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Today's Belize News: February 6, 2013 #457359
02/06/13 09:28 AM
02/06/13 09:28 AM
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Specials and Events

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

Candles shine bright at annual Cancer Walk
On Monday February 4th, millions of persons around the world held events honoring the people that have battled, lost or triumphed over cancer. To celebrate the day, the San Pedro Cancer Society held their annual lighted candle walk. The walk commenced a little after 6:30PM with a massive crowd gathered at the Central Park. According to Miguel Perez, president of the San Pedro Cancer Society, this was the biggest turn out in the short history of the walk. With candlelight illuminating the streets of San Pedro, the procession made its way through the main streets accompanied by the Isla Bonita All Star Marching Band. Individuals that have lost their family members and friends to the disease c arry their memories alive, and on that evening, they honored them with a lit flame and printed photos.Even visitors joined the walk as it passed by. It was an amazing sight and a wonderful show of a town’s solidarity and togetherness.

Isla Bonita All Stars gearing up for Band Fest 2013
Isla Bonita All Stars Band-1The children of San Pedro are expressing their musical talent in The Isla Bonita All Stars Marching Band. Over 60 participating members are gearing up to compete in the Governor General Sir Colville Young’s Band Fest that will take place on March 23, 2013 at Belmopan. The band is comprised of students from Isla Bonita Elementary, San Pedro R.C. School, Holy Cross Anglican School, St. Peter’s Elementary and San Pedro High School. Teaching the children is John Thompson, who has been doing his utmost best to have the band ready to go for Band Fest. Since early November of 2012, a committee of local volunteers and supportive parents has been holding fundraisers in hopes to raise enough funds to cover travel expenses for the band. As any competitive group, uniforms are essential to distinguish the group and to give them an identity. Not only does the Isla Bonita All Stars Marching Band require uniforms for all the members, but travel and accommodation expenses for the trip to Belmopan need to be covered. The band committee Isla Bonita All Stars Band-11has estimated that the total cost amounts to a little over $26,000. The committee has held many successful fundraisers such as raffles, a radiothon and a couple of $1 drives. Generous donors including Mayor Daniel Guerrero and Minister Manuel Heredia Jr. have brought the Isla Bonita All Stars Marching Band closer to Band Fest.

GOB takes action on Corozal Free Zone Incident Involving Minister
Cabinet was briefed on an incident that occurred early Tuesday morning, February 5, 2013 at the Princess Hotel & Casino in the Corozal Free Zone, and it was reported that the Hon. Mark King was involved in behavior not consistent with his obligations as a Minister of State. Cabinet has been informed that the police, in consequence of their preliminary review of the facts, will be laying charges of disorderly conduct and threatening words on Hon. Mark King. Those charges will be dealt with in the court. However, the Prime Minister at this point is satisfied that Honorable King’s involvement in the incident constituted, at the very least, unbecoming conduct. Accordingly, the Prime Minister, after speaking with Hon. Mark King has decided on an immediate three month suspension without pay from his duties as a Minister of State. The Prime Minister and Cabinet also expect that Honorable King will issue a statement of apology to his constituency, colleagues, and the country.

Honorable Mark King issues statement regarding Princess Hotel & Casino Incident
My fellow Belizeans, by now you would have learnt through the media that I was involved in an incident while socializing at the Princess Hotel & Casino in Corozal, which resulted in a breach of the peace and the imposition of charges against me by the Police. While I make no admission of wrong-doing and will take all necessary steps to be properly represented at the trial of those charges, I want you all to know that I am very sorry and deeply regret that this incident occurred. I apologize to you, the Belizean people, members of my constituency and to all my Cabinet colleagues for this unfortunate incident.

Ambergris Today

Hon. Mark King Pending Charges in Corozal Free Zone Incident
Belmopan - February 5, 2013. - Cabinet was briefed on an incident that occurred early Tuesday morning, February 5, 2013 at the Princess Hotel & Casino in the Corozal Free Zone, and it was reported that the Hon. Mark King was involved in behavior not consistent with his obligations as a Minister of State. Cabinet has been informed that the police, in consequence of their preliminary review of the facts, will be laying charges of disorderly conduct and threatening words on Hon. Mark King. Those charges will be dealt with in the court. However, the Prime Minister at this point is satisfied that Honorable King's involvement in the incident constituted, at the very least, unbecoming conduct. Accordingly, the Prime Minister, after speaking with Hon. Mark King has decided on an immediate three-month suspension without pay from his duties as a Minister of State. The Prime Minister and Cabinet also expect that Honorable King will issue a statement of apology to his constituency, colleagues, and the country.

Toledo Cacao Festival Renamed Chocolate Festival of Belize
The Toledo Cacao Festival was born in 2007 and has been celebrated each year on the same Commonwealth Day weekend towards the end of May. It attracts hundreds of visitors from around Belize as well as overseas. In 2013 the festival falls on the weekend of May 24-26. This lively festival has helped Toledo shed its worn out image as “the forgotten district” and establish it as one of Belize’s vibrant and growing tourism destinations. It also celebrates the tremendous contribution to development in the south made by the Toledo Cacao Growers’ Association (TCGA) and its hundreds of farmer members. The Toledo Cacao Festival worked well as a name within Belize but many people do not understand the story that links cacao to cocoa and chocolate, which in the end is the real attraction. Likewise Toledo, Spain and Toledo, Ohio are better known internationally than Toledo, Belize. So this year the festival organizers are announcing their ambition to capture international attention by re-branding the event as the Chocolate Festival of Belize. The festival has many devoted followers who return each year to sample the chocolate delights available and to find out what’s new in the world of chocolate making. The elegant wine and chocolate evening kicks off the weekend’s events as usual. This year it will be hosted by Belcampo Lodge and Farm.

25 Years Ago: Alberto Receives his Letter of Acceptance
So the custom 25 years ago was to write a formal letter requesting permission to visit a girl at her home and the father would write back either with a letter denying that permission or accepting. Finally, here is the long awaited approval letter about a week or two after it was mailed, I mean after it was sent with a little boy. Incidentally it cost 25 cents special delivery- the same of a local stamp today. Here is approval letter: Boy oh boy! Alberto is so glad to receive the news on Saturday night that he invites his friends for a "parranda" (spree). He buys a bottle of rum and some Coca Colas, and his friends meet at Skin Diver’s Club. There is fun and laughter and a lot of jokes made on Alberto. Later that night they go on a "serenata" (serenade). Angel is there to strum the guitar and lucky for them, Felipe and Roberto, Junior and Adolfo are there and they know a lot of songs (rancheras). They take their "serenata" to and Dianita, Yoli and Carmelita and all the other "novias" of the crowd, but not to Angelita. You see, Alberto does not want his fiancee and especially the future "suegros" (in-laws) to know that he was in a "parranda". He wants to be his best self for at least one more month or two to gain the respect and esteem of his in-laws.

The Emergence of San Pedro’s Fishing Co-operative
We go all the way back to 1963 when the fishing co-operative was founded in San Pedro. And listen to the conversation of the three gentlemen in the photo. (James Howel Blakc, Dimas Guerrero and Efrain Guerrero) “So what do you think of our fishing cooperative?” asked Chairman Efrain Guerrero enthusiastically. “Well, this is the best thing that has ever happened to San Pedro,” exclaimed Mr. Dimas Guerrero who was a fisherman since 1950. “Don’t you think so Papa Blake? Even though you do not need to work, don’t you think this is good for San Pedro?” “Well, yes it is very good for everyone,” commented Papa Blake. “Now that the coconut industry is dying, at least every Sanpedrano will be able to make a decent living by fishing? Are you going to dive, Dimas?”

Dorian’s Angels Join Cancer Awareness Walk
On Monday, February 4, 2013, the San Pedro Cancer Society held its annual Light The Night candle lit walk in observance of World Cancer Awareness Day. Members of the Cancer Society along with other businesses and members of the community hit the streets of San Pedro to support the cause. Dorian’s Angels did not fail to show their support as they joined the crowd with their candles and walked in solidarity with all those who have been affected by cancer or have lost relatives. The Isla Bonita All Star Marching led the parade and behind them followed a large crowd with candles on hand from Barrier Reef Drive up to the roundabout into Pescador Drive and ending at the Central Park.

Misc Belizean Sources

BELTRAIDE launched the first Business and Investment Magazine "INVEST BELIZE" on January 30th 2013
The Invest Belize magazine showcases Belize in a progressive light for what it represents: an investment destination. This publication features the major investment opportunities, while providing up to date information on policy, trade agreements, statistics, trade and projections to the investment community in Belize and abroad. Go to the following link to download and read a copy of this interesting magazine.

DJ Fingaz Pre-Birthday Bash Pictures
Danny Chung was at the Wing Stop in Belmopan for DJ Fingaz pre-birthday party where he got some great pictures. Island Time Beverages sponsored the event, and had their new Caribbean Coolers there for everyone. They have 3 different flavors: Rumango, Coco Pina, and Rum Punch.

John Paul II JC Launch
Mount Carmel High School has launched their junior college. Saturday night, they launched Cayo's new John Paul II junior college. They'll offer English, Business, and General Studies Associates degrees.

Galen at COBEC College Fair
The Consortium for Belize Educational Cooperation College Fair is tomorrow evening at ITVET in Belize City. Schools from all over Belize, and many universities from the U.S. will be there. It's a great opoortunity to learn about other schools, and do research on study abroad programs. Galen University is offering discounts on their application fees.

Rotaract's Intercitadina
The Rotaract Club on San Ignacio has been keeping busy. They had their Intercitadina this weekend. Congratulations to all the new members. "Congratulations to Asuncion Martinez & Frankie Montero on having been inducted as Rotaractors at Intercitadina 2013 this past weekend. Welcome to the Rotaract family."

Belizean Sere
Sere or Seree is a milky,spicy soup that is made with fish and ground foods like taro or cocoa, cassava or yuca and sweet potatoes. This is a native dish of Belize and is eaten usually with white rice.

NEW LOGO – The Belize Bureau of Standards
The Belize Bureau of Standards is pleased to introduce its new logo to the general public. As the Bureau enters a new stage in its development it wishes to re-emphasize its commitment to serving as a lead institution in establishing a national quality infrastructure for the country. In its resolve to drive a culture for quality in Belize, one which it expects will unflinchingly meet the challenges of a competitive global market and fulfil consumer expectations on quality, health, safety and the environment, the department, through this design, aims to feature the corporate interplay between the key elements of quality infrastructure: METROLOGY, STANDARDS, TESTING and QUALITY (MSTQ). With a positive outlook on its future development, the Bureau believes its new logo will set the stage for this new chapter in its existence, as it charts a new course which it envisions will improve the socio economic well-being and quality of life for all Belizeans.

Channel 7

Hon. Mark King Caught Up In Corozal Casino Chaos Gets Suspended w/o Pay!
Lake Independence area Representative Mark King rose to public prominence for his volatile public behaviour - and tonight that volatility has him in the Prime Minister's dog House and facing multiple criminal charges. Last night King was caught up in what might be called a "hot mess" at the Princess Casino near the Belize Mexico border. 7news has been following the story since morning and Jules Vasquez reports:.. Jules Vasquez reporting This is the Princess Casino just outside the Corozal Free Zone and right next to the Belize Mexico Bridge. It's the last stop before you get to the bridge - and reports say this is where Mark King and a number of associates were this morning at 2:00 am. That's when one of his male associates was reportedly caught with a female in the men's bathroom - and that man was ejected from the Casino. Reports say that King became incensed at this and had a temper tantrum - ripping down decorations inside the casino, berating staff and even assaulting the manager. We are told King ended up sitting on the floor of the Casino. Eventually he and his companions were thrown out - which is when multiple reports say shots were fired outside the casino as an act of defiance. We stress that the Casino management denies that anything happened inside - and pointed us to this police booth where they say most of the acting up happened.

17 Year Old Dead; Wrong Place, Wrong Time
As we told you when the news ended last night, there had been another murder in the city - the second in less than 12 hours. The victim was a 17 year old student Eddie Soriano. Reports are that was socializing near his home with a group of men when two men on separate bicycles rode past and one of them opened fire. Soriano was shot 4 times to his upper body. The student was rushed to the KHMH where he was pronounced dead on arrival. So far police have detained 4 persons in the investigation. Many believe that Soriano was not the intended target and say he had just recently moved into the neighborhood and is not known to be gang affiliated. He did live close to the Meighan house, which has been targeted by shooters very many times. His family could not be reached - as reports say they picked up and left in terror immediately after he was killed.

Man Acquitted of Double Murder
21 year-old Shaquille Jones, the man who was accused of the December 2008 double murders of 29 year-old Jermaine Trapp and 18 year-old Cameron Blease, was acquitted today in the courtroom of Justice Troadio Gonzalez. Viewers may remember that at around 3 a.m. on December 26, 2008, Trapp had his blue Toyota Camry parked outside the Princess Hotel and Casino on Newtown Barracks. That's around the time when Blease was fleeing from a gunman who was chasing him, and he jumped into Trapp's vehicle only to have the gunman follow him immediately. Trapp, realizing the danger he was in, tried to drive away, but that gunman opened fire on the vehicle, and shot him in the back of his head. He died instantly, and this caused the vehicle to crash into a concrete wall. 2 of those bullets from the barrage of shots caught Blease in the chest and hand, and immediately after the gunman inflicted the injuries, he fled the scene. Blease was rushed to the KHMH, where he was put into an induced coma, until he later passed away from that injury to the chest 10 days later.

Police Constables For Theft
Tonight, 23 year-old Police Constable Phillp Swift and 23 year-old Police Constable John Galvez are trying to meet bail after they were taken to court for theft. According to police, Carolee Samuels, wife of Belize City Councilor Dean Samuels, reported that at around 1:20 p.m. on November 16, 2012, she dropped her purse in front of Oxygen Boutique on Freetown Road. 2 hours later, police contacted her, and told her that they recovered her purse, but when she went to retrieve it, she realized that her money, which amounted to a little under $600, was missing. Police investigated the report, and they eventually arrested and charged Swift and Galvez with theft. They were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith this afternoon, and they both pleaded not guilty to the charges. Chief Magistrate Smith granted them bail of $2,000, five hundred of which they had to pay up front as cash. She has adjourned their case until April 9, 2013. Up until this evening at around 4 p.m., they still hadn't met bail.

OCEANA Against PSA's
We've been reporting for months now on Oceana Belize's challenge to 6 offshore oil drilling contracts - or Production Sharing Agreements - which the Government of Belize entered into between 2005 and 2007. Those contracts currently exist with the entities: Island Oil Belize Ltd, Tropical Energy Ltd, Petro Belize Co Ltd, Princess Petroleum Ltd, Providence Energy Belize Ltd and Sol Oil Belize Ltd. Well, after months of preliminary adjournments, the substantive matter which was brought by Oceana Belize, COLA, and The Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage was heard to completion before Justice Legall. After a lengthy 4 hours of arguments from Senior Councils Denys Barrow and Godfrey Smith, the hearing came to an end, and 7News spoke to both sides. Here's how they outlined their legal arguments: Denys Barrow - Attorney for GOB "The case seeks to challenge 6 contract agreements for petroleum operations over different large blocks of land in Belize ranging from 200,000 plus acres to 2 million acres. These contracts were made in 2004 and 2007. The essential point we made is that it is far too late to be challenging these things now especially since they are seeking to challenge not the decision making but the lawfulness of the contract and in our view that is something which is beyond the level at this stage."

Abandoned Lots Loaded With Illegal Stuff
The Special Branch recovered this gun, a 40 caliber pistol On the afternoon of Friday February first. IT was found in an abandoned lot on Jasmine Street, in the Lake Independence Area of Belize City. And then yesterday - police, based on special branch intel - searched another abandoned lot, this one on Elston Kerr Street, and found 870 grams - about two pounds of cannabis. And then, this afternoon at 12:30pm, police searched another abandoned lot - this one on Regent Street West where they found one black plastic bag stuffed with 27 smaller bags of suspected cannabis. IT all weighed about 4 kilos - or about nine pounds, along with .5 grams Crack Cocaine.

GST Dodger Fined
45 year-old businessman Thomas Gomez Jr., a resident of Fabers Road, dodged jail time today after he committed to pay a substantial amount of fines for failure to file his taxes to the GOB. Gomez was arraigned today before Magistrate Adolph Lucas Jr. for 8 counts of failure to file GST returns in relation to his lumber business, which is named after him. According to the GST Legal Representative Jacqueline Meighan, these charges originate from unfiled returns between the months of April 2012 to December 2012. But according to Meighan, he is a repeat offender because back in February 2012, Gomez pleaded guilty to 17 counts of failure to file GST returns. The sitting magistrate in his arraignment on those charges sentenced him to pay a fine of $8,500 for those 17 counts. But to date, Gomez has not paid anything toward that fine, and Meighan characterized him as a difficult tax payer. In his explanation, he told the court that he is always on the road driving his truck, and that he has filled out the tax returns, but he has not taken them to the tax office. He also pleaded guilty to those 8 counts, and he was sentenced to pay $700 for each count, to a total of $5,600. He told the court that he was able to pay $5,000 of that previous 8 thousand dollar fine. Magistrate Lucas informed him that if he does show good faith and pay that money today, the court will be will to accommodate him with an extension on the balance.

Will "New" Bureau Of Standards Have Teeth?
We haven't heard anything from the Belize Bureau of Standards - ever since we made a complaint for a refund in early 2011. That was when we were claiming back our money after being shorted by multiple butane companies. We never got our refund. But today the Bureau popped back unto our radar, proudly announcing that it has a fancy new logo. A release says that the logo signifies that the burea is "entering a new stage in its development; a new chapter in its existence" According to the wordy write-up, the design, quote, "aims to feature the corporate interplay between the key elements of quality infrastructure: METROLOGY, STANDARDS, TESTING and QUALITY." We're duly impressed, but would rather see a logo with some teeth on it.

Crooked Tree Man "Straight" With A Few Hundred K
Tonight 74 year old Cordell Rhaburn is the lucky fantasy 5 winner. The elderly man made his way from Crooked Tree this morning into the city to collect his winning cheque of three hundred and seventy seven thousand, five hundred dollars. It was an unexpected win, and Rhaburn told us why he took almost 2 weeks to claim his prize. Cordell Rhaburn "I just took my time." Marion Ali, reporter "You had to process the winning?" Cordell Rhaburn "Yeah, I just waited a while and see what's going on." Monica Bodden "So, you knew you were the winner?" Cordell Rhaburn "Yeah, I already have it budgeted; I am going to put some apart for my children and use some to finish my house." "I just bought the ticket. The night when the number was going to play I put on Channel 22 and before the guy started to put out the numbers the electricity went off, so the next day I went to Orange Walk and I ask the guy for the numbers and when I got home I check it and it was all there."

Mark King, A Slight Look Back
And as we close tonight, we recap our headline story: Mark King, the minister of state in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation, Poverty Alleviation and Peace in Progress is on three months suspension without pay form Cabinet. He is also facing two, possibly three criminal charges for a bizarre tantrum he threw at the Princess Casino at the Corozal border early this morning. Indeed, King has been a loose cannon since he entered political life. In August of 2008, as an elected city councilor, he came out swinging against his mayor Zenaida Moya in a classic, unforgettable interview. For context to his actions early this morning, we air a portion of that:.. "You should stick in news because politics is the business of politics. Maybe I am just Mark King, but I can tell you this that over thirteen residents came out to vote for Mark King in 2006 and if that is nobody to you then I applaud you my brother. What I give you here today has no bearing on what Mayor Moya thinks or feels or what I think or feel of her. this is professionally dealing with the tax payers money of the Belizean public that we were set there to do and we are guided by the City Council Act to do that and now we must go back to the Belizean public, but before the Belizean public go and put that ballot in that box, they would have had all this information."

Channel 5

Gang Minister Mark King suspended for Casino Royale Attack
Self-named Minister of Gangs Mark King is in the political and public seat of shame today after he was allegedly involved in a drunken brawl with Corozal Police. The incident occurred in the early hours of this morning as Minister King and friends partied at the Princess Casino located just outside the Corozal Commercial Free [...]

Minister’s Witz and police fight
  While there was no sign of Minister Mark King near the Corozal Police Station or at the Corozal Magistrate’s Court today, the man he was with when he was escorted to the Police Station very early this morning, was arraigned in Court today. At a little before three this afternoon, twenty-two year old Diego [...]

Zero tolerance? Minister suspended and apologizes
By midday, the Minister of State with Responsibility for Gangs had been suspended from Cabinet for three months, without pay, for his involvement in the brawl with casino security and Corozal police. A cabinet release states that King was involved in behavior not consistent with his obligations as a Minister of State, and goes further [...]

Two killed in less than 12 hours
Two persons were murdered in a span of less than twelve hours on Monday. Around eight in the morning, Garry Bowen was killed on Partridge Street and just after seven p.m., Edinilson Soriano was shot and killed in close proximity on Banak Street. The gunman blasted Soriano on the upper part of his body at [...]

Should Mark King be removed?
The hot button issue last week was about salary adjustments for teachers and other public officers. We asked if our viewers thought that government could find the money to provide the adjustments. An overwhelming seventy-four percent voted yes, while twenty-six percent said no. Turning to tonight’s question: Instead of a three month suspension, should Mark [...]

Petroleum contracts challenged in Supreme Court
The attorney for Oceana Belize, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage concluded oral arguments challenging the validity of six offshore Production Sharing Agreements in the courtroom of Supreme Court Justice Oswell Legall. If the environmentalists have their way, they would have the court quash oil concession [...]

Oceana would have contracts quashed
Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith represented the environmental groups. And Smith argued that the P.S.A.’s breached the Petroleum Act and also contravened the Environmental Protection Act, the Fisheries Act and the National Parks Act. According to Audrey Matura Shepherd, Oceana’s Vice President in Belize, they believe that the renewal of concessions also broke some regulations.   [...]

Police following leads of sexual assault in village
On Monday’s newscast, we told you about a home invasion in Boston Village off the old Northern Highway on Sunday night. Police have been close-mouthed about the case; releasing no names and no details. Today we spoke to Assistant Superintendent of Police Christopher Noble, who is the Rural Executive Officer. He told us that they [...]

Not Guilty of Murder; minor’s 4 years in prison
When he was a minor, Shaquille Jones was charged for double murder. Normally, the name of a minor can’t be used in the news, but Jones was charged as an adult and it has been four years since the murder. The now nineteen year old man had his day in court today. Jones was accused [...]

Beaten to coma: tourist guide victim of officer?
A Caye Caulker tour guide is fighting for his life at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Bert “Ras Creek” Nicholas was admitted this past Saturday after he was beaten allegedly by officers on the island two weeks ago. The motive for the beating is not clear, but his wife says that he slipped into a [...]

Caye Caulker business’ license up in smoke
Rose’s Grill and Bar is one of the most sought after restaurants in Caye Caulker. It has won a major European award and after more than a decade in business, the chances are that most visitors to the island will drop by for a taste of the local grilled cuisine. At the end of January, [...]

Mother is still recovering after losing toddler in fire
The tragic death of three year old Danely Cabrera in a house fire in San Narciso Village, Corozal, has left her family filled with grief.  The fire started at about four o’clock on Monday morning and quickly gutted the family’s house. The family woes are compounded because the mother, Ramona Cabrera, was also injured in [...]

Dara Robinson wants you to come out and give
He is known for his humanitarian efforts and for a feeding program that won him the title as Unsung Hero for 2011. Dara Robinson, for the past six years, has been assisting needy kids from the south side attending school in the King’s Park Area. The students receive daily a healthy meal from the program. [...]


Hearing On The Validity of Several Offshore Production Sharing Agreements Held Today
A little over a year ago OCEANA and co-Claimants Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and The Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage filed a case challenging the validity of six offshore production sharing agreements. After many preliminary objections the he...

Police News
A teenager has become the nation’s latest murder victim. Seventeen year old Eddie Soriano was shot dead as he was walking on the street in front of his house at 27 Banak Street. The incident happened at around seven o’clock on Monday night and Soriano...

Our Lady of Fatima Reaches Belize
Peace. It is what everyone is asking for, in fact most will tell you these are dangerous times in Belize. And the establishment of peace throughout the world is one of the main themes of the message of Our Lady of Fatima, whose image was welcomed to Belize by faithful follo...

Single Senior Citizen Wins Lottery Prize
Cordell Rhaburn, a 74 year old resident of Crooked Tree Village today collected his bounty of 320 thousand, 875 dollars after taxes when he showed up at the Fantasy 5’s offices for his prize. Rhaburn is Fantasy 5’s latest lotto winner. Public Relations Officer wit...

Police Constables Charged With Theft
Two police constables were charged with the theft of $525.00 Belize currency and 120 Mexican pesos when they appeared in Court. They are 23-year-old Phillip Swift and 23-year- old John Galvez. They pled not guilty to the charge and they were each offered a bail of $2,000.00. Chief Magi...

Fire Officials Conclude Investigation Into Fire That Resulted In Toddler's Death
Fire officials in Corozal have concluded that the cause of the blaze on Monday morning that claimed the life of three year old Yaneli Cabrera in San Narciso Village was the result of a burnt plastic hose attached to an open gas tank. Corozal Fire Chief, Carlitos Arnold Vera told ...

Bob Marley Tribute & Food Drive To Be Held
While the United States of America Celebrates Black History Month in February, we are reminded of those who have fought for the betterment of mankind. Tomorrow February sixth marks the Birthday of Legendary reggae Icon Robert Nesta Marley, or Bob Marley as we mostly refer to him....


German Duo Stops In Belize In Their Journey Across The World
Since Amelia Earhart’s accomplishment of travelling around the world in an aircraft, many have tried to follow suit. Many have tried to hike, drive, float in a balloon, among many other vessels to travel around the world and of recent, two men are attempting the challenge. On July 21st of 2012, German adventurers Andreas Zmuda and Doreen Kroeber set out on the 100,000 mile journey that will take them across five continents, seventy-four countries and over three oceans. But what makes this journey so special, well, it’s in the two men’s choice of vehicle. Both men will be riding a converted three wheel motorcycle which is attached to paragliding wings. The motorcycle is ultra-lightweight and can take off and land in virtually any runway or landing strip. The two men are tonight in Central Farm where they safely managed to land their flying motorbike. The duo safely flew over Black Man Eddy village and is expected to fly over Blue Creek tomorrow. They will have reached Placencia by this weekend and are expected to fly out of Belize by mid-February when they will travel to Honduras. The German men’s journey of a hundred thousand miles started in Florida and is set to be completed by February of 2016. We here at CTV-3 wish the men all the best of luck.

Hon. Mark King On 3 Months Suspension Without Pay!
And while Hon. Mark King was being hidden from our cameras and given preferential treatment by the Corozal Police Department, Prime Minister Dean Barrow was not quite as nice. The Government of Belize issued a press release this morning titled, “Corozal Free Zone Incident Involving Minister” in which it says, and we quote, “it was reported that the Hon. Mark King was involved in behavior not consistent with his obligations as a Minister of State.” End of quote. The release further states that all cabinet members have been informed by the Police Department of the incident and as a result of their review of the facts, charges have been filed against the Minister of State, Mark King. Those charges are disorderly conduct and uttering threatening words. According to the Belize Press Office release, King will answer to those charges in a court of law. Well, this is where the release gets interesting as it states that Prime Minister Barrow is satisfied with the preliminary reports and finds his Minister of State’s involvement as unbecoming conduct. As a result, we quote, “the Prime Minister, after speaking with Hon. Mark King has decided on an immediate three-month suspension without pay from his duties as a Minister of State.” End of quote. The release ended with a statement of expectation that King would issue an apology to the people of his constituency, colleagues and the country of Belize.

Minister Mark King's Fun Night Turns Criminal
Minister of state is in trouble tonight after being involved in an altercation at the Princess Casino at the Northern Border. Reports to our newsroom in the wee hours of this morning, are that a major incident occurred this morning in front of the casino in which Minister of State Mark King was detained and taken to the Corozal Police Station. Reporter Elmer Cornejo and Cameraman Kenrick Simpson returned from Corozal not to long ago and filed the following report. The Princess casino located at the Corozal northern border celebrated its 10th anniversary of existence in the gambling business in Belize. However, as is almost usual, the Belize party resulted in an altercation this time, involving a minister, the minister of state. Reports are that the Minister of state, Mark King had gone to the casino to have a spree time with a group of his friends. One of his friends, 22 year old Diego Witz business man of Punta Gorda, was caught having sex in the bathroom inside the casino. This was reported to the casino’s security which in turn ensued to the bathroom in search of King’s friend. In the process of handcuffing King’s friend and escorting him outside the casino, King decided to fluff out and use his position as the minister. He exchanged words with the security officers of the casino saying that if his friend would be kicked out, then he would also be forced to leave the casino and as a result the security would lose their jobs. Just then, King’s friend swung a pistol at the officers causing the party at the casino to end almost instantly. One security officer then slammed King to the floor and took him outside the casino. By this time, emotions soared both from king and his group as well as from the security officers of the princess casino.

Luciano Osorio Wanted By Corozal Police
Tonight, Corozal police are looking for a man who tormented his wife on Saturday February 3rd and Sunday, February 4th. According to the report made by a thirty-eight year old female from Baeza’s layout in Corozal Town, she was at home sleeping on said dates when sometime around ten in the night, her husband arrived and began acting disorderly. Her children were also asleep at home when they were awoken by the noise being caused outside by the husband. According to the woman, she had already obtained a protection order against her husband, namely Luciano Osorio. She obtained the protection order on the fourth of October of 2012 and was due to expire on the third of October of 2013. The thirty-eight year old female says she was surprised to hear her husband banging on the door in an extremely inebriated state. As a result of the police report made by the female, Corozal police are tonight looking for Luciano Osorio of Corozal Town, to answer to the charge of breach of protection order.

Orange Walk Rotaractors Bring Back Award
Over the weekend Rotaractors from across the country converged in Belize City for the two day Rotaract National Assembly 2013 better known as Intercitidina. This year’s Intercitadina highlighted the vast amount of work from the five clubs which come from Orange Walk, Belize City, Belmopan, Dangriga, and San Ignacio. The five clubs have engaged and contributed various community projects in their respective communities. School and book grants for students, park rehabilitations, school supplies donations, elderly assistance, among many more were featured in the presentations made by each club representative. But the most anticipated part of the conference was the presentation of various prestigious individual and clubs awards. The Orange Walk Club brought back two awards; Victoria Urbina was awarded Miss Rotaract 2012/2013 and Stephanie Acosta was awarded Rotaractor of the Year 2012/2013. Stephanie Acosta tells us about the highest honour bestowed upon her by her Rotaract colleagues.

Back In The Day
Sugar cane production has been in the jewel as early as the 1800’s. Few know the history of this and hence why the exhibition is up at the Corozal House of Culture titled, ‘Back in the Day’, where it tells the story of economic and social development in Corozal for the most part. We decided to take a look at the sugar production of the exhibits display and our reporter Elmer Cornejo tells us more. Between the Spanish Conquest and 1848, the Corozal region was virtually uninhabited. The British were interested only in its timber resources which depleted soon after and in turn forced them to venture into sugar cane production. In 1857, a hundred barrels of sugar produced in British Honduras were sent from Belize to Liverpool. During these early years sugar cane was planted, much by small growers in rural Corozal. During the 1860's several British investors established sizeable estates in the Corozal region which, in contrast to the earlier mestizo haciendas, may be referred to as plantations. During the 1870's and1880's these estates gave the haciendas serious competition. The latter continued to plant and process cane for both rum and sugar, but the British planters moved decisively into the export market. Twelve estates were established; three of these were near Orange Walk. While the earlier haciendas were operated by animal power with the simplest of machinery, these estates were steam driven, mechanically sophisticated, and quite large. The plantations, like the smaller haciendas, cultivated both sugar cane and sufficient subsistence crops especially corn to feed the owner and labourers. The British plantations in Corozal were short-lived. From a record of two and a half million pounds of sugar in1882, exports fell to about 200,000 pounds in the early 1890's.In the early 1900’s the establishment of the Corozal Sugar Factory was the result of the colonial government's concern over the declining level of exports. The original plans for the factory called for a central processing plant to be located in a central location, Pembroke Hall, to which would be attached a plantation owned by the same company.

Unions' Membership Has The Last Say On GOB's Proposal
Last night you heard President of the Public Service Union Marvin Blades explain government’s proposal to the unions in respect to salary adjustments. As a result of government’s proposal, the APSSM, BNTU and PSU’s council of management met over the weekend to discuss the positions. Some of the features of the salary adjustment proposal are: 1. that the maximum salary adjustment in any single year would not exceed 10% of the Wages and Wage Related Grants. 2. That the salary adjustment payout will commence in July 2014. And, 3, that the current annual increment will continue and will be for all teachers, public officers and pensioners. As Blades noted yesterday, the membership of all three unions must be informed of the proposal and what it entails and so the membership has the final decision. Otilio Muñoz is the Orange Walk Branch President of the BNTU and his branch met yesterday with their executive. According to Muñoz, the date for the membership to meet has not been set as yet, but he expects it to be by early next week. Munoz also took the opportunity to make it clear that the proposal has not been agreed on.

The Beautiful Birds And Amazing Animals
Belize boasts one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. From the very stunning jaguars to the most timid tapir, Belize prides itself in the biodiversity that makes it a true world destination. One of the creatures that we see daily but rarely notice is the bird. Belize has about 587 species of birds and a number of those birds were on display at the Banquitas House of Culture today. The exhibit is called “Birds and Animals of Belize” and the exhibitioner is long time photographer, Noel Escalante from Belize City. Our news team of Hipolito Novelo and cameraman Fernando Sanchez were on hand for the opening ceremony this morning and filed the following report. For many the most popular known bird with significance would be will our national bird, the Keel-billed Toucan. But this portrait of the toucan is accompanied by 69 more portraits of Birds and Animals of Belize. Noel Escalante is the photographer behind the camera and has been for many years. Escalante took an interest in birds and other animals and put together this exhibition with its core focusing in Belize beautiful wildlife.

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Crooked Tree villagers go on an outing to Punta Gorda town
Audubon hosts PG trip. A group of visitors from Crooked Tree completed an environmental Tour on Saturday to the Toledo District. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details.

CNN features tourism destinations in Belize
Our Jewel Belize has found itself on the worldwide map again. Just last week we told you about Belize being featured in United Airlines’ in flight Magazine “Hemispheres” which would make Belize known to millions of readers. This time, Belize was featured on the Atlanta-based Cable News Network, CNN’s domestic service. Director of Tourism at the Belize Tourism Board, Laura Esquivel Frampton told us how Belize gained a spot for this feature. Esquivel-Frampton went on to describe just what CNN found to talk about Belize. We already mentioned that the feature puts Belize on the map, but Esquivel-Frampton explained what other effects it will have on the jewel. According to Esquivel Frampton, there are a lot of positive things waiting to happen in Belize’s Tourism Industry.


Texts to Rise and Shine Morning Show RE: Minister John Saldivar Teachers’ Union comments
Below are the Text messages sent in to PlusTV's Rise and Shine morning Show based on the following comments By Min...

Union leaders support Government's salary adjustment proposal
On Friday, February 1st, members of the Joint Negotiation Team for the Trade Unions, met with the Prime Minister a...

33 year-old Garry Bodden shot dead in Belize City
Police have not sent out any official report as yet on the incident but there was a murder this morning in Belize C...

COLA makes plans for the future
COLA, the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, held its annual general meeting in Belize City on Saturday...

3yr old child dies in fire
A three year old perished in a fire in the Corozal district. It happened early this morning in San Narcisso village...

Offshore Drilling Case starts Tuesday
Arguments in Case #810 of 2012 is scheduled to start tomorrow, Tuesday, February 5th, in the courtroom of Justice O...

Drug Trafficking charges levied on three persons
Drug Trafficking charges were levied on three persons after a police bust yesterday. Police conducted a search at a...

World Cancer Day is February 4
World Cancer Day is celebrated today February 4. The day is set aside to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage...

Licensed gun reported stolen
Another licensed gun has been reported stolen. On Sunday February the 3rd, a Security Supervisor reported that at a...

Motivational Missionaries' Tour starts in Belize City
A Belizean consulting firm has partnered with RESTORE Belize and various sponsors to bring a team of motivational ...


Eddie Nelson Sorieno, 17, of Banak Street, was shot down at about 8:00 tonight by one of three men who rode up to him and opened fire as he was walking in front of the Meighan’s residence, just a short distance from his house, located behind the Meighans. Sorieno was going to buy food for his little brother and sister’s children when the attack occurred. He was shot in his head, chest and body six times, and died almost immediately. The killers then rode up Banak Street and disappeared into the area. He is the second person to be shot to death today, within a 12-hour period. Police believe that the shooting was retaliation for the shooting murder of Gary Bowen that occurred this morning after 8 on Partridge Street. Police say that they believe that a killer from the Mayflower Street area shot Bowen, and persons from the PIV area went into the Banak Street area for revenge. Anyone at that time was the target, they say. Sorieno’s sister told Amandala that their little brother, 3, was receiving surgery at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), and that she and her mother remained at the hospital to attend to the child while Soriento remained at home to attend to her two children and their little brother.

The victim, on bicycle, was shot 3 times, then 3 more times as he lay on the ground. Gary Bowen, 33, was shot multiple times on Partridge Street at about 8:20 this morning, a short distance from its junction with Banak Street, while riding his bicycle towards his family home on Morning Glory Street, near the Sadie Vernon High School. A gunman rode up on a bicycle behind him and after a short exchange of words fired three shots at Bowen, hitting him into the back of the head, causing him to fall off his bicycle. The gunman, who was not wearing a mask, then got off his bike, went to his prostrate victim, stooped over him and shot him three more times as he lay on the pavement. Witnesses said that the killer coolly put the gun back into his pants waist, got back on his bicycle, and rode into Banak Street, escaping into the surrounding area. Amandala was told that Bowen had just bought food from a tacos stand near the taxi parking lot at the corner of Cemetery Road and Elston Kerr Street, and had told a woman that a man was following him. After getting served, he crossed into Partridge Street, and before getting too far up the street, he was shot.

$10,000 FOR 62 GRAMS (0.14 POUND) OF WEED
8 family and friends charged; one pleaded guilty, telling the court that he needed it for his amputated foot. Today, Patricia Marie Wagner, 54, an auxiliary nurse of #57 Dean Street; her common-law husband, Gilbert Lightburn, 70, a resident of #20 Cemetery Road; her two sons, Clifford Betson, 33, a technician, and Mark Anthony Betson, 28, a market vendor; Ludrick Wagner, 22; Giovannie Barrella, 29, an employee of the Ministry of Health; Natasha Gillett, 29; and Stafford Young, 23, all of the same Dean Street address, were taken to court and drug trafficking charges of 62 grams of weed were read to them. Sixty grams is the limit for a charge of possession. Anything over that is listed as drug trafficking. According to police, at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 2, police went to #57 Dean Street and conducted a search of the house and premises. When police searched the yard, on a table supported by some soft drink crates, they found a black plastic bag with suspected cannabis inside it.

Main witness in Felix brothers’ murder trial murdered. The worst fears of the family of Rommel Palacio, Jr., 34, of the Jane Usher Boulevard area, who was a Supreme Court witness in the murder trial of Emory and Maurice Felix and who has been missing for nearly two months, since December 6, has been confirmed. Palacio, Jr., was believed to have been kidnapped and killed, and this was confirmed on Friday, February 1, after a decomposed body was found in an area between Miles 11 and 12 on the George Price Highway. The skeletal remains were found in a shallow 2-foot grave that was flooded, among some bushes around 2:00 p.m. on Thursday by three men who were fishing in the area. The men immediately contacted the police. When police examined the corpse, they found that the legs of the skeleton were missing. Police called Palacio’s family, who travelled to the area and identified him. His sister, Dannette, said that he was identified by a tattoo and by his wristwatch. She said that Palacio had a gold crown on each of his front teeth, but his two front teeth were missing and his skull had three dents in it.

The Belize National Cricket Association’s senior men’s cricket team will be attending the ICC Americas Division Two tournament to be held in Nassau, Bahamas from February 5 – 9. The team will be leaving today, February 4, and returning on February 10. Players that were selected to represent Belize at this tournament are: Dirk Sutherland (Captain), Conway Young, Herbert Banner, Howell Gillet, Michael Sobers, Kenroy Roca, Keve Flowers, Andrew Banner, Warren Anthony, Percival Flowers, Jonathan Benjamin, Jermaine Pook, Mykelt Anthony, and Dorian Gabb. (Ed. Note: Notably missing from the national team squad is cricket superstar Kene Broaster of 2012 champions Excellence of Double Head Cabbage. See story “Kene not happy with National Cricket Team program” elsewhere in this issue.)

A national cricket team is leaving Belize today for Nassau, Bahamas, where they will be representing Belize in the ICC Americas Division Two Tournament. (See press release elsewhere in this issue.) There are some of Belize’s best players on the team, and we wish them all the best in the competition; but, however well they do, we have a sinking feeling that Belize could have sent a stronger team. That is because there are no players from national champions Excellence of Double Head Cabbage travelling on the national team to Bahamas. Not even Excellence’s young superstar bowler/batsman/fielder Kene Broaster, who reportedly attended the training sessions for the national team, is on today’s trip to the Bahamas. New Belize National Cricket Association (BNCA) president Leroy Banner returned our call this afternoon, and explained that his committee has been trying to iron out the problems left behind from the last administration. Already, he has secured a check for the traditional cash prize of $1,500.00 for the 2012 national champions, Excellence; and the team trophies for the past season will be arriving during the course of the 2013 competition, which was scheduled to start this past weekend with a marathon. The marathon was cancelled due to the rains, and the regular season is now supposed to start this coming Saturday. He said we should be receiving the schedule for this week’s games by Thursday of this week, so we can have it in the weekend issue of Amandala.

Weekend games set for PLB tournament kick-off At the ninth hour, 9:51 tonight, to be exact, the Premier League Secretariat sent us the Week 1 schedule of games for the new tournament which kicks off this weekend. It was also noted that, with only 8 teams participating, there would no longer be a need for any mid-week games. There is nothing like a tournament kick-off to diffuse the festering discontent of competing clubs with a league executive, and re-direct the energy to football competition on the field. One area of interest going into this new season, is the speculation regarding the destination of a number of quality players whose clubs are not participating in this tournament, and who may therefore become “free agents.” Some fans will be looking to see where their idol goes, before they decide which team they will ride with in the coming competition. So, here goes Week 1 of the PLB 2012-2013 Closing Season: Saturday, February 9 7:30 p.m. – Belmopan Bandits vs Verdes FC – Isidoro Beaton Stadium Sunday, February 10 3:30 p.m. – Placencia Assassins vs Police United FC – Placencia Football Field 3:30 p.m. – San Ignacio United vs Belize Defense Force FC – Norman Broaster Stadium 4:00 p.m. – F.C. Belize vs FC San Felipe Barcelona – MCC Grounds

Beleaguered Belize received its second dose of good news in the last two weeks, following the success of our national football selection in Costa Rica, when negotiations on Friday morning in Belmopan between representatives of the Government of Belize, including the Prime Minister/Minister of Finance, and representatives of the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) and the Public Service Union (PSU), reportedly went well. We have previously explained to you that the BNTU has proven itself to be an irresistible force, while the Prime Minister, constitutionally speaking, is an immovable object. So then, the ingredients for instability and crisis were in place. There is a story in the Old Testament where Joseph, a Hebrew who has been sold into captivity in Egypt, is asked to interpret one of the Pharaoh’s dreams. In that dream, seven fat cows had come out of the river and were grazing on the bank side, when seven lean cows came out of the same river and devoured the seven fat cows. Joseph explained that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine in Egypt. In Belize, we experienced five years of plenty between 1998 and 2003. The years of plenty were a result of a policy of taking on huge loans from financial institutions on Wall Street, which institutions are now demanding their proverbial pound of flesh. Belizeans enjoyed the five years of plenty, to greater or lesser degrees, but by 2004 it had become obvious that there were bills to pay and that Belize could not continue down this road which the ruling politicians were calling “growth economics.” But for the monarchical constitution under which Belize has labored since 1981, the government of growth economics would have fallen in 2005. That government staggered through until 2008, and, truth be said, they made some efforts to mend the errors of their ways.

Maybe a couple hours north of the Gulf port city of Vera Cruz, still in the state of Vera Cruz, there’s a little town on the Gulf of Mexico coast called Casitas. Restaurants line the main street, and when you visit one like El Pirata, where our travelling party had dinner both going to and coming from Texas in May/June of last year, you can look out the windows and see the small river which splits the town in two from east to west. This is the river on which the fishermen bring in their catch from the Gulf. And the fish at El Pirata is as fresh as fresh can be. It’s a treat. As a man with a fishing background, and as a man who is of grandfather’s age, I like going to sleep early and rising in the pre-dawn darkness. But, I would still like to have it so that Belize City has a night life, if I should like to go out, for whatever reason I choose. We used to have a night life in the old capital, and the fact that we now really do not, is one of the precise differences between life here before and after independence. What night life we have now essentially involves our young people going into enclosed clubs after midnight. But the air in the city is usually fresh and clean, with the tang of salt, and sometimes the moon is beautiful in the night sky. We would do well with small businesses of an outdoor nature, like cafés and restaurants, which could ply their trade in the night. As I said before, I am not personally a night person, but on my two trips to Mérida, in 1976 and 1993, the night life was what I enjoyed most in that city of light. There was a relaxed, peaceful feeling, and musicians would be playing in parks and restaurants. Chetumal is also quite enjoyable in the night, although the pace is faster than in Mérida.

A three-year-old girl died today, February 4, after being trapped inside a burning house in San Narciso Village, Corozal District. Corozal police responded to a call around 4:10 a.m. today and found the wooden house completely destroyed by fire. The body of a female child identified as three-year-old Danely Shaniri Guadalupe Cabrera was found under a metal crib, completely burned. The child was taken to the Corozal Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival. The mother, Ramona Cabrera, 40, is a shopkeeper at the Corozal Free Zone. According to reports, Cabrera was sleeping with the child and at about 4:00 a.m. she was awakened by fire on her mattress. The house did not have electricity; the suspected cause of the fire is from a candle that was lit in the room. The fire chief said that the candle fell on the mattress and the mother pulled the mattress away, but it got on top of the gas tank and burst the hose, causing the fire to spread.

A couple weeks ago, we recommended to Belizeans in the United States that they begin to organize themselves as to be empowered to lobby Washington on behalf of Belize. It is well known that one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington, and the most powerful lobby from Central America, is the Guatemala lobby. We Belizeans have to find ways to weaken the clout of the ruling Guatemalan classes and increase our influence in the United States’ corridors of power. We are sure that we have been ignored by Belizeans in the American disapora, and this is because we know how scattered Belizeans are in the States. This was the intention of the American policymakers when they opened U.S. doors to Belizeans after Hurricane Hattie in October of 1961. They wanted to absorb us, and they wanted to scatter us. The late Guatemalan president, Ydigoras Fuentes, openly claimed that U.S. president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, had promised to support Guatemala’s claim to Belize in return for Guatemala’s being used as the training base for Cuban exiles who invaded Cuba in April of 1961. We Belizeans didn’t know about that promise when Hattie struck in October that same year. We believed that America was doing us a great favor by offering us refuge, and we loved Uncle Sam for that. Probably, we still do.

Dear Editor, Why do all you employers seek people with no police record? It’s automatically putting a blockage on the young black men of Belize, for they are the ones that are more at risk. If you ask for people with clean records only at all times, what do you expect of the country? What do you expect of those who are being denied another try? To be very honest, I have an Associate Degree, but it’s worth less than zero in Belize, and I feel as if I wasted my money and energy in education in this country. I have little resources and a promissory note to assist in pursuing my Bachelor’s, but I am very much unmotivated in every aspect. I am very, very much heart-broken and frustrated, knowing NO ONE wants to give us a chance. Sometimes you got to do the weighing of the pros and cons to see why they even got the charge or offense. I know no one really wants to hear my story, but I was caught up when I was younger, and even the bigger heads of this country give you no second chances. Unfortunately, I was around the wrong two guys in a vehicle when the police stopped the vehicle and searched it and found a loaded weapon, which was NOT my own or had anything to do with me, but me being the youngest and having had no previous charges, I had to take the charge, otherwise (you know the rest).

Dear Editor, I write today to voice a problem that a lot of drivers are encountering. There is a certain class of drivers that needs to be revised. No sir, that was not a typing error! I am talking about the taxi and bus drivers. The class “C” on our driver’s license refers to the taxi and bus, and there is a test that is taken to get that license. If one was to check, you would see what I am talking about. Article 14 of that sheet states that a driver of a public service vehicle shall get 10 hours of rest in a 24-hour period, and article 23 of that same public service study sheet states that a driver may not pick up passengers at any place. Now the study sheet needs to be amended, because most, if not all taxi and bus drivers, stop any place they are hailed, and I mean any place. I have seen them stop in the middle of the road, on the corner of a busy intersection – just about any place they are hailed.

by Nuri Akbar Editor Sir, I was deeply moved when I got this photo from Mrs. Muriel Laing Arthurs, a cousin of mine who tracked down the grave of my granduncle, Reginald Laing, who was among the young Belizean soldiers who died fighting in World War I. He was just 20 years old when he was killed. Some years earlier I had tracked down the only surviving photo of him that my aunt had in Chicago. I held on to this picture for several years and when I was in Belize in 2008, I met Mrs. Arthurs for the first time. One of the most incredible things happened. After Mrs. Muriel and her husband had moved back to Belize after decades living in NY, they settled on the Laing property on Euphrates Ave. in Belize City. One day while she was digging in her front yard garden, she stumbled upon a metal object buried in the earth. Curious, she took the object into her home and began to clean it. What it eventually revealed was the actual war Medal of Honor that was bestowed upon my uncle, Reginald Laing, in 1916. After she told me of this incredible story I told my cousin I could put a face to this name and medal and produced the World War I picture I had been carrying for many years. The photo, taken in 1916, had a note written on the back which was addressed to his sister, who is my grandmother, Edith Laing.

by Frank Mena Dear Editor, Please allow me to respond to a Letter to the Editor published in your January 30, 2013 edition entitled “Belize really needs an energy policy” in order to inform the general public that Belize has had an official National Energy Policy(NEP) since January 2012. The NEP clearly outlines the important role of energy to Belize’s social and economic development. More importantly, the NEP identifies concrete actions that collectively seek to transition Belize’s fossil-fuel based economy to a low carbon economy by 2030, using domestic renewable energy options such as wind, biomass, hydro and solar energy. In recognition of the catalytic role of energy, science, and technology to national development, the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, established the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities (MESTPU), headed by Senator, the Hon. A. Joy Grant, to promote and champion these issues in our national development discourse. In September 2012, the MESTPU launched its five-year Strategic Plan. As it relates to energy, the Plan focuses on short, medium and long-term actions that seek to improve Belize’s energy security, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and increase the production of clean, renewable energy.


A Tale of Five Cities: San Cristobal Markets (Part 2)
The fruit and vegetable markets in San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico were a feast for the senses! Although we do get some excellent fresh produce in San Pedro, the markets here have limited offerings compared to the bounty available right across the border in Mexico. We wished we could have taken advantage of the many wonderful-looking, healthy foods for sale, but without a kitchen or any form of refrigeration, we savored the colorful produce bounty with our eyes instead of our palates. Still, we thoroughly enjoyed our walks through the markets, dreaming of what we could create with these beautiful, nutrition-packed local foods. Hope you'll enjoy feasting with your eyes as well!

New look for Belize Tourism Board and my Belize Dentist
It is not exactly new news but I decided to blog it anyways because I absolutely love the look. Olsen agency crafted colorful, modern logo with a vintage feel and gave the Belize Tourism Board a new identity that will stand the test of time. I found 3 good examples of the new logo – see pictures below. Yesterday I went to my new Dentist, Dr Julio Lara at Ambergris Hope Clinic and got a chipped tooth filled, he did a good job and the cost was only $80 BZD. I decided to go back this morning to get my teeth cleaned, Dr Julio replied to my text right away and set a 10am apt for me – price for cleaning $150 BZD. I asked about cost of a few other things that are on my 2013 self improvement list, inspired by Dennis who is back snow-birding from Canada and getting his teeth done. I have a crooked front tooth that I wanted to get fixed, he said for braces on the top few front teeth cost will be $1500 BZD and Whitening is $500. To reach Dr Julio Lara for an appointment you can call the office at 226-2660 or his cell 627-0176 Many people come and get dental work done on their Belize vacation because the prices are so good. Here is a good thread on Belize Dental Care recommends from expat blog.

Miracles Do Happen: GingerScoop Tastes The New Belizean-Microbrewed Island Time Beer
Last night, GingerScoop attended a tasting of the new beer by Island Time Brewing. This may not seem like a big deal to those of you who haven't visited Belize...but for YEARS, the only beer available was Belikin. YEARS. It is our national drink. In 2012, after a few years of negotiation, a brewing license was granted to a new microbrewer. Probably the first in 20 years? And there is great excitement on the island, in Belize and...I dare say it...the world. Hip hip hooray...Island Time Brewing is out with their new ale! I can't wait to see the merchandise. But enough from is GS's report. (AND new addition: some comments from Steve, the owner of Lola's Pub at the end with a bit of clarification and detail.) I was lucky enough to be invited to a “special night” with my friends, Adam and Jackie of Casa Picasso Restaurant on Monday night. I was not told where we were going or what we were about to do. The suspense was killing me….. And as we pulled up to Lola’s Pub, I realized I was going to be able to taste a beer other than Belikin for the first time in over a year! That’s right! I was one of the few that was about to experience the first taste testing of one of the new concoctions of brew on the island. Island Time Brewing Company, headed by Jeff and Michelle, is the first in Belize to get a license to brew beer other than Belikin.

Why is the Groove-Billed Ani an Elusive Belize Bird
The Lodge at Chaa Creek in western Belize is home to over 308 species of resident and migratory birds, making Chaa Creek’s 365 private acre nature reserve one of the best bird watching locations in Belize. On our daily guided tours you will have a chance to see birds like the Keel-billed Toucan, Blue-Crowned Mot-Mot, Violaceous Trogan, Grey-necked Wood-Rail, Collared Forest Falcon, and a host of parrot species. And then there is the groove-billed ani, an elusive and mystery bird. The above photo is of the groove-billed ani, Crotophaga Sulcirostris, a bird of savannas and open spaces. It has a fairly general diet and feeds on fruits, seeds and insects. The groove-billed anis is an unusual bird because they live in small groups consisting of one to five breeding pairs. As a group, these birds defend their territory, and they also lay eggs in one communal nest where all of the group members incubate the eggs and care for the young. A medium-sized black bird with iridescent blue and green overtones, the groove-billed ani has a very long tail (half the length of the bird) and its bill is huge with arched ridge and narrow grooves. When the groove-billed ani is flying, their long tail, which appears as if on a hinge, swings up and down and from side to side like a pendulum, and looks as though it might drop off. Its membership in the cuckoo family is revealed by its two-toes-forward, two-toes-back foot arrangement. Groups of anis are collectively known as a “cooch”, “orphanage”, and “silliness” of anis.

Belizestagram! The Best Photos Of The Week
Here’s another weekly mashup (January 28 – February 03) of the best Belize Instagram photos. All these photos are personally taken by the individuals in Belize.

VIDEO: PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy, Advanced Open Water Course
Check it out at our open water classroom on The Belize Barrier Reef. Want to get PADI Certified? For more info send us an email with your request. The diving here is UnBelize-able! Let's Go!

Chain Gang
Full of anticipation (and if I admit it a fair amount of excitement) I was on the veranda with my mug of coffee by 4 am this morning. With the pour for the First Floor of our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize scheduled for 5.30 am I didn’t want to be at the site when the guys arrived to start work. But, I didn’t want to get there too much after them and miss too much of the action. A bit like a kid at Christmas I suppose. Showered, dressed ( with the boots on) and was at the site by 6.45am and was greeted by the wonderful sound (may have replaced my fixation with rebar!) of not one but two concrete mixers churning away. Look at those two beauties. And note the light in the background for the early start. Daniel Camal, our building contractor, had told us that he would have a lot of guys on site but it still surprised me as I approached our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

International Sources

Wading uncharted waters: The trial of Rios Montt
When a judge ruled last week that former general and Guatemalan head of state Jose Efrain Rios Montt will, finally, stand trial for the crime of genocide, the news resounded profoundly at home and abroad. These events in Guatemala mark the first time a national court, anywhere, prosecutes its own former head of state for the crime of genocide. Several international courts established in the last 20 years have prosecuted people involved in genocide. The events in Guatemala are exceptional because they are happening at home, in the nation where the crimes occurred. Rios Montt, 86, is the latest of several ex-officers in Guatemala to face the law concerning crimes committed during the country's 36-year civil war, which ended in 1996. His arrest in January 2012 - the judge ordered the former army general confined to his home - represented an extraordinary break with impunity in the Central American country; the decision this to proceed with the trial, despite attempts to have the charges dropped, is of even greater significance. No ranking officer has been held responsible for the violence in which some 200,000 people, almost all civilians, lost their lives.

U.S. military expands its drug war in Latin America
As the drug war in Latin America continues to gain momentum, the United States continues to do everything possible to try and combat it. The crew members aboard the USS Underwood could see through their night goggles what was happening on the fleeing go-fast boat: Someone was dumping bales. When the Navy guided-missile frigate later dropped anchor in Panamanian waters on that sunny August morning, Ensign Clarissa Carpio, a 23-year-old from San Francisco, climbed into the inflatable dinghy with four unarmed sailors and two Coast Guard officers like herself, carrying light submachine guns. It was her first deployment, but Carpio was ready for combat. Fighting drug traffickers was precisely what she'd trained for. In the most expensive initiative in Latin America since the Cold War, the U.S. has militarized the battle against the traffickers, spending more than $20 billion in the past decade. U.S. Army troops, Air Force pilots and Navy ships outfitted with Coast Guard counter-narcotics teams are routinely deployed to chase, track and capture drug smugglers.

New World Oil and Gas commences drilling of Blue Creek well in Belize
New World Oil and Gas said it has drilled the Blue Creek 2A ST well to a depth of 11,650ft in the Petén Basin in Northwest Belize. The company has decided to plug and abandon the well due to presence of inadequate commercial quantities of moveable hydrocarbons, after discussing with its partners, Blue Creek Exploration and the Government of Belize. The logs and core samples collected from Blue Creek 2A ST well showed an active hydrocarbon system, while live oil shows were measured in the Y3 and Hillbank formations. The technical data produced by the Blue Creek 2 and 2A ST wells showed that the wells contain productive reservoirs, while the data will be useful to drill company's next well in West Gallon Jug, also known as West Gallon Jug Crest. The company's Rio Bravo 1 well is expected to be drilled in Q1 of 2013 to a depth of about 8,400ft, while the West Gallon Jug Crest prospect has showed P50 un-risked prospective resources of 113 million barrels of oil with a P50 Net Present Value of $2.6bn.

Cindy Moldovan’s Debut New Book Chronicles Life in a Caribbean Paradise
Belize is a little paradise in the Caribbean blessed with lush rainforests, Mayan monuments, mountains, pristine beaches and the second largest unbroken barrier reef in the world. Author Cindy Moldovan spent the first seventeen years of her life in this proverbial Eden, and in her literary debut, shares the experience of Growing Up Third World with readers everywhere. During Moldovan’s youth, in the mid-60s and 70s, Belize was underdeveloped and not quite as well known as it is today, though she remembers fondly her childhood and the times she spent with her family and friends. The nation was, and still is, a melting pot of diverse ethnicities and mixed culture, with the author herself having a heritage of mixed white, black and Mayan Indian, an uncommon blend in a part of the world called home by a vast multitude of peoples. Moldovan acts as a travel guide to her childhood, and to her homeland, as she goes back in time and shares a way of life much different from those most in the West are accustomed to, from the ways food is prepared and cooked, to her days in school, and how it was like to live in a large family with no running water, electricity, or plumbing. Religion, holidays, and farm-life are just a few of the fascinating facets of Belizean life exposed. Growing Up Third World was not something done the short or easy way, but the beauty of Belize is undeniable, and its people fascinating, diverse and kind. All of these formative experiences and years spent in a paradise on Earth coalesce into an unforgettable childhood for Moldovan and an enchanting reading experience for those curious and interested in learning about life in one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world. Growing Up Third World is as unique a chronicle as Belize is a country. For more information on this book, interested parties may log on to

Belize, Air, Car, 5 Nights, From $1,035
Get to know the cities, jungles, and beaches of Belize with this travel package to San Ignacio and Ambergris Caye that includes a two-day car rental. The Real Deal Vacation package to Belize includes airfare from Miami to Beilize City on American Airlines, round-trip domestic flights between Belize City and Ambergris Caye, a two-day manual car rental while in San Ignacio, two nights in San Ignacio at the Table Rock Jungle Lodge, three nights in Ambergris Caye at Mata Rocks Resort with daily breakfast, from $1,035 per person including all hotel and air taxes and fees.

Three Perfect Days in Belize
A mecca for hard-core scuba divers and laid-back beach types, this tiny Central American country on the Caribbean has even more to offer—vast ancient ruins, stunning native crafts and a wealth of exotic flora and fauna—for those who venture off the beaten path. WHEN YOU MENTION BELIZE, most people think of the northeast, home to such well-established stops on the global-traveler circuit as Ambergris Caye, San Pedro, Caye Caulker and the fabled Blue Hole, arguably the world’s foremost scuba destination. But Central America’s youngest country (Belize gained independence from Britain in 1981) offers much more, particularly in the less developed south and west. These regions have everything from pristine beaches, for which Belize is best known, to spectacular Mayan ruins, cathedral-like caves and a variety of ecosystems that can change every few miles: Shoreline is followed by savannah, which itself is followed by subtropical forest; pine forest and rain forest are side by side, separated by only a narrow ridge. What’s more, the once tricky dirt roads here are increasingly being restored and paved, making it easier for curious travelers to explore the other Belize—the indigenous cultures and ecological gems of this tiny Central American nation. As you’ll discover in the days ahead, it’s a road trip well worth taking. (Though you’ll still want to rent a four-wheel drive …)

Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
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