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Today's Belize News: February 13, 2013 #457981
02/13/13 09:22 AM
02/13/13 09:22 AM
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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
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The San Pedro Sun

Jorge Olivarez Wins Valentine Regatta
Valentine's Regatta WinnersOn Sunday, February 10, the wind was blowing just south of due east at a brisk 10 knots, gusting to 15, and the waters off Isla Bonita were a bit choppy. For twenty-two intrepid members of the San Pedro Junior Sailing Team, these conditions were ideal. They took to their boats for the Valentine’s Regatta, held on a course off Caribbean Villas, which provided food and drinks and live music during the regatta. The sailors were divided into four groups of 5 or six. Each group raced a 2-lap and a 1-lap race. Jorge Olivares, Kevin Velasquez, and Christian Trejo all took first in both of their races, which qualified them for the final. Racing against each other, Jerdon Anderson and Davin Puc finished 1st and 2nd,, respectively, in their first heat. Then Davin took 1st and Jerdon 2nd in their second heat. Both of them qualified for the final. Faith Noel, who twice finished in 2nd place behind Jorge Olivares, became a finalist, as did Zulema Ayala, who took 2nd twice behind Christian Trejo.

Career Day hosted at San Pedro High School
Secondary education is a very important step in students’ lives, especially when it comes to making decisions on the career they envision for their future. Career Day is an event that is held at many high schools throughout the country in an effort to familiarize students with the many professions available. Friday February 8th was the final day of San Pedro High School’s (SPHS) Career week. For one week, different workers from the community visited second and fourth form classes to give them an insight on the job market, and the various fields of work available. Second year students were especially spotlighted as they are at the cusp of deciding on the courses they will take for their final two years of high school. Students of SPHS can choose academic (science), business or general studies. As for the seniors, they have the hard task of deciding whether to further their studies or join the work force.

20lb Permit – Catch of the Day!
Omar Arceo of Omar’s Freelance Fishing shared some photos of an incredible 20-pound Permit caught at Cayo Rosario. Also known as the Rosary Flat, the caye is an amazing – and in Omar’s words: “majestic” – flat that provides all kinds of great sports fishing. The large permit was caught on Friday, February 8th, and is only one of the eight caught that week during several tours.

Ambergris Today

Travelling Statue of Our Lady of Fatima Visits San Pedro
Catholic faithfuls gathered at the San Pedro Roman Catholic Church for the 2nd Pilgrimage of the Travelling Statue of Our Lady of Fatima to Belize which took place on Monday, February 11, 2013. The statue of Our Lady of Fatima arrived in San Pedro on Monday, February 11, 2013, at 3:30p.m. and was transported the San Pedro RC Church for the official coronation and rosary in her honor. A special mass took place at 6:00p.m. which included readings in both English and Spanish, presentation of petitions to Our Lady of Fatima and a special dance tribute by the San Pedro Dance Company. After the evening prayers a procession followed through the streets of San Pedro at 8:00p.m. Before the statue of Our Lady Fatima left San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, there was an early morning procession and blessing of the boats that took place.

Misc Belizean Sources

Soul Revolution Exhibit
The new Soul Revolution Exhibit at the Cayo Soul Project opened Saturday to much fanfare, and with live music from Walter Castillo and some great food. Here's the first round of pictures of some of the new art on display. This Friday, they'll have the Night of Expressive Talents, where they'll have live music, poetry readings, modeling, and face painting.

The Flavors of Belize Magazine for 2013 has been released, and it's now available online. Cayo has a section, and it starts on page 44. The restaurants at Hidden Valley Inn, Mystic River, and Chaa Creek are highlighted. "In 2009, McNab Publishing Ltd., launched Flavors of Belize - The Magazine, Belize's first comprehensive culinary periodical. Unique among all the cuisines of the world, Belizean foods are a remarkable collaboration between peoples and generations, ingredients and cooking styles from Belize's most valuable asset ... its people. Flavors of Belize is the most beautiful and comprehensive compilation of Belizean recipes and culture ever assembled."

Grandma Marie's Bread & Butter Pudding
This bread and butter pudding is so delectable and delicious. The custard on the bottom of the pudding is soft and sweet and gelatinous. The top layer is crunchy and crispy.

Channel 7

Almost Out Of Superbond-age: Belize Gets Ready To Launch Bond Offering
The Superbond 2.0 is days away from launching and - if everything goes as planned - weeks away from being finalized. The final terms were announced today at the House of Representatives where the only business was the Government of Belize External Debt Restructuring Motion. In presenting the bill, The Prime Minister - as Minister of Finance outlined the terms of the offer for the new bonds valued at over a billion Belize dollars and maturing over 25 years. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "A 25 year maturity ending in 2038. This is 9 years more than the current maturity under the super bond which expires in 2029, so there is 9 years more and the new bonds have a maturity trajectory of 25 years to expire in 2038. Second key feature Mr. Speaker, there is a 10% principal haircut off the top, so immediately approximately BZ$108 million dollars is to written off the current super bond indebtedness." "Third, Mr. Speaker. The initial interest rate coupon is for 5% lasting for 4.5 years stepping up then to 6.788% for the remaining life of the new bonds. Recollect that the present interest rate under the super bond is 8.5%. Now Mr. Speaker the estimate of debt service reductions resulting from the new terms negotiated by GOB are as follows: BZ$22 million dollars in 2012; BZ$66 million dollars in 2013; BZ$236 million dollars during the 5 year period 2013-2017 and BZ$494 million dollars during the 10 year period 2013-2022. The deal we have negotiated see us come out finally at a net present value 56.75 cents on each super bond dollar or a reduction in net present value terms of over 43%."

Three Sides And More To Cayo "Knock-Down" Story
And so that's it for Superbond news - we'll have more from the house meeting a little later, but first to what happened in the corridors of the National Assembly Building. That's where we got to speak to PUP Cayo North Representative Joseph Mahmud. The first time representative has been in the news because over the weekend, 17 year old Michael Valdez claims he was run over by a man driving his pickup truck on his family's property. The teenager and his aunt told us Mahmud was on the scene - but Mahmud sent out a statement yesterday flatly denying that. Today we put the question squarely to him and his answer was firm, while also pointing in another direction: Jules Vasquez "You sent out statement yesterday denying any involvement but both the victim and the aunt have put you at the scene. Were you at the scene physically at any point?" Hon. Joseph Mahmud, PUP Cayo North Representative "That is clearly stated in the press release that at no point in time I was in or near the vehicle during the time of the incident. I was not involved."

Harmonyville Calls For Protest Against GOB
9 Months ago, Nigel Petillo, the President of the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association, B(I)GYEA, told us at 7News that the plans for his fledgling community, Harmonyville were moving along briskly. But today, Petillo and his organization, along with other activists and supporters called a press conference to announce that things have changed. And now, they want the nation to support them in a national Demonstration. He wants the public to join his group in making a statement against the alleged structural resistance and foot-dragging which exists at the Lands Department. Here's what he had to say at that press conference: Nigel Petillo - President, BGYEAH "An amount of 1,300 plus acres of land was issued to us. We surveyed that land at our own expense at over half a million Belizean dollars, at the expense of the grassroots people, without a cent from the Government up to date, not in assistance in infrastructure or anything. We have done it on our own. And that's why I believe in the grassroots people because I know that you all can do it."

Vega Says He Doesn't Have Any Holdup With Harmonyville
So now the pressure is on Minister of Natural Resources Gaspar Vega. Today in Belmopan, he told us he's not sure what they're talking about, because he doesn't have anybody's land papers backed up on his desk:.. Jules Vasquez "They say that you abandoned them and that you are dragging your feet." Hon. Gaspar Vega "I don't know Jules how to answer that. We, I usually signed all the files that come to my desk. I don't check to see if the come from PG or Orange Walk or Harmonyville or wherever they may come from. As far as I know once they pay for their land everyone will get their titles. We have a time period right now of about two months that once you pay for your land you will get your title. When it was transferred to this new system that we introduce - it probably got prolong for about another 30 days. But that was it, it's nothing like what it was 10 years ago when it used to take years before you get that title." Jules Vasquez "But Harmonyville you know is a special case. I know you have had to meet with them so many times."

Finally! Castellanos Speaks
And while Honourable Vega says he doesn't have anything backed up on his desk, the question we've been asking is whether APSSM President Jose Castellanos has cleared his desk. He said he resigned from the Negotiating Team due to intimidation; the Prime Minister says it's because he got an early retirement on medical grounds, which he had requested. Today, Castellanos was making the media rounds and 7News caught up with him to have him respond to the PM's version of events: Reporter "When you had your press conference along with the other unions, you presented you own figures and you guys were confident that you could have gotten a salary adjustment based on projections for next year. Now it seems the government is saying this is not possible unless we have a surplus in revenues. Where is the disparity there?" Jose Castellanos, APSSM President "What we were saying at that time was the numbers that we had on hand. Sometime I and the financial secretary will have to meet and reconcile those figures. I would assume that on the meeting on Friday the government made a convincing argument that they didn't have the funds." Reporter "But if you were there you would have....?" Jose Castellanos, APSSM President "I would have questioned them and ask for their assumptions, I would have change the variable from growth in the current revenue to actual recurrent revenue and there is a big difference between both of them. I just explain on the radio and TV what it means."

Two Cayo Men Critical After Separate Incidents
Tonight, Jose Pineda - the Cayo resident from San Ignacio Town - is still in a coma at the KHMH. Last night we reported the account that Mariana Galvez gave police. She said that Pineda went into the bar after her - ignoring a restraining order, and he was then badly beaten by a man trying to defend her. When it was over, Pineda lay unconscious: suffering from injuries to his face and bleeding from the nose. Pineda was transferred from the San Ignacio Community Hospital to the KHMH where he is now on life support in a critical condition. Tonight the family of Pineda claims that the official story of what happened on Sunday morning is not quite right. They believe that their loved one was forced into a vehicle and then taken to Mariana's bar where he was badly beaten up. Here is there account. Voice of: Ana Kalassen - Sister of Jose Pineda "Saturday morning he was working as a DJ at Piache when someone called him outside. They called his the first time but he didn't want to go and so they called him again and that was when he went. When he went outside the club, they held a knife behind his back and told him to get into a vehicle. They drove him to Mariana's Bar and told him that he needs to see Mariana. He said no, he didn't want to see her and wanted nothing to do with her. They told him that Mariana Galvez paid them to kill him but they will only beat him. Mariana was with my brother at one point and they have one child together but have been separated for two months. There is also a restraining order in effect which is why he hired them to go get him and bring him to her, that way police will not do anything. And after they beat him, she told the men to leave him there because no one will find him. He was bleeding and unconscious and the doctor said that they hit him in the head with something hard like steal."

Taxi Driver Critical, Beaten In Front Of Teenaged Son
And just an hour after Jose Pineda was beaten into a coma - the same thing happened another Cayo man. Pedro Choc, a taxi driver of San Ignacio Town was badly beaten by 3 men around 3am on Sunday morning. Choc, who was on the job that morning, picked up the 3 men who asked to be dropped off at Legends Bar on Bullet Tree Road. Before reaching the spot, Choc drove into a ditch and that was where he was badly beaten in front of his 16 year old son. Tonight he is listed in a critical condition at the KHMH where his wife told us, they are still holding on to hope. Voice of: Elena Choc - husband in critical condition "As far as I know he was going to drop off 3 guys on Bullet Tree Road in front of Legends. When I got a call that my husband went into a drain. I saw it that they were trying to jack him because he called my brother to come quick because he needs to pull the vehicle out from the drain. My brother got there quick and the 3 guys were there with him as like they were hanging out together. They just stand on the side while my brother got under the vehicle to try and pull it out. While he was under the vehicle he said that he saw my husband drop, but my son was right there beside him also. My son saw one of the guys pick up a 2x4 board and whap my husband in his head. Right now he has a fractured skull and he has brain hemorrhage, he is under life support. We are just praying for the best." Monica Bodden "Did they stole anything?" Voice of: Elena Choc - husband in critical condition "We can't say if they went with anything. I haven't look in the vehicle yet but my son yes he did. He found some money scattered in the vehicle."

HC Yapp Was Sent Home For No Good Reason, Wants Compensation
If you follow the news closely, you may remember the name John Yapp. He's the former British High Commissioner to Belize who was stripped of his post and sent back home. His crime? He was accused of behaving quote, "inappropriately towards women at official functions", specifically, touching the backside of a politician's wife. So, in June of 2008, after a lifetime in the British diplomatic service, he was sent home and given a lower post. The allegation was later found to be baseless by a disciplinary panel. And now, Yapp - who never worked as an ambassador again, wants compensation of one million pounds from the British Government. According to the British paper, the Telegraph, the British Foreign Office's failure to support him triggered a major mental breakdown, leaving him suffering from depression. The Telegraph reports that Yapp feels his superiors should have waited to hear his side of the story before he was withdrawn from his post on the strength of "bizarre and outlandish" accusations. The hearing in the High Courts of England continues.

Did Tourism Cop Get Out Of Hand With Female?
Tonight, another complaint of police brutality came to our newsroom. It allegedly happened near the San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi establishment, more widely known as Brown Sugar. The owner of Ana's Lunch Box was allegedly roughed up by officers from the Tourism Police. According to eyewitnesses, she was driving against the flow of traffic on North Front Street, which viewers may know is under heavy construction. She allegedly disrespected one of the officers when she was warned, and that's when a male officer allegedly slammed her against a vehicle before arresting her. Here's how those eyewitnesses described the entire scene: Melanie Gladden, Eyewitness "It looks like the lady came up stop and they came and they told the lady that they will take her. She puts her hand behind her back and let them take her. The man slammed the lady into the vehicle there and starts to rough up the lady. Another one came and told me that he will slam me too because I was recording the incident. The police are chancey." Reporter "She wasn't answering back or giving any kind of resistance?" Melanie Gladden, Eyewitness "She put her hands behind her back and told them to take her if they want to."

As we showed you last night, the executive and the affairs of the Belize Cycling Association remain in a state of suspension because elections are pending. Jose Manuel Peleaz Rodriguez, The President of the governing body for the sport, COPACI, is in Belize to oversee those elections, but as members of the community may be aware, there is a battle for control of the association. And the immediate effect of this is that the cycling calendar remains shrouded in uncertainty, which directly affects the athletes. So yesterday, 7News asked the incumbent president, Emil Moreno, if the Valentine Classic, which is usually scheduled for the weekend nearest to February 14, is going to happen this year. Emil Moreno "I was approached by Raymond Cattouse from C-ray Cycling Club with interest to have the Valentine Classic. Last week Friday I was informed by him that members of the association namely Benny's Cycling team and Santino's Cycling team will boycott the race should the race happen. Of course this has happen before; they have boycott the Banana Classic and have been spreading the rumor that there is no president and there should be no race under my administration. Of course the UCI recognizes myself as the president and the executive body. "

Dillon Jones may be Belize's best known comedian - and now he's organizing a show called "Drama Meets Stand Up". It's scheduled for this Friday at the Bliss, and he told us today that he has gotten the well-known Trinidadian comedian, Errol Fabien, on the line-up for the evening. Both Jones and Fabien told us this evening why you should come out for the show: Dillon Jones "This Friday the 15th of February Valentines its "Drama meets Stand Up" and we are coming live from the Bliss and it is a pleasure to introduce to the country Mr. Errol Fabien all the way from Trinidad. We called him Trinidad master of laughter. He is going to be at the Bliss along with drama artist like Joseph Stamp, Patrick McPherson, Ava Kelly, Colin Smith, so it's going to be a combination of drama and stand up. Lionel Mangar from Cayo will be there along with myself will be performing." Errol Fabien "It's great to be in Belize and I am looking forward for everyone coming out on Friday 15th - to come and laugh." The show starts at 7:30 p.m., with tickets for $25 from Jones or from the Bliss Center.

Last week we reported on the sudden shift in the Department of Immigration - where Director Ruth Meighan was quite suddenly removed. Her minister, Godwin Hulse said he would have wished that she could stay on - as they had worked closely together. In a way, that seemed to offer some validation to the rumour that his Minister of State Penner had her pushed out. Today we asked the Prime Minister, was she indeed pushed? Here's what he had to say:.. Jules Vasquez "Sir, will Honorable Elvin Penner become the full Minister of Immigration? He remains Minister of State. I understand that a Cabinet decision was taken to transfer Ruth Meighan the director. Was that a decision because of his dissatisfaction with her?" Prime Minister Dean Barrow "No sir, there is a lady Mrs. Castillo who has resigned from the service. She used to be Commissioner of GST I believe and she had occupied a particular sort of head of unit position in the Ministry of Finance. Her resignation has left that position open. It appears to us that Mrs. Meighan is well qualified, so that's the reason for that lateral transferred."

Also in Belmopan today, we got to speak to the UDP Deputy Party Leader Gaspar Vega about Sunday's Convention. Within the party, the run-up to the event is intense with all sides scrambling for support in this high stakes contest. Indeed, Vega is the first sitting Deputy Prime Minister in memory to face a challenge within his party. Today he seemed cool and confident, but not overly so. Hon. Gaspar Vega "In this case I have been visiting people around the entire country especially the delegates, so I feel confident." Jules Vasquez "Sir, you need 275-280 roughly to win. Would you make a prediction on a margin?" Hon. Gaspar Vega "I will definitely get over 300." About 560 delegates will vote in the UDP convention.

And while Vega was cool in his review of what's happening in the race for Deputy he got a little hot under the collar in the House when PUP Orange Walk South Representative Jose Mai brought up a big money transaction between the Ministry of Natural Resources and one of Vega's biggest supporters. Here's the allegation and the response:.. Hon. Abelardo Mai "Mr. Speaker in my hand I have a letter, it is written on the letterhead; the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment. It is dated the 28th June 2010 and is address to one Mr. Derrick Gillett of Orange Walk. It is signed by one Ms. Beverly Castillo; it says CEO at the time. It's a very short letter and it said here: Pursuant to the caption matter in which you are involve as interested party the Ministry of natural Resources as defendants in the matter offers you the sum of $148,000 to extinguish or withhold all proceedings against the government of Belize Ministry of Natural Resources this matter and for the return of the parcel 1817 block Consejo Road. Government would then allow the registration of the title to the said parcel of land returned to Mr. Silvio Correa." "It goes on to apologized to inconveniences caused to Mr. Gillett. Mr. Speaker in context we have to understand and we have to know here. Everybody in Corozal and Orange Walk knows that this land never belong to Mr. Derrick Gillett. There was an attempt to take away the land from Mr. Silvio Correa that has invested more than $30,000 in the land. There was an attempt to try to take away the land. It ended up in court and as a result Mr. Speaker Mr. Derrick Gillett was offered $148,000 for not even investing a dollar on a piece of land - $148,000 of tax payers' money."

Channel 5

Superbond restructure passes through House
The House of Representatives passed in one sitting today, the terms of the restructured superbond; it goes before the Senate this Wednesday. The Opposition complained it had not been privy nor consulted on the new debt terms of the one billion Belize dollar superbond so there was little debate on the bond itself and by [...]

Mahmud blames U.D.P. for vehicle crashing into youth
A vehicle ran over a Cayo youth following a wedding celebration over the weekend. At one a.m. on Sunday, a photo was taken of a boy pinned under a vehicle in an overgrown area off a dirt road on Log Cab Inns Resort. The vehicle was alleged driven by one Desmond Berry and the owner [...]

A.P.S.S.M.’s Jose Castellanos reappears from hiatus
Since he withdrew from salary adjustments negotiations, A.P.S.S.M. President, Jose Castellanos, had not been heard from, but this morning he agreed to an interview to talk numbers.  And Castellanos says Government’s proposal presented to union leaders needs to be clearly examined. That proposal was made just three days after thousands of very vocal and determined [...]

Castellanos wants retirement deferred
Jose Castellanos was considered the ‘numbers’ man of the negotiating team, but he withdrew just one day before that team was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Barrow to hear government’s proposal. There was much speculation surrounding his departure, including allegations of personal political attacks as well as state sanctioned and orchestrated intimidation at his [...]

Consultations deflate at B.N.T.U. meetings; P.M. waits
The government proposal would allow public officers and teachers to receive salary adjustments from 2014 to 2017, but the adjustments would only be implemented if the government has a surplus of revenues in the years to come. The union leaders have had consultations with several district branches, but some who have shown up to the [...]

Los Pelones, Sinaloa Cartel and 2 Belizeans in Mexico
Tonight there is little more detail coming out of Mexico City regarding the arrest on Thursday evening of eight persons in Chetumal. Those persons, six males and two females, were found at the house of a man Mexican authorities claim is the head of Los Pelones, a brutal enforcement gang linked to the Sinaloa Cartel. [...]

Will Faber or Vega win as U.D.P. Deputy Party Leader?
Minister of State, Mark King was involved in a casino brawl and has been criminally charged; he is the second U.D.P. minister to be suspended from ministerial duties.  We asked our viewers if, instead of a three month suspension, should King be removed as a Minister of State? An overwhelming eighty percent voted yes while [...]

Anna’s Lunch Box owner roughed up by cops
Fifty-seven year old Anna McKay, proprietor of Anna’s Lunch Box at Brown Sugar compound near Fort Street Tourism Village was allegedly roughed by a tourism police. But instead of offering her relief, she says she was handcuffed and escorted to the police station for charges. It all happened this morning in the hustle and bustle [...]

Finnegan implies Mark Espat dah U.D.P.
During this morning’s house sitting, the Minister of Housing Michael Finnegan rose to speak about the restructured bond giving his praise for the leader of the debt negotiating team, Mark Espat. Espat, the former P.U.P. Area Representative for the Albert Division.  Finnegan gave the impression to the members of the House that it may be [...]

Mai on Vega for land deal; Vega on Mai for contraband
Area representatives did not spend too much time discussing and debating the budget. They instead focused on issues particular to their districts. Jose Mai, P.U.P.’s Orange Walk South Area Representative, read a letter about a land deal—allegedly gone sour—at the hands of Minister of Natural Resources and Deputy P.M. Gaspar Vega. Vega denied any wrong [...]

BGYEA demonstration for land titles
The issue of land was also at the center of a press conference this morning in Belize City. The grassroots organization, BGYEA, says it will head to Belmopan to protest the slow delivery of land titles to residents of the Harmonyville community. Nigel Petillo has been on the frontlines and says that he has had [...]

Dispute between estranged couple lands man in coma
An altercation at a San Ignacio bar over the past weekend ended badly for Jose Pineda. It happened between sometime around two-thirty on Sunday morning at a bar owned by thirty-three year old Mariana Galvez, who is estranged from Pineda. According to police reports, Galvez claimed that Pineda assaulted a patron who had asked for [...]

Cayo cab driver comatose after beaten
A taxi operator from San Ignacio is tonight in a coma at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after he was hit on the head with a piece of wood on Saturday morning. Sometime around three a.m., forty-two year old Pedro Ch’oc was carrying a fare when it is alleged that he was attacked by his [...]

Honduran immigrant illegal in Belize
  A Honduran national who entered Belize illegally has been caught while trying to make his way to the United States. Twenty-five year old Nelvin Rodriquez Orellana appeared in court unrepresented before Magistrate Adolph Lucas where he was read a single charge for illegal entry and has been deemed a prohibited immigrant. He was fined [...]

Former British High Commission sues his government
  John Yapp is a former British High Commissioner who was suddenly withdrawn from Belize back in 2008 when he was accused of behaving inappropriately towards women at an official function.  The incident reportedly involved Kim Simpliss and Lauren Reardon.   Yapp was recalled to the Foreign Office and never given another ambassadorial appointment. He retired [...]


Details of Super Bond Presented In The House of Representatives
The terms of Belize’s restructured foreign debt, also known as the super bond, were announced today at a special sitting of the House of Representatives in Belmopan. Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow introduced the Government of Belize External Debt Restruc...

Lead Negotiator Apologizes To Unions For Leaving the Negotiation Process for Salary Increase
He has been out of the limelight since just before the unions met with the Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, and his Cabinet two Fridays ago over salary adjustment discussions. But today, the President of the Association of Professional Service Senior Managers, Jose Castellanos, avail...

Vega Predicts Victory In The UDP's Upcoming Deputy Party Leader Convention
The deputy leadership convention for the United Democratic Party is set for this coming Sunday in Corozal. Collet area representative Patrick Faber is challenging the incumbent, Orange Walk North’s Gaspar Vega. Today, the incumbent told reporters that he is confident ...

Punta Gorda Police Meets With Citizens For Crime Prevention
Residences of Zone four area of Punta Gorda met with police representatives to discuss issues related to Neighbourhood watch program and crime prevention measures. The Zone four areas include Punta Gorda residents living in the southern section of town known as cemetery area. The m...

Motor Vehicle Stolen Off Hotel's Parking Lot
A theft was reported yesterday in San Ignacio Town. A businessman from Santa Elena reported that yesterday around 12:30 a.m, he went to the Princess Casino on Buena Vista Street in San Ignacio to socialize with friends. He parked his red 1991 Dodge Caravan in the parking lo...

Village Wake Disrupted By Shooting Incident
Police are looking for a person in connection to a shooting incident in Teakettle Village in the Cayo District. According to reports, around 7:30 p.m. fifty three year old Albert Usher was at a wake in the village when a male person who he knows for twenty five years reportedly h...

Honduran National Deported From Belize Two Weeks After Facing Deportation From US
A Honduran national who was deported from Atlanta, Georgia about two weeks ago, is facing another deportation order, but this time from the Magistrate Court in Belize City. He is 25 year old Nelvin Orellana, a musician from Colon. Orellana was apprehended yesterday by two immigration o...


Melin Vasquez And Hugo Cassanova Plea Not Guilty In Chetumal Court
The eight individuals including the Mexican drug lord of The Pelones in Chetumal, Carlos Cabañas Catzin AKA “El Monstruo” and Belizean Nationals Ermelindo (Melin) Vasquez from Orange Walk and Hugo Cassanova from Calcutta, Corozal who were detained on Thursday of last week by the Mexican Navy during a planned raid in Chetumal Quintana Roo, have surrendered their initial statement to the Sixth District Court. The raid led navel personnel to 45 kilograms of the synthetic drug known as crystal meth with a value of at least 11 million pesos, almost U.S $1,000,000.00 in the black market. Approximately 50 thousand doses of the substance were ready for distribution and retail marketing. According to the Mexican Newspapers Carlos Cabañas Catzin, Nestor Alberto Catzin Cabañas, Luis Juárez López, Alejandro Lugo Courtenay, Fabiola Lopez Juarez, Patricia Rosa Morales Olán, Hugo Casanova and Ermelindo Vazquez, have pled not guilty to the charge of drug possession for the purpose of sale. At the hearing yesterday, the defendants denied knowing anything about the 45 kilos of drugs or being the owners for that matter. We understand that the accused also stated that they were illegally detained and requested the extension of the constitutional term of 72 to 144 hours, to prove their innocence. It was also reported that the evidence provided by the elements of the Mexican Navy were concrete and solid. The future and the legal status of the alleged drug traffickers now lies in the hands of the Sixth District Court who will determine weather the eight accused will be sent to prison or will be set free.

PM Barrow Says that If Oil Is Found Then Teachers Will Receive Salary Increase But Oil Company Says "NO OIL NO DE!"
On February 1st, after a massive teacher’s demonstration in Belmopan, the Prime Minister of Belize met with leaders of the Public Service Union, Belize National Teachers Union and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers in order to reach to an agreement as it pertains to the salary dispute. During the meeting there was a breakthrough and presently union leaders are selling Governments proposal to their union members. The task; however, has proven to be quit tedious since all indications are that members, especially those of the BTNU are not satisfied with the proposal since it contains too many ifs. For context here is what the Dean Barrow Administration proposed to the Union Leaders. Dean Barrow Prime Minister Of Belize “But whether or not there will be salary increases will depend on the performance of government’s recurrent revenue. In other words, this year that is ending 2012/2013, when we see what the recurrent revenue figure is, we will use that as a benchmark and then in 2014/2015, if there is an increase in government’s revenue collection—if the recurrent revenue goes up over the benchmark year—fifty percent of the extra revenue collected will go to the teachers and public officers by way of a raise. Why fifty percent? Because that is the current ratio of salaries to recurrent revenue.”

Trio Are Set Free After Charged With Drug Trafficking
On October 9th we showed you the two Belizeans and the Mexican National that were arrested and charged for two counts of drug trafficking after they were found in possession of 400 grams of suspected cocaine. Well, today, 51 year old Alfonso Iglesias from Consejo Road Corozal, 51 year old businessman of San Pedro Town Jose Nunez and 52 year old Mexican National Pedro Alfonso Betancourt Reed who were out on bail, are free men. That is because on Friday February 8th when they appeared at the Corozal Magistrate Court, a crucial piece of forensic evidence established that the white substance tested negative to cocaine and to any other illegal drug. As a result, the case against the trio was immediately dismissed and they were set free. The three men were arrested on October 7th when Corozal Police visited C&B’s Bar where they searched a Silver 2005 Ford Eco Sport SUV. Inside the vehicle police discovered two black plastic bag containing what they thought was cocaine. As for the impounded SUV, it was handed over to its owner, Pedro Alfonso Betancourt Reed.

Another Store Gets Robbed!
Last night while we were airing the news another store was being robbed here in Orange Walk. Hilda’s Store on Guadalupe Street was opened for business as per normal but at around 7:15 the everyday routine of buying and selling was interrupted when a white car with unknown license plate parked in front of the store. At that instance two male individuals of dark complexion exited the vehicle and entered the store armed with sticks. Under the condition of anonymity, the proprietor of the store told us that while one of the men attacked him with the stick, the other individual made his way to the cash register and proceeded to take all the cash. A customer who was in the store at the time of the robbery tried to intervene but he was also attacked by one of the assailants. After they robbed approximately $300 in cash, the two men ran back to the vehicle and made good their escape. Police are investigating the matter.

Chapel's School Enrolls In GREAT Program
In keeping with their initiative to foster a better relationship with the community, the Belize Police Department introduced the Gang Resistance and Training Program to selected primary schools throughout the country, three years ago. The program looks to deter primary school students from having any connections to gangs and gang related activities. Officers in charge of implementing the GREAT program, have a wide range of experience in criminal behavior and the ability to recognize gang members. They are also equipped with referral knowledge and most importantly, can be positive role models for students. This morning, those same officers were in Chapels School where standard 5 students were welcomed into the program. Julian Chi, Principal “This is only STD 4 and 5 at this point. Later on it is a 13 weeks program and after that it will be another group of children and there is another set that can be done at a lower level for STD 1 to STD 3. We are giving them one lesson which will 45 minutes every week. I was walking about and looking at it. I believe it is good. I have seen their booklet, their curriculum, which they want to cover and it is something positive. I think it is one of those programs can help our children that they can go to the right direction. The children are embracing it and I believe it is something positive. They, as I said, are looking on how to choose your friends. Also rather that they influence you into negative things you should influence them into positive things.”

Super Bond Gets Debated At The House Of Representative
There are two set interest rates; one of 5% per annum from March 2013 to August 2017 and 6.767% per annum from August 2017 to February 2038. This interprets that the semi-annual interest payments will be due five months after the issuance of the bond and interest will be due in a period of six months. Dean Barrow-PM Belize “The terms and conditions of the new bond are as follows: maximum transaction size, US$529,928,800, rate of interest- the bonds will attract interest payable semi annually in arrears at the interest rate per year as set out now. From and including the 20th March 2013 and to but excluding 20th August 2017 interest at the rate of 5% per annum and then from and including the 20th August 2017 to but excluding the 20th February 2038 interest at the rate of 6.767%. Issue date: the new bonds are expected to be issued by, not later than, 31st March 2013. Amortization and finally maturity date: the new bonds shall be repaid in equal semiannual installments commencing 20th August 2019. The final maturity date is expected to be 20th February 2038. The new bonds will be general, direct, unconditional, unsubordinated and unsecured obligations of Belize and will rank at least equally amongst themselves and will all of Belize existing and future, unsecured and unsubordinated bond indebtedness. Being understood; however, that this equal ranking status shall not require Belize to pay all items of its bind indebtedness on a rate-able basis.”

Union Members Meet In Orange Walk
On February first the labour unions namely the PSU, BNTU, APSSM and NTUCB met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow to discuss what the unions have been clamoring for, for years- salary adjustment. The proposal that government laid on the table is based on a formula of actual recurrent revenue overturn and will cover financial years 2014 to 2017. However, the maximum salary adjustment in any single year will not exceed ten percent of wages and wage related grants. Presently leaders of the Belize National Teachers Union, Public Service Union and Association of Public Service Senior Manager are going across the country presenting Governments proposal to their membership. But all indications are that it’s not going too well. Up to date, the union leaders have consulted with their membership in the Belize District, Dangriga and Punta Gorda. Reports coming out of those three previous meetings indicate that membership attendance was low and those present were not too happy with the proposal.

A Closer Look At Hepatitis A
Last week Friday we told you about the high number of suspected Hepatitis A infection in the Village of Cristo Rey and other surrounding communities. While in the village, our news team spoke to Public Health Inspector, Horris Patten who told us about the plan the Ministry of Health has in order to contain the alarming suspected cases of the disease. High on the agenda is building public awareness. This morning Patten along with Doctor Angel Campos and another colleague were on the Despierta Belice Show and Reporter Hipolito Novelo took the opportunity to take a closer look at the disease. Hepatitis A is the inflammation or the swelling and irritation of the liver as a result of the hepatitis A virus. The virus itself is found mostly in the stool and blood of an infected person and it’s highly contagious. According to Doctor Angel Campos last year there were 35 reported cases of Hepatitis A. This year; however, it seems that there will be an increase in reported cases since nearly two months into the new year 13 suspected cases have already surfaced.

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Teenager drowns in Benque Viejo del Carmen
A teenage boy is reported to have drowned in Benque Viejo del Carmen on Sunday afternoon. According to reports, Rodney Javan Guerra was swimming in the Mopan River yesterday afternoon when he went under the water. His friends reportedly took him out of the water and administered CPR and took him to the Mopan Clinic, but he died.

Small fire reported at Galen University
There was a scare at Galen University in Georgeville village on Sunday afternoon when the fire department was alerted of a fire at the campus. Fortunately, the damage caused by the fire, which was contained due to the quick response by the firefighters from San Ignacio town, did not amount to much. Love News spoke with the resident of Galen University, Dr. Louis Zabaneh. Classes resumed as normal today.

Belizeans among those busted with Crystal in Mexico
Two Belizeans along with five Mexicans were busted with a total of forty five kilos of crystal Meth, valued at over eleven million pesos which is around two million Belize dollars. The Belizeans have been identified as Hugo Casanova of Carolina Village in the Corozal District and Hermelindo “Melin” Vasquez of Orange Walk Town. According to a newspaper from Quintana Roo, the raid which was planned by members of the Mexican Navy along with other federal agencies took place on Thursday. Reports are that around 5:50 pm on Thursday, two vans filled with naval members arrived at the home of Carlos Cabañas Catzim, also known as El Monstruo or the monster who is considered one of the main drug retailers in Chetumal. The marines, all dressed in civilian clothing, approached the house and were deployed throughout the next two blocks, stopping the traffic from entering the Avenida Benito Juarez close to where the house is located. The tenants of in the adjacent building to the house had been evicted to prevent civilian casualties. According to reports the forty five kilograms of crystal meth, which equaled to about fifty thousand doses ready for distribution and retail marketing were inside the building and were found in bags which were found inside several refrigerators. In addition, three vehicles were also confiscated. At around 6:30 pm a group of marines left the residence taking with them the six men and two women to their headquarters. The newspaper goes on to report that the detainees were transferred via an military aircraft to Mexico City where they were handed over to the officials of Mexico’s organized crime investigation unit.

Accident on the Yo Creek road leaves two people injured
Two people were injured in a traffic mishap on the Yo Creek road on Saturday evening. According to police reports, thirty six year old Dalia Marin Gonzalez was heading towards Yo Creek village around five forty five on Saturday evening, when a vehicle, traveling in the opposite direction, crashed into the left side of her SUV. Dalia Marin Gonzalez sustained a cut wound to her head and complained of pain to her left shoulder. The driver of the other vehicle, a pickup truck assigned to the Ministry of Agriculture, has been identified as thirty one year old Max Castro. He sustained a fractured left foot and a cut wound to the right foot. Both vehicles received extensive damage in the incident. Police say they have issued Castro with a notice of intended prosecution for the offence of “drove motor vehicle without due care and attention.” Investigations continue.

Cyclists hold rally over the state of the sport
Cyclists concerned about the state of the sport in Belize held a rally over the weekend in Belize City. Love TV’s Ava Diaz Sosa reports.

Forum on women in politics held in Belize City
Since the 1960’s, women have been making their presence known in the House of Representatives. But the scale at which they are elected has not been on the same level as is desired by groups that promote women participation at the National level. So today, 31 of Belize’s women who are, have been in, or plan to enter politics are this week engaged in a forum that seeks to achieve just that. The Women’s Issues Network has collaborated with the United Nations Development Program and the group called Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections or BRIDGE, are focusing on those core topics that have kept women behind the scenes as compared to their male counterparts in the spotlight. This is the start of a three-year initiative for which WIN Belize has received a handsome amount to carry through with, and it will include a series of discussions spanning across community centres and halls throughout the country. Carolyn Reynolds heads the Women Issues Network, and she told Love News that women have proven their worth and that they are capable of stepping up to the challenge. The United Nations Democratic Fund has provided over $400,000 for the three-year project. Present at the week-long event are former Belize City Mayor, Zenaida Moya, Belmopan City Councilor, Ana Guy, and a number of female village councilors.

News from the Crime Beat
Two people from Santa Elena town have been detained after an early Sunday morning incident in San Ignacio which has left a man on life support at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Thirty three year old Mariana Galvez and thirty eight year old Victor Perez are in police detention pending the outcome of their investigations. Authorities say that between two and two thirty on Sunday morning, Galvez, who owns a bar in San Ignacio town, was in the process of stocking up a freezer, when a client approached and requested to make a purchase. Galvez says while she was serving the client, her ex common-law husband Jose Santos Pineda, entered the bar and assaulted the client. Galvez says she ran out of the bar but that Pineda followed and then assaulted her. A second man, identified as Perez reportedly intervened and a struggle then ensured between Perez and Pineda. During the fight, the police arrived and took all three persons to the hospital. Galvez’s injuries were classified as harm, while Perez had a cut on his back. Pineda was suffering from injuries to his face and was bleeding from the nose. He was admitted to the hospital and later transferred to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in a critical condition. Police say Jose Pineda is currently on life support. They have detained both Galvez and Perez pending investigations. A stabbing incident on Saturday has left three people injured. Police say they visited the KHMH on Saturday morning where they observed eighteen year old Trevor Brown suffering two apparent stab wounds to the back, a fifteen year old minor with a stab wound to the left arm and a seventeen year old with a stab wound to the left side of the face. Police say their initial investigations revealed that Brown and the two minors were socializing at a fair when a fight started with an unknown man who inflicted the stab wounds. Police say they retrieved a knife with a four inch blade from the scene. Authorities have since arrested and jointly charged Brown, along with twenty one year old Gilbert Wade and the two minors for the crime of causing public terror and for the offence of disorderly conduct. Police say Wade was additionally charged for the offence of possession of an article with blade. Police in San Ignacio town are investigating an incident which has been classified as a burglary at an office on the Benque Viejo road. The global project manager Pro World reported to authorities that on December twenty fourth of last year, someone cashed a cheque in the amount of thirteen thousand dollars, written on the organization’s bank account. The global project manager who made the report says that the cheque was one of several blanks that were authorized to be signed by the director and left inside of a metal safe in the office. The complainant also says that when she went to the bank to freeze all transactions on the organization’s account, she was informed that on January twenty eight, another cheque, this time in the amount of two thousand, four hundred dollars was cashed by a project manager for Pro World. Police say the global project manager at Pro World told them that her own investigation revealed that the thirteen thousand dollars withdrawn in December was used to purchase a vehicle, for which there was no approval given by the organization. Police investigations continue. A shooting incident on Saturday night has left one person injured. Police say that around eleven thirty on Saturday night, they visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where they say twenty five year old Trevor Hinds suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the left side of the chin. Initial police investigations show that Hinds was at the corner of Hibiscus and Flamboyant streets when a man of dark complexion rode up and fired several shots in his direction injuring him. Police investigations continue.

Dangriga police find marijuana
Police in Dangriga have recovered a quantity of marijuana. Correspondent Harry Arzu reports.

Woman charged for possession of controlled drugs
Twenty year old Maria Reyes, a resident of St. Margaret Village, located on the Hummingbird Highway, was charged with possession of a controlled drug for five grams of cannabis seeds were found in the back pocket of the pants of her one year old baby boy when she went to Belize Central Prison on Saturday, February 9 to visit a relative. Reyes pled not guilty to the charge. She was released on a bail of $800.00 and her case was adjourned until March 18. A prison officer searched Reyes and found nothing incriminating. But when the officer searched her baby she found a transparent plastic bag containing the cannabis seeds.

Prison inmate charged for drug possession
Prison inmate Danny Urbina, who was charged with the possession of 34 grams of cannabis that was found in his cell, was sentenced to one year today by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser after he pled guilty to the charge. Urbina was busted on Thursday, February 7. Prison officer Sylvano Cal reported to the police that when he searched Urbina’s cell he found the cannabis. As a result, Urbina was handed over to police constable Cano and he along with the cannabis was taken to Hattieville Police Station where he was charged after the cannabis was weighed.

Four persons, including a minor charged with burglary
Three men and a 16 year old boy were charged with a burglary in which money and items amounting to over $18,000.00 were stolen when they appeared in court today. The adults are Cilo Cherrington, Lloyd Parchue and Kareem Yorke. They and the minor were also charged with handling stolen goods. Cherrington alone was charged with a second count of handling stolen goods. They all pled not guilty to the charges. Cerringtom, Parchue and Yorke were denied bail and were remanded into custody until April 3. The minor was released on a bail of $10,000.00. The burglary occurred on Friday, February 8 at the residence of Luke Garbutt, located in Buttonwood Bay. The items that were stolen included $1,810.00 U.S. currency, jewelry, wristwatches, cell phones, I-phones and a laptop computer.

Leadership training session ends in Toledo
Training in connection to the Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Program ended at the weekend in Placencia. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details.

Vet gives physical examination to horses in Belize City
The folks who rely on the innovative horse and buggy inventions as a form of livelihood from the tourism industry have had their court in the court – at least the court of public opinion. They have been criticized for maltreating, overworking and abusing the horses, and on Thursday and Friday, the Belize Equestrian Academy teamed up with the Belize Tourism Board and the Tourism Police Unit to reign in those who have ignored the laws. On Friday, the horses went through an entire physical inspection and according to Marjie Olson from the Equestrian Academy, while there has been some growth over the years, there’s still quite a bit left to achieve towards that end, but one of the problems is having the rules and not enforcing them. This time, it was the enforcement agencies that found themselves on the receiving end of the criticisms. Juliet Neal of the Belize Tourism Board agrees that there needs to be better enforcement of the laws, but said that it is left up to the discretion of the tourism police officers manning the trade to keep the carriage operators in check. Those officers were given pointers on what to look for on the horses and in the carriages to keep violations at a minimum.

Pope Benedict resigns
Pope Benedict the sixteenth today shocked the world when he announced he is stepping down. The eighty five year old pontiff is the first to resign since the 15th century. He is due to step down on February twenty eight. The Pope said he was resigning because he does not have the physical strength necessary to do the job. Vatican spokesman Reverend Federico Lombardi says Cardinals will meet to choose Benedict’s successor sometime after his official resignation on February twenty eight.


PM reveals new terms for Superbond
The House of Representatives met today in Belmopan where the Prime Minister revealed the details of the newly negotiated terms for the repayment of Belize’s super bond. The Prime Minister said the new deal makes for a10% haircut off the top reflecting a 108 million dollar write off on...

UB Faculty plans demonstration
There is trouble brewing at the University of Belize. The University of Belize Faculty and Staff Association (U.B.F.S.A), held a press conference this morning in Belmopan to air out some problems they are having. The problems are apparently many, but chief among them is the University Of Belize Board...

APSSM President says resigning during negotiations was an error of judgment
The APSSM President says that his resignation during negotiations was an error of judgment. For at least a week now, policy analyst at the Ministry of Agriculture and financial guru for the trade unions Jose Castellanos, has been under fire for apparently abandoning his union colleagues when they most...

High profile Drug case involving two Belizeans and a Mexican dismissed
A high profile Drug case involving two Belizeans, one from Corozal Town, one from San Pedro Ambergris Caye and a Mexican national has reportedly been dismissed against the trio in the Corozal Magistrate Court. According to Corozal Daily, the dismissal was given after forensic results of the suspected cocaine...

More consultations on Government’s proposal to the major trade unions scheduled
Last night we told you that union members met in Belmopan at the UB Auditorium to discuss Government’s proposal to address the salary increase being demanded by the three major unions, BNTU, APSSM and PSU. As we said, there was not a vote taken at that meeting as to...

Former British High Commissioner to Belize is suing the British Government
A former British High Commissioner to Belize is suing the British Government for one million pounds, claiming he was suspended over false accusations. How does that relate to Belize you may ask? Well, the plaintiff, John Yapp, was posted in Belize when he was accused by local politicians of...

BGYEA plans national protest over unfair land distribution
In the past few weeks, we’ve told you about the unions’ problems with GOB regarding their salary increase and subsequent demonstration, the UBFSA’s problem with the Board of trustees and Government’s lack of response and possible demonstration scheduled for Thursday , and now we’ll tell you about BGYEA plans...

The Minister of Natural Resources said he signs all applications without partiality
The Minister of Natural Resources the Hon. Gaspar Vega spoke to the media this afternoon in response to BGYEA’s press release. The Minister said that he signs all applications without partiality. 1 But according to BGYEA’s account, this is not so and they are questioning the motives of Minister...

Race for first Deputy Leader of UDP concludes on Sunday
The race for first Deputy Leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) between incumbent Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Natural Resources and Orange Walk North Area rep for two terms, and incumbent Chairman and Minister of Education Patrick Faber, who has been representing Collet for four terms...

Burrell Boom residents want to own Castleton Race Track
Burrell Boom residents want to own Castleton Race Track. Castleton Race Track is one of the most important sporting venues in the Belize River Valley and home to horse racing meets during Easter and Boxing Day. But what many may not know is that the village is embroiled in...


This coming Sunday’s national party convention, wherein Belize City’s Patrick Faber challenges Orange Walk’s Gapi Vega for the Deputy Leadership of the ruling UDP, is pretty much a no-win situation for the party. If Faber wins, it means that the Opposition PUP will become stronger in the Districts in time for village council elections. There is an entrenched element in the PUP which has convinced itself that they do not need Belize City in order to win national elections, and they are using last March’s general elections as proof. Had they won the two Cayo seats they lost by fewer than 75 votes, the PUP would have gone to Belmopan as 16-15 winners. If Faber wins, the PUP will argue that the UDP government is a Belize City show. If Vega wins, the UDP will continue its slow slide into the murky waters of voter cynicism. The Barrow government came to power in 2008 on a reformist ticket of administrative honesty, but Gapi’s questionable reputation is the reason for the Faber challenge where people like the former UDP Leaders, Esquivel and Lindo, are concerned. Mr. Vega’s failure in the 2012 general elections was startling. The PUP won three out of four seats in his Orange Walk District base: largely because of the Orange Walk results, the PUP almost pulled one of the big upsets in Belize’s general election history.

About two or three weeks before the UDP Lake Independence area representative’s meltdown at the Corozal border casino last week, there had been street reports of his having had an after hours altercation with one Raindrops Swan. The indications are that Mark King was a man looking for trouble, and trouble found him. In hindsight, you have to ask yourself the questions: who is Mark King, where did he come from, who sponsored him, and does he have any serious core beliefs where Belize’s development is concerned? The answers to the first two questions are fairly straightforward. King is a former Belize Defence Force officer who resigned his commission. He comes from Ladyville. He came from Ladyville to enter UDP politics in 2006. In answer to the third question, ask yourself who was running Ladyville in 2006, then you will understand why Mark King was sponsored and sent to Lake Independence, Cordel Hyde’s constituency. The answer to the fourth question is that there is absolutely no evidence that Mark King has any serious core beliefs where Belize’s development is concerned. He is a politician who chose to ride the United Democratic Party vehicle, and his ride has been a successful one. You don’t have to know much or believe much to be successful in Belize’s party politics. What you have to do is wave the flag and chant the slogans. And, you must be acceptable to the big people who finance the political parties.

The Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) high school football finals climaxed tonight at the MCC Grounds, where both female and male games #2 of the Finals 2-game series ended deadlocked in regulation. The females settled matters in overtime, but the males had to go all the way to penalties. Games #1 of the Finals for both females and males were played on Friday, February 8, and both were draw games. In the females, Wesley and SCA played to a 0-0 draw. And in the males, ACC took a 1-nil first half lead on a goal by Richard Waight; but Dmitri converted a penalty in second half to level things 1-1 for SJC. The decisive second games of the Finals took place this evening at the MCC Grounds, after which medals were awarded to the 1st and 2nd place finishers. The female Finals game 2 today between Wesley and SCA was scoreless in regulation, so they went to 5-5 overtime. And it was in overtime that the Wesley girls exploded for 3 goals, starting with a penalty conversion by Erika Milligan, and followed by two more strikes by Elisha Bernardez and Shanice Neal, for the final 3-nil score and the championship.

The Youth Enhancement Services (YES) and the Community Policing Department received funding of over US$170,000 from the United States Embassy through the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) to facilitate a three-year project that the two organizations have partnered to carry out. The funding was approved in January of this year and the project has been officially launched. The project is aimed at decreasing crime and violence in the community. Douglas Hyde, Police Youth Coordinator, said that he collaborated with Karen Cain, director of YES, and focused on some of the programs they carry out under community policing that are not government-funded. “Last year in 2012 they sent out a call for proposals from organizations, specifically NGOs in the area of community policing,” Hyde said. “The proposals were to look at ways of building partnership and collaboration with the police department in the area of crime and violence.” Hyde said that he and Cain developed a proposal together that focused on key areas, specifically four areas, of their programs for which they can partner for the next three years. The first of the four undertakings is the renovation of Queen Square pool, which is behind the police station. The second one is the carrying out of national parenting training aimed particularly at parents of the police youth cadet and young people from the different communities in the districts. The third area of focus involves the hosting of summer camps for the police youth cadets.

A father and son have been released on a bail of $3,000 and ordered to return to court on April 2, 2013 after San Ignacio police charged them with handling stolen goods and burglary. The caretaker of a house on a farm in Georgeville told police that around 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, he saw two men making forced entry into the building. The two men of Hispanic descent, came to the farm house in a white pickup truck, and then began to break the lock on the door to enter the building. The caretaker quickly alerted police, who were on patrol in the area. San Ignacio responded quickly and caught Marcus Santos, Sr., 44, and his son, Marcus Santos, Jr., 21, both of Georgeville, red-handed, coming out of a house with items they were taking illegally. Police said that they also saw the men’s white pickup truck parked in front of the building, which was loaded with two AC units, a red water pump, a black Motorola battery charger, a winch clamp, a strap belt clamp and a variety of steel rods that they had already taken from the house

“To remember a person is the most important thing in the novels of Alexandre Dumas. The worst sin anyone can commit is to forget.” - pg. 3, The Black Count, Tom Reiss, Crown Publishers, New York, 2012 To reach the highest levels of power in Belizean politics, you have to be acceptable to Rome and Canterbury, or, if you will, the Christian establishment. Almost all Belizean children attend schools controlled by the Christians, and they will spend an average of five years, say, being indoctrinated in basic Christian precepts. Childhood is the most impressionable time of one’s life, so the great majority of Belizean children remain basically Christian throughout their lives, and they will use Christian yardsticks to measure things. Rome and Canterbury, therefore, have the power of figurative life and death over Belizean politicians, because they control the minds of Belizean voters. Modern, third millennium Christianity does not really have that much to do with the documented life of Jesus Christ, because modern, third millennium Christianity is a materialistic philosophy, whereas Christ was a completely spiritual man. The life of a Rastafarian, for example, is much more Christ-like than the life of the Christians who go to church on Sundays sometimes, and run things in Belize. Belize is a Christian place, but Belize is a very sinful place. It should be a contradiction in terms for a Christian place to be a sinful place, but we have grown so accustomed to this state of affairs that we apparently do not consider it a contradiction in terms.

The Premier League 2012-2013 Opening Season, which featured 12 teams, was one of the most competitive ever, with goal differences deciding the final 4-team playoff spots. Well, Week 1 of the PLB 2012-2013 Closing Season is in the books, and with only 8 teams competing in this one, it appears that fans can brace themselves for an even more competitive and thrilling tournament. Some top players from the 4 inactive clubs (R.G. City Boys United, Juventus, San Pedro Sea Dogs and Paradise/Freedom Fighters) are expected to find spots on the rosters of the 8 competing teams, which will likely raise the level of play another notch. In the only Saturday night game, on February 9 at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium, defending champion Belmopan Bandits, despite missing their MVP goalie Woodrow West 9 (reportedly away for tryouts in the U.S.), cruised past visiting Verdes FC, 4-nil, with goals from Jerome “Jarro” James (1’ & 69’), David Madrid (19’) and Brandon Peyrefitte (33’). The remaining 3 games were on Sunday afternoon, February 10. Out west at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio, it was Belize Defence Force FC coming away with a 3-2 win over San Ignacio United FC. Paul Nunez (9’ & 32’) and Harrison Tasher (80’) shook the net for BDF; while San Ignacio United got goals from Leonard Valdez (41’) and Felix Miranda (90+’). Meanwhile, down south at the Placencia Football Field, visiting Police United FC dropped the home squad, Placencia Assassins FC, 3-1, with goals from Jeremy Bermudez (21’), Evan Mariano (66’) and Lennox “Criminal” Castillo (90+’). Placencia’s lone tally was by Earnie Whyte (33’).

2 Belizeans arrested, along with 6 Mexicans. The Diario Respuesta, of Quintana Roo, Mexico, of Thursday, February 7, reported that two Belizeans, along with Carlos Cabañas Catzin, alias “El Monstruo” of Chetumal, who the article describes as a “drug lord,” were arrested the evening of Thursday, February 7, in Chetumal, Mexico, along with five other people for possession of 45 kilograms of the synthetic drug known as crystal meth. According to reports, 45 kilograms of suspected crystal meth amounted to about 50 thousand doses ready for distribution and retail marketing. Belizeans Ermelindo Vasquez of Orange Walk and Hugo Casanova of Corozal; Catzin, described as “Mexican drug lord of The Pelones in Chetumal;” and the other five people, suspected members of organized crime, reportedly were captured in Catzim’s home by Mexican Naval Marines during a sting operation. The drugs were valued at approximately 11 million pesos (the equivalent of USD $1,000,000.) The drugs were found grouped into bags, and these in turn were found in several refrigerators.

A few of Belize’s World Heritage Sites have fallen under the danger radar and a team from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is in the country to assess the sites. UNESCO had given recommendations on how those sites could be improved and now they are back to ensure that the corrective measures are being taken. “Yes, we have a mission right now. UNESCO works along with the IUCN [International Union for the Conservation of Nature] and they have sent two persons to visit us to see if we have taken the corrective actions as [to] how far we have advanced in moving [on] those recommendations that were made,” said Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and Sustainable Development Hon. Lisel Alamilla. “But I don’t think that we are in anyway threatened to be delisted. That would be serious. And our property is nowhere compromised at any level for them to even consider delisting it. Where we are right now is that we are in danger, so that means that we have to address some of the challenges of ensuring that the integrity of that World Heritage Site is maintained,” the Minister further said. OCEANA has been in an ongoing legal battle as it challenges the government on the issue of offshore oil extraction in Belize. If offshore oil drilling should occur in Belize, it could mean possible danger for the barrier reef and marine life.

One of his victims, 12, said he jumped the fence, went into their classroom and lashed them. Benjamin Chaplin, 49, appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer today, Monday 11, on a charge of common assault after whipping some female students on Saturday, February 9. Chaplin told Magistrate Frazer that he was stoned by the young girls for no reason. He said he chased the girls and whipped them with his belt. Chaplin defending his actions, saying that in his days, it was acceptable for adults to discipline children who did not belong to them. According to police statement, one of the girls, 12, was accompanied by her mother to the Queen Street police station, and reported that on Saturday, February 9, at around 10:15 a.m. while she was on recess break with her friends, they were listening to music outside in the school yard when a dark-complexioned man with dreadlocks standing on the street picked up a pint bottle and threw it at them for no apparent reason.

Customs officials have brought charges of obstruction, damage to property and trafficking contraband goods against a resident of San Victor, Corozal. Customs are seeking to further levy a charge of $15,000 against him for the contraband. The man will be taken to the Corozal Magistrate’s Court tomorrow to face the charges, a Customs official told Amandala today. Customs said that the incident arose on Tuesday, February 5, while they were conducting operations and a road block to intercept contraband goods on the Buena Vista Road in Orange Walk, when a vehicle drove up at high speed, and refused to stop despite the fact that they waved at the driver to stop, said Customs, but the vehicle drove through the road block anyhow, almost knocking down a policeman and a customs officer who were standing near the check point. Customs said that they immediately chased the vehicle, and there was a high speed chase from Buena Vista, Orange Walk, to the San Victor Village area in Corozal. Customs said that when the vehicle was finally caught in the San Victor area, the vehicle was found empty; the occupants had escaped into the cane fields.


A Tale of Five Cities: Route Reversal (Part 3)
Since Barry was able to sleep through the marching-band practice outside our hotel window the night before, he awoke early the next morning with plenty of energy. While I caught up on lost sleep, he walked over to the Campeche waterfront on the Golfo de Mexico and took a long walk, along with some nice morning photos. Finally I managed to get up, and we walked to Luz de Luna for breakfast. Much to our disappointment, the very sweet proprietor told us they weren't serving this morning because they didn't have a cook or server! Maybe they were sick? So, we had to go with Plan B, wandering around until we found a place to eat. We ended up back at the place we'd had lunch on our first time in town, Chef Color. I was hungry after my brush with Montezuma, but figured plain hotcakes would be easiest on my stomach of the breakfast choices. Barry ordered fruit cup, chaya bread, and Huevos Rancheros. Wouldn't want him to go hungry!

Birding in Belize is an “Experience of a Lifetime”
Choosing the proper guide who knows the terrain is the key to a successful bird watching experience in Belize, according to a Chaa Creek birding expert. Naturalist guide Miguel Choco said that with such a wealth of avian wildlife in Belize, finding birds is easy. But finding the birds you want is where experience and expertise comes in. “Belize is definitely birding heaven, with over 308 species recorded in the Chaa Creek nature reserve alone,” Mr Choco said. “Even people not generally interested in birding soon become fans just by walking along the miles of trails and spotting the toucans, parrots, falcons and other birds that make their homes here. “But for the keen birder, or someone who really wants an education in the birds of Belize, having a knowledgeable guide with specific experience in birding is essential,” he cautioned. The tiny Caribbean nation of Belize is part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, which stretches from Mexico through Central America and is home to a diverse range of birds and wildlife. Mr Choco said that this, combined with Chaa Creek’s own 365 acre private rainforest reserve, has created an unparalleled opportunity for birding. “We’re basically a protected region within a protected region, so it’s a great sanctuary for local and migratory birds, and that’s why we have such an abundance of wildlife here,” he said. “But again, to make the most of it, people should go out with a licensed naturalist guide with specific experience in birds. That’s why at Chaa Creek we have unique birding programs and specialist birding guides.” Mr Choco said that Chaa Creek has a long association with birding, having worked with the Zoological Society of Milwaukee and the Foundation for Wildlife Conservation in hosting avian research projects. The Chaa Creek nature reserve was one of the study sites for the Birds Without Borders project, which identified 308 species in that area alone.

21 Stunning Photos from Mayan Temples in Belize
Archaeologists estimate that at their peak, 1 to 2 million Mayans lived within the borders of present day Belize. Mighty Maya cities such as Caracol, Xunantunich and Lamanai dotted the landscape, with small agricultural communities farming the land between. The Maya civilization is divided into the Pre-Classic (1000 BC to AD 300), the Classic (AD 300 to 900) when the civilization reached its height of development, and the Post-Classic (AD 1000 to 1500) when the civilization fell apart and disappeared. Below are 21 stunning photos from Mayan Temples in Belize:

Family Affair
Since starting this blog I have quite frequently mentioned what a great bunch of guys we have working on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. How hard they work. How multi-skilled they all appear to be. How they help each other out. No prima donnas. How happy they always appear to be no matter what the job they have been assigned or how bad the weather and/or working conditions are. What I haven’t mentioned is how much pride they have in the project – our home – they are working on. I mention it now because when Rose and I went on Sunday to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize (we wanted to take measurements of the First Floor areas – we prefer this to calculating from the plans) we heard sounds coming from the build as we approached it. When we climbed the stairs we did so with a degree of apprehension. Had we got squatters? When we got to the First Floor all was revealed. It was Martin (one of the team working on our house) with his wife Rosa and his young daughter and son. Oh, and two year old Jonathan who Rosa babysits. He had brought his family to have a look at the house he was working on. We felt that he was proud of it and wanted to share it with them. A real family affair.

Photo Tour from Western Belize – El Pilar Maya Monuments
One of the defining features of El Pilar is how the site blends the archaeological monuments of yesterday with the Maya forest of today. This philosophy is easily visible in the main plazas where you can walk beneath the canopy. Plaza Copal was established in a major phase of development during the Late Pre-Classic period (250 BC – 250 AD). This represents an incredible focus of work and effort, demonstrating the power and importance of El Pilar as a regional center.The buildings around the plaza were repeatedly remodeled over nearly 2 millenia and reached their final appearance in the Late Classic Maya period (600 – 900 AD)

The Next Pope?
Yesterday, I posted this article describing St Malachy’s prophecy of the Popes. Then this comes up on CNN today. Will Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana be the next Pope? He would be a departure from the long line of white men who have held that position. At age 64 he would be relatively young and could conceivably served 20-40 years as Pope giving the Church stable leadership.

International Sources

Diplomat sues government for £1million after he was removed from Belize post over allegations he touched politician's wife's bottom
A former British High Commissioner who was ordered home after he was accused of touching the bottom of a politician’s wife is suing the Government for £1million. John Yapp said that despite being cleared by the Foreign Office of the ‘scurrilous’ claim, he found himself sidelined and ‘ostracised’ before he retired after a 40-year career. He was suspended in June 2008 after being accused of behaving ‘inappropriately towards women at official functions’ in Belize. The women were reported to have been Kim Simplis, the common-law wife of prime minister Dean Barrow, or businesswoman Lauren Reardon Smith. But Mrs Reardon Smith later dismissed claims she had been groped, and said that, far from making advances, Mr Yapp had been shocked by the forwardness of Belizean women. Alan Payne, the barrister for the Foreign Office, told the High Court yesterday that Mr Yapp had been accused touching a woman’s bottom during a party game at a social event.But Jane McNeill, Mr Yapp’s QC, said the claims were ‘unfounded and scurrilous’ and that Mr Yapp was ‘shell-shocked’ by the bizarre allegations, which were later wholly rejected by the Foreign Office’s own disciplinary panel. Lauren Reardon-Smith (right), pictured with former US Ambassador Robert J Dieter's wife Gwynneth Dieter, denied that she had been groped by Mr Yapp Mr Yapp, 61, of Tunbridge Wells, Kent, said the claims were ‘completely ridiculous, nonsensical and untrue’ and said that his superiors in London had ‘prejudged’ the issue before taking the drastic decision to pull him out of Belize after 37 years of service. He was never re-engaged at ambassadorial level. Miss McNeill said: ‘It is his case that he was presumed guilty before being given an opportunity to comment on the allegations against him – or before the Foreign Office had carried out even the most preliminary investigation to see whether such allegations were worthy of belief.’ She said the Foreign Office had failed to support Mr Yapp as he faced the baseless misconduct claims, despite him having been a ‘loyal and dedicated’ diplomat for almost four decades.

Belize Prime Minister Announces New Debt Terms on Defaulted Bond
Belize’s government proposed extending maturities and cutting the coupon on the country’s $544 million of defaulted debt as part of the Central American nation’s second debt restructuring since 2007. Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s plan would extend the maturity on the defaulted bonds to 2038 from 2029 and lower the current coupon to 5 percent from 8.5 percent. Barrow, speaking to the lower house in Belmopan, said the agreement would provide the country $247 million in relief over the next 10 years. “There is no reason to fear that with this massive package of debt relief, there can be any chance of Belize defaulting again,” Barrow said. Belize missed a $23 million coupon payment on its bonds in August. It later paid half the amount as talks with creditors continued. The House of Representatives will vote on the terms of the agreement today, followed by a Senate vote tomorrow, Barrow said. The price on Belize’s 2029 debt fell 2.4 cents to 57.14 cents on the dollar at 1:19 p.m. New York time.

Belize Announces New Debt Restructuring Terms
The government of Belize proposed new terms to restructure the country's $544 million in debt Tuesday in an offer that extended the maturity of the debt and reduced coupon payments. In an address to the nation's House of Representatives, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said the terms of the new plan extend the defaulted bond's maturity to 2038, from 2029, while they reduce the coupon to 5%, from 8.5%. The agreement would provide the country $247 million in relief over the next 10 years, Mr. Barrow said. Belize and its creditors have been negotiating a debt restructuring ever since the Central American country defaulted in September, when it failed to make a $23.1 million interest payment. The proposed deal marks a major concession to creditors, who in August were asked to choose between a combination of concessions, including writing off 45% of the principal they were owed, allowing the country to delay any debt payments for 15 years, and reducing interest payments.

Belize Prime Minister Announces New Debt Terms on Defaulted Bond
Belize’s government proposed extending maturities and cutting the coupon on the country’s $544 million of defaulted debt as part of the Central American nation’s second debt restructuring since 2007. Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s plan would extend the maturity on the defaulted bonds to 2038 from 2029 and lower the current coupon to 5 percent from 8.5 percent. Barrow, speaking to the lower house in Belmopan, said the agreement would provide the country $247 million in relief over the next 10 years. “There is no reason to fear that with this massive package of debt relief, there can be any chance of Belize defaulting again,” Barrow said. Belize missed a $23 million coupon payment on its bonds in August. It later paid half the amount as talks with creditors continued. The House of Representatives will vote on the terms of the agreement today, followed by a Senate vote tomorrow, Barrow said.

Climate change risk management workshop begins in Suriname
The Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) yesterday began the first of a series of workshops in Suriname as it seeks to develop a regional approach to climate change risk management. The CCCCC said that representatives from the United Kingdom-based consulting group, Acclimatise, will assist in conducting the high-level workshops in Suriname, Barbados, Jamaica, and Belize. The CCCCC team includes Keith Nichols, programme development specialist, and Joe McGann, programme manager, and they will be joined by Olivia Palin and John Firth of the consulting group Acclimatise. The initiative is being funded by the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID), through the Climate Development Network.

San Pedro, Belize – la Isla Bonita by Madonna
This article by Travel and Film could be called Travel and Music! When I arrived in Belize and read my guidebook, I decided I was going to visit San Pedro because Madonna dedicated a song for this island called “la Isla Bonita” (the beautiful island) so if Madonna says it’s beautiful, I’d better check it out. Most people I met told me to go Caye Caulker instead, the chilled backpacker isle and that San Pedro is not great, very Americanised and expensive. Well, I’ve been listening to this song since I was a kid and it’s one of my favorite songs of all time, so it doesn’t matter what everyone says, I’m going to visit the island anyway, at least for one day, even if the island has probably changed a lot since Madonna came in the 80s. I actually stayed 5 days and 5 nights there, the only place in Belize where I stayed more than 1 night in the same place and it is the best time I had in Belize, mostly for the people I met there. The first day I arrived in San Pedro, I walked up and down along the sea looking for the “beach”, well there is no real beach in San Pedro, you know one with white powder sand and beautiful blue clear water to swim. The sand is hard everywhere and the sea is full of seagrass which doesn’t make it good for swimming at all. I was staying at Pedro’s Inn, the only hostel where you can get a dorm bed for a cheap price on the island. And they have a great swimming pool, where everyone hangs out and meets, and probably the best swimming spot on the island! But there are still few fun things to do in the sea and out of the sea. For example, one of them is watching the fishermen cleaning the fishes and feeding the pelicans.

What is the slang term for a Belize dollar? If I am talking about buying something with U.S. dollars, I might say the price is 40 bucks. What is the equivalent term that Belizeans use to refer to their dollars? "Bills", perhaps?
We differentiate by saying, "That wine is $40". "Belize?" comes the reply. "No, U.S." would be the response. "Gimme dolla" is sometimes said by little kids, but not often. A 25 cent piece is called a shilling commonly, but the dollar is not usually called anything other than a dollar. Sometimes Belize is used, as in, "That'll be 50 Belize". U.S. currency can be used interchangeably here, I wouldn't advise anyone to change their money, just use credit and debit cards and bring smaller U.S. bills, they're taken just the same as Belizean money and treated at a 2 BZ to 1 US ratio. The merchant may even prefer this, as people often travel to the States and put aside their US cash to travel. They also use it when traveling to El Salvador, as that is the currency used there. Short answer? Belize. Or dolla. Hope you have fun spending your dollas! You're likely to get plenty back in change. I love their colors and the pictures of Mayan ruins and Belizean animals.

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