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Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials
The latest Tia Chocolate column is ready for reading!!!
Waiting No More: It was hard to open his eyes; the effort to unglue his top lids from the bottom, too exhausting. So, he gave that up, focusing instead on the pictures in his mind, and absorbing light that filtered through his paper thin eyelids.
His favorite time was the moment before eventual sleep, that hazy, ethereal few minutes when he stood balancing between sleep and wakefulness. As the days melted into weeks and weeks turned to months, the memories of his youth dissipated. Instead, he kept his eyelids closed, for the most beautiful picture remained behind his lids.
The January 20th, 2013 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE
This Week's Stories:
- Belize City Youth Charged In Cayo For $15 Robbery:
A 20 year man from Belize City was
today arrested, charged and
remanded to prison on a robbery
San Ignacio police reports that on
Sunday, January 13, 2013 at about
8:15 pm Ervin Tzul, 23, Belizean
Lab Technician visited the police
station in San Ignacio where he
reported that he was robbed a few
minutes earlier while socializing with
friends inside the Macal River Park
in San Ignacio.
The complainant informed that while
inside the park the group was
approached by a male person of dark
complexion wearing a blue shirt with
stripes and a blue pants. The man,
armed with a knife, reportedly
approached the complainant
demanding his cellular telephone and
- Increase Fee For Drivers
License Is Optional:
Paying twice the statutory fee for a
drivers’ permit in the twin towns of
San Ignacio/Santa Elena is optional
says Mayor John August.
In the face of the doubling of the
statutory drivers’ license fee in the
twin municipalities, the contention
blew up earlier this week when, on
Monday, January 14, the Ministry of
Labour, Local Government, Rural
Development, National Emergency
Management and Immigration &
Nationality, issued a public notice
informing that pursuant of Statutory
Instrument #182 of 2003, the legal fee
for the issuance of a driver’s license
is ONLY thirty Belize dollars and
that drivers are not required to pay
anything above the thirty dollars fee.
- Is An Accused Drug Trafficking
Policeman Shielded By The Police?:
A police constable on interdiction
for allegedly being involved in illegal
activities in Belmopan City has been
arrested and charged with drug trafficking after he was allegedly
caught in the act.
Acting upon information received at
around 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday, January
15, a team of policemen from the Benque Viejo sub-formation rushed
to area near the western border
station. Upon arrival they were
informed that the person wearing a
blue t-shirt and blue ¾ pants boarded
a taxi cab heading into Benque Viejo
- Godsman C. Ellis - Is Now At Rest:
We take this opportunity to express
deepest sympathy to the Ellis family
on the passing of Mr. Godsman Ellis.
Mr. Ellis was indeed a pioneer in
several aspect of Belizean life.
He was instrumental in agriculture,
tourism and the Garifuna council
among several other undertakings.
He lived a fruitful life. Mr. Ellis has
now gone to rest. May his soul now
rest in eternal peace.
- Looking For Mr. Hilary Wade Delmar:
I am the younger Brother of Mr.
Hilary Wade Delmar.
On June 12th, 2011 your paper
reported on an American by the name
of Hilary Wade Delmar arrested by
Mr. Delmar was arrested and in
custody, awaiting charges for being in
the possession of excess ammunition
and a contraption suspected to be
used for smoking marijuana.
- Cuba Confirms 51 Cholera Cases In Havana:
Cuba’s health ministry has
confirmed a cholera outbreak in
Havana with 51 people infected - the
biggest incidence of the disease there
An official statement said health
workers had detected an increase in
“acute diarrhoea” in some districts,
which has been established as
The source has been identified as a
foodseller who caught cholera during
a previous outbreak in eastern Cuba.
Doctors have been going house to
house in Havana areas, checking for
- Guatemala Shock As Two Murdered Girls Found On Street:
Guatemalan police are investigating
the murder of two girls aged six and
12 whose bodies were found dumped
on a street in the capital, Guatemala
The girls, who were wearing
pyjamas, appeared to have been
strangled, officials said.
Police are trying to establish whether
their deaths are linked to the murders
of two women found with gunshot
wounds in the same district.
Some 700 women were killed in
Guatemala in 2011, according to
The bodies of the two girls were
found in the early hours of
Wednesday on a street in Zona 11, a
southern district of Guatemala City.
- Thank You For Your Support:
I would like to start by saying thank
you for promoting the Kontiki Family
Fun Day and apologies for the
tardiness of this letter. The reason for
this tardiness is because in an effort
to sell a few more raffle tickets we
postponed the raffling date for
November 30th, 2012.
The purpose of this article is to
thank all the kind and generous hearts
who gave freely, thank you to all the
people of Kontiki and surrounding
areas who attended the event and all
those who contributed to make this
day a success.
- Early HIV Drugs 'Slow Virus Down':
Giving a patient HIV drugs as soon
as they are diagnosed could be the
future of treatment, say researchers.
Currently, antiretroviral therapy is
given only once the immune system
has been seriously weakened by
A trial, in the New England Journal
of Medicine, showed that a year-long
course of therapy after diagnosis
helped preserve the immune system
and keep the virus in check.
It is thought that early treatment may
also reduce the spread of HIV.
- New Belize High Commissioner to Canada Meets
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper:
His Excellency Nestor Mendez,
Ambassador of Belize to the United
States of America and Permanent
Representative of Belize to the
Organization of American States,
yesterday presented his Letter of
Introduction to the Right Honorable
Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of
Canada, accrediting him as Belize’s
High Commissioner to Canada.
The meeting took place in the
Office of the Prime Minister in
Ottawa, Canada, where High
Commissioner Mendez discussed
with the Canadian leader issues of
prominence in the Belize -Canada
During his visit to Canada, High
Commissioner Mendez also met and
had discussions with senior officials
of the Department of Foreign Affairs
and International Trade, officials of the
Department of National Defense, and
representatives of the Canadian
International Development Agency
- Venezuela Vice President Faces Leadership Test:
As ailing President Hugo Chavez's successor, Vice President Nicolas Maduro is in
charge. But he faces hurdles in solidifying support in a post-Chavez Venezuela.
- Lance Armstrong: How It Feels To Lose Faith In Your Favourite Sport:
Bitter, angry, disappointed, but
hopeful. As a lifelong cycling fan, that’s
how I feel after Lance Armstrong’s
confession - and now that, maybe, a
line can be drawn under years of lies
Imagine how you would feel if you
discovered that the there had been so
much cheating at such a high level
across the sport you love, that a
decade’s worth of results could no
longer be relied upon.
What would you think if the sport
could no longer say with any great
certainty who had won the
Premiership, or the World Cup?
That is effectively what has happened
- STAR Humor
- Your Weekly Horoscope and Lucky Numbers
- Letters to the Editor
- Public Notices
The San Pedro Sun
American couple claims fraud by Belizean Attorney
John-Cynthia-Englehardt“We chose to buy a condo in Belize because we fell in love with the country,” said John Englehardt as he and his wife Cynthia detailed their bad experience with their Belizean hired attorney, who for over three years have not been able to provide them it the title to the property. The Englehardts are from Michigan, USA, and they said that they hired Arthur Saldivar, paid him over $13,000BZ, but to date has not completed his job. Even worse, they claim, is that Saldivar has been avoiding them. The frustrated couple said that they felt that their only other option was to reach out to the Belizean press to explain the bad experience in an effort to recuperate their monies back.
According to the Englehardts in late 2009, they began looking to invest their hard-earned savings in a place they loved. After scouting, they decided to purchase a condo at Reef Village, paying US$115,000 in early 2010. But the coupled detailed that in order for them to legally obtain a strata title, they had to hire an attorney. Cynthia said that she paid Saldivar in February of 2010, 1% of the value of condo and all the government fees that he had listed to complete the Transfer of Title for Unit H202 at Reef Village Resort.
Misc Belizean Sources
Movie Being Shot In Belize
Overheard a conversation yesterday about a movie currently being shot on St. Georges Caye. Seems the Coast Guard was involved in transporting the crew and actors (Why?) when about 5:00 am yesterday morning they ran one of their big skiffs into a scuttled barge in front of the bogue. The star and other actors suffered injuries including broken leg(s). Lots of things do not sound right - why was the national coast guard transporting them - how can the coast guard of all people not know about that barge which is in plain view and known to most naval tyros??
4 Ambergris Resorts win TripAdvisor awards
Congrats to the four Ambergris Caye resorts that just won TripAdvisor 2013 Travelers’ Choice Awards as being among the Top 25 Hotels in Central America:
Victoria House #5
Coco Beach #8
Grand Caribe #10
Las Terrazas #11
Energizing Youth Entrepreneurship
What happens when there are no jobs, when you live in a country with 23% unemployment and over 45% living in poverty? There must be a deliberate plan of action to energize youth entrepreneurship. We must empowered our youth with keys and tools on how to create employment for themselves. Small business start ups are known to be the engine of any thriving economy. So many of our young adults are sitting at home with an Associates or Bachelor degree waiting until they can get a job with the government. There is hope, there is a way forward. Mark your calendar for Energizing Youth Entrepreneurship work shop coming this February Saturday 23rd.
Twin Palms B&B Wins Trip Advisor Award
Congratulations to Twin Palms Bed and Breakfast, for not just being ranked number 1 in Cayo, but also for having 127 perfect reviews, and winning the Trip Advisor Travelers' Choice award for Best B&B.
"I was in Belmopan for a few nights for business and Anna and team at Twin Palms made my stay effortless, incredibly comfortable and stress free. I was upgraded to one of the separate suites that had a kitchenette, it's own wifi and a beautiful spacious bedroom. Any concern or issue I had was quickly addressed by Anna. I was even provided with a cell while staying there so I could call a taxi service to take me to and from my meetings. When I needed to print off documents or order food from the local restaurant Anna was there to help. Even the cleaning staff that tended to my room daily were lovely. I can honestly not recommend this bed & breakfast enough. If I ever return to Belmopan I will definitely be staying at Twin Palms. Thank you so much Anna and Tim for your amazing hospitality"
Although I got up this morning at 5 am I was feeling slightly the worse for wear. Probably caused by only having around four and a half hours of sleep, concentrating on the cards we drew last night on the Poker Run and maybe, just maybe, the copious amount of Belikin I consumed. You would think that at my age I would know better!
The Poker Run, as always, was great fun made even more so by the high number of people that went on this one. A fact strongly confirmed by the winner’s prize ( not me I am sorry to say) of BZ$1,040.
For those of you that read this blog that either live on Ambergris Caye or are visiting soon the next Poker Run is Saturday 2 February. The big question is whether my constitution will recover in time!
Anyway, watched the Chelsea v Arsenal game that started at 7.30 am. A particularly frustrating and annoying game – yes, you guessed it, Arsenal lost. I had some breakfast before the Tottenham v Manchester United game started and did watch the first half but my heart wasn’t in it. I still felt deflated by Arsenal’s defeat so I thought I would pick up on where I left off in yesterday’s edition and update you on what other progress had been made on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Partial Payment Not Accepted By CJC, Students Demonstrate
Belizeans across the length and breadth of this country have begun feeling the economical pinch as increases have been implemented in almost every sector of society. Electricity rates have taken a steep 16.7% increase, the cost of fuel remains extremely high, the cost of goods on the shelves have slowly gotten out of the reach of pockets of many families and as of recent, the cost of education at the university level skyrocketed.
Students at the University of Belize have seen a drastic increase in their registration fees as the Government of Belize has cancelled subsidies it used to give to the University. Teachers are planning industrial action against the Government of Belize in efforts of getting their salary increments within the collective bargaining agreement.
Well, the students of Corozal Junior College today felt the proverbial pinch as the school’s administration would only accept full payments for matriculation to the school. About 300 sixth form students united in a short demonstration minutes before noon today and walked out of the school’s compound. According to reports by the students, the school would not accept or entertain partial payments for classes adding an additional financial burden on the students and their families.
One Life Claimed During Traffic Accident
Just a short while ago, there was a fatal traffic accident on the Phillip Goldson Highway on the portion running through Calcutta Village. Unconfirmed reports are that an elderly man who appears to be in his eighties was walking on the side of the road when he was knocked down by a blue Geo Prism bearing license plate CZL-C-12218. The accident occurred in front of the Calcutta Adventist Spanish Church and eyewitnesses say that there is a speed bump right in front of it. The body of the man, whose name we are withholding at this point in time until his family has been properly notified, has been transported to the Corozal Community Hospital where it has been pronounced dead on arrival. We will follow this story and bring you all the details in Monday’s newscast.
Land Grab Continues Under The UDP
Since the UDP took office in 2008, there have been constant reports of corruption and victimization from within each and every Ministry; most particularly, the Ministry of Natural Resources. Our newsroom has been buzzing on a constant basis with allegations and reports by Belizeans across the country saying that their lands have been cancelled and/or given to known UDP associates. Reports have also poured into our newsroom alleging that hundreds of acres of land have been taken away from Belizeans who have either been working the land or have been waiting for land documents to be released to them, and sold at rock bottom prices to party cronies.
Well tonight, more allegations have been coming into our newsroom, this time from the Orange Walk South constituency. Area Representative Jose Mai visited our studio today and told us what the people of his constituency are facing. Some strong allegations were brought forth on behave of the people of San Felipe and surrounding area in which they allege that family members of the National State Officer Darleni Padron have been the ones benefiting from the latest slew of cancelled leases. Reports are that these cancelled leases are placed in the names of family members who in turn sell the lands at lucrative prices to Mennonite farmers. Area Representative Jose Mai told us more on the land cancellation and land selling situation facing the people of his constituency.
2012 Crime Statistics Released By Police Department
The Belize Police Department has recently undergone a change in hierarchy in the various levels of heads of departments with Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie at the helm. But that’s not the only major change the department has undergone, every single ranking officer will now hold on to their seats by a performance based review.
Each head of department will be subject to periodical performance reviews to ensure that crime statistics decline and not continue to escalate as has been the trend over the past few years. The police department released the statistics for 2012 today and what we can safely say is that crime had risen from 2011 to 2012.
The number of murders rose from 124 in 2011 to an all-time high of 145 in 2012, an increase of 21 more murders for last year with the Belize district having the most murders at 90. Rape went up by one count from 27 to 28 for 2012. Robbery saw the biggest increase to 487 from 447, a difference of forty more robberies last year than the previous year. The biggest increase in robberies was registered in the Belize District which saw fifty-six more than in 2011. Burglary went up by twelve reports last year totalling 1,106 while the only decline in statistics was seen in theft reports which went from 1,024 in 2011 to 950 in 2012. Reports of carnal knowledge increased by six from 50 to 56 with the highest number registered in the Cayo district. In total, there were 2,766 crimes reported in 2011 and six more reported in 2012 at 2,772.
Education Campaign On Referendum 2013 Comences
Belize is a sovereign nation that is recognized internationally and is a full member of the United Nations. Our borders are clearly defined in what we acknowledge as the supreme law which outlines the governance of our nation, or better said, our Constitution. However, Guatemala and Belize have both decided to invite the citizens of their respective lands to vote via a referendum about the intended path of taking the so-called "Belize-Guatemala Territorial Dispute", to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a once and for all final decision.
A public awareness campaign has been launched in both countries and here in Belize, the media was officially sensitized on the issue on Wednesday of this week at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City. A sensitization tour was kicked off and today, the unit responsible for educating the people of Belize visited the sixth form students of Muffles Junior College. The referendum team engaged the students of the institution in an awareness campaign on the pros, the cons and the risks facing Belize should the matter be taken before the ICJ. Member of the referendum sensitization team, Ambassador James Murphy spoke to our news team this afternoon and told us more.
Sugar Industry Continues On The Right Track
The Belize Sugar Industries Limited has issued their information bulletin for the seventh week of the 2012 – 2013 Sugar Cane Crop Season which is from the 9th to the 15th of January. The bulletin reports on several key parameters pertaining to factory performance, cane quality and factory efficiencies. Under Factory Performance, the factory milled 42,493 tons of cane this week yielding 4,122 tons of sugar with 2,720 tons of mud extracted. Both the tons milled and sugar produced numbers are up this crop season as compared to last year at this time. Cane milled is up by over 70,000 tons and the sugar yielded is about 8,000 tons more.
For the Cane Quality, the factory has been extracting a bit more pollution this season that last season at this time with 11.39% extracted this week taking it up to 11.24% from 10.66% last season. The quality of the purity of the sugar cane juice is up from 84.57% to 84.71% this season. This week’s juice purity stands at an impressive 85.85% but, the mud percentage has gone up also to 6.4% this week but, the cumulative average is still down at 4.79% as compared to last season this time which was at 5.84%. The Tons Cane per Tons Sugar stands at 10.31 tons of cane milled to produce one ton sugar.
The Belize Times
Dangriga Town Council Condemns Actions of Ministry of Local Government
The Dangriga Town Council (DTC) is outraged at the blatant partisan politics and condemns in no uncertain terms the disrespect shown to the DTC by the Ministry of Local Government in the selection of the Liquor Licensing Board for 2013. In October 2012, the Ministry of Local Government requested from the DTC to make its submission of a recommended list of names to serve as members of the Liquor Licensing Board 2013.
The Council conducted its due diligence which included meeting with the residents to confirm if they would be willing to volunteer their service to Dangriga by serving on the Liquor Licensing Board 2013. Subsequently, the DTC submitted its recommended list of Board members to the Ministry of Local Government.
On Monday 4 January, 2013, the DTC received a letter from the Ministry of Local Government informing on the composition of the Stann Creek Liquor Licensing Board 2013. Noteworthy, is the fact that only one person who was recommended by this DTC was approved by the Minister nor did the DTC received any correspondence from the Ministry to indicate that the recommended members did not qualify to be members of the said Board.
Dying 1,000 Deaths
By G. Michael Reid
Fear, then, is not intrinsically bad. It is when fear is out of proportion to objective risk that it becomes dysfunctional. ~ Mark Warr
Terror struck at the heart of Belize City last Tuesday when for the better part of that day, our city was held at siege. Stores closed, schools were let out and downtown Belize City was turned into a virtual ghost town. The interesting thing is that that there was absolutely no reason for this action, or reaction if you will, only the fear that there might have been a reason.
What became obvious last Tuesday was the kind of control that criminals have over our lives. We don’t carry much money anymore, we don’t wear our jewelry and many folks rather stay home and watch television than do a night on the town. We have become almost a “fortress society” which is a term used to describe “when citizens withdraw from public life and everyday social intercourse is curtailed sharply.” Thank GOD for facebook!
Apparently what happened to us last Tuesday is what criminologists describe as a “fear of crime”. Not to be confused with actual crime, this “fear of crime” is as damaging and detrimental to society as crime itself. It is believed that “fear of crime” affects far more people than actual crime. A 1967 U.S. President’s Commission on Law Enforcement offered this brief but trenchant observation: “The most damaging of the effects of violent crime is fear, and that fear must not be belittled.”
Junk Bonds & Barrow’s “mishmash” – The Prime Minister’s option: if you need help, call a friend – call Kenneth
It was not too long ago in the history of the government’s debt that Prime Minister Dean Barrow was shouting from his Opposition pulpit that the then government had defaulted on its debt obligation and was doing some fancy foot-work to soften the government’s external debt obligations.
It now appears that Barrow has not learned the Ali shuffle or perhaps he is being weighed down by his humongous ego. Shouting like a Doomsday harbinger, Barrow seems to have appointed himself as a Saint. It was a self-ordination just in time for the general elections. These elections were slated for within the next twelve months from February of 2007. He was beginning to imagine all sort of possibilities (his Party’s Campaign slogan for the elections) and was posturing with all sorts of panaceas to fix the country’s ills, real or imagined. By now it appears all were imagined. He is still looking at the mirrors five years after he took office.
Before supporting the previous PUP government’s debt restructuring efforts, which was simply a formula to restructure, or if you will, consolidate, Belize’s external debt, he preached to his Choir: “Belize”, he said at the time, “is the only country in the Caribbean which has found itself in this financial mishmash in which it has not been able to meet its debt obligation”.
Shots fired at former PM’s home!
The residence of former Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Said Musa was targeted in a shooting on Tuesday night in Belize City, marking a dangerous extreme in the level of crime in the country.
Hon. Musa told journalists on Wednesday morning that he didn’t realise that his home had come under assault until this morning when he was about to leave for his regular morning gym workout.
“When I went downstairs, I noticed the main door had a hole in it, and when I looked down I saw a small piece of metal on the ground, that’s when I realised that the door had been shot through,” explained the former Prime Minister.
Hon. Musa also checked and discovered that the rear, right window of his wife’s vehicle that was parked inside the yard had been shattered by one of the gunshots.
He indicated that shortly before eleven o’clock on Tuesday night he had gone to bed when he heard the sound of gunshots.
Father of the Nation Remembered
Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 marked the 94th birthday of the late Father of the Nation and great leader of the People’s United Party (PUP), the Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price.
In memory, honour and appreciation of the distinguished legacy of our leader, the Party Leader, the Hon. Francis Fonseca and other members of the party placed wreaths at Mr. Price’s burial site at Lord Ridge Cemetery in Belize City.
The occasion also presented an opportunity for the nation to reflect and remember that despite the turmoil and upheaval facing our country at this time, the foundation of service, selflessness, dedication and pride in our country, as embodied by Mr. Price, must continue to live on in each and every one of us if our country is to progress and move forward in the right direction. He is a true symbol of all things great and of all things Belizean.
GOB Dodges BEL Bukut, Consumers Don’t!
The cost of electricity, provided by the Government-owned Belize Electricity Limited, has increased by 17% effective January 1st. In its original rate review announced last year December, the increase tallied by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), was to affect residential consumers, business and industrial consumers and even the Government of Belize (GOB).
But the news today is that the Government has found a way to dodge a portion of the increase, forcing the PUC to nudge the increase on consumers even higher. With the election season already gone, the Government feels no remorse in increasing the cost of living on Belizeans.
GOB argued, through a commentary letter, that its portion of the increase be lowered – specifically the rate BEL rate of 64 cents per kilowatt hour for street lights. GOB said that when the tariffs were reduced in early 2012 – just before the elections actually – the 55 cents per kilowatt hour rate for street lights were not reduced. GOB claims in its letter that they absorbed the loss, but with the proposed 9-cent increase the loss would even be greater.
Is Belize Falling Apart?
History shows that most countries that fall apart do so not with a bang but with a whimper. They become failed states not in an explosion of war and destruction but by being utterly unable to take advantage of their society’s huge potential for growth condemning their citizens to a lifetime of misery and poverty.
We are seeing this slow grinding process unravel before our eyes as this Barrow Government goes from crisis to crisis, each time the level of corruption and incompetence becomes even more pronounced.
Today Belize is plagued by massive unemployment. Young school leavers whether from the primary, secondary or tertiary level end up joining the ranks of the burgeoning army of the jobless, neglected masses of frustrated young people.
Because of the breakdown of the family structure in so many marginalized areas of our cities and towns and the overcrowded dehumanizing housing conditions prevailing in these urban areas, especially in Belize City, many children are abandoned to a life of begging and scrounging on the streets. This is the reality.
Meanwhile the Government Ministers live in their own fantasy world, driving their air-conditioned fancy SUVs, totally oblivious to this stark reality. What is worse, from the Prime Minister down, they live in denial and when problems do confront them, they behave like it’s not their responsibility. It’s always somebody else’s concern. “I am not to blame” is the standard mantra. The PUP is to blame, is their old, tired, lame excuse.
House of Shotokan holds Belts Awards ceremony
Almost two dozen students received white and yellow belts signifying their advancement in the sport of karate when the House Of Shotokan Academy (HOSKA) held its 3rd annual belt award ceremony on Friday, January 11, 2013 at the Whitfield Tower on Coney Drive. The belts were presented by Sensei Shihan Ray Kelly, an 8th degree Black Belt, and honour guest, His Excellency David C.K. Wu, Taiwan Ambassador.
San Lazaro & Progreso FC advance to playoffs
San Lazaro FC and Progresso FC secured their playoff berths in the Orange Walk Football Association’s 1st division competition, by blow-out wins at the People’s Stadium in Week 9 of the competition on Sunday.
San Lazaro FC bombed Cristal of Orange Walk Town 7-0 in the afternoon.
Cristal was undermanned with only 8 players when they took the field, while San Lazaro was clearly in it to win it! Andres Alvarado drove in the 1st goal past goalie Gustavo Ken after just 3 minutes of action.
Cristal got reinforcements from John Uh and Isra Zetina to bring them up to strength, but Jason Carillo blasted in a 2nd goal to give San Lazaro a 2-0 lead at the half.
Belize Bank Bulldogs take 1st place in Boom to Manatee Lookout race
The Belize Bank Bulldogs canoe, which is paddled by the defending Ruta Maya champs Armin Lopez, Daniel Cruz and Amado Cruz, won the 6th annual Burrell Boom to Manatee Lookout canoe race organized by the Belize Canoe Association on Saturday.
The Belize Bank team clocked 1:27:03 to win the $400 1st prize overall and another $150 1st prize in the Male division.
The NICH team, paddled by Oscar Cordon, Efrain and Felix Cruz, clocked 1:27:06 to win the $50 2nd prize in the Male division, while in the Westrac canoe paddled by Jerry Cante, Erwin Cruz and Henner Cruz clocked 1:27:10 to place 3rd overall.
The Oceana canoe paddled by Euken Arnold, Tyreek Thompson and Chris Guydis, clocked 1:27:36 to finish 4th overall.
The “Beat the Burn” team of Andreas Cabb, Ruth Cruz and Keron Cabb clocked 1:32:40 to win the $150 1st prize in the Mixed division.
Big, Big Electricity Rate Hike
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) is the monopoly distributor of electricity in Belize.
The CEO of BEL is Jeffery Locke. The chairman of the Public Utilities Commission is John Avery. The senior consultant for energy in the Energy Ministry is Ambrose Tillett. Senior consultant to the PM on energy issues, I understand, is John Mencias.
All of these men are friends of mine, who graduated with very high marks in 1982 from my alma mater, Belize Technical College. They were all classmates….who at one time or the other, held important posts in BEL…before it was sold to Fortis. They went on to prepare themselves in engineering degrees, and later in business degrees at the master level. They are some of the best minds I knew Belize to have. They are collectively responsible for the risks and benefits related to this big, big rate hike. I wish them…and Belice… the best end-results.
The PUC for years did not approve rates increases that were being requested by the FORTIS company ….which insisted that rates needed to be increased to offset their higher cost of operations, especially with increases of carbon fuels. Since this was never achieved, the company ran down its cash reserves, until such point that it started requiring bail-outs by the Government of Belize, since it would not pump any more money into Belize, from its very substantial international reserves…due to the PUC intransigence.
In my perspective – What can we learn from the Dean St. massacre?
Growing up in and attending school in Corozal was a joy indeed. I had a great childhood and enjoyed my youth in Corozal – nothing but good memories. One of those memorable events was just about every evening after school; many of the boys from my school would walk to the police station and play volleyball. The station had a volleyball court and some of the police officers would even join us. Rubbing shoulders with the Rev. Makey, pastor of the Corozal Methodist School that I attended, was an awesome experience I remember to this day.
Back in those days policing was a respectable occupation. The police officers I got to know in Corozal were professional and trustworthy. These men carried themselves with dignity and respect and the community respected them. I remember the uniforms were clean and ironed. They had so much starch in them the crest was sharp as a razor blade. They shaved daily with hair combed and in place. I believe they had to pass an inspection before they could go on duty for that day. That’s the way it was. They did this because they had to earn the respect of the community they were entrusted to, and they did. You didn’t hear of police officers running drugs and involved in crime back then, for the shame they would bring on the police force if anyone did anything like that.
Today as I watch the police officers rolling down Central American Blvd in Belize City in the back of an old beaten up pickup truck, packed like sardines and guns blazing, it is nothing but a disgrace to the people of this country. They seem like a rag tag team that cannot shoot straight. Frankly, they remind me of Barnie Fifer on the old Andy Griffin TV series. How can the public have any confidence in a police force that doesn’t even have the decency to wear a clean uniform? They look tired. Some look frightened. Others just look like they’re on something. Let me be clear, not all police officers are like this. There are many fine, dedicated officers serving the public with dignity and respect. But there are those that should not be trusted with people’s lives in their hands. They lack training and self discipline.
AMAZING GRACE – What is your gift?
Happy new year to all. Christmas season has come and gone, and now we have entered a new year. In this year some people may not know it as yet, but they will become wealthy, others will get awards, a few will end up in court, and sadly some will be in the hospital fighting for their lives. Worst of all, some will die, although they have no idea of that happening this year.
In fact, we have already heard of almost a dozen deaths and the year has just freshly begun. Death is not picky. Once he sticks his hand down in that boledo barrel and he pulls out your ticket, it doesn’t matter if you are black or white, short or tall, rich or poor; he is coming.
Well, there is something that death is afraid of, but before I go there, let me go back to the Christmas season. I saw quite an amount of children with grinning faces satisfied with what they received for Christmas, but I also saw a few disgruntled ones who were next to angry for what they received. One child actually began crying and stomped away. Have you ever gotten a gift that you didn’t want, and it made you upset?
Thing is, although a gift may be free to you it’s not really free. It cost someone something somewhere down the line to get that gift for you.
The Art in Craft, DeliciousJam!
In University, the first book I was assigned was The Story of Art by E.H. Gombrich. This book presented me with two challenges, the first that the edition which we were assigned was in Spanish, and second was that Gombrich stated that there was a difference between Art (Fine Art) and art (handicraft).
In Belize, it is my belief that that line of distinction is less defined. Maybe, it would be possible to say that it may not even exist. We experience in Belize a rich environment where art envelops both handicraft and the highly revered Fine Art. Thankfully the international contemporary art scene has become a rich mixture of craft as art or art as craft. For example visual artists have begun to utilize ‘craft forms’ to create fine art. I say this considering several artists who participated in the Landings project. The Landings project featured a series of exhibits with participation of visual artists from Belize, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. One Landings artist, from Mérida, México who works in a similar fashion is Vanessa Rivero. This artist utilized basic concepts of handicraft, with drawing elements, i.e. composition, scale, negative space etc. She generally does large installation pieces where she combines the elements of drawing with media that are not always identified with Fine Art like sewing or tiling. It is not a rare or strange thing. The word art defined by Oxford dictionary states, “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power.” It states further “a skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice”.
Traffic accident on Phillip Goldson Highway
A traffic accident near mile 7 on the Phillip Goldson Highway on Tuesday evening resulted in the injury of several persons.
Shortly after 5:00 p.m., a Mazda Tribute SUV and a delivery truck for Unicomer collided. The SUV was travelling towards Ladyville, while the truck was heading in the opposite direction. The SUV lost control on the highway and slammed into the rear of the truck.
The driver of the SUV, identified as a female person, and a minor were injured and taken to the hospital for treatment. The persons travelling inside the truck were shaken up for the most part. The truck flipped over on its side and ended up on the side of the highway, luckily not on the side where the river runs parallel to the road.
UDP graveyard hustle?
The UDP Belize City Council wants to knock poor and hardworking Belizeans out of business. Their latest attack moved from well-known Dj Tambran, to downtown cook Paul Ferguson, to the undertakers and cemetery workers who prepare the burial ground for funerals.
Early this year, the Mayor announced a new policy which disadvantaged those who are in the funeral business. The Council arbitrarily took control of all work carried out at burial sites.
This action was seen by most as an act of greed and hate. A Council greedy for money and filled with hatred towards anyone trying to make an honest living.
But could there be more to it? Might there be a hustling scheme behind all of this? With people like Easy Glenn and Joe Bradley Sr. one can expect all sorts of schemes, but one suspicious activity which caught the attention of persons might involve the deputy mayor.
GSU groomed in region’s deadliest country
If Belizeans ever wondered where the Barrow Government’s rogue police unit, the Gang Suppression Unit, gets its abusive and violent tactics from, it was revealed by a Police agent who appeared on the Dickie Bradley Special show on Channel 5 on Monday night.
The GSU is groomed in the second deadliest country in Central America – El Salvador.
El Salvador falls at 2nd place in the ranking of most homicides in Central America with 66 per 100,000 people. That country is home to some of the deadliest gangs which include the vicious MS13.
Is there any link to the training in that crime-filled country and the fact that the GSU exacts fury on residents, many of whom are innocent and defenseless?
Is there any coincidence that Belize is now at 3rd place, even higher than Jamaica, with the murder rate per capita?
Justice System in Crisis! – Why the diagnosis is worse than disclosed
Many Belizeans would view the ceremonial opening of the Supreme Court as little more than pomp and circumstance, exhibited with a good measure of superfluous pageantry. In most cases their view would be accurate, as the fraternity of high paid lawyers has a flair for the dramatic which is better suited for colonial egos and Shakespearian plays than for the gritty, bloody cement streets of Belize City.
The ceremonies, complete with a church service designed to absolve the many sins and neglects of the legal system and its agents, took place at the Holy Redeemer. It then moved to the cramped Court room of the Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin.
Comparatively and for context, the new Chief Justice is not as charismatic or as grandiloquently palavering as his predecessor, Dr. Abdulai Conteh. Conteh, a Sierra Leonean national who was chased from Belize by the UDP Administration in 2010 after he rejected their political interference in the courts and their persistent victimization of citizens and political opponents. At that time the Bar Association, a traditionally docile and timid bunch, described the Chief Justice’s removal as the “unseemly manner in which the tenure of the chief justice has been treated by the government of Belize.”
The life of Keino Malcolm Quallo
Keino Malcolm Quallo was the beloved son of Glenford Allen Quallo and his wife, Jewel Pearl Ruth Patten Quallo of Belize City. He was born on 7 October, 1972 and named by his father. Keino is the name of the famous barefoot Kenyan marathon Olympic champion, Kipchoge Keino. Glen represented Belize in the marathon race at the Commonwealth Games held in Winnipeg, Canada. In his new running shoes, he was soundly beaten by the barefoot Kipchoge Keino and so impressed by this relentless African athlete’s stamina that he publically vowed to him that he would name his firstborn son in his honour. And so he did.
Glen also gave Keino his middle name, Malcolm, in honour of Malcolm X, the defiant, Black Power force who hastened the end of the segregation era in the United States with his incisive brilliance and willingness to tell truth to power—even though it cost him his life.
Thus, Keino Malcolm Quallo was deliberately given the name of Black, relentless and defiant heroes from either side of the Atlantic—one who represented physical prowess, and the other, the moral fibre of his people. So long as his health permitted, he bore his heritage with strength, intelligence, physical grace, empathy, and nobility.
The Belize National Teacher’s Union is preparing to mobilize. The powerful Union will hold a Special Extraordinary General Meeting in every district this Thursday, January 17th and it is inviting members and non-members to attend and decide what the next courses of action will be.
The Union says it is ready to take the lead on issues affecting the country, starting with the Government’s outright delay in settling the matter of a salary adjustment that was promised by the Barrow Administration in 2008.
Last year, the Unions were duped by the Government into signing a document called a “progress report”. The document contained no substantive information about a salary adjustment for public officers, teachers, police officers, nurses and other Belizean workers. But the Government took advantage of the media opportunity and created a perception that they were faithfully “negotiating” with the Unions. This was weeks before preparing the 2013 Budget.
Live bullets fired on Dean St. residents
The Ministry of National Security has yet to explain why its security officers put the lives of Belize City residents at risk when they opened fire into a crowd using live rounds.
The crowd of about 150 persons had gathered around an apartment at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets upon learning of the gruesome killing of four men who are well known in the neighbourhood: Leonard “Ghost” Myers, Anthony Perez, Keino Quallo and Albert “Long John” Fuentes. The word spread throughout the city was that the men had been targeted by the Police’s most notorious arm, the Gang Suppression Unit.
As the Police prepared to remove the bodies from the scene, the crowd grew angry and emotionally charged. There were several scuffles between the police and victims’ loved ones and friends. The Police then deployed its elite Belize Special Assignment Unit, which engaged the residents in a military-style fashion. Large and loaded automatic rifles were pointed at residents. Police officials carrying guns loaded and locked in their hands, screamed at and shoved away residents.
City resident terrorized during city shooting
The streets of Belize City are not safe anymore. A female resident of the city was fortunate to escape unhurt after her vehicle was hit during a random shooting in the old capital.
The woman said she was driving into the city, past Lord Ridge Cemetery on Cemetery Road, when she heard the sound of a gunshot. She then heard her rear window shattered and she sped away.
The woman said the area was poorly lit so she could not see from where the shot was fired. She went directly to the Police Station to report the incident.
She says she will be careful where she drives in the city, and if she could avoid night time driving, she will.
There have been several shootings in Belize City over the last few days.
GAPI vs. FABER – Third Lap: Race to First Loser
The fight for first loser is really on. The UDP is scrambling around. The latest news out of the hair pulling contest for Deputy Party Leader of the UDP is not as funny but far more expensive.
Sources inside the Gapi Vega camp have leaked the guts of the movement inside the sticky race between Patrick Faber and Vega. The most recent update is that Landy Burns, the defeated UDP candidate for Orange Walk East, is not supporting Gapi. Burns is bitter against Vega. We are told that he blames Gapi for his defeat. Gapi is extremely unpopular in the North and was only saved by a heavily financed election.
Faber then believes he can split the Orange Walk UDP delegates. Remember that the UDP were rejected outright in the last elections in the North. There are only three elected UDP representatives up north. Those are Gapi in Orange North. Corozal North with a narrow surprise win for Hugo Patt, and the clueless Pablo in Corozal Bay. He still has no idea how he beat Papas. None.
BYM says get tough on crime
The National Executive of the Belize Youth Movement sends condolences to the families and friends of all the murder victims of today’s tragic event, as we lament this most violent and horrific start to 2013. We especially would like to send out our heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Keino Quallo, former Vice President of the Belize Youth Movement.
The BYM is calling on the government to take necessary measures to protect the citizens of this country and especially the residents of Belize City. We as young members of this society are tired of living in fear of dying, and of losing loved ones to violence.
We urge the government to take all necessary measurements required to upkeep the safety of Belize City residents.
New Toledo Alcaldes take oath
On Saturday January 5th, 78 First and Second Alcaldes were sworn at Father Ring Parish Hall, Punta Gorda Town. This ceremony was a momentous event for the 38 Maya villages of the south as their traditional leaders take office to lead them into 2013 and 2014.
Special remarks were made by Mr. Enerst Banner of the Ministry of Rural Development who maintained that the ministry will continue to collaborate with the Alcaldes. Inspector Ernel Dominguez, commanding officer of Punta Gorda Police formation, affirmed that the Alcaldes play a very important role in policing and that the police will remain committed to their partnership with the Alcaldes especially through its Community Policing program.
Attorney for the Maya people, Antoinette Moore, spoke on the topic of Rights. She asserted that as Indigenous Peoples, the Maya communities have a right to exercise their own forms of social institutions such as the Alcalde system. Guest speaker Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith congratulated the Alcaldes for taking on the mantle of being custodians of law and order especially in these times when crime is becoming more prevalent. She spoke to the Alcaldes on principles of Integrity, Independence and Fairness. She encouraged the Alcaldes to ‘do right when no one is looking’, to be ‘free from improper influence’ and to be ‘balanced in their reasoning.’ The Chief Magistrate asserted that incorruptibility must be a bench mark of all magistrates and ‘to be one of the Alcaldes who cannot be bought.’
CitCo Audit Exposes Lack of Accountability
The financial statements of an economic or business entity ought to be a true and fair expression of the entity’s financial position at some point in time, and a result of its performance for usually a year. In other words, the financials are in fact a measurement of performance in the use of resources entrusted with the entity. How did the entity put assets to use? How it managed its obligations and consequently enhanced its purpose? The Financial Statements are in fact an instrument of “Accountability”.
But who is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of financial statements? No doubt it is those who are responsible for the governance and management of the entity.
The Belize City Council did prepare financial statements for the period April 1st to March 31st, 2012, which were supposed to account for the use of the citizen’s taxes and other resources they entrusted with the Council. But It is only prudent and sensible that financials prepared by management be subjected to examination by an independent auditor to enhance the degree of confidence of the intended users. As is the case with the Belize City Council, the audit is to give reasonable assurance that there are no “material misstatements “ in the financials, such as taxes receivable , debts owing, and the legitimate use of resources, including money borrowed , taxes collected, and subvention allocated from Central Government.
Christmas Cheer 2012 in Belize Rural Central
The People’s United Party Belize Rural Central Committee ensured during this past Christmas Season that there was Christmas Cheer in Belize Rural Central.
The Committee, led by Area Representative Dolores Balderamos Garcia, first visited Gales Point where an impromptu Christmas Party was held for residents, with the provision of Tortilla Chips and Cheese Dip, as well as Juices and Soft Drinks, and Toys for the children. Area Representative Ms. Dolores also visited elderly residents of Gales Point and distributed grocery hampers to many needy householders.
Later, in the Lord’s Bank, Hattieville and Ladyville areas over 400 plates of Ham and Turkey Dinner were prepared, dished out and distributed to the elderly and needy residents, as has become a Christmas tradition in Belize Rural Central. The Committee, in addition, did not forget the Police in the Ladyville and Hattieville areas, who also received their Ham and Turkey Dinners courtesy of Ms. Dolores and the PUP Committee in appreciation for their efforts all year round.
Solutions…or Half-Baked Resolutions?
2012 is dead and gone. Another year wasted with no progress or development; one that has tainted the annals of our history. It will be remembered as one in which Belize was perceived internationally as a destitute country with an irrational government that has brought its people to their knees.
It’s been a year of all glitter at the government level but no beneficial substance to the people. It was a year that subjected Belizeans to the shrewdest cost of living, on the one hand, and the gravest unemployment rate on the other which have pushed us deeper into the poverty-stricken margin. Security wise, the government proved that it can no longer guarantee the safety of Belizeans with the highest murder rate in the country ever, one every three days. Crime and violence have become a norm in what is believed to be gang-related or organized-crime activity but more prominent than ever within our security forces with their acts of brutality and what may be extra-judicial slayings.
Therefore, anxieties persist as we enter 2013 especially because there is no hopeful sign indicating that better is in the horizon. The truth of the matter is that since 2008, it has gotten consistently worse, our nation dragged into economic decline.
Presently, the peak of foreign investment is barely a 10% of what it was prior to 2008. The Barrow Administration crumbled the pillars of economic stability, clouded the investment climate in Belize and triggered alarm bells globally when he seized control of the privately owned telecommunications company BTL and electricity provider BEL, all in the name of nationalization.
Alamilla Confirms UDP Corruption…admits to failure after 9 months in office
Minister of Forestry and Environment Lisel Alamilla has confirmed that there is serious corruption in the UDP Government. A frustrated Alamilla told reporters last Friday that corruption under the UDP, and especially in her Ministry, is so entrenched that even after spending nine months in office she has failed to tackle it.
“I am certain that there is corruption within my ministry. The difficulty is proving it,” said Alamilla.
But has Alamilla really been “fighting” corruption in her Ministries of Government? She inherited the Ministries, with all kinds of baggage, from Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega and today it still remains intact as if everything is honky-dory. No special investigation has been launched. No special inquiries have been made. No major reshuffle. No heads have rolled.
Alamilla was speaking at a media event in which she displayed and destroyed confiscated Rosewood valued at half a million dollars. A moratorium on Rosewood was enacted last year but that has not stopped its harvesting or the exporting.
Caye Chapel Deal Gone Sour
Remember the big song and dance Barrow made about the sale of Caye Chapel in his Independence Day address? Well according to reliable source the Qatari group of investors smelt a rat and have pulled out of the deal. They found out that the UDP Minister they were having discussions with, sold them a development plan which belonged to a Canadian Group.
The Canadian Group developed this plan with the Sheridan Hotel in mind. The Minister went to Qatar and sold the Qatari Group the same plan for a handsome fee with the Four Seasons Hotel chain proposed as the developers of the project expansion.
When Barrow made his boastful Independence Day speech that Caye Chapel had been sold to multi-millionaires from Qatar, the Canadian Group realized they had been taken for a ride. It is reported that the Qatari investors have backed out of the deck for fear of buying a law suit.
The Canadians are no longer interested in buying. They realized they cannot trust this Belize Government. Caye Chapel is now back on the open market for sale and the charlatan Prime Minister has egg all over his face.
150 Murders in 2012 – The BELIZE TIMES explains its count
There were 150 vicious murders in 2012, the highest ever in Belize’s history.
The Police are yet to release their murder count, but the BELIZE TIMES had been tracking the homicide rate from the start of the year.
With weak policies initiated by the Ministry of National Security, and the UDP Government’s insistence to negotiate with gang members, the country remained in siege as criminal elements ran amok in the country.
The media’s unofficial tabulation has the count at 145, while the Bar Association’s count is 148.
For clarity, the BELIZE TIMES informs readers that in its count are the killings of Arthur Young, Allan “Boco T” Kelly, 18 year old Kendale Flowers and 22 year old Alexander Mazariegos which we consider as victims of state executions. The other killing is that of Charles Gamboa who was found dead in Dangriga. The Police say no foul play was involved but the victim’s family reported seeing signs of a vicious assault on their loved one’s body.
Up in Smoke! – Minister Alamilla destroys half a million worth of Rosewood
Minister of Environment and Fisheries (briefly Indigenous Peoples) Lisel Alamilla-Pennil seemed to be practising lessons from a book entitled “Stupid things politicians do” when she decided to cull the media in Toledo for a bonfire of one of Belize’s most precious resources, Rosewood.
Wearing a false sense of pride, after her Ministry seized and confiscated a truck containing illegally harvested Rosewood, Alamilla said she wanted to “send a message”, as she put it, to those responsible for the illegal harvesting. Wanting to send a message, like cursing the wind, and not taking direct action was strange, almost nonsensical, since her Ministry knew who the persons responsible for the Rosewood extraction were. In fact, the Chief Forest Officer Wilbur Sabido reported that the same individuals were caught moving an illegal loot in the same area several weeks ago.