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The San Pedro Sun

Wanted Slovakian Karol Mello arrested by Interpol; lawyers fight his extradition!
On Wednesday, July 11th San Pedro Police arrested a man from the Slovak Republic who is wanted for a double murder investigation in his country. According to police 42 year old Karol Mello, described as “mafia boss” is accused of organizing a double murder in the village of Most pri Bratislave in 2004 which resulted in the death of a woman and her child. According to The Slovak Spectator publication, the spoke person for special prosecutor in the Slovak Republic Katarína Kudjaková has also announced that he believes Mello was involved in the murder of Peter Čongrády, the alleged boss of the Bratislava underworld. According to the Slovak Spectator after Mello was in hiding for several years, a Polish special police force arrested him in October 2010 but he was released in May 2011 by Slovak courts, reportedly due to procedural errors by a court. After being detained again, he filed a complaint and was released from pre-trial custody for a second time later in the same month. According to Slovak authorities Mello has been at large since then until his arrest in San Pedro Town, Belize. Mello was apprehended by local authorities in San Pedro Town on Pescador Drive after months of being sought in Belize followed a tip off by Belize police and Interpol. Mello was transported to Belmopan early on Thursday July 12th and handed over to Interpol authorities in the capital city.

GOB approves loan motion for BWS project on Ambergris Caye
The Prime Minister of Belize Hon Dean Barrow on behalf of the Government of Belize (GOB) on Wednesday July 11th tabled a loan motion at the sitting of the House of Representatives to approve a loan of US$720,000. The loan, which is being obtained from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), is for the creation of a detailed design for the expansion of water and sewerage facilities by Belize Water Services (BWS) on Ambergris Caye. The loan motion was taken through all stages and approved the subsequent day on Thursday July 12th following the 2012 Budget Debate. According to PM Barrow, the main objectives of the project is to “assist BWS in updating and incorporating missing background considerations related to the project’s environmental and social context; validate feasibility study conclusions and the preparation of detailed design, drawings, technical specifications cost estimates and bidding documents for expanding the existing water and sewage systems on Ambergris Caye, Belize in order to facilitate the appraisal and financing of a capital project.” Such design will give a complete and updated layout of how the entire island’s portable water and sewer pipes, extending two miles north and almost five miles south including the subdivisions, would look like if and when the main execution of the project is done.

Ambergris Today

Marine Turtle Conservation in San Pedro, Belize
The 2012 sea turtle nesting season is well underway and the marine biologist of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and staff of Bacalar Chico Reserve are working hard in monitoring the beaches up north and taking down data for this season. A special discover was made this week on the northernmost part of the island; the very first Hawksbill turtle nest for the season was found by the team. This season is looking extremely positive and in the four years of monitoring turtle nesting on the beaches of Ambergris Caye, the Hol Chan and Bacalar Chico staff came upon a Hawksbill Turtle nest with a total of 175 hatchlings, along with Green and Loggerhead turtles.

Malnourished Black Jaguar to be Rescued from Captivity in Belize
guar in distress at Ballum Na Lodge in the Punta Gorda area. Wil Maheia, a BWCN member and well known Belizean conservationist, had been able to gain access to the jaguar, named Bosch, and he attempted to provide him with food. During this time he was able to take a photograph of the animal and the condition of the jaguar in the photograph made it clear to the BWCN that urgent action was required.

Misc Belizean Sources

Balance Exhibit Starts Tomorrow
The SISE House of Culture and the BAS will be having the opening of the Balance Exhibit tomorrow at 6:30pm. The exhibit will run through the rest of July. "Balance: People + Environment A photography exhibition on the work of Belize Audubon Society in managing Belize's natural resources."

Rowan Walks Across Belize Video
Great video highlighting Rowan's Walk Across Belize. "Rowan Garel, blind since birth, walks 90 miles across the country of Belize to raise money for other blind children. This collage was produced by Yasser Musa who photographed the 5-Day event." The Walk Across Belize Blog has been updated quite a bit today:

Belize Film Festival Winners
Winners of the Belize Film Festival. Congratulations to all the film makers! Best Feature Film - LA HIJA NATURAL / LOVE CHILD Dir. By Leticia Tonos of Dominican Republic Best Short Film - FISH Dir. by Shaun Escayg of Trinidad and Tobago Best Belizean Film - MRS. ROBINSON Dir. by Thomas Hines Best Music Video - BABY IT'S NEW Dir. by Juan Reyes Feature Length Documentary - AKWANTU: THE JOURNEY Dir. by Roy T. Anderson Feature Length Short - BROKEN STONES Dir. by Guetty Felin

Channel 7

Expulsion Order For Mello Issued; GOB Slow To Act
Tonight 42 year old alleged Slovakian Mafia boss Karol Mello remains in detention at the Queen Street Police Station - pending a Government decision on whether they will expel him - or observe a Supreme Court order which blocks expulsion until a hearing is held. The news tonight is that the expulsion order has already been issued and has been served on Mello. The order is dated the 16th July - which was two days ago - but it is unclear at this point why the government didn't act on it immediately. A representative of the Solciritor General's office - which is now handling the matter - told us that they strictly could not comment because it is now before the courts. According to our sources, the Immigration Authorities hold the position that Mello misrepresented himself when he applied for Permanent Residence. They refer to a specific question on the form which asks if he has been involved in any criminal prosecutions or if there are any criminal cases pending against him. His answer to those questions were "no" but according to news reports form that country he is wanted for a gangland murder of a young boy and a woman in 2004. Mello has been in Belize for about a year, has a Belizean son, a Slovakian partner and has set up a business in San Pedro...

Police Ass'n Lashes Out At High Command
Complaining about police abuses has become a regular feature of the evening news - but tonight, the police are the ones doing the complaining about their own senior command. The issue is police transfers - the Police Association says a new round of them has been executed with undue haste and extreme lack of consideration. They spoke out publicly on Friday and continued today saying that the Force Administration is ignoring their concerns. It's gotten so bad that according to them, the officers who feel victimized by this rush transfer will go to court - if they continue to be ignored. Daniel Ortiz examined in detail the true nature of the alleged indifference of the Administration to even consider their written correspondence. Daniel Ortiz Reporting The Police Association has submitted in writing a list of all the officers aggrieved by the rush transfers. But, the problem is that the Police Administration has only made promises to address the situation. The association believes that there is deliberate foot-dragging - maybe even a deliberate ignorance.

COMPOL Says Police Assn Over-Reacting
Today, we contacted the Commissioner of Police, David Henderson, and we asked him about the transfer situation, and he categorically refuted any claims that his office is responding with indifference. In fact, he claims that his office has already started to process to reverse the transfers of those officers who were aggrieved. Here's how he described the belaboring of a point which is already being dealt with. David Henderson - Commissioner of Police "Well, I know that I heard on the morning talk-show that the Association was making quite a number of complaints, but I don't know what is the big deal over their complaints because they have had a meeting with me on Friday, where were sat with them, and we went over the names. We asked them if they had anybody who had any gripes with the transfers. They were told to submit the names. They have submitted some names, yesterday. We have since gone over the names, and we have seen that the people that they are complaining about are people who have come in, and we have spoken to, and there have been adjustments made to their transfers. In fact, it is quite clear that it is only people who were informed from about January, who were slated to be transferred from January are on transfer. There were a few names that were on the transfer list, and have already been dealt with, and I don't know what the complaint is, or what sort of axe they have to grind. There is nobody who is being transferred who is under 2 years. In fact, I know of persons who have been posted at some stations for maybe 4 to 9 years, who haven't moved, and don't want to move. I have no axe to grind with anybody. I have no need to punish anybody, and I will not punish anybody."

Alleged Killer Walks Free; Witnesses Scared
An alleged murderer walked free today - and again it's because of witnesses too scared to testify. 24-year-old Neil Grey, the man who was accused of the April 2009 murder of 21-year-old Aaron Brooks, was acquitted today in the courtroom of Herbert Lord. The prosecution's main witnesses refused to testify against Grey, claiming that they feared for their lives. According to police, on April 3, 2009, at about 7:00 p.m., Aaron Brooks, was hanging out with friends at the home of his brother, Mark Brooks, on Neal's Pen Road. That's when Grey arrived and allegedly fired several shots which hit Brooks in several areas of his body. He died while being transported to the KHMH. The prosecution, Crown Counsel Thalia Meagan Francis, called her 2 main witnesses to testify against Grey, but both of them took the stand and refused to give any incriminating evidence against Grey, claiming that they were fearful for their lives. They refused to testify despite the fact that they gave police statements after the shooting When both witness stepped down, Crown Counsel Francis closed her case saying that she couldn't provide any further evidence. Grey's attorney, Hubert Elrington, then made a no-case submission, which Justice Lord was forced to uphold. He directed the jury to acquit Grey of both murder and manslaughter, setting him free.

First Open Heart Surgical Procedures Done In Belize
The first open heart surgery in Belize's medical history was performed this week at the KHMH. It is a great leap forward - and one that was only made possible with the collaboration of a team of medical partners from the United states. But, don't get it wrong, it was a Belize mission - and today we found out what was required to get it done - and why it matters - even if you'll never need open heart surgery: Jules Vasquez Reporting Dr. Bernard Bulwer - Echo-Cardiologist "This huge undertaking of a cardiac surgery, which - in the words of CEO in the Ministry of Health, he said that he did not believe he would see the day in his lifetime, cardiac surgery in Belize at the KHMH. Now, it has happened." And this is the team - or at least some of them that made it possible - participating in the first two open heart surgeries in Belize's history. Dr. Francis Gary Longsworth - CEO, KHMH "Certainly, it is cutting-edge surgery, and the surgery that was done here is no different or no less than the surgery that similar patients will get in the USA, Canada, Europe - anywhere in the world." And anywhere in the world, it would cost about one hundred thousand US dollars - but for these first two patients, it was free.

Minister Says UB Fees Overall Are Too Low
Last night we told you about The Ministry of Education's decision to discontinue subsidizing registration fees for new UB students. It started in 2006 - when the fees were first increased - and due to student protests - government was forced to step in and pay the fees at that time. The subsidy continues - but with a cut in the budget for scholarships - the Ministry of Education has to find areas to make cuts. So they have decided to discontinue paying the $150.00 dollar fee for all those new students who start UB in January. They will continue to pay for all students who are currently enrolled. Today the Nation Builders national youth movement issued a release to declare its, quote, "vehement opposition to any kind of increase in fees at the national university." The release characterizes it as an increase in fees and calls it outrageous when, quote, "access to tertiary education among the adolescent population is a measly 5%-7%." We asked the minister about just that point in our interview with him yesterday:

Film Festival Winner Defends His Work As Thoroughly Belizean
Last night on the news - you heard all the ruckus coming out of the Belize International Film Festival over the judges' choice of the Best Belizean Film. The film that won is named Mrs. Robinson - a charming story of 83 year old Patricia Robinson - who - after five decades in Belize returned to England to live out her last years. Robinson was the British wife of a Belizean born creole, Eugene Robinson - and the couple made their life in Belize. Part of that life is Thomas Hines - Patricia's grandson - who grew up in Belize and is now studying film-making in the UK. The judges thought his film was the best, but his local competitors thought it somehow wasn't Belizean enough. Today we spoke to Hines via telephone. He's studying in the UK - and told us his film is Belizean through and through: Thomas Hines - Winner, Best Belizean Film, BIFF (Via Telephone) "No, not at all, I am not hurt, I wouldn't say. I entered the film to get a chance in Belize because that's where I'm from, Canaan High School. You really can't more Belizean than that. I didn't enter it thinking I would win, the success is a surprise. I am a bit sorry, not hurt; nor do I feel any agression toward it. I feel that it should be a natural. Everyone is saying that it's a British character, and not a Belizean actor, and it wasn't flimed in Belize. But it is."

Why Was Bella Vista Woman Killed?
Tonight a family in the Toledo District cannot come to terms with the loss of a daughter, friend and mother of two. 25 year old Susana Romero is believed to have been killed early on Thursday morning. Police still haven't disclosed what was the cause of death - or if anyone has been arrested. But, right now the family could hardly be consoled by police platitudes: they were made to endure the ultimate indignity of watching the decomposing remains of their loved one rot in the open sun as they waited 25 hours for police to perform a post mortem. When Monica Bodden visited them today, their emotions were still raw - and the pain of their loss, overwhelming. Here's her report from Bella Vista: Monica Bodden Reporting The quiet community of Bella Vista is still grieving the loss of Susana Romero - the mother of 2 who was found murdered on Monday morning. Her body was found less than half mile away from La Mafia Bar where she was last seen alive. It was hidden behind some bushes just a few yards off the highway -partially nude. In the vicinity were visible tire tracks - believed to have been those from her murder's vehicle. Susana Romero was last seen exactly a week ago from today - socializing at this Bar in the village.

"Guess Who's Coming To Pedro?" Michael Rose!
On Monday the followers of the Rastafari Religion will celebrate the 120th anniversary of the birth of Haile Selassie, who they hold as their messiah. In San Pedro, there will be a concert to celebrate the anniversary, and the promoters have brought in the iconic reggae artist, Michael Rose, as the main event. Rose's is one of the most identifiable voices in all of reggae music and for years he defined the progressive reggae sound of Black Uhuru. His distinctive style of scatting and wailing is instantly recognizable - 30 years after he first started doing it. He arrived in Belize this afternoon, and told us how he plans to delight the Belizean audience: Mykal Rose - Artist "Well, it's just to know and the Belizean people must understand that I am here. I arrived today, and they show will be great because we are here, live and in living color, so." Promoter "Yes this is Mr. Rose right here. Get ready for this nice party. It's going to be on July 21, 2012, starting at 3 p.m. to 3 a.m., at the Central Park, San Pedro. Get ready. It's on." The show, featuring 11 Belizean artists starts at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday at the central Park in San Pedro.

Channel 5

Decriminalization of marijuana possession getting support
The government has rolled out a proposal for the decriminalization of the possession of certain quantities of marijuana. It is moving at the speed of light; and from the looks of it, the proposal is getting support. A committee has been formed and while it was just announced on Monday, a deadline has been set [...]

Police Association still waiting on response on transfers
The Police Association says the clock is ticking and it is losing patience with the Police Department on the last minute transfer of several officers. Official notice was served on the affected officers at the end of June giving the cops and their families a mere two weeks to move to their new posts on [...]

Neil Grey is the 17th person to be acquitted of murder this year
Since the start of 2012, at least seventeen persons have been freed of murder charges in eleven separate cases. In most instances, the witnesses either develop amnesia or were in fear. Well, the trend continues and the latest murder acquittal came today in the case against Neil Grey, who was accused of fatally shooting twenty-one [...]

Expulsion order for Karol Mello granted on Monday, but not enforced
The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted an order to stop the expulsion of a Slovakian national, Karol Mello, who was arrested without incident in San Pedro last Wednesday. Tonight, Mello remains in police custody. Mello, who is described as a mafia boss, is wanted for a double murder of a woman and child in Slovakia. [...]

Belize’s 1st successful open heart surgeries done at the K.H.M.H.
This week marks a milestone for the medical field in Belize; the first two successful open heart surgeries were carried out at the K.H.M.H. This medical procedure is available in a limited number of countries so for Belize, it’s major news, particularly for patients afflicted with ailments including defective heart valves, or heart muscle blockages. [...]

Budget goes to the Senate; business senator says it offers nothing to the youth
Unemployment, which currently stands at roughly twenty-three percent of the adult population below the retirement age, remains a socioeconomic problem that only seems to compound with the annual entrance of students into the workforce. But the budget for the current fiscal year gives very little consideration to the staggering unemployment rate, according to the private [...]

P.U.P. Senator Karen Bodden explains the effects of budget cuts on education
The re-alignment of funds earmarked for secondary education has been the topic of discussion in the wake of the recent budget presentation for the current fiscal year. In the Senate, the issue of rationalizing resources within the education budget came up again. Opposition senator Karen Bodden, a career educator, delved into the impact that restructuring [...]

P.U.P. senator Collet Montejo says Cayo has the highest unemployment rate
P.U.P. Senator Collet Montejo echoed similar sentiments regarding joblessness and the overall dismal state of Belize’s economy during his presentation. The budget, Montejo says, offers nothing to the youth population, instead it seeks to further plunge an already embattled middle class into abject poverty.   Collet Montejo, P.U.P. Senator “As our good colleague for the [...]

3 men committed to stand trial for attempted murder of a cop
Back to the courts; Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart has committed three Belize City men to stand trial in the Supreme Court for the Attempted Murder of Police Constable Nigel White. The officer was shot on March twenty-sixth, 2011 and his point thirty-eight service revolver was stolen from him. Linsford Acosta, Karim Morris and Justo Lopez [...]

San Pedro man convicted of molesting 6 year old girl
Forty-seven year old Sergio Duarte a.k.a. ‘Diablo’, a Honduran national who resides in San Pedro Town, was found guilty of committing an aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon a six year old child. The little girl, who testified en camera, said that on November sixteenth 2011, she was playing with her sister and a [...]

Land grab in the Ministry of Natural Resources exposed
Before the sitting of the senate to ratify the national budget, there was the debate in the House that lasted two days. We could not cover all the members of the House but there were first time speakers who stood out from the fray. Issues other than the budget were also raised; one such involves [...]

SMART sponsors football summer camp for kids
Youth summer camps are popping up all over and the disciplines are varied from creative arts programmes, to math, sports and other interesting activities. Today we caught with a three week summer camp that is geared at honing the skills of youths from as young as age four in the sport of football. It is [...]

5-month old Marianni Run needs your help for life-saving surgery
First-time parents Rosita Barredo and Leovani Tun recently received devastating news; their five month old daughter, Marianni has been diagnosed with an extremely rare birth condition called biliary atresia. The disease can lead to liver failure and so far, only one of four babies previously diagnosed in Belize has survived. Marianni was born premature at [...]


Heart disease is considered the number one killer in the world. And if statistics are correct, the majority of people who suffer from acute heart disease live in areas not considered to be first-world countries. Now in Belize, people who suffer from heart disease who may in...

Medical personnel from the State of Quintana Roo Mexico are in Belize to conducting a two day health fair in Corozal Town. The event was organized through the Embassy of Mexico in Belize, the Ministry and the Desarrollo integral de la Familia, the National System for Integral Family De...

In a press release issued today the Nation Builders national youth movement has claimed solidarity and joined with the students of the University of Belize to declare its vehement opposition to any kind of increase in fees at the national university. According to the re...

Mayor Darrel Bradley has spoken of the municipal bond in his campaign leading up to the elections and also since he has gotten into office. The twenty million dollar bond is specifically earmarked for infrastructural development – something that the old capital has needed f...

About six thirty this morning Ms. Mel Spain went to the Lion’s Den and notices that her door was busted down. Ms. Mel Spain told Love News she also notice that they stole a flat screan TV and some drinks. MEL SPAIN, President (Lion’s Club) “Ye...

Several primary school students in San-Ignacio are today recipients of scholarships from the Scotia Bank Branch in that municipality. Our correspondent Elaine Berry Reports. ELAINE BERRY, Reporter “Today Scotia Bank Belize Education Foundation, San Ignacio Bran...

Tide Belize has once again motivated youths participating in its annual fresh water cup tournament to undertake environmental projects for special prizes. Paul Mahung Reports. PAUL MAHUNG, Reporter “A football team completed an anti-littering project in Punta G...


Open heart surgery done at KHMH
Heart disease is considered the number one killer in the world. And if statistics are correct, the majority of people who suffer from acute heart disease live in areas not considered to be first-world countries. Now in Belize, people who suffer from heart disease who may in the future need open heart surgery will be able to access this life-saving procedure. Today the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital held a press conference to announce that over the past week, with the assistance of a team of visiting heart specialists from North Carolina, it performed its first set of open heart surgeries on patients who ordinarily would have perished if left untreated. Chief Executive Officer at the KHMH, Dr. Gary Longsworth, told reporters how this cutting edge procedure became possible in Belize. The surgeries were led by Dr. Francis Robicsek, a pioneer in cardiac surgery at Charlotte Memorial Hospital in North Carolina and Belize’s own Cardiothoracic Surgeon Specialist at the KHMH, Dr. Adrian Coye. The procedure is so sophisticated and enduring, that the hospital will conduct surgeries of this sort on an elective basis under normal circumstances. However, Dr. Bulwer says that it is something that people can completely avoid, if they keep a healthy diet. Today’s reality is the dream of the lat Sir Barry Bowen, who appealed on behalf of Belize to his friend, Dr. Robicsek, to bring cardiac surgery to Belize. Soon after that appeal, the KHMH received the donation of the CATH Lab, which came through the generousity of Dr. Robicsek and local donors. Since the program’s inception 52 patients have received coronary angiography, which is a procedure different from open heart surgery conducted over the past week. The type of open heart surgery which would previously require Belizeans to travel abroad, costs around two hundred thousand dollars. A price has not been set for the procedure at the KHMH as yet, but as the hospital always assures, payment plans can be worked out with patients and their families. Altogether, the team that performed the first set of surgeries included eight persons, including Drs. Pedro Arriaga, Jorge Hidalgo and Bernard Bulwer.

Group announces opposition to fees increase at University of Belize
A group calling itself Nation Builders is claiming solidarity with students of the University of Belize in opposing any kind of increase in fees at the national university. In a statement sent out today, the group said the decision to oppose the fee increase was taken because after comments by Education Minister Patrick Faber in the House of Representatives last week that government was no longer going to be bearing the cost of certain fees for UB students. The Nation Builders group says they cannot accept any increase in fees and will stand shoulder to shoulder with the students who would be negatively affected by it. The release went on to say that it is outrageous to deliberately increase fees at a time when the socio-economic conditions in our country have become a great pressure on our people. The group believes that more emphasis is needed to get more students into tertiary school, instead of creating obstacles for them. The release ended by applauding the Minister for acknowledging the need for quality education and called on Government to show that it is serious about youth development and to make every effort to make education even more affordable and accessible for young people.

Lodge owner comments on mistreatment of captive jaguar
A rescue operation is currently underway in the Toledo district where a severely malnourished and starving jaguar was found in captivity. Since the weekend, the rumours of the emaciated animal had been circulating, but it was not until Tuesday night that these rumours were confirmed with dramatic pictures. According to the Belize Wildlife Conservation Network, the animal was found at the Ballum Na resort near Indian Creek village on the Southern Highway in Toledo. Volunteers of the Belize Wildlife Conservation Network, assisted by the Forestry Department are working were reported to be collaborating efforts to stabilize the health of the black jaguar by feeding it specially prepared food packed with vitamin supplements. The Belize Wildlife Conservation Network, in a statement issued last night, said the group was hoping to remove the starving jaguar on Tuesday; but his condition was too grave to attempt to move him at this time. Arrangements have been made to ensure he will receive the care that he needs this week and he will be closely monitored in the hope that he will be fit for travel by Friday. Dr. Isabelle Paquet Durand, wildlife specialist from the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic in Cayo, was scheduled to travel to Toledo get a firsthand look at the distressed jaguar. While efforts are underway to rescue this black jaguar, named Bosh, there are persistent reports that another jaguar which was also being held in captivity at the same location perished earlier. In a statement posted on Facebook in response to the story, the Managing Director of Belize Lodge and Excursions, Kenneth Karas laid the blame for the condition of the jaguar and other animals squarely n the shoulders of the manager who was left in charge, accusing that unnamed person of misusing the funds provided to him for the care and feeding of the animals. Karas said that when his resort closed operations at the end of May as is usually the case, staff were left to care for the animals. Karas claims that the manager was provided with a weekly budget for feeding the animals and that as far as he knew the animals were being taken care of. Karas says that as has been the norm over the last ten years, the manager has been sending him weekly reports but never was he told that there were any health issues or that they were not being fed. The Belize Lodge and Excursions boss, in his online statement, said that he only learned of the condition of the animals at Ballum Na on Saturday, when one of the company’s former employees contacted him. The release from Kenneth Karas ends by saying, quote: I deeply regret what has happened and we are currently working with the Forestry Department and a vet to stabilize the animal and move it to the Belize Zoo,” end of quote. It is a story that we will definitely continue to follow up.

Man acquitted of murder
A Belize City man has been acquitted of a charge or murder. Twenty four year old Neil Gray was freed of the charge of murder in the death of Aaron Brooks in April of 2009 when the prosecution’s case fell apart without any evidence coming from the main witnesses. Justice Lord then directed the jury of 7 women and 5 men to return a formal verdict of not guilty. Brooks, a resident of North Creek Road, was shot and killed on the night of April third as he sat on a car in his brother’s yard. Gray was represented by attorney Hubert Elrington, while the case was prosecuted by Crown Counsel Thalia-Megan Francis.

TIDE steps up Fresh Water Cup program
The Toledo Institute for Development and the Environment, TIDE has once again motivated youths participating in its annual fresh water cup tournament to undertake environmental projects for special prizes. Out Toledo correspondent, Paul Mahung Reports.

Do you think the government should decriminalize small amounts of marijuana?
Please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.


Senate meets to debate the budget
The special sitting of the Senate was held today in the Assembly Chambers. The session was to debate and ratify the...

Douglas Singh comments on proposed marijuana measures
The Minister of National Security has appointed a committee to evaluate and make proposals, where appropriate, on t...

Students visit Belize on international exchange program
The Youth Ambassador program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, implemented internationally by Partners ...

Christian artist 'Tamo' releases debut album
Timoteo Vanegas aka ‘Tamo’ is a popular Christian artist who has made his mark on the gospel music scene. Always bu...

Captured fugitive challenges extradition to Slovak
In a release issued by the family of alleged fugitive Karol Mello it was revealed that Mello is a permanent residen...

Convicted killer sentenced to life
Kenrick Williams, was convicted for the tragic rape/murder of sixteen year old Elia Gonzalez back in December of 20...

M.O.H facilitates annual Mental Health Workshop
The Ministry of Health will be conducting its tenth Annual Mental Health Workshop from July 19th to 21st at the Ban...

Rise and Shine unread text messages: Should Belize decriminalize marijuana? 17 July 2012...


Staying Dry
I had every intention of finishing this post Monday but got sidetracked by contract work for other people, Barefoot Skinny’s Joke night at Roadkill bar and watching Dexter on netflix – all very valid things. Since it was not raining yesterday I bumped this till today. Often people think with Belize rainy season that we get all day rain, this is not usually so. We tend to short heavy bursts of rain over all day every day downpours. It is also common for longer rain showers to be at night, last night was a classic example, it rained off and on all night. The rain and wind was heavy enough for me to keep the east facing windows closed and the one north facing window that I keep open in the guest bathroom. During rainy season it is always a good idea to make sure you are well waterproofed. That does not necessarily mean carrying a raincoat with you everywhere unless of course you are not wanting to look like you are entering a wet t-shirt contest, but more so for things you might be carrying in your pockets or bag that you would not want to get wet like money, phone and camera.

Tasting Belikin's New Verano Beer & A Rainbow Over the Sea
Oranges are one of Belize's biggest crops (along with sugar and bananas). And I'll be honest, they are not the prettiest fruit. They look nothing like the big, seedless, waxy, bright orange Sunkist fruit that I was used to in the States. Here is a pile below. The green heap on the left right in front of the pineapples. They are certainly not going to be featured in any TV commercials for oranges. But despite the appearance, Belize oranges are SWEET and tasty...the best, in my opinion, for juicing. So when Belikin decided to add a new flavor to its line-up...the combination sounded brilliant. A light summer ale with an orange twist. I mean, heck, I LOVE Blue Moon Belgian style beer that is always served with an orange slice. (I say Belgian style because Blue Moon is actually brewed by the US mega-company Molson Coors). I always order it when it's on tap. Belikin Beer has already brewed two new beer flavors in 2012 (I hadn't seen one new one in my previous 5 years here). All of the new twists are based on locally grown flavors. WHAT A GREAT IDEA! At Christmastime, we got Sorrel Stout. Warm and spicy, after my initial harsh review, it became a favorite of mine. It sold off shelves quickly and a second batch was ordered. (Now gone.)

Why Visit Belize’s Maya Ruins
The Maya civilization flourished from 2000 B.C. to about 900 A.D. During the classic period from 250 to 900 A.D., the Maya built impressive temples, created beautiful art from stone and jade, made astonishing discoveries in mathematics and astronomy, and devised the most sophisticated writing system in the Western Hemisphere. They also established a 1500-mile-long trade route running the length of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and continuing through Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador. In this travel video learn about the great attractions that should make you want to explore Maya archaeological sites in Belize. Enjoy!!

International Sources

Legal Marijuana Debated as Belize Joins Regional Push on Drugs
Marijuana possession may be decriminalized in Belize as the Central American nation joins a list of countries from Mexico to Uruguay whose leaders have called for alternatives in the U.S.-led war on drugs. Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s government has appointed a committee to evaluate the decriminalization of up to 10 grams of marijuana, according to an e-mailed statement. Current legislation considers marijuana possession of less than 60 grams a criminal offense punishable by a fine up to $50,000 Belize dollars ($26,000) and as many as three years in prison, according to the statement. “The word decriminalization means that the treatment of the infraction will be adjusted so that most of the detriments are removed or reduced,” according to the statement. “This initiative is driven by increasing evidence that the current legislation clutters the courts and the prison with primarily a marginalized segment of our population.” Belize’s move follows Uruguayan President Jose Mujica’s support for a plan last month to let the government sell marijuana, while Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina urged regional leaders to consider decriminalization to limit escalating drug violence in Central America. Enrique Pena Nieto, Mexico’s recently elected president, said this month that he favors a legalization debate.

Belize’s El Secreto to Open in October
The El Secreto boutique resort in Belize is set to officially open Oct. 1, the company has announced. The property on Belize’s Ambergris Caye is 11 miles north of San Pedro Town. It consists of 13 freestanding thatched-roof villas on the hotel’s private beachfront enclave. The El Secreto project is the brainchild of Mexico City-based developers Abraham Roffe and Abraham Saade. San Pedro is the largest town on Ambergris Caye, which is itself the largest of Belize’s cayes.