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Today's Belize News: December 1, 2012 #452457
12/01/12 08:59 AM
12/01/12 08:59 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 73,361
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Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP


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The San Pedro Sun

Turneffe Atoll is officially a Marine Reserve
Turneffe Atoll is now a Marine Reserve after a commemoration ceremony was held on Thursday November 22nd to officially declare the atoll the latest marine reserve in Belize. In September of this year, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development Honorable Lisel Alamilla took a proposal to the Belize Cabinet to have the Turneffe Atoll declared a marine reserve. Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow, along with his Cabinet, endorsed, supported and enacted the proposal which was finally signed into law. The newly form Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve spans over 325,000 acres and now becomes the largest Marine Reserve in Belize and is considered one of the largest and most biologically diverse atoll in the Caribbean. Speaking at the event, Minister Alamilla said that the signing is historical. “Well, I think it’s really a historical event because from my understanding, the Turneffe Atoll has been a gap, like a big hole in the marine protected areas system of Belize. It was already recognized that it is of ecological importance, and that we needed to protect and manage it. But for whatever reasons, that had not transpired, so today, that was made possible. So, it’s really – some people are telling me that more than 20 years ago – it was recognized that this was an area which really needed to be protected. It will be managed like any other marine reserve. Really, the way we manage and utilize marine reserves is that it’s really to enhance them; it’s a tool to manage the fisheries sector. Only 10% of the area is a no-take zone. So all the other areas, people can fish in and conduct other activities. So, it’s really more enforcement, monitoring and research going on. We were fortunate enough to have gotten a major contribution for the Bertarelli Foundation in millions of dollars, which will be used to set up the management for Turneffe Atoll,” disclosed Alamilla. Earlier this month, Belize was listed as being among eight countries listed by the European Commission as having a poor track record in dealing with illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The report indicated that that Belize, who was not yet blacklisted, is being given an opportunity to formally respond, refute and take measures to rectify the situation. According to Alamilla, while a separate piece of legislation will be presented to the Solicitor General that will address the issues highlighted by the European Commission, the enactment of Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve is a step in the right direction and is a form of commitment that Belize is prepared to look at positives measures to regulate the use of its waters, especially in the fisheries industry.

US National charged for assaulting officer…Arresting officer transferred with immediate effect
A US national vacationing on Ambergris Caye faced five charges after she disrespected Woman Police Corporal Sharmane Young and also assaulted the female corporal while being detained. The US national is 43-year-old Lisa Marie Merz, a nurse from Syracuse, New York. The incident happened on Saturday, November 24th along the beach in the downtown area of San Pedro Town, after the police proceeded to search a man who was suspected of selling drugs to tourists. According to police, sometime around 12:30AM, while on duty, Corporal Young’s attention was brought to a dark-skinned male who appeared to be selling drugs to some tourists. According to police, a female tourist was cursing at the man in a loud manner since he had offered her drugs. Police said that with the assistance of a special constable, they attempted to search the individual. It is reported by police that the female tourist was demanding that she witness the process. The tourist, later identified as Merz, was in the company of another male, 18-year-old Swiss national Jonathan Pacheles, who was trying to calm Merz down. Pacheles told police that while he only met Merz at a night club a few hours before, all he wanted was for her to calm down and as such took her away. But Merz returned and according to police, that’s when she began cursing at them on Barrier Reef Drive. Both Pacheles and the police said that Corporal Young asked her to discontinue her behavior and gave her the option to leave the area. Police claimed that when she was warned, Merz swore at the Corporal again and that’s when she was informed that she was under arrest. While police proceeded to arrest Merz, she allegedly pushed Young with both of her hands. Merz is alleged to have uttered to Corporal Young, “$%*! You! Don’t tell me a mother $%*!” after which she proceeded to resist arrest by walking away. With the assistance of other police officers who responded to the area, Merz was restrained. While in custody, police said that Merz continued to utter very crude and offensive obscenities at Young, causing the officer to feel “very insulted and disrespected” especially since she is tasked directly with the responsibility of tourism safety on Ambergris Caye. In his statement to police, witness Pacheles explained that “Lisa’s behavior was uninvited and unprovoked and in my mind, as a tourist, it was disrespectful even after she was given the option to leave the area.”

The Belize Zoo: The Best Little Zoo in the World Indeed!
“Make sure you pull your hair back from your forehead,” instructed Sharon Matola. “Hair will most definitely be an issue for Junior.” Junior Buddy was the gorgeous jaguar who presently sat purring above us, only a wire cage keeping him from joining us in the box we sat in. We were at the Belize Zoo, considered the “best little zoo” in the whole world. Junior was just one of the many animals we had seen during our behind the scenes visit with founder and all-around amazing Zoo director Sharon Matola. But back to the foreheads (hair pulled back): I went first, one trembling hand pulling back my hair, and then slowly, I put my forehead against the cage right next to his big, furry face. Through the cage the roughest yet gentlest tongue began LICKING MY FOREHEAD!! It was the most excruciating and exhilarating experience – here I was, in a zoo with jungle-like environment, and mere threaded metal holding back hundreds of pounds of big cat with a 900lb crushing power per inch of tooth, and he was licking my forehead like any old kitty. My companions were thrilled and they too eagerly offered up their foreheads. One of them was so delicious Junior drooled all over her. I have to admit I was just a smidge jealous – I wanted Junior to drool over me. But there you go, either in the zoo or jungle, even a jaguar didn’t think I was drool-worthy; sigh. Junior is one of the most well-known jaguars throughout Belize, and is a perfect example of enrichment training. Junior Buddy was born at the zoo to a problematic sheep-killing jaguar, and his mother rejected him a mere two days after being born. Jaguars are highly intelligent creatures, and the zoo staff, especially Sharon, have found creative ways to keep his mind agile. One of the fun tricks he has learned is somersaulting. Yes, big ole kitty tumbling just doesn’t seem to be right, yet there he was, doing tricks for us (there is video evidence below!). Treats are in order after such impressive tricks, (he also loves applause, but treats are so much nicer) and we can’t help but feel awe when a jaguar gently takes a chicken gizzard or neck from our hands after it’s shown off its impressive skills.

Ambergris Today

John McAfee Claims Gang Suppression Unit Raided His San Pedro Home
Word was out that Belize’s Gang Suppression Unit conducted a search raid at John McAfee’s house located on North Ambergris Caye, yesterday, Thursday, November 29, 2012. Ambergris Today got word of this from neighbors in the area, but both the police press officer and the head of the GSU say that there was no search at McAfee’s property and that in fact, the unit was not even in San Pedro. The following was posted on McAfee’s blog yesterday, Thursday, November 29, 2012: “The GSU and the Coast Gasurd raided my property in San Pedro. They confiscated approximately $400,000 worth of property – cameras, computers, police gear purchased for donations (Note: I had donated tasers, pepper spray, to the SP Police department 4 weeks ago) and other items. They spent 3 hours ransacking every one of my buildings. This is the 8th search of my property since my disappearance. It is certain, in my mind that something or other was planted during this search. What it may be, I have no clue. This is the first time that they have openly taken items from me since the first raid in April of this year. This is all I know for now. Stay tuned. Update: Sam’s father has just been arrested. Threatened to taser him. Locked my housekeeper in her house. Terrorized her. This is April all over again.

Mrs. Barrow & Ambassador Wu donate wheelchairs to Belizeans
The Special Envoy for Women and Children along with the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and CARE-Belize this morning donated 20 wheelchairs to physically challenged Belizeans and the Belize City Emergency Management Organization (CEMO). Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow was present for the handing over along with Taiwanese Ambassador, H.E. David Wu and CARE-Belize Director, Evan Cowo. Four of the chairs went to children in Belize City, 10 to residents of Orange Walk and Corozal, 1 to a child from Cayo, while Councilor in charge of CEMO, Phillip Willoughby, received 5. The 20 wheelchairs are a part of 150 mobility aids, which were procured through the assistance of the Taiwanese Embassy. The list includes: 5 Adaptable pediatric wheelchairs; 10 Personal energy transportation (PET) carts; 20 Adaptable Adult Wheelchairs; 50 Standard children chairs; 55 Adult Folding Wheelchairs; and 10 Table recliners.

Isla Bonita Marching Band Readies for Band Fest 2013
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize is one of the most caring and generous towns that I know. Wednesday, November 28, 2012, islanders tuned into the local Morning Show on Reef TV to help out the Isla Bonita Marching Band to raise funds to represent San Pedro at Band Fest 2013. I was honored to give a helping hand at their Radiothon and Dollar Drive that took place this week. I must admit that this was the first time that I ever participated in a radiothon. It was an awesome experience and feeling to know that you are helping out, especially the youths. Personally, I am very impressed and proud of this marching band for their dedication. I have witnessed their outstanding performance for every special occasion that they have been invited to participate in. On behalf of the Isla Bonita Marching Band, I extend a huge THANK YOU to the entire community of San Pedro who helped support the successful Radiothon and Dollar Drive. They still need a bit more funds and any assistance that can be rendered to them would be greatly appreciated. If you wish to help out the Isla Bonita Marching Band, check out my video below for all the information.

Misc Belizean Sources

Travellers Have Top Reasons for Christmas in Belize
While Belize is known for many things, such as a top dive spot, for its rainforests dotted with many Maya temples and archaeological sites and a laid back lifestyle, it can also be the perfect place for a Christmas holiday, according to Denise Duran, Chaa Creek’s Guest Services Coordinator. Ms Duran said that based on her own observations and feedback from guests, she’s picked three of the top reasons why Belize is the perfect Christmas holiday destination for families, couples, singles and groups of friends. “If you consider all the factors including natural beauty, weather, close proximity to the major US airports and what you get for your money, Belize begins looking like the perfect Christmas vacation destination,” she said, and listed three of the most mentioned reasons why. One - Weather. “The weather is wonderful this time of year, with temperatures between 71°F (22°C) with and 80°F (27°C) and a monthly average of around 75°F (24°C) in December.” Two - Affordability. “People always tell me that they don’t realise what a good deal it is here until after they arrive and see how much there is to do. Over the years Chaa Creek has really become a destination within a destination, meaning that once you arrive here, you can have a complete, affordable Belize experience without leaving our 365 acre rainforest reserve.” she said. “For instance, last year the father of a family said they had the time of their lives and spent less than the previous year at home, because everything everyone wanted to do, from the adults, the teens to the young children, was right here and included in their all-inclusive Belize vacation package. With the horseback riding, mountain bikes, canoes, nature walks, pool and everything else, they never ran out of things to do, and since all meals, tips, taxes and everything is included in one price, they just didn’t spend much money after they arrived. He said that back home, things like dinners out, movie tickets, and all the little treats during Christmas added up to a lot of money they didn’t need to spend this year. Let’s just say he was very happy.

Belize Jewel Series: Tony Rath Photography
Nice write up by a travel writer Lily Girma about a few days we spent together exploring Southern Belize..... Earlier this month, I received a request from my publisher to submit an author bio and photo for my guidebook by December. It has haunted me ever since, because a) I cringe when I have to write about myself in the third person, and b) if you ask me how many times I’ve been in front of a lens since becoming a travel photographer four years ago, I can count them on one hand. For all the months I’ve spent in Belize, the multiple round trips, the gorgeous backdrops I’ve captured and experienced, the thousands upon thousands of shots — I’ve rarely, ever felt the need to be in them. If I have a photo, either a tour guide or friend suggested it, or it was a quick handheld shot. I just don’t think about having my photo taken anymore. Ironic, for someone who used to model on the side, years ago — from bridal to local runway shows in Washington DC — and who loved doing the “tourist” thing back in my 20s (you know, the obligatory stand-in-front-of-everything photo). Well, I spent the past week in Dangriga, to continue my work on the South Coast chapter and to attend the November 19 Garifuna Settlement Day celebrations. Anyone who knows Belize and Dangriga, knows that the best photographer in the country lives here (in my humble opinion, he is the best). It’s a name you’ve probably even seen yourself, online or in print:

BBG Having Second Gardener Class
The Belize Botanic Gardens is conducting its second professional class for certifying gardeners. From our partners at Belize Botanic Gardens. BBG is conducting the second class to certify gardeners. This is a very successful program and it is getting high praise from Belizean and foreign press. The Belize Botanic Gardens have a beautiful website at:

Tripple Bar Launch Party at Aguada
The Aguada will host the Tripple Bar Scents & Things launch party tonight starting at 3pm. It's a great event to find those Christmas gifts for the one you love. "A new company that caters to the fragrance desires of Belize. “Tripple Bar Scents n’ Things” is Belize’s first company to bring you products such as Highly Scented: "Hand Poured” Jar Candles Aroma Beads Goat Milk Soaps Salt & Sugar Scrubs Effusion lamps And other fragrance related items We also specialize in customizing special items for your company’s needs as well as a standard line of products for everyone."

Channel 7

Henkis, Serial Pedophile, Jailed For A Third Time
43 year-old Lee Henkis, a Belize City man convicted of sodomizing a 9-year-old boy, will spend 8 years in prison for it. As we reported, in his trial the victim testified that in July of 2010, he went to Henkis's house on Dean Street to pick up a phone which Henkis had promised him earlier that day. The boy said that Henkis took him to a bedroom, took off his clothes, and sodomized him. And Henkis' depravity got worse when he took out a video camera and videotaped the 9 year-old boy while he was nude. The boy said that Henkis put back on the clothes, gave him the cell phone he had promised, and sent him home. In his mitigation hearing today, Henkis called 1 character witness who spoke well of him in their years of interaction when they were growing up. This witness also recounted that Henkis is now the father of 2 week-old baby boy, and she told the court that she hopes that Henkis will still be able to get to know his son later in life. Because Henkis had 2 convictions of an unnatural crime, spanning back to the days when it was known as aggravated assault of an indecent nature against 2 other boys, he was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Barrow and F. Fonseca Clash On Superbond Negotiations
The House of Representatives met today in Belmopan where a raft of new pieces of legislation was presented for first reading. They include amendments to the Banking and Financial Institution Bill, A trafficking in persons prohibition bill, A commercial sexual exploitation of children bill and five other pieces of legislation. All were tabled today and will be presented for debate at a house meeting in two weeks. In short, it was an unusually productive day at the House, and the formal business finished before noon. And that's when the sparring began - first with the leader of the opposition Francis Fonseca and Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Speaking on the adjournment, Fonseca said that the debt renegotiation has been going so poorly that the PM has been throwing tantrums:.. Hon. Francis Fonseca - Leader of the Opposition "And I have to say, Mr. Speaker, that temper tantrums thrown by our Prime Minister in moments of frustration do not help the process; in fact, it further erodes the confidence of the international community in the restructuring exercise. Calling out the IDB President, and the US President, is in my view personal; it's petty, and offers no answers to the Belizean people. And keep in mind, Mr. Speaker, that this is the same IDB President - and Mr. Moreno has been the IDB president now, I believe - if I am not mistaken - for about 8 years, and has been very helpful to Belize in other initiatives. Now, we're at the point where we're scolding - the Leader of our country - is scolding President Obama. I don't know who this helps, Mr. Speaker. It may be for the Prime Minister's ego, but it sure isn't good for Belize. We have to, of course, place in context the Prime Minister's remarks, you know. He was doing all this chest thumping and name calling, standing of course in front of the Zinc Fence, the Kremandala Empire, where of course he goes from time to time to renew his nationalist credentials. So, maybe that's all it was; maybe we shouldn't read too much into it. Maybe that's all it was, a lot of hot air. Despite the disrespect, despite the lack of information, we continue to sincerely hope - as I said - that even at this stage, the restructuring exercise meets with success."

Barrow Says No Int'l Reaction To Bond Counter-Offer Yet
And while the Prime Minister's harsh words about the IDB President have stirred some positive response from that institution - the bondholder community is not so easily moved. Yesterday at noon, Government launched a revised set of Superbond 2.0 scenarios - with some concessions made to bondholders. Will it be enough to arrive at a new deal? That's what we asked the Prime Minister today:... Jose Sanchez "Have the bondholders offered a position as yet in response to the Government's new offerings." Prime Minister Dean Barrow "To the new ones, no, not as yet." Jules Vasquez "Now, how far are we prepared to go? This is a counterproposal, to their counterproposal. Are we prepared to make yet another counterproposal? We are at well beyond the 90 days." Prime Minister Dean Barrow "Clearly, one we're talking, there must be, on both side, a willingness to be flexible. One doesn't make a counterproposal as we've done just for the sake of making a counterproposal. In other words, it is not -we don't see it as merely one more bargaining chip. Serious work has gone into the counterproposal, and the counterproposal is, in the revised circumstances we think, absolutely justified. If the counterproposal is as it is - driven actual reality, numbers, projections - then you know that it's not a proposal from which we would be prepared to depart easily.

McAfee Security Chief Gets Bail
His boss is in hiding, but tonight John McAfee's chief of security William Mulligan is free on bail. As we've reported, on November 14th, Mulligan was charged for multiple counts of kept firearm and ammunition without a license - for which remand is automatic. The firearms were part of an arsenal police found at McAfee's home on northern Ambergris Caye as they investigated the murder of American Gregory Faull. On Sunday 11th November, police found a 12 gauge Remington pump action shot gun loaded with seven cartridges and one Baikal brand 12 gauge single action shot gun. William Mulligan was at the home and charged for kept firearm and ammunition without a gun license for which remand is automatic. Today, Mulligan's attorney, Ellis Arnold took his bail petition to the Supreme Court before Justice Herbert Lord. Crown Counsel Christophe Rodriguez, who represented the DPP's office objected on the sole ground that while in custody Mulligan told investigators that he was a British National. Rodriguez told the court that if that information was accurate, it meant that Mulligan was a flight risk, which was prosecution's main ground for objecting to bail. Ellis Arnold produced an authentic copy of Mulligan's immigration document, which verified that he has dual British and Belizean Nationalities, therefore proving that his Belizean ties indicates that he isn't a flight risk.

The Coast Guard Is Strong At Seven
Ten years ago - if you had a maritime emergency or a crime on the seas - you'd call the BDF Maritime Unit. But 7 years ago, those duties were handed over to a then fledgling Coast Guard. Since then, with major funding and support from the US Government, that law enforcement agency has moved from strength to strength - with a few hiccups along the way. Today it celebrated those strengths in a seventh anniversary celebration. Monica Bodden was there:... Monica Bodden reporting The Belize Coast Guard was formed on the twenty eight of November 2005 - and ever since then - they have commemorated their anniversary annually. This year marks their 7th Anniversary - and this morning the official ceremonies were held at the Coast Guard Headquarters on the Western Highway. The one hundred and fifty two members both men and women were on full display today in front of an audience that included dignitaries and military personnel. At this morning's ceremony, Captain John Borland, Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard was also promoted to Rear Admiral - the highest rank in the maritime agency.

He Cashed A Stolen Check
32 year-old Darren Gonzalez is facing criminal charges tonight after police said that he knowingly cashed a stolen check. According to police, Elisabeth Villanueva reported that on August 31, someone stole several personal checks from her Atlantic Bank checkbook. Well, police say that sometime between August 31 and October 12, Gonzalez forged his name onto one of those checks as the recipient, and cashed out $600 of Villanueva's money from her account. As a result, he was arraigned this afternoon before Magistrate Adolph Lucas on charges of forgery, theft and claiming upon a false document. The charges will be treated as indictable, so no plea was taken, but Gonzalez was granted bail of $5,000. He was not able to meet bail today, so he was taken to prison this evening.

Alleged Armed Robber Remanded
18 year old Steven Bernard is at prison tonight after police say that he committed an armed robbery. According to police, yesterday he robbed Inio Martinez of $30 in different denominations along with several coins. They further allege he retreated to his home on Electric Avenue after the robbery where he and 21 year old Lucia Moreno, who lives at the same residence tried to get rid of the money. As a result, Bernard was charged with robbery and threatening words because he allegedly issued a death threat after he robbed Martinez. Moreno was separately charged with abetment to commit robbery in connection with this incident. Both accused were arraigned before Magistrate Adolph Lucas, and due to the nature of the charges, Bernard was remanded until December 27. Moreno was granted bail of $4,000 which she was able to meet. She is also expected to return to court on December 27.

Hard Talk About Northern Regional At House Meeting
The Northern Regional Hospital has been much in the news recently for a number of obstetric and neo-natal mishaps. Today at the House of Representatives, Area Representative for Orange Walk East and private clinic owner Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez openly catalogued a number of those sad cases in graphic detail and demanded an answer from the Minister of Health, Corozal Bay's Pablo Marin:.. Hon. Marco Tulio Mendez "Now after hearing the stories of this patient - of these suffering mothers, when you see them depress, devastated, in grief, that loneliness that they are going through - it really make you wonder. It makes you wonder what the hell went wrong. Now Mr. Speaker, there are many patients. I just want to briefly give you some of them. We have Ms. Magdelena Chable, 31 years old. She reported that she had a rapture bladder and a child with severe asphyxia. If you may allow me Mr. Speaker, I just want to show - this is an image of that baby. We always say that photos are worth more than a thousand words - this cat scan on this baby has suffered brain damage with severe - I would say more than a million neurons, million brain cells that have died. This child won't be able to speak, walk, and learn. This is not the only patient; we have Ms. Coh, a 17 year old patient, just a teenager. Her baby has severe asphyxia - they reach on a timely hour at the hospital. They did their pre-natal care, yet that baby has severe asphyxia, severe brain damage - the same. That baby will have disability for the rest of their life." "We have Ms. Alicia Pott, you saw her in the media, a very brave woman. She went through 3 operations, ended up at the Karl Heusner Memorial hospital, almost dead. It is very important for the ministry, for the Minister to come out with a statement. This is not personal Minister and I hope that you are not personal on this occasion."

Belize Border Road "Soon Come"
Also discussed in the house today - with less heated disagreement - were the new border facilities in Mexico. As we've reported, they've built the bridge and the road on their side - and are now waiting on Belize to do its part. Speaking on the adjournment, the area representative for Corozal Southeast asked the Prime Minister when will Belize step up:.. Hon. Florencio Marin "We saw that the Mexican President who has one more day, today is his last official day as president, President Calderon inaugurating the bridge. The only thing about that is that you cross which I did just yesterday we are still using the old border and there are still no access to the new bridge and I would like for the government at least inform us as to when will this access come through." "When going to the north Mr. Speaker if you look left you will see the bridge, its already there, everything is ready. The Mexican facilities are already in the place." Hon. Dean Barrow "The rest of the infrastructure work that we need to do on our side is being funded by a loan that we got from CABEI (The Central American Bank of Economic Integration), now the processes of the bank were extraordinarily slow. In fact when I was in Honduras 3 or so weeks ago, I went to the bank and we spoke about that, But the contract has I believe now been signed. The contractor was chosen after the tenders were open and the letter of no objection from CABEI has been received so the works should commence I would imagine within another week or so."

Major Int'l Fest Planned For Xunantunich
NICH today announced that the Xunantunich Archaeological Reserve will be closed from December 12th to December 26th, 2012. A release from NICH says that quote, "the closure is to prepare for the launch of an International Musical Event." We couldn't reach anyone to tell us what that event is - but we do know that there's been talk about an concert with international artists to coincide with the end of the Mayan Calendar on December 21st., 2012. According to NICH, the internationally televised concert will raise funds for the conservation of Belize's cultural heritage and its archaeological parks.

Pedestrian Crossings For Deadly Stretch Of Road
Tomorrow - after a number of fatalities over the years - pedestrian crossings will be put on the northern highway between Brodies and the Divine Mercy Church. A public notice says that The Ministry of Works and Transport will be installing 2 pedestrian crossings at mile 2 1/2. It is expected that the crossings will be completed by Next week Thursday. Motorists travelling in that area are advised that there will be works on the road which will cause some blockage of the normal flow of traffic.

Primary School "Ping-Pang"
The first primary school table tennis competition was held today at the Belize Elementary Auditorium. 40 students from five different primary schools in Belize City took part in the event. Those schools included, St Mary's Anglican Primary School, St Joseph, Trinity Methodist, Wesley Upper and The Belize Elementary. At the end of the competition, the home team Belize Elementary took both First and third place while St Joseph primary took home both second and fourth place. The competition started at 9 this morning and wrapped up at 3 this afternoon. We spoke to the organizer and some of the winners:.. Arturo Vasquez - President, Belize Table Tennis Association "We had the first primary school table tennis competition, the first of its kind. It will be an annual event." Monica Bodden "Tell us a little bit about the competition?" Arturo Vasquez "We started with 40 kids, 5 schools. We played robin competition where all kids play each other in 8 groups and from there the 16 winners advance to a double elimination finals." Monica Bodden "The students are from around the country or only Belize City?"

The City Of Blinding Lights
Ready or not, the Christmas season is upon us, and tonight, downtown Belize City looks the part. That's because the towering Bowen and Bowen Christmas Tree was lit up two hours ago. 7News caught up with the Belize City Mayor before the lighting and he told us that the Bowen Group of Companies has a surprise this year: Mayor Darrell Bradley "There is a new program that has been designed by the Bowen and Bowen group. I don't want to let the cat out of the bag, it's supposed to be very novel - it's something that they do all throughout the world and it's the first time that its being done in Belize. This is always an exciting time for the City Council - we partnered with Bowen & Bowen now for several years and we also have a lot of other sponsors and its really like an electrifying event. Young people are out here, the Bowen group has been out here since morning putting up the tree, setting up everything. The City Council staff has been out here ensuring traffic management, security, ensuring that all the goodies and gifts have been properly organized and are going to be distributed properly."

Channel 5

Prime Minister explains why government rejected bondholders plan
Belize’s super bond debt stands close to five hundred and fifty million US dollars. The government’s initial proposal was rejected by bondholders but the committee representing bondholders and the government continued negotiations that concluded in a counter offer by the bondholders. The rejection of the terms proposed by the bondholders was posted on the Central [...]

PM says negotiations continue with counter proposals
The government’s two counter proposals, one which includes a haircut of thirty-three percent and an interest rate of four point five percent that would increase to six point seven-five percent after five years. The second proposal had no haircut but lower interest rates over forty years along with a grace period of ten years on [...]

New ombudsman, sexual exploitation bill and US$7 million loan tabled
The government’s counter offer is posted on the Central Bank of Belize website. But the bond was not the only item of business attended to at today’s House Meeting. Eight bills and two motions were vetted into a compact session. There was a frivolous argument over two ambulances that were donated by a group in [...]

Belize Coastguard reaches a milestone
It was a proud day for the Belize Coast Guard as two significant achievements were celebrated; the seventh anniversary of the service was on November twenty-eighth and the commandant has been promoted to a higher rank. Both occasions were rolled into a grand ceremony this morning. The uniforms were crisp, the band was on point [...]

Coastguard Says it was not a part of McAfee house raid
We reported on Thursday night that John McAfee, the anti-virus founder who is hiding from police, had claimed on his blog that his San Pedro property had been raided by the Gang Suppression (GSU) and the Belize Coast Guard. The GSU and police denied that a search was carried out and today News Five found [...]

Child molester gets eight years in prison
In court news, Lee Henkis, the forty-three year old man who was convicted on November twenty-first of Committing an Unnatural Crime reappeared for sentencing today. Since Henkis was unrepresented, Justice Troadio Gonzalez heard mitigation pleas from his childhood friend, Gale Banner, who told the court that they grew up together and she remembers the good [...]

Bonnie and Clyde? Couple charged for robbery
A man was robbed at gunpoint on Thursday and police were quick to arrest the suspected gunman and a woman believed to have been his accomplice. This afternoon, eighteen year old Steven Bernard and twenty-one year old Lucia Moreno appeared before Magistrate Adolph Lucas. Bernard was charged with Robbery and Threatening Words while Moreno was [...]

Police Community Awareness Day in zone 4 crime ridden area
Police efforts to build relationships with residents of various areas of the city continued today. A Community Awareness Day was held in zone four of the crime ridden areas and the Community Policing Unit invited several agencies to provide information on services residents may not know are available to them. Students and members of the [...]

Tourism reps of Central America meet on Ambergris Caye
The Central American Tourism Integration System, known by its Spanish acronym SITCA, held a meeting in San Pedro earlier today to discuss and review the development of tourism initiatives within the region. SITCA, an arm of the Central American Integration System, represents seven member states which collectively reported that upwards of eight million tourists have [...]

Xunan gets to the point in regional fencing tournament
It’s a sport that’s not well known in Belize, but a fourteen year old from Belmopan competed in two Fencing tournaments in El Salvador this week. Xunan Smith attended the sixth annual Giorgio Scarso International Tournament and the Central American and Caribbean Championship. On Sunday, in the Giorgio Scarso International Tournament, Smith was at fifth [...]

First ever primary schools table tennis tournament
Fencing is a new opportunity that will hopefully draw more youths to engage in competitive activity. But soccer and basketball are no doubt the two most popular sports in Belize. But one sport that carries no height advantage is table tennis. It’s played by both the strong and disabled and it’s now an official sporting [...]

Xunantunich shuts down for two weeks
That tournament has come to a close and in less than a month the Mayan calendar also winds down. And by no cosmic relation, the Xunantunich Archaeological Reserve is also on lock down. Visitors to the site are advised that the site will be closed from December twelfth to the twenty-sixth, in order to organize [...]

Weh di road deh to new border bridge?
Earlier on the newscast you heard about the U.S. seven point two million dollar loan that the government is receiving to upgrade roads and infrastructure. One particular piece of real estate near the border with Mexico has been under constant discussion lately. Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon is leaving office and his government has financed a [...]

San Pedranos get international DJs for the weekend
What’s Happening Belize may have gone quietly into the sunset a year ago but weekend activities are still pretty much a staple across the country. Residents of a La Isla Bonita will be treated to an exclusive partnership between Miami’s Black Chiney sound crew and Jamaica’s Coppa Shot sounds as they team up to celebrate [...]

Healthy Living with HIV part 2
On Thursday night, we brought the first of a two part series on living with HIV in Belize. It looks into the lives of two very different persons who have faced similar struggles since testing positive. We’re using the aliases of Morton and T to protect their identities as they share their stories to help [...]


Belize Rejects Counter Proposal from External Creditors
The government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow has rejected a counter proposal from external creditors who collectively own five hundred and forty eight million US dollars in bonds, scheduled for maturity in 2029. Negotiation of Belize’s external debt, also known as the super...

Immigration Nabs Man for Human Trafficking
48-year-old Guatemalan national, Rolando Velasquez Darbon was arrested as part of an ongoing Immigration sting that continues in Belize City. Darbon pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting a Salvadoran and Guatemalan national and fined $3,000.00. He was ordered to pay the fine fort...


Prime Minister addresses the on going negotiations with bond holders.
The Government of Belize has largely rejected a counter-proposal set forth by holders of the superbond..The two sid... Government introduces a Trafficking in Persons Prevention Bill.

Government introduces a Trafficking in Persons Prevention Bill.
The Hon. Anthony Boots Martinez, who is the Minister of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Allevi... Government introduces commercial sexual exploitation of children bill

Government introduces commercial sexual exploitation of children bill
At this morning’s House Meeting, besides the Trafficking in Persons Bill, Hon. Anthony Martinez also introduced a c... CDF hold event to mobilize youth against CSEC

CDF hold event to mobilize youth against CSEC
One organization that will be very happy about that bill is the Child Development Foundation. It has been advocatin...

Lee Henkis gets 8 years for sodomizing a nine year old boy
Lee Henkis was sentenced today to eight years in prison. Last week, Henkis was convicted for sodomizing a nine year...

John McAfee is still in hiding
John McAfee is still in hiding as police in Belize want him for questioning in relation to the shooting murder of h...

PUP facing internal turmoil
Media reports are that the northern caucus of the People’s United Party has been having some internal turmoil follo...

National Neighbourhood Watch Association receives CARCIE grant
With the rise of crime, particularly burglaries and home invasions, neighbourhood watches are becoming more vigilan...

Re: Today's Belize News: December 1, 2012 [Re: Marty] #452458
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More News: Scroll up from here


Francis and Florencio bow to “Papas” and Johnny!
“Papas” Garcia may make bid for chairman of the PUP Corozal Bay committee Trouble has been brewing up north inside Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. Over two weeks ago on Saturday, November 10, the PUP’s 2012 standard-bearer for Corozal Bay, Gregorio “Papas” Garcia, Jr., was not allowed to enter a hastily convened convention to elect an executive committee for the constituency. “Papas” Garcia, who lost by 148 votes in the March 7 general elections, and who is considered by some to be an emerging young leader in the party, had expected that there would have been a contested convention sometime before the end of January – the deadline set by the party’s Northern Caucus for branch conventions for the 8 northern constituencies. But days before November 10, Garcia got wind that the present chairman of the committee, Roberto Pasos, was making arrangements to have a closed-door convention without the participation of Garcia and his supporters inside the existing executive and the wider PUP community. Pasos, our sources say, was claiming that he was acting on directives from the party’s leadership. Garcia and former PUP leader and Orange Walk PUP boss, John Briceño, complained to party leader Francis Fonseca, but to no avail. On Saturday, November 10, reportedly at the home of PUP Corozal Southeast area representative Florencio Marin, Jr., Pasos and his cohorts went ahead with a convention, denying entry to Garcia and a number of his would-be supporters. Elected on that new branch executive for Corozal Bay were at least two of the three Corozal Bay politicians Garcia had in fact beaten to become standard-bearer for the constituency in January 2011.

GOB rejects bondholders’ offer
A memorandum released today from the Belize Ministry of Finance and Economic Development announces that the government has rejected counterproposals made by a committee of creditors holding the majority of Belize’s US $544 million super-bond which matures in 2029, because the terms, although they could mean short-term savings, will eventually put Belize back in the same situation as the existing bond, under which it found itself unable to meet US$23 million in debt service obligations on August 20. The Government of Belize (GoB) paid only half that sum the following month, while negotiations with creditors have been ongoing for the past five months to iron out better terms. Government presented three restructuring scenarios on August 8, and creditors, who were very unhappy with what some analysts described not as a “haircut” but as a “scalping”, finally responded with their counter-proposals last week, November 21. “The scenarios combine, in different measure, temporary reductions in the current coupon rate with modest extensions in average life,” today’s update said. “All of them involve a return to the current 8.5% coupon upon the expiry of the reduced coupon period.” Disappointed with those counter-proposals, GoB responded today with a second set of proposals, in the hope that the chasm can be bridged between what creditors want and what GoB deems sustainable in the long-term. Head of Belize’s Debt Negotiating Team Mark Espat told Amandala that whereas the proposal made by the creditor committee, representing Greylock, Zurich, and UTC of Trinidad and Tobago and others, does mean near-term savings for Belize, the arrangements would, in the longer-term, be unsustainable for the country.

Belize U-15 football team returns from San Domingo with gold
It’s been generations since Belizean female softball players won Gold in the Central American and Caribbean Games in Santo Domingo back in 1974, and finally in 2012, it took the little ones to win the first Gold in male football at the international level. The YWAM-Belize U-15 football selection, with technical assistance from the FFB, on Sunday clinched the Gold medal in a quadrangular tournament in the Dominican Republic (DR) that included a team from Guadalajara, Mexico, considered the favorites to win it all. There were 5 teams from DR along with a team each from Belize, Haiti and Mexico. Belize was placed in the toughest group, which included Mexico; but our boys rose to the occasion, after being down 1-nil, and defeated Mexico, 2-1. It was the same in the championship match against the Dominican national youth selection; Belize was down 1-nil in the first half, but came back to win by a 2-1 score. According to our sources, many Santo Domingo fans knew little about Belize; but they will surely be learning a lot about Belize in the days to come, as they analyze the stunning defeats they suffered from these kids out of the Jewel. The Belize team left quietly on American Airlines last Wednesday, November 21, but returned to a heroes’ welcome on Tuesday of this week after their stunning and historic accomplishment. Congratulations to our young heroes and their head coach, YWAM Director Santiago “Santi” Valencia, who says he has emphasized discipline and moral/spiritual fortitude as the foundation upon which his team is built. The FFB gave invaluable support with the assistance of National Development Director Renan Couoh. “He took us to another level,” said coach Santi. It was truly a Belize team effort, and all can be justly proud of their great accomplishment. Accompanying the team to Santo Domingo was head coach Santi Valencia and his wife, Liliana, who travelled as team chaperone.

Jared Avery Ranguy, 26, arraigned for murdering his mother, sister and stepfather
The murders occurred on Marage Road in Ladyville Jared Avery Ranguy, 26, an unemployed resident of #5 Marage Road in Ladyville, was today taken before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith to be arraigned for the murders of his sister, Teena Beth Skeen, 32, his mother, Abbidale Karen Vellos, 51, and his stepfather, Robert Vellos, Sr., 72. Police say that Ranguy is the person who committed the heinous killings, shooting his stepfather and sister, and stabbing his mother multiple times. Police responded to a call of gunshots being fired in Ladyville and when they arrived, they found Ranguy with a machete in his hand, screaming. But when police searched the house Monday morning, they found a black bag containing a silver and black Taurus pistol loaded with one live round, an orange knife with a 7- inch blade, a T-shirt and black trousers – all hidden in the attic. All the items found were covered with blood. Ranguy’s father was the only family member present in court when his son was arraigned for the murders. Jared appeared zombie-like in his movements, almost mechanical. After being read the first charge and asked if he understood them, with his head bowed, he merely shook it. The Chief Magistrate then informed him that he had to answer, and he only replied “yes”. No eye contact was made between himself and the magistrate.

Belize Bank Bulldogs sweep Truckers on their way to 2012 Finals
78-58 and 78-63 were the final scores shown this past Friday and Saturday night, respectively, on the windswept scoreboard perched in the aged rafters at Big Bird’s Isle. 78 obviously was the lucky number for the Bulldogs and clearly their recipe for success, as they were able to sweep their opponents, “Truckers,” in resounding fashion, by the aforementioned scores, and as a result are now headed to the 2012 U-23 Basketball Finals. The Bulldogs’ balanced offensive attack, team speed, and depth continue to be their strong points. This was on display over the entire weekend, which saw Lennox Spencer and Brian White contributing 13 pts each in the close-out win on Saturday night, followed closely by Jamir Flores 12 pts and Lincey Lopez 11 pts. Meanwhile, the southern connection of Ray Cruz and Edgar Mitchell contributed 8 pts each, with Macario Augustine from Hopkins scoring 6 pts while snagging 13 rebs. On Friday night, despite an offensive challenge brought on by the strong north winds, the Bulldogs nevertheless was able to pull away late in the third quarter to post the big 20-point blow-out. Again, the offensive leaders were spread out evenly, with Brian White totaling 21 pts 14 rebs 3 asst, followed by Lincey Lopez 16 pts 3 rebs 5 asst, Lennox Spencer 14 pts 2 rebs 3 stls, and Macario Augustine with 10 pts 22 rebs. Meanwhile, for Truckers the top performer over the past weekend was Glenford Chimilio 14 pts 8 rebs and Stannis Thomas 12 pts 5 rebs on Friday, and on Saturday, it was the latter once again totaling 20 pts 4 rebs, followed by Carlston Barrera with 10 pts. The Bulldogs as a team shot 39 % from the field on Friday night, and followed that up with a 48% shooting clip on Saturday night; while their opponents could only muster a FG% of 32 % for both nights.

Human bones found in downtown Belize City
The bones of two human skeletons were found near the Caye Caulker Water Taxi Terminal on North Front Street yesterday around 10:00 a.m., and a second amount was found around 1:40 p.m. on the same day. About 85 pieces of bones were found in all, and they were taken by police and the Forensics Services. The bones will be examined by the Department of Archeology. The bones were found by workers of the Belize Water Services, who are digging up the road to put down new water lines. Bert Forman, Jr., of the BWS work team, said that they were digging the road when the backhoe scooped up a bucket of earth from the hole, and he saw bones among the earth. He noted immediately that the bones appeared to be those of a human being. He put them on the ground to make the pattern, and the more they dug, the more bones they found. Foreman then put the bones together, and about 200 people came to view them. Police and the media came and police blocked off the area. Forman told Amandala that they were told to cease work for a while, and at about 1:40 p.m. when they began to work again, they found more bones, and again police were called. This is the first time they have found human bones during an excavation of the area, he said.

Belize Sugar Industry under new management commences operations for the New Year
The Belize Sugar Industry begins its operations for the New Year 2012 – 2013 today at the Tower Hill Sugar Factory under new management, which is the American Sugar Refinery, an American company that bought majority shares in the industry, and the operation starts today, Tuesday, November 27. Under the new management, the sugar factory at Tower Hill is expected to mill 1,070,000 tons of cane, to produce about 110 thousand tons of sugar. The Belize Cane Farmers Association said that the past season was good, and the Tower Hill Factory milled around 1,070128 tons of cane out of which 114,536 tons of sugar were produced. It is expected that this year’s sugar season will also be a good year, and very profitable to the cane farmers.

Conclusion of 2012 Hurricane Season
Today, Friday, November 30, marks the conclusion of the 2012 hurricane season. It was a season that saw well above average activity. During this year’s season, there were 19 named systems. Of these, nine were tropical storms. Ten systems became hurricanes and one attained major hurricane status. Hurricane Michael was the only major hurricane of the season, with maximum wind speed of 115 miles per hour. In a typical season based on the period covering the years 1950 to 2000, there would be on average 9 to 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 to 3 major hurricanes of category 3, 4 or 5. Conditions such as the El Niño phenomenon which was to have a suppressing effect on this year’s tropical cyclone activity did not evolve as timely as predicted – hence the above average tropical cyclone activity this year. Here at home, Belize had a close call with Hurricane Ernesto. This hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, made landfall just south of Mahahual, Quintana Roo, Mexico at about 9:15 p.m. on Tuesday, August 7. The track of Hurricane Ernesto focused the likely impacts mainly on the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts. However, impacts to infrastructure were negligible, with the agricultural sector suffering some losses. Ernesto not only turned out to be largely an inconvenience, but also set the stage for a major flooding event that was to follow in the following six days or so in the Corozal District, particularly in the town itself. Citizens are advised to review their preparedness plans in order to identify those parts that did not function properly this past 2012 season, with an aim to improving on those failures and weaknesses. This would lead to enhanced safety and preparedness for the 2013 season. We at the National Meteorological Service will continue to work diligently to improve on our products and services during this off season, so as to be better able to provide even more timely and accurate tropical cyclone forecasts in addition to the other routine services provided daily.

Belize Bank Bulldogs sweep Truckers on their way to 2012 Finals
78-58 and 78-63 were the final scores shown this past Friday and Saturday night, respectively, on the windswept scoreboard perched in the aged rafters at Big Bird’s Isle. 78 obviously was the lucky number for the Bulldogs and clearly their recipe for success, as they were able to sweep their opponents, “Truckers,” in resounding fashion, by the aforementioned scores, and as a result are now headed to the 2012 U-23 Basketball Finals. The Bulldogs’ balanced offensive attack, team speed, and depth continue to be their strong points. This was on display over the entire weekend, which saw Lennox Spencer and Brian White contributing 13 pts each in the close-out win on Saturday night, followed closely by Jamir Flores 12 pts and Lincey Lopez 11 pts. Meanwhile, the southern connection of Ray Cruz and Edgar Mitchell contributed 8 pts each, with Macario Augustine from Hopkins scoring 6 pts while snagging 13 rebs. On Friday night, despite an offensive challenge brought on by the strong north winds, the Bulldogs nevertheless was able to pull away late in the third quarter to post the big 20-point blow-out. Again, the offensive leaders were spread out evenly, with Brian White totaling 21 pts 14 rebs 3 asst, followed by Lincey Lopez 16 pts 3 rebs 5 asst, Lennox Spencer 14 pts 2 rebs 3 stls, and Macario Augustine with 10 pts 22 rebs. Meanwhile, for Truckers the top performer over the past weekend was Glenford Chimilio 14 pts 8 rebs and Stannis Thomas 12 pts 5 rebs on Friday, and on Saturday, it was the latter once again totaling 20 pts 4 rebs, followed by Carlston Barrera with 10 pts. The Bulldogs as a team shot 39 % from the field on Friday night, and followed that up with a 48% shooting clip on Saturday night; while their opponents could only muster a FG% of 32 % for both nights.

From The Publisher
The importance of the visit to Belize of a regional leader/personality like Minister Louis Farrakhan, is the fact that during and immediately after the Minister’s visit, the infighting and wrangling amongst leaders and leaders aspirant in the black community will cease. Everyone will fall into line, and there will be some clarity for a change, though only for a while. The thing that is always muddying Belizean waters is party politics. Take the issue of violent crime, which is essentially a matter of sociology and economics. The party politicians who are out of power find it almost impossible not to blame violent crime on the party in power. So they say, vote us back in and we will take care of business. Although most of us know that it really doesn’t matter that much which party is in power where violent crime is concerned, still some of us, as desperate as we are, are tempted to think that any change is better than no change at all. It being the case that the two major political parties are the largest and most powerful standing organizations in this nation, when they are fighting each other, like the elephants that they are, we grass end up trampled. Nowadays it appears that Belize is in a state of permanent political campaigning: the landscape has changed. In the old days, the party which lost general elections would collapse for a year or two, sometimes even three. Take 1979, for instance. The UDP lost general elections late that year, and immediately collapsed. As late as mid-1981, two and a half years after losing, the UDP remained so weak and traumatized that it was an ad hoc organization, the Belize Action Movement (BAM), which had to lead the fight against the dangerous Heads of Agreement. In the vacuum which used to be created when the defeated party crashed, such ad hoc groups as BAM would emerge. The politicians who were in Opposition knew they wouldn’t be able to raise any significant funding until eighteen months or so before the next general elections. So, they were chilling until the cheese was running.

40 years later: back to Bird’s Isle
When this newspaper began spending every spare dollar we could find on football in 1972 (and continued doing the same with both football and basketball, until six years ago), there were a bunch of people in leadership positions in this community who were writing this off as just a case of sports fanaticism on Partridge Street’s part. Today, forty years later, desperation has set in amongst the various PUDP community leaders, and you will hear them speak wistfully of sports programs. They are almost apologetic; they say it will keep the youngsters busy, keep them out of trouble. We were ahead of our time, is how some people put it. We began pushing the idea of professionalism in football as early as 1975. Our belief was that anything worth doing was worth doing well, and the highest level of any activity is when that activity is professional in nature. Belize was a colonial society, and the amateur sports structure in British Honduras emphasized the power of the referees. Those who inherited the internal power of the British after self-government in 1964, in retrospect, were just as colonial in their thinking when it came to sports. They were immediately opposed to professionalism in sports, because they saw that the players would become important, maybe prominent. Where would the stars come from? The saga of football Dunlop in the late 1950s and the changes in basketball after the sport moved to the St. Ignatius School basketball court in the mid-1960s, clearly suggested that the stars would come from the downtrodden. In Belize City fifty years ago, “downtrodden” meant one thing – black!

Letters: Murderers Day
I hope you don’t think I am being cynical, but I do believe it is time for us as a society to put aside a day to focus all attention on our murderers. We have dedicated special days to concentrate on major ills and evils in our society – HIV/AIDS, Diabetes, Cancer, Gender Based Violence, etc. And we have put aside special occasions to honor and remember those who we consider worthy of attention and discussion – Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Children’s Day, Queen’s Birthday Honors, Heroes and Patriots Day, Remembrance Day for World War I and II veterans, Murder Victims, etc. But there is one group, apparently growing in size, that may be starving for attention. And perhaps it is time they are given that attention. Why? It’s not to “big them up,” of course; but as a community, we need to face reality. All the marches, speeches and candlelight processions have had no effect on this problem that keeps growing and getting worse. Our murderers are getting younger, and they are getting more proficient; and the number of victims keeps growing. These young men responsible for this dire situation are growing in number, and they live right among us, but still effectively on the fringes of our society. They don’t pay much attention to what is written in newspapers, reported on the radio or T.V. news about their victims. They do what they feel they need to do, because that is how they see society as leaving them to survive how they can. Life has maybe dealt them some hard cards; and the name of the game, as far as they are concerned, is to deal hard cards right back. It’s a jungle, as they see it; and life is short, so get “yours” while you can, and to hell with who gets hurt. Nobody cares about them; so they care about nobody. That’s their mentality; how else could they do the things they do, and still live with themselves?

The Reporter

Bravo Belize Youths!
The undefeated under-15 boys football selection from Belmopan returned home to a heroes’ welcome on Tuesday morning, November 27, after their stunning and unprecedented triumph of winning gold in a quadrangular under-15 football tournament in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic last Sunday, November 25. Minister of State with responsibility for Sports, Hon. Herman Longsworth, welcomed the boys home at a press conference held at the VIP lounge at the Philip Goldson International Airport. He pledged a $1,000 contribution to the efforts of the Belmopan organizers who made the trip possible. Organizers noted that their travel expenses for the tournament had been in excess of $40,000. The delegation would not have been possible without many kind donations from interested business people who support football in Belize. The Belize boys entered the tournament as underdogs, but they won the gold medal finals, winning 2-1 over the national “A” selection of the Dominican Republic.

Human bones unearthed on North Front Street
Belize Water Services Limited (BWSL) employees unearthed the partial remains of a human skeleton during a routine mid-morning pipe repair exercise in front of the Water Taxi Terminal on North Front Street, Belize City, on Wednesday. The BWSL backhoe had completed digging across the full width of the street and the workers were shovelling away the remaining dirt in order to repair piping four feet down when they discovered the set of bones, which included most of the rib cage, chest plate, femurs, and a full set of top dentures. The bones, made brown from years of decay in the ground, are believed to have belonged to someone who perished in either the 1931 category-four Hurricane or the 1961 Hurricane Hattie. Both hurricanes claimed a total of more than 1,800 lives. Many of the people who died in 1931 were crushed to death when entire buildings, then mostly wooden, collapsed under the force of winds upwards of 125 mph or the storm surge that reached as high as 20 feet. Photos taken from atop the former Paslow Building at the foot of the Swing Bridge hours after Hattie ripped through the old capital clearly show the bridge inundated by flood water. Video footage show wrecked buildings and countless corpses of people and animals that died in the storm. Archaeologists who have seen the bones have said that they believe the remains are those of someone who likely died in Hurricane Hattie. They based their conclusions on the condition of the bones themselves and wooden beams that were retrieved nearby, as well as the layers of earth and sand that cover them. The Scenes of Crimes personnel took away the bones for testing to determine whether the person was the victim of a crime or died a natural death.

GOB offers new terms to “Superbond” holders
The Government of Belize (GoB) has proposed two new repayment schedules to the holders of the “super bond”, and is now waiting for the creditors’ feedback. Via a Ministry of Finance and Economic Development memorandum posted on the Central Bank of Belize (CBB)’s website on Thursday, GOB’s revised Indicative Restructuring Scenarios offer bondholders a choice between a 30 or 40 year maturity date. The 40-year option (Revised Scenario A), which is closely patterned after the original Indicative Scenario A that GoB presented in early September and which had a 50-year maturity date, suggests no reduction to the principal for the US$544 million bond. It does, however, shave five years off the principal grace period, bringing it down to ten instead of 15 years. Revised Scenario A has a mortgage-style payment structure, as opposed to the original that proposed “equal semiannual principal instalments after grace period”. While the original Scenario A asked for a 2 percent coupon payment throughout, the revised version would pay bondholders 2.75 percent interest for the first 5 years, and 4.5 percent thereafter. The 30-year option—patterned after the original Scenario C—keeps most things intact with its predecessor. Both propose a maturity date of 2042, a 5-year grace period, and a mortgage-styled repayment system. However, the revised and the original differ as it pertains to discount on the principal, as Revised Scenario C lowers the discount amount to 33 percent from the previous 45 percent. The new Scenario C also deviates from the across-the-board 3.5 percent and offers bondholders 4.5 percent for the first five years, and 6.75 percent thereafter.

BNE on the decline?
Belize Natural Energy (BNE) recorded a 27.5 percent decline in production from January to June this year, and the gloomy downward trend will continue if the company doesn’t get a new oil exploration license, BNE’s Marketing Manager Daniel Gutierez said Tuesday. According to the Central Bank of Belize (CBB)’s economic brief for the first half of 2012, the decline in oil production is “significantly steeper than the 10.0% annual average decline that had been projected.” BNE produced 545, 441 barrels of petroleum during the first half of the year. This is much lower than the 752, 546 and the 776, 920 barrels that the company produced in the same period for 2011 and 2010, respectively. While it is difficult to determine exactly how much longer BNE has before its Spanish Lookout and Never Delay wells expire, Gutierez said it is possible that the company may have anywhere between five to ten more years before they have to end their operations. The Spanish Lookout site, which produces 2600 barrels per day, is the primary well. But Gutierez explained that with the expected depletion of that well, the company has been looking for strategic ways to increase the output of the Never Delay well, which currently provides only 200 to 300 barrels per day. To date, BNE has the only commercial oil fields in Belize, but based on a Cabinet decision late last year, the Department of Geology and Petroleum did not renew the company’s eight-year exploration license which expired last January.

Inspiration Center gets $17,000 donation
The Inspiration Center, a facility that will offer rehabilitative care for children suffering from disabilities, is $17,000 closer to being completed thanks to the kind contributions of three organizations on Tuesday. At the handing-over ceremony held at the future site for the center, the staff of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) contributed $10,000. BTL’s Human Resource Manager Suzette Tillett said that some staff members made their donations up front, but others went as far as to have their contributions deducted from their salaries. Edmund Quan, chairman of the Chinese Association, presented a cheque for $5,000. This donation came from a charity group that presented acrobats at the Bliss Center for Performing Arts earlier this year. The third and final contribution came from Alex Chang, the chairman of Fen Lan Development Company, who donated $2000. The Inspiration Center is a project undertaken by the Special Envoy for Women and Children, Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow, who was on hand to receive the three donations. Mrs. Barrow explained that completion is expected within a year. She said: “The Inspiration Center is not a cure-all for all that ails persons with disabilities in Belize. There is still a mountain of work that needs to be done by the society and government to ensure that all the other gaps are closed so that persons with disabilities are assured their rightful place as functioning members and citizens of Belize.” The recent donations adds to the $1,093, 368 that the Special Envoy’s office has raised at the inspiration telethon which was held on Saturday, June 30.

Problems of maritime poaching could be solved by nationalizing IMMARBE, Oceana says
Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing accounts for roughly 19% of the worldwide fish catch, and has become a nightmare problem for the government of Belize. The problem has become so great that the European Commission has put Belize its list along with seven other countries for failing to deal with illegal poachers who steal fish from Belizean waters. The EU blacklisting has caught the attention of Oceana Belize, and the NGO has called on the Government to act swiftly and decisively to protect Belize’s reputation and also to comply with our international obligations to stop the international poachers. Chief offenders in this international racket are the foreign vessels flying the Belize Flag of convenience, simply because they happen to be registered with the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize (IMMARBE). IMMARBE is no longer a quasi-government body, since it is now a private entity, Oceana points out. Therefore the Fisheries Department no longer has a supervisory role in the IMMARBE’s decision-making process. The fees IMMARBE collects for registering foreign ships under the Belize Flag go to private owners, and only a small fee is paid to the Belizean Treasury. Belize reaps no substantial economic benefit, but is besmirched by the infractions committed by these foreign vessels flying the Belize Flag, Oceana says. The European Commission report says that “There are strong indications that these countries are not fulfilling their duties as flag, coastal, port or market states – duties that are laid down in international law, such as the provisions of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations.”

Grain growers meet, Biotech presented
One of the herbicides that is used with Bt crops is glyphosate (trademark Roundup) that has been advertised as safe. GM crops are also genetically modified to make them glyphosate-resistant. More than 30 % of all herbicides used globally contain it. However, glyphosate’s dark side is beginning to come out.

Three charged for death of former BDF soldier James Noralez
Three men, believed to be affiliates of the Ghost Town Crips, were remanded to prison Monday for last Friday night’s execution-style killing of 28-year-old former Belize Defence Force soldier, James Noralez. The three men, Tyrone Meighan, 19; Brandon Baptist, 24; and businessman Orel Leslie, 24, were all arraigned before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer.

Gregory August gets life in prison for the murder of Alvin Robinson
Supreme Court Justice, Adolph Lucas, after listening to three character witnesses in mitigation pleas on behalf of convicted killer, 24 year-old Gregory August, handed down a life-in-prison sentence, on Monday, November 26. Justice Lucas stipulated that August’s sentence is to run from May 26, 2009, the date when he was first arrested and charged with the murder of Alvin Robinson, a resident of eight and a half miles, Western Highway.

Grapefruit and pills mix warning
Doctors have warned of a “lack of knowledge” about the dangers of mixing some medications with grapefruit. The fruit can cause overdoses of some drugs by stopping the medicines being broken down in the intestines and the liver. The researchers who first identified the link said the number of drugs that became dangerous with grapefruit was increasing rapidly.

HIV vaccine under study may last a lifetime
A genetically-engineered HIV vaccine under study by Texas researchers works in a novel way. It targets specific cells exactly where the virus enters the body, stimulating them to generate an immune response so the virus can’t take hold. If the strategy bears out, the vaccine will be a single dose and last a lifetime, says Marie-Claire Gauduin, PhD, assistant scientist at Texas Biomedical Research Institute.

Police United & Belmopan Bandits lead in PLB football
Police United FC and the Placencia Assassins are leading the Southern Zone following big wins in the 13th week of the Premier League of Belize Football Competition, while the Belmopan Bandits and the Belize Defence Force are leading the Northern None also with easy wins over the weekend.

Ports Belize Ltd & BWSL lead firms’ basketball semifinals
Ports Belize Ltd and Belize Water Services Ltd won the first games of the Belize City Firms’ Basketball Semifinals at Bird’s Isle last Saturday night, November 24. Ports Belize Ltd. took the first game of the semifinal series: 69-55 over Airport.

Election sees setback for Catalan secessionist
Voters in the economically powerful region of Catalonia on Sunday punished the leader who made a referendum over breaking away from Spain a central plank of his campaign, seeing his party’s majority reduced by a dozen seats. Regional president Artur Mas called the early election as part of a power struggle with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy regarding the size of Catalonia’s contribution to national coffers. But what began as a quarrel over money turned into a test of Spain’s territorial integrity. Mas had asked the electorate to give him an absolute majority to lend weight to his Convergence and Union party’s centre-right policies, including the call for a referendum. Instead, voters have left him 18 votes short and in need to form a coalition to guarantee staying in power. His party now has 50 seats in the 135-seat regional legislature. The leader of center-right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Artur Mas, cast his vote during elections for the ‘Generalitat de Catalunya’ (Catalan Autonomous Government) in Barcelona, Sunday. The second-most voted party is the pro-referendum Republican Left, which has been very critical of Mas’ austerity drive.

Global recovery under threat, says OECD
Decisive policy action is needed to ensure the world is not “plunged back into recession,” according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which represents the world’s richest nations. The group’s economies will grow by 1.4% next year, rather than the 2.2% forecast in May, it said. The Eurozone recession will also cut deeper and be more prolonged than previously thought, it added. The group highlighted the so-called US fiscal cliff and the Eurozone debt crisis as the biggest risks to the global economy. The fiscal cliff refers to spending cuts and tax increases, designed to reduce the US government’s debt levels, that are due to kick in in the new year. “The world economy is far from being out of the woods,” said the OECD’s secretary general, Angel Gurria. “The US fiscal cliff, if it materialises, could tip an already weak economy into recession, while failure to solve the Euro area debt crisis could lead to a major financial shock and global downturn.” The OECD cut its growth forecast across its 34 members for this year and next. It also revised down sharply its estimate for the eurozone economy, which it now believes will contract by 0.1% in 2013, rather than grow by 0.9% as forecast in May.


International Sources

Eccentric fugitive millionaire software developer John McAfee drops f-bomb live on CNBC while hiding from Belize government
Eccentric fugitive millionaire software mogul John McAfee, who is on the run from police in Belize for questioning tied to the murder of his neighbour, dropped the f-bomb on live television Friday while explaining his dislike for local politicians. ‘I do not donate to any political party. When I was asked to donate, I said, “Get the f*** off my property,”’ McAfee, 67, said during a telephone interview with CNBC from ‘an undisclosed location.’ He then apologized to the cable network for his verbal slip-up, one of many recent gaffes. McAfee was in the midst of recounting an incident earlier this month in which 42 armed Belizean officers allegedly stormed his compound, arrested him and detained him for 14 hours with no found or water, and then let him go without charges. When CNBC reporter, Robert Frank, asked McAfee why he thought the police had done that, he said it was because he ‘does not play by the rules.’ McAfee said that he has donated millions of dollars to the local economy, including police departments and homeless agencies, but not through the Belizean government itself. ‘I don’t do it by giving to the government and letting them dole it out because if I give $5 million to the government, $10,000 goes to the people and $4 million plus change goes into the pockets of the politicians,’ he said. ‘I give directly to the people. And I have been doing this all along.’

John McAfee: My Options Are Diminishing
At 3:30 AM, John McAfee, who is still in hiding from police in Belize, posted to his blog that his “options are diminishing,” as his sources indicate that armed forces are “closing in”. If you haven’t been keeping up with the saga, you can start here. McAfee writes: Chad Essley, in the event of my arrest, has over 2 million words – posts that he will continue to publish – words that I, and others, have written over the past seven months. He has 9,000 photos, and thousands of hours of audio and video. These will be released in the time frame that I have instructed. A good story depends, most of all, on proper timing. I have been asked why I don’t release everything at once. This is the bane of the modern press. The mass of information is too great for an intelligent digestion in the time frame allotted to a journalist prior to the publisher’s deadline. The press stories will describe what they allways describe – a twisted shadow in an ill-lit room. I must control the flow, so that the necessary glue of understanding has time to set. Whatever happens to me, please continue to support the cause of justice in this country. Belize is one of the smallest countries in the world, and you may feel that it is not worth the effort, considering the magnitude of injustice that exists worldwide, but if we can’t fix the smallest part of anything, then what hope is there for the whole.

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