All Belizeans are being invited to a special prayer service for Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow The special prayer service will be held on Thursday, May 31 at the historic St. John Cathedral in Belize City. The main celebrant will be the Bishop of the Anglican diocese Rt. Rev. Phillip Wright. The special prayer service starts at 6 pm.


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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
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The San Pedro Sun

Iron Cause for Iron Kids: BTIA president Jim Scott takes on Iron Man Cozumel
On November 25th, 2012, BTIA president and faithful member of the Rotary Club of Belize City, Jim Scott turns 50 years old. Already a momentous occasion, but one that will be even more celebrated as on that very same day Jim will also be taking part in the Iron Man Competition in Cozumel, Mexico. Jim is taking on the challenge as part of his Iron Cause for Iron Kids campaign that aims to raise $50,000 in funds for the renovation and expansion of the Dorothy Menzies Child Care Centre. All funds raised by the campaign will be matched by the Rotary Club of Belize City lending to the motto “2 + 2 = 8. If you Donate” and could see the monies total up to $100,000. Jim has dedicated himself to the challenge and since his last birthday in 2011 has given up everything he can to keep his focus on achieving his goal for the kids at the Child Care Centre. On the campaign website Jim wrote “It’s hard. Don’t get me wrong. I usually get up when it’s pitch black out to go ride my bike. I run and or swim almost every day after work. I drank my last Guinness on my birthday last year. Everything I do right now is focused on that Iron Man. But as hard as it is for me to give up these things to achieve my goal – can you imagine how hard it is for the children at DMCCC? I think when you’re in a position that you can give time, passion and money to those kids who really need the support, you have to do it.” You can even track Jim during his working out via his training log on the Iron Cause for Iron Kids website.

Work starts on new Cemetery for San Pedro
With the present cemetery in use for decades beginning from the days when San Pedro was just a fishing village, the quickly expanding population has lead to a very congested cemetery with limited to no space for new burials. With this in mind San Pedro authorities have now allocated an area to be designated for a new cemetery. This past week, work commenced on a five acre plot of solid land located some two and a half miles south of San Pedro town, the area where the new San Pedro cemetery will be located. At the site on Friday May 25th were: Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. Minister of Tourism and Culture; Daniel Guerrero, Mayor of San Pedro, and Councilor Severo Guerrero Jr., councilor responsible for cemeteries. According to Heredia, this is a major accomplishment for both the San Pedro Town Council as well as himself, as the Minister of Tourism, “From the past town council, the idea of finding a new cemetery was born. For many years we have been hearing of the need for a new cemetery. Well, now it is here.”

‘14 Years of neglect is enough’… say frustrated San Mateo residents
First created 14 years ago as a sub-division, the San Mateo community continues to be neglected. Residents have been deprived of the basic infrastructures required to have a normal life by world standards. After land was distributed in 1997 by the then Mayor of San Pedro Manuel Heredia JR, with the understanding that it would be improved, residents are now demanding that the adequate infrastructure be placed. The frustration and issues affecting San Mateo is not a new subject to San Pedro. In fact it has been chronicled time and time again in The San Pedro Sun. Most recently San Mateo was featured in the Spring 2012 publication of M-Powered, a magazine produced by journalism students from the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) USA, who visited the San Mateo area. What is frustrating to the 569 residents of the San Mateo subdivision is the condition they are forced to live in. While it is a culture shock for visitors who may learn that within Belize’s number-one tourism destination lies one of the poorest and badly planned subdivisions in the entire country, the issues at hand are a harsh reality for the people who live there. The subdivision lacks proper potable water services, adequate road infrastructure, adequate or sufficient energy distribution and no sewage system. Homes are surrounded by mangrove swamps and the only hope of landfill materials available is the garbage collected from the island that is trucked into the area by the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC). The island’s garbage, combined with the improper waste disposal from the area poses not only an environmental concern but a very serious health hazard that residents have to live with on a daily basis, one that could be detrimental to the entire island.

Interoffice Basketball League 2012 kicks off: Tuff E Nuff wins!
The Interoffice Basketball League 2012 started on Friday May 25th in Belize City. San Pedro is being represented in the league by the Tuff E Nuff Tours team. The league has a total of 10 teams who will be challenging each other during the regular season to win a space in the playoffs scheduled to start on June 29th. Tuff E Nuff started the regular season on the right foot having won its first two games in the regular season. In its first game, which was the inaugural game on Friday May 25 at the Birds Isle in Belize City, Tuff E Nuff managed to edge Alamilla Furniture Boys by a score of 53 to 51 points. It was a disappointment for the Alamilla Furniture Boys having dominating three quarters by 13 points. Tuff E Nuff made a remarkable come-back in the last quarter topping the Belize City based team by a two -points lead in the last five seconds before the long whistle.

Ambergris Today

Over 60 Potential Cultural Tourism Champions Trained
Cultural Tourism, allows for visitors to a country to be engulfed and enriched through the region's culture, lifestyle, history of the people, their art, architecture, religion(s), and other elements that helped shape their way of life. This sector is identified as a priority product and key tourist attractor within the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan of Belize. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) and Beltraide partnered to create a Cultural Tourism Training Workshop and its guide called, ‘Belize: Cultural Tourism Development: A Handbook for Community Champions, How to develop, promote and run your cultural tourism business.’ These trainings are to stimulate the development of cultural tourism in Belize, particularly in some of the emerging destinations.

Misc Belizean Sources

North Beach Charity Poker Run Thursday
Thursday May 24 th @ 1:30 Captain Morgans, Kama Lounge, The Hotel, Cowboy Bar, and Capricorn are hosting a Charity Poker Run. Raising money for an Emergency Medical Outpost. $40 per hand which includes a drink at each place where you pick up your card. Must be at Captain Morgans no earlier than 6.Drawing is at 6:30. Starts at Kama Lounge.

VIDEO: Amigos del Mar, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Watch all the great dive sites Amigos del Mar has to offer to you, the come to Belize and experience them with us for yourself. Great local music by Will and Dale

Mad Dog Motors has a new web site
Mad Dog Motors, the best car repair shop around, has a new web site. The Cayo Scoop scooped it! Kudos to Stephany Espat, Jensine Gentle, and Jasmine Gentle for coming up with such a great site. JCariddi Photography got some great photos of Mad Dog Motors' shop. Their motto is outstanding! "A project can be good and cheap but it won't be fast. It can be fast and cheap but it won't be good. It can be fast and good but it won't be cheap."

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
Glenn Tillett Jr. submitted this essay to Chaa Creek for the Eco Kids Summer Camp. Great goals! There is still a week left to submit an essay. "Every journey starts by taking the first step. My first step is to be an Eco kid! My first mission is to be an eco- warden. I pledge that wherever I go I will pick up litter. I will be a spokesperson in making sure children in my school put litter in its proper place. My wish is that one day I can organize clean -up campaigns in neighborhoods around my town. Land pollution causes a depletion of soil nutrients which prevents grass, flowers and new trees from budding. In turn we have less oxygen to breathe."

Caye Caulker commences Tour Guide Training
Last week a new Tour Guide training course got underway here in Caye Cauker. The course was put together by the Forest and Marine Reserves Association of Caye Caulker (FAMRACC) on behalf of the Belize Tourist Board and is being co-ordinated by our own marine bioligist and eco-warrior, Ellen McRae. Thirty five candidates commenced the course (a much higher turnout than usual) all hoping that at the end of the course, they will be a fully fledged Tour Guide. The course will require the students to be present from Monday to Friday (inclusive) until August. The course will cover 7 Chapters (each with an exam that the students are required to pass), a CPR course, a swimming exercise and a fieldwork. The students are required to learn in detail about Belize’s history, geography, population demographic and its politics. The course will also include a Chapter on presentation including both presenting to a group and about their presentation as a Tour Guide. Shane Anderson (or Big Shane) as we often call him, has already passed with flying colors the first three exams as in his eagerness to become a Tour Guide he has been traveling to and fro from San Pedro to take exams. He will join the course at the appropriate time and will be joined with Shane Sho (Li Shane) and Dylan Blease too! Although the success rate for these exams is often very low we are confident that all our candidates will achieve their goal! Good luck to all concerned and thank you Ellen McRae and FAMRACC for putting together this very much needed course together!

Channel 7

An hour ago, Brionne Swift, Victor Garnett, Frank Edwards, and Gabriel Salazar became free men after they were acquitted before Justice Herbert Lord of the June 2009 double murder of James Swan and Edward "Bro Lee" Gutierrez. It made the headlines of all the media houses when their bodies were found 20 miles north of San Pedro Town in 2009. It was believed that their murders were drug related. The prosecution, represented by Senior Crown Counsel Cecil Ramirez, called Eric Swan, brother of the James Swan to provide the key witness testimony. Swan testified under oath that on June 29, 2009, he went fishing with his brother, James Swan, and Edward Gutierrez. According to Swan, 2 hours later, they took their boat to the Bachalar Chico area and all 3 of them got off. Several minutes later he saw 6 men coming toward them, and when they came closer, he saw that they were all armed with firearms. He pointed out all 4 of the accused as being part of this group which approached them. The 6 men then allegedly confronted all 3 men about the location of, quote "the package". Swan said that 2 of men held him hostage, and the other 4 then took James Swan and Edward Gutierrez to a secluded area of the beach. An hour later, he heard gunshots, and when the 4 men returned they did not bring back Swan and Gutierrez with him. Swan continued that the men continued to hold him hostage for 24 hours, and when they got into another boat the next day, police arrived and fired on them. The police then arrested everyone in the boat. Swan told the court that since the day that those men took his brother and Gutierrez, he hasn't seen them alive again.

2 weeks ago, 48 year-old Jeremy McNab, the owner of Mobile Hardware Store, on Currasow Street, was murdered inside his store. Well today, police arrested and charged 18 year-old Anthony Carballo Jr for the crime. Carballo, who is a resident of Tigris Street, was arraigned in Magistrate's Court today for murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Due to the nature of the offenses, he was not eligible for bail, and he was remanded until July 12. According to reliable information, Carballo was initially detained pending an investigation for a robbery, but under questioning, he allegedly confessed, and gave a signed statement in which he also gave police information about his accomplice. As we reported, McNab was in his business place along with 2 employees at around 7 p.m. on May 17, when 2 men entered. According to police, the men had a conversation with McNab, and one of them suddenly pulled out a 9 mm handgun. That gunman then shot McNab 3 times at point blank range in chest, and he died on the spot. After McNab was shot, his assailants made off with his licensed firearm and stole nothing else.

We've reported many times on the difficulties with the gang truce work programme. Well, another kind of work programme, which is far stricter and firmly result-oriented has commenced in the city. It started last year on Bishop Street in Belize City and is continuing with two much-used streets. It is a project spearheaded by CISCO construction to pave streets with concrete - instead of the standard pavement. It is a labour intensive, long-term project that aims to provide jobs and thoroughfares that will endure for decades. It will employ about 25 men to do the concrete paving of two streets totalling 870 feet. Today we visited South Street where we spoke to Francis Woods who told us more about the project and the people working on it. Francis Woods - CISCO Construction "These guys are very optimistic. They hope to be finished by Saturday, but I'd say no later than Wednesday of next week, and then we'll need a week of curing, so a total time of hopefully no more than 14 days. Our new mayor is very aggressive in fixing streets.

And one street that sure could use a few dozen sacks of that concrete is Orange Street. After being paved just over two years ago - tonight the news is that the troublesome section of that street has again fallen into ruin. In what seems to be a chronic problem with drainage - the sections of the streets near Extra House is again populated with potholes, forcing pedestrians to walk in the street. Much fanfare was made in January of 2010 when the street was paved by the Ministry of Works with so called emergency funds from Central Government. That was seventy thousand dollars for the paving of the area between Euphrates Avenue and Orange Street - and now, the most troublesome part needs paving again.

26 year-old Cecil Castillo, who is currently on remand for murder, is facing a firearms charged after a homemade firearm was discovered in his cell yesterday. According to police, the prison authorities received information of an illegal item in Castillo's possession, and as a result, they went and searched his cell in the Tango 9 Section of the facility. They found a homemade firearm in the cell. He was brought to court this afternoon and he was arraigned for 1 count of keeping a prohibited firearm, to which he pleaded not guilty. He was remanded July 31, his next court date. It is important to note that Castillo was acquitted 2 months ago of the attempted murder of Darwin Phillips, and he was on remanded for a murder charge in Cayo, which is still pending.

A vigilant community crime watch in the Placencia area led to the collaring of three men accused of a brazen burglary. It happened on Monday afternoon in the Maya beach area where a pair of homeowners were sitting on the beach taking in some sea breeze. A few minutes later the lady of the house turned around and saw a tall dark skinned man bounding off her veranda with her laptop computer under his arm. Her husband and a neighbor unsuccessfully chased him into the bush while two other suspects headed south along the beach. That might have been the end of it, but the victims activated the local Crime Watch network and 22 year old Ambrose Joseph, aka 'Monkey Man', and 21 year old Lionel Vasquez, aka 'Dallas', were apprehended by citizens a half mile away. Police, who were on patrol in the area, arrived immediately and arrested the pair while 22 year old Kendale Ramirez, aka 'Snakey', was detained about an hour later at his home in Seine Bight. But that wasn't the end of it; under questioning, police also recovered the stolen items. Under questioning, Ramirez led police to a bushy area near the scene of the crime where the laptop, an ipod and cell phone, all belonging to the homeowners, were recovered.

Unless you've been living under a rock somewhere, you'll know that texting has really caught on in the past few years. It seems everyone is doing it, from youths to senior citizens, students to businesspersons to politicians. And they're sending those text messages every which way, from English to text slang, to creole, talking about the serious, the mundane, right down to the silly. Our intern Robin Schaffer is part of what might be called Generation Text - youths who have forged an almost spiritual connection with their cell phones. For the past few weeks, she's been gathering information on texting habits - and it provides a compelling profile of a communication transformation. Here's her report: Robin Schaffer Reporting It seems like every time you look around someone is text messaging - pedestrians, drivers, bicycle riders. Indeed, this texting thing is not just a fad, it's a way of life and a preferred means of communication for many.

3 weeks ago, 7News told you about 33 year-old Russell Gongora, a businessman of Los Lagos, was arraigned for harm in the Magistrate's Court. It is alleged that Gongora's dogs attacked a man, but instead of helping the man defending himself, Gongora fought with him. Well today, the victim, 35 year-old Andre Gonzalez, was brought to court in a cross complaint about the same incident, and 37 year-old Raphael Gongora, who is the owner of the dogs - and also Gongora's brother - was also arraigned. Gonzalez was charged with 2 counts of harm, which he allegedly committed against the Gongora brothers, and Raphael Gongora was charged with keeping a ferocious dog without a muzzle. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges, and they were both granted bail, which they were able to meet.

Today, a Belize National Spatial Data Infrastructure Policy was drafted in a workshop in Belize City. Now, if the term Spatial Data - sounds a little out there, it isn't; basically it's information that is presented on a map - such as google maps. The information then can be analyzed to figure out solutions to some of Belize's problems from property zoning and to policing. It holds great potential, and today Wilbert Vallejos, the commissioner of lands, explained exactly what the workshop was about, and how Belize can benefit. Wilbert Vallejos - Commissioner of Lands "What this workshop is doing today is creating a policy that would set out the standards and protocols that would allow all these organizations who have these organizations to be able to communicate properly. Really, what we're trying to do is just establishing the framework of bring all this information together, and able to do it as a country with rules standards and protocols so that everybody can benefit."

When we report on Belize's high murder rate, and high mortality rate for traffic accidents - apart from the initial trauma, there's another side to that story, and it's the issue of where all the dead are stored. Truth is, the morgue at the KHMH has been functioning at a level far above which it was originally designed for - and on some deadly weekends - storing all the dead can become problematic. But lately the KHMH administration has been making significant changes in that area of the hospital. We found out more today: Robin Schaffer Reporting Many would agree that the morgue at the KHMH has been functioning at a level far above which it was originally designed for - especially with the upsurge in fatal accidents and murders in the past years. But lately they are some significant changes being done to that particular area of the hospital. Today the media were all invited to tour a roomy, refurbished and gleaming new morgue.

The Belize Port Authority along with the Coastal Zone Management have placed No Wake signs at the mouth of the Haulover Creek - to alert boat captains that they must approach the area with caution - due to the fact that it is one of the more popular hangout spots for manatees. The media was invited out on a boat ride this afternoon to view the area -where the greatest number of manatee collisions occurs. The No Wake signs are being enforced and boats are to traffic the area at no more than 5 miles per hour - if not, there is a penalty. Research associate Jamal Galvez explains: Jamal Galvez - Manatee Research Associate/CZM We had these signs donated to us from Save the Manatee Club from Florida along with Sea to Shore Alliance. We've noticed that the majority of manatee collisions are in this area, so we're focusing on this area by using these signs and working together along with the Port Authority to regulate boat movement within this area to see if it may change the rate of manatee deaths in the area. We have no-wake zone coming in toward the river mouth and leaving the river. It's pretty much a couple of yards away from each other, but it's a small area in which we've seen a lot of manatees. We know that the boat traffic is very high in this area. So, we're hoping this regulation may change boat movements in this area and eventually change the increase the increase in mortality rates. We have a couple more signs coming in, especially on for the Manatee Lookout area where most people know that you can go and have a beer, or have lunch, and you can actually see a manatee from there. So, we are actually trying to protect the manatees in the area where they are more present."

Channel 5

Morgue gets upgraded and increases spaces for bodies
The morgue at the nation’s referral hospital has gone through a major renovation. In a onetime deal, the media was allowed in this morning to view the improvements made to the unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. The facility now has more capacity, is more efficient and grieving family members will have access to [...]

More students needed to study pathology
Medicine is a hot career path in which the competition is brutal. But the pathology profession in Belize is not meeting the demand. Doctor Hugh Sanchez, whose schedule is always booked, says that the country needs at least three more persons to pursue pathology studies.   Dr. Hugh Sanchez, Pathologist “I am the pathologist and [...]

Is the K.H.M.H. whistleblower case D.O.A.?
In late December of 2011, a former employee of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital collected over ten thousand files that contained potentially damaging information about procurement practices and purchases made with K.H.M.H. credit cards. Delroy Herrera made the allegations and much was expected of the potentially explosive documents. That prompted the administration to send out [...]

“Snakey” and “Monkey-man” busted for Placencia burglaries
In the south, a trio of suspected burglars is in police custody tonight. The three men were nabbed by residents of thePlacenciaPeninsulaafter word went out that a well known couple had been robbed. Twenty-two year old Kendale Ramirez, aka ‘Snakey’, was today charged with Burglary while twenty two year old Ambrose Joseph, aka ‘Monkey Man’, [...]

Marion Jones speaks candidly on Piers Morgan Show
Former Olympic champion, Marion Jones is the first and only Belizean to win Olympic medals, not one but five. She gained international prominence after winning the medals at the Sydney Olympics in the year 2000. When she crossed the finishing line she raised the Belize flag; she captured the love of the nation and the [...]

Marion Jones talks about prison and family
Prison life was not easy, but Jones says the hardest part was being away from her family, particularly her sons, who were toddlers at the time of her imprisonment.   Piers Morgan “What was the single worst moment for you of the whole thing when you look back?”   Marion Jones “The single worst moment [...]

Saving the manatee population
From time to time we have reported on the threats to manatees. The Sea to Shore Alliance has been monitoring the gentle mammals and has found out that their increased mortality rate could either be because there are more manatees or more boat traffic in the area. The Alliance is determined to enforce regulations to [...]

Everything you didn’t know about Spatial Data
Spatial data; little is known of it but the Ministry of Natural Resources says it’s hoping to change that. The subject which looks at the size, area and position of any location or phenomenon is for the most part not organized in a systematic way in Belize. Since 2009, however, spatial work groups under the [...]


BSI workers approve sale of shares to American Sugar Refineries
BSI stakeholders gathered this morning at the factory site in Tower Hill. The purpose of the extra ordinary meeting was the presentation of a resolution to allow acquisition of majority shares of BSI by American Sugar Refineries. The largest owner of shares in BSI presently is BSI Employee Holding Trust which represents the staff and hourly workers of the company. This morning these beneficiaries were asked to vote either for or against the resolutions presented to them. But before we tell you how that went, this afternoon Love News spoke with Managing Director of BSI, Joey Montalvo who was sure to make a clarification that BSI is not selling out. Montalvo explained that after ING informed them back in 2010 that it was unable to continue financing, BSI saw it necessary to search for substitute banks. Back in 2011 we heard about Banco Atlantida who were interested in purchasing shares as well as invest in the company. That did not work out. Today BSI owes approximately US$62 million dollars to its creditors. According to Montalvo American Sugar Refinery has previously bought sugar from BSI and since early last year has been well acquainted with BSI. American Sugar Refinery expressed interest in investing in the company and in return acquires shares, but for that to happen it was important that the majority owners accept the proposal. Majority holders is BEH, with 81.29% shares of the company. Since last week representatives of the Belize workers Union have been meeting with BSI to reach a memorandum of understanding for a number of concerns, one of them the employees’ job security. After the voting this morning, Love News caught up with Ian Leiva President of the BWU. Attorney for the BSI Group, Michael Young explained that the way the company operates is that the factory will remain in the hands of Belize to be managed. Leiva said the BWU is satisfied with the agreement reached with BSI. For their part, American Sugar Refinery representative Jonathan Bamberger explained that after studies conducted they are sure they are making a good investment. Back in 2011 the Government of Belize extended a hand to the company in the sum of $10 million when the company was in financial constraints. With this new investors, Senator Godwin Hulse said GOB welcomes it. According to Montalvo 94% of all beneficiaries under BEH Trust turn out to vote. He added that the company’s board of directors has authorized for the share acquisition to be completed by the end of June. So far, Montalvo says they are moving on target.

Residents of Benque Viejo protest over land ownership
A primary school in Benque Viejo del Carmen town yesterday staged a small protest in front of their school grounds in that western municipality. It had the participation of students, teachers and a few parents all carrying colorful banners. At issue is the ownership of a piece of land in the town. According to Member of the Board of the Hills of Promise Seventh Day Adventist Primary School, Kelly Guerra, someone else is claiming that they own a piece of land that the school has been modifying to build a new playground for the children. The principal of the school Esmay Neal Graham says that it is unfair because the school has worked so hard on the land for it to be given away just like that. Love News spoke with a representative for the family in question, Ignacio Barrerra who told us that it was all a confusion and that the land owned by the family is the one across the street from the school, however the school officials say Barrerra is lying since he showed them documents showing them the same lot number that they are concerned about. Love News tried to get a word with the Commissioner of Lands Wilbert Vallejos about the situation in Benque Viejo del Carmen. But after waiting around for over an hour in his office, our reporter was told that Vallejos was not available to talk with us.

NEMO prepares for Hurricane Season
Two days away from the start of the Hurricane Season, officials at NEMO are finalizing preparations for what has been forecast to be an average year. But still, no one is taking any chances, especially people in San Pedro town. Love TV’s Mara Novelo reports.

YWCA gets million dollar project
The Young Women’s Christian Association has been around for the past 57 years conducting skills training to particularly single mothers and at risk teenage girls. Now the non-government organization is expanding its reach to four rural communities to enhance upon an existing project. It comes through a hefty donation of close to a million dollars from the European Union and along with it will come the construction of a new building. While the official signing ceremony was done this morning, the project won’t come to fruition for another three years, when the building is complete and the work kicks off. The Y’s General Secretary, Sonia Lenares, told Love News that the scope of the project will encompass training that will advance upon the previous one conducted in 2008 when 200 women engaged in sessions to learn income-generating skills. At the helm of the operations will be Regina Cambell. In the interim, the YWCA will communicate with groups in the various rural communities to get feedback on what training they require.

Statistics show further decrease in AIDS cases
The National TB, HIV/AIDS & other STIs Program of the Ministry of Health has released the latest statistical data. According to the synopsis, for the year 2011, there was a further documented decrease in the number of new HIV infections, with a total of 226 new infections for the year. [VO STARTS HERE] This according to the statistical data, represents a further 7.4% decrease when compared to 2010 data. This is now the third year in a row that documented decreases in confirmed HIV cases has happened. The Ministry of Health says that this represents close to a 100% reduction in cases from the peak number in 2004 and that the decreasing trend also reflects a better data collection and processing, which eliminates duplication. According to the Ministry of Health, TB, HIV along with other STIs continue to be a health priority given its’ evolving dynamics, and the impact that it has over the multiple and cross sectional layers of society. The information contained in the statistical data was derived primarily from the Belize Health Information System, except for the private entities that submit manual reports. In addition to the reduction n new AIDS cases, the statistical data shows that new HIV infections continue to affect all age groups, albeit, the majority of the new cases continue to be in the younger age groups, particularly those between 20 to 34 years. The male to female ratio has undergone changes over the last years and the previous notion of a ‘feminization’ of the disease is no longer applicable to the Belize epidemic as there is a gradual transition towards a higher ratio for males.

National Festival of Arts underway
The National Festival of Arts was launched during an opening ceremony at the House of Culture in Belize City this morning. Hundreds of children from all over the country of Belize including teachers and parents attended the ceremony and were dressed in different attires and costumes in preparation of a parade after the ceremonies. During the Keynote Address on behalf of the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Manuel Heredia, CEO in the Ministry, Tracey-Taegar Panton stressed the importance of having the children participate in initiatives to highlight culture. The audience was entertained by several presentations by the schools that were present and the President of NICH, Diane Haylock Declared the National Festival of Arts open after stressing how crucial it is to have the participation of our children in art. Although everyone had started lining up for the parade, it was promptly cancelled due to the rain, but that did not stop some of the bands, stilt walkers, drummers and dancers to continue to dance under the rain in the House of Culture compound. Belize, Belmopan and Orange Walk Primary Schools are scheduled to make their presentations at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning at the Bliss.

Man charged for the murder of Jason Canto
Twenty three year old Norman Slusher was this morning arraigned in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court on a single count of murder. Slusher, was charged in connection with the May tenth shooting death of Jason Canto at Dale’s Barber shop. Slusher who had been hospitalized at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital was released into police custody on Friday and taken to court this morning. No plea was taken from him as the matter is indictable. Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer remanded Slusher into prison and ordered that he reappear in court on June twenty ninth.

Trio accused of theft of government vehicle gets bail
Three people who are charged with the theft of a government vehicle assigned to the Ministry of Health, reappeared in the Magistrate’s Court his morning and were granted bail. Twenty three year old constable Marvin Wade, thirty two year old Jason Wade and twenty four year old Herwin Godoy were each offered bail by Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer in the sum of twenty thousand dollars. According to court reports, the trio was also given partial disclosure of the evidence against them by the police prosecutor. The Wade brothers and Godoy are charged jointly for the crimes of taking a Motor Vehicle without Authority and Handling Stolen Goods.

Pawn shop money gone missing
One Belize City businessman is reeling from a significant dent in his cash pan funds and the economic rigidity has nothing to do with it. (VO of First Stop Pawn Shop) Today Gilroy Usher Junior, the co-owner of First Stop Pawn Shop on the first flat of the Commercial Centre, told Love news that he made a discouraging discovery on Monday night that close to ten thousand dollars had been wiped clean out of his cash pan. Love News has learned that the cash went missing not over a period of time, but in one huge swipe on Monday. Police have detained three persons, including two current male employees and a female who was fired less than two weeks ago from the same establishment. A fourth employee, a woman, is said to not be a suspect in the theft. The intricacies of the incident and exactly how it happened are still under investigation, including how the former employee is involved. A check late this evening for an update on the incident revealed that the two male employees who are in detention claim that the business was robbed of the money on Monday evening.

Security guard shot in the hand
A man was shot in both hands on Monday afternoon in Belize City. The victim has been identified as thirty year old Security Guard Glen Staine. According to police reports. Staine, was sitting down at the corner of La Croix Boulevard and Park Street, when the sound of gunfire was heard. Staine then realized that he had been shot to the right and left hands. Police investigation continues.

Man robbed in front of BTL park
A man was robbed of his belongings on Monday afternoon in Belize City. Fifty one year old John Michael Toledo, told police that around 1:45 yesterday afternoon, whilst sitting on his motorcycle in front of BTL Park on Newtown Barracks, he was approached by two Hispanic men riding on bicycles. One of the men who was armed with a knife held up Toledo and demanded his property. Fearing for his life, police say Toledo handed over his laptop computer valued at two thousand, five hundred dollars and other personal document. After the jacking, the robbers fled the scene. Police investigation continues.

Cargo truck and 11 grand missing
There is a cargo truck missing tonight, and police as well as the owner of the truck is trying to track down the vehicle. According to police reports, Corozal businessman Daniel Moreno gave the truck to his worker Gerald Burk Rolland of Orange Walk, with the instruction to do some land filling in Sarteneja village, Corozal. That was on the morning of Monday, April thirtieth. Two weeks later, on May eighteenth, the same Gerald Burk Rolland was given an eleven thousand dollars advance for work being done, by a man named Omar Sosa. Two weeks later, Gerald Burk Rolland has not returned to his boss with the money or the White Suburban Cargo Truck, which bears Corozal licence plates A-4795. Police investigation continues.

Honduran ambassador visits Toledo
The Ambassador of Honduras to Belize Sandra Rosales Abeya, yesterday completed an official visit to Punta Gorda town. Our Toledo correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

The thrill of the greasy police documented on film
Rice and beans, chicken and salad for dinner on Sunday is a typical Belizean tradition. And in the realm of entertainment, the good old greasy pole has to stand out as one of the top attractions. In fact, the climbing of the greasy police has captured the imagination of a television program all the way from Germany. They were in San Pedro recently to check out the spectacle, and Love TV’s Maria Novelo was among the spectators.


KMHK morgue gets top-notch renovation
The morgue at the KHMH has been newly renovated. This is news worthy especially after complaints about no space in ...

Public Service Information Day celebrated countrywide
Today our news crew took the familiarization tour of the many display booths erected in recognition of Public Servi...

Consultation on National Spatial Data Infrastructure Policy
National consultation on draft for National Spatial Data infrastructure (NSDI) policy held today. Today at the Radi...

New work permit policy being drafted
Foreigners who travel to our country Belize and wish make an income must first get a work permit. In general, there...

Teen charged for Jeremy McNab murder
Almost two weeks ago, Belize City businessman 48 year old Jeremy Ellis McNab was shot and killed. Today, police say...

Min. Faber invites public to open forum on education
The Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, invites stakeholders of education in the following...

Owner of missing cargo truck seeks public's help
A cargo truck has disappeared, and police as well as the owner of the truck is trying to locate the vehicle. Accord...

First Stop Pawn Shop robbed, employees detained
First Stop Pawn Shop in Belize City was robbed. An estimated $10,000 went missing from the Pawn Shop located at the...

Grand plans for World Oceans Day
The Coastal Zone Management Authority & Institute (CZMAI) in the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries & Sustainable Deve...


Hurricane Preparations
I was trying to work out which of the gazillion things to cross of my to do list today and decided to let the weather dictate my direction. The overcast skies and rain put hurricane preparation at the top of my list. Who needs Doomsday Preppers when you have yearly hurricane season? Actually I have seen a few good ideas on that show and some stockpiles that put ours to shame. I started by cleaning out my food basket and the top shelves of our food cupboard so that we can start adding to our hurricane food supply. While I was taking a break to let the shelves dry, I came back to work for a bit and opened a very timely email by Blaine Shranka Outreach Director Everyday Health in New York. As part of Hurricane Preparedness Week 2012, Everyday Health has created The Hurricane Disaster-Proof Healthy Eating Guide to serve as the food preparedness resource for upcoming hurricane season and all natural disasters. Hurricane disaster experts advise that you store enough food and clean water for your family in case of an emergency. Everyday Health has created a guide to good choices for health-conscious families, as well as those who have diabetes or other medical conditions. Hurricane Preparedness: A Guide to Eating Healthy in an Emergency.

The Mayor Talks About Dogs, The Streets & Mosquitos On Today's Morning Show
The mayor was allotted just 30 minutes to discuss a wide range of topics (too little Reef TV!). Here's my brief summary: 1. The Streets: Always a huge source of contention when the rainy season begins, all talk in town has turned to the weather and the bad state of the roads. The Mayor and his counsel are well aware of the situation in San Pedrito, DFC, San Mateo, up north and Boca del Rio...basically all areas with sand and dirt roads. He assures us that there is a plan and that most of it cannot be enacted until the rain stops (not for a few more days). Rather than do a full overhaul of the streets (which is impossible for many reasons at this time), the plan is to create a sidewalk. Full details were not discussed...but I'll take it! It will be nice to walk to my local market and not be covered in mud. 2. Educating On & Enforcing the Dog Laws: There are too many stray dogs on the island. I'm guessing that most of us can agree on that. They also mentioned that the raccoon population is bigger than we've seen in years. The near term plan (over next few months) is to license all pet dogs. There will be a dog catcher that will collect stray or troublesome dogs...your dog will be returned to you for a fee. Strays will be spayed and neutered or euthanized if they are in bad shape. DOG OWNERS HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES. Keep your dog on a leash, clean up after your dog. Danny correctly stated we are "no longer La Isla Bonita if we have all this crap all over the street!" A fee structure will be in place...mainly fines for your dog being picked up by the town. Ultimately, the town council would like to find a way to prevent people from breeding dogs on the mainland and bringing them to San Pedro. For all of these changes, they plan to work closely with SAGA and the SP Animal Hospital. 3. Mosquito Spraying: During the campaign, the mayor promised spraying for mosquitoes early and often. When he took office he found that the Health Department is in charge of the spraying schedule. Good news: there is a new spraying machine on the island (bringing us to two) and more foggers on the way. Once the rains have stopped, the heavy spraying will take place. Other things mentioned: please drill a hole in your trash drum so that it can drain of water. Also try to keep the drum to a reasonable weight. The town trash collectors have one of the hardest jobs on the island. Let's try to help them out!

International Sources

Analyzing Royalty’s Mystique
Next week, after the confetti from Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebration has been swept from the streets of London, more than 100 scholars will convene at Kensington Palace to ponder a phenomenon as puzzling as it is familiar: the robust survival of the British monarchy in a democratic age that long ago consigned similar institutions to the gilded dustbin of history. This three-day conference, which will feature talks on subjects ranging from hats and monarchs to the role of the Crown in a constitutional system, commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s ascension to the throne as well as the recently completed renovation of the palace. But it can also be seen as an unofficial celebration of another refurbishment: that of the study of modern monarchy itself.

The Queen of Diamonds
The sparkle and splendor of royal diamonds, laced with stories of historic grandeur and family love, will go on show in Britain this summer. The diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, to be celebrated publicly this weekend with a four-day festival, is being backed up by unprecedented disclosure of royal treasures from Buckingham Palace. While cities and villages flutter with red, white and blue bunting and shop windows are decorated with objects incorporating the Union Jack, there is an easier and less uptight relationship between palace and people. In the same open spirit with which last year’s wedding of Catherine Middleton and Prince William, now Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, was celebrated with ceremony but not too much pomp, the big ease has reached the vaults of monarchy. Hence the unprecedented display of royal treasures.

SLIDESHOW: Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee
This week Britain is celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s ascension to the throne. Queen Elizabeth II in her coronation crown in 1953. More photos of the monarch are on the following slides.

Carnival Liberty Day 4: Everything old is new again
Having spent so much time working on my tan on tropical islands over the past week, I thought it was about time my cultural-self got a work out. Belize was our next port of call and is most famous for the archarchaeological site Altun Ha, that houses Mayan temples believed to date back to 100AD. Deciding to purchase a tour in port as opposed to through Carnival, my Minnesota friend Del and I boarded the tender to shore more than a little nervous about our 'risqué' decision. The common concern about purchasing shore tours yourself is always that you won't return to the ship on time, thus risking the ship leaving without you or waiting and lobbing you with a hefty fine. Having never taken this risk before, I was keen to obtain some advice from a crew member who directed us to the tour desk for a company he said was reputable and, most importantly, affordable. We selected the rainforest, country and Altun Ha ruins tour that retailed for well over USD$100 onboard but was available for a mere USD$49 in Belize. With a little time to spare, we check out the wide variety of shops lining the port and I eyed some very convincing knock off designer suitcases that would definitely solve my problem regarding having run out of room in my luggage.

Anguilla hosts 23rd Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Social Security
The Anguilla Social Security Board will host the 23rd Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Social Security from May 31 to June 01, 2012. The conference, which will be held at Paradise Cove Resort, will bring together key Social Security and National Insurance officials from some 13 countries throughout the region including Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, The British Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, as well as host country Anguilla. Also attending the meeting will be specialists from the CARICOM Secretariat.

Ryan Chan wins his first Mission Catwalk Challenge
It took ten tries, but T&T designer Ryan Chan can finally call himself a Mission Catwalk challenge winner. Episode ten of the Caribbean fashion reality series saw Chan and five other designers creating a prom dress for a high school girl—a test not only of their design skills but their ability to work with a client. A statement from Jamaica’s publication firm AG Select Public Relations, quoted Chan as saying: “I made sure to ask my model what her favourite colour combination was. She, without hesitating, answered ‘pink and black’, also my two favourite colours! I created a pink dress with peau de soie fabric and used black accessories.

Wild Belize: Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve
Belize's 107,000-acre Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve is home to exotic wildlife such as Cougars, Jaguars, Ocelots, Crocodiles, and many bird species. For the best chance of spotting a big cat, go on a moonlight jaguar hunt (of the non-violent kind). The Rio On Pools are one of the best attractions in the reserve. Waterfalls flow over smooth granite, creating shallow pools perfect for sunbathing and lounging. Take the stairs down to the lower pools, or hike upstream for better views and bigger pools. If you're interested in Mayan history, be sure to check out Barton Creek Cave. Mayan artifacts have been found all over the area, and it's believed that the Cave was a former ritual site.