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Today's Belize News: January 25, 2013 #456293
01/25/13 09:45 AM
01/25/13 09:45 AM
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The San Pedro Sun

Annual Valentine Poetry Contest to be hosted at Bistro Mestizo
With February right around the corner it’s time to start thinking about that oh so sweet and romantic holiday, Valentine’s Day! With visions of cupid dancing in your head (and heart) why not put those thoughts of love and inspiration to pen and paper…declaring your passion in the form of a poem! The San Pedro Sun is proud to announce our annual Valentine Poetry Contest, with fabulous prizes for poems of different categories, such as most romantic, funniest, Spanish and of course, the ode to the beloved lobster whose season closes on February 15th when the tasty crustaceans take a well-deserved honeymoon until mid-June. Poetry prizes range from one night stays at exotic resorts, dinners, golf cart rentals, gift certificates and much more! This year The San Pedro Sun is pleased to partner with Bistro Mestizo where the annual poetry reading event will be held on the evening of February 14th. The mood will be set with soft music, poetry readings and Ms. Shelly has planned a delicious Valentine’s dinner for those who want to seduce their taste buds while indulging in a romantic atmosphere. Tickets for the meal must be purchased in advance at Bistro Mestizo, located on Barrier Reef Drive in the heart of San Pedro Town. Of course their regular menu items will be available for order that night as well.

Celebrating the life of Herman Penland
Herman Penland was born in Des Moines, Iowa USA to Eva and Robert Penland. He had two brothers. Herm’s adventurous spirit took him to California at the age of 16 where he joined the Navy and later met his wonderful wife Linda in college in 1958. They married in 1962. In 1972 Herman moved the family to Karachi, Pakistan and that began their international life. After five years in Pakistan, the family moved to La Paz, Bolivia where he was the director of The American School for twenty years. After visiting Ambergris Caye for the first time in 1995, they fell in love with the island, purchased their first piece of property and immediately made plans to retire here. Two weeks into retirement in a hammock, Herman decided it was time to find a hobby on the island. He still felt he had more to accomplish in life and decided to purchase Southwind Properties. From real estate sales, Herman’s interest grew into development and he started working on plans for Belizean Shores Resort. In 2000 his son Doug moved to Belize to help Herman carry out his vision and dreams. After the success of Belizean Shores, Herman and Doug moved onto developing Belizean Cove Estates and Coco Beach Resort. Even at the age of 80 Herman was actively involved in planning the development of their current project, Venezia Del Caribe.

Belize Shark Project starts tagging project off of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker
Shark Tagging Rachel Graham-7It is believed that sharks contribute to $4 million annually to the Belizean economy through tourism related activities. These activities are primarily concentrated to diving and snorkeling in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Shark Ray Alley, Blue Hole, Halfmoon Caye, Gladden Spit and Silk Caye Marine Reserve. However not much is known about the shark population, their aggregation sites, their behavior in Belizean waters and most importantly what some of their spawning sites are. For that reason the Wildlife Conservation Society, spearheaded by Dr. Rachel Graham through the Belize Shark Project (BSP) is moving full force in promoting the management and conservation of sharks and rays in Belize through ongoing long term research and as such are currently tagging sharks off the coast of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye. According to Graham, who is a well respected and experienced marine biologist, the Belize Shark Project is an ongoing, long term project specially geared to study and learn more about sharks in Belize. Speaking with The San Pedro Sun Graham explained that the populations of shark and rays worldwide are under increasing pressure and in Belize it is no exception, widely attributed to unsustainable fisheries. Moreover, globally the numbers are declining because of bad fishing practices. Shark fining in the Asian market is a problem in the region since fishermen are fining (and ultimately killing) sharks to accommodate the high paying demand. Closer to home, sharks, according to Graham, are becoming scarcer and are not in abundance as they once were which can be attributed to fishing habits and even the transformation of critical habitat.

Luis Castellanos takes the helm at the San Pedro Police Department
The San Pedro Police Department has a new Officer in Charge (OC). The new OC responsible for the Coastal Executive Unit is Assistant Superintendent of Police Luis Castellanos. OC Castellanos was formerly Head of the Prosecution Branch. He comes to San Pedro offering 28 years of experience. His immediate transfer was made in order to fill the position of former OC Vienie Robinson. Castellanos officially took over office on Monday, January 14th. Originally from the Orange Walk District, Castellanos received his primary education at Chapel’s Primary School. Following this, Castellanos went on to attend King’s College where he obtained his high school diploma. Castellanos then joined the Belize Police Formation, during which time he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Administration at San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Castellanos has served in both the Orange Walk and Cayo District; serving as part of the Prosecutions Branch, Traffic Branch and Professional Standards Branch. This is his first assignment to San Pedro.

Ambergris Today

New Superintendent Brings Positive Outlook for San Pedro
During our chat with Superintendent Castellanos we learned that he is a man of discipline and hopes to work along with his officers for a better San Pedro and to tackle crime to their best of their abilities. He is also very smart, approachable and friendly; great attributes that make him an excellent candidate for a leadership position at the police department. "I intend to gain the trust of the people of this community and together work for a safer San Pedro," commented Supt. Castellanos. “In the short amount of time being here I want to bring change to both the police station and to the island. I plan on working to better the living conditions of my officers so that they can give their best to the community,” he continued. “First and foremost we need to better the living conditions of the police officers. The present barracks where they are living is in dire need of fixture. By the time I leave here I hope to have a new living quarters for our officers, either to the back of the station where it currently is or above our headquarters.” Supt. Castellanos mentioned that he was appalled to see that island has no morgue and plans to lobby for the island to get one either at the police or for the poly clinic by the end of his term. In regards to tackling the crime situation, he stated that he noticed that one of the major problems here on the island is burglary and he hopes to work strategically with his team of officers to lower this immediately.

Belize/Guatemala Referendum Educational Campaign Launched
In preparation for the referendum scheduled for 6th October, 2013, the Government of Belize launched its Public Awareness Campaign on Wednesday, January 23, 2013, at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City. At the Opening Ceremony of the GOB's ICJ public awareness campaign, leaders and dignitaries from across the majority of Belize's social, political and religious sector gathered to validate the significance of an event that is sure to be noted in Belize's history. Everyone listened intently as the Referendum Secretariat opened the discussion of what led up to this decision to let the nation choose whether or not they support settling this matter in court. "Today, the Ministry will launch its public awareness campaign, preparatory to referendum on October 6, to determine whether the people of Belize support referring the Guatemalan claim to the International Court of Justice for Final Settlement. Belize has participated in negotiations aimed settling this dispute since 1962. Over the past half century, many patriotic, nationalist, political leaders and public officers, often with the support of dedicated private sector leaders serving on various advisory commissions and committees have tried mightily to come up with a settlement that would have enabled us to put this dispute behind us,” stated H. E. James Murphy - Referendum Secretariat.

Blues Jam Session Raises Funds for Holy Cross
The Blue Dogs were accompanied by very popular island musicians who playing the very best of blues, drawing a very massive crowd collecting $2,350BZ in less than three hours. The Blue Dogs fan club also helped out in donating of $6,500 and another great contribution was made from a philanthropic association of volunteer donors of Microsoft Corporation which brought the grand total to approximately $17,700. The Ambergris Today would like to give kudos to the Glen Schwendinger, the Blue Dogs and everybody who were a part of this successful fundraiser.

Hopkins Bay Resort Boasts Luxury in the Heart of Adventure
Hopkins Village lies 15 miles south of Dangriga in southern Belize. It is a cozy coastal enclave with about 12 miles of sandy beaches and home to Garifuna families who fish, carve canoes and weave baskets in the tradition of their ancestors. Nestled along these sandy beaches are new neighbors include luxury resorts, residences and condominiums that are looking into embracing the peaceful ambience of the village. One such place that is capturing all this peacefulness, charm and beauty of Hopkins Village and gathering it in one fantastic package is Hopkins Bay Resort. “The definition of luxury in the heart of adventure” says Hopkins Bay’s website. It is a southern Belize vacation spot that offers more than just the tranquility of Hopkins Village and the charm of its village people. It is ideally located on the shores of the Caribbean Sea to offer fantastic access to diving, snorkeling, fishing and sailing adventures and yet so close to inland adventures that include cave tubing, waterfall rappelling, rainforest zip lining, Maya ruin explorations, among others.

Misc Belizean Sources

BAS Visits St. Matthews
The Belize Audubon Society visited St. Matthew's Primary today to talk about conservation and sustainability. Thanks, BAS! "Hi FB January 24th, 2013, BAS went to St. Matthew's Government School in the Cayo district to conduct a presentation on conservation in Belize to the students of Standard 3. We were delighted to see that the kids were eager to learn, and their participation in our conversation was delightful. Keep it up St. Matthew's. Photos by: Dirk Francisco"

Rotary Provides Cayo Villages Water Filters
Feelgood story of the day. Rotary brought in water filters to villages all around Belize, including 9 in Cayo. Now many thousands more Belizeans have a clean source of water. Thanks, Rotary! "The Rotary Club of San Ignacio was pleased to partner with the Rotary Club of Belize City to distribute Sawyer Point One Water Filters to nine rural villages in the Cayo District. Filters were delivered with the help of visiting Rotarians from Clovis, New Mexico and Tulsa, Oklahoma. The nine villages that received filters were, Duck Run 1, Duck Run 2, Duck Run 3, Los Tambos, Santa Teresita, Selena, La Gracia, El Progresso and Cool Shade. Providing safe drinking water is one of the main areas of focus for Rotary International and hopefully many more villages will benefit from this humanitarian effort."

Cayo Welcome Center News
The SISE Town Council has a video out about the Cayo Welcome Center. It looks good, and should be having its real inauguration in the next few months. On February 15th the Strings of Love concert will be happening there. The video also shows the great word done on Burns avenue, which hopefully will stop having vehicles allowed on it soon. It ends with the Eden road project in Santa Elena.

Fashion Illustration Winner Announced
Congratulations to Cayo's own Amal Assales for winning Rebecca Stirm's Design Illustration contest! Amal won a gold seat ticket for the Autumn/Winter 2013 fashion show happening this Saturday night in Belize. "And the winner of our Design Illustration contest is, and the young lady who has won a Gold ticket to our runway show is................................ Avid young artist and sketcher- Amal Assales from Cayo, Belize! Heres her sketch and explanation.. 'Hey Becca, I call it a confidence hat. It's derived from my post-recent [mental] obsession with Egypt. The skirt is made from a butchered forever 21 bra (Thought I'd give them credit :D) Hope you like it '"

Avon Recruitment in Cayo
Avon is doing a recruiting drive around Belize.

VIDEO: Pigs in a Blanket
This dough or blanket for pigs in a blanket is very simple to make and very tasty. You can use the sausages of your choice. A simple and great snack to serve for any sporting event or party.

Channel 7

Unions Says Prime Minister Coming 'Round To Their Position
Tuesday's planned teacher's demonstration in Belmopan is getting bigger. Today the Association of Public Service Senior Manager and the Public Service Union made it official: their memberships will join in. We'll have that shortly, but first to the news of the day. The two sides, Government and the Unions are getting close. That's after the Prime Minister sent the Unions a signal yesterday that he is willing to index a pay raise to a surplus in the current account. He said that on WAVE Radio and the Unions today told us that now he is talking their language: Jose Castellanos, President APSSM "Yesterday the Prime Minister said that he would be willing to link the adjustment to the surplus and give us a portion for that surplus. If that is the case we are prepared to work on that basis. If we had been made that offer at our last meeting in January we wouldn't be here where we are today because that time they were simply saying no to everything. That's what we were looking for - for tangible measures where we can link our adjustment because we are talking about next year and not this year. Next year we won't be in a deficit, we will have monies to save and continue to increase our foreign reserves. We are heartened by that position. We are hoping that we can have an amicable solution and have a win-win situation for both of us."

And so, while they are ready to talk - to make sure the balance of power is properly leveraged, first the unions have to flex. And - as we told you at the top of the story - it won't just be the Teachers. They officially have company. The PSU President indicated his Union's readiness:.. Mervyn Blades, President PSU "Our membership had agreed that we will show our support and we will have people physically there at the demonstration because it's a joint effort. We keep hearing over the media that it's only BNTU, its BNTU, APSSM and PSU - all of us together doing the demonstration, so we will be out there." Jules Vasquez "Are you all hoping for a semi-shut down of the governments' operation?" Mervyn Blades, President PSU "No we are not at that level. What we are saying is that we got in each our branches a couple of our membership will be out because we are not at that level yet and so we just want to show solidarity to our brother, it's a joint effort, so we have to be out there even though we know we have a lot of essential services. We are getting people that are not mostly affected with those essential services because we are not at strike action yet."

Castellanos Says GOB Can Afford It
So the APSSM and the PSU are down to demonstrate - while also still ready to negotiate. And those negotiations will be based on numbers - bearing in mind that while working with the same figures, the bottom line for the unions is far different than Government's. Take for example the cost of the increment package. Government says - and you've seen ads about this - that it will cost over three hundred million dollars over three years. But the unions say those three years will cost - at the most - 200 million dollars. And more importantly they say that with sound economic stewardship, government can afford it:.. Jose Castellanos, President APSSM "This year we had 7% growth as opposed to what they were saying in December which is 3.5% - that means 35 million dollars more in additional revenue which we it and now will show it to them. In fact this year the economy grew as much as it grew in 4 years." Jules Vasquez "Remember we still have a financing gap."

National Team Relaxed, Ready For Semifinal Game
Tomorrow evening at 5:30 in San Jose, Costa Rica, the Belize National Football Team will play in the Copa Centro Americana semi-finals against Honduras. The stakes are high - and so is the sense of anticipation, as the entire nation waits to see if Belize can shock the world. But, carrying the weight of the dreams of an entire country on your shoulders isn't easy and so we wondered about the team's preparation process for tomorrow's game. Assistant coach, Charlie Slusher told 7News via phone this evening, that the players have been trying to unwind and rest up. But, they are not as tense as you might think. He, along with several other players, explained that now that the pressure of qualifying is off them, they will play tomorrow's came with comfort and confidence, enjoying it instead of constantly being on edge:.. Charles Slusher, Assistant Coach, National Team "Yesterday we took a day off and we took the team for an outing to visit the volcanoes in Costa Rica.

Two Teens Charged For Maskall Murder
On Monday we told you about 61 year-old Ervin Morales, who was found chopped to death inside his home in Maskall. Well tonight, 2 teenagers are in prison tonight after police arrested and charged them for his murder. As we told you, Morales' friend got suspicious when Morales didn't show up at around midday last Saturday, January 19, and as a result, he went searching for the elderly man. That neighbor found his body inside his house wrapped up in a blanket on his bed room floor. He had chop wounds to the back of his head, left shoulder hand, and both elbows. Well, police investigated the case, and they charged 19 year-old Clive Geban, a Belize City resident, and a 15 year-old minor with murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Police Shoot Wanted Man, He Still Escapes
A wanted man in Orange Walk was shot by police today but still escaped. According to reports, Jose Sosa was in a house in Orange Walk when police shot him in the leg. Still he somehow managed to escape and remains Orange Walk's most wanted tonight.

SJCJC Students Question Minister About ICJ
The International Court of Justice education campaign has already kicked off. Last night the committee met with the students of Wesley Junior College and today they did the same at Saint John's Junior College. Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington and his team listened to the students concerns and answered questions regarding Belize going to the ICJ. Here's an excerpt:.. Student "Question is: since we are going to settle the dispute at the ICJ. In your point of view what is Guatemala standing on for justification for the claim?" Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs "The basis upon which they started off was really the claim which had failed to honor the past 7 of the contract of the convention and they started out by suggesting that that is in fact the basic reason why they are going to go. But then they have gone back now and toiled on more recent times and rely on some old conventions. But none of the legal opinions that we have read suggest that any of what they say makes any real good legal sense."

Woman Convicted OF Burning Down BF's House
24 year-old Keisha Banner is at prison tonight awaiting sentence after she was convicted of arson in the Supreme Court yesterday. She was accused of burning down her ex-boyfriend's house on January 13, 2011. The crown counsels representing the DPP's office called 5 witnesses, but the main witness was Banner's ex-boyfriend, Dishon Rowland. Rowland took the stand and testified that on the day in question, he had an argument with Banner at his Vernon Street home. He said that he saw a bottle of fuel on the kitchen cabinet of his 20 X 24 plywood house, and he decided to move it. He said that he left it in the yard, and left the house, only to receive a call 20 minutes later that his home was burning down. Another prosecution witness placed Banner on the scene saying that she gave her a box of matches, and within minutes, she saw her exiting Rowland's house which was then caught fire.

AJ Meditratta; Various Positions
Earlier this week you saw AJ Mediratta appear alongside the Prime Minister at a press conference. He's the Co-chair of what's called the creditors Committee, the group that represents over 50% of the owners of the Superbond. And while it is the first time we've had a face-to-face encounter with Mediratta, in a sense, he's no stranger to Belize. That's because Mediratta was at Bear Stearns in the early oughts when Belize's bonds first went to the market. As is now well known, that borrowing was unsustainable, and in short order, those bonds had to be re-structured - and packaged into the albatross we now all know as the Superbond which was launched in 2006. And so we were suitably surprised to see Mediratta appear now at the other end of the table for Superbond 2.0 - representing the bondholders -some of whom bought those bad bonds, marketed by Mediratta and Bear Stearns in the first place. We asked him about that neat transition:...

Jamaica Will Recruit More Cops
The murder rate in Belize and Jamaica are very similar - but there's one important difference, theirs went down sharply last year while ours went up! And that's why our next story from our colleagues at CEEN News in Jamaica is instructive. It explains that they are targeting a very sharp decrease in crime by the year 2017 and they hope to do this by adding more police:.. Belize's has about 400 police per hundred thousand residents, which is significantly lower than Jamaica's 622.

How Does GIS Come Into Your Daily Life?
Geographic Information Systems or GIS, many people use it, but very few actually understand the technicalities. Every time you consult Google or Bing Maps, look at a map of Belize City, or consult the GPS on your smart phone, you are using a form of GIS. And the authorities on the topic in Belize are trying to promote the commercial use of GIS, as well as increasing awareness of GIS in industrial use. YESTERDAY was day one of Belize's 3rd Annual GIS conference, and 7News stopped in to get a preliminary look. Here's what one of the coordinators told us: Loretta Palacio - Managing Director, TBSL "This is our 3rd annual GIS conference here at the Biltmore, it's going to be for 2 days and we are bringing together everyone; individuals, professionals, leaders, decision makers, NGOs and everybody to come and learn, explore, discuss, share our experience with GIS. We have a pack agenda. We have this morning our keynote Mrs. Blake from the United Nations in New York; she is the former GIS manager in Jamaica. We have our international partners presenting on GIS, we have our local presenters, we have statistical institute of Belize presenting, we have BEL, and we have land information center and the NSDI. We have Healthy Reefs; we have quite a number of presenters; Frank Tench from Meteorological center, businesses, senior executives and everyone. There is a topic for everyone and so we are here for two days so that we can cover enough ground."

BDF To Celebrate New Commander
The BDF's New Commander, Cornel David Jones will assume command in a formal ceremony next week. For the military - which always likes to put on a regimented show - it's a big deal because they don't get a new commander every day - and this is the first change of command in almost five years. And they're making a PR campaign out of it. Yesterday Lieutenant Fermin told us that it will be a good ceremony:.. Lt. G. Fermin "It is very important as we will be seeing the now Brigadier General Tapia, he will be leaving his post of office as the commander and we will have Lt. Colonel David Jones David Jones who will be taking up the new post as commander for the Belize Defence Force. We have military attaches, we have different commanders from the Caribbean, and we have commanders from the US that we invite every time we have this change of command. It's a very big event. We will have the chain of command parades whereby we will be displaying the drills that the force usually carries out, so it's going to be very unique, it's going to be one that everybody should see."

Profile Of an Educational Legend
Tonight's profile is about Brenda Armstrong, well known as the Principal of Wesley College. She also grew up right down the street from Channel 7 on Dean Street and in tonight's profile, she explains how her childhood influenced her career as an educator - a career that she explains is coming to an end...Here's her profile:

Channel 5

Teachers and Public Servants to march against G.O.B.
There is a steely resolve tonight by the Belize National Teachers Union, the Public Service Union and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers, known as the Joint Unions Negotiating Team, to stage a national demonstration this Tuesday while Cabinet is meeting in Belmopan. The unions have not yet received the required permit for what [...]

B.N.T.U. against Saldivar’s union-busting tactic
  On Wednesday, Minister of National Security John Saldivar, area representative for Belmopan, issued a response denouncing statements made by the Joint Unions Negotiating Team that a letter to meet with his constituents, particularly members of the Belize National Teachers Union, was a blatant act of union-busting.  Despite a rather anemic attendance at the meeting, [...]

Suspect shot inside home
A man was shot this morning in Orange Walk Town. Reports suggest that at nine-thirty this morning, four undercover officers drove to the San Lorenzo Housing Site in Orange Walk Town where they forced themselves into a building. Inside one of the bedrooms was twenty-six year old Jose Luis Sosa, his girlfriend and their newborn [...]

Teen charged for murder of Maskall villager
Maskall resident, sixty year old Ervin Morales, was found lifeless in his house on Saturday with several chop wounds to his body. Today, nineteen year old Clive Geban and a fifteen year old minor were arraigned in Belize City Magistrate’s Court before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith for the murder of Morales. Geban was detained [...]

Goal! Belize to face off with Honduras
The Belize National Selection “A” Team is preparing to take on Honduras after a spectacular win against Nicaragua on Tuesday. While the victorious two to one game led to a spot in the finals, the Honduras game will propel the team to heights not experienced before in the Copa Centro Americana Games. That game plays [...]

Sports only please; new rules for old MCC
The use of the MCC Grounds for events other than football came under fire last year when Telemedia was authorized to utilize the grounds for a concert on December seventeenth.  F.F.B. President, Ruperto Vicente, along with other sports enthusiasts warned that the pitch would have been damaged.  Vicente also wrote to the National Sports Council [...]

Unemployment rate increases
The Statistical Institute of Belize conducted its most recent labor market survey in September 2012. There are some interesting results when compared to the previous survey at the end of April, 2012.  The unemployment rate increased by one point seven percent to sixteen point one percent, meaning that more than three thousand persons were added [...]

Business and church support Referendum Process
A historic decision will be taken this October. Belizeans will be deciding in a referendum whether or not, they agree to submit the Guatemalan territorial claim relating to land, insular territories or maritime areas, to the International Court of Justice.  The stakes are high and the outcome of the referendum could lead to a definition [...]

P.M. says Prensa Libre wrong on Referendum Act
The Guatemalan newspaper, Prensa Libre, has shot some doubt with an article that suggests that Belize is acting in bad faith with the upcoming referendum on whether or not to send the border dispute to the International Court of Justice. Belize’s Referendum Act was amended in 2008 to reflect a sixty percent voter turnout for [...]

Accused of stealing alcohol and electronics
Devain Flores, a resident of Neal Pen Road, Belize City was today arraigned for a burglary which occurred on January thirteenth on a property in Saint Anne’s Village. Flores appeared unrepresented before Magistrate Anne Marie Smith and pleaded not guilty to the charges of burglary and damage to property of Hazel Lord, who is the [...]

Citrus Mutual wants its own processing factory
Citrus industry problems are endemic to the boardroom rather than on plantations. The Citrus Growers Association continues its battle with its investment partner Banks Holdings of Barbados over the future of Citrus Products of Belize Limited.  While these groups engaged in a legal battle, the larger farmers formed a second group called Belize Citrus Mutual [...]

Get positioned with GIS
A two-day conference ended today at the Biltmore Plaza where a cadre of engineers converged to discuss the use of geographic data to create successful businesses and make informed decisions. It’s the 2013 Belize GIS User Conference and this year, the number of participants increased over last year. Duane Moody found out that GIS is [...]

First manatee killing for 2013
Manatee killings do not make headlines, but over twenty of the peaceful creatures were fatally injured by boats in 2012. The first monitored manatee accident for 2013 was recorded on Wednesday by the Dolphin Park in West Landivar. Jamal Galves, a manatee research associate for Sea to Shore Alliance and Coastal Zone Management Authority and [...]


Unions Prepare For Demonstration Next Week For Salary Increase
The Belize National Teachers’ Union is moving forward with their planned demonstration next Tuesday in Belmopan. They are asking the government to grant them a ten percent salary increase over three years, starting next year and their request is made against the backdrop of...

Exploration Underway For A Second Processing Facility
A group representing citrus producers in the south has begun exploration of the possibility of establishing a second processing facility. As it currently stands, the Citrus Growers Association of Belize owns and operates the only citrus processing facility at Pomona village in th...

Police Seek Two Teenagers For Maskall Murder
Nineteen year old Clive Geban of Jasmine Street in Belize has been arrested and charged for murder and a fifteen year old, for the crime of conspiracy to commit murder. This is in connection to the murder of sixty year old Ervin Fitzroy Morales in Maskall Village on Saturday the ...

Former Lecturer Turned Sculptor Discouraged By Lack of Support
Stephen Okeke - he’s the man behind many projects in Belize, ranging from books, to sculptures to politics to a recycling machine. But Okeke has not received the kind of fanfare and support that he wanted to see his projects through, and the poor support that he received fo...

Minister Saldivar Issues Statement on His Meeting With Teachers
Belmopan area representative John Saldivar has issued a statement, defending his decision to meet with teachers in Belmopan on Wednesday. Saldivar, who holds the portfolio as Minister of National Security, took issue with what the Belize National Teachers Union called an act of u...


U.S National Wanted For Child Molestation Could Be Hiding In Belize
The last US National who has made headlines on the newscast nationwide was the well-known Pioneer of the McAfee antivirus, John McAfee who went into hiding after his neighbour was killed. Tonight making the headlines is one more US National but this time, sought by US authorities. The man in question is Richard Frank Savarese. Savarese is wanted back in his home state of Alabama in connection to child molestation charges. Baldwin County Sheriff alerted their Belizean counterparts of Savarese apparent hiding in Belize. Reports are that the sixty-seven year old US National has been in communication with several business persons in Belize in efforts of seeking employment and residence. Savarese has been on the run for a couple of months now and US Authorities believe he is hiding out in Belize. If anyone has seen Richard Frank Savarese, you are asked to please call your nearest police station or the 922-TIPS hotline. Once more, Sevarese is wanted in connection to Child Molestation charges in the US state of Alabama.

Have You Seen Juana Menjivar?
minor from the Corozal District is tonight missing. Reports are that the 14 year old female minor, Juana Menjivar left her father’s house situated in Paraiso Village on Monday January 21st sometime around 8:30 in the night. The minor informed her sister Daisy Menjivar that she would go to visit her mother Floridalma Quinones in Buena Vista Village within the Corozal District, but she never did make it to her destination. David Casores, father of Juana Menjivar, is the the child’s custodian and has made a formal report at the Corozal Police Station. It is believed that Menjivar is in the company of thirty five year old Allan Moreno, a 35 year old resident of 5th Street North near rainbow beach in Corozal Town. Juana Menjivar was last seen wearing a floral blouse, long blue jeans pants and a pair of black tennis shoes. Menjivar is of clear complexion about 5 feet 6 inches in height and has long black hair reaching to her shoulders. She weighs about 150lbs. If anyone knows the whereabouts of Juana Menjivar and or Allan Moreno, you are asked to contact your nearest police station or the Corozal Police Station at 402-0022.

Job Opportunity For Belizeans
The unemployment rate in Belize currently stands at about 25%, meaning one out of every four Belizeans is out of work. With the current economic climate in the country, Belizeans are more and more becoming desperate in finding gainful employment. With little to no relief coming from Government’s side in the form of economic stimulus, foreign investment interest, or business incentives, Belizeans will not see the creations of new jobs anytime soon. At present, the best the Government of Belize can come up with in terms of job creation is in the construction or sanitation fields. But, these are only temporary jobs. Despite those harsh realities, there is some good news tonight for those Belizeans who are in search of a job opportunity. The Actyl Group of Canada are in Belize and will be recruiting vibrant Belizeans between the ages of 19 to 35 who are in search of a job. Successful applicants will be taken to for work at several McDonald's Operators in Canada who are in need of youthful servers to work in their franchise restaurants. Recruitment begins January 29 and ends on February 1st at number 19 Barbados Street in Belmopan City. Information sessions will take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the exception of a 12:00 p.m. start on the 29th. Trade workers are also being sought. If you’re a skilled worker and are welders, ironworkers, heavy duty mechanics, you are also encouraged to apply as there are several posts available in those areas. The sessions are free and applicants must bring a copy of their Resume, Valid Passport and Graduation Documents. For more information, you can visit the company’s website at or you can contact Sheran Palacio at 635-4796.

Will There Be A Referendum For The Belize/Guatemala Territorial Dispute?
Throughout the course of the day, several articles were published on Guatemala’s newspaper La Prensa Libre website in reference to the referendum process for the territorial dispute to the ICJ. The main topic of discussion now places Guatemalan authorities with an apparent change of mind in taking the matter before the ICJ. The most captivating headline was posted a little after one this afternoon stating, “TSE – Tribunal Suprema Electoral – suspende licitaciones para consulta popular por diferendo” which translates to ‘Electoral Supreme Court suspends bidding for Consultations on Referendum’. This indicates that Guatemalan officials have stopped the education process of the referendum scheduled for October 6th of this year. The referendum will leave it up to the electoral bodies of both countries to see if the territorial dispute is taken to the International Courts of Justice. But in order for the matter to be heard before the ICJ, both countries need to have their citizen’s voting in favour of it. This is where Guatemala now has an issue with the process occurring in Belize’s side. According to the articles written in Guatemalan newspapers, the issue at the point of contention now is that four months before Belize’s Foreign Ministry and Guatemala’s Foreign Ministry signed the agreement for the referendum, Belize legislated changes to the Act dealing with referendums. In Guatemala, there is no set percentage of required voter turnouts for the referendum process, which is the change Guatemala claims Belize has adjusted. The new legislation here in Belize states that there must be 60% voter turnout on the day of the referendum in order for the results to be binding.

Teachers Will Not Be Moved, Demonstration On The Horizon
In yesterday’s newscast, we highlighted the press release issued by the Ministry of Education in which it informed teachers of the Belmopan Constituency that they have been granted permission for half day classes in order to attend a meeting with Minister of National Security John Saldivar. It struck media houses across the country odd when this release was issued as Saldivar does not sit on the negotiating team and has no authority within the Ministry of Education. So why would he need to meet with teachers in his constituency? Well that’s a question on the minds of many. Teachers perceived this action as union busting, a divide and conquer tactic. President of the BNTU Belmopan Branch said that the teachers of the Belmopan branch will not fall into Saldivar’s union busting tactics. Soon after the announcement of Saldivar’s meeting with teachers, our phone line here in the News Room began ringing constantly by teachers and concerned parents stating that a similar action was taking place here in Orange Walk. Allegations made to us over the phone was that workshops by a high school and the Ministry of Education for the district of Orange Walk. Our news team travelled to Yo Creek Village this morning and spoke to President of the Belize National Teacher’s Union Orange Walk Branch Otilio Muńoz who told us more on the matter and clarified several issues.


Michael Finnegan supports Patrick Faber for Deputy Leader
The Convention to choose a new deputy leader of the ruling United Democratic Party got pretty interesting today, when Prime Minister Dean Barrow publically declared that he is not supporting the Collet area representative in his bid to unseat Gaspar Vega from the position. The Prime Minister made the pronouncement this morning, during his appearance on the WAVE Radio talk show. But one man who is backing Faber going into the convention, is Housing Minister Michael Finnegan. And today he told reporters that matters be who the Prime Minister supports in the convention, Faber is the man he thinks will be the better Deputy Party leader. The February seventeenth Convention is scheduled to take place in Corozal town. And going in, Finnegan says it is an open and transparent process. And to prove it, the veteran politician says he is even making his delegates accessible to both candidates to make their sales pitch ahead of next month’s convention. Love News asked Minister Finnegan if today’s public pronouncement by the Prime Minister amounted to a game changer for Faber with under a month to go before the convention.

Briefing for potential Taiwan scholarship recipients
Belizeans looking to further their education abroad today had an orientation of sorts with representatives of the Republic of China Taiwan at a luncheon. The event served as an information provider for those who are considering applying to study in Taiwan. Ambassador of Taiwan to Belize, David Wu, says the program started in 2002 and since then over two hundred students have completed their program of studies with impressive achievements. He told us about this year’s scholarship program. As to how many people will be granted the scholarship this year, Wu says it is a varying factor. Today’s briefing was well attended by aspirants to the Scholarship and Love News spoke with one of them, Janell Dawson who explained how getting the scholarship would help with her contribution to the country. While Dawson is contemplating what the Taiwanese studying experience might be like, Geraldine Godoy experienced it when she went to study for her Masters in Environmental Engineering with a concentration in Sustainable Development. But Taiwan is another continent on the other side of the world, so we asked Godoy if by any chance she got lost in translation. Today’s briefing was held at the Chateau Caribbean Hotel in Belize City.

University of Belize offers scholarship opportuities to all Belizeans
Belizeans who wish to read for a Masters or Doctorate degree now have access to scholarship opportunities through an initiative offered by the University of Belize. According to a statement from UD, the European Union is providing funding for the scholarships through a project called the Caribbean Pacific Islands Mobility Scheme. Selwyn King is the director of public information for the University of Belize. King says the scholarships are for the pursuit of studies in several academic fields. The deadline for the receipt of applications Caribbean Pacific Islands Mobility Scheme scholarships is March first.

Mesopotamia representative says Leader of the Opposition is not being truthful
A week ago, Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca told the media that he has held a meeting with relatives of the victims of the quadruple homicides inside an apartment building at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets. Fonseca says that he met with about thirty of those family and other members of the community. The venue, according to Fonseca was a yard on Dean Street. Well today, the area representative for the Mesopotamia division came out swinging against the leader of the People’s United Party, accusing him of not getting his facts straight. A police investigation of the quadruple murders is still ongoing to determine a motive for the slaying of Albert Fuentes, Leonard Meyers, Anthony Perez and Keino Qually on January eight.

Protestors say “no” to the ICJ referendum
And while the launch of the awareness campaign was underway inside the Caracol room at the Radisson … outside the upscale hotel, a group of people who say they already know all they need to know about the issue was making their voices heard.

Annual Methodist district conference underway in Belize City
The Methodist Church in the Belize Honduras district is this week taking time out to review the organization’s performance over the course of the last year. The one hundred and fifty second district conference for the Methodist Church is underway in Belize City. Reverent Roosevelt Papouloute is the head of the Methodist Church in Belize. Reverend Papouloute says that despite challenges, the Methodist Church continues to carry out its mission in Belize and Honduras. The District conference of the Methodist Church ends on Sunday with the annual church service, which will be broadcast live on our sister network, Love FM.

Government says MCC Grounds to be used only for sports
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports today announced that effective immediately, the MCC Grounds will not be used for anything other than sports. According to a press release dated January fifteenth but emailed to the media this morning, the decision to reserve the stadium’s use for only sporting activities was taken based on feedback from the community after consultation with Cabinet. The official release says that government will be identifying funds to upgrade the facility strictly for sporting events and as such believes that, to be maintained for this purpose, use of the facility is to be restricted only to such events.

Education campaign launched leading up to ICJ referendum
The public awareness campaign leading up to the October sixth ICJ referendum has begun. Love TV’s Marion Ali and video journalist Brian Castillo had front row seat for the launch and bring you this report.

FFB president says big things in store for Belizean football
The president of the Football Federation of Belize Ruperto Vicente returned to the country this morning after witnessing the national team advance to the semi finals of the Copa Centroamericano. The historic victory for the Belize National Football team came yesterday evening as Belize Defeated Nicaragua in a nail-biting two to one final score at the national stadium in San Jose, Costa Rica. Vicente, in an extended interview with Love News, said Tuesday evening’s victory is huge for Belizean football. Belize’s next game is scheduled for Friday when the national team goes up against Honduras. Vicente says the team is ready mentally and physically for the game. Vicente says the FFB plans on building upon the success of the current national football team as Belize looks to competing in the next World Cup qualifying tournament. The FFB resident says his personal belief is that the officiating in the tournament has been exceptional so far and that it has impacted the performance of Belize’s national team. Ruerto Vicente, President of the Belize Football Federation.

Mesopotamia representative comments on teachers’ plan to demonstrate
On Tuesday, teachers from all over the country are planning a mass demonstration in Belmopan. At issue is a stalemate on the issue of a salary increase for teachers and public officers being negotiated as part of a new collective bargaining agreement with government. The Barrow administration has said that it does not have the money to grant the proposed salary increase at this time; but the teachers are not buying it, and so they will demonstrate on Tuesday, hoping to force government to reconsider its position. Today, the member for Mesopotamia division, the UDP’s Michael Finnegan, weighed in on the upcoming mass demonstration. When asked for his response to allegations that while government is saying it cannot find money to give the teachers a salary increase, that funds are located to pay gang members, this is what Finnegan had to say. Again, the mass demonstration by the teachers is set to take place on Tuesday in Belmopan.

Re: Today's Belize News: January 25, 2013 [Re: Marty] #456294
01/25/13 09:45 AM
01/25/13 09:45 AM
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Marty Offline OP

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More News: Scroll up from here


A man has been shot in Orange Walk
A man has been shot in Orange Walk. Reports to Plus News is that the person was wanted by police and when police tr...

Unions say demonstration is definitely on
The major unions - the Belize National Teachers' Union (BNTU), Public Service Union (PSU) and Association of Public...

Two teenagers charged with brutal murder of Maskall man
Police have arrested and charged 19 yr old Clive Geban of Belize City and a 15 year old male minor for the crime of...

Post Mortem shows 50 year old Majdi Agha died from a bullet to his heart
The murder of another Lebanese businessman has still been unsolved. This despite the presence of a security camera ...

Students dialogue with top officials on Referendum
The Referendum Commission is beginning its education process by meeting with students across the country. Wesley Co...

National BNTU President Luke Palacio says Government is sending "mixed signals"
Earlier this week we told you that teachers from Belmopan were forwarded a memo from the Belmopan District Educatio...

Primary and Secondary Schools in Stann Creek and Toledo receive school and medical supplies
Primary and Secondary Schools in Stann Creek and Toledo have received donations of various school and medical suppl...

14 year old Juana Evangelina Menjivar is missing
A fourteen year old girl has been reported missing. She is 14 year old Juana Evangelina Menjivar. The child’s fathe...

Natalie Coleman sentenced to 5 years for firearm offences
25 year-old Natalie Coleman was sentenced to 5 years in prison yesterday. Last December, police say they searched C...

Fashion designer Rebecca Stirm will be showing her new collection on Saturday night
19 year old Belizean fashion designer Rebecca Stirm will be showing her new collection on the runway this Saturday ...

Brandon Thompson arraigned for robbing a Guatemalan
A Belize City man was today arraigned for robbing a Guatemalan. 26-year-old Brandon Thompson was unrepresented when...

The Guardian

Stevannie Duncan called to the Bar
In a short ceremony held on Friday. January 18th at the court of the Chief Justice, Kenneth A. Benjamin, 25-year-old Stevannie Duncan, the daughter of now deceased, Pamela Duncan and her husband, Managing Director of Heritage Bank, Stephen Duncan was called to the bar.

Belize strengthens its National Alert to maintain Free Status
The Belize Agricultural Health Authority has strengthened its national poultry health alert.

Belt Night at House of Shotokan Karate Academy
On Friday, January 11th, relatives and friends of more than thirty martial arts student from the House of Shotokan Karate Academy gathered to celebrate with their loved ones as some ascended in belt classification and others received belts for the first time in their career.

Ned Pitts Stepping Down from Olympic Committee
The Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association will elect new officers on Saturday, February 16th. Long- time President of the association and national sports hero, Edward “Ned” Pitts has announced that he will not contest the elections but will continue to support the association as an advisor when called upon. The announcement was made public on Thursday, January 17th, in a press briefing hosted by executive members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Belize Olympic And Commonwealth Games Association.

Transforming Belize City - 41 Streets and counting; A Beach is in The Works...
Under the leadership of Mayor Darrell Bradley, Belize City is undergoing an impressive, never-before-seen transformation. Nearing to the 1-year anniversary of the elections in March of 2012, the Belize City Council has been able to have either begun to pave or completed as many as 41 streets across Belize City. This week, the work on one of the major streets neared completion; that road is Freetown Road, which is a major artery coming into Belize City. A couple of weeks ago work started on Chetumal Street, and the work there has advanced considerably beginning first with the construction of a drain system. Work on the street itself has commenced in earnest with the street being closed off to vehicular traffic.

Belize Broadcasting Authority drafts Media Guidelines
The Belize Broadcasting Authority is in the process of formulating guidelines to regulate the manner in which media entities report on crime and violence in the country. Assisting in the formulation of the regulations is Oliver Wates, who has a vast level of experience in the field of journalism. Wates has been a correspondent with Reuters for 21 years and has worked in television and in media and journalism training in 60 countries. Now in Belize, Wates along with members of the Belize Broadcasting Authority have come up with draft guidelines by which the media is to operate when reporting on crime and violence.

No Concern Over Guatemala’s Claim on Belize’s Referendum Law
There was a report in the Prensa Libre newspaper of Guatemala that the President of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal in Guatemala, Maria Euginia Villagran, was speaking of a possible postponement of the referendum date based on concerns about Belize’s Referendum Act. The Guardian spoke to Belize’s Ambassador to Guatemala, H.E. Fred Martinez, who said that there is no real reason to be concerned about the possibility of any postponement to the October 6th simultaneous referenda date.

MCC for Football use only
The Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow announced on Wave Radio’s “Fus thing da Mawnin’ that two weeks ago Cabinet made a decision that the MCC grounds will be used exclusively for football and sporting activities. PM Barrow stated that cultural fairs and other events that would have been held on the MCC grounds will no longer be entertained. The decision by Cabinet was taken by public complaints by members of the public including the Football Federation of Belize following an anniversary concert held on the MCC by BTL on December 14th. Following the event pictures were circulated of damages done to the field causing concern as to whether or not the field should be used for public gatherings. Now the Cabinet has made a decision and the MCC will no longer be used for public events except they are sporting ones.

Healthier Environment for St Peter Claver School in Toledo
Over 900 students and teachers of St Peter Claver RC School in Punta Gorda, who were once exposed to the dangers of dilapidated asbestos roofs, now enjoy a healthier environment thanks to a Social Investment Fund (SIF) project that removed the asbestos roof from three of the buildings on the school compound. The project also renovated one of the buildings, which was officially inaugurated on Wednesday, January 23rd, during a ceremony held on the school campus.

Government to provide Quality, Potable Water to Chan Pine Ridge Village in the Orange Walk District
Over 447 residents of Chan Pine Ridge Village in the Orange District will soon have access to quality, potable water thanks to a Social Investment Fund (SIF) project, which aims to improve and expand water supply to rural communities in Belize.

Statement from Belmopan Area Representative Hon. John Saldivar Regarding Meeting with Teachers in his Constituency
I maintain my absolute right, obligation even, as an Area Representative to consult with my constituents on matters affecting their well-being.

UDP will support Referendum
Prime Minister and Leader of the United Democratic Party, Hon. Dean Barrow has announced that the UDP's National Party Council has taken the position that it will be supporting the referendum scheduled of October 6th. According to the Prime Minister, decisions have also been taken both at the Cabinet to support the referendum process.

Unions seek $240M in three years - GOB can’t afford it, wants negotiations to continue
Prime Minister Dean Barrow says that the request by unions to have a 36 percent salary increase for junior workers and 30 percent increase for senior workers over the next 3 years is simply not affordable. The unions’ request, most prominently, the Belize National Teachers’ Union's, says PM Barrow, will represent $240 million more that the Government has to find over the next 3 years. That is excluding $10 million, which the Government has to find to pay salary increments for public officers yearly; that is almost automatic (and this should be done in a meritocratic fashion, but this is seldom the case). The salary increments for public officers is 2.5% of what they earn.

The Year in Review 2012
October The month of October 2012 saw some welcome development for the small village of Sunday Wood in the Toledo District. Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Hon. Patrick Faber spoke at the opening of a new school.

Another Lebanese Man killed
Police are investigating the shooting death of 50-year-old Lebanese national Majdi Khodr Agha who was killed on Tuesday January 22nd. Police report that at around 8:50 a.m. they responded to Agha’s house, located on Keating Crescent in the Button Wood Bay area of Belize City where they found his corpse in a drain near his gate. He received 3 gunshots to the body and one to the head. Reports indicate that Agha had just returned home from dropping off his daughter to school and was in the process of opening the gate to his yard when he was a attacked by a lone gunman who wore a mask. After shooting Agha the gunman ran off and boarded a vehicle that was parked nearby and it sped off.

Fifth Suspect charged for Robbery of Chinese Grocer
On Friday, January 18th police took 20-year-old Gregory Knox, a Construction Worker of a Rio Bravo Crescent address in Belize City, to court on charges of robbery, and firearm and ammunition offences. He appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer where he told her that he had been shot in his two legs and cried in pain during his arraignment. Due to the nature of the offences, bail was not granted and his case was adjourned until March 1. In court, Knox also said that he is on medication for his injuries. He claimed that he went to take a gift for his daughter in the area of Mopan Street and when he was passing by, he saw the men and one of them whom he knows gave him $5.00 and that's how police linked him to the robbery. He claimed he is innocent and got shot for nothing.

Cop gets off Charges of taking Motor Vehicle without Authorization
On Friday, January 18th charges against police constable, Marvin Wade, his brother, Jason Wade and, Herwin Godoy were withdrawn for want of prosecution. The men had been charged with taking a motor vehicle without authority and handling stolen goods after a 2009 Toyota Hilux was taken from the Ministry of Health’s compound in Belize City on May 8th, 2012. At the time, surveillance cameras had caught a man dressed in camouflage jump over the perimeter fence and made off with the pickup truck. The men appeared before Magistrate, Hettie Mae Stuart, where the court prosecutor told the court that he will not be offering any evidence in the case against the men because they have no evidence against them. With that Magistrate Stuart told the men they were free to go as the charges were withdrawn from against them. Present in court with the men were their attorney, Bryan Neal, who said he never had to make any submission on behalf of his client since the prosecutor had no evidence.

International Olympic Committee Officials called on Minister Longsworth
Minister Herman Longsworth with Olympic Committee officials Rogers Stadium, Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Belize advances to the semi-final round in Copa Centro Americana
The National Football Team of Belize made history on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013, when it won its first ever football match in the Copa Centro Americana Tournament that is currently taking place in San Jose, Costa Rica, against Nicaragua in a 2-1 victory. Belize got on the scoreboard first when, forward, Travis Lennon scored Belize’s 1st goal of the game in the 28th minute of play to give Belize a 1-0 lead. It was well into the second half of the game that Nicaragua was able to score the equalizing goal against Belize for a 1-1 tied. However, in the closing minutes of the game, Deon McCauley scored the second and what proved to be the winning goal for Belize. With the 2-1 win for Belize over Nicaragua, Belize advanced to the playoff round of the Copa Centro Americana. Belize’s place as the number 2 seed in its division was solidified when Costa Rica, the tournament’s favourite, and Guatemala played to a 1-1 draw. The semi-final games which are scheduled to commence on Friday, January 25th will see Belize going up against Honduras and in the second semi-final game it will be Costa Rica and El Salvador. The championship was started on Friday, January 18th saw Belize losing to Costa Rica by the score of 1-0 and then on Sunday, January 20th, Belize played to a 0-0 draw against Guatemala.

Holy Redeemer and Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Boys and Girls lead in Primary Schools Softball
Holy Redeemer batter hits a fair ball down the first baseline The 2012-2013 Belize City Primary Schools Softball Competition continued at the Rogers Stadium in Belize City with a number of games over the last days. On Tuesday, January 22nd, in the girls’ game played, Holy Redeemer School edged St. John’s Primary School in a nail biting game by the score of 9-8. The winning pitcher for Holy Redeemer School was Sharen Lewis while the losing pitcher was Brea Gabourel. In the boys’ game, it was also Holy Redeemer winning over St. John’s Primary School by the score of 13-3. The winning pitcher was D’Andre Arana and the losing pitcher was Warren Smith. On Monday, January 21st, in girls’ competition, Buttonwood Bay Nazarene won over Unity Presbyterian School by the score of 14-10. The winning pitcher was Shenelle Magandi and the losing pitcher was Allison Ariolla. In the boys’ game, Buttonwood Bay Nazarene blanked Queen Square Anglican School by the score of 23-0. The winning pitcher was Brian Molina and the losing pitcher was Tariq Silva.

Taking One Step Back
There is a general agreement that criminals are bred and not born. It is not surprising that neglected and abused children, who have never known the security and love within their family that every child deserves, learn that the secret to survival is to look out for themselves alone. It is easy to blame parents for failing their children but a closer look shows that these parents are often themselves barely managing to survive and many had a childhood lacking in care. We can and must channel our efforts to the children we have collectively failed but we must also take one step back to look at the next generation.There is a consensus that interventions that address the needs of at risk children must be a major component in reducing violent crime. These include programmes intended to improve parenting skills; education initiatives that keep children in school; economic assistance targeting those most in need, especially children. This makes sense because poor parenting skills are exacerbated by poverty and poverty itself feeds into family disintegration. Conditional Cash Transfer Programmes such as BOOST and its companion Pantry Programme help families to survive and nudge them towards better parenting by rewarding school and ...

Superbond Renegotiation almost Complete
On Monday, January 21st, Prime Minister Dean Barrow along with Co-chair of the Super Bond Creditor's Committee, A.J Mediratta held a joint press conference at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel where it was announced that the terms of the renegotiated Superbond is almost complete. Mediratta's visit was for him to have personal discussions with the Prime Minister on outstanding issues. For now, the general economic terms of the restructuring has been agreed to with only minor details being left to be completed. According to Prime Minister, Barrow the exact terms of the renegotiated terms of the Superbond cannot be made public at this time. He said, however, that there are significant savings that will materialize as a result of the new terms. In 2012, those savings in cash flow will be 11 million U.S. In 2013, the savings go up to $33 million U.S.; between 2013 and 2017, the government would have realized some $118 million U.S.; between 2013 and 2022, cash flow savings would have gone up to $247 million U.S.

Belize advances in Central American Cup
Living up to his record as having the most goals in international play, Deon McCauley managed a heart-stopping 91st minute goal on Tuesday January 23rd against Nicaragua in Costa Rica in the Copa Centroamericana (Central American Cup). It was a goal that gave Belizeans watching the action a collective sigh of relief and a moment of euphoria. The goal meant that Belize had won the game 2-1 against Nicaragua. Six minutes earlier at the 85th minute of play, E. Figueroa managed an equalizing goal taking the game to a 1-1 draw. Hearts must have sank and the probabilities of Belize advancing to the next round began to be calculated by all who were watching. Those calculations were no longer necessary after the McCauley goal. Belize advanced to the Semifinal round after the win. During the game against Nicaragua, Belize had managed to maintain a lead from the 28th minute of play when Harrison Roches passed the ball to Travis Lennon at the outside box of the Nicaraguan Goal. With surgical precision, Lennon drove a cannon shot into Nicaragua’s goal taking the lead of the game. That had the game 1-0 and it was maintained that way despite best efforts by Nicaragua’s squad who kept attacking the goal but which was capably defended by Woodrow Wilson West stopping all goals attempts.

What is There to lose in going to The ICJ?
On Wednesday, January 16th the Ministry of Foreign Affairs began its recruiting exercise to have media organizations become partners in the education campaign that will see Belizeans vote on a referendum on whether to take the age old Guatemalan Claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or not. Presenting at the media mixer was Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred Elrington. He explained that by all indications, Guatemalan Government officials are convinced that they will be able to get a ‘Yes’ vote from their people and the question is whether Belize will be able to follow suit. He explained that while a ‘No’ vote would not have a dramatic deterioration in relations with Guatemala, it could possibly mean that there would be an increased number of Guatemalans making their way illegally into Belizean territory. Additionally, he said that the friendly group of nations that are currently supporting the process and are financing the office at the Western border are likely to pull financing, they have expressed as much, he said.


A Tale of Five Cities: Good eats in Palenque
During our two days in Palenque, Mexico, we got to enjoy some tasty food. On our first night, we just wanted a simple dinner. We needed to find an ATM to get some cash beforehand and ended up walking a long way looking for a Scotiabank ATM. We never did find one so had to backtrack to another ATM, then re-backtrack to Pizzeria Palenque. I was more than hungry (and fussy!) by the time we got there, but it was worth all the trekking. The pizza was delicious, and the cervesas were very cold. Great prices too! Ahhhhh...the simple things in life are the best Our pizza had fresh tomatoes, spicy chorizo, jalepenos, and avocado. Delish! Both mornings we had the continental breakfast at the Hotel Xibalba, which was included in our room rate. The breakfast consisted of fresh fruit, bread and butter, and really good coffee (but only one cup -- free refills are not typically given in Mexico, or Belize for that matter). We sat outside in handmade chairs constructed from thick wood rounds, sanded and polished to a smooth shine.

Realizations and New Locations
The other day I had a realization, when it comes to exercise I am like a snowbird. Many people do 3 – six months or as long as they can here during their cold months. Right now we are experiencing a lot of rain and major cold front and I cannot bear the thought of getting in the pool to exercise, truth be told for the past few months. I decided to work with that and find an alternative to help me get my abs back and hula hooping is doing just the trick. I can keep it spinning for at least 20 minutes. I have also developed some stretches and other exercises with the hoop. After exercising, I decided to take a desk job break today in favor of going with Dennis to Cg Esthetic and doing field work taking pictures. Dennis had asked borrow my phone to book a haircut with Carole, I told him I would sort it out and knew I could probably find her on the coconut phone as she has wifi in her new location at Fairdale plaza. I booked the time and sent her a few pics from the Brad Pitt Channel commercial so she would know what he was looking for. The new shop looks great and she has some really cool things for sale in addition to the haircare products and barefoot sandals. Rob is doing these great lamps made from recycled bottles and beach bits. If you are looking for a new San Pedro souvenir for your house, these are definitely cool. She also has these really nice edible hibiscus flowers that go in your wine. They open up when submerged and they help the bubbles last longer. It was good catching up and I found out Carole’s Aunt Denise who tries to snowbird as often as she can is coming back for a month. Bet that is perfect timing for her I am sure it is cold in Montreal right now.

Belizestagram! The Best Photos Of The Week
I had a hard time choosing the top photo. Since I love sunsets I really wanted to go with Amanda’s Caye Caulker shot but the colonial style beach home in Placencia stole my heart. I have a house in Cayo, which is in Western Belize but I have yet to own property on the beach – that’s on my bucket list.

Public Education Campaign On Guatemala's Territorial Claim to Belize
ADDRESS OF HON. FRANCIS FONSECA, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION ON LAUNCH OF PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN: Public Education Campaign – Launch January 23rd, 2013 Belize City We meet this morning to launch the Public Education Campaign leading up to a Referendum at which the Belizean people will be asked to vote Yes or No on the following question: “Do you agree that any legal claim of Guatemala against Belize relating to land and insular territories and to any maritime areas pertaining to these territories should be submitted to the International Court of Justice for final settlement and that it determines finally the boundaries of the respective territories and areas of the Parties?” This, ladies and gentlemen, is the question that will undoubtedly dominate our national conversation and consciousness for many months to come. Our People’s United Party is obligated and committed to being a part of that National Conversation. Our Party’s National Executive meeting at Independence Hall on October 20th, 2012, made the following decisions: 1. The People’s United Party will participate in the Public Education Campaign. That participation has already began

Guatemala's Territorial Claim to Belize [INFOGRAPHIC]
Earlier today I saw an infographic about the Territorial claim of Guatemala over Belize on the Guatemala Prensa Libre. The infographic is in Spanish and it basically illustrates a map of Belize and the territory that Guatemala is claiming from Belize. I didn't clearly understand it since it was written in Spanish so I decided to translate some part of the infographic and come up with an English version. Do note that this is just my interpretation of the infographic that I saw on the popular Guatemalan newspaper. This infographic is for educational purposes only. If it helps, share with your English speaking comrades. I am sure they will appreciate this.

Let the Sunshine In
After the heavy rain of the last few days it was much better when I arose this morning at 5 am. No sound of the rain beating down. Just the swoosh of the coconut palms. Exactly the sound I hoped to hear. A good omen you would think for progress on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize today. My optimism was dampened (sorry for the pun) when at around 9 am the rain started to fall lightly. Would this be enough to prevent work on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize again today? Fortunately the rain did not last long and did not fall too heavily but Rose and I decided to wait until the afternoon to visit the site. Just to give the rain a chance to change its mind! We decided that we would use the time to prepare for the weekly Friday meeting we have with Daniel Camal, our building contractor, during which we compare progress versus the schedule and confirm our requirements for the next phases of our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. With our notes finished we set off for the site.

Cheap Vacation in Belize – AdventureTravel by Bus from Caye Caulker to Western Belize
For tourists looking to travel affordable in Central America, Belize is often surprisingly expensive. Occasionally there are vacation deals from Canada or the U.S. offered through Delta, United, or American Airlines into Belize City International Airport. Most often European travelers will find Cancun to be the cheapest and most direct option. The “Mundo Maya” travel route also helps to avoid visa conflicts with America. Regional airfare is quite expensive to Belize. Connections from Flores, Guatemala (Tropic Air) and San Salvador, El Salvador (Taca) often run in the hundreds of dollars. Therefore if you plan on a cheap tropical vacation, its best to first try flying into Cancun. Also, Chetumal on the Mexico/Belize border, has airport that occasionally runs airfare deals from Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal, and Ottawa, Canada. From Cancun, Playa, and Tulum, Mexico it is possible to travel to Belize City directly by overnight bus.

Happir Thun A Pig N' Mud: Amish Schnitzel Beens
Amish Schnitzel Beans-from 6 slices bacon 3 medium onions, sliced 1 lb fresh green beans-I used frozen that were thawed 2 cups fresh diced tomatoes-I just grabbed 2 large tomatoes 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 1/3 C boiling water-I

International Sources

Regional merchants face new US withholding tax
Under new rules added to the US Tax Code in January 2012, credit card processing companies must now collect and verify the tax identification number (TIN) and legal name associated with that number for each merchant customer. Section 6050W of the US Internal Revenue Code now requires merchant-acquiring entities in the US such as American Express to document the status of any US or foreign business they settle transactions with. Although section 6050W is aimed at American taxpayers, who have to provide their taxpayer identification number, foreign merchants using the payment services are subject to the regulation if their establishment has a physical address or bank account in the US, or if it processes transactions in US dollars, as it is the case with credit cards. All transactions using US-based credit cards are subject to an automatic 28 percent withholding tax unless the merchant is compliant with new regulations. So far, American Express appears to be the only company enforcing this law, although it should eventually apply to all US-based cards.

VIDEO: Belize Oil- The Benefits
Now that oil has been discovered in Belize, who's likely to benefit?

Corin Nemec in horrific boating accident
While he is going to be fine in time, this type of news is the type we hate to report. According to TMZ, actor Corin Nemec — who portrayed “Jonas Quinn”, the Kelownan scientist from Langara and eventual SG-1 team member in Season Six of the series — is recovering from emergency surgery after shattering his leg in multiple places in a boating accident this past weekend. Nemec, who was in Belize shooting a film (presumably a production headed for Syfy) called Poseidon Rex, was on board a Coast Guard vessel that crashed violently into a partially submerged barge. “We hit the sinking barge … with an enormous amount of force,” Nemec told a local reporter in Belize. “[And] that threw me into the side of the boat where I shattered my femur in three places.”

Corin Nemec Lucky To Be Alive After Boating Accident
Actor Corin Nemec is lucky to be alive following a serious boating accident in Belize. The 41 year old, who played the titular character on U.S. Tv series Parker Lewis Can't Lose, was travelling with a film crew to the set of his new movie Poseidon Rex when their Coast Guard vessel struck a semi-submerged barge on Saturday morning (19Jan13). Nemec, who was thrown from the boat, was then rushed to the Medical Associate's Hospital for emergency surgery after losing over half the blood in his body and breaking his leg in three places. He tells local station 7 News Belize, "We hit the sinking barge, and that is what filled the boat to one side immediately with an enormous amount of force, and that threw me into the side of the boat where I shattered my femur in 3 places. It was the doctor here on call, who has been amazing, Doctor Smith, he said that it's the worst break that he's had to deal with. And I lost over half of the blood in my body during they trauma, and during the operation, and I still don't have the right blood count yet... "The whole event was very scary. Everybody onboard that boat, including the gentlemen working for the Coast Guard, everyone is lucky to be alive.

Cave Tubing in Belize
While Belize was quite the relaxing getaway, we made sure we had a number of exciting adventures on the agenda as well. We took tubes through pitch black caves, guided by lights we had attached to our helmets. It was a really cool way to experience the environment of Belize. Click through the gallery to see pics from our cave tubing excursion.

Belize City, Belize – Corin Nemic, who is best known for the early 1990’s sitcom ‘Parker Lewis can’t Lose’ is lucky, for him, to still be alive after suffering serious injuries in a boat accident on the set of his newest movie. Nemec was apparently injured filming a sequence aboard a Coast Guard vessel. He apparently lost a good deal of blood and broke his leg in multiple places. It’s not clear what anyone was doing by hiring Corin Nemec for a new movie and it’s also not clear if the insurance on said movie even existed, never mind being extensive enough to cover his recovery, if that even matters to producers.

Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!
Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
Maruba Beach Klub and Spa is the premiere Secret Beach spa and restaurant located on the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean Sea at the center of Secret Beach, Belize
First Class Accommodations for the Budget Traveler
First Class Accommodations for the Budget Traveler

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