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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

John Saldivar renounces accusations of “union-busting”
I maintain my absolute right, obligation even, as an Area Representative to consult with my constituents on matters affecting their well-being. The current impasse between unions and the government on the issue of salary increase is one such matter, and I am grateful to the more than fifty teachers of my constituency who showed up for the very fruitful discussion that took place this afternoon. I am very encouraged by the exchange of ideas that took place at the session, and I will, as a result, be making some suggestions to the Hon. Prime Minister which can hopefully move the process in a positive direction. I denounce any suggestion that this type of dialogue between a duly elected Area Representative and his constituents can be characterized as “union-busting”.

Hon. Lisel Alamilla speaks on incident at Ya’axche’ Conservation Trust
The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development has been informed that at around 1:20 am on the morning of Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013, several shots were fired at the Field Station of Ya’axche’ Conservation Trust which is situated near Golden Stream Village on the Southern Highway in Toledo. Golden StreamYa’axche’ Conservation Trust is a co-management partner with the Forest Department in the management of the Bladen Nature Reserve, and has been a fervent ally in the struggle against the illegal logging and trade of illegal rosewood from southern Belize. It is believed that this shooting incident is in retaliation against the recent stern actions that have been taken in response to rosewood.

Misc Belizean Sources

Brigitte the croc rescued
Brigitte rescued. She would have otherwise been shot; as most shrimp farmers in Belize illegal kill crocs found in their shrimp ponds. Brigitte was rescued, kept in quarantine to be sure she is disease free, and now swims freely in the largest, natural, secured crocodile habitat in Belize thanks to La Fondation Brigitte Bardot! Thank you!

Strings of Love Call for Artists
The SISE Town Council is having their Strings of Love concert, in celebration of Valentine's Day, on Friday, February 15th, at the Cayo Welcome Center. They are looking for guitarists and singers. Contact Mike or Shari to find out more.

Raspberry Creem Fillt Lemon Amish Friendship Breed Cupcakes
“Make these sweet, lite and creemy raspberry fillt cupcakes fer yer nex Valentine’s Day Partee.” Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Servings: 24 Yield: 24 cupcakes Ingredients Cupcakes: 1 cup 3 aigs 1 cup vegetabull earl 1/2 cup lite creem

Amish Friendship Breed Pineepple Cokunut Cheeseecake Mini Muffins
“Serve these tastee sweet muffins at yer nex fambly dinnr.” Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Servings: 30 Yield: 24 mini muffins and 1 loaf Ingredients 1 cup 3 aigs 1/3 cup earl 1/2 cup milk 3/4 cup brown sugar

Channel 7

Belize Loses In Semi's, Retains Respectability
Tonight, Belizean football fans are saddened but not devastated after Belize lost to Honduras one-nil in the semifinals of the Copa Centroamericana which was played in San Jose Costa Rica. The game just finished a few minutes ago - and as the heavy underdog, Team Belize held its own. The Hondurans scored in the 67th minute and Belize did not equalize. The good news going forward is that we are still in contention for third place. That match will be played on Sunday afternoon. And then on Monday afternoon, the team returns home where they will be celebrated in a motorcade through the city.

Cayo PUP Activist Killed In Home Invasion, In Front of 2 Young Daughters
And while there are bittersweet emotions over the score in football, in Cayo, the community is reeling from the aftershocks of a home invasion and murder. It happened in Santa Elena at a home behind the race-track where prominent PUP Activist Steven Valencia lived. Last night two men got into his home and killed him in front of his daughters. Daniel Ortiz went west today to try to find answer to this disturbing murder:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting Last night at around 9 p.m., 40 year old Steven Valencia was at home with his 2 daughters, when 2 armed men came to his back door and broke it open. Though there were dogs on the premises, they put up no resistance to the assailants last night or, for that matter, the police and press today. Unhindered, the intruders then reportedly robbed him of a small amount money and shot him in the upper back, right foot, and right thigh.

Man Killed After Dropping Off Girlfriend
And shortly after that murder in Cayo, there was another - this one in the St Martin's area of Belize City. It happened at around 9:35pm on Mahogany Street. The victim is 23 year old Marvin Gaynair of an Aloe Vera Street address. Gaynair had just dropped off his girlfriend and was walking on Mahogany Street heading back to his home. When he reached the junction of Western Avenue and Mahogany Street he stopped to talk with someone he knew. That's when the gunman pulled up on him and opened fire. Gaynair was shot to the chest, back and right hand and was rushed to the KHMH where he succumbed to his injuries shortly after. Marvin Gaynair was the father of a four year old child and was also a construction worker. So far police have detained one person for questioning.

UB Students Prepare To Protest
The University of Belize Student Government Association will protest on Monday morning in Belmopan. This is after they wrote the Minister of Education on Monday and demanded a reply by yesterday, Thursday. The letter was again appealing to him to re-consider Government's decision to increase the registration fee for incoming students. The minister did not reply and so on Monday - the Students will take it to the streets of Belmopan. SGA President Hope Amadi told us he has the backing of the students:.. Hope Amadi "We ask the students if they would support us to go on strike and they said yes. They say that they will support us, to walk out of class and talk to the Minister - the Minister would understand how much this is a problem to us." Reporter "What is it you are hoping to accomplish?" Hope Amadi "We hope at the minister and Belizeans at large would acknowledge or know how much their children have grown over the years because over the years people have been taking the youths like they cannot do anything. We hope that by this the minister would understand how serious the students are in the issue that affect them the most which is the cut and the subsidy."

Students Go Grafitti?
But this morning things were already happening - right in front of our studio! This morning we saw some pro-UB street graffiti in front of our studio. It was painted in burnt oil. We also saw a similar graffiti scrawled on the entrance to the SJC compound. We asked Amadi about it:.. Jules Vasquez "In front of my office this morning I saw painted on the street "No increase in UB fees." Is this something that you all are behind or you all know about? Is there anything you all know about it?" Hope Amadi "That is going on?" Jules Vasquez "Yeah." Hope Amadi "I mean if that is going on that is to say that people are really tired of this. I live in Belmopan and all my activities are going on in Belmopan, so if somebody here in Belize City are doing that - that is nice, I wish they could continue more. It's something that Belizeans need to understand what is going on. I do think the massage has to be out here more for people to understand that yes it is pass time that we Belizeans begin to fight for what we want and what we believe in."

Chamber Objects To Public Officers Pay Raise
And while the students, teachers and public officers are looking to ratchet up public activism, the Belize chamber of Commerce and Industry is urging caution - particularly to the unions. A release sent out this evening says that quote, "any Public Sector salary increases awarded in the absence of growth in the Private Sector will ultimately result in increased cost of living through higher taxes.." The release adds that any increase in compensation to Public Sector workers should be tied in with performance improvements and efficiency increases. The Chamber says it "cannot condone the idea of general Public Sector wage increases that may serve to simultaneously reward unproductive or counterproductive work." The Chamber also says that with "deficit budgets" GOB does not have much room for negotiating increases with public officers.

Man Accused Of Crime Against Child
Tonight, 20 year-old Clinton Roca is out on bail after he was taken to court for an unnatural crime against a 14 year-old boy. According to the minor, on 3 separate occasions between January 2012, and February 13, 2012, Roca sodomized him in a village in the Rural Area of Northern Belize. Police investigated the reports, and they eventually charged Roca with committing an unnatural crime, he was arraigned today before Magistrate Cayetano, where he pleaded not guilty to charge. In the arraignment, the prosecutor objected to bail. Roca's attorney made several submissions to counter the objections, and after Magistrate Cayetano considered them, he ruled in Roca's favor.

Police Shot A Man Who Ran From Weed Charge
Tonight, 27 year-old Adrian Myvette is recovering from a gunshot injury after he was shot by a police officer who he allegedly assaulted. The officer, attached to Ladyville police, reported that at around 4:35 yesterday, they were on mobile patrol on the Burrell Boom Road, when his attention was drawn to 2 men who were double riding. The officer stopped and searched both men, who were identified to be Myvette and 24 year-old Ernett Broaster. The officer reported discovered 82 grams of cannabis on Myvette, and when the officer tried to arrest him, he ran away. The officer pursued him, and when Myvette realized that he was caught, he started to fight him off. The officer's report gets vague at this point, but the he says that during that struggle, Myvette was accidently shot in the left leg when his service .38 revolver accidentally discharged. Myvette was taken to the KHMH, and he was treated and released into police custody, where he was charged with drug trafficking, escaping lawful custody, resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer, and allowing himself to be carried on a bicycle.

Police Face Maskall Villagers After Murder
Residents of Maskall who are outraged at the murder of one of its senior citizens last weekend - will have a chance to take it up with police. As we reported 61 year-old Ervin Morales was found chopped to death inside his home in Maskall - and two teenagers were charged for it. The motive appears ot have been robbery. Well the Regional Executive Officer of Belize Rural along with officers from the Ladyville station are urging villagers to come to the community center tomorrow to vent their concern about the incident and security in general. Noble says he plans to have similar meetings in all 27 villages of Belize rural.

Elrington and Insulza In Chile
On Wednesday, 7News showed you the opening of GOB's ICJ Campaign, yesterday; we also gave you a sample of the opinions from the students of Saint John's College during the public consultations by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington. Well today, Elrington met with the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza in Santiago, Chile. At this meeting, Elrington and INSULZA discussed the most recent developments in Belize concerning the referendum process. Both Elrington and Insulza were in Chile for the Summit between European Union and Community of Latin America and Caribbean States.

FFB: "A Respectable Loss"
Tonight, football fans and Belizeans generally may be a little downcast because of this evening's loss to Honduras one-nil in the final of the Copa Centroamericana. But football experts agree, it was a very respectable loss. Belize was a decided underdog against a world class Honduran team which was better conditioned, more experienced and more patient. And even with all that - they only scored a single goal in the 67th minute in a game they had to win. We asked Marlon Kuylen (quee-lyn) of the FFB executive for his post mortem on the game:.. Marlon Kuylen "The team played very well. Honduras as you know is a very experienced team, they are the defending champions on this tournament, they are a World Cup qualifying - they are playing to go to the next World Cup. Our showing was impressive. The Honduras team as I said are professionals, their patience paid off, they are experience and there were some fatigue on our part." Daniel Ortiz "While the country was looking at the game hoping for a Hail Mary, there were some that said that they predicted that we would have lost. How do you respond to them in light of the performance from the National Team?"

A Two-Man Army
For weeks now, Phillip Fawda Henry has been taking to the airwaves to hype up an anti-crime protest that he had planned for today. Well, in terms of generating crowd support, it was an abject failure. In fact he had fewer people than he did last time - and that was only five! We spoke to the pair of protestors Battlefield Park:.. Phillip "Fawda" Henry - Activist "We are out here yes protesting against crime and violence because it seems like nobody else wants to stand up for their country. It seems like from the old days people stand up just for the sake of money but if they would know the value of their country they would stand in solidarity to save their country." John Brackett - Activist "If it takes only me alone to be out here demonstrating and keep up the awareness - that's simply what I am going to do."

Rosewood Hostility Causes Shots Fired At Ya'xche'?
There are signs tonight that the Rosewood War is dangerously escalating. The Forestry Department issued a release today saying that on Wednesday morning at 1:20, several shots were fired at the Field Station of Ya'axche' Conservation Trust which is situated near Golden Stream Village on the Southern Highway in Toledo. Ya'axche' co-manages the Bladen Nature Reserve, and has been working with the Forest Department to stop the illegal extraction and trafficking of Rosewood. The release says, that the shooting is an act of retaliation against the recent rosewood crackdwon.

Late Evening Accident Stops Traffic At Border
There was a serious three-vehicle collision this evening on the Northern Highway near the Mexican Border. It started when a mini-van ran into the back of A BBOC bus. And then 20 minutes later, another car came behind and crashed into the van - while also running over two women who had come out of the bus. As we understand it, that second collision was caused by the fact that the minivan's lights were crushed in the collision - so the oncoming car could not see the accident in the road. The full extent of the injuries are not known at this point, but traffic was blocked up for over an hour as rescue teams worked to clear the highway. The road is very wet as it has been raining in the area.

A Great Week for Football
And as we close this week, even though Belize lost to Honduras today, there is still much to celebrate. Our national football team has raised eyebrows and earned respectability throughout the region and the world. We lost to two world class teams, Costa Rica and Honduras, by a total of two goals - and we beat Nicaragua - the first victory for Belize in such a tournament. And now, regardless of what happens in Sunday's third place game, we move unto the Gold Cup in the USA in July. So, as we close tonight, things are looking up, and we are looking back at this week's heroics set to a tune written for the team called "Go-Go Belize" by the Super Furia Band. Have a great weekend, and let's all hope for a win on Sunday.

The Belize Times

History! – National Team defeats Nicaragua in dramatic finish
The entire nation of Belize is ecstatic over the highly dramatic victory which Belize’s National A Team had over Nicaragua on Tuesday night in the Copa Centro America held in San Jose, Costa Rica. Not only was Belize seeking to advance in the tournament with a win (the first ever for Belize), but it was also looking to qualify to the Gold Cup scheduled for July 2013 which would be a first for the country. The National A Team did it. First with a goal in the 29th minute by midfielder Trevor Lennen who blasted a right foot shot which was unstoppable for the Nicaraguan goalkeeper Denis Espinoza. Belize’s highly defensive playing style continued in this game, as Nicaragua attempted to spoil the lead. Belize’s goal keeper Woodrow West was at his best, guarding the goal and coaching the team from where he stood. West has been nothing less than spectacular in the tournament, showing his talent and ability as an alert, attentive and acrobatic athlete. Only 1 goal had been scored on him in Game 1 against Costa Rica, until the 85th minute when the defense allowed Nicaragua’s Elvis Figueroa to receive a pass and aim a shot at West that was too close and too quick to stop. Regulation time ended with the game tied 1-1. Three minutes extra time was given, but Belize didn’t wait that long to find its mark. In minute 1 extra time, Nicaragua’s defense erred upon receiving a lob, which bounced off the defence’s foot right in front of Belize’s striker Deon McCaulay. McCaulay’s sharp reflex pushed him ahead with the ball and when the Espinoza came out to block the strike, McCaulay simply tapped the ball to the right and into the goal. Nicaragua tried to get the ball into Belize’s territory, but had no success. With the loss, they were eliminated from the tournament. Belize had tied with Guatemala 0-0 on January 18th, and lost to Costa Rica 1-0 on January 20th. Belize is in Group A in 2nd place, with 4 points. Belize ...

PM’s desperate bait to bondholders
Prime Minister Dean Barrow toned down his euphoria over the Superbond re-negotiation at a press conference held on Monday, January 21, 2013. Just days before Christmas, in December 2012, Barrow had called the media to announce that a deal had been struck in time for Christmas. In his usual grand flair, he was all smiles for the cameras, as he flaunted big words that seemed to impress no one but the members of his head table. Barrow reported that an agreement had been reached “with bondholders” and that it would result “in excess of 150 million dollars in relief”. But on Monday of this week, reacting to pressure that the December stunt was just a show, a much less enthusiastic Barrow called the media again. Remarkably, the facts had changed. ...

GOB Attempts Union Busting – BNTU rejects meetings with Police Minister & Prime Minister
The Barrow Administration’s naked and shameful attempts to disrupt the teacher’s movement with divide and conquer tactics have been exposed, further aggravating Union Leaders who are planning a massive demonstration on Tuesday, January 29th, 2013. On Tuesday, the Belize National Teachers Union Belmopan Branch President received a copy of a letter sent from the Belmopan Education Office to all Managers, Principals and Teachers in the Belmopan Area, calling them to an urgent meeting with the UDP Constituency Area Representative Minister of National Security John Saldivar at 1:30pm on Wednesday, January 23rd. The purpose of the meeting, stated the memo, was for Saldivar to “discuss the Bargaining Agreement”. The memo also informed the managers, principals and teachers that the Ministry of Education was giving them a half-day free of classes so they can ...

Another Lebanese Businessman Murdered – Are Police clueless about strange wave of murders?
Lebanese-Belizean businessman Majdi Agha was murdered in an execution-style shooting outside of his home on Tuesday, January 22nd morning. Agha had parked his vehicle outside of his yard on Keating Crescent in the Buttonwood Bay Area and was about to enter through his gate when a lone, masked gunman appeared and shot him. Agha fell into the nearby drain. Neighbors say they saw a man running away from the area, towards an awaiting car. Agha’s wife and newborn child were inside the car when the attack happened. She heard the gunshots and when she went outside to check, she saw her husband lying dead in the drain. Agha received a shot to the head and three to the body. ...

Digging Up Bones!
The Belize City Council’s decision to take away the building of graves at the Lord Ridge Cemetery from local undertakers and contractors smacks of little more than just unadulterated greed. While the cementing of our city streets is certainly welcome, the mayor seems intent on carrying out this job by gouging every possible penny from not only the living but even the dead. While they continue to insist that prices will not change, all those who have had to do business since the change over, have a different story to tell. The Council’s recent conflict with undertakers and grave builders had me reminiscing about a time long gone. One of the first jobs I held as a young boy growing up on Cemetery Road in Belize City was apprentice to Mr. Locke, at the time, Belize’s premier grave builder. It was no easy job, and it entailed breaking big stones into little ones. We had no cement blocks and don’t remember us using any steel or ‘sand and gravel’ even. We would cast the sides, fill up the middle with dirt and cast the top. Many of the stones that I would break were recycled from old tombs that were left abandoned and derelict. In retrospect, I guess you could say that we were, well, sort of grave robbers. We would identify the old broken-up tombs during the daytime and return at night to gather up the pieces. For a kid who grew up deathly afraid of ghosts, you could imagine that that had to have been the most difficult aspect of that job. ...

Belize is among the top six countries in the world in relation to its murder rate. Belize at 44 murders for every 100,000 citizens has surpassed even the notorious Jamaican murder rate. The same is likely, though if not worse for persons put in jail, before a trial. ...

The Government is insistent on making a mockery of the teachers of this country. In very lucid intervals the attitude of the Government towards the teachers is borderline contemptuous and poorly clad annoyance. But the teaching fraternity is a formidable one. These teachers that are being scoffed at, undermined and ill-treated like indentured slave hands are in contact with over a hundred thousand (100,000) students who are attending a total of 541 schools throughout the three levels of the education factory. The sheer number of teachers is staggering with almost 5,000 dedicated men and women nationwide. Clearly, good politics will dictate that the Government should show tremendous restraint from extending the full extent of their usual penchant to be crassly condescending and insultingly dismissive. The issue for the Government is not the economic hardship and sacrifice which has been weighing heavily on teachers. The human side of the reasonable request by the teachers in the collective bargaining agreement does not register with the petty and selfish government. What they see is a block of voters and political turmoil which is very bad news because it confirms the quiet discontent and disappointment which is a prelude to final confirmation that the people will take no more excuses.

Ladyville Tech defeats ACC 2-1
The Ladyville Technical High School girls enjoyed their 2nd win 2-1 against the Anglican Cathedral College girls on Monday. Shanese Rhaburn gave the Ladyville girls a 1-0 lead while ACC’s Ajahney Carr equalized for ACC just before the break. In the 2nd half, ACC gave up a free kick which Shanese Rhaburn converted into a goal. The Ladyville Tech girls also posted a 3-1 win over the Excelsior High School last Wednesday. Tishawn Garcia scored Ladyville’s 1st goal, but Excelsior’s Shakeema Lorenzo delivered the equalizer for a 1-1 draw at the half time break. In the 2nd half, Ladyville’s Remelinda Perez scored a 2nd goal and Shameika Franklin iced the win with a 3rd goal. ...

Reid, Martinez & Abraham win Weekend Warriors Boom race
Team Zitro’s Mark Reid won the “B” division of the Weekend Warriors’ Belize City to Burrell Boom cycling race on Sunday morning, while team M&M Engineering’s Preston Martinez won the “A’ division and Ian Abraham won the “C” division. Mark Reid clocked 2:03:20 as he won the 42 mile race from Leslie’s Imports via Hattieville to Burrell Boom village on the bypass road and back to Leslie’s imports. Team Digicel 4G’s Isaiah Willacy was 2nd while M&M Engineering’s Daniel Cano finished 3rd. Team Zitro’s Carlo Marin was 4th, Team Santino’s Jerome Moir was 5th and team Digicel 4G’s Kevin Hope was 6th. Preston Martinez clocked 1:50:57 as he won the “A” class race. Team BCB/F.T.Williams’ George Abraham was right behind to take 2nd, while Team Scotiabank’s Barney Brown was 3rd in 1:51:49, and BCB/F.T.Williams’ Dean Belisle was 4th. BWS’ Derek Smith was 5th, and Team Digicel 4G’s Jack Sutherland was 6th. ...

Buttonwood Bay defeats softball opponents
The Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Primary School girls and boys enjoyed big wins when the Belize City primary schools softball competition continued at the home of softball, the Rogers’ Stadium on Monday afternoon, January 21. Buttonwood’s pitcher Shenelle ...

Barrow REJECTS Faber
UDP Leader Dean Barrow has placed on record that he does not support UDP Chairman Patrick Faber as the next Deputy Leader of the United Democratic Party. “I do not support the Minister of Education in his challenge of the Deputy Party Leader,” Barrow told Channel 5, Channel 7, LOVE FM and every media yesterday afternoon. This was after he had announced that same position on his privately-owned UDP mouthpiece radio station in the morning, for all UDPs to hear. ...

AMAZING GRACE – What Are You Doing With Your Talent?
In the manual, we hear a story of a business man going far away and leaving his goods in the hands of his servants. He gave to each of them according to their own ability. In the story found in Matthew 25:14, he gave to a particular servant only one talent. At the end of the parable, the master ended up giving his servant a good scolding because he took the talent and buried it in the ground as if it was a seed. Well, yes, it was a seed but not the type you bury in the ground, rather the type you would bury in a bank or business. After burying the talent, this servant probably sat around, twiddling his thumbs, waiting for his boss to return to give him the good news that the money was buried safely in the ground. On the other hand, the master gave to the other servants five and even ten talents which they both invested smartly, earning back more than they were given. They got into business and trading; they understood their potential and the quality of what they held in their hands. Allow me to ask you a question. If Belize was one of these servants, how many talents do you think the boss would have given to us? How much do we import in a year? How much do we export? How are we improving our foreign exchange? I was saddened to hear that a huge amount of precious wood was destroyed the other day in our country. There is so much that could have been done with that resource to help our economy. I personally believe the issue with Belize is not only one of corruption, but rather a more crippling side effect of ‘middle class mentality’. Our economy cannot be built on a poor or a poverty mentality! ...

In my perspective
All over the world mass killings are becoming too frequent. However, the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in the Sandy Hook Village of Newton, Connecticut, USA seems to be more outrageous since it was an elementary school, with 6-8 year old children as victims. The Nation viewed this mass killing as over the top and many citizens, some lawmakers in the congress and the President of the USA are calling for tougher gun laws, especially hand guns. Something has to be done. The Nation is sick of these killings. I suggested in this column many times that Belize should implement a program like this to curb the shootings on the streets of Belize City. Turn in your weapons – no questions asked – but if you own a weapon it has to be registered with law enforcement. If you use an unlicensed weapon to commit a crime or killed someone the penalty would be severe, long jail time and possibly execution. Just like the United States, the people of Belize are just fed up and scared to walk the streets anymore. You never know when a maniac will ride up on a bicycle and shoot you in the head for no reason. This year alone there have been 144 murders in the Belizean Nation, a record setting number, and no one seems to have any solution to this problem. ...

Home Economics
“For the past few weeks the leadership of the Belize National Teachers Union has been calling on its members to attend an important meeting to discuss critical issues. Those issues include the collective bargaining agreement, crime, the economy and the ICJ.” ~ Channel 5 News, January 17, 2013 “By Monday all the branches should have voted and the final tally will be known. But, with Belize District, the largest, voting so overwhelmingly in favour of a demonstration and strike – it’s a virtual certainty that the other districts will vote along that line – leading certainly to a mass demonstration, and likely to a strike. “We say likely, because Government has been apprised of their position – and has also taken a hardline, that there’s simply no money to pay for an increment at this time.” ~ Channel 7 News, January 17, 2013 The teachers are taking their rightful place in Belize…as agents for positive change. They….like most of the people in Belize…are seeing small sectors of the population flush with cash, luxury and excesses….while they toil in vain from paycheck to paycheck. ...

Mayor Bradley loses his cool on KREM WUB – “I don’t have to be here”, Belize City Mayor snipes back at co-hosts
Belize City Mayor Darrel Bradley was visibly frustrated and uncomfortable as he appeared on the KREM WUB Morning Show on Tuesday morning. Bradley even sniped once, twice, even maybe thrice, at the co-hosts of the show, Sharon Marin and “Mose” Hyde, saying “I am not here because I want to. I don‘t have to be here”. Bradley, who is used to appearing on the morning show co-hosted by his employee and father, was seemingly upset that he was being asked “hard questions”. The co-hosts were discussing relevant matters regarding the slow pace of street construction, traffic congestion, the unpopular garbage tax, and the Council’s controversial decision to deny essential services to persons with outstanding tax payments. When the co-hosts recognised the Mayor’s frustration, they eased him somewhat, but the callers didn’t; they showered the Mayor with a firestorm. One caller dealing with the Council’s increase in property taxes said the Mayor should not be increasing taxes when the majority of people are living through hard times. “If people couldn’t pay when the price was low, why you heightened the tax,” asked the city resident. ...

The Challenge of ‘Equal Representation of the People’
The legislature should be the body that represents the interests of different sectors within the Belizean society and when doing so they must ensure the legality and legitimacy in their decision making for the common-good, benefit and welfare of the greater masses. Since it is naturally impossible for individual Belizeans to make decisions, it is also fundamental to our democratic system that those who we chose to represent and make decisions for us, do so through effective discussion and consultations in order to solve issues of national importance. Lamentably however, despite the fact that there are only two mass political parties with representation split almost equally in the composition of our House of Representatives, pluralism is not necessarily identified and there is no real consensus where the 31 constituencies are concerned. As if that is not bad enough, what obviously prevails are personal interests among the representatives of the ruling UDP party doing their private decisions for personal gain. This scenario which has played out uninterrupted since 2008 has caused chaos at all levels of government and has also reflected that we have a weak political party with no vision or ability to move the country forward economically, especially because there is no active consultation between civil society and Belmopan. ...

Anti-ICJ Pressure steps up
The anti-ICJ campaign increased in pressure today, when the flag poles at the Flag Monument located at the entrance of Belize City on the Phillip S.W. Goldson Highway all waved “No ICJ” flags. Who and how such a stunt was pulled is a mystery. Officials were unaware of the stunt until around 9:00am. Traffic Officers regulating heavy traffic in the area were forced to leave their stations to remove the flags. But by then hundreds of commuters had already taken note of the strange goings-on. ...

Belizean Publisher Featured On US Daytime Show
Belizean publisher of Flavors of Belize - The Cookbook, Tanya McNab was featured on US Show Daytime. Tanya was invited to showcase Belize and her book on Daytime TV. Daytime TV, produced by River ...

Of this and that…
It is 2013. There are people in Belize with no water. Imagine that. Of all the things. Water is the most basic. You can do without everything else. Water is the first utility service of cave men. Santa Marta is about 29 miles away. Mahogany Heights is 32 miles ...

Guatemala takes issue with Belize’s Referendum Law
While the Government of Belize has kick-started it’s Public Awareness Campaign on this year’s ICJ referendum, Guatemala appears to be having second thoughts or at least major concerns on whether the playing field is level. According to a front page article on the Wednesday’s edition of Guatemala’s La Prensa Libre newspaper, officials in the neighbouring country are taking issue with Belize’s Referendum Law, specifically the section that requires a minimum of 60% voter turnout to validate the referendum. Guatemala accuses Belize’s officials of amending the Referendum Act to include the threshold “just four months before signing the special agreement” with Guatemala to take the ICJ matter to a referendum. According to the article, Guatemala sees it as a “strategy” by Belize to make the referendum difficult and complicated, and reports the President of Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal, María Eugenia Villagran, stating that it may give reason to “postpone” the referendum in Guatemala. ...

PM Abuses Media
Dean Barow has cracked. We can see that the pressure has consumed him. He cannot handle it. In an interview following the ICJ Educational Campaign Launch, Prime Minister Barrow was asked a straight forward question by Channel 5 reporter Jose Sanchez. “Was it appropriate for the Minister of National Security to have the Ministry of Education to instruct teachers to close their doors and send students home today for a meeting in Belmopan, the Capital?” At first the Prime Minister acted as if he knew nothing about the request. “Again Jose, you are asking me a question based on a premise that I have no knowledge of.” But as the interview went on Dean Barrow spoke about the situation in great detail, clearly knowing the facts of it. Barrow then attacked the journalist’s credibility by essentially accusing him of being a liar. “Well then sir again, how are you going to ask me to comment on a version of events that I have no knowledge of and furthermore I will tell you, I don’t believe you. I don’t believe you sir.” ...

Ministry of Housing is a HUGE Waste
The UDP can afford to pay teachers and public officers if it cuts the huge waste that exists in Government. One wasteful Ministry which has received an inflated budget every year is the Ministry of Housing. Since the UDP took office, there has been no housing project for Belizeans and no housing policy. In fact, when you browse the weekend newspapers, you’ll see that more people are losing their homes. Yet, the non-functional Ministry of Housing is allocated millions of dollars every year. In 2008-2009, it had a Budget allocation of $2,913,619. In 2009-2010, its total Budget allocation ballooned to $16,007,640. In 2010-2011 allocation remained at a high with $10,603,973. In 2011-2012, the budget was $7,281,775. Now the estimated total revenue for this year’s Housing budget is $2,514,219. In the 5 years of the UDP, the Housing Ministry has spent a total of a whopping $39,321,226! At a modest $10,000 per home, that should be almost 40,000 homes, but WHERE ARE THE HOUSES? ...

Government Waste – Over-Crowded, Expensive Cabinet
The BELIZE TIMES is in solidarity with the poor, working class of Belize. With the cost of living increasing steadily – about 30-35% increase since 2008 – teachers, doctors, nurses and public officers deserve better salaries. To assist the Barrow Administration in finding the resources needed to provide the salary increase here is an area that can be looked at. With 16 Ministers and 5 Junior Ministers in Cabinet, Belize has to find over $2 Million in Ministerial Salaries every year. This is a waste! The Government does not need 21 Cabinet Ministers! Especially when they lack even the most basic of skills and competence. There is absolutely no need for a Minister of Gangs. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development could take over the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Private Sector Development which is led by a ghost called Erwin Contreras. We also need to stop practising the wastefulness of appointing “Ministers of State”. That’s why the Government already hires trained CEOs. No need for Ministers of State in the Ministries of Finance and Economic Development, Immigration, Agriculture, Transport, and Youth and Sports.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who is also the unholy pope of the ruling vindictive, destructive and hateful, United Democratic Party, is the chief architect in the creation of Belize as a gangster nation over the past six years. Barrow’s rise to power and his ultimate life ambition ...

ICJ Public Education Launched
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?” ...

The LAW on Gangs!
CRIME CONTROL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT Suppression of Criminal Gangs 1. In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires, “criminal gang” means an organization or association or combination of persons which is formed for, or which acquires, the purpose of committing or facilitating the commission of any of the offenses set out ...

UDP land grab in OW South – Farmers’ lease lands stripped away by greedy cronies
Reports to the BELIZE TIMES are that a land grab continues to take place in the Orange Walk area at the hands of greedy UDP cronies. Several farmers living in the Orange Walk constituency have been affected, as their lands, held with lease documents, is taken away ...

UB Students/Education Minister Patrick Faber standoff continues
Despite pronouncements made by Minister of Education Patrick Faber that the Government’s decision to end its subsidy to the University of Belize is final, the University of Belize Student Government continues to agitate for the financial support to continue. In a letter sent to Minister Faber on Monday, January 21, 2013, the Association of Student Governments which includes the Student Government Presidents from UB’s three campuses have demanded that the Ministry of Education re-instate the subsidy by Thursday, January 24th. ...

PM Barrow increases security detail
The country has been in a heightened state of fear since the multiple murders involving several known gang members in an apartment in Belize City on the morning of January 8th and the shooting of former Prime Minister’s Rt. Hon. Said Musa home last week Wednesday, ...

No more taxes!
Dear Editor, Every time the Prime Minister gets on one of his choice friendly television or radio stations, he proclaims that his Government will not raise any taxes on Belizeans. This is the reason, as I understand it, for his refusal to get into any kind of arrangement with the tax-sucking ...

Message to REAL Union Leaders
Dear Editor, As plantain no longer eat like rice, with the cost of living spiralling out of control and crime rampant, there seems to be no end to this madness. Our Unions have now awakened out of their slumber and are calling for a demonstration against all of the above issues. As ...

Illegal CitCo tax squeeze!
Dear Editor, I remember writing to your newspaper back in November, to express my serious concerns about a new tax policy implemented by the very chancey Belize City Council. As my published letter had explained, I had gone to the Traffic Department to license my vehicle but was told that I ...

Police Officers STILL seeking retro salary payment!
Dear Editor, Over some hundred Police Officers whom had been re-enlisted into the Police Department for quite some years now have been seeking their Salary Review Retro-Payments, which was promised to them within a period of thirty (30) days by the Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar and for the ...

UB Student Leaders tell GOB: Reinstate UB subsidy!
January 21, 2013 The Association of Student Governments The University of Belize City of Belmopan Honourable Patrick Faber Minister of Education, Youth and Sports City of Belmopan Dear Honourable Faber: The Association of Student Governments of the University of Belize, representing the greater student body of the university, upon meeting on Friday and Saturday January 11th and 12th, ...


A Tale of Five Cities: Around San Cristobal (Part 1)
We got a lot of walking in around the beautiful colonial city of San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico's Chiapas state. I thought I'd share some of the many photos Barry shot as we walked around town. San Cristobal's architecture was strikingly beautiful. You'll likely notice that we (and others) are dressed more warmly than in Belize in some of these shots. It was much cooler and less humid up in the Mexican highlands than what we were used to -- and breezy as well. Morning temperatures were in the 40s, but the sun warmed things up quickly and mid-day temperatures hit the 60s and 70s. When the sun was out, it felt great, but overcast skies off and on made it feel a bit chilly. Still, no rain, bugs, or humidity made for very pleasant sight-seeing weather! We climbed up this switchback staircase to a beautiful scenic overlook of the city. There's a school and church up top, and we read about a cafe on Tripadvisor, but never saw it.

Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now
Woke up this morning to the sound (again) of rain. Would this put the pouring of the concrete beams for the First Floor of our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize at risk ? I was tempted to get ready quickly and go up to the site and see if work was taking place but then common sense kicked in and I realised that my presence wouldn’t change things. They would be working or not irrespective of me being there. So I had breakfast and settled down to watch Arsenal nervously beat Brighton and Hove Albion to progress to the next round of the FA Cup. Feeling that the day might turn out OK after all I left Rose at home whilst I went to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. Even before I got to the site I could hear the sound of the concrete mixer churning away. I love that sound. Great, the rain wasn’t going to stop things today. The heavy rain of the past few days made the approach to the house a lot more difficult but you wouldn’t think it to see the way that the guys pushed the wheelbarrow up the ramp.

International Sources

Sen. Nelson aids local family of murder victim
On Jan. 15, Nelson’s office sent a letter to U.S. Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally in Belize, requesting that he discuss the situation with the government there and “urge them to move as quickly as judiciously possible in investigating the crime.” The letter said family members have found the investigation of Faull’s death “painstakingly slow.” “Right now, it’s kind of in limbo, but Sen. Nelson is helping us get the story out there,” Keeney said. “We contacted the embassy in Belize to work on it and get some things involved. We just have not had any real satisfaction in what they’re doing.” “Sen. Nelson has answered my plea,” she said of his efforts to raise awareness of Faull’s death. She said Faull and McAfee had no history together before living near each other.

Honduras advances to UNCAF final
Defending champion Honduras edged upstart Belize, 1-0, Friday night in the semifinals of the UNCAF Copa Centroamericana to earn a place in the championship match against the winner of the late match between host Costa Rica and El Salvador. The teams played through an extremely active, but scoreless, first half in which the chances came frequently and were evenly divided. Top-notch goalkeeping from Belizean Woodrow West and his Honduran opposite number Donis Escober denied multiple scoring opportunities. The proceedings became increasingly tense as the second half got underway, with both squads aware that a trip to the final was on the line. Honduras came close several times through the pairing of U.S.-based attackers Oscar Boniek Garcia and Jerry Bengtson. But it was Belize with the clearest chance of the second half's early going, when right back Evan Mariano tried his luck from distance, only to miss just wide.