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Today's Belize News: January 26, 2013 #456396
01/26/13 09:10 AM
01/26/13 09:10 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,415
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

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The San Pedro Sun

Carnaval 2013: “Comparsas y Pintura, Nuestra Cultura”
carnaval-comparsas-2012-66With all the controversy surrounding the original changes that the San Pedro Town Council had initially put forth for the 2013 celebrations, there has been a compromise reached, with a request from the council that participants respect the new rules. There was a lot of back and forth in regards to the initial changes which wanted a painting zone declared from the beach by Wet Willy’s dock to the Boca Del Rio park. However, there has been a new venue announced, and painting will take place in town, from the beachside in front of Rubies’ Hotel all the way down to the cemetery. There will be a lot more policing of activities, and participants are urged to follow the rules to make for a safe carnaval for everyone involved. Below find the new rules and a program of events for the 2013 revelry. CARNAVAL RULES & REGULATIONS

256 days before Belize-Guatemala referendum, GOB launches educational campaign
ICJ Referendum Education Campaign Launched-8There are just 256 days to go before Belizean electorates have to choose whether they want to settle the Guatemala-Belize territorial dispute at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). With that deadline in mind, the Government of Belize (GOB) launched an educational campaign on Wednesday January 23rd. The launching of the campaign saw the presence of the Head of State Representative in Belize, Governor General Sir Colville Young, the Prime Minister of Belize Dean Oliver Barrow, Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca of the People’s United Party, various parliamentarian, representative of the Belize Council of Churches, local Government Representatives and even students, all showing a united front in what is being referred to as a “bi-partisan and united” referendum campaign. ICJ Referendum Education Campaign Launched-2The referendum came about as part of the compromise made between Guatemala and Belize following several rounds of failed negotiations in an effort to peacefully settle Guatemala’s territorial claim over a portion of the country of Belize. The question that will be asked is, “Do you agree that any legal claim of Guatemala against Belize relating to land and insular territories and to any maritime territories pertaining to these territories, should be submitted to the International Court of Justice for final settlement and that it determine finally, the boundaries of the respective territories and areas of the parties?”

Repeated complaints lead to the transfer of a Corporal
Police-NewsThe police force is meant to be the image of security, but in light of recent events, many citizens of Ambergris Caye are losing their trust in those tasked to serve and protect the people. Over the past few months, disturbing reports have surfaced from both locals and tourists about unprovoked police brutality and improper conduct. Residents have brought many complaints to San Pedro Mayor Daniel Guerrero on disconcerting issues regarding the police force. Concerned citizens are demanding action to ensure that these matters do not affect our tourism based island. In The San Pedro Sun Issue #03 Volume 23, we reported on two long-time residents’ experience with late night/early morning raids by four police officers. There have also been claims by tourists who allege improper treatment from uniformed police officers. From claims of harassment to extortion, the reports are disheartening, and have driven a wider wedge between the public and police. As the complaints increased, residents felt that the issues were not being addressed with the level of importance they deserved. While Mayor Guerrero had previously voiced the people’s complaints to former OC Vienie Robinson, the response was minimal. However, with the arrival of the new OC Luis Castellanos, Mayor Guerrero once again presented his community’s

Ambergris Today

Rising Up to HIV – Maralyn Gill’s Story
Her bright smile and positive aura filled up the room when she made her entrance. She made San Pedro her home for many years, sharing life and love with her family and friends. Rasta Pasta was the famous restaurant that she operated, which brought a unique zest and flavor to the island and at one point in the neighboring island of Caye Caulker. Maralyn Gill was an active member of the community and made much friendly relationships all over. But then came a time when life brought Maralyn some big challenges and she had to move to the United States. Many did not know of her whereabouts, some lost contact with her and only a few friends and family members kept in contact.

Misc Belizean Sources

RiseUpToHIV: Maralyn Gill
My name is Maralyn Gill, I am 57 years old, mother of 3, grandmother of 8 and a widow. I was diagnosed HIV positive in 2004 in the small Central American country of Belize. We moved to Belize in 1991, my husband was from there was and in 1996 we opened our restaurant and it was quite a success. We were married for 18 years in what i thought was a monogamous marriage, or so I thought, until 2001 when my husband turned fifty and went flipsy and left me for a young Honduran girl. Later that year in 2001 just after 9/11, we lost everything in a category 5 hurricane and 2 weeks after that my husband was found dead in Belize City. I reopened my restaurant on a small island there but started getting ill with flu like symptoms and night sweats. After much antibiotics and then told it was probably just menopause for the following 3 years. In 2004 I was diagnosed with Hepatitis A while on vacation in Miami and hospitalized for 10 days and was given an array of tests including an HIV test but upon release I was told to rest when I got home and I assumed all tests came back negative no problem. When we got back to Belize I still was not doing well and went to a specialist in internal medicine.

Mexican school in Belize celebrates 30th anniversary
The “Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico” (ESTM), in San Roman Village, Corozal District, Belize, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. The official ceremony was headed by its principal, Carlos Castillo, and the Mexican Ambassador Mario Velazquez. More than 800 people attended, including school officials, teachers, students and their families. The Escuela México is a technical/vocational high school that was built and donated in 1982 by the Mexican government as a symbol of recognition of the Independence of Belize. In January 1983, formal classes began with an enrollment of 68 students and a staff of five teachers. Since its establishment, the student population has grown considerably. The enrollment now stands over 600 students. In 2006, Mexico donated US$700,000 for the expansion of the school premises, in order to establish the Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College, which opened its doors in September 2007. Today, this institution is managed by a Belizean board of directors. Throughout the years, Escuela Mexico has improved its academic standards and has achieved high marks at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC). The school premises are also an important centre in the Corozal District for cultural and educational events.

Belikin Domino Tournament in Cayo
Today, in Belmopan, at E&L Sports Bar, Belikin is having their Domino Tournament. The national finals are in 3 weeks.

Cayo Central Basketball Tournament
The San Ignacio Town Council is going to have a basketball competition in the next month. The teams will need 10 players each. Contact Mike Salazar or Devin Garcia for more information or to sign up. "We will sponsor all the teams,its time to create activities in the neighborhood ,10 man per team don't waste time call us now ."

Caves Branch Free Vacation Contest
Ian Anderson's Cave Branch Jungle Lodge is having a contest where you can win an all inclusive 3 day, 2 night vacation. See their website for more information. Best of luck. "Here's your chance to win an adventure in Belize! You do not need to be a previous guest to qualify as a contestant. Starts February 2013 - Click this link if you require more information about "Picture your Adventure in Belize". ( Good luck! (Look over on your right to see recent posts by others - you will find the pictures there.)"

Channel 5

Valiant effort by Team Belize in Costa Rica
The highly anticipated football match between Belize and Honduras for the 2013 Copa Centro Americana was broadcasted live on this station. The Belize national “A” selection team and its strong defense took on the returning champs, Honduras. Team Belize held its ground, but at the sixty-seventh minute, its goal was penetrated by Honduran team. It [...]

Father of two girls murdered in home
There were two murders on Thursday night, one in Belize City and the other in the Cayo District. The first horrific murder occurred in Santa Elena, where a well known resident was shot at least three times in the presence of his two young daughters.  Steven Valencia was hit on his foot, back and then [...]

Bad company. Why was Marvin Gaynair killed?
The second murder on Thursday night took place in Belize City about an hour after the Santa Elena murder. It is also the second in less than forty eight hours in the old capital.  At about nine thirty, a twenty-four year old man was heading home when a gunman opened fire on him.  Marvin Jerome [...]

Two persons—including police officer—injured in traffic accident
There was a head on collision involving a delivery truck and small car between miles six and seven on the Phillip Goldson Highway in the height of this morning’s rush hour. Two persons were injured and while there is still no official police report, the names of the two drivers are known. Police officer Michael [...]

Chamber: salary increases, zero growth equals higher taxes
A peaceful demonstration is going to be staged by teachers and public servants on Tuesday in Belmopan, following a recent breakdown in negotiations with the Barrow Administration over long-delayed salary adjustments, It has prompted a position by the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  The Chamber, in a release issued today, urges government, as well [...]

UB Student Government to protest loss of G.O.B. subsidy
The last day for late registration for the University of Belize is this Monday. On that day the student body represented by Nation Builders also plans a demonstration in the nation’s capital. That is because the government is no longer providing a subsidy for new students entering UB. In a letter dated January twenty first, [...]

Roca charged for repeated sodomy of minor
  Twenty year old Clinton Roca, an aero dispatcher at the PGIA has been charged with three counts of unnatural crime upon a fourteen year old minor. According to the minor, the first incident happened in January of 2012 where Roca threatened to kill him and his family if he said anything. The second incident [...]

Man pleads guilty to drug possession
  A tourist from Alaska vacationing in Caye Caulker was today arraigned for a single count of drug trafficking after he was caught with one point two grams of crack cocaine. But by this afternoon, twenty-nine year old Allan James Meade avoided jail time or a minimum fine of ten thousand dollars when he pleaded [...]

Former prison employee says it’s political victimization
He was responsible for the management of paroles, processing records and was the chairman of the inmates’ classification committee at the Central Prison. We say was because effective today, Lionel Ernest Smith Senior was terminated from his post at Kolbe Foundation. Smith Senior had been working at the Foundation for over a year and according [...]

SCA’s Science Fair celebrates 130 years of Mercy
The Saint Catherine Academy hosted a science fair this morning; bright minds from eight different schools from the city were invited to observe the fair. The science projects covered a number of topics and were put together by students of all forms. News Five Jose Sanchez was also on hand to look at the work [...]

Faada Henry’s protest against crime
The P.S.U. and the B.N.T.U. are finalizing the details for next week’s march in the Capital. But an enterprising individual and his friends have taken to the streets today for a different matter. Phillip ‘Faada’ Henry organized a protest in Battlefield Park in Belize City because of the increase in violent crime. Henry did not [...]

BUMSQUAD scratches itself into music scene
  An international DJ is on tour in Belize and is promoting music and membership to an international organization. He is a founding member of the world renowned group, BUMSQUAD that has a solid and growing following locally. DJ Latin Prince, who arrived in the Jewel on Thursday, is also the C.E.O. of the group [...]


PUP Stalwart Murdered In His Home
The broken back door at the home of 40 year old Stephen Valencia on La Loma Luz Boulevard in Santa Elena Town, Cayo, is where his attackers entered shortly before nine on Thursday night. On a political front, the newly appointed PUP Cayo Central Campaign Manager was preparing for...

Cycling Association Has No Elected Executive
While the stellar performance of Belize’s national football team has lifted the nation’s collective spirit, tonight another big sport discipline is facing some major problems. The Belize Cycling Association is without an elected executive … at least ...

Chamber of Commerce Weighs In On Unions Request for Salary Increase
The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry says it is of the strongest desire that both parties come to an understanding that will be beneficial and sustainable to the Belize economy and taxpayers. Chamber says any public sector salary increases awarded in the absence...

Escuela Secundaria In Corozal Celebrates 30 Years
Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico is celebrating its 30th anniversary. An official ceremony was held at the school’s compound in San Roman Village in the Corozal District. In his address, Mexican Ambassador Mario Velazquez highlighted the outstanding contribution that...

Police Shoots Man During His Attempt To Escape Arrest
A man was shot in the leg during an apprehension by police on Thursday evening. According to police reports, a mobile patrol on the Burrel Boom Road around four thirty yesterday evening intercepted two men riding on a single bicycle. The officers stopped and search the men, ident...

Police Detains One Person For Last Night's Murder in Belize City
A shooting incident in Belize City has left one man dead. The victim has been identified as twenty three year old Marvin Gaynair, Junior. According to police reports, Gaynair was walking on Mahogany Street heading in the direction of Central American Boulevard around nine t...

Belize National Football Team Faces Honduras In Costa Rica
The Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica in San Jose will be the venue of one of the biggest football matches ever played by Belize. The Belize National Football team advanced to the semi-finals of the COPA CENTROMERICANA tournament on Tuesday night when they defeated Nicaragua by a sc...


Shots Fired At San Lorenzo Housing Site, One Man Injured
Orange Walk recorded its second shooting incident this morning, only two weeks after the incident by Liberty Avenue. This morning, the quiet community of San Lorenzo Housing Site was the scene of a police arrest gone wrong. Shots rang out a little after 9:30 and our newsroom’s phone began ringing off the hook with reports of a man being shot. Our news team was among the first to arrive on the scene and reporter Elmer Cornejo and Cameraman Kenric Simpson filed the following report. Sometime around 9:45 this morning, residents of San Lorenzo Housing site saw their morning routine and tranquillity of the neighbourhood shattered with the sound of gunshots. Four police officers pulled up in front of this house in a dark tinted vehicle bearing no license plates. Allegations made are that officers kicked open the back door of the residence and quickly made their way into the bedroom where twenty-six year old Jose Luis Sosa was with his girlfriend and new born baby. Officers report that Sosa swung at them with an object in his hand which led to one of the officers firing a single shot that hit the twenty-six year old in his right leg. Sosa then quickly grabbed his two week old baby in efforts of avoiding further injury which quickly diffused the situation. Once the officers managed to get the couple with their baby out of the house, this is where matters got out of hand for the officers. Amidst the growing amount of residents that had come to see what was happening, Sosa managed to make good his escape into the bushes. Sosa’s frightened girlfriend managed to compose herself just enough to give us an interview. She did not wish to appear on camera.

Race For UDP Deputy Party Leader Is On
The race for Deputy Party Leader of the United Democratic Party is soon to enter the home stretch leg with the finish line set for February 17th. Two of the ruling UDP Ministers have entered their names contesting the seat of Deputy Party Leader, the second most powerful seat within the party’s hierarchy. It is widely known that the one that holds the DPL’s seat is the chosen one to also be the Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Belize. Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Party Leader of the UDP Gaspar Vega has been challenged by Minister of Education Patrick Faber. Both men have been canvasing the 31 constituencies and visiting with the delegates in efforts to garner support for their candidacy. Faber has publicly gone on record stating that he believes he can do a much better job at the post of Deputy Party Leader than the current holder. Well, in what has been dubbed as the game changer, Prime Minister of Belize and Leader of the UDP went on record stating that he does not support Minister of Education Patrick Faber. Barrow said and we quote, “I have said that while Minister Faber is, I think, an extremely well-qualified and able minister, while I think that he has a glorious leadership future in the United Democratic Party, at this time, and for this contest, I do not support him, end of story." And that’s also the end of the quote.

New Exhibit Opens At The Corozal House Of Culture
It has always been said that one needs to know where he came from, in order to understand where he is going. Students throughout Belize are taught a bit of Belizean history on a daily basis and with the present territorial dispute with Guatemala Belizeans are getting a crash course on that specific historical part of Belize. Here in the north, there are several culturally related historical developments that are seen and lived on a daily basis. One such story is that of the Sugar Cane Industry. Belize is currently one of the countries offering quality sugar to the world market. Sugar production is the major industry for the northern districts of Belize creating employment for over 6,000 cane farmers with economics benefits of millions of dollars to the communities. In an effort of going back to yesterday, even as far as the 1800’s, an exhibit titled “Back in the Day” has been put together for showcase at the Corozal House of Culture. David Ackerman, Chairman of COLCHA, Corozal Organization Leading Cultural Heritage and Arts, stopped by our studio this morning to tell us about this unique exhibit. It is unique because a lot of the pictures to be placed on exhibit cannot be found in the Belize Archives.

Belize's Hotels Receive Top Recognition
Over the past years, travellers from around the world have been planning vacation getaways to the most exotic and adventurous places on the face of the planet. In this day and age of technology, we are sure that 99% of all travels originate with some sort of search engine or travel advisory blogs which hold pictures and write ups on activities, scenic views, and testimonials of destinations to visit. One such site which travellers rely on for great recommendations on places to visit and hotels to stay in is has been posting recommendations and reviews for resorts and vacation destinations around the world for over a decade now. A major influencing factor that the site has been providing to its readers, are awards for the best hotels to stay in when travelling abroad. The site makes recommendations on several categories which are suited to best fit your budget. The 2013 top hotels to visit have been named on the Trip Advisors website and Belize has resonated several times in several categories. Most notably, Belize has dominated in two major categories, ‘Top 25 Small Hotels in Central America’, and ‘Top 25 Hotels for Service in Central America’. In the Top 25 Small Hotels in Central America category, Maya Beach Hotel in Placencia, Pooks Hill Lodge in Belmopan, Belcampo Lodge in Punta Gorda, Matachica Beach Reort in San Pedro, Turneffe Island Resort on the Turneffe Islands, Xanadu Island Resort Belize in San Pedro, Chabil Mar in Placencia and Turneffe Flats on the Turneffe Island ranked between 7th to 25th with Belize also taking the top four spots. In fourth place is Coco Plum Island Resort in Dangriga, The Phoenix Resort in San Pedro took third, Pelican Reef Villas Resort in San Pedro took second and in first place is Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Shop situated in Hopkins Village. Out of the Top 25 Small Hotels in Central America, Belize was awarded twelve spots out of the twenty-five. In the Top 25 Hotels for Service in Central America, Belize was awarded for Athens Gate in San Pedro, Pook’s Hill Lodge in Belmopan, Mystic River Resort in San Ignacio, Xanadu Island Resort Belize in San Pedro, Black Rock Lodge in San Ignacio, El Pescador Resort in San Pedro, Coco Plum Island Resort in Dangriga, Chabil Mar in Placencia and Pelican Reef Villas Resort in San Pedro with rankings between fifth to twenty-fourth. Belize managed to secure the top two spots in this category with The Phoenix Resort in second and Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Shop in first. Once more, Belize secured an impressive 44% of the Top 25 Central American Small Hotels for service. In the major categories, Victoria House, Coco Beach Resort, Grand Caribe Belize Resort and Condominiums and Las Terrazas Resort of San Pedro took four spots in the Top 25 Hotels in Central America. The Phoenix Resort and Las Terrazas Resort of San Pedro, Turtle Inn from Placencia, Blancaneaux Lodge from Cayo and Kanantik Reef & Jungle Resort from Stann Creek took five spots in the Top 20 Luxury Hotels in Central America. Top 25 Small Hotels in the World saw three of Belize’s resorts awarded spots in this category with Hamanasi Adventures coming in second and Pelican Reef Villas Resort and The Phoenix Resort in sixteenth and twentieth places respectively. This is the eleventh year is presenting hotels with these awards and has similar categories for regions around the world. Travel writer Lan Sluder commented on an online travel forum stating and we quote, “These awards are well-deserved, but I do think TripAdvisor this year missed some other great places in Belize.” These awards come at a great time as Belize is celebrating international victories both on the football field, and now on travel destinations. If you’d like to review the complete list of awarded hotels you can visit Congratulations to all awardees.

Cook Book Launched By Tania McNab
In July of 2012, Tanya McNab unveiled a cookbook that took years of research coupled with traveling to remote parts of the country in efforts of compiling the best Belizean recipes. Belizeans across the nation took pride in knowing that Belizean cuisine will forever be recorded in History for generations to follow. Well, as Belize just happens to be a tourism destination, it’s only fitting that as part of the package, local food be marketed to tourists as well. Tanya McNab was featured this week on a morning show in Tampa, Florida where Belizean flavours were highlighted for the millions watching and the millions wanting to tantalize their taste buds with exotic cuisines. Here is that segment as aired on WFLA News Channel 8 which is hosted by Cyndi Edwards.


40 year old Steven Michael Valencia shot dead Santa Elena Town
San Ignacio Police are investigating a shooting incident that has left 40 yr old Steven Michael Valencia dead. Just...

23yr old Marvin Jerome Gaynair Jr, shot dead in Belize City
There is also a murder to report on in Belize City. At 9:45pm on January 24, Belize City Police visited the K.H.M.H...

Union leaders say what they are seeking as a group is only reasonable
Representatives of the major unions - the Belize National Teachers' Union (BNTU), the Public Service Union (PSU) an...

BCCI urges the Trade Unions and the Government of Belize to come to an understanding
The Belize Chamber of Commerce & Industry sent out a release saying (“The Chamber”) is of the strongest desire that...

Police seek Jose Luis Sosa for the crime of robbery
Yesterday we told you about a man who had been shot in Orange Walk. Today, the Police press officer sent out inform...

Fathers demonstrate against violence
Last week, we told you that citizen activist Phillip "Fawda" Henry along with John Brackett had planned what they c...

26 year old Warren Castillo of Independence charged “Drug Trafficking”.
Police in Independence Village have arrested and charged 26 yr old Warren Castillo of Bonesville area, Independence...

27 yr old Adrian Myvete shot while resisting arrest for Drug Trafficking
Ladyville Police were conducting mobile patrol on the Burrel Boom Road yesterday evening at 4:35pm, when their atte...

Several shots were fired at the Field Station of Ya’axche' Conservation Trust
The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development sent out a press release this evening informing the...

Drivers enjoy a smoother ride on Nim Li Punit Street in Belmopan
Residents of Belmopan have been enjoying a smoother ride on one of the most trafficked commercial streets in Belmop...

Belize's National Football Team up against Honduras
Belize's National Selection is going up against Honduras in a last of their game play for the The UNCAF Copa Centro...

Re: Today's Belize News: January 26, 2013 [Re: Marty] #456397
01/26/13 09:11 AM
01/26/13 09:11 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,415
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

Marty  Online Happy OP

More News: Scroll up from here


Belize won its first-ever game at the UNCAF Copa Centroamericana and grabbed the inside track on an automatic berth in the CONCACAF Gold Cup with a thrilling 2-1 victory over Nicaragua on Tuesday at the Estadio Nacional. The scoreboard was opened against the run of play in the 29th minute, when midfielder Trevor Lennen ran onto a ball at the top of the box, and rifled a shot into the back of the net that Nicaraguan goalkeeper Denis Espinoza could do little about. Nicaragua continued to press, but it was Belize that nearly extended its lead two minutes before the half. Harrison Roches shot strongly from the top of the box, but his drive was denied by a diving Espinoza, and Lennen’s follow up shot rolled just wide of the Nicaraguan goal, sending the game to halftime with Belize up one. In the second half, Nicaragua upped the pressure even more, pushing for the tying goal that would keep its quest alive to qualify for the Gold Cup. But they were denied time and time again by Belize’s superb goalkeeper Woodrow West. In the 70th minute, team captain David Solorzano put Belize on notice, placing a free kick just high from 20 yards. The stage was set for a dramatic finish, and it wasn’t until the 85th minute that Nicaragua finally broke through.

She only went to visit, she told the court. Today, Natalie Coleman, 25, a resident of Libertad Village in Corozal District, was found guilty after she was charged with keeping unlicensed ammunition for (4) 16-gauge cartridges. In December of 2011, police searched the house of Randy Dominguez, 22, Coleman’s boyfriend. When they arrived at the house, located in Biscayne village, Dominguez ran through the back door of the house, leaving Coleman to face the police all alone. Since Coleman was the only person there when the police discovered the four cartridges, she was charged with the offense. Dominguez was additionally charged in March of 2012, but those charges were eventually withdrawn. Coleman, who was unrepresented in court, told the magistrate, in her defense, that she was merely visiting the house that day and was not a resident there at all. But she still was found guilty.

Unions to PM Barrow: “There is no money for our raise-a-pay? How come you find big money for your many unneeded contract officers and for paying criminals?” With reference to the demands of the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) for a salary increase for themselves and public officers, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said an emphatic ‘no” on Monday, and today, Thursday, the BNTU, the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM) and the Public Service Union (PSU), in response, have confirmed that they will demonstrate next Tuesday in the City of Belmopan in front of the National Assembly Building. The Prime Minister had stated that the government does not have the money for any salary increase at this time, adding that the only way that that could be made possible was by raising taxes. The unions appeared unimpressed by Barrow’s statement. They are asking for increases of 12 percent per annum for junior workers and 10 percent per annum for senior workers over three years. Unions have said that they see their request as more of an adjustment to their salary, rather than an increase. They feel the adjustment is necessary because the cost of living has increased, but their salaries have not. They argue that if the government can find money to pay gang members to keep down crime, they can find money for teachers and public service employees.

Majdi Khoder Agha, 51, was shot to death in front of his home. Majdi Khoder Agha, 51, a Lebanese Belizean of Keating Crescent in the Buttonwood Bay area of the city, was gunned down in front of his house at about 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday. He was shot multiple times in his head and body and died on the spot. Reports are that when Agha got out of his car to open his gate, a masked gunman who was lay-waiting him in his yard shot him about six times. The gunman then escaped. Agha was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, but was declared dead on arrival. He reportedly had just driven up to his home after dropping off his daughter at school and had parked in front of his gate. Neighbors say that after Agha was shot, they saw the shooter jump over the fence and run off, inserting the gun back under the waist of his pants while doing so, and shortly after, they heard a car speed away, which they believe was the getaway vehicle.

Clive Geban, 19, and minor, 15, charged with conspiracy to commit murder as well. Clive Geban, 19, and a minor, 15, both residents of Maskall Village, were today brought before the Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith, where charges of conspiracy to commit murder, and murder were read to them for the death of Ervin Morales, 60. Morales, also a resident of Maskall Village, was killed on January 19, 2013, and police say that both the minor and Geban, along with at least one other person, are the ones responsible for his death. Morales’ body was discovered after Emilia Gotoy, a woman who cooks for him, sent a neighbor to check on him since he didn’t come for his food. Knowing he suffers from epilepsy, she became worried after his non-appearance. When the neighbor arrived at the house at 12:50 p.m. Saturday, Morales’ body was observed with chop wounds to the back of his head, his left shoulder, hand and both elbows

“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.”

In the first game tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama will have to battle it out to see who will win the 5th and final spot in the Gold Cup. Belizean fans are certainly nervous about our 5:30 p.m. encounter against defending Copa Centroamericana champion Honduras in the first semifinal. (Costa Rica and El Salvador clash in the other semifinal.) But it is so much better to be in the semifinal, and be sure of our Gold Cup berth, than in the shoes of Guatemala and Panama today. The norm in previous years was for our Belize national team to pack up and come home immediately after their group-phase games. Not so this time. We have two more games to play. The two semifinal losers will play for 3rd place on Sunday; and the two winners square off for the Copa Centroamericana 2013 championship. All the foreign media people and the big name stars on Honduras are not giving Belize much of a chance tomorrow. But even in the worst of times, our boys are not known for giving up. According to a report today, “the Catrachos take on the tournament’s surprise package, Belize, at 5:30 p.m. local time” on Friday. Hmm. Try to relax and enjoy the game, Belizeans. These are our first two games in preparation for the Gold Cup in July.

Football fans in Belize are still trying to get used to the idea, after an explosion of emotions last night all across the country, that we are indeed going to the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July, following our national team’s injury-time 2-1 victory over Nicaragua in the decisive game of the Copa Centroamericana. With the win, and the subsequent failure of Guatemala to beat Costa Rica, Belize is guaranteed a spot in the Gold Cup and a place in Friday’s semifinal of the Copa Centroamericana. So, Belizeans will have to wait a bit longer before they can greet our boys at the airport in celebration of this historic milestone. In a quick response to the spectacular win last night, the Press Cadogan Sports Show went on air shortly afterwards at 7:00 p.m., a day earlier than its regularly scheduled Wednesday night date on Krem Radio 96.5 FM. Few fans are giving Belize much of a chance in Friday’s semifinal against defending champion Honduras; anything else would only be desert, after the sumptuous feast we all enjoyed in last night’s win. Whatever Friday’s outcome, Belize is eagerly awaiting the return of our football heroes. Nevertheless, Honduras will be well advised not to take our Jaguars lightly.

The teachers of Belize comprise the most powerful trade union force in the country, and they have decided to demand more pay. The Government of Belize has responded by saying that it cannot oblige. This is a case, as they say, of irresistible force meeting immoveable object. Before the teachers demonstrate in Belmopan on Tuesday, GOB has gone on the offensive this week with television ads featuring the Financial Secretary. The Financial Secretary is a man who hates the spotlight, but he is a man who has, behind the scenes, accumulated some credibility over the years. Incidentally, he is a nephew of the iconic national hero, Rt. Hon. G. C. Price. These ads, we think, will be effective. The burden of proof will therefore be on the new leadership of the Belize National Teachers Union. This union’s reputation rests on their bringing the Musa government to its knees in February of 2005. But the circumstances in 2005 were different from those which prevail today. The teachers union of 2013 will have to convert potential energy into real energy. The teachers will need to recruit all those allies of 2005 who made the force greater than the sum of its parts. A drama unfolds.

On Wednesday evening there were things happening on the Channel 7 newscast which should have given you an idea of the games behind the games in Belizean politics. That is, if you knew some things you probably don’t know to the extent that we would. UDP Housing Minister Michael Finnegan launched a broadside against PUP Leader Francis Fonseca, ostensibly because Francis had made a big thing, propaganda wise, out of having gone into the Plues and Dean neighbourhood to counsel and console the residents after the January 8 slaughtering. Plues and Dean, and the area surrounding same, are Finnegan’s Mesopotamia turf. It sits right next to the Prime Minister’s Queen’s Square constituency, so it is possible that Mr. Fonseca thought he was embarrassing the Prime Minister by going in there. Perhaps he was, but, more important as it turns out, he was interfering in Michael Finnegan’s business. Despite the fact that he is doing everything he can to fly beneath the radar, despite the fact that his profile has been so low it is practically invisible, Ralph Fonseca remains a very big man in the PUP. He is a very big man in the PUP because the oligarchs who control the really big money here, swear by Ralph. They will give him money because they know that once the PUP wins and Ralph is in play, they will get back their money and then some. And then some, Jack …

I’m reading this exciting new book about Alexandre Dumas, the French general who was the father of the novelist by the same name, Alexandre Dumas, who wrote such all-time classics as The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo. Alexandre Dumas, the general, was the son of a white French nobleman father and a black Haitian slave mother. In other words, he was a mulatto. Alexandre Dumas, the general, married a white French woman, who was the novelist’s mother. So, in the complicated racial categorizations of the eighteenth century, the novelist was a quadroon. If he, in turn, married a white woman, then his son would have been an octoroon – one eighth black. Over the centuries, however, it has become the norm to refer to everybody of mixed European and African blood as “mulatto.” In the United States, they divided everybody into white and black. If you had so much as one thirty/second black blood, you were legally a Negro, which is to say, nobody. But in French Caribbean possessions like Haiti, and British Caribbean possessions like Jamaica, the difference between the blacks and the mulattos was very important. Blacks fought against mulattos during the course of the Haitian Revolution, and that dislike remains up to the present day. In Jamaica, blacks are about 90 percent, but the minority mulatto class in Jamaica is much better off than the blacks.

Please allow me a little space in your newspaper to respond/refute the misinformation that Bill Lindo has been spewing with respect to the importation of genetically engineered seeds into Belize. I have tried to ignore Bill in the past, but I cannot anymore. First of all, Prosser Fertilizer (registered agent for Monsanto) has not been involved in any negotiation whatsoever, to convince government to go “full speed ahead” with the importation of genetically engineered seeds. Totally false. Bill, you could have simply called me, before misleading the public with your unfounded propaganda; you have called me in the past to check the facts about seeds, especially corn seeds! Prosser Fertilizer, along with Monsanto, has no intention of supplying any GMO seeds by May/June of 2013 as suggested by Lindo. Prosser Fertilizer has and will continue supplying the corn and sorghum farmers of Belize with superior hybrid (non-GMO) varieties in the years to come. We have been proudly doing that for several years now. Prosser, along with Monsanto, will only consider the marketing of GMO seeds in Belize after the government has passed the necessary legislations for its importation and cultivation. Both companies are quite happy and contented with the increased performance/yields of the present varieties that are presently being cultivated in Belize.

In response to your January 20 inquiry: after the Hon. Servulo Baeza concluded that gill net fishing must be outlawed, in its entirety, to save the Fisheries, there was a Cabinet shuffle and the Hon. Mike Espat replaced him as Minister of Fisheries. The criminal charges against the Fisheries Officer for selling licenses to the Guatemalan gill net fishermen were dismissed and the law was changed so that the Guatemalan gill net fishermen could obtain licenses to fish in Belize. Tourism would be one of the great beneficiaries resulting from the outlawing of gill net fishing. Texas outlawed gill net fishing and nearly extinct species of fish came roaring back. As a result, Texas developed a billion-dollar sport fishing industry. Belize’s tourism industry would profit by hundreds of millions of dollars annually from an increased sport fishing industry if gill nets were outlawed. The Fisheries would also profit, along with added employment.

I am an Italian teacher and a keen collector of fully addressed stamped envelopes posted and travelled from all over the world. We usually dispose of the envelope after reading our letters or we throw postcards and view-cards away: I keep them and have been collecting them since I was a boy. In case you or your offices still receive mail from both your country or abroad, may I ask you to keep the envelopes and send them to my address above? I understand that electronic mail is cancelling the traditional post delivered home by the postman, but if that service sill works in your place, I am pretty sure you can save some envelopes for my collection! Grateful for your help, I thank you in advance and look forward to hearing from you.

Belize is the victim of a prodigious legal problem that seriously affects the rights of all Belizeans. Politicians have allowed the devastating problem to continue even though it would take very little effort to resolve it. The problem arises from the Courts’ failure to deliver judgments in a timely manner. There have been cases where the Court did not deliver its judgment for 4 or more years after the case was heard and submitted for decision. Such a delay can have the effect of making the belated judgment unenforceable. During the past year the Hon. Justice Jacob Wit of the Caribbean Court of Appeal denounced such delays. During past years there have been articles in the media setting forth the problems from such delays. The politicians have failed to take any action to resolve the problem. Consequently, during the January 14, 2013 opening of the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice, Hon. Kenneth Benjamin, spoke of the pressing issues of the Judicial System and broached the serious problem of justice delayed. He spoke of the timeliness of judgments and the effectiveness of the enforcement of delayed judgments. The problem is serious, because justice delayed is justice denied. The politicians’ continued failure to correct the problem is inexcusable, as the correction is simple. Other jurisdictions have had the problems of delayed judgments and resolved their problems in very simple manners. The State of California’s law resolving the problem is as follows:

In all forms of government, and particularly in democracies, the State holds a monopoly on the use of force. The right to use deadly force is afforded to ordinary citizens in a very narrow set of circumstances, such as self-defence and the defence of one’s property. Since it is the State that holds the monopoly on the use of force, citizens rightfully expect that in exercising this monopoly the Government (and by extension its agents) will act with restraint and within the confines of the law. Where they fail to do so swift and appropriate actions must be taken to deal with the offenders in order to prevent the emergence of a culture of abuse. The brutal slaying of the George Street Four and the subsequent accusation that it was the Gang Suppression Unit (agents of the State) who perpetuated this unprecedented act, is cause for grave concern. However you may feel about the four men, and about George Street, and about gangs in general, the undeniable fact is that four men were MURDERED; allegedly at the hands of the State. Though we all hope that the allegations are false, the truth is that some elements of the security forces have become more and more abusive towards the Belizean people over the last decade. The political masters of the security forces seem either unwilling or unable to effectively address this issue. It is therefore in this context that the allegations against the State, in relation to the George Street Four, have taken on the traction that they have.

Growing up in Chicago during the 1940’s and 1950’s on the city’s blue-collar Southside, there was a saloon on every street corner and mid-block as well. Among its beer-and-a-shot clientele of factory workers, truck drivers, police and firemen, would sit the only man in the joint wearing a business suit. Always on the same stool at the end of the bar and always in attendance, day or night, he was the neighborhood’s liaison with Mayor Daley’s well-structured, downtown patronage machine, the “go to” guy for a wide range of favors that might include getting the heaved and buckled city sidewalk in front of your house fixed—”My mother-in-law keeps tripping on the damn thing,” to appeals for employment—”My kid just got out of the army and is talking about wanting to be a fireman;” in all cases “Sheik” (the only name he went by) would see what he could do. Sheik was also the man to see if you needed a new wristwatch at an affordable price—he kept them in the trunk of his car, some still in their original boxes. It went unspoken that at the very least, come election time, you would help get out the vote…you know, one hand washes the other. Sheik had juice.

COLA said “no” to ICJ in the form of flags raised during the press conference. The Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) has been anything but silent since the start of discussions of the government taking the Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). COLA stands on its claim that the government should not take the issue to the court because it is not necessary. Members of the organization said that Belize belongs to Belizeans and that is it, there is nothing to dispute. Members of COLA were present at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs referendum education campaign launch on Wednesday, January 23, 2013. While sitting silently inside of the conference room, the members held flags in their hands with a symbol showing the letters “ICJ” being crossed out in a circle. President of COLA Giovanni Brackett said that they had no intention of causing any problem during the launch, but were simply there to show their opposition to the issue of going to the ICJ. Brackett said that he and his fellow members were asked to leave the room to avoid any problem, but they refused.

Banner allegedly burned down her common-law husband’s house after an argument. Today after a jury deliberated for almost three hours, they returned with a guilty verdict against Keisha Banner, 24, who was accused of arson. On January 30, 2011, Dishon Rowland, the then common-law husband of Banner, was at his home at #69 Vernon Street, with Banner and some friends playing a game of cards in the yard. Banner and Rowland got into an argument over the card game. In his testimony, Rowland told the court that after getting into the argument, he went inside the house but decided to leave. But as he was leaving the house, he went into the kitchen and saw a bottle of gasoline, which he moved. About 20 minutes after leaving the house, he received a call that his house was on fire. The Crown, which was represented by Sheneiza Smith and newly appointed member of the Director of Public Prosecutions office, Leroy Banner, then called their main witness, Carla Flowers

Marsha Reid, 35, of Racoon Street Extension, accused of killing her ex-boyfriend, has been ordered to stand trial for murder in the Southern Session of the Supreme Court. Reid, who is presently on remand, was returned to her cell at the jail, after she was taken to the Dangriga Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, January 23, where she was committed to stand trial for the capital offense. Also, all 40 witnesses were committed to attend the Supreme Court to testify for the Crown. Police contend that Reid travelled to Dangriga from Belize City to the home of her ex-boyfriend, BDF corporal Donovan Castillo, 37, about 6:30 a.m. on Monday, May 23, 2012, entered his room while he was sleeping, slashed his throat , cut his head, then stabbed him in the chest and abdomen . She then escaped out of the house, which is on Teacher Street, but not before locking up his nephew in his room. Reid was arrested shortly after and charged with murder.


A Tale of Five Cities: Travel day to San Cristobal
We decided to visit San Cristobal de las Casas while we were traveling around Mexico because it sounded absolutely charming. Lonely Planet describes it this way: "Set in a gorgeous highland valley surrounded by pine forest, the colonial city of San Cristóbal (cris-toh-bal) has been a popular travelers’ destination for decades. It’s a pleasure to explore San Cristóbal’s cobbled streets and markets, soaking up the unique ambience and the wonderfully clear highland light. This medium-sized city also boasts a comfortable blend of city and countryside, with restored century-old houses giving way to grazing animals and fields of corn." We were looking forward to the highland terrain with lower humidity and cooler temperatures than we've grown used to. It would be a brief taste of autumn -- and much cooler than winter in Belize! So, on December 13, we left Palenque behind on a bus bound for San Cristobal. Even though both cities are in the Chiapas state of Mexico, San Cristobal sits at an elevation of 7200 feet, while Palenque is only at 200 feet, so we would be doing quite a bit of climbing on this day. We bought our tickets the day before at the ADO station, though we would actually be taking an OCC bus to San Cristobal, as OCC serves this part of Mexico. It is equivalent to the ADO first-class bus. Palenque ADO Station I think I was attracting a little attention as I used my new Galaxy Tab to read in the bus terminal (see below). There was no wi-fi, but I was reading a book using the Kindle app. This was our first trip with the tablet, and it worked out really well. We had no room for a full-size laptop in our packs, and while on previous short trips we've managed without a computer, on a sixteen-day trip, we didn't feel comfortable without some form of communication device. The tablet allowed us to check bus schedules, restaurant ratings, and even make some reservations for our return trip -- not to mention to keep up with all those pesky emails that pile up on a trip. And I didn't have to carry a book along as I had several free ones loaded on the Kindle app. Although the bus ride from Palenque to San Cristobal is only about 130 miles, it takes approximately five and a half hours due to the mountain roads. It was a beautiful drive, but Barry and I both felt quite queasy during the middle part of the trip where there were many hairpin turns and bumps. Fortunately, we didn't have to run for the rest room, but it was an icky feeling and not something we anticipated in advance.

Hooded Warbler – The Songbird
It’s beauty of plumage, charm of voice, and gentleness of demeanor, make it indeed not only a lovely, but a truly lovable bird. Doubtless, also, the nature of the Hooded Warbler’s haunts increase its attractiveness, not merely because these well-watered woodlands are in themselves inviting, but because they bring the bird down to our level. This creates a sense of companionship that we do not feel with the birds ranging high above us, and at the same time it permits us to see this exquisitely clad creature under most favorable conditions.

Did You Know – Central America
Who had claim over Central America first? The first Mexican Empire…. Southern Belize and Guatemala was part of the Guatemala District. The map shows the twenty-four districts of the Empire.

PUP Cayo Party Chairman Killed In A Home Invasion In Cayo, Belize
Peoples United Party (PUP) Cayo Central Chairman Steven Valencia was just killed this morning in a home invasion at his home on La Loma Luz Blvd in Santa Elena, Belize. Police suspect that access was gained through a back door which was found broken. All they took was the $7 he had in his pocket, said his 6 year old daughter who witnessed the incident. Does being a man and having honor means killing an innocent person? I want to believe that human life means something in Belize. Where is the highest values of integrity, caring, compassion, social justice, truth, personal peace and harmony gone, and what kind of depraved mind will kill a man in front of his 6 year old daughter?! As a nation, we have lost all respect and regard for human life, and until our values are reversed in that respect, we can expect more horrendous tragedies as was witnessed in Santa Elena this morning. We have created in the last 30 years a culture based on our idolization and emulation of much of what's produced in North America. Materialism and lack of early parental supervision is a constant contributing factor to our lost moral soul as a nation. Need I say more? My thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of Mr. Steven Valencia.

Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)
Weather this morning although not starting out bright,sunny and hot ( wore a sweat top until around 11 am) was a vast improvement when compared to the previous few days. It looked good for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. An opportunity to claw back some of the time lost to the heavy rain. Feeling good – and everybody is free here to feel good – I thought I would spend a little time whilst drinking my early morning cup of coffee on the veranda reflecting on the progress of our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize versus the forty week schedule as the time lapsed has just edged over the thirty percent mark ( for those with a statistical bent today sees us (excluding public holidays from the calculations) hit the thirty-two point nine percent mark). We have experienced one or two interruptions. Not surprising really when one considers that the build started on 5 November which was slap bang in the rainy season. So to only lose a couple of days to inclement weather is pretty good going. Hope that I am not tempting providence with this! We have also changed the design/build specifications for the Ground Floor with the addition of a bedroom en-suite and a move of position for the store room. Oh, and we have also changed the design/build for the ground to Ground Floor stairs and the golf cart ramp.

International Sources

VIDEO: An osprey in action
This is truly incredible video. I can't believe this Osprey got 5-6 fish at a time,then got a flounder under 3' of water, and then made off with what looks to be a 5+ lb. steelhead. I've never seen a bird shake water off like a dog does - wouldn't want to get in the way of him when he's got his eyes locked and his talons in the "load" position! Its talons are amazing! There are 3 sequences in this one video: 1st sequence he catches half a dozen fish in one strike. 2nd sequence he plunges talons into deep water right to the bottom to grab his prey. 3rd sequence he captures a big old fish that looks as if it weighs more than he does! This is incredible to watch (best viewed in full screen mode...enjoy! Turn on Sound Coming in on approach the legs drop like landing gear and the talons (wheels) are exposed for touch down!

The Interview: One on One With John McAfee
Silicon Valley pioneer John McAfee sits down with Raj Mathai. His early days in the Silicon Valley were fueled by cocaine and alcohol. Nowadays, it's a new set of problems. Police say John McAfee might be connected to a neighbor's murder in Belize. He fled that small Central American country, leaving behind a trail of teenage girls and guns. He's now in Portland, Ore., thousands of miles away from Belize, and that's where NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai caught up him. "So what would you tell the Belizean Government if you had any role in his murder?" Raj asked McAfee. "Absolutely none," McAfee replied. "They know this, they know I'm not involved in the murder, they haven't questioned anybody else." McAfee knows people question whether he's lost his mind, but insists it doesn't bother him. "Much of the press has been very negative. I'm a mad man. Perhaps I am, I don't think I am," McAfee told Raj adding: "People on the street all give me the high five sign. Keep going!"

How Will Central America Keep Growing Its Tourism Base?
After receiving the last year more than 12.9 million international visitors, with about 8.9 million tourists identified as directly elected local destinations and about 4 million as passing travelers, mainly cruisers, Central has repeated since the beginning of 2013 its purpose of further growth in the sector this week and discussed strategies that will improve in areas such as security, multicast and promotion. In this direction two seminars were focused just days ago in Guatemala where the AECID, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and the Central American Integration System (SICA), more tourism leaders of the seven countries in the bloc and representatives of the press, discussed the dilemmas and challenges currently facing the entertainment industry and the impact of media on their activities and development.

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