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Ambergris Today

Taste of Belize 2012 Celebrates Belizean Cuisine
The Belize Tourism Board held the 10th Taste of Belize on December 1 and 2, 2012, in San Ignacio, Cayo. The event attracted hundreds of patrons and saw the participation of close to 20 professionals in four culinary competitions. On Saturday night at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, guests were taken on a culinary journey through a five course meal prepared by Chef Sean Kuylen, which included Macal River Jute Snails, Lobster & Chayote Pot Pie, as well as Gibnut, Goat & Pork Skewers. Patrons were treated to free wines and beers for the cock-tail hour; body painted models with exotic animals; cultural entertainment from the Belize National Dance Company, along with Marimba music from Alma Belicena; free photos, and complimentary gift bags. Guests for the evening, were not only entertained and inspired, but also educated through a special screening of a documentary entitled, 'Taste of Belize,' a video that traces the evolution of Belizean cuisine and explores the depth of the Belizean culture through food. The guests were also treated to three live culinary competitions in the Pro Chef, Bartending and Cake Decorating categories. The BTB is proud to announce and congratulate the winners of the competitions over the weekend. Marcia Nu�ez of Hamanasi was named Belize's Master Chef and received $2,500 and an award from the BTB. Hamanasi's Sheridan Polanco was named Cake Decorator of the year and won $1,000 and an award. Southern Belize continued on a winning streak, when Fermin Coc of The Placencia Hotel was named Bartender of the year. He took home $1,500 and an award from the BTB. On day two of Taste of Belize, the BTB awarded Nazim Juan of Maya Walk with the award of Grill Master 2012. Mr. Juan also took home a brand new grill courtesy of James Brodie & Company Limited, along with one thousand dollars courtesy of the BTB.

Belize Tourism Industry Association Looks Forward to Fulfilling New Year
The BTIA hosts successful 27th Annual General Meeting events. The Belize Tourism Industry Association is pleased to announce that it hosted a very successful Travel Agent and Consumer Trends Seminar and a stellar 27th Annual General Meeting on November 28 and 29 respectively, at the Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina's Caracol Room. The events were a culmination of the perseverance, dedication and hard-work of the Association throughout 2012 and a launch-pad an even more prosperous and fulfilling 2013. Our Travel Agent and Consumer Trends Seminar, held on November 28th , was open to all persons interested in learning more about Travel Agents, Destination Marketing and Tourist/Consumer Trends for 2013. The events guest speakers: Mr. Greg and Mrs. Jane Custer, of Trav Alliance Media (a U.S. based firm), conducted the full day presentation and shared their knowledge, experiences and expertise of the global tourism industry to all attendees. Following the seminar, a cocktail was held to merge industry partners and other tourism pioneers in celebration of the achievements the industry has experienced over the years. The Association also acknowledged our Diamond, Gold and Special Event Sponsors at this event. The BTIA was able to achieve many of its goals and objectives during 2012 through the generous support and commitment of our Sponsors. "Focusing on ways in which we can move forward to a brighter future as an Association, the BTIA hosted its 27th Annual General Meeting on Thursday November 29; the event was well attended by BTIA members, dignitaries, industry partners and students from various tertiary level institutions. The AGM provided the audience with the Association's annual report on activities and issues undertaken and addressed in 2012, including important occurrences in our country and its impact on the tourism industry. Mr. James Scott completed a successful two year term, which culminated at the AGM and he now assumes the post of Immediate Past President of the Association; Mr. Scott received a commemorative plaque from the BTIA for his remarkable service to our Association." The Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security, was the honorary guest speaker and he gave a presentation on the crime situation in Belize and what measures the Government is undertaking to ensure the safety of both local citizens and international travelers. "My ministry is currently involved in a number of projects that are being coordinated through the Central American Integrated System, SICA; one of which is an integrated system of tourism security among SICA participating states," stated Hon. Saldivar. "This program, I believe will not only provide uniformity to the security of tourists in the region, but will afford us a data system for tourist complaints and hopefully, when the legislative challenges are sorted out, will provide a legal framework where incidents involving tourists are dealt with in a more expeditious and acceptable manner." These statements by Hon. John Saldivar are an assurance to the Association that the prevalence of crime in our country will be a key priority in 2013 and beyond, for the betterment of all Belize's citizens and international visitors.

Flashbacks: Christmas at the peak of progress in San Pedro
Christmas comes in different colors and sizes and in San Pedro it is no exception. This flashback photo takes us back at least fifty years when San Pedro was at its peak of progress in the lobster exporting business. In a sense there was affluence in the community. A few still used a branch of a cypress tree for a Christmas tree but the more prosperous had artificial trees. And there were large toys to symbolize grandeur. Dolls were so large, that they were almost the actual size of a human baby. Dolls could walk, say "mama", cry, drink a bottle or even wet their diapers. Quite likely Aida Ruth Nunez's doll could do all of these and probably walked as fast as her little brother Luis. Indeed even the black and white photo takes us back to the 1960's. Christmas flashbacks are always memorable.

Note to Taxpayers in the San Pedro Area!
Recently I was listening to a conversation and heard that a businessman in San Pedro received an assessment from the Income Tax Dept and he did not receive any notice that he needed to present his records for viewing by a Tax Officer nor did anyone from that Department visited his store and requested to see his records. Yet when he visited the San Pedro Income Tax office to see the tax officer he was told that the assessment was done by someone in Belize City and that if he does not pay it by the end of the month he will be taken to court. The business man then agreed to sign an arrangement to pay a monthly fee because he did not want to be taken to court. After hearing this I was shocked because it was clear that due process and the principle of natural justice was not applied. To the best of my knowledge when someone from the Tax Dept. is about to assess a taxpayer a letter should be sent to them requesting their records. In some cases the Tax Officer can visit the business establishment and inform the taxpayer that a review of their records will be done. Common courtesy does not hurt the process. If the taxpayer fails to provide the required documentations/records within reasonable time a best judgment can be done. After the best judgment is done and the Taxpayer received the assessments he has 15 days to appeal stating the grounds or reason for not agreeing with the assessments. You cannot be taken to court immediately and if the taxpayer has his business records of sales he can prove that he is not making the assessed amount. There is no reason to be scared or bullied into signing an arrangement to pay if you think that you are being assessed unfairly. The taxpayer should have at least been told of his right to appeal by the Tax Officer. There should be no need to threaten a taxpayer with court action in order for them to sign an arrangement to pay off a tax debt. An arrangement to pay should be an option that the taxpayer chooses after he is satisfied that he has been assessed reasonably or it can be ordered by a court. Whilst such behavior by a Tax Officer is not criminal it is bordering unethical behavior and can be considered an abuse of power if the proper due process was not followed.

Christmas Benefit Fundraiser for Hector Duran Family

Misc Belizean Sources

Taste of Belize video
This past weekend the Belize Tourism Board held an event in San Ignacio, Cayo called "Taste of Belize".

VIDEO: Lamanai Series Three- The Temples of Lamanai
Lamanai was occupied continuously for over 3,000 years and it's remoteness contributed to it's continuous occupation, well beyond most other Maya sites, until at least 1,650 AD. The vast majority of the site remained unexcavated until the mid-1970s.

Cayo Welcome Center Grand Opening
What a way to celebrate the grand opening of the new Cayo Welcome Center! During the day they had the Taste of Belize BBQ competition. At night, they had Panerrifix playing the steel drums, along with other live music, and a beer tent in front of the new Bamboo bar. The drinks were flowing.

Taste Of Belize at the SIRH
The San Ignacio Resort Hotel hosted the BTB's Taste of Belize on Saturday. Danny Chung got some beautiful pictures of the event. The winners are as follows: Marcia Nunez: Master Chef of the Year (Hamanasi) Sheridan Polanco: Cake Decorator of the Year (Hamanasi) Fermin Coc: Bartender of the Year (The Placencia) Nazim Juan: Grill Master of the Year (Maya Walk) "Congratulations to Belize Tourism Board on a fantastic Taste of Belize 2012. Here is a little Taste of images from San Ignacio Resort Hotel."

Taste of Belize BBQ in Cayo
They got some good pictures of the Taste of Belize BBQ competition in this article. Hey, that's Tre Roberson, from Barn and Grill - thought for sure he'd take first place. "Western Belize is famous, among other things, for some of the best BBQ anywhere in the world."

Xunantunich Closing for Two Weeks
NICH and the Institute of Archaeology have released a bulletin that Xunantunich will be closing from December 12th until the 26th. The reason for the closure is to organize the launch of an upcoming international music festival which will also promote Belize as a key tourism destination. It should be an internationally televised event. El Pilar, anyone?

Channel 7

Lawmen "Not Guilty" Of Landing Drug Plane
Two years and a few weeks after they were accused of landing an airplane with one of the biggest drug cargoes ever seen in Belize, tonight five lawmen and a civilian are clear of that charge and are at home - their first time out of jail since late 2010. They are Corporal Renel Grant, Corporal Nelson Middleton, Sergeant Lawrence Humes, Customs Boatman Harold Usher, Sergeant Jacinto Roches, and civilian Victor Logan. The incident is forever etched in Belize's history: In November of 2010, a twin Engine Beechcraft King Air 200 landed and offloaded thousands of pounds of compressed cocaine in the Bladden area of the Southern Highway. In the month-long trial before Justice Denis Hanomansingh, an extensive list of witnesses was called, and there was a team of 3 crown counsels prosecuting the case: Cecil Ramirez, Leroy Banner, and Kayshia Grant. After the crown closed their case, the attorneys for the defense, Simeon Sampson, Dickey Bradley and Kevin Arthurs chose to forego having their clients offer any defense. They all made no-case submissions before Justice Hanomansingh, who after considering the evidence for 3 days, directed the jury to acquit all 6 of the men on the basis of lack of evidence.

Gunmen Grabbed 60K From 'Griga Grocer
And while that case was going on at the courtroom in Dangriga, Yesterday inside the town, the owner of the popular Grigalizean Supermarket, was robbed of $60,000 in cash when she went to make a deposit at the bank. 7News spoke to Dangriga Police today and they told us about the information they have so far: Sgt. Wilfredo Ferrufino - OIC CIB, Dangriga "About 10 a.m. yesterday, Ms. Hong May Chen reported that at about 9:30, she was on her way to the bank to make a deposit, when she was accosted by a male person. She struggled with that individual, and apparently another individual came and subsequently relieved her a bag that she was carrying with the business deposit." Daniel Ortiz "Sir, do you know at this point how much money was in that bag?" Sgt. Wilfredo Ferrufino "I wouldn't want to disclose the exact amount, but it's a substantial amount of money from the sales of that business." Daniel Ortiz "Sir, in relation to this, has she given you any information as to any kind of identities, or any kind of leads in relation to these men?"

Accused Family-Killer On Suicide Watch
A week ago, 26 year-old Jared Ranguy was charged for killing his mother, Karen Skeen Vellos, his sister, Teena Skeen, and his step-father, Roberto Vellos Sr. When police found him in the house he told investigators that he wanted to take his own life too, but the gun jammed. And tonight his despondency continues; 7news has confirmed that Ranguy is on a special suicide watch inside the Kolbe Foundation Prison. We spoke the CEO of the Prison, Earl Jones, who told us that counselors who have spoken with Ranguy have concluded that his emotional state is such that there is a risk he may try to take his own life. As a result, the authorities at Kolbe have him locked up in a special holding cell where they are keeping a close eye on him, and he continues to receive counseling to try to cope with the shock of losing his entire family - and being accused of being responsible for it.

McAfee Turns Up In Guatemala With High Profile Lawyer
John McAfee is in Guatemala tonight - where it seems he's seeking asylum - though we aren't quite sure from what. VICE Magazine - with which he seems to have ironed out his differences - reports that McAfee has retained highly regarded Guatemalan lawyer and former Attorney General Tel�sforo Guerra. It's unclear how a Guatemalan attorney will help him iron out his legal difficulties in Belize - where Guatemalans cannot practice law - but Guerra took the job, and he and McAfee are pictured handshaking after a breakfast meeting. Interestingly, McAfee is with his 20 year old Belizean girlfriend Sam Vanegas - who claims to be Guerra's niece. McAfee told Guerra that he entered Guatemala illegally. VICE Magazine reports that McAfee will have a press conference in Guatemala City in the coming days. On his blog, McAfee reports that he will contact the US Embassy in Guatemala City and makes a special offer to Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow. He agrees to meet PM Barrow in a quote, "neutral country to discuss mutual issues." Unquote.

Bond Talks In Trouble: Creditor Committee Not Happy With Belize, GOB Unfazed
And while the McAfee's coverage is making major international headlines - the renegotiation of the Superbond is also making news. The Creditor Committee whose members hold more than 50% of the bond issued a release this afternoon saying they aren't happy with Belize's latest response. The release says the Committee, quote, "expressed its regret that the GOB dismissively rejected the Committee's three�proposals�" The release quotes committee co-chair AJ Mediratta as saying that with its latest counter-proposals, the government has only inched forward. The Committee urges Government to reconsider the proposals and warns that - for the kind of relief GOB wants, it would have to accept an IMF program. And so, with this rejection, talk turns to a default - since the agreed 60 day break from litigation has passed. Mediratta says quote, "Unfortunately it seems we may be missing the window for a timely resolution." The Committee has engaged the firm of Arnold & Porter to act as its legal counsel. The committee membership holds 338 million of the 544 million dollar Superbond. A government spokesperson today told us that GoB did not "inch" forward, as the release claims; in fact, various investment bank and analyst reports issued since last week said the proposals were a significant improvement on the August indicative scenarios. The representative says the creditor committee wants to have its cake and eat it too as it calls for fiscal consolidation and for higher growth at the same time.

What's The Status Of Belize's Reef?
Like me, you probably grew up hearing and saying the mantra that Belize has the second largest uninterrupted barrier reef on earth. And where's the first largest? Well that would be the great barrier reef in Australia - the longest in the world. But, did you know that experts agree the Great Barrier reef is dying? That's right, it's the victim of climate change and pollution. And, as we all know, when that happens on one side of the world - the other can't be too far behind. So how is Belize's reef system doing? That's what we found out when its report card was presented today:.. Jules Vasquez reporting The Mesoamerican Reef system covers the reefs of Mexico, Belize and Honduras. And every two years, marine biologists go into the water with pen and paper - the waterproof version to document its health.

Zane Galvez And The Law, Part 10
There was a commotion outside the Supreme Court this morning after a man was allegedly beaten up by police officers and then taken away to the Queen Street police Station. Turns out it's the Zane Galvez - Yolanda Shakron's nephew - who's had a long history of violent encounters with police. In fact, that's why he was at court! To appear for a lawsuit he filed against the police department after the GSU officers broke his arm on George Street in the famous incident in August of 2011. But while out at court things got heated up - reportedly over a parking spot - and instead of attending his court case, Galvez was thrown in jail for allegedly assaulting a police officer. We caught up with his family this morning who were disturbed at the fact that their loved one was locked up in a holding cell and was allegedly refused medical attention. Jermyn Galvez, brother of Zane Galvez "They wake me a little bit after 9 o' clock and told me that I should go check on my brother because the police had chance him and police were beating him. I rush over at the courthouse with a worker who worked for my father and when I reach there everyone was telling me that Castillanos and another police officer chance him for nothing. I know Castillanos because he used to work as a security guard for us couple years ago. I went to him and ask him about my little brother and he started cursing me, he said, 'do not ask the officer nothing and don't ask anyone out here anything because nobody have to answer to you, you are nobody out here,' he started to tripped on me, so I just walk away from him. A lady called me and told me that they chance my brother, she says that she was there and that she saw everything. She told me that she will not shut up because she is tired of seeing people getting chance for nothing."

KHMH Gets Vein Viewer
Tonight the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital is proud to be the first institution in the country to acquire the latest technology in vascular imaging. It's called "The Vein Viewer" and it is donated by the Hope Presbyterian Church of Memphis Tennessee. The machine uses specialized technologies to compose an image of a patient's veins - then projects that image in real time onto patient's skin - providing the opportunity to see through skin. The handing over ceremony of the machine took place this morning at the KHMH Medical Imaging Unit and 7news got a firsthand look. Dr. Francis Gary Longsworth - CEO, KHMH "What has brought us here today was a chance meeting between these two gentlemen on an airline flight several months ago. The conversation as I understand it led to an offer of help for the medical services in Belize by Mr. Long and this later culminated in the donation of 5 vein viewers to the KHMH by the Hope Presbyterian Church of Memphis Tennessee." "Throughout this process Mr. Aikman maintains regular communication with Dr. Adrian Coye, our Director of Medical Services to ensure that the donation was transported, ship, cleared and delivered to the KHMH which occurred a few weeks ago. In all of this I can claim very little credit as my role was simply one of facilitation and support."

Local Leaders, Blue And Red, Hobnob In Placencia
This weekend, PUP and UDP Mayor's and Administrators were in Placencia - they weren't partying - they were at a workshop at Robert's Grove. The bi-partisan event was organized by the Social Investment Fund - and we found out that leaders from both sides of the political spectrum were learning from each other:.. Clifford King, Local Government Officer "Today we are hosting what we refer to as a best practice and a peer sharing workshop for municipal leaders on revenue enhancement and collection." "This workshop falls under a program that we are running right now through the Belize Municipal Development Project called the Revenue Enhancement and Support Program. The municipal leaders have taken the initiatives to improve on revenue collection that in turn will result in the development of the municipalities in Belize." Mayor Darrell Bradley "We can share best practices among each other and we could discuss what each of us do in terms of the various revenue components; trade license, liquor license, traffic, so that we could adapt what other municipalities do and increase our capacity and we could understand and explain to each other what are our best practices." "The idea is at the end of the conference we could come up with a list of recommendations, a list of practices that all of us can move to implement jointly."

Andy P, We Reminisce Over You...
It passed without notice, but Andy Palacio would have been 52 yesterday and we are reminded that in 2009, the city of Houston, Texas in the USA declared December second Andy Palacio day. As we close tonight we do so remembering him fondly.

Channel 5

4 cops not guilty of 2 ton drug plane shipment
The biggest drug trial, involving more than two tons of cocaine with a value of one hundred and sixty eight million dollars came to a close today in the Dangriga Supreme Court. Four police officers: Renel Grant, Lawrence Humes, Jacinto Roches, Mark Middleton, former Customs Officer, Harold Usher and Mango Creek resident, Victor Logan, were [...]

Bondholders rejects new G.O.B. offer and hires lawyers
Late this evening, Belize bondholders rejected a new offer from the Belize Debt Review Team on the restructuring its five hundred and fifty million dollar superbond. In this latest hurdle in the negotiations, the Bondholders say they have also hired lawyers since a sixty day reprieve on legal action has expired. Bondholders had agreed not [...]

Baby Harmony dies less than 24 hours after birth
The Northern Regional Hospital has been in the news for months now because a number of women and their newborns have experienced life-threatening complications after receiving treatment at the hospital. Just this Friday, the area representative for Orange Walk East, Doctor Marco Tulio Mendez, raised the matter in the House of Representatives, but did not [...]

Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez explains why newborn died
A post mortem examination conducted on the baby Harmony revealed that the baby died from a lack of oxygen to the body caused by the ingestion of fecal matter during the birthing process. Doctor Mendez explains the cause of death.   Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, Area Rep., Orange Walk East "According to the death certificate, [...]

Parents speak about death of infant
And while the Ministry of Health says that their preliminary investigations show there is no malpractice, the Medical Council has recommended that the attending doctor, a Nicaraguan national, should be placed on administrative leave. Doctor Mendez has gone further to ask for her removal from the Northern Regional.   Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, Area Representative [...]

Beaten twice by cops; this time at the courthouse
Zane Galvez is the brother of Chris Galvez, who was allegedly killed by police back in 2010. Zane headed to court this morning for a case he brought against the Gang Suppression Unit. But even before he could appear in Court, in the parking lot he was roughed up and beaten by police. This afternoon, [...]

Cop transferred from the island after arresting tourist
There is another story involving a police, but this time, the female corporal is being removed from the San Pedro Police Unit after a US tourist was charged and arrested in the island. P.C. Sharmane Young was reportedly cursed and manhandled by Liza Marie Mertz, a nurse from Syracuse who was vacationing in the island. [...]

Report Card out on Mesoamerican Reef Health
The 2012 Mesoamerican Reef Report Card was released by Healthy Reef Initiative. The findings of a study conducted along the coast of Belize and neighboring countries that comprise Mesoamerica show that the health of the eco-region is not in good shape and that fish stock and coral are at risk. News Five's Duane Moody reports. [...]

Burglars take about $10,000 worth of Food and Beverage
In crime news; thieves are not only targeting homes for jewelry and people for cash. But before the Christmas holidays can even get started, burglars have stolen thousands of dollars in food and household items from a Belize City business. The Food and Beverage Company on New Road was targeted sometime between six p.m. on [...]

Sympathy for Honduran national in Court
Thirty-two year old Gloria Yadira Lambert Marcelino, a Honduran national who has been living in Belize since 2001, appeared in court today where she was arraigned for the offense of Failure to Comply with a Visitor's Permit.� Allegations are that Marcelino entered the country on July tenth, 2001 via the Blue Creek Port as a [...]

Flu spreads at murder trial?
Twenty-one year-old Leon Linsford Gomez, accused of stabbing Salvador Martinez to death in 2010, had his day in court on Monday, but the murder trial was discontinued at the last minute.� Gomez, who allegedly inflicted multiple stabs wounds on Martinez during a high school football game at the M.C.C. Grounds, appeared before Justice Adolph Lucas [...]

Vein viewers, K.H.M.H. gets top notch equipment
Public healthcare has often trailed behind the advances that private healthcare facilities have obtained. But that's beginning to change. Belize's primary health care provider, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, happens to be the first medical facility in the country to acquire the latest technology in vascular imaging. It's called the VeinViewer and it is manufactured [...]

John McAfee in Guatemala
John McAfee's life on the run has so many updates; it contains the stuff that was made for a reality television show. And it seems that concept may soon be fact. He has teamed up with Vice, an online magazine, who has been following him for a week, making a video documentary of his life. [...]

December 2nd will forever be Houston's Andy Palacio Day
Andy Palacio passed away on January nineteenth of 2007, but he is still very much remembered as the musical icon who was foremost in promoting the Garifuna music and putting Belize on the world stage. At the time of his death, Andy was at his peak; his Watina CD had been released and the young [...]

How to make Christmas Black Cake
Christmas is upon us and in most kitchens across Belize the baking of the black cake is part of the season's traditions. Today we revisit a feature on the famous black cake which is a Belizean must have at Christmas time. A well known Pastry Chef whips up the black fruit cake with her personal [...]


Belize Delegation Returns From Regional Forum in El Salvador
The Belize delegation to the regional forum on youths against violence which was held last week in El Salvador has returned home. Representatives of all the Central American countries came, together to discuss common issues impacting the sub-region, chief among them: crime and vi...

Belize Biggest Drug Case Falls Apart
Belize's biggest drug case involving the landing of an aircraft on the Southern Highway has ended with the defendants freed of the major charges. The judge's decision was handed down this morning in the southern session of the Supreme Court in Dangriga town. Cor...

McAfee Escapes From Belize to Guatemala
The bizarre saga of John McAfee today took another twist as multiple international media outlets reported that the sixty seven year old businessman is now seeking asylum in Guatemala. McAfee is wanted for questioning by Belize police as they investigate the murder of fifty two ye...

Belize and Bondholders Fail To Reach Agreement
Belize's efforts to restructure the country's foreign debt, also known as the super bond today hit another bump in the road when the bondholders rejected the new offer put forward by the Belize government. Reuters News Agency is reporting that the bondholders have als...


John McAfee Is In Guatemala, He Dares The PM To Meet Him Face To Face
We all know that the relationship shared between antivirus Guru John McAfee and the Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow, is going through turbulent waters. So much so that the P.M has accused McAfee as being bonkers in other words off the deep end. McAfee has stated on record that the United Democratic Party sought election funding from him and when it was denied he became a target of the present government. The Prime Minister denies that allegation. Tonight as the internet pioneer continues in hiding, allegedly somewhere in Guatemala City, he calls out on the Prime Minister of Belize to meet with him face to face at a neutral location. The blog was posted at about 2.30pm today and states quote "To the Prime Minister of Belize I make the following offer: I will agree to meet you in a neutral country to discuss our mutual issues. It is entirely possible that you have little or no knowledge of the level of corruption being propagated throughout every branch of your government. I will turn over to you thousands of hours of video and audio as proof, providing that we meet as gentlemen and are mutually convinced of our honesty." Sounds interesting right? But it's left to be seen if the Prime Minster will be curious enough about those videos and audios to meet with McAfee. In his blog McAfee also sent out a message to Belizean authorities. He states and we quote "To the Belizean Police: I will answer any questions that you may have over the phone. If I am indeed merely wanted for questioning, this should suffice."

16 Year Old Minor Accuses Corozal Resident Of Forcible Abduction
On December 3rd 2012, Corozal Police received a report from a 16 year old female minor who recounted that on September 1st, 2012 at approximately 6:30pm; she boarded a taxi from the Corozal Free Zone to the Northern border. Upon reaching the customs check point, the taxi driver surprisingly did not stop; instead he increased speed preventing the minor from exiting the vehicle. Despite the minor's pleads the driver did not stop and continued driving to the junction of Chan Chen in the Corozal District where he stopped at a feeder road. Seeing an opportunity to escape, the minor attempted to exit the vehicle; however, she was held back by the driver who threatened to rape and kill her. Somehow the minor managed to escape and was assisted by the driver of an oncoming vehicle. During an I.D Parade the minor identified 36 year old Crisantos Suarez of Chan Chen Village as her attacker. As a result Suarez was charged for forcible abduction and when he appeared before the Corozal Magistrates Court he was offered and met bail of $8,000.00. His case was adjourned for January 31st, 2013.

New Born Baby Dies, Parents Accuse The NRH Of Malpractice
Over the past few months there have been constant reports of alleged malpractice at the Northern Regional Hospital where women have experienced complications after surgery and babies have suffered brain damage among other complications during delivery. So far at least five women from the Orange Walk District have come forward accusing the NRH of malpractice and at least two of them have sought legal action against the community hospital. According to the CEO in the Ministry of Health, Peter Allen, the allegations are being investigated but so far findings don't point to negligence on the part of the hospital. Tonight the Ministry has one more case to investigate, this time involving the death of new born baby girl. On Thursday November 29th, 22 year old Reina Gomez was admitted at the Northern Regional Hospital with labor pains. By 7:00pm, Gomez had dilated to 3 centimeters. During the course of the night her labor pains intensified yet she was told by nurses that she was still not ready to give birth. Luis Burgos- Father of deceased "Around midnight she said she was having more severe pain because the baby at that time was already up or passed the time so something had to be done but I guess they went with the normal process thinking that it was a normal process that she was going through and they thought that she was dehydrated so they put some drips on her and so that didn't help. She said that she had the strong pain and she asked the nurse if C-section was possible and the nurse told her that it was a normal process and that what she was feeling they were confusing the pain that they thought that she was nervous and they put it as if she was dehydrated and so they put drips on her seeing if that would work and at that time she knew something was wrong and the baby was moving and something was wrong the baby was indicating that she needed to come out." Gomez gave birth to her daughter Harmony around 8:00 Friday morning. The baby was not shown to her and at not time was she informed that the child was born with complications. Luis Burgos found out about the complications his daughter was suffering, around ten in the morning.

2012/2013 Crop Season Off To A Good Start
Today marks the completion of the 1st week of the 2012/2013 crop season and all indications are that the crop is off to a good start. Here is an update on the first week of the crop season. Elmer Cornejo - Reporting The aim of both the producer and the miller is to ensure a delivery of 1.1 million tons of cane to the factory producing 110 to 114 thousand tons of sugar at a TCTS of 10 percent. This year instead of milling 6,000 tons of cane per day, the factory plans to mill 7,000 tons an increase of 1,000 tons further per day. And today, marks the completion of the first week of the crop season 2012/2013. Alfredo Ortega, Chairman of the BSCFA, Committee of Management gave us a rundown of what the first days of delivery and production looked like. Alfredo Ortega- Chair BSCFA "Hasta en estos momentos tenemos resumen de ayer porque hoy cierra la semana pero cierra a media noche as� es de que sale el reporte semanal pero hasta ma�ana Mi�rcoles va a demostrar la semana completo, sin embargo tenemos información de que se a entregado hasta ayer adonde la compa��a Cane Growing Project a entregado 2,708 toneladas, Orange Walk a entregado 22,440, Corozal a entregado 19,060, Research a entregado 1,165 que da un total de 45,075 toneladas hasta ayer, bueno que cerro esta ma�ana a las diez de la ma�ana en d�a que es 24 horas de entrega de diez de la ma�ana del d�a antes y cierra diez de la ma�ana del d�a de hoy." Apparently all seems to be transitioning in excellent motion from the cane field to the factory to the production of the sugar at the mill.

Catholic Faithful Honour La Virgen De Guadalupe
Many Catholics worldwide are starting to celebrate the novenas of the Virgin of Guadalupe today. The Virgin of Guadalupe has her origin in the Mexican territory when she appeared to faithful Catholic Juan Diego on December 9th of 1534 on the Tepeyac Hill. The novenas are part of nine day series held until the final celebration on December 12th, when it is believed that the Virgin of Guadalupe made her final appearance on the cloak of Juan Diego. On the days leading up to December 12th, hundreds of thousands of catholic faithful around the world including Belize decorate their homes, light candles and celebrate the rosary in honor of la Guadalupana. In Mexico the celebration of La Guadalupana, is one of the most important holidays in Mexico. It is as much a religious holiday as it is a patriotic holiday because La Virgen De Guadalupe is uniquely Mexican and is one of the country's most important icons.

Preparing For The 2013 Hurricane Season
The hurricane season culminated on the 30th of November, and while Belize did come directly under threat, the Belize Red Cross Organization has begun preparing for next year's hurricane season, in the case of an unfortunate disaster. The Belize Red Cross Organization has developed a program which focuses on improving rural and urban communities, especially in the area of disaster preparedness. The aim of the Integrated Participatory Assessment Program, financed by the American Red Cross Organization, is to work hand in hand with the rural and urban communities of the north by assessing their specific needs. Ian Glory- Field Coordinator Belize Red Cross Organization "This Project is a program, the Integrated Participatory Assessment Program which is aimed to develop the needs of the community that we are going to work in order to find out what their needs are and from there develop projects that will enhance their response to disaster awareness." In order to achieve its objective the organization is working along with NEMO, town councils and numerous ministries. Ian Glory- Field Coordinator Belize Red Cross Organization "We are in full contact and working along with for example NEMO, we are working with the ministry of education, ministry of rural development, the ministry of human development, and all other stakeholders including the Mayor and the Town Board and all people that play a major role in the communities, so working along with them we will incorporate and create better communication between the communities and the other government entities, we will be able to take out results that I believe will benefit all stakeholders." What differentiates the Integrated Participatory Assessment Program from others is that it will cater to the specific proposals of the community. Ian Glory- Field Coordinator Belize Red Cross Organization "Yes, we have communities both in Corozal and in Orange Walk Town and this is the first of its kind it is a pilot project in which besides looking at the communities or villages in both districts we are also going to work along in the urban area of the two towns, so in Corozal town we will be doing Corozal Town itself plus the village of Consejo and the village of San Victor an in Orange Walk we have the San Antonio and the Santa Cruz Rio Hondo communities along with Orange Walk itself." The aim is to complete the assessment of a community in one week. The program is expected to be ready by February 2013, which ensures communities that they will be well prepared in the case of a hurricane disaster. The Organization hopes to later expand the program to the remainder of the country.

Tis The Season To Be Jolly And Safe
Tis the season to be jolly! And for many of us who have waited patiently for Christmas for the past 11 months, the good news is that December is finally here. The use of decorative, festive lights during the Christmas season, is a long standing tradition in many Christian cultures, so today we took the time out to inform the public on the safety measures and precautions they should take heed of over the holidays. Today we spoke to Chief Sub Fire Station Officer for the Orange Walk District, Kenneth Mortis, who gave out tips on how to keep safe over the holidays. Kenneth Mortis- Fire Chief "We know that the candle lighting is a big thing in some of the homes that don't have electricity so we want to stress that don't leave the candles unattended, try to use it with supervision and once you don't needed no more just put out the candle. Candles where open windows where breeze and curtains are blowing is not a match for us and that is a big no, no for us. When it comes to the light and decorations, we have here the basic extension cord which isn't really certified for over excessive use of lighting and so forth, they serve the purpose but it has a flaw meaning that if it is overload it short circuits and what you spend year and couple hundred dollars invested in you will lose in a couple minute. Our best recommendation is to avoid this and go to something of what we call a more heavy duty type; it is design for the load and also design for the amount of excessive amount of lights that you may want to use in your homes. The last thing the fire department wants to do is to response to a fire in the time of celebration and festivities because of an overload extension cord caused by this."

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Belize's delegates return from El Salvador forum against violence
The Belize delegation to the regional forum on youths against violence which was held in El Salvador has returned home. Representatives of all the Central American countries came, together to discuss common issues impacting the sub-region, chief among them: crime and violence. Two of the participants, Denzel Wade and Andrea Enriquez from Youth Against Violence Belize, told Love News that the experience in El Salvador was an eye opener for them, and they are now anxious to work on developing local strategies that could assist in the reduction of crime and violence on the home front. A total of twenty young persons from all over Belize attended the forum last week. Wade and Enriquez are thankful to the National Committee for Families and Children and Youth for the Future for assisting the group in traveling to El Salvador for the meeting.

Continued concerns over the presence of armored catfish in Belize
Last week, the Fisheries department announced they have launched a campaign to capture and eliminate the armored cat fish from fresh water in Belize. According to the fisheries department, they became aware the fish was in Belize after three samples were caught hear Rio Bravo by some local fishermen of Orange Walk district. But it seems the fish has been present in a Belize fresh water body, the New River, for more than a decade. At least one has been caught by some fishermen of Trial Farm. We spoke with Usebio Urbina Sr. who said the catch happened behind Loskot Lumber Yard some thirteen years ago. Urbina and his son have embalmed the fish and are exhibiting the prized fish to locals. They told us they have plans of donating it to the Banquitas House of Culture. He also told us they have not informed the Fisheries department so they can confirm if the embalmed fish is really an armored catch fish.

John McAfee surfaces on CNN
The search continues for San Pedro businessman John McAfee as Belize police investigate the murder of American national Gregory Faull. McAfee has been on the run and has eluded police on a bizarre chase. Over the weekend, McAfee spoke with the Atlanta-based Cable News Network. Over the weekend there were widespread reports online that McAfee had been taken into custody near the Mexican border; but a check with the police press officer Raphael Martinez confirmed that no such apprehension has taken place. Martinez told Love News via text, quote: nothing has changed, end of quote.

Belmopan Taxi drivers not happy
Some taxi men from the city of Belmopan have expressed dissatisfaction with the decision taken by the City Council of removing certain taxi men from the stop near the bus terminal. One of the taxi men, Uberto Chacon, spoke with us this morning and told us that a month ago they were informed by the council that only 21 taxi men will be allowed to continue operating from the said location. Chacon tells us that in all three taxi unions will be affected, Best Choice, Sunrise, and City Light. Chacon told us more. According to Chacon, the council has told them the taxi men will be removed by the 8th of the month. We will try get comments from the Belmopan City Council for our subsequent news report.

Minister Louis Farrakhan coming to Belize
The Leader of the Nation of Islam in the United States Louis Farrakhan will be visiting Belize this month. Farrakhan is a profound motivational and inspirational speaker and the person who inspired the Million Man March which in 1975 brought together over a million black men in the United States to look at ways they could improve life for black Americans. About five years after, the Million Family March was held. Chairman of the Welcome Committee for Farrakhan in Belize, Nuri Mohammed says that Farrakhan has been saying that while the system is to blame for many things it is we who are responsible for correcting what the system has done. Mohammed told Love News that Farrakhan does not only reach out to the Muslim community. Farrakhan's visit to Belize comes as part of his now ongoing Caribbean Tour. This will mark Farrakhan's third visit to Belize, since he came to the country in 1975 and a second time in 1986. Mohammed told us what the impact of his visits has been. Several activities will be held during Farrakhan's visit including a Youth Rally on Friday and a speech session at Birds Isle on Saturday. Mohammed says that this is not a profit making event and is free to all, that is, if there is enough space. He calls on everybody to attend the events. Mohammed says most organizations like the Radisson, Princess and Birds Isle cooperated in giving discounts for the activities. The events are expected to be broadcast nationally and live streaming is also expected to take place. Mohammed says the committee hopes that the visit of Farrakhan pays off in the sense that it be of great benefit to all people at this time when we are struggling to keep a focus and keep hope alive.

FECTAB burns fire on Chukka again; but Chukka fights back
The Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize, FECTAB, has lashed out at Chukka Caribbean Adventures and its Country Representative, Valerie Woods. Last Friday, FECTAB fired off a press release, accusing Woods of hurting the same people she once defended. The accusations are heavy and include things like Chukka Caribbean being able to exclude a vast amount of local tour operators with the help of relevant tourism organizations. According to FECTAB, Woods is attempting to control overnight stays in our country. The accusations follow an incident that happened at Lost World Canopy, a tour destination operated by Tom Wilson and located several miles off the Coastal Road. Love News spoke today with Tom Greenwood and Yhonny Rosado of FECTAB, who explained why they say what they say. Yhonny Rosado, Member, FECTAB But Chukka Belize's Country Representative, Valerie Woods, at a press briefing this afternoon, totally denies the allegations and said that everything that was on the compound was the property of Chukka Belize. Tom Greenwood, President, FECTAB Rosado and Greenwood are asking the agencies that govern tourism operations in Belize to either get Chukka to operate within the standards or get out. Woods again rejected the allegations that it is not operating within the realm of the law. Woods says that Chukka will continue to operate in Belize with the same level of competency that it has been since its presence in the country.

Robbery in Dangriga Town
An armed robbery was reported this morning in Dangriga town. Our Stann Creek correspondent Harry Arzu has the details in the following report.

Murder in St. Matthew's village, Cayo district
A man was shot and killed last night in St. Matthew's village in the Cayo district. Correspondent Fem Cruz reports.


Cops accused in drug plane landing acquitted
Back in November of 2010 Police made the biggest drug seizure ever recorded in Belize. Authorities had been alerted...

Guatemalan National serving time for Immigration offences
a Guatemalan National, 46 year-old Maria Hernandez Nunez, is at Kolbe Foundation after she was charged with immigra...

KHMH recieves VeinViewer
Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital is on the cutting edge of ADVANCED tertiary care. The KHMH is the first hospital in ...

Zane Galvez is allegedly beaten up by police officers
Yolanda Schakron's nephew is allegedly beaten up by police officers. Zane Galvez son of Martin Galvez, brother of d...

Chukka Manager answers her critics
FECTAB is on the war path as tensions rise between the organization and Chukka Tours (Belize). The foreign owned To...

CNN interviews John McAfee
John McAfee has been in hiding since November 12th after Police named him as one of the persons wanted for question...

Controversy over closure of Xunantunich Maya Site
The natives of Succotz Village are restless because of the planned closure of the Xunantunich Maya Site until after...

Belize represented in Mexico for President's inauguration
Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Gaspar Vega led the Belize delegation representing the Government of Belize at the offic...

New Pedestrian Crossings in Belize City should promote safety
The free and often fast flow of traffic makes for a potentially dangerous stretch of road along the Philip Goldson ...

The case of Caleb Orosco versus the Government of Belize resumes
The case of Caleb Orosco versus the Government of Belize has received much media publicity will be having a prelimi...

Road Traffic Collision on Rio Grande Avenue in Belmopan A small fender bender took place on Rio Grande Avenue shortly after 9am this morning. The incident involved a grey ...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Ocean Academy's Annual Christmas Extravaganza
Come out and support Ocean Academy's Annual Christmas Extravaganza!! It all starts on Saturday, December 8th 2012 at 11 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with games. There will be lots of entertainment for the whole family. Santa is arriving at 6:00 p.m. so bring out your kids to take pictures with him. The variety show and Kids Dance Contest all starts at 7:00 p.m. Entrance fee: Kids - $1.00 / Adults - $2.00 You will also get a ticket to win one of our great prizes!! Tickets for Special Sponsorhip Banquet during the variety show is available at Healing Touch Day Spa - Ms Eva McFarlane, Ms Lacy Harrison and Mrs. Heidi Curry. Support Ocean Academy! Support Education on Caye Caulker!!


Tourism Minister or police? Female cop's superiors did not know of her sudden transfer, without a replacement! A female police corporal in charge of the Tourist Police Unit San Pedro Branch has been transferred back to Belize City as of Saturday, December 15, after she charged a female American tourist in court, allegedly against the wishes of Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia. Woman Corporal Sharmane Young, a veteran tourist police officer of 15 years, told Amandala today that she is angry, because she believes that she is being punished because she did her job - to wit, she charged the American woman, Lisa Marie Merz, 43, a nurse from Syracuse, New York, with using indecent words, using insulting words, boisterous behavior, assaulting a uniformed police officer and resisting lawful police arrest. Police said that they were on patrol along the beachfront in San Pedro around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 24, when they saw and searched a man who they believe was selling drugs to the tourists. One of the tourists, a woman, began to curse at the drugs vendor loudly, saying that the drugs were fake. She had demanded to witness the searching of the vendor, and when the police declined her request, she allegedly began to shout profanities at them. Corporal Young, who came to see what was happening, asked the tourist to discontinue her behavior, but the woman reportedly continued cursing at them on Barrier Reef Drive. Police claimed that after she was warned, Merz swore at the corporal again and that's when Young told her that she was under arrest. It is claimed by police that when they arrested Merz, she pushed Corporal Young to the ground with both of her hands, and began to utter more obscenities, after which, according to police, she resisted arrest by walking away. Police who responded to the incident restrained Merz and took her into custody. While in custody, police say, Merz continued to utter profanities at Young.

Esmond Rudolph Wright, 43, of Lauren Burgess Avenue in the Belama Phase 3 area of the city, was knocked down and killed while riding his bicycle on the Philip Goldson Highway around 10:45 p.m. on Friday, November 30. He suffered massive head and body injuries and was declared dead on the spot. The incident occurred in front of the Traveller's Bar and Lounge near Mile 3 1/2. Police who responded to the scene reported that on their arrival, they saw Wright, who also went by the nickname "Shorty," lying face down on the right side of the highway with severe head injuries, and his bicycle, which was badly damaged, was beside him. Police said that their initial investigations revealed that Amrick Escobar, 22, of Lords Bank, Ladyville, was driving a blue-grey Avenger car with L/P BC - C 404087 on the Philip Goldson Highway from the direction of Haulover Bridge to Belize City, and upon arriving in front of Traveller's Bar, Escobar knocked down Wright. Escobar was arrested and charged with causing death through careless conduct, driving without due care and attention, manslaughter by negligence and driving with over the prescribed alcohol limit.

A man who survived a shotgun blast to his legs in April did not survive the second attempt on his life. Roy Lee Young 32, a construction worker and resident of St. Matthews Village, was shot in his head by a man who sneaked up on him while he was sitting under a shed at a bar in the village. Young was rushed to the Belmopan Hospital, but he was pronounced dead on arrival. The incident occurred around 9:30 p.m. at the El Madrigal Bar in St. Matthews Village, Mile 38 on the George Price Highway. Witnesses said that Young was sitting under the shed when his killer sneaked up behind him through a patch of red bell flowers and shot him in the back of the head, execution style, and disappeared into the surrounding area. The other customers who were in the shed ran away when the gunman approached and shot Young. Witnesses told police that the killer did not come from the road, because he would have been seen. A neighbor who heard the gunshot went to the shed and saw Young, still in the sitting position, his head on the table.

Henkis told the court he is no longer afraid; he has made peace with God On Wednesday, November 21, Lee Henkis, 43, was found guilty of an unnatural act, and today, Justice Troadio Gonzalez sentenced him to eight years behind bars. Sentencing was to have occurred on Wednesday, November 28; however, no one appeared in court to speak on Henkis' behalf, and the judge adjourned the matter to today. Henkis was convicted of an incident which occurred in July of 2009, in which a then 9-year-old-boy reported that Henkis had had anal sex with him on two separate occasions. According to the child's testimony, Henkis had promised him a cell phone, and when he arrived at Henkis' house that day, he was told that the phone was inside Henkis' room. When the boy entered the room, Henkis followed him inside, undressed him then undressed himself. After doing so, he proceeded to have anal sex with the child. Today, only one person appeared to speak on Henkis' behalf - one Gayle Banner. She told the court that she has known Henkis almost her entire life, as they grew up together. She went on to say that she will always remember the good of him, and that he was good with his hands and loved to cook. She described what Henkis was convicted of as a mistake.

There were rumours that Mexican gunmen would have attempted to free him Zurisaday Villasenior Mendez, 22, a Mexican, who was on remand, was taken to the Corozal Magistrate's Court on Friday, November 30, where he was further remanded to prison until Friday, December 7. Police say that during a raid on Tuesday, October 30, 2012, in his room at the Las Vegas Hotel at the northern border, he was busted with a total of 7 guns, 12 magazines and 144 bullets. Police charged Mendez with 1 count of keeping a prohibited firearm, 2 counts of keeping prohibited ammunition, 3 counts of keeping an unlicensed firearm, 4 counts of keeping unlicensed ammunition, 5 counts of drug trafficking, and 6 counts of possession of controlled drugs. His attorney, Arthur Saldivar, waived his client's rights for disclosure, and opted to go to trial a week later, on Friday, December 7. Mendez, who lives in Quintana Roo, Mexico, was first taken to the Corozal Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, October 31, and was remanded to prison until Friday, November 30. Police said that they had received information that gunmen from Mexico would attempt to rescue Mendez from custody, and he was escorted to court under heavy police security. Police ADU and the GSU provided the security, and the entire area around the Corozal Magistrate Court was under guard.

Amrick Escobar, 20, a resident of Lords Bank village, was today taken before Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith, where four charges were read to him - manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, driving without due care and attention, and driving a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit. Police say that at 10:45 p.m. on Friday, November 30, Escobar was driving his blue Dodge Avenger car bearing license plate #BZC40487. He was coming from the direction of Chetumal Street toward the Ventura round-about when he knocked down Esmond Rudolph Wright, 43, a resident of Belama Phase 3. In a report, police said that Wright was riding his green mountain bike when he was knocked down, and died on the spot as a result of massive head and body injuries he sustained. When they arrived on the scene, police observed Wright on the ground, lying motionless; he was transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at midnight.

As predicted earlier in the season, the Premier League of Belize Opening Season 2012-2013 ended its regular competition this past weekend with tight races in both zones, where a number of teams had "must win" games, and the points total was not enough to determine one spot in each zone. In the south, where both Placencia Assassins and Verdes FC ended up tied with 29 points each, the Assassins clinched the playoff spot by virtue of a 7-goal advantage in the goal difference column. (See standings below.) Police United had sealed the top spot with their 30 points to top the South Zone. But in the North, where Belmopan Bandits were clear front runners with 31 points, the situation was even tighter between Belize Defense Force (BDF) and F.C. Belize, who were not only tied with 28 points, but also tied with a goal difference of 15, after F.C. Belize had loaded up FC San Felipe Barcelona, 8-nil, in San Felipe yesterday. This one had to be decided according to another yardstick (see "PLB announces playoff berths" elsewhere in this issue.) On Saturday night at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium, visiting Verdes FC pulled out the 3-2 win (goal scorers not yet available) over Paradise/Freedom Fighters. Meanwhile, in the "game of the week" at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, BDF had to come from behind in the waning minutes to secure a 1-1 draw against Belmopan Bandits, and garner the 1 point that was needed to salvage a spot in the playoffs. Jerome "Jarro" James put the Bandits in front at the 44th minute, but defender Victor Nunez tied it up for BDF at the 86th.

When a man or a woman decides to become an activist, this means that that person is going against the grain, so to speak, and the chances are that the activist will experience personal pain, danger, fear, self-doubt, sometimes incarceration, even death. It has been said that most twentieth-century revolutions, while featuring the national masses, were led by men from the middle or educated class. Examples of such leaders would include Mao Tse-tung in China, Lenin and Trotsky in Russia, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, Mahatma Gandhi in India, Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Fidel Castro in Cuba, and so on. The activist, then, has not in his personal life usually felt as much pain as the people he seeks to liberate have been suffering, and so when he becomes deeply embroiled in the struggle, the activist will sometimes experience periods of weakness in which he will wonder why he chose such a rough road to travel, it being the case that he previously would have had personal options. Perhaps more negative than self-doubt or second guessing one's self, is bitterness towards those of one's contemporaries who did not decide to take up the cross. If you have made an activist choice, and someone else has not, that is that person's right and privilege. You had your free will, and that was your decision, in the fullness of your adulthood. It should be noted that there is, on the other side of the coin, substantial satisfaction, often happiness, in activism, because one is asserting one's self, one is facing up to reality, and one is taking on what one sees as one's responsibility, one's cause, one's raison d'etre. In the UBAD years of activism, we were not facing bullets or bombs. We were threatened with jail a few times, but, more constant, as time went on, was the economic marginalization, and some social ostracism. Activism has to be financed in different ways; essentially, the activists have to eat, wear clothes, and rest their head in abodes. In an urban setting, all these things require money. Many of us had family responsibilities, apart from our personal needs.

Amandala chats with U-15 Gold Medal team coach, Santi Valencia Jamaican reggay legend Jimmy Cliff once sang, "the harder the battle, you see, it's the sweeter the victory." And victory for our Belizean male U-15 football team and their inspired head coach Santi Valencia was sweet indeed this past Sunday in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the very city that witnessed the Gold Medal achievement by our Belizean females in softball almost four decades ago. The YWAM-Belize U-15 squad departed on American Airlines on Wednesday last, November 21, and returned home to a grand welcome at the Philip Goldson International Airport on Tuesday, November 27, sporting their Gold Medals and the championship cup for the tournament that involved teams from Dominican Republic, Haiti, Belize and Mexico. But it was a hard fought victory indeed. We spoke with Santi this morning after he had visited Krem WUB along with his wife, Lilian, three players from the team - his sons Mario and Eddie along with Dmitri Fabro, and FFB National Development Director Renan Couoh, who oversaw the training of the team in Belize. However, Santi Valencia is the head coach that travelled with the team to Santo Domingo and steered them through to victory. Santi had words of thanks and appreciation to many people, including sponsors and especially the parents, whose support was vital in the whole process. But we took the opportunity to focus our discussion on the game, and get a feel of the experience our team endured, and specifically through the eyes of the coach, on their way to making history. Amandala: The training and the commitment you put into the team� Like you said, you are a pastor? Santi: Yes, sir. I'm a pastor, I'm a director, an administrator�

Perhaps lost in the usual roundup on the television news of Friday's sitting of the House of Representatives was that the country will finally have an Ombudsman again, after almost a year without one. We don't know enough to comment with authority about Cabinet's pick for the post, 45-year-old Lionel Arzu. We can't say whether he is the right choice. We pray he is. But we are happy that the country finally has an Ombudsman. There are some who thought that we should have taken all the time we needed to get the right person - someone with the requisite "intellect, integrity, and motivation." But, we daresay, a year was too long. At the start of the current administration's first term in 2008, they also went months and months without appointing an Ombudsman - it was as if they didn't think it was important. They eventually appointed Cynthia Pitts, a retired public officer and attorney-at-law. Ms. Pitts appeared, to us, to have been an able Ombudsman. It would appear, though, that government didn't think so, because at the end of last year when her three-year contract had expired, they used a technicality to "hambug" her. Our understanding is that because she had not given the required three-month notice that she wanted her contract renewed, by the time she finally gave official indication she wanted to keep the job, the government refused to re-appoint her. And once again, the days turned into weeks, and the weeks into months - and we were without an Ombudsman for damn near a year. This is not a sexy post - but if a person is committed and up to the challenge, he/she can make a difference. An effective Ombudsman is there for those who need help the most in navigating the official delinquency and abuse that exist in a lot of government departments. Those in authority tend to abuse their authority. That's how it's been from time immemorial. The Ombudsman is there for those who have been wronged by those in authority. He/she is there to give protection and assistance to anyone in the public who has been discriminated against by officialdom. The truth is, in the case of Pitts, the government had a right to move on, and install the person they really wanted in the post. And, at the same time, the public had a right to have the Office of the Ombudsman filled in the shortest possible time.



Tuesday Nite Trivia
They don't have moonshine, but they do have tequila� local rum� Belikin beer� and�. Tuesday Nite Trivia. Come on out and test your knowledge against fellow beach bar buddies and a few island trivia buffs at Coco Locos weekly Trivia - the only trivia game north of the bridge. Start time is 7:00pm sharp, there is a small buy in, teams can be up to 4 people and there will be prizes coming soon.

We're not doomed: Why the world won't end this month
When Gabrielle Vail tells people she studies ancient Mayan writings known as codices, their first question is nearly always the same: "Is the world really going to end on Dec. 21?" The apocalyptic prophecy based on the end of a Mayan era has become fodder for countless Internet theories and inspired the Hollywood blockbuster "2012." Believers of the "2012 phenomenon" depict ancient Mayan astronomers as sages privy to knowledge long since lost to modern science. They forecast cataclysmic events like the sun exploding or Earth succumbing to a black hole. Well, not quite, according to Vail, a New College of Florida anthropology professor who has studied Mayan culture for 23 years. In her lecture "The Destruction and Re-Creation of the World in Sacred Mayan Texts" at the South Florida Museum on Wednesday, Vail will address how the doomsday forecast arose. Her conclusion: People's biggest worry on Dec. 22 is likely to be last-minute Christmas shopping. Rumors of Earth's demise stem from misinterpretations of Mayan codices and possibly from one textbook that suggested Mayans may have viewed the end of a calendar era as a world-ending event, Vail said. It's a notion that is largely dismissed by most scholars who adhere to the view that Dec. 21 marks merely the end of the 13th baktun, a 144,000-day cycle roughly equivalent to 394 years. The cycle dates back to more than 3000 B.C. "The Mayans have a very long view of time that goes way past this completion," Vail said. But in the Internet age, truth rarely troubles a good rumor.

International Sources

The increasingly bizarre tale of John McAfee
Prostitutes, gun-toting bodyguards, experimental drugs, police raids, poisoned dogs, murder, elaborate disguises, cloak-and-dagger interviews: welcome to the incredible world of John McAfee. In a plotline worthy of a Hollywood thriller, the American anti-virus software pioneer went on the run from his Belize island home hours after his Florida expat neighbor Gregory Faull was murdered early on Nov 11. With 20-year-old girlfriend Sam in tow, McAfee has evaded capture for more than three weeks. He claimed on Monday that the fugitive pair have secured safe passage out of the country, although no one has a clue where they are. McAfee's ramblings are laid bare for the public at, the blog he set up to counter the lies he says the media and the Belize government have perpetuated in the wake of his disappearance. On Saturday, a posting cited an unconfirmed report that the 67-year-old McAfee had been captured at the border of Belize and Mexico. But, as anyone accustomed with the blog would know, nothing should be taken at face value. On Monday morning, McAfee posted an update apologising for the misdirection, saying he had conjured it up to mislead the Belizean authorities, who have declared him a "person of interest" in the case. "I am currently safe and in the company of two intrepid journalist(s) from Vice Magazine, and, of course, Sam. We are not in Belize, but not quite out of the woods yet," his post said. "My 'double', carrying on a North Korean passport under my name, was in fact detained in Mexico for pre-planned misbehavior, but due to indifference on the part of authorities was evicted from the jail and was unable to serve his intended purpose in our exit plan," it added. What is fiction? What is reality? In the McAfee story, the truth is an enigma. Did he actually commit the crime? If he did, why leave such an elaborate e-trail? If he didn't, why go on the run at all?

Software tycoon John McAfee appears in public for first time after weeks on the run to protest innocence over murder - and celebrates escape from Belize with kiss for his 20-year-old fiancee
Anti-virus software magnate goes public in Guatemala, where he has hired a lawyer in bid for asylum there. McAfee has been on the run since the shooting of fellow American Gregory Viant Faull in Belize. McAfee claims he 'has body double in Mexico with North Korean passport'. After weeks on the run, anti-virus software founder John McAfee has gone public in Guatemala, where he plans to ask for asylum because he fears persecution in Belize. McAfee made two public appearances on Tuesday in Guatemala City, where he fielded questions from reporters and proclaimed his innocence in the November murder of a neighbor. McAfee spoke to The Associated Press in a restaurant near a high-end hotel where he is staying in Guatemala City after sneaking out of neighboring Belize. There, the 67-year-old millionaire was pictured kissing his 20-year-old girlfriend Sam Vanegas. He is also in the company of high-powered attorney Tel�sforo Guerra, a former Guatemalan attorney general and an uncle of Vanegas. Also present at the hotel were Rocco Castoro, the editor-in-chief of New York's Vice magazine, and photographer/videographer Robert King, who snapped a few candid photos of McAfee as he dined with Guerra. Castoro wrote: '[McAfee] retained the services of Mr. Guerra. He has agreed to help John untangle the web of confusion and - according to John - corruption that has taken over his life in Belize since April.' Castoro and King have been traveling with McAfee for the last five days, and are filming a documentary that will accompany a magazine article about McAfee's time on the run. McAfee later appeared with Guerra during a press conference in front of the Supreme Court in Guatemala City. Police in Belize have called McAfee a person of interest in the November slaying of a fellow American ex-pat, Gregory Viant Faull. McAfee says he is being persecuted by the Belizean government, and he has some dirt about official corruption in the country where he lived in a compound guarded by aggressive dogs and armed guards. 'I need a safe place where I can actually speak out,' McAfee said. 'Now that I'm here I can speak freely. I can speak openly.'

Fugitive software pioneer to seek asylum in Guatemala
GUATEMALA CITY - Software company founder John McAfee has surfaced in public for the first time in weeks, saying Tuesday that he plans to ask for asylum in Guatemala because he fears persecution in Belize. McAfee spoke to The Associated Press in a restaurant near a high-end hotel where he is staying in Guatemala City after sneaking out of neighboring Belize. Police in Belize have called him a person of interest in the November slaying of a fellow American ex-pat but say there is no warrant for his arrest. Since there are no restrictions on his travels, it's unclear why he would need any special status in order to stay in Guatemala. McAfee says he is being persecuted by the Belizean government, and he has sensitive information about official corruption in the country where he lived in a compound guarded by aggressive dogs and armed guards. He has hired a well-known Guatemalan lawyer to assist him. "I need a safe place where I can actually speak out," McAfee said. "Now that I'm here I can speak freely. I can speak openly." Belizean police have denied they are persecuting McAfee or are motivated by corruption, saying they have simply been investigating a crime about which McAfee may have information. Prime minister Dean Barrow has expressed doubts about McAfee's mental state, saying: "I don't want to be unkind to the gentleman, but I believe he is extremely paranoid, even bonkers." McAfee told the Associated Press that he will petition the Guatemalan government to allow him to stay. McAfee said he fears he will be killed if he turns himself in for questioning in Belize. "Belize does not have a good track record of providing safety when they ask to question you," he said. "I felt much more secure crossing the border into a country that had laws that were backed by the justice system."

John McAfee still on the run
John McAfee continued to tease and deceive on Monday. The Silicon Valley guru-turned-fugitive claimed in a blog post that he manipulated his cellphone so a photo of him taken during his flight from police made it appear the picture was shot in Guatemala, just south of Belize where McAfee has been sought for three weeks as a "person of interest" in the death of his neighbor. It was all part of a flurry of McAfee-related news, tweets and blogs Monday monitoring the 67-year-old, anti-virus software creator who claims to have used disguises to hide in plain sight from authorities. In his first blog post of the day, McAfee referred to a pair of "intrepid journalists" from Vice magazine who were traveling with him and had posted a photo of McAfee under the headline, "We Are With John McAfee Right Now, Suckers." The Twitter-verse then exploded with posts from people claiming that GPS tracking data showed the iPhone photo had been taken in Livingston, Guatemala, and that Vice had unwittingly outed McAfee's location. Almost instantly, others began tweeting that the GPS data was probably bogus, and likely just one more of McAfee's sometimes preposterous, often elaborate ruses to avoid detection by authorities in Belize while keeping the media spotlight shining on him. At the least, the exercise over the GPS location of Vice's photo led McAfee to abandon his short-lived relationship with his "intrepid journalists." "I, for my own safety, manipulated the xif data on the image taken from my cellphone, and created a fake emrgency (sic) so that the urgency of movement led, as I knew it would, to the hasty posting on their website. I felt that our tenuous situation demanded action, and that was the action that I chose. I do not believe that Vice will remain with me further." It has been a typically strange few days for McAfee. Early Monday, McAfee's "official spokesperson" Brian Fitzgerald blogged that an anonymous voice mail said that McAfee had been picked up while crossing the Mexico border. McAfee then blogged Monday that Mexican authorities on Friday had, in fact, temporarily detained his "double" who was carrying a North Korean passport with McAfee's name. At the same time, CNN continued to air an on-camera interview that McAfee granted Friday from a "safe house on a tropical island paradise."

Creditor Group Rejects Belize Debt Proposal
Investors holding more than half of Belize's outstanding bonds rejected a government proposal to restructure the country's debt Tuesday. Belize and its creditors have been negotiating a debt restructuring ever since the Central American country defaulted in September, a month after it failed to make a payment on its $548.3 million debt. In its first major public concession to creditors, Belize released two restructuring proposals Nov. 29 that asked creditors to forgive 33% of what they are owed, or allow the country to delay debt payments for 10 years. The initial debt restructuring proposal Belize released in August asked bondholders to forgive 45% of what they are owed, or allow the country to delay any debt payments for 15 years. "While these improved on the scenarios presented by [Belize] in August, which asked for near unprecedented levels of debt relief, the Committee believes they are not yet close to acceptable burden sharing," the creditor committee's statement said. On Nov. 29, Belize rejected a counterproposal from the creditors' committee that included three scenarios, all of which included temporarily reducing the bond's current coupon rate while extending the life of the bond, and eventually returning to the 8.5% coupon. Analysts say that Belize's recent economic improvement could jeopardize its case for such a large debt reduction. In November, the International Monetary Fund said it expects Belize's economy to grow 3.5% in 2012, compared to 2.5% in 2011. However, Belize and its creditors seem to disagree on their expectations for the country's economic growth. "Our analysis suggests the potential for brighter prospects for Belize than the Government's forecasts," financial adviser to the committee Mike Gerrard said in the statement.

Belize debtholders reject revised 'superbond' offer
Belize bondholders on Tuesday rejected a new offer from the country's government on restructuring its $550 million "superbond" and said they had hired lawyers after the expiry of a reprieve on legal action. Belize, which says it cannot afford to meet rising interest payments on the bond, revised its offer last week after shocking investors with its original suggestion that they take a haircut of up to 45 percent. But a committee set up to represent bondholders said the new proposals still fell short and they had hired law firm Arnold & Porter to act as their legal counsel. Bondholders had agreed not to pursue legal action for 60 days after Belize paid half of the $23.5 million interest payment due in August. But the grace period has now expired. "Unfortunately, it seems we may be missing the window for a timely resolution," said AJ Mediratta, of Greylock Capital Management, co-chair of the bondholders committee. "The committee will be spending the next few weeks evaluating its options, but remains strongly committed to a good-faith collaborative process and will make itself available to the (government of Belize) as required." The revised offer included a lower haircut of 33 percent and an initial interest rate of 4.5 percent that would step up to 6.75 percent after five years - more than the 3.5 percent interest Belize originally proposed. Another option involved no haircut but lower interest rates over 40 years, from 50 years originally, and a grace period of 10 years on principal repayments, from 15 years originally.

Eat Too Much: Drink Too Much: Want Too Much (How To Roll in Belize)
Snaps from the "Taste of Belize" in San Ignacio, Belize, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2012. If the music or the spirit moves you, just get down and get funky and nobody will even give you a second look in Belize. Except maybe obsessive people watchers like yours truly perhaps. It's a hard thing for a Texan who grew up on all that great Texas BBQ, but Western Belize is famous, among other things, for some of the best BBQ anywhere in the world.

Tres Leches Cake
Tres Leches cake is of course made with 3 milks. The cake is at first baked as you would a normal cake, then breathing holes are poked into the cake. Afterward 3 different sweet milks are poured onto the cake until it is totally saturated. A light frosting can be added topped by a Maraschino cherry.

The second wave of industrial destruction agains the MAYANS in BELIZE...first taking TIMBER AND LAND...and now OIL is moving in for destruction

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