Union staged a demonstration against their employer, Belize Electricity Limited. The Union said the action was necessary because they have been unable to meet with management to discuss a number of relevant issues. Today BE...

Rumors were fast and furious today that Prime Minister Dean Barrow was in poor health. Those rumors were quickly debunked this afternoon when a short statement from Barrow's office was issued via the Government Press Office. It reads as follows: The office of the Prime Mini...


Laboratory Closed Say's McAfee's Worker
Last night you heard the story of 66 year old John McAfee whose residence by the Toll Bridge was ransacked in what he calls an unjustifiable raid by the GSU. While McAfee is claiming that the GSU used unnecessary force and their actions were unprofessional, the GSU sent out a press release yesterday evening justifying their actions and the level of force used. Today, the Head of Security at McAfee's residence says otherwise. According to Emerson Michael, the GSU used excessive force on the security guards and watch dogs. Emerson Michael, Head of Security "First of all it was not a nice experience because the GSU were the one who woke us up from our bed with all noise and all the commotion which was really uncalled for. They started by cutting the fence- cutting the wire on the fence and the gate was right there. My security had opened the gate. They cut the wire and stormed in and break down all the doors which really was not professional. It wasn't justified at all. The breaking down of the doors was not necessary. It was uncalled for." In the press release issued out by the Gang Suppression Unit, they state and we quote, "Investigations regarding the employment of the security guards revealed that only two out of the four guards are licensed to act as Security Guards." End quote. But according to Michael, one of the individuals in question is presently training to be a security guard and the other individual is a maintenance worker.

OWTC Receives Face-lift
The Orange Walk Town Council released their Manifesto in early February titled 'Change Is Here' which serves as a social contract to the people that is fixated on solutions rather than promises. Since the team of seven has been elected into office, their vision for change has been an ongoing venture for the betterment of Orange Walk Town. The blue machine has made significant changes around town but its recent change has been in the best interest of Town Council employees and Orange Walkenos. Kevin Bernard, Mayor "What we did upon taking office we sat down with the different departments and listening to the needs of the employees, there was urgent need of doing some proper spacing and expanding in some areas. So what we did if you noticed the mayor's office is no longer within the offices of the cashiers and where all these people were crammed up. We took that out one for it to be more open to the public now somebody who comes to see the mayor does not have to go to a series of individuals instead they come directly and see the mayor.

ESTM Holds Annual Open Day
Today Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College had its third annual open day. The learning institution's students have been preparing for today's event all school year long. Student's placed on display their skills in Agriculture, Information Technology, Cooking, Tourism, Business and many others for visitors to enjoy. Among the thousands of visitors that passed through the school's gates today, Reporter Hipolito Novelo and Cameraman Keric Simpson were just two more that witnessed the hard work and talent of these young minds. Here's their story. The sun was blazing hot today but that did not deter primary school students and the community of being part of Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College's third annual open day. It was celebrated under the theme, "Integrating Career Knowledge to Promote Development and Show Case Abilities" and that's what exactly the students did. According to the Dean, Hugo Gonzalez, the open days saw the participation of 28 booths - 8 from the business community and 20 from the students. Hugo Gonzalez, Dean- Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College "We have a combination of booths that were created by students and at the same time we have organizations that have come out from our communities and other organization which we work with that also have their booth here today to show in what way they collaborate with the junior college and in what way they assist us to develop our young people." One of the businesses is Belagro, which has been working alongside the institution for many years now.

BAHA Investigates Contaminated Beans Story
Food safety measures guarantee consumers healthy eating, but how sure are you, that the food you take home from the store is not contaminated? When you are at home and you're preparing your family meal with the utmost care for safety and cleaning of the ingredients, how sure are you that those that handled those same ingredients before you did everything in their power to ensure that the food reaches you clean and not contaminated? On Friday April 27th we informed you about the report issued in the Jamaican Observer that reported on the seizure by the Jamaican Government on an imported shipment of Red Kidney beans from Belize. The Red Kidney beans were deemed contaminated and considered unfit for consumption after tests were conducted by the Rodent Biology and Control Laboratory in Jamaica, where the contaminants were identified as rodent feces. Upon routine inspections at the Kingston Harbor the beans were found packed in seven hundred and fifty bags weighing approximately 22.73 metric tons with an estimated value of over two point six million dollars. In response to the incident Francisco Gutierrez of the Belize Agriculture Health Authority (BAHA) says even though no official reports from Jamaican authorities have been received investigation of the matter is still priority.

NDACC Host 5th Meeting To Eradicate Drugs
Today the National Drug Abuse Control Council, (NDACC) which is under the Ministry of Health, hosted the first part of its 5th Meeting of the Directors of National Drug Council at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina in Belize City. The gathering brought together twenty Directors of Drug Councils of both Member States and Associated Member States of CARICOM to discuss the Caribbean strategies to reduce the demand and supply of illicit drugs in the various countries' action plan. The meeting is being held under the theme: Building Human Resources in Drug Demand Reduction for Sustainable Development. Specific objectives of the meeting included: improving treatment and expanding access to care for substance use disorders, Psycho-Social cost of substance addiction, funding options for the Regional Drug Demand Reduction Strategy and sustainability of the Technical Advisory Board as a regional system. It's the first time that the meeting is being held outside of the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown and is therefore considered historic. In 2001, a framework for Drug Demand Reduction was developed and later endorsed at a meeting by the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) in Guyana. The framework was received and updated at the 1st Meeting of the Directors of National Drug Council held in November 2005 in Jamaica. At that meeting, a Technical Advisory Body was established to provide oversight and also to advance the work to reduce illicit drugs in the region. The second and final stage of the meeting will be held tomorrow also at the Radisson Fort George in Belize City.


Regional directors of drug councils meet in Belize
Drugs and other substances have increasingly become a plague on the Belizean society and economy over the years. Today, the people who offer help to kick the habits, gathered to engage in the fifth annual meeting of directors for drug councils from throughout the Caribbean. Since 2008, the National Drug Abuse Control Council has embarked on a restructuring process that seeks to develop different research-based programmes that will target people with the highest level of addictions. And based on our own analyses, the number one addiction is alcohol, followed by marijuana. This is according to N-DACC's Director, Esner Vellos. Beverly Reynolds who is the Programme Manager for Sustainable Development at the CARICOM Secretariat. In 2011 N-DACC has treated 311 alcohol and drug addicts and in terms of drug prevention intervention, it targeted two thousand 500 high school students.

Research shows thriving manatee population
The Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute and the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development have completed a marine mammal aerial survey of the entire coast of Belize. Led by consultant Nicole Auil Gomez, the surveys were conducted last month. She gave Love News the findings of the survey. According to Auil Gomez, the survey also looked at other marine species inhabiting the coastal waters of Belize. In other news from the conservation field, Belizean Manatee Researcher Jamal Galvez has received two international awards for his work with manatees in Belize. Auil explains what the citations are. Auil Gomez says she is happy for the achievement of her colleague and the awards are a good thing for the entire country of Belize. Consultant with the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute Nicole Auil Gomez. Belize City duo busted with weed in the car trunk in Cayo A man and a woman from Belize City have been arrested and charges in San Ignacio after they were busted with thirty three pounds of marijuana in their car. Twenty seven year old Sandra Thompson and thirty two year old Richard Smith were busted by a police mobile patrol on Tuesday afternoon in Santa Elena [...]


More grit found in another bottle of soft drink
Last week Plus news reported on foreign particles found inside a sealed Fanta bottle, by a customer. As we stated i...

Bomb threat prompts Commercial Center evacuation
On Wednesday May 2nd shortly before 11 in the morning, Belize City Police responded to a bomb threat at the Commerc...

Belmopan Lions Club to host 6th annual eye clinic
The Belmopan Lions Club is hosting its sixth annual eye clinic. Every year the Club brings in a group of both Profe...

New Lupus Association founded
Lupus is a destructive disease with fatal consequences for many who suffer from it. Errolyne Frazer, mother and wif...

Belmopan CITCO embarks on a street improvement project
The Belmopan City Council is embarking on one of its campaign promises made to the populace back in March; to upgra...

Youth spreads crime awareness through run
One teen is trying to create greater awareness on the violence in Belize and cancer by running from Belmopan to Bel...

Arrest made in weekend's double murder
Police have arrested 18yr old Emmanuel Polanco resident of Mile 25 along the Hummingbird Highway for the double mur...

Hicatee season closed
The Belize Fisheries Department has issued a release reminding the general public that the close season for Hicatee...


Guats stealing gold in Chiquibul!
Gold theft inside Chiquibul a growing problem: FCD... It's a known fact that Belize's expansive and majestic Chiquibul Forest is home to rich gold deposits. In a May 2010 report, Geologist Jean Cornec said, "Belize holds intriguing gold potential in an under-explored region...."

Belizean Berne Velasquez "confronts dinosaurs" in latest movie
Dinosaurs and terrorists - an interesting combination - Berne... He has produced multiple smash hits from albums Life after Deportation, Evolution, Celebration Time and Dileeyu and won the 2008 Carnival Song Competition, but ever seeking a challenge, he has recently turned to acting.

Belizean beans exporter, BAHA respond to allegation of rodent filth contamination in Jamaica shipment
There have been multiple reports in Caribbean and local media since last week, indicating that a shipment of 22.73 metric tons or 750 bags of Belizean red kidney beans, valued at over JM$2.6 million (BZ$60,000), had to be destroyed when it was found to be contaminated with rat droppings by the Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division (FSPID) of Jamaica's Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce.

Burglary victims show mercy in court to 3 students
Magistrate told the accused that "God" had touched the hearts of their victims... The 3-storey wooden house, located at #4 - 4th Street in the Kings Park Area, was broken into by three young men, all of whom are students at a junior college.

UNIBAM organization out of constitutional challenge
Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana handed down a written judgment this morning in relation to preliminary matters in Claim No. 668 of 2010, Caleb Orozco and United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) vs the Attorney General, with the Belize Council of Churches and Association of Evangelical Churches as interested parties.

GSU and BDF storm John McAfee's OW estate!
The American antivirus pioneer was held for 14 hours; police say they were looking for drugs and guns... The world-renowned founder of McAfee Antivirus software, John McAfee, 66, a US multimillionaire, said to have been worth US$100 million at his peak but far less since the global financial meltdown, has been living peacefully in Belize for about three years-that is, until earlier this week, when McAfee reported that his estate on the outskirts of Orange Walk Town was raided by joint Belize Gang Suppression Unit (GSU), Belize Defence Force (BDF) and Belize Special Assignment Group (BSAG) team, which woke him up with a megaphone around dawn on Monday morning and held him in custody for 14 hours before releasing him without charges, at the conclusion of what police say was a search for drugs and guns.

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Teenage sensation "Bredda" will NOT see UNCAF U-20 this year; CentAm U-20 qualifying set for July
Even as the new FFB administration delays the launch of its FIFA mandated internal inquiry into the missing finances, which were more than enough to provide for any stadium adjustments needed, the dreams of a whole crop of young footballers are apparently dashed this year. 18-year-old Gilroy "Bredda" Thurton, who elected not to participate in the present Premier League tournament, is acknowledged by football pundits as the most skilled U-20 attacking football artist in Belize right now. Last August, he won the MVP award in the Belize City Champions Cup; in February of this year he was again chosen MVP in the CYDP Peace Cup tournament; and just last Sunday, April 22, at the MCC, in a preliminary before game 1 of F.C. Belize vs Police in the Premier League semifinals, Bredda led the Brown Bombers U-19 to a 3-1 victory over the highly touted Georgeville United team that reportedly drew in a training match in Georgeville against the visiting Grenada selection during last year's World Cup qualifiers in Belize.

Missing striking "link," exit BDF and F.C. Belize; Placencia Assassins vs Police United in Premier League finals
You ever tried to set up a toy for a child on Christmas morning, and find yourself in a jam when there is one missing piece that has somehow been misplaced? Everything else fits, but that one missing nut, or bolt, or whatever the part is, and the thing just won't work.

Belize Rural females and Wesley Upper males are National Primary School Basketball Champions 2012
The National Primary School Basketball Championship Tournament was played in Belize City on Friday, April 27, at the YWCA and Roger's Stadium where games were played in the female and male categories, respectively.

Coast Guard abandons search for three fishermen missing at sea
After searching for around five days, the Belize Coast Guard announced that it has given up the search for three missing fishermen, which began on Monday, April 23, and ended today, until new information on the missing men's possible whereabouts is received. The order to suspend the operation was given after an intense search was conducted using BDF's Air Wing Defender Aircraft to do the aerial searches, and around five boats that combed the surrounding seas and land-including a search area of around 100 miles, extending from English Caye Channel to Gladden Spit-and nothing was found.

Eulogy - Telford Christopher Chilston Vernon
My best friend Telford Christopher Chilston Vernon was born on 5th April, 1924. He was the middle child of three children born to George Vernon and his wife Adele Vialdorres. Roy was their eldest son and their daughter Elaine, was the youngest.

Ideas and Opinions - The UNIBAM Affair
There is a striking difference between a sin and a crime. Sin is an absolute. Sin is like human nature. It is always the same and there can be no compromise. For example: "What God has joined together, let no man put asunder." This means that no human agency has the power to dissolve a marriage, that has been consummated. Only the church has the power to dissolve a marriage.

Editorial: A tale of greed, stupidity and indifference
Some years ago, a documentary was released about the native people who live on an island in the Pacific. The islanders' main source of revenue, as we remember it, was diving for oysters, in which pearls are found, in the island's waters. As the natives explained it, the custom was that the divers were both men and women, and they did not use SCUBA gear, only a mask and fins, which meant that, fine divers that they were, they could only work as long as they could hold their breaths. It was inevitable that the interviewers should ask the natives why they did not use diving tanks, which would allow them to harvest many times more what they harvested using the traditional diving methods. The natives replied that yes, the harvest would be bountiful using the tanks, but that meant that the oysters and everything else would be cleaned out within a few seasons. If they were not greedy and stupid, the natives told the interviewers, who appeared to be from the Western world, there would always be work, and a source of income for future generations of islanders. We remember the wisdom of the natives because we in Belize appear to be both greedy and stupid where the bounty of our seas is concerned. We speak specifically about the obvious damage that gill nets and other types of fishing nets have caused to our fishing industry. These nets are used indiscriminately by fishermen who do not appear to realize, or care about the serious damage that they do to the fish stock, and the habitat in which the fish live. These nets, we are told by some dispirited sea-faring Belizeans, are set practically all along our coastline, especially in the mouth of, or near rivers that empty into the sea. The nets kill small fish and other fish that are prey for the edible fish caught in the nets.

From The Publisher
One of the things that Odinga Lumumba, may he rest in peace, taught me was always to look for the British. It's not as easy as you may think, because the British are so diplomatic in their approach and almost always understated in their execution. By contrast, the Americans, who are the other major players in Belize, tend to be showy, even flamboyant. Lumumba, as compared to me, had a specific knowledge of the British because he had been sent to London, England just months before Hurricane Hattie in 1961. Lumumba spent eight years in London before he visited Belize shortly after the UBAD movement had begun in early 1969. During that time in London, to which he returned in September of 1969, Odinga had been active with the British version of the Black Panthers. During the 1970s, Odinga converted to Islam and took up residence in West Africa, Ghana and Mali to be specific, and this is an area where the British are active and involved. So that, the adult Lumumba saw how the British operated in their former colonial territories. My personal story was quite different from Lumumba's. The U.S. State Department gave me a university scholarship in 1965. I was eager to travel to the United States, and had no interest whatsoever in Britain. My post-World War II generation had grown up in the 1950s in Belize hearing a lot about Manhattan, Brooklyn, and America, and our fascination became an obsession after Belizeans who had relatives in the U.S. were allowed to migrate there as refugees after Hattie. It was as if America threw open its doors to Belizeans after Hattie.

The Reporter

US$100,000 grants available for innovative Caribbean business ideas
If you have an innovative business idea, here is your opportunity to secure up to US$100,000 in grant funding. Compete Caribbean is inviting applicants from the Caribbean and the Caribbean Diaspora in the USA, Canada and the UK to apply for the Caribbean Idea Marketplace (CIM). Successful applicants can receive the above mentioned funding to develop their innovative projects. Caribbean Idea Marketplace (CIM) is a business competition platform that encourages local and Diaspora entrepreneurs to forge partnerships around innovative projects that will generate employment and economic opportunities in the Caribbean region. CIM also seeks to promote entrepreneurship, transfer knowledge and create learning networks.

A necessary tool for standards development
As standards developers gather around the world to deliberate on the establishment of new standards, amendments or revisions as the case may be in various subject areas, one must bear in mind that standards are demand-driven. This is based in part on varying needs which may be of either a public or private interest. These needs may arise from an increase in threats from risks and exposure to health and safety hazards; improvements in technology and changes in innovation; the continuous need to improve quality and competitiveness as market dynamics change etc. Whether the need is singular or multiple, it falls within the remit of each country's National Standards Body (NSB) to ensure that standards are developed to serve these needs. The NSB is motioned and at the same time motivated to coordinate, spearhead and most importantly manage the standards development process. However, it is a responsibility that it does not entirely carry out on its own accord since it must involve all stakeholders that stand to benefit from consensus- based standards and for whom the standards will eventually play a critical role.

Lord's Bank man remanded on indecent assault charge
Augustine Bejerano, 33, of Lord's Bank Village, was remanded to prison after he was arraigned on a charge of aggravated assault of an indecent nature before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer in the Belize City Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, April 2. Bejerano pleaded not guilty but decided to remain silent when the Magistrate asked him why she should grant him bail, so she then remanded him into custody. The court prosecutor objected to bail on the grounds that the offence for which Bejerano is charged is prevalent, the alleged victim is of a tender age, and because the accused may interfere with the case and endanger the complainant.

Snapshots of India
A total of 21 journalists from six Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries had the opportunity to explore one of the most outstanding and unique countries in world-India, during a seven-day familiarization tour that began on April 14, 2012. The whirlwind tour of the world's largest democracy-held under the auspices of the Indian government, in collaboration with Mr. Arun Hotchandani, Honorary Consul for India in Belize-ensured that all countries represented: Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Brazil, and Belize, got a taste of the pride of South Asia. With the Indian government looking for increased collaboration with LAC countries, especially as it relates to trade relations, the journalists have all been asked to share the India experience with their respective countries. Literally located on the other side of the world from Belize, with over an eleven-hour time difference, and home to both a language and culture that differ greatly from western norms and mores, it's definitely necessary to begin the discussion on India from the ground up.

Green Tropics Ltd. to build new Sugar Factory in Cayo
Green Tropics Limited, a new sugar company whose parent company in Spain has been involved in the sugar industry in Guatemala for over 20 years, is moving to develop a thriving sugar cane industry that will bring more than 700 jobs to the Cayo district within three years. The company showed off its new equipment and project plan at its booth at National Agricultural and Trade Show in Belmopan over the weekend, April 27th-29th. The company has acquired 7,069.49 acres of land in the Castille and Meditation area just north of More Tomorrow Village in the Cayo district. Almost 90% of the land has already had the forest vegetation destroyed by hurricanes and other natural disasters. The company intends to clear the land and plant five tons of cane seed per acre. The company is introducing a heavy-duty Skid Steer mulcher mounted on a 600 Hp Prime Tech tractor with caterpillar tracks, that will chop and grind all loose branches, tree root stumps and other debris in its path, churning it into the ground to form mulch for future planting. The mulcher can churn a nine-foot wide strip into ground ready for planting at a speed of 7 km/hour. The company plans to employ 300 full-time workers all year round, and anticipates that it will need as many as 700 workers during harvest time. The plan is for heavily mechanized farming and mechanized harvesting of green cane, not burnt cane, to minimize the use of chemicals needed for the clarification process in the factory.

Toledo 6th Annual Cacao Festival Is Here!
The Toledo Chocolate Growers Association is inviting Belizeans and other to come enjoy the 6th annual Toledo Cacao Festival, which the association is organizing in collaboration with the Toledo Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association and other partners for the weekend of May 18 - 20. For cultural diversity and convenience of activities, this grand event is unparalleled in the clean fun it offers in the heart of most cultured and historically rich district in Belize, Toledo. The first Toledo Cacao Festival was celebrated in 2006, bringing together a wide variety of interested professionals of the community to showcase Toledo's history and culture. The professionals included cacao farmers, artisans, performers, restaurants, tourism and transportation providers. Roberto Coh from BTIA Toledo said, "The Festival raises funds for Punta Gorda's community projects that include assistance to chocolate farmers and the upgrading of schools and parks."

Rebecca Stirm leads the pack - Again!
Caribbean fashion reality series Mission Catwalk is on its sixth episode and Belize's Rebecca Stirm, the only contestant to win more than one challenge since the start of the second season on March 27, has copped her third win with a dress designed around the red HIV/AIDS awareness ribbon. In Rebecca's design, the ribbon framed a high neckline and continued down the back of the dress forming a dramatic scoop and crossing at the lower back. Rebecca said she wanted to create a look that would portray strength and courage since HIV is "nothing soft or pretty to face." She found the perfect grey jacquard fabric with a subtle print in the upholstery section at Pablo's, and complemented it with a red underskirt that balanced the piece.

What's so bad about overeating?
Overeating is a relative term. The text book definition refers to it as the consumption of an energy intake that is inappropriately large for a given energy expenditure, thus, leading to obesity. In short, it means that what you eat is more than what you need or expend. "So what? What is so bad about overeating?" you may ask. Well, anything in excess is not healthy, and the same goes for overeating. Eating in excess has a tremendous, adverse impact on the health of an individual. There is a thin line between eating healthy and overeating. We generally fail to understand this difference and are easily enticed by the many foods around us. Indulging can result in the following: Excessive weight gain or obesity could become a factor. If guilty, you will notice a tube like structure developing around your belly and weight would rise by an average of 5 to 7 pounds in a month. To put things in perspective, consider the following. One pound of body fat contains about 3500 calories, so if you drink 2.5 bottles of soft drink such as coke or 2 bottles of 16oz fresh-squeezed fruit juice without sugar added everyday, you could gain one pound every week, 52 pounds in a year.

What is Lumbago? It affects 80% of Belizeans
Low back pain or lumbago is a common musculoskeletal disorder affecting 80% of people at some point in their lives. Only headache is more common. In Belize it is the most common cause for people to miss work. It can be classified as acute (less than 4 weeks), sub acute (4 to 12 weeks) and chronic (beyond 12 weeks). The majority of lower back pain stems from benign problems between the spine and the muscles that surround it. Over 99% of back pain instances are due to sprains and strains. Overactivity of the muscles of the back can lead to a torn ligament which causes pain. The discs (shock absorbers) between the bones of the spine can age, shrink in size, tear or move out of place and cause pain. The joints (hinges) of the spine become hardened as the years go by and this restricts mobility and can lead to pain. Arthritis and osteoporosis (the bone thins out) of the spine also cause pain. With conservative measures such as the application of heat or cold, use of medium-firm mattresses pain can reduced. Bed rest of more than 2 days is not advised. Even prolonged periods of sitting and lying will not help. Minimum activity helps to counteract the pain.

Wesley Upper boys win national primary schools basketball championship
The boys of Wesley Upper Primary School of Belize City won the National Basketball Tournament organized by the National Sports Council at Roger's Stadium in Belize City last Friday, April 27. Most Valuable Player, Shaquille Crawford scored 20 pts as he led the Belize District champions, the boys of Wesley Upper, to win 39-16 over the Stann Creek district champions, the boys of Holy Family RC School. Clifton Castillo hit a long 3-pointer as he led the Holy Family boys with six points, but with Wesley's Kyle Hamilton scoring eight points, Chevon Nu�ez good for another six and Raymond Gongora Jr. adding three points, the Wesley Upper boys were already leading 20-6 at intermission. Rudolph Burke added a basket to seal the 39-16 win, even as Kenton Augustine and Kevon Cabral each hit long 3-pointers for Holy Family, Remington Yarde added a basket and Donovan Mariano scored a free throw.

Belize Rural Primary School girls win national basketball championship
The girls of Belize Rural Primary School from Double Head Cabbage won the National Primary Schools Basketball championship in the tournament organized by the National Sports Council at the Young Women's Christian Association court last Friday, April 27 Most Valuable Player Kristy Terry scored 12 pts and led the Belize Rural girls the championship finals 20-2 over the Orange Walk district champions, the girls of Louisiana Government School. With Brentlee Garcia and Caithlyn McFadzean scoring four points each, the rural girls led 14-2 at intermission. Yazel Sutherland and Jennifer Torres each scored a free throw for the Louisiana girls. The Belize Rural girls advanced to the finals by a 14-4 win over the Stann Creek district champions, the girls of Holy Family RC School in the semifinals. Kristy Terry led with six points while Brentlee Garcia scored the first basket. Leyanne Moody added another and Caithlyn McFadzean added four points. Rushelle Ramos and Olga Gamboa scored a basket each for Holy Family.


Happy Cinco De Mayo
Here's what Cinco de Mayo has become in the U.S.: a celebration of all things Mexican, from mariachi music to sombreros, marked by schools, politicians and companies selling everything from beans to beer. And here's what Cinco de Mayo is not, despite all the signs in bar windows inviting revelers to drink: It's not Mexico's Independence Day, and it's barely marked in Mexico, except in the state of Puebla, where the holiday is rooted in a complicated and short-lived 1862 military victory over the French.

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