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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

PM Barrow in Honduras along with Belize Contingency on working visit
The Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Barrow arrived in Tegucigalpa City in Honduras with his wife Kim Simplis Barrow, where he will be signing various bilateral agreements focused in the areas of tourism, health and cooperation. Accompanying PM Barrow are a few members of Parliament, Belizean Foreign Diplomats and some of his office staff. The Belize delegation consists of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred P. Elrington, CEO in the Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexis Rosado, Minister of Tourism and Culture Manuel Heredia, CEO in the Office of the Prime Minister Audrey Wallace, Ambassador of Belize to Honduras Alfredo Martinez, Margaret John of the Embassy of Belize in Guatemala and the Honorary Consul in Honduras Richard Vinelli. The Prime Minister was greeted at the Hernan Acosta Mejia Air Base, by Presidential Appointee Victor Hugo and Vice Chancellor Berrnica Mireya Ag�ero de Corrales. Prime Minister Barrow addressed the press and expressed a few word of courtesy. "It is a great pleasure to be in Honduras to further strengthen our bonds of friendship that have traditionally existed between our two peoples. In Belize, our fellow Hondurans are gladly welcomed in our country, "expressed Barrow to the press.

NEMO teams up with MOH and PAHO to offer Psychological First Aid training
First responders to disasters are generally trained in the skill of First Aid. As such, it is not often that the mental wellbeing of disaster survivors is taken into consideration. However, this is an aspect that many times is neglected and may lead to post traumatic disorder. National Emergency Management Organization NEMO San Pedro, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization PAHO and the Ministry of Health MOH, on Tuesday November 6th held the first of its kind to equip emergency first responders with the tools necessary to deal with the mental wellbeing of disaster survivors. The training was held at the Fido's Court yard and saw the participation of individuals from various organizations on the island including; the San Pedro Town Council, Belize Coast Guard, Ministry of Education, San Pedro Roman Catholic School, Dr. Otto Rodriguez PolyClinic II, GST Office, Red Cross and the Ministry of Health among others.

Lavern Longsworth found guilty of murder
A jury of seven women and five men this afternoon in Supreme Court No. 2 returned from three hours of deliberations and declared that they unanimously agreed that Lavern Longsworth, more popularly known as "Antichrist", was guilty of causing the August 2010 death of her common law husband David White. Crown Counsel Sheiniza Smith, who called 15 witnesses, convinced the jury that not only had Longsworth doused White with kerosene at their Castle Street home on the night of July 15, 2010 and set him ablaze with a candle, but that she intended to kill him. White died on August 2, 2010 from his injuries. Two doctors, the physician who treated White at the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital and Police medical examiner Doctor Mario Estradabran who conducted the post mortem examination on his body, testified that in their opinion White died from first and second degree burns to over 55 percent of his body.

Ambergris Today

No Wake Zone Markers Erected in San Pedro Lagoon
The markers were put in place by the Belize Port Authority, San Pedro Town Council and the San Pedro Tour Guide Association with the assistance of Tuff-E-Nuff. The markers are there so that boaters can know which areas "Go Slow/No Wake Zones". Town authorities urge marine commuters to take note of these signs and designated areas and to slow down in order to protect nearby mangroves and be weary of people who live in the area and others who use the lagoon passageway.

Paraplegic Cyclist Rides Through Belize for a Cause
"I am excited about completing the last segment of the Reef Ride, from Dangriga to Punta Gorda Town later this month to coincide with the celebration of Garifuna Settlement Day," says paraplegic cyclist Jerome Flores. Reef Ride 2012 starts from Dangriga on the morning of November 18th and stops over in Independence, before continuing on to Punta Gorda Town on November 19th, which is a national holiday commemorating the 1802 arrival of the Garinagu to Belizean shores. As in previous years, Jerome says the Ride seeks to bring awareness to the plights of people living with diverse abilities. The Reef Ride also brings attention to Oceana in Belize's campaign for a ban on offshore oil drilling due to its threat to Belize's marine resource. Additionally, as explained by Oceana Vice President Mrs. Audrey Matura-Shepherd, "Sponsoring the Reef Ride is one way Oceana participates in celebrations for Garifuna Settlement Day while giving positive support to our Belizeans living with diverse abilities. Jerome is an inspiration and it's good to see Shaphan has been inspired to join."

San Pedro Sailing Club to Compete at National Championship Regatta
Seventeen young junior sailors of the San Pedro Sailing Club have been invited by the Belize Sailing Association to compete at the second National Championship Regatta to be held in San Pedro, Ambergris on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18, November 2012, to select the National Champion for the Optimist Class. The National Authority cordially invites all members, sailing enthusiasts, the general public and all Optimist sailors to attend. Sailors from the Placencia Sailing Club, Belize Sea Scouts, Liberty Sailing Club, Buttonwood Bay, Belize City, Corozal Bay Sailing Club and the San Pedro Sailing Club will be participating in the Regatta. Come support all the sailing clubs and see how they have contributed to develop the children of Belize to be better citizens of the world. Race Dates and Time: Saturday 17th November: 1100hrs Race Brief. 1200hrs First race. 1500hrs No race started after. Sunday 18th November: 0800 Race brief 0900hrs First Race 1200hrs No race started after. 1300hrs Prize Giving. BZSA Optimist Sailing Program provides opportunities to young girls and boys of Belize to aspire to become world champions too. For more information on sailing activities and our organization, contact the Belize sailing Association at [email protected].

Pet of The Week
Hello!!! My name is Saphira. I'm a 3 month old girl and I was brought to Saga a few weeks ago with my sister. My sister found a wonderful home and I'm here waiting for you to come and adopt me too! I'm very sweet and love everybody. Please come see me and all of my friends at the Saga Humane Society today! 226-3266 or Email: [email protected]

Misc Belizean Sources

Purple Movement General Meeting videos
The Purple Movement videos from their general meeting at the Red Cross building a few weeks back. The Belizean Minds website, which is hosting the videos, is a thought provoking website too. "To be honest, my perception is that the group is still in the process of taking shape and identifying it's most strategic goal. But one thing is certain, they want to do their best to make a positive change. I am of the opinion that the community is strongly discontented with the prevalent crime and that we as young people need to be that voice for the masses, and reinforce the idea that we deserve better."

UB and Rotary Blood Drive
Today, the Rotary Club of Belmopan and the University of Belize will be having a blood drive at the UB Wellness Center from 9:00am until 3:00pm. Give the gift of life. "The Rotary Club of Belize in conjunction with UB's Wellness Center is a having a blood drive on November 8, 2012 at the Wellness Center on central campus."

Queen returns from her renovations!
We breath a sigh of relief when our the largest member of our fleet, Ragga Queen, returns after over a month long refurbishment and looks better than ever. She has been repaired, re-newed and re-painted and she now shines in the sunlight like she was brand new!! Her renovations are an annual and extremely costly event but due to the enormous amount of work she undertakes up and down the Caye Caulker reef, incredibly necessary!!! The transformation from her mid- renovations some three weeks ago to her appearance now, almost seems like two different boats!! Aside from her sister boat Ragga King with her striking gaff rig set up, Ragga Queen is by far the most impressive of the sailboats within this region and perfect for our three day sailing and snorkeling adventure as her size makes those aboard her extremely comfortable!!

Channel 7

A Predator Amongst The Flock
The Baptist Church is immersed in scandal this evening. Just months after the pastor and principal from Belmopan Baptist High was dismissed for having a sexual relationship with an under-aged student, tonight, one of its pastors from Frank's Eddy village is in prison, accused of having sex with an 11 year old girl, inside the church building! And, there's more: allegations that he had inappropriate contact with 2 more girls - and had two others on a list. It is a story about abuse of trust, but it is also a ground shaking event in a small western village where they trusted their community pastor - and now he's accused of being a pedophile, a predator amongst the flock, preying on their children. We found out more when we went to Frank's Eddy near Jaguar Paw today: Daniel Ortiz Reporting The Community of Franks Eddy is trying to recover from the betrayal of trust by their spiritual leader, Pastor Julio Cesar Garcia.

More Disturbing Molestations
There are two more disturbing cases of sexual assault to report: A 20 year old housewife from Orange Walk said that on Tuesday morning she saw her 79 year old father in law exposing himself as his two year old grand-daughter sat on his lap. He has not been charged - while police await the result of a medical examination on the child. And in San Pedro, a 10 year old is accusing a 48 year old family friend of molesting her. The child claims she met Candido Alamilla 3 years ago and recently he started touching her inappropriately. But more than that, in early October, he picked her up from school at lunch-time along with her little brother. From there, he took her to his apartment, left her little brother outside and had sex with her. He repeated it in mid-October, except on those occasions he is only accused of fondling her. Candido Allamilla better known as Candi, has been charged with one count of Unlawful carnal Knowledge and three counts of Aggravated Assault of an Indecent Nature. Alamilla is a Honduran Boat Captain of the Boca-del-Rio Area in San Pedro.

Crime Ridden Areas Declared
The Crime Control council met today and designated five areas in Belize City as Crime Ridden. The specific boundaries have not been announced - but we can confirm that they are all within the Lake Independence area. The zones each span about two blocks and reportedly extend from the Linda Vista area to the area known as Gungulung to the area closer to Central American Boulevard. We stress that not all the streets within this wide space will be declared crime ridden - just 5 different areas of one or two blocks each. And what does it mean to be a "crime ridden" area? Well, it gives the police special powers - as explained by the police minister when the plan was unveiled last week: Hon. John Saldivar - Minister of National Security "... as crime ridden areas which will give his police and BDF the power to search any and all houses in the area without the need for a warrant.This declaration will also allow the police and the BDF to restrict movement in and out of these areas. These areas will be cordon off and every person entering and exiting the area will be stopped and searched and a systematic house by house search of these areas will be done with immediate effect." The five areas within Lake I that are being declared crime ridden have seen an alarming number of shootings and homicides since April of this year.

PM Travels To Honduras To Meet President Lobos
Prime Minister Dean Barrow is in Honduras tonight. He arrived around noon for a one-day visit to meet with Honduran President, Porfirio Lobo. After a working lunch, the two leaders signed agreements in the areas of tourism, health and cooperation. They will also discuss a broad range of issues including migration, and transfer of Honduran prisoners who are serving time in Belize. According to news reports from Honduras, the Prime Minister along with his wife and Ambassador Fred Martinez at the Hernan Acosta Mejia air base in Tegucigalpa this morning where he spoke about the further strengthening of ties of friendship between the two nations. Barrow also commented on the population of Hondurans who he said quote, "we welcome with pleasure into our country." President Lobo visited Belize in 2010, and this is reciprocal visit. This afternoon, Prime Minister Barrow visited , CABEI, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration where he met with Executive Vice President Alejandro Rodriguez Zamora.

Kaylee's Mom Cries Out For Someone To Be Charged
Monday made exactly 2 months since 2 year old Kaylee Burgess was murdered. Her tiny body was discovered behind her maternal grandmother's house -face down in a bucket of water. At the time, the child had been left in the care of her 19 year old aunt - who reported to police that the 2 year old went missing from her care while she was watching the evening news. And even though it was made to seem like little Kaylee accidentally drowned herself in a bucket of water, her postmortem that Kaylee did not drown, instead, someone had suffocated her. Since then, police have been treating the child's death as a homicide but no one has been charged. Multiple family members on the mother's side of the family have been detained - but they have all been released. The child's 19 year old aunt and her boyfriend were briefly the main suspects in the case. At a police press briefing on Monday, Police Press Officer Raphael Martinez commented on the hours of investigation police have put into the case and how nothing tangible has come out of it.

Conditional Canadian Cash For Small/Medium Enterprise Projects
CARILED, it's short for the Caribbean Local Economic Development - a project funded by the Canadian government - which puts up 23 million dollars for funding micro, small and medium enterprises in the Caribbean through local government authorities. Today, they held a signing ceremony for the Memorandum of Understanding with Belize. 7news was there and we found out more about how this project will help to grow the economy: Dr. Naresh Singh - Executive Director, CARILED "This project must deliver concrete results. And I want to say publicly what those results might be that this project may be held accountable by the people of Belize, the stakeholders, and the Government over time, so that you know what we are trying to deliver and hold us accountable. So, they hard things, the things that you can measure the success of this project by, will be the number of small, micro and medium businesses that emerge, either as new ones, or as existing ones that grow over the life of our project, and its influence on them; the number of jobs that have been created; the capacity that Local Government will have in engaging with the private sector; and Soft target - which is not easy to measure - is the trust, the confidence, and the partnership that will result between local governments, municipalities across the country, and the private sector. That is what we are promising to deliver on this project. We take this very seriously. We do not treat Canadian tax-payers' dollars, and the investment of your energy and your time lightly. We hope that this project will be successful, and that it will deliver those things. They will approach it is if you're making more progress, we will invest more, simply as that, incentive-based - performance based. So, you deliver more, and we'll work with you more because we want to demonstrate what works. It is not one of the traditional that says that Belize gets $200,000 or a million dollars, Jamaica gets 5 million dollars, and then the Government says, 'Well, this is our money anyway, we don't have to perform. They're going to give us anyhow.' We don't do it like that."

Educ Minister Urges Patience At OW Tech
And today at the CARILED event, we got a chance to speak to the Minister of Educaiton. He's in the news because yesterday there were two high school strikes - one in Orange Walk and the other in Belmopan. There's not much the ministry can do about the one in Belmopan since the Baptist School Management first has to deal with it - but Orange Walk Tehcnical is a government High School - so it falls directly in the Ministry's hands. Faber urged all parties to be patient: Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education "We continue to try to ask the persons who are involved - the stakeholders - to allow the process to work, and I think that this is still happening. Those whoever did whatever was done yesterday, in terms of the walkout, are clearly not looking at that and giving the process a chance to work. But, by and large, that's the position of the Ministry. We asked the teachers, on my visit the last time, to be patient, to have us properly constitute the Board that would deal with the issues, and I believe that this is being done. You saw yesterday that our local ministry officials on ground in Orange Walk were there, meeting the teachers, and it's simply a matter of allowing the process to work. I'll tell you now that there were requests coming from the Board, after that Board was properly constituted, for us to us to send in auditors from the Ministry. And the Ministry did send in an audit team. We're waiting the results of that. I think that the concluded their business at the end of last week. I'm told that they were finishing up yesterday. I have not seen the results of that audit report. This is what we've been saying, if it is, because those are some of allegations that parents and students are make. And if it is the case, then we will find out. But people have to give us a chance to look into what is going on, to give an honest assessment, and if it is that this what we find, then we will say so. But until then, we can't make such allegations; we won't act in haste just to satisfy emotions. We want to make sure that things are done properly. No one can accuse - in fact the Board met, I believe last week, up until midnight on one night. So, no one can accuse the managing authority of not working. And in the meantime, we appeal to all the stakeholders - the students, parents, and the teachers - to try to keep as normal an environment as possible so that this kind of learning that you are talking about can continue."

Chamber Calls On PM to Send His Ministers To Public Accounts Cmte
And while Faber has sent in the auditors to that school - the Chamber of Commerce wants him to help account for Government's finances. Faber is one of four government representatives on the Public Accounts Committee - a committee of the house of Representatives. The Public Accounts Committee is considered to be an important feature in ensuring proper management of public funds. But it is inactive, and that's why the Chamber has written to both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Oppositions to ask them to ensure that their members attend the next meeting which is scheduled for Novmeber 12th. The request is necessary because the Public Accounts Committee is the only one chaired by opposition members - in this case Julius Espat - but has a majority of members from the government side. And perhaps not so strangely, there's never enough of those members from the government side to achieve quorum, so meetings are very rarely held. We today sent text messages to three UDP members of the Committee who are in the country to ask if they will attend. Only one of them, Michael Finnegan called us back. He said that once he is alive and healthy he will attend the meeting but added that the Chamber is behaving quote, "like this committee is a miracle committee where we will just go there and perform miracles - but that's not how it works," end quote. The committee's UDP members are Finnegan, Faber, John Saldivar and Erwin Contreras. The opposition members are Rodwell Ferguson and Julius Espat.

Major Quake In Guatemala, Felt In Belize
Tonight, the residents of Guatemala are recovering from a major earthquake, which was felt in Belize this morning. It registered 7.5 on the Richter scale. Experts are reporting that at around 10:35 a.m. Guatemalan time, the quake struck off Guatemala's Pacific coast, 15 miles south of Champerico and 101 miles west-southwest of the capital. Authorities from Guatemala noted that landslides are blocking roads in some areas, and about 40 houses in the area most affected are damaged. President Otto Perez is quoted in the media as saying there were as many as 100 people who are unaccounted for, based on reports from relatives. The international media reports that there are 39 casualties which have been attributed to the quake. It is one of the strongest quakes to hit Guatemala since 7.5 magnitude quake in 1976 which claimed more than 20,000 lives.

Infrastructure For A Marine Reserve
To date, the Sustainable Tourism Program has worked on 4 major projects since February of this year, and tonight we note one more. And this project is important due to its intricate nature because how do you build infrastructure on a Marine Reserve? Well, Alex Laasner, the lead architect from the Belmopan firm, Architecture and Project Management, will have to set the precedent because his firm won the contract to the architectural designs for tourism infrastructure at the Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve. He comes qualified for the job because he recently acquired qualification as a Green Associate in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The signing of the contract was held last week Friday.

Did The Magic-Wand Mayor Drive City Hall To A "Fiscal Cliff"?
After the presidential election in the US, the term "fiscal-cliff" has taken center stage in the new cycle. It refers to $600 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect at year's end - if President Obama can't reach a compromise with a Republican Congress. But it's a little known fact that the City Council was facing its own fiscal cliff a few weeks ago. Now, it wasn't billions of dollars, but the Council was way behind on its payments to the Sanitation companies. And that's because City Hall is throwing everything it has into street paving. It's a massive effort - and 31 streets have been concrete paved in six months - which is completely unprecedented. But, we wondered, has the mayor - in his mono-maniacal pursuit to pave-more-streets - put the city council, and the city itself in a bad position? We put that to him today in a feisty, extended interview. It is long, but it is also revealing. Here's how the back and forth went: Jules Vasquez "So, we have North Front Street, which is being done under the STP. Then you have Freetown Road, which is now receiving major surgery. So, I'm saying that these are 2 of the major arteries on the Northside. Is it too much, Mayor?"

Channel 5

Another Baptist Pastor accused of sexually molesting minors
There may be more than one victim in a sexual abuse case in Franks Eddy in the Cayo District. The details began to unravel on Monday when an eleven year old reported that on two occasions, the pastor of the Baptist Church in the village had abused her. The physical contact occurred in the church [...]

A grandfather and a boat captain accused of crimes against underage girls
There are two other cases of alleged carnal knowledge. A twenty-year old mother of Indian Hill Estate in Orange Walk Town claims that she surprised her seventy nine year old father-in-law in a compromising position with her two year old daughter. The reported incident happened on Tuesday morning when she found her daughter sitting on [...]

Minister of Education addressing problems at Orange Walk & Belmopan High School
At another Baptist school, the faculty, as well as the enrolment of Baptist High School in Belmopan held an on-campus protest, during which they demanded the termination of acting Principal Delvorine Hamilton, who took over following the resignation of former principal Norman Willacey. Willacey is another pastor who fell from grace after confessing to having [...]

Crime Ridden Areas demarcated in Lake Independence
The Minister of National Security announced last Thursday that with immediate effect, several areas in the Old Capital and elsewhere would be demarcated as Crime Ridden Areas. It is a designation assigned under the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act that would expedite the work of security personnel in neighborhoods that criminals call home. The [...]

Crime Control Council to be replaced by Restore Belize
The Crime Control Council has been inactive for a couple years. The Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act clearly defines that the fourteen member group that was appointed by the Prime Minister would plan, develop and coordinate crime prevention programs and strategies and also locate jobs for unemployed youth. But the Chairman of the Council, [...]

P.M. attends high level meetings in Honduras
Earlier today, the Prime Minister and delegation travelled to Honduras in a private plane on an official visit where he is being toasted by President Porfirio Lobo Sosa and is expected to sign a cooperation agreement with Honduras.� P.M. Barrow returns to Belize on Thursday and will head out again on Friday for Miami where [...]

People with Anti-social behavior to be targeted in crime strategy
The five areas that the Ministry of National Security intends to be demarcated as Crime Ridden will not be confirmed until Thursday when it is expected that the initiative will go through its final procedural stage of being gazetted. But at the Business Forum on November first, Prime Minister Dean Barrow also hinted that there [...]

Bringing policy together to help youths who fall through the cracks
Representatives from the World Bank are in the country working with the Ministry of Human Development and other related institutions such as the Ministry of Education to improve and enhance policies that improve social conditions across the population. Vulnerable age groups were a consistent topic of the discussion the group held with the media on [...]

CARILED multimillion dollar MOU to fund economic growth
Representatives from the Caribbean Local Economic Development Program (CARILED), and the Ministry of Local Government signed a memorandum of understanding this morning at the Radisson.� CARILED is a six-year multimillion dollar project in which local governments will take advantage of available resources to fuel economic growth, as well as job creation.� As part of the [...]

Education Minister says Unions drag out process; consultation not mandatory
The Belize National Teachers' Union has been up in arms recently, following the ratification of a statutory instrument to amend the Education Rules.� According to the union's executive, the Ministry of Education fell short of its commitment to allow final criticism of the legal document prior to its approval.� This was to have been done, [...]

Drinking beer in public leads to police assault and escape charge
Twenty year old Latifah Augustus, a vocational student of Belize City, appeared in the Magistrates' Court twice today, following an incident involving public drinking on Friday night.� Augustus, who was caught drinking a Belikin beer in public, was arrested and escorted to the Queen Street Police Station where she was charged for the offense.� While [...]

Ascenthium is the local Superstar group with $10,000 Prize!
After a red carpet of glamour and glitz, the grand finale of the Next Superstar got underway at the Bliss on Tuesday night. There was a line-up of favorite artists, but the occasion was all about who would be the first Superstar in season one of the show. The three worthy groups treated the audience [...]


Teenage Girl Found; Man Reported Missing In Dangriga
A thirteen year old girl reported missing at the weekend has been located and reunited with her parents. Police in Orange Walk say that the parents of the primary school girl went to the station to report that she had been found. According to the parents, th...

Tremors Felt In Belize As Guatemala Experiences Earthquake
A powerful earthquake shook Guatemala today and there are reports of dozens of deaths. The quake struck around nine thirty Belize time this morning and measured seven point four on the Richter scale. Shortly after the temblor was felt, Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina...

Prime Minister Leaves on Three Nation Working Visit
Prime Minister Dean Barrow today embarks on a three nation working visit over the course of the next six days. According to an official release, Prime Minister Barrow, accompanied by his wife Kim, this morning traveled to Honduras for an official visit at the invitation of presid...

Boat Captain Charged for Having Relations with Minor
Another disturbing case of a similar nature was reported in San Pedro. 48-year-old Honduran boat captain Candido Alamilla has been charged with one count of unlawful carnal knowledge and three counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature. A ten year old student accomp...

Belize Benefits from Canadian Investment
Belize is among seven Caribbean countries that will benefit from an investment of monies in specific projects from the Government of Canada and the Federation of Canada Municipalities. The twenty-three million dollars will be shared among the countries in projects that the Canadi...

Belize Scholarship Awarded
On Tuesday we reported on the results of the 2012 CAPE/CSEC examinations results which were published this week. Dorien Villafranco, a graduate of the Saint John's College Junior College topped the CAPE section of the exams earning a total of six grade one. In the hig...

Cancer Awareness Month Celebrated in Toledo
The Toledo Branch of the Belize Cancer Society held a month of activities for the October Cancer Awareness Month. There were weekly radio educational shows with several medical practitioners as guests on the local Wamalali radio station. First and second places for the poetry contest w...

Pastor To Be Charged for Sexual Intercourse with Minor
Reports to Love News Center are that a pastor will be charged later today or tomorrow in Belmopan for carnal knowledge. This follows reports by an 11-year-old girl. The girl accompanied by her mother reported to police that the 46-year-old pastor had sexual intercourse ...


Is The Ministry Of Health Investigating Alleged Cases Of Malpractice At The NRH
To date four women have come forward making serious allegations of malpractice against the Northern Regional Hospital and so far the Ministry of Health has been tight-lipped about the allegations. The stories related by the women are nothing less than excruciating and so far two of the babies born at the hospital have been diagnosed with brain damage but yet there are no indications if the cases are being investigated by the Ministry. What we can tell you; though, is that the cases of 31 year old Alicia Patt, 41 year old Maria Chable and 17 year old Sally Coh have been referred to the Belize Medical and Dental Association and the Medical Council. So far only the Belize Medical and Dental Association have responded to the allegations. In a letter addressed to Orange Walk East Area Representative, Doctor Marco Tulio Mendez, the BMDA expresses great concern for the reported cases. The BMDP states and we quote "To this end BMDA will do everything in its power to bring to the attention of the appropriate authorities a call for an independent or external inquiry into your reported cases and seeks your cooperation in encouraging those persons affected to come forward and lodge complaints to the Medical Council copied to us for follow up." But an independent or external inquiry is all that the BMDP can call for since their hands are basically tied. Here is what President of the BMDP Joel Cervantes told Channel Five news last night.

More Chaos At O/W Technical High School
On October 8th, teachers and students of Orange Walk Technical High School walked out of class in protest of Principal Elizabeth Muschamp. Most of the students and teachers were dissatisfied with the way Muschamp managed the school and the lack of financial reports only added insult to injury. On the day of the walkout, Minister of Education Honorable Patrick Faber, met with teachers and the Board of Management where it was agreed that Muschamp and the District Education Manager would meet with the staff and head of departments so as to find a solution to the problem. That was three weeks ago and today all indications are that the sun is yet to shine upon Technical High School as the problems continue. This morning, the plan was for teachers and students to walkout of class, but before that happened, District Education Manager Carla Alvarez arrived at the school and pulled teachers and other interested parties into an emergency meeting. Nevertheless, classes were interrupted and a number of parents arrived at the school to take their children home at the same time they voiced out their concerns. Here is what reporter Hipolito Novelo found out. Today was supposed to be a normal school day for the students of Orange Walk Technical High School, but that scenario changed quickly. On a normal day the buzzer would ring three times and students would be in class. Today; however, the buzzer rang four times and while some students roamed around campus, others walked up and down the corridors and some even relaxed under the shade.

Store Robbed In San Jose Nuevo Palmar
There was an armed robbery in the peaceful community of San Jose Nuevo Palmar which luckily did not turn deadly last night. The incident played out at around 8:15pm and the target was "D Corner Store" located on Balam Street in the centre of the village. Three men wearing red handkerchiefs over their faces barged into the store and held up the proprietor and a customer at gunpoint. Voice of Eye Witness "The three of them come in pointing with a gun, two of them were short and the other was a tall guy, one stayed by the door and the other stayed by one of my customers and the other approach me by the cashier so he asked me for the money and I gave him the money and then he was asking for the purse. The next person who was with the customer said let shoot her so that she can give the purse but the next guy was busy putting in the money so he grabbed e took off my chain and ring and so he got vexed and he hold me on my back and then he drop me and turned me around." Residents, who live next to the store, heard the commotion and came to the aid of the victims. But little did Eduardo Oliva know that he would come face to face with one of the gunmen.

Emergency Meeting Called By Residents Of San Jose Nuevo Palmar
As a result of the armed robbery and other crimes reported in the area, residents of San Jose Palmar have called for an emergency meeting. The meeting is scheduled to take place tomorrow at 6:00 in the evening at the community centre. Hon. Marco Tulio Mendez, Area Rep OW East "Well, that is what we have to do, we need to organize ourselves and we need to do that and we have to get our voices heard because too many things are happening. Estos incidentes que est�n ocurriendo y sabemos de que el crimen esta en estos momentos esta alto y cada uno vamos a estar afectados continuamente y por eso como ocurrió esto anoche en el centro de Palmar pues todos realmente est�n preocupados, pues se va hacer una reunión para poder ver cuales son las soluciones en la cuales los de el aldea, vecinos y todo puedan ayudarse y puedan asistirse y puedan estar alertas de cualquier se�al en la que puedan poner peligro su vida. Se le esta invitando, va a estar el alcalde de la aldea y grupos no gubernamentales como el neighbourhood watch y personal encargadas de eso y definitivamente esta invitado todo aquellos que quieran ayudar en como vamos a podernos mantener lo mas seguro posible." Again, the meeting is scheduled to commence at 6:00pm.

Elections In The U.S
Today thousands of Belizean Americans living in the U.S and some even here at home exercised their rights to vote for the next U.S President. Of note is that more than 80,000 Belizean Americans live in the Chicago Area alone. Fifty one year old President Barack Obama, elected four years ago on a message of hope and change, is vying for a second term while 65 year old Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger, says the president has failed miserably to deliver on his heady promises of 2008, assailing him in particular for his handling of America's enduring economic woes. The race for the White House has been a dead heat, with polls showing Obama and Romney tied nationally for weeks. The president, however, had pulled ahead nationally in a pair of polls released this week. Obama has also had narrow leads in several of the key battleground states that will determine the election; he's also reportedly got the edge in early voting. Obama's improved showing in a slew of recent surveys suggests his response to mega-storm Sandy last week has won him crucial support in swing states. At 2:00 this afternoon more than 45 million Americans had already cast their ballots. In poll averages calculated by the Real Clear Politics website, Obama led in Iowa (by 2.4%), Ohio (2.9%), Wisconsin (4.2%), Virginia (0.3%), New Hampshire (2.0%), and Colorado (1.5%). Romney led by 1.5% in the biggest swing state, Florida, and in North Carolina, which Obama won by just three percent, or 14,000 votes, in 2008.

Water Restored In The Village Of Santa Martha
The last time we made a report on the Village of Santa Martha was when more than 1,200 villagers were out of adequate portable water for more than 50 days. The problem arose after the water pump experienced mechanical problems and repairs were hard to come by despite the fact that resident's lodged their complaints to the village's water board and the Ministry of Rural Development. But Orange Walk East Area Representative, Honorable Marco Tulio Mendez, has been hard at work to solve the problem and today he shared the good news that water in the village has been restored. Hon. Marco Tulio Mendez, Area Rep OW East "El chairman del Water Board me dijo que ya la maquina esta trabajando mas sin embargo no pueden estar sacando dinero para poder abasteciendo con diesel y pudimos llegar a un de acuerdo en la cuales estoy ayudando durante la semana para proveer el agua al aldea y fueron voluntarios a limpiar todo el tanque para que este bien higi�nico y s le est� dando agua a la aldea pero el Domingo vamos a tener una reunión publica de toda la aldea para que haiga transparencia el las cuentas y van a estar contentos y van a empezar a pagar, tambi�n est�n pidiendo que haiga un cambio del Water Board y vamos a ver como hay sugerencia en como hacerlo y podamos ver como un problema se a resuelto y buscar la mejor solución para Santa Martha." The meeting will be held at the village's community centre on Sunday.


Marijuana charges and acquittals in Magistrate's Court
Thirty-one year old Tanise Smith, a resident of Taylor's Alley was charged with drug trafficking when she appeared in court today. She pled not guilty to the charge. Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith offered her a bail of $1,000.00 which she met. She is to return to court on December 21. The incident occurred around 9:15 a.m. yesterday. The police, members of the GSU, reported that they were on mobile patrol on Mckay Boulevard when they saw Smith with a bag on her arm. They said when they searched the bag they found 1,981 grams of cannabis. As a result, Smith was detained and charged and the cannabis was labeled as exhibit. Smith was represented by attorney Dickie Bradley. Forty-eight year old Lawrence Noralez, of Caesar Ridge Road, who the police alleged they found with about 26 pounds of cannabis was charged with drug trafficking when he appeared in court today. Noralez pled not guilty to the charge. He told Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser that the cannabis was not his. He also said that he was mentally challenged but he takes his medication every day. Senior Magistrate Fraser offered him a bail of $8,000.00 with two sureties of $4,000.00 each. His case was adjourned until January 3, 2013. The bust occurred around 9 a.m. yesterday. The police, members of Special Branch, reported that when they searched Noralez' residence they found a crocus sack containing 10,033 grams of cannabis under his bed. As a result, Noralez was taken into custody and charged. A common-law couple, 24 year old Carlton Pakeman and 24 year old Ashanti Scott were acquitted of a charge of drug trafficking for 441 grams of cannabis today. The magistrate, Adolph Lucas Jr. ruled that there were inconsistencies in the testimony given by the prosecution witnesses which created doubt and the benefit of that doubt must go to the accused persons. The incident occurred around 2:15 p.m. on July 10, 2012. According to the evidence, the police, members of the GSU were in Lindo's Alley when they saw the couple in a Honda Passport vehicle, they approached the vehicle and ordered the couple to get out for a search to be conducted on them and the vehicle. When they searched a black bag that Scott had the police testified that they found two separate bags that contained cannabis. The police said that they also found two pampers which they believed were for the baby Scott had in her arms. Scott said that that she and Pakeman were not shown what was inside the bag and that they had no knowledge of the cannabis that the police said they found in the bag. Pakeman and Scott were not represented by any attorney.

CAPE/CSEC results announced
In news of a more upbeat nature regarding young people and education � the results for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations CAPE and Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate CSEC were released in August of this year. Since that time students had an opportunity to launch queries if any or to bring up their dissatisfaction if any with their results. The query period is now closed and CXC will begin awarding merits to the candidates who performed well. Juan Vargas is the CXC local registrar. The certification received from the CAPE and CSEC Examinations have regional and international currency.

Teachers and students protest; want Belmopan Baptist High school principal removed
The Belmopan Baptist High School is in the news again � and again it is not in a positive way. Teachers and students of the institution today held a demonstration to vent their dissatisfaction with what they say are the many issues affecting the school since the beginning of the school year. Viewers will recall that the current school year started under a new leadership after the former principal was ousted for an inappropriate behavior with a former student of the school. The staff and students today aimed their anger and frustration squarely at the acting principal Delvorine Hamilton accusing her of being the chief architect of the many discrepancies plaguing the high school. This morning Love News spoke with teacher and BNTU School Representative at the Belmopan Baptist High School, Pedro Cal who told us why they decided to walk out of the classroom today. Cal told Love News that they are also concerned that some of the teachers at the school are teaching without the proper qualifications. But that is not the only problem on the list of problems. And to make matters worse, Cal says there exists no kind of teacher-principal communication which is necessary to make the institution run smoothly. Love News tried to contact the principal but we were told she was not available at the moment. We contacted the Ministry of Education who told us they are aware of the situation however it is being dealt with by the school board. Attempts to get a response from the School board today were unsuccessful.

Frank's Eddy pastor accused of sex with 11 year old girl
The reports of grown men sexually abusing children continues to get more sickening each time an incident makes it to the daily news. Tonight, there is another to report, this time from the Cayo district. It happened in the quiet village of Frank's Eddy and the victim is an eleven year old child who attends the government school in the community. According to reports, the alleged perpetrator of the sickening crime is a well respected member of the community, he pastor of a church no less. Love News understands that on two separate occasions, the pastor had sexual intercourse with the little girl in the last week. The first incident allegedly happened inside the church building in the village on the afternoon of Sunday, October twenty eight. Four days later on November first, the little girl says, the pastor repeated the sickening act, this time inside of the pastor's home. The pastor was taken into police custody and tonight remains in detention pending charges on Wednesday. The incident has left the entire community in shock and tonight, some women we spoke with say they are concerned for their own safety knowing that such an evil act could have been committed by such a trusted individual. Love News understands that counseling is being provided for the child.

New entrant to the cacao industry market in Toledo
A new buyer, Maya Mountain Cacao, has entered into and now fully operational in the Cacao Market in the Toledo District. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details.

Belize continues to target malaria for eradication
Malaria continues to exist in the Americas, though in Belize at a less prevalent rate than it was a decade ago. But there are still locations within the country where we need to focus in order to keep the number of cases at a minimum. So today being World Malaria Day is a timely occasion for the Ministry of Health to do just that. Chief of Operations in the Ministry's Vector Control Unit, Kim Bautista, told Love News that the Stann Creek District is of primary focus. The 79 cases of Malaria reported in 2011were detected 29 communities, while this year, there are 33 cases hailing from nine communities.

Recapping Cancer awareness month in Toledo
The Toledo Branch of the Belize Cancer Society held a month of activities for the October Cancer Awareness Month. There were weekly radio educational shows with several medical practitioners as guests on the local Wamalali radio station. First and second places for the poetry contest were awarded to Toledo Community College, and the Roman Catholic School in Barranco received first place for the poster competition. The cancer awareness concluded with a three day activity which included a Cancer Awareness Day held at the Central Park, an eight mile health walk against Cancer, and an ecumenical service and prayer vigil held at the Parish Hall. The message of hope at the Ecumenical service was delivered by lay minister of the Big Falls R.C. church, Mrs. Marie Aleman, and the message of faith was delivered by Rev. Tessica Hackshaw from the Methodist church. Choirs in attendance included River of Life, Big Falls Quiche Choir and St. Peter Claver Parish Choir. The events for the month were coordinated by the President, Guillerminia Mendez and the coordinator and pioneer, Dr. Elizabeth Cardenas. The Toledo Branch of the Cancer Society will continue its awareness with a monthly health walk to be held on the last Saturday of each month.

Streamlining Belize's social protection system
The government, through the relevant Ministries responsible for addressing poverty and the social challenges that accompany it is in the process of streamlining itself to better address the problem. The social protection system as it is called involves the types of projects under the initiative, the scope of those projects and the budgets allocated for them. Most of that funding comes from the World Bank and Sarah Berger, who is a Social Protection Specialist with the World Bank, says that the idea is not for the World Bank to dictate what is done, but just to help improve what is already there. Meanwhile, Social Planner in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, John Flowers, said that the system has already been in place, and that a lot of it can be kept. Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Education, David Leacock, said that there has already been some adjustments in the public schools for more equity as far as financial coverage is concerned. Through a conditional cash transfer programs, poorer families will be able to educate their children. This is something, according to CEO in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, Judith Alpuche, that was carefully schemed in order for it to succeed. Sarah Berger says that the government's BOOST program is one that has proven to be successful among the poor and should be adopted in more countries. Meanwhile, CEO in the Ministry of Education, David Leacock, says that about 95 percent of primary school children are in school and that the target is for the government to now focus on the five percent that is still not in a school system.

Birth registration exercise goes to Cayo
Today the Government of Belize's Vital Statistics Unit, UNICEF and the office of the Special Envoy for women and children joined hands to register children who have not been registered since birth. The initiative started in the Cayo District and Kim Simplis, who is the Special Envoy for Women and children, was a key player in the drive. UNICEF's Country Representative, Christine Norton and Registrar of Births, Lovinia Daniels, were also a part of the registration process.

Primary School girl reported missing
No Jasmine Alert has been issued; but tonight the police department is reporting that a fifteen year old girl is missing. Angelita Elvira Hernandez, a student of Unity Presbyterian School in Belize City, was reported missing by her father on Monday. According to the parent, the missing girl's sister last saw her around seven thirty yesterday morning on Antelope Street as she headed to classes. Angelita Elvira Hernandez was last seen wearing her school uniform which is a red blouse and blue with red striped jumper. She wore a pink and black tennis and carried a sky blue knapsack. Angelita Elvira Hernandez is of Hispanic decent, medium built and stands about five feet, three inches tall. She has shoulder length black hair with brown streaks. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Angelita Elvira Hernandez is a asked to call the nearest police station.


Police identify Pastor accused of sexual offences
Police have officially charged the pastor accused of sexual offences with a minor. In yesterday's newscast, we told...

Walk out at Orange Walk Technical High School over alleged mismanagement of finances
We gave a full account on yesterday's industrial action by teachers at the Belmopan Baptist High. But even as that ...

Agriculture CEO sets record straight about citrus industry.
The Citrus Growers Association (CGA) has been at odds with the CPBL over shareholder authority, citrus quotas and p...

17 year-old without driver's licence in two vehicle collission
It was more than a fender bender today when two vehicles collided on the San Martin Road. What we understand of the...

Police response vehicle is inadequate
While our news ream was at the accident scene a white pick truck with a camper pulled up. It is the Police mobile c...

PM in Honduras to discuss bilateral issues
Prime Minister Dean Barrow arrived in Tegucigalpa, Honduras with his wife and a diplomatic entourage today. The PM ...

Morality Matters Seminar empowers parents and youth
Amy Bowden is a speaker on sex and family education and a trained crisis counsellor. She is in Belize facilitating ...

Earthquake hits Guatemala and Belizeans feel tremors
A 7.4-magnitude earthquake has struck off Guatemala's Pacific coast, reportedly killing at least eight persons. Gua...

Man remanded for over ten kilos of marijuana
A man looking to make an illegal buck is in jail tonight. 48 year-old Lawrence Noralez, of Caesar Ridge Road, was a...

Honduran charged for carnal knowledge
Another Honduran national has been charged for carnal knowledge. A 10yr old Honduran Student of North Ambergris Cay...

Arrest made for attempted murder of Leron Audinette
An arrest has been made for the attempted murder of Leron Audinette. Yesterday Police arrested and charged a 17year...

Grandfather accused of sexually molesting two year old grand daughter
Orange Walk police have detained a grandfather for sexually molesting his two year old grand daughter. The child's ...

Punta Gorda Police discover drugs in open lots
Punta Gorda Police have discovered drugs in open lots. First, on Friday morning, Police conducted a search in an op...

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More News: Scroll up from here


Totally Bloggable: Guest Bloggers Needed!
Good morning guys (and it is a GORGEOUS one in Belize), In a few weeks, I am travelling back to the land of my birth for the first time in over a year and a half. And while I've loved being the YucatanScoop, HondurasScoop, Panama, Costa Rica and ColombiaScoops over the past year or so, NewJerseyScoop just won't have the same flair. I fully intend to take pictures and write about some things...maybe a trip to Manhattan or being overwhelmed by the traffic, shopping options and THE COLD, but I also know that many readers will want their tropical fixes. And so...I ask for some guest blogging help! I would love to hear from people who live a different life than I do. Maybe retiring in San Pedro or budgeting to retire in Belize or attending High School in San Pedro or opening your business in San Pedro. Or a Belizean who has moved out of Belize and the transition (would LOVE that). Or I'd love to have a blogger from the mainland let me know about her life there. Or something simple that I rarely do, like a walk up north or going diving. Or a day in your life. Or pictures of your neighborhood. Trust me I KNOW, you don't need to be a great writer. Or something lots of people could write about: why I moved to Belize or why I want to move to Belize or my wedding in Belize or my first trip to Belize or how I bought a house in Belize & what I would have done differently get the picture. Your favorite bar? Your favorite restaurant? Your trip to Orange Walk? How you chose schools for your kids on the island? Now I am rambling. But I would also love someone who just wants to go out and take pictures of a party or a new restaurant opening or a family BBQ. It's super fun playing Scooperazzi.

Belize's Chaa Creek Congratulates President Obama
The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Belize's premier eco resort and one of the country's largest employers is reflecting a nationwide sentiment in congratulating President Obama on winning the US Presidential election, marketing administrator Larry Waight said today. "We have very close ties to the US on many levels, with over 300,000 Belizeans living in the US, a large expat community here and strong cooperation in areas such as trade and investment, border security and, of course, as a tourism destination. It's no wonder that the US elections have been followed very closely and debated with almost as much vigour as up north,' Mr Waight said. "Both candidates had their supporters among our large staff, but in the end I think I can speak for the entire Chaa Creek family in congratulating President Obama, and wishing him all the best for the next four years," he added.

Exploring ATM
Another great article about Actun Tunichil Muknal. The lack of cameras isn't stopping anyone from visiting Cayo's number 1 site. There's a list in this article of cool things that one sees at ATM. While Mayan artifactes aren't on the list, they're mentioned throughout the article. Bats, stuck into holes in the ceiling made by guano destroying the limestone. An albino crawfish. Spiders! Like a big, nasty-looking female grey wolf spider. A rock that looked like a croc. "Rockadile." Calcite crystals that made many some of the wall sparkle and glitter. Stalactites. Stalagmites. Layers of rock that dripped or flowed like curtains.

International Sources

Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow to Make Visits to Honduras, Mexico
Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow's agenda for the next week includes official visits to Honduras and Mexico. Barrow departs Wednesday for an official visit to Honduras, at the invitation of President Porfirio Lobo. After a trip to Miami to meet with the legal advisors working with Belize's government on the negotiations on the Superbond, Barrow will then travel to Mexico City to join the presidents of Central America for an official meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon. He will return to Belize on Nov. 12. Gaspar Vega will serve as Acting Prime Minister during Barrow's absence.

The high cost of preventing employees from unionising
In October 2000 the Trade Unions and Employers' Organisations (Registration, Recognition and Status) Act came into force in Belize. The act is intended to provide protection to both employers and employees to freely associate and form employees' and employers' organisations to protect their respective rights. While the act is designed to protect these rights, in a society such as Belize, where employers' organisations are uncommon, little if any benefit is derived by employers from the act. On the contrary, an employee's constitutional right to freely associate is entrenched in the act, thereby creating a new cause of action against an employer that violates an employee's right to unionise. The Supreme Court is given extensive powers to redress the violation of an employee's rights under the act by making such orders as it considers just and equitable. Redress may include an order for reinstatement of an employee, restoration of benefits and other advantages and payment of compensation. The list is by no means exhaustive; but unlike similar laws in other jurisdictions, the act provides no guidance as to how the Supreme Court should exercise its discretion in awarding compensation. The first claim made under the act was filed by six former employees of Mayan King Limited. The claimants were banana workers on Mayan King's banana farms. According to them, they were spearheading the movement to unionise the workers at Mayan King and were dismissed as a result of their union activities.

Belize Electricity Limited - Power Plants and SWOT Analysis, 2012 Update
The report contains a detailed description of the power generation company's business operations, history, corporate strategy, and business structure. This report contains a detailed SWOT analysis, information on key employees (executives), and major products and services. Scope - Major Power Plants (assets) - summarized and detailed information about the power plants (assets). - Operational Metrics (capacity, generation, revenue, sales, number of consumers). - Business description - A detailed description of the company's operations and business divisions. - Corporate strategy - GlobalData's summarization of the company's business strategy. - SWOT analysis - A detailed analysis of the company's strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. - Company history - Progression of key events associated with the company. - Major products and services - A list of major products, services and brands - Key employees - A list of the key executives and personnel heading key departments/functions. - Executive biographies - A brief summary of the executives' employment history. - Financial deals - Coverage of key financial deals from 2006 onwards, depending upon information availability - Important locations and subsidiaries - A list of key locations and subsidiaries of the company, including contact details.

Danny Michel builds new album from scratch in Belize
FOR his new album Toronto rocker Danny Michel decided to do something completely different from anything he'd done before. His new eight-song disc, Black Birds are Dancing Over Me, recorded last winter in Belize, features Michel performing with musicians from the Garifuna Collective. The recording sessions took place over several months but the actual concept for the album started percolating in Michel's subconscious many years before. "I first went to Belize over 10 years ago on a trip, loved it, and I've gone back every year since," he says. I got more and more involved in the community and started working with a school there and always kept thinking it would be great to make a record there. The music and the vibe has been slowly sneaking into my music over the last few records and this time I thought 'let's do it right' and do the whole album there." Hanging out on Caye Caulker, a small island off the north coast of Belize, Michel listened to a lot of local Garifuna punta music including records by Andy Palacio and the Garifuna Collective produced at Ivan Duran's Stonetree Studios. "They do all these records and I thought why don't I just ask these people if they'd be interested in doing a record with me," says Michel.

Belize, we've got your back
Durango-based team goes to Central America to offer spine operations. An organization founded four years ago to promote medical education in La Plata County is now performing on an international stage. Enlarge photo Courtesy of Resources for Medical Education and Collaboration The Durango team performed three operations during its August stay in Belize, including one to correct a 90-degree spinal curvature in a 13-year-old girl. Dr. John Williams, right front, operates on the girl at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. Enlarge photo Courtesy of Resources for Medical Education and Collaboration Sister Alicia Moody, left, the lead operating room nurse at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City, and Keri George, a registered nurse from Calgary, Alberta, prepare instrumentation for an operation in August. Enlarge photo Courtesy of Resources for Medical Education and Collaboration In a previous visit in May 2011, Durango spine surgeons Dr. Jim Youssef, from Durango, and Dr. John Williams, from Indiana, evaluated a patient at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. A team from Resources for Medical Education and Collaboration made its fourth trip to Belize this summer to provide life-altering spinal care at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in the capital, Belize City. The weeklong trip produced numerous conferences with Belizians in the medical field, 14 in-clinic patient visits and surgery on three people with spinal abnormalities - a 13-year-old girl, a 54-year-old woman and a 72-year-old man. The correction of the 13-year-old's 90-degree spinal curvature was the first scoliosis surgery ever in Belize. It was performed by Dr. Andrew Moulton and Dr. John Williams, with support services from other team members. Jarrett Self, an operating-room technician at Mercy Regional Medical Center; Caitlyn McCullough, Durango-based executive director of the organization; Mary Dietz, a spinal neuromonitor from Pennsylvania; and Keri George, a registered nurse from Calgary, Alberta, accompanied Moulton and Williams, orthopedic surgeons from New York and Indiana, respectively. George, working through contacts in Belize, has been the Resources for Medical Education and Collaboration liaison since the beginning and has been on all four trips by the team.

Visiting the Mayan Ruins of Belize
With the Maya Calendar coming to an end this year, speculation on the fate of the world is rampant. What better time to visit Belize and learn about this ancient culture? I decided that a good place to start was with a visit to a Mayan ruins site. Belize has many sites to explore, but I chose to travel to the far southern reaches of the country to a site often overlooked by tourists. Lubaantun ("Place of the Fallen Stones") sits atop a hill surrounded by streams and dense rainforest. This spectacular site dates back to the late classic period (700AD -900AD). Believed to have been the ceremonial center for the Mayans of Southern Belize, Lubaantun has three ball courts and spectators stands. There are also secret ceremonial sections with altars�for sacrifices! The site exhibits some of the finest masonry of the Mayan world. Hand-cut black and slate limestone blocks fit together so tightly that the buildings don't need mortar. It's truly remarkable considering the primitive tools these builders had to work with. The mysterious Crystal Skull was allegedly discovered at Lubaantun. History tells us that Mitchell Hedges, a British explorer and amateur archaeologist, visited Belize and explored the site of Lubaantun in 1924. He returned with his step daughter, Anna Mitchell Hedges, in 1926 and she found the Crystal Skull on her 16th birthday. Some Mayans believe the story to be a hoax but the speculation and the mystery provides for a bit of entertainment-albeit a bit creepy. Wandering through Lubaantun, the reality of the tragic collapse of the Maya Ancient Society comes to life. Mayans consider the ruins sacred and Shamans still visit the sites for ceremonies at special times during the Maya Calendar. The sites also serve as educational, historical and patrimonial places for generations of Maya descendants who are sadly losing their customs and traditions due to modern influences.

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