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THE BELIZEAN MONARCHY: Editorial
The British have done a number on us all through these years. It started, of course, when they kidnapped us from West Africa and shipped our ancestors here to cut logwood and mahogany for them. The profits were sent to London, and the Belize settlement was absolutely neglected where infrastructure and institutions were concerned.
After World War II, Belizeans, like colonial subjects all around the world, seized the opportunity to begin fighting for self-government and independence. “The opportunity” derived from the fact that the white supremacist European states had gone to war with each other in 1939, for the second time in two decades, for the prize of world hegemony.
Following the lead of Ghana and Nigeria in West Africa, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados moved to independence in the Caribbean. Bermuda and the Cayman Islands did not, for their own reasons. Belize was in a unique situation because of a serious territorial claim by its Central American neighbor to the west – Guatemala. So, Belize’s independence was delayed for 17 years after self-government in 1964.
The British could have dealt with the Guatemalan problem, but they were so much more powerful than the Guatemalans that they had chosen over the decades to ignore Guatemalan complaints. Eventually, after the Americans, in line with their 1823 Monroe Doctrine, became involved in the Anglo/Guatemalan dispute as interested parties in 1962, the British, in cahoots with their Western Hemisphere cousins, began to support proposals which would have compromised the sovereignty of Belize and make Belizeans subordinate to Guatemalans.
SAN PEDRO MAN, 25, STABBED TO DEATH IN NIGHT CLUB
Police say he was stabbed 22 times.
San Pedro police responded to a call at 3:39 a.m. on Saturday, January 26, and upon arrival at Daddy Rock Night Club, they saw the night club security guards and other persons trying to get 25-year-old Byron Estrada into a truck.
Officer Commanding, Supt. Luis Castellanos, said that Estrada was stabbed about 22 times. Estrada sustained multiple stab wounds to his neck, chest, back and right hand, and later succumbed to his injuries while being attended to at the San Pedro Polyclinic.
According to witnesses, Estrada, who is a Belizean boat captain of the San Pedrito area in San Pedro, was seen going to the restroom inside the club.
A man described as being dark-skinned, with braided hair and wearing a green shirt, followed Estrada into the restroom. Estrada later came stumbling out of the restroom towards the bar. Persons inside the club decided to turn on the lights when they realized that Estrada was bleeding.
BELIZE CELEBRATES OUR NATIONAL TEAM HEROES
The TACA International Airlines flight carrying Belize’s National “A” Team touched down on schedule around 3:42 p.m. this afternoon at the Philip Goldson International Airport, to begin a warm Belizean welcome for our football heroes who made history a few days ago at the Copa Centroamericana in Costa Rica. We did not win the tournament, or come in second, or even third. Belize came in fourth, but in so doing, we made two major milestones, winning our first ever game in the Copa, and in the process qualifying for the first time ever to the Gold Cup tournament later this year in the U.S.A. Five of the seven Central American countries qualify to the Gold Cup, and Belize was fourth in the tournament, ahead of Guatemala, Panama and Nicaragua.
Following an energetic greeting from fans and relatives at the P.G.I.A., Russel’s bus transported the team to the Brodies Parking Lot on the outskirts of Belize City, where a short “hyped up” press conference was held, with Love FM’s Terry Gordon doing the M.C. honors. A few players – Deon McCaulay, Woodrow West, captain Dalton Eiley, Trevor Lennon and sub-captain Elroy Smith then got a chance to express their appreciation to the many fans gathered there to welcome them home.
WILL COACH SHERRIER LEWIS RETURN TO THE NATIONAL TEAM?
The Gold Cup is a major challenge, and indications are that Belize’s National Team coach Le Roy Sherrier Lewis is not convinced that the FFB’s National Team Committee is ready to make the necessary inputs and adjustments needed for him to take the team to the next level, a requirement if we are to make an impact in the Gold Cup tournament which is only five months away.
The vibes we got from the players is that there is no turning back. We must work things out with coach Sherrier Lewis, who has demonstrated his commitment to excellence and whose strategic plan has placed the National Team program on the road to success.
Unfortunately, we were not able to get a first hand explanation from coach Sherrier Lewis of the concerns that prompted him to reportedly announce his relinquishing of the coaching job, and opt to remain with his family in Costa Rica
We asked FFB President Ruperto Vicente to comment on the situation regarding the tenure of coach Sherrrier Lewis in light of reports of his leaving the post. The President’s reply was, “I want the coach to continue the program. I’m waiting for him to respond to us; but I will discuss the details of the coach’s situation on Wednesday during our press conference. But certainly, we want the coach back.”
FROM THE PUBLISHER
If you took this exact same Belize football selection and made Manuel Bilches the coach again, we would return to getting five and six from these Central American powerhouses. Because I believe that, the first thing I would say is that Ruperto Vicente and his team of FFB officials made a fabulous choice when they brought back Leroy Sherrier Lewis from Costa Rica to coach our selection.
Remember, some years ago Sherrier Lewis had achieved the most sensational result in the modern era of Belize when he brought us back from a 2-0 deficit and would have beaten Guatemala 3-2, but for a late and weak penalty call against us.
For that success, or better put, in the immediate aftermath of that success, he was fired by Dr. Bertie Chimilio, who was then in charge of the FFB. It didn’t make any sense then, and it makes even less sense now, when we’ve seen what Sherrier Lewis-coached teams can do.
Before I continue, I would say that between now and July, when the Belize selection flies to the Gold Cup in the United States, we have a lot of work to do. FFB officials like Luis Peña and Marlon Kuylen will have to do important fund-raising, because everything costs money, especially training, nutrition, and medical attention. It is the management structure which is the constant in championship teams: the playing personnel is a changing dynamic, even during the course of a game itself.
Letters: BOAT OWNER AND CAPTAIN BEHAVED “CRIMINALLY”
I believe that no one wants to be the victim of incompetence. Incompetence can be inconvenient; incompetence can be annoying; incompetence can be dangerous. Incompetence on the sea is reprehensible. I wish to relate an example of incompetence on the sea.
On the morning of Thursday, January 17, the Administrator of San Pedro Roman Catholic Elementary School arranged for a boat to take teachers to a Belize Teachers Union meeting in Belize City. The boat was incompetently serviced. With over thirty passengers aboard, it stalled five times on the trip from San Pedro to Belize City.
The teachers were to return to San Pedro at 4:30 pm. When they arrived at the dock, a crew member was asked if this was the same boat that brought them to Belize City. The answer was affirmative. The next question was: Has the crew spent the afternoon repairing the engine? The answer was, “No.”
Barely fifteen minutes underway – near St. George’s Caye – the boat’s motor quit for good. The thirty or so passengers were left adrift in a very rough sea and approaching darkness. Waves were splashing over the gunnels, and I called the Coast Guard. After several questions, the Coast Guardsman asked to speak to the captain. I handed the captain my phone, and he angrily declared that he would not talk to the Coast Guard. An administrator from RC Elementary took my phone, and speaking into is said, “There is no problem here. A boat is on the way.”
Letters: 17 DEGREES NORTH, 89 DEGREES WEST
I don’t attempt to solve any of the country’s problems with this one letter to Amandala, for which, by the way, I have much respect on account of its numerous hard-hitting commentaries, editorials and synopses of political goings-on in our little neck of the woods. Nor do I aspire to become some sort of modern-day freedom fighter/blogger who thrives to “save his country before he loses it” through overt media-based attacks that subvert the powers that be.
Not me, rather I simply love reading the news, it’s my literary staple. In fact, apart from textbooks, it’s the only thing I actually read, which must fly in the face of every high school literature teacher who tells her students the only way to be successful in this world is to become worldly by reading lengthy novels. The printed mass media, in my opinion, is far more educational and oftentimes entertaining in its own right than bound material thicker than a centimeter. Local early morning call-in shows also typically reflect the same content covered in the printed press, albeit to varying degrees of self-righteous know-it-all-ism. At the tip of the spear, however, and without any brown-nosing on my part, is the WUB, hands down.
On camera, the son of your Publisher is an intelligent and moral man, though I can’t speak to his character off camera. Nonetheless, I only wish he would contact his “journalist” counterparts on Coney Drive and let them know that endangering the well-being of two innocent young witnesses to their father’s murder, while simultaneously prejudicing the outcome of a future criminal hearing, would warrant their immediate termination without benefits if this were a country in the industrialized world. But it’s not, and what a fool am I to expect anything better, when the main competitor for the monopoly on the 6:30 broadcast is quick to hypothesize that murders in the old capital are now being driven by a deepening divide between ethnic groups. Reporting the news means only reporting the facts, not your opinions!
INTRUDERS KILL FATHER IN HIS HOME, IN FRONT OF 2 YOUNG DAUGHTERS
Two weeks after the house of Said Musa, former People’s United Party Leader and former Prime Minister, was shot up in the City, Steven Valencia, 46, a PUP activist of Santa Elena, Cayo, and the father of two little girls, was shot to death in the bedroom of his home at about 8:45 p.m. on Thursday, January, 24.
Thieves gained entry into his house and shot him in the neck, back and chest. He was taken to the San Ignacio Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Police say that Valencia, who was at home with his two young daughters, 4 and 6 years respectively, heard a noise coming from behind his house, and at the same time, the back door was stomped open and two unmasked men entered the house, one of whom was armed with a shotgun. They ordered him to lie on the floor, demanded money, and then shot him.
When neighbors, who were alerted by the gunshots, began flashing their lights at the house, the robbers ran out of the house and escaped.
CLINTON ROCA, 28, CHARGED FOR RAPING BOY, 14, MULTIPLE TIMES
Magistrate offered bail of $5,000 and two sureties of $2,500 each
Today, Clinton Roca, 28, a dispatcher of Willow’s Bank Village, was charged with three counts of an unnatural crime when he appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano.
Roca is accused of engaging in the lewd acts with a male minor, 14, on three separate occasions while the minor was staying at his house.
According to the report, the minor told police that Roca, one day in January 2012, started to touch his penis from outside his pants. The child said that he went outside and Roca followed him, where he continued to touch him and eventually pushed him to the ground and had anal sex with him.
After doing so, Roca, according to the child, told him that if he told anyone about what had happened, he, Roca, would kill his family.
BELIZEANS GIVE JAGUARS HEROES’ WELCOME!
This afternoon, grateful fans met Belize’s national football team at the Philip Goldson International Airport to celebrate the team’s historic accomplishment in the Copa Centroamericana tournament just concluded in host country Costa Rica.
Belize, for the first time ever in the tournament, won a match; lost three matches very respectably, 1-0; and drew against our archrival, Guatemala; and again, for the first time in our history, won a slot in the CONCACAF Gold Cup to be held in July in the United States. We were “the buzz” at a tournament that featured several countries that have played in the World Cup.
The “bird” touched down at the PGIA at approximately 3:42, and after interviews with the local media, our boys headed by bus for the Brodies Parking Lot at Mile 2 ½ on the Philip Goldson Highway, where they intermingled with their many fans, while their remarkable accomplishments in Costa Rica were “hyped up.”
Thereafter, the team was taken on a motorcade through the city, with fans lining the route, which included Central American Boulevard, Cemetery Road and Albert Street, ending at Bird’s Isle, where the team was feted, after playing five grueling games in nine days.
IT’S ON! TEACHERS, PUBLIC OFFICERS “FLEX” TOMORROW IN BELMOPAN!
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) and the Joint Negotiating Team (JNT) held a press conference today, Monday, to restate their position on their entitlement to salary adjustments, and to make known the plight of public service workers and teachers as they make an effort to move forward in their negotiations with Government.
The union presidents at the press conference made it clear that they are not asking the government for a raise, but rather a “salary adjustment” in relation to the cost of living.
Immediate past president for the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM), George Myvette, said that there have been no less than 12 meetings over the past five years with government officials concerning the salary adjustment, among other important matters concerning the unions.
Myvette said that the unions have done nothing but negotiate in good faith, yet not all of their requests have been dealt with in a manner that’s been favourable to them. He said that the negotiations are still ongoing, but the unions will go on with their demonstration in the city of Belmopan tomorrow, Tuesday, to show Government that they are serious.
“We believe that we are at a stage where we have to demonstrate, that this is a national imperative that public officers and teachers are being heard, and that something is worked out that would benefit public workers and teachers,” he said.
OF THIS AND THAT
When I played football at the highest level in Belize, at that time first division, fans used to crowd the chain-link fence in rows 3 to 4 deep, the stands were full, and younger and more athletic fans used to climb the trees in the MCC Square Garden to see our games, and I’m not talking about international matches. I’m talking about regular Sunday games.
Soon after that worthless Dr. Bertie Chimilio took over in the late nineties, football began a nosedive, and the fans stayed away in droves, in fact, by the hundreds. Chimilio demonstrably became a dictator, and, some believe, a madman.
After many years of much pain and embarrassment in our international games, we engaged in “root canal” work and Chimilio was booted out, some believe, by the mercy of God.
Ruperto Vicente, a former player and referee, took over. I have some issues with Ruperto because of what he didn’t do when he took over, but what I wish to say here is that I believe that he is as much a part of our success in Costa Rica as Leroy Sherrier Lewis, the coach; world-class striker Deon McCaulay; goalscorer Trevor Lennon; the incomparable Woodrow West, our goalkeeper; and all the other top-notch players who comprise our national team, and who fought magnificently against stronger teams.
WOMAN ACCUSED OF KILLING BDF CORPORAL TO STAND TRIAL IN THE SUPREME COURT
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 .
Daring daylight execution of Lebanese businessman
Lebanese Belizean businessman, Majdi Agha, 50, was executed in front of his wife and young child, in front of their home in Buttonwood Bay around 8:50 a.m., on Tuesday.
He and his family had just returned home, when a masked gunman ambushed him from inside his yard.
Police found Agha’s lifeless body near his gate, and they reported that his body bore several apparent bullet wounds.
A construction worker in the neighborhood, said he heard about five gunshots.
He also heard Agha’s wife screaming. He said, “It looks like she couldn’t speak; she was making noise as a sign; she was pointing towards the fence. I looked and saw the vehicle and a baby and I saw the man lying down on the side.”
Combating Crime One on one with ACP Miguel Segura
Assistant Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura is the new Officer Commanding Eastern Division, or OCED.
That makes him the Belize District’s top cop holding overall responsibility for the Rural and Coastal formations. He is assisted in his command by two veteran officers, Senior Superintendents Desiree Phillips and Marlon Allen, but the position is a big one with major responsibilities.
It’s the strangest thing. I’m sitting here on a Monday morning and from what I’ve been able to gather the weekend was murder free in the city.
I’m not kidding. Hard to believe right? There’s no news flash on Facebook; no gossiping and sharing the latest gory details; no weeping and moaning or gnashing of teeth as we shake our collective heads at the state of affairs in the city and reminisce about the days when the only murders to report would be after drunken bar fights over some much-in-demand babe.
Long-term aspirin blindness link
People who regularly take aspirin for many years, such as those with heart problems, are more likely to develop a form of blindness, researchers say.
A study on 2,389 people, in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, showed aspirin takers have twice the risk of “wet” age-related macular degeneration.
Quadruple helix DNA seen in human cells
Cambridge University scientists say they have seen four-stranded DNA at work in human cells for the first time.
The famous “molecule of life”, which carries our genetic code, is more familiar to us as a double helix.
But researchers tell the journal Nature Chemistry that the “quadruple helix” is also present in our cells, and in ways that might possibly relate to cancer.
Wesley College girls lead high schools football
The undefeated girls of Wesley College girls are leading the Belize District High Schools Football Competition, as they triumphed 1-0 over the girls of Anglican Cathedral College on Monday. They scored a 1-0 victory over the girls of St. Catherine’s Academy at the M.C.C. grounds last Friday, January 18.
Excelsior boys lead high schools football
The undefeated boys of Excelsior High School enjoyed their third victory of the Belize District High Schools Football Competition, while the boys of Wesley College recovered from a 1-5 loss to Excelsior to post a win and a draw at the M.C.C. Grounds last Friday, January 18.
Excelsior High School boys enjoyed a 4-1 victory over the boys of Anglican Cathedral College in a back-match on Saturday morning. Tyrone Gabriel and Kareem “Ton-ton” Flowers led the Excelsior offensive, supported by Enfield Martinez and Stefan “World” Diego on the wings, and James “Soonky” Fitzgibbons and Alex Ferguson at midfield.
GOB officially launches ICJ educational campaign
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has officially launched its public education campaign on whether or not the Belize/Guatemala territorial dispute should be decided by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Superbond renegotiations almost over!
Savings , not “new money” to spend, PM Barrow says.
The Government of Belize and holders of Belize’s “superbond” have agreed on the general economic terms for a restructured bond agreement, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced Monday afternoon at a press conference at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel.
According to Barrow, the new terms would result in cash flow savings of US$11 million for 2012, US$33 million for 2013, US $118 million for the five-year period from 2013 to 2017, and US$247 million for ten-year period of 2013 to 2022.
BNTU versus GOB
The negotiation impasse over salary adjustment between the Government of Belize and the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) is leading to a massive showdown next Tuesday, when teachers plan to converge on Belmopan for a national day of protest.
The unions are seeking a 30 percent salary adjustment over a three-year period, but the government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow is insisting that government cannot find the money for the salary adjustment at this time.
Belize’s historic 1st win at Copa Centroamericana
Not even a 4.0 on the Richter scale tremor felt in Costa Rica a half hour before Belize’s match with Nicaragua could prepare Belizean football fans, for the earth-shaking result: Belize’s first ever victory in UNCAF Copa Centroamericana at the National Stadium in San Jose, Costa Rica on Tuesday, January 22.
Foreign Minister to COLA: “Take it to court”
Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) has argued that the process which brought GOB to preparing for a referendum on going to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is unconstitutional. However, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington says that only a court of law can make that call.
At the media sensitization forum for the ICJ Educational campaign held at the Radisson Hotel on Wednesday, the Minister explained that he had never considered the argument.
Taiwan gives Santa Elena school solar panels
The El Progresso Government School in Santa Elena Town, Cayo, will now have a reliable source of constant electricity supply, thanks to the kind donation of two sets of solar panels and heavy-duty storage batteries, provided by the Embassy of the Republic of China on Taiwan.
$1.5 million could save southern rice industry
The rice production in the south experienced a record-breaking drop for the 2012-2013 crop, but the chairman of the Rice, Beans and Corn Association, Dennis Usher, says one “soft loan” from government is all that is needed to save the industry.
Opposition says Citco’s new tax measure might be illegal
Opposition Leader, Francis Fonseca, said the Belize City Council’s plan to deny drivers license to residents who owe certain taxes might very well be illegal.
Fonseca said to The Reporter last Wednesday, “there are some lawyers that I have already spoken to that are of the view that it is illegal and unlawful.”
He opted to reserve his personal judgment on the issue, saying he prefers to get a legal opinion from the PUP’s legal advisor first.
CDB contributes US $2 million to Belize Education
“Change we must and change we can!” avowed Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Hon. Patrick Faber as he launched his ministry’s five-year Belize Education Sector Reform Project, with US$2 million in funding from the Caribbean Development Bank.
A Tale of Five Cities: Moxviquil Reserve Hike
After checking out all the gorgeous plant specimens in the Orquideas Moxviquil botanical garden, it was time to take a woodland hike. There's a 2.5 km loop trail (though it felt longer!) beginning right behind the garden and leading up to a wonderful view of San Cristobal. We had read about this hike in Tripadvisor and were looking forward to locating the trail.
But first, a few photos of our initial attempt to locate the orchid garden, which I mentioned in the previous post. When we saw the first sign for the preserve, we thought we needed to hike on the trail by the sign to get to the garden. So, we enjoyed a short hike into the forest before we realized that we needed to turn back to the road and continue along a bit farther to find the garden. Now, onto the trail from the back of the orchid garden. We had it completely to ourselves and did not encounter another hiker. Perfect!
The trailhead behind the "artsy outhouses" featured in our last post
Great view of San Cristobal as we climbed the trail
There were signs like this all along the trail
Stars And Stripes Forever: Obama's Immigration Plan
For those of you on the right who think that they are just going to hand out welfare checks to these people, you are mistaken. This is a path to citizenship not a golden ticket, they still have to earn their rights. Even if it did become easier for them to get a government handout I don't think many of them would take it. Illegal immigrants often work twice as hard as many Americans and they are willing to do jobs that most Americans won't.
I believe this will help the country. These people believe in the American Dream, they don't have the opportunities in their country and that is why they are here. With immigration reform making this path accessible, their money will go into the system. Between taxes and spending money on cars and houses they will only help the economy.
At this moment, it looks like there's a genuine desire on the part of Republicans and Democrats to get this done. And that's very encouraging news for Belizeans across America to get out of the shadows into the light.
Godspeed, Mr. Pinelo
John Pinelo, a brilliant teacher and mentor of 1000's, has passed away. His funeral is tomorrow at 3:00pm at the Sacred Heart Church. His wake is this evening.
"John Pinelo career teacher, principal and former BNTU President passed away at his home in San Ignacio this weekend at the age of 64. He had been battling cancer for some years. His family tells us Mr. John Pinelo was instrumental in molding the lives of many young Belizeans serving as either a teacher or principal for many of Belize's Schools including: Santa Elena R.C., Roaring Creek R.C., Sacred Heart Primary, Bullet Tree Falls R.C., Saint Francis Xavier R.C., Succotz R.C. and Sacred Heart College."
Galen's Garifuna Culture Course
Galen has a great video out highlighting their Garifuna Culture Course. They show some drumming, dancing, and have some decent interviews with students. The Galen Eagle Band always puts on a great show. You'll be able to see them on February 2nd at the ATLIB Basketball competition at Cayo's Falcon Field when Sacred Heart Junior College hosts the games.
Jaguars Return to Belize
Jaguars National Team Back on Home Soil -
Press Conference in Belize City Jan 28th 2013
Tacos on the Go
Just in time for Superbowl 2013, an easy snack that is sure to please. Create any taco topping you like and just add to a bag of chips. Easy and tasty. Clean up is a cinch.
If I Had a Hammer
It actually felt a bit like being back at work this morning and -not that I hanker for this kind of feeling on a full-time basis – I quite enjoyed it.
It involved some the use of communication skills to try to make use of the return leg of the flights we booked with United Airlines when we moved to Ambergris Caye, Belize last May. We had managed to accumulate enough Mileage Plus rewards to fly Business Class with the return flights ( which we had no immediate plans to make use of) being Economy.
Our plan was ( hopefully still is) to convert the ‘return’ tickets to allow us to fly to Dallas for our ‘home fixtures and fittings’ inspection trip and book ( and pay for obviously) the return flights.
I started off by ‘phoning the United Airlines’ office in Belize City and managed to get a response after a couple of ‘no answer’ attempts. I ran through what I want to do but was dismayed when the chap told me that we can only use the tickets for the booked route i.e.from Belize via Houston to London. No good for us because we don’t want to go back there (well not yet).
I have not given up though because I have completed ( and submitted) the highly restrictive (in the sense that it does not allow you to fully describe your requirement) on-line form. I now wait to see if this works. I somehow think though that we will be buying both the outbound and inbound tickets. Worth the try though.
International Tourism to continue robust growth in 2013
International tourist arrivals grew by 4% in 2012 to reach 1.035 billion, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Emerging economies (+4.1%) regained the lead over advanced economies (+3.6%), with Asia and the Pacific showing the strongest results. Growth is expected to continue in 2013 only slightly below the 2012 level (+3% to +4%) and in line with UNWTO long term forecast.
With an additional 39 million international tourists, up from 996 million in 2011, international tourist arrivals surpassed 1 billion (1.035 billion) for the first time in history in 2012. Demand held well throughout the year, with a stronger than expected fourth quarter.
By region, Asia and the Pacific (+7%) was the best performer, while by sub-region South-East Asia, North Africa (both at +9%) and Central and Eastern Europe (+8%) topped the ranking.
Belize asks for Canadian help in fighting spillover of Mexican drug war
Spillover from Mexico's violent drug war is prompting the Harper government and the Canadian military to become more involved in helping defend the tiny Central American country of Belize.
A series of internal reports, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, show the government has quietly increased co-operation with the Commonwealth nation, formerly known as British Honduras.
Canada is providing non-lethal equipment for security services and helping with strategic planning and the training of soldiers.
The documents, which all date from the spring of last year, describe the situation in Belize as deteriorating in the face of ultra-violent drug cartels that are battling not only Mexican and U.S. law enforcement, but each other as well.
New evidence highlights threat to Caribbean coral reef growth
Many Caribbean coral reefs have either stopped growing or are on the threshold of starting to erode, new evidence has revealed.
Coral reefs build their structures by both producing and accumulating calcium carbonate, and this is essential for the maintenance and continued vertical growth capacity of reefs. An international research team has discovered that the amount of new carbonate being added by Caribbean coral reefs is now significantly below rates measured over recent geological timescales, and in some habitats is as much as 70 percent lower.
Coral reefs form some of the planet's most biologically diverse ecosystems, and provide valuable services to humans and wildlife. However, their ability to maintain their structures and continue to grow depends on the balance between the addition of new carbonate, which is mostly produced by corals themselves, set against the loss of carbonate through various erosional processes. Scientists have long known that reef ecosystems are in decline and that the amount of live coral on reefs is dwindling. But the paper, published on DATE TBC in Nature Communications, is the first evidence that these ecological changes are now also impacting on the growth potential of reefs themselves.
Costa Rica Crowned Again, Belize Make History
International debutants as late as 1995, Belize only made their first appearance in the Copa Centroamericana two years later. Since then they have always finished last in the regional tournament, organised by the Union Centroamericana de Futbol (UNCAF), the governing body of Central American football.
In all that time Los Jaguares failed to win a single game in the competition. This unwanted record finally came to an end this year when they claimed a group-stage victory en route to a wholly unexpected fourth-place finish, earning them a berth at the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the very first time.
Another highlight of the 2013 tournament, which came to an end last weekend, was the return of host nation Costa Rica to the top of the regional pile. Los Ticos had not won the competition since 2007, when they claimed the title for the third time in a row and sixth time overall.
Deposed as champions in 2009 by Panama, who were succeeded by Honduras two years later, La Tricolor ended their six-year wait in style, going undefeated throughout the competition.
The final standings from the tournament land Costa Rica at the top. Honduras and El Salvador finished second and third, respectively. Belize and Panama round out the top five while Guatemala, who placed sixth, is the only team from the tournament to miss out on the Gold Cup action.
Taking it Slow on Caye Caulker
Off the coast of the country of Belize lies a small island. An island with no cars that is reachable only by boat or plane. An island where the streets are sandy, the lobster is fresh, and shoes are not required. An island where life moves a bit slower, and where the rum punch is always flowing.
This is Caye Caulker.
For such a small place, Caye Caulker sure won me over in a big way. The little island about 20 miles off the coast of Belize has come to represent my vision of Paradise in my head. And I know I’m not alone — ask just about anyone who has been to this tiny island in Belize, and chances are that they, too, will sing it praises.
Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you.
“Go slow” motto
The motto on Caye Caulker is “go slow.” This motto is reflected in all aspects of life — from the fact that there are no cars at all on the island (transport is either by golf cart, bike, or on foot) to the speed of service in restaurants. Things just move at a more relaxed pace here; there’s no rush, mostly because there’s really no place better to be. This translates to a very chilled-out vibe that is infectious from the minute you step off the ferry boat.
Spring Break Belize! My First Missions Trip and How you Can help!
Hello everyone! As you heard in the video, I am going on a missions trip as a team with 12 other people through Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. We are going to Belmopan, which is the capital of Belize to help spread the gospel, organize chrisitan chapters, and help save the lost who may not know God. I am so blessed to have this opportunity, and it would be even more of a blessing if you all would help! Please remember this is for the advancement of God's kingdom, and many people may come to Christ through this trip.
The Living Maya Experience at The Lodge at Big Falls
Traveling in the Toledo District of southern Belize is a cultural delight thanks to the rich and colorful traditions of the native Garifuna and Mayan people. The Lodge at Big Falls has long supported sustainable local tourism initiatives and now have introduced a new cultural program called the Living Maya Experience. Designed in partnership with two families of employees at the Lodge, visitors are able to experience how traditional Maya live today and what life was like 50 years ago before the modern world encroached. Since the Maya communities in this region speak English, the level of interaction is quite high.
5 Places To Find Free Educational eBooks - Edudemic
So what happens when Google, Amazon, and your local library come up short in your quest for free educational eBooks?
The Harvard Classics, Project Gutenberg,
Bartleby, OER Commons,
ICDL – International Children’s Digital Library