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Today's Belize News: February 22, 2013 #458590
02/22/13 09:45 AM
02/22/13 09:45 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 81,194
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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Colors abound at the Placencia Sidewalk Arts Festival!
On February 16th and 17th, a parade of artists descended upon the sleepy village and splashed the walkway with their rainbow creations, ranging from hand carved woodwork, jewelry, sculptures, photographs, tailored clothing and of course lots of glorious, colorful paintings. The Placencia Sidewalk Arts Festival was a glorious sight to behold!

“Our Madonna” by Bradley Haylock wins Annual Valentine Poetry Contest
2013 Valentine Poetry Contest-5It was a gorgeous night for romance, dining and poetry at Bistro Mestizo, where The San Pedro Sun’s annual Valentine’s Poetry Reading was held. With Valentino on the microphone crooning away love songs, diners were treated to a delicious dinner whipped up with extra love by Miss Shelly and Monica. Between bites of sausage stuffed chicken breasts or herb crusted rib roast, patrons sipped on sangria, wine and other mixers as poems were read out loud throughout the night. After a mini-hiatus, The San Pedro Sun was back out in full force, conducting a reading of the various poems submitted for judging. From the short, sweet and funny, to sonnets dedicated to gorgeous San Pedranas (and no, we’re not talking just lobsters!), and the requisite romantic Spanish verses – there was something to 2013 Valentine Poetry Contest-3intrigue everyone. At the end of the night, there were more than a few suggestions on who the winners should be.

LightHawk helps with environmental flight missions in Belize
LightHawk February 2013-1For a number of years, LightHawk has been working with various organizations and individuals in the Central American nation of Belize to conduct flyover flights to assist with the protection of the country’s resources. On Saturday February 16th, two of their volunteer pilots engaged in a flyover to different parts of Belize including Ambergris Caye. Their missions were to provide a birds-eye view of forest areas that have been illegally cleared on Northern Ambergris Caye, and also to identify possible habits for American Salt Water crocodiles found in Belize. On board the flight with LightHawk was Vince Rose of the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES), Ben Popik of Island Films and Jorge Aldana, The San Pedro Sun Senior Reporter. Every year LightHawk flies their small five seater plane throughout Mesoamerica, including Belize, where they conduct several flights all geared to assist organizations who are dedicated to the protection of the world’s environment. It is an organization run solely with the help of volunteers and their resources. “None of us get paid, we do it because we enjoy the flying and feel very strongly about the mission of LightHawk. LightHawk’s mission is all about protecting the environment and the ecology,” said Stephanie Wills, a volunteer pilot with the organization. LightHawk’s main mission states that they “champion environmental protection through the unique perspective of flight.”

Ambergris Today

Central Bank Releases Economic Update and Outlook for Belize
The Central Bank of Belize just recently released an economic update and yearly outlook for the country of Belize indicating that economic activity is forecasted to expand by 2.7% in 2013, as the underlying factors that boosted activity in 2012 are expected to moderate. The projection, which is subject to sizeable downside risks such as commodity price shocks and weather-related setbacks, assumes that the gradual upturn in global growth to 3.5% continues to support the tertiary sector through the tourism channel. Below is the full report from the Central Bank of Belize: Economic activity is forecasted to expand by 2.7% in 2013, as the underlying factors that boosted activity in 2012 are expected to moderate. The projection, which is subject to sizeable downside risks such as commodity price shocks and weather-related setbacks, assumes that the gradual upturn in global growth to 3.5% (Source: IMF World Economic Outlook) continues to support the tertiary sector through the tourism channel. The primary sector is expected to return to low single digit growth owing largely to a return to normal crop cycles and a forecasted downturn in citrus output. The secondary sector is expected to eke out a small increase despite headwinds facing the petroleum and domestic electricity generation sub-sectors.

The Great Blue Hole of Belize Named Most Amazing Place on Earth
The Discovery Channel has just named Belize’s Great Blue Hole the Number One Most Amazing Place on Earth! How about that!? Well we know how beautiful a country Belize is and want to share these amazing images and video of the world famous (and now most amazing) Great Blue Hole. On its post, lists ten geological wonders that can put anything in "Avatar" (the movie) to shame. We are happy to see that Belize came in #1, no contest! The Blue Hole is undoubtedly the most amazing place on Earth; you just have to come experience it to find out for yourself and be blown away by this natural beauty.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize launches first round of negotiations for partial scope agreement with El Salvador
Belize has launched the first round of negotiations for a partial scope agreement (PSA) with El Salvador. The negotiations address a range of issues, including market access for agricultural goods and products, investments, cooperation, legal and Institutional arrangements. This agreement is expected to create export opportunities for industry and contribute to overall economic growth through promoting trade, foreign direct investment, employment and revenue generation. In addition, the PSA will serve to deepen trade relations with El Salvador, allowing for greater market penetration into Central America.

Strings of Love in Benque
Tonight, the Benque House of Culture is having their Strings of Love concert, where Trina Basu and Arun Ramamurthy will be playing violin. The Cayo Music School will be there as well. Guaranteed to be a great night of music. "Learn about the Artists Trina Basu is a violinist, teacher and music therapist based in Brooklyn, NY. Born in Miami, Fl and trained in western classical music, Trina began to pursue improvisational styles of music in college, with Indian classical sitarist, Nalini Vinayak & jazz trumpeter, Longineu Parsons. Trina was awarded an Artist Fellowship from the Indo-Shastri Canadian Institute to study Carnatic Classical music with esteemed violinists. Arun Ramamurthy is an exciting violinist who is making his mark in Indian Classical and World music. Disciple of Dr. Mysore Manjunath & Sri Mysore Nagaraj, he has become one of the most sought after violinists in the US. Arun has been accompanying major artists touring from India, as well as performing solo concerts, for the past 17 years."

UB Opportunities Fair Pictures
The University of Belize had a great turnout for their Opportunities Fair.

Bol's Museum Cave
Here's a new video showing off Bol's Museum Cave, which is on Mountain Pine Ridge road. Fidencio Bol leads tours himself, and after a nature hike, he takes you into the cave, and explains the various exhibits of pottery, jewelry, tools and even some bones and skulls left by the Mayans of old. It's not a massive cave, but smaller, with emphsis on the artifacts, and Mr. Bol takes great care of it.

Trina Basu and Arun Ramamurthy at MCHS
The Trina Basu & Arun Ramamurthy violin duo are in Belize. They had an educational performance for the students of Mount Carmel High School. Check out the superb video with one of the songs they performed. Well done!

Sugar Corn/Shuga Kaan Popsicles
In Belize the Cream Style corn the can is known as sugar corn. We use it to make ice cream and popsicles from this corn. If you are a corn lover, you will find this so sweet and satisfying on a hot Summer's day.

Rebecca Stirm and Chantae Guy are representing Belize in Jamaica
“Thanks to Belize Bank, Rebecca Stirm will be heading to Kingston Jamaica, along with Belizean headline model Chantae Guy [Miss Belize World 2012], to show her “Pfuma Ye Nyika” collection on the runway this weekend at the Wyndham Wedding Spectacular!”

SBDCBelize, BELTRAIDE (March 2013 Workshops)

European Commission proposes to open plurilateral trade negotiations on services
The European Commission today asked the Council to give its green light for negotiations on a new international agreement on trade in services. To begin with, 21 WTO Members will be at the negotiating table, but the EU is keen to encourage others to join. The EU is also pushing for the agreement to dovetail with WTO rules so it can be later folded into the WTO system. EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said: “The perspective of a new broad-based trade in services agreement is excellent news – for jobs and for economic growth. I encourage all WTO members who support market opening and strong rules for trade in services to join this initiative.” The negotiations will cover all services sectors, including information and communication technology (ICT) services, logistics and transport, financial services and services for businesses. But the EU, like the other participants, is looking for the negotiations to go beyond simply further opening up markets for services. The aim is also to develop new rules on trade in services, such as those applying to government procurement of services, licensing procedures or access to communication networks.

Agouti a.k.a. Gibnut Pictures from Jungle Hike at Lower Dover
Early this morning we witnessed a rather large gibnut eating seeds from the Guanacaste tree near the edge of the deciduous rain forest at Lower Dover Belize Jungle Lodge. We were giving a tour of the Maya ruins and medicinal plant trail when this bush meat delicacy stepped across the jungle path.

I Feel Lucky
Sitting on the veranda this morning I was struck by just how lucky Rose and I are to be living on Ambergris Caye, Belize. Why so reflective? Well I suppose it might have had something to do with it being a beautiful sunny morning. A morning made cooler by a strong south-westerly breeze (well I think it was coming from that direction). Being able to sit outside in the early morning wearing just a pair of shorts (yes,I was topless!) watching people (those that are here for a holiday and those that live here) walking the beach and looking so happy to be doing so. Being transfixed by the swaying of the palms which sometimes appear to take on a human form (and no, I am not on hallucinogenic drugs). I don’t want anyone to run away with the thought that this is always an idyllic place to live. It has it’s frustrations. You cannot always get what you would like. Or when you want it. Simple things can take so much longer to complete. It may not be Shangri-La but, as far as I am concerned, the ‘pros’ far outweigh the ‘cons’ and I feel lucky to eventually have relocated here. In this contented frame of mind I turned my attention to reviewing the draft contract that my friend had asked me to have a look at.

Mennonite Gurls A'ken Cook: Egg Benedict Glute A'loose
Sumthin I use t'ordr quite regularlee wen we wint out t'ett wuz Aigs Benedict – but Celiac put that on t'aboo lis. I knew t'English Muffins were a gif' t'be made with wheet, but I wuz sprized t'larn that Hollandaise sauce n' a restrunt is made frum a mix containin' wheet flour. No problem — I jes make it all glute-a'loose and I a'ken agin enjoy one uf mah favert meels – Aigs Benedict with fresh fruit on t'side. T' xtrey wurk is wurth it !

Channel 7

Are Concrete Streets Up To Optimal Standard?
As the Darrell Bradley led city council finishes up its first year in office - there's just no arguing with the record his council has put up. Yes, you can justifiably complain about the widespread inconvenience, the lack of signage and intermittent traffic chaos - but you can't argue with numbers: They cement paved 50 streets! And are working on 10 more right now! It's an unmatched record of accomplishment, but that old saying is true: sometimes haste makes waste. And looking at the slightly shady condition of one of the first streets to be paved, we asked the mayor: is the city getting value for money?: Jules Vasquez "I see at the corner of Orange Street, I see the wear which would be called a friction point I supposed at the corner of Orange Street where it meets Albert Street, I see that there is a degradation in the concrete - you can see its starting to break away. Is that something that you are looking at and how do you ensure that they used a heavy enough mix?"

Mayor Says City Might Not Need Garbage Fee
And while the city is flush with cash for the paving of streets - it's borrowed money, and they have to generate revenue to repay their bond. A large part of the revenue to service the bond is supposed to come from the much vaunted residential garbage tax - ten of twelve dollars monthly which city residents would be required to pay. But the bond has been floated, and the tax hasn't been implemented. Today the mayor told us that with the revenue his council is raking in from increased enforcement, they might not need the garbage tax - or at least not yet:.. Mayor Darrell Bradley "The issue with the residential garbage fee is something that we are continuing to work on. This is something that has been in the news. We've made it public; we've talk about it at several public consultations/meetings that the City Council has. Whenever you are talking about a new tax it's something by necessity which has to be dealt with very carefully because we want to ensure that there is buy-in from the residence. What we are doing right now is that we are seeing if we can meet out full repayment commitments without it. we are trying to see if we can maneuver in such a way that we can meet our commitments without streets works without it. All indications are that this is not possible and this will be a reality in the very near future."

A Free Man After Four Years On Remand
44 year-old Edel Rios, a Guatemalan National residing in the Valley of Peace is spending his second night free after 4 years on remand for the murder of 35 year-old Pedro Arturo Romero. He was acquitted in his murder trial before Justice Denis Hanomansingh. Romero was chopped to death on December 29, 2008 sometime before 7 p.m. on road leading into the Valley of Peace. He received several chop wounds to the neck, face and shoulder which ended up being fatal. A week after his death, police arrested Rios and charged him with murder because they allegedly recorded an oral caution statement saying quote, "He wanted to kill me so I chopped him up." End quote.

Man + Minors Arraigned For Red Handed Engine Theft
On last night's newscast, 7News told you about the 3 men who were caught on the Port of Belize compound in the act of stealing a boat engine. Well tonight, they are in police custody awaiting preparations to meet bail after they were taken to the Magistrate's Court today. According to one of the security guards at the Port, he was on duty at around 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday night. He decided to make his regular checks on the compound when he found 19 year Robert Flowers, and 2 minors, ages 16 and 17 inside the Port of Belize's Pilot boat, "Morning Mist".

Daughter Perished, Mother Dies of Burns
The Post Mortem for 40 year old Ramona Cabrera was conducted yesterday at the KHMH. The Corozal woman was badly burnt on February 4th while trying to put out a fire at her San Narciso home. Her 3 year old daughter, Danely Cabrera, perished in the blaze and was found under her crib. Ramona Cabrera received first degree burns on her face and back and 2nd degree burns to her left and right arm and died 9am on Monday at the KHMH while receiving treatment. The postmortem conclusion stated the cause of death multiple organs failure due to dry heat burns to 31% of her Body.

Belize Athletes Face "Out Of Competition" Testing
The Central American Games are coming up in early March - and Belize is sending scores of athletes. But, for only the second time in Belize's history, they face what's called "out-of-event" testing. That means any athlete can be tested for banned substances before the Games. Usually, only those athletes who win events are tested after the race, but Belize is a signatory to UNESCO Anti-Doping convention, and the significance of that is that increasingly, athletes will have to be ready for year-round testing - even when there's no event on the immediate horizon. In the lead-up to the games, the anti-doping effort is starting out small, only five athletes will be tested, but it could be any five. We found out more from the man in charge of Belize's National Anti-doping Organization today:..

Toledo Teen's Mystery Death Explained
In last night's newscast we told you about the sudden death of a 17 year old female from Golden Stream Village in the Toledo district. Reports to our newsroom was that the teenager could have died either as the result of violence or by accidental ingestion of an unsafe substance. We were also told that the teenager was buried on Tuesday afternoon without a postmortem being conducted. Today the Ministry of Health issued a press release stating the medical findings in relation to the death of 17 year old Milka Sho. It stated and we quote, "the patient first visited the Big Falls Health Center on March 19th, 2012 where she was treated for a chronic abdominal condition and released. She later returned to the clinic on March 22nd, 2012 where she was diagnosed with a chronic disorder. She received a blood transfusion at that time and was hospitalized for a week at the Punta Gorda Hospital for observation before release by her doctor. The press release continued to say that on February 17th, which was on Sunday, Sho was brought into the hospital by her father but was declared dead on arrival. Sho's father reported that two days before she died, the teenager had ingested a very large amount of soap powder. Upon review of the Belize Health Information System it was confirmed that she suffered from a chronic disease that eventually led to her death. Additionally, two medical officers examined the body and found no sign of external injuries. The press release ended by saying that along with the clinical data retrieved from the BHIS and the history provided by the father, the medical officers felt confident to issue a death certificate and thus no autopsy was needed.

Placencia Sidewalk: From Art To Entertainment
Ten years ago, the Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival started as a small showcase for local artists. But now, it has turned into a huge event, an art and music festival built around two days of wall-to-wall, around-the-clock entertainment and an art extravaganza. Special Correspondent Janelle Chanona and Boy Genius Alex Ellis visited for the tenth anniversary. Here's what they saw:.. Jolie Pollard, Executive Director - Placencia BTIA "People come to Placencia for beautiful beaches, our amazing diverse food, our warm and friendly people and to be a part of a very close knit and friendly community. And now they're coming for art."

Major Expansion Plans For City BTL Park
The City Council is cement-paving streets at a record pace - but more than that, the Council is also spearheading a million dollar makeover for the BTL Park. Work has started with an ambitious reclamation project - and we found out more from the mayor today:.. Mayor Darrell Bradley "We are doing a reclamation project for the park and essentially what that will entail is the adding of 30% of park area and that supposed to take 2 months.

Mayor Bradley May Not Run For A Second Term
And while the BTL Park makeover has commenced, and multiple streets are under construction, for the second year of his mayoral term, the mayor has much bigger plans. He told us about it today:.. Mayor Darrell Bradley "We are in negotiations right now with several persons who are doing designs for the concreting of the Northern Highway from the flag monument to the Haul Over Bridge and that would be a major improvement. That's going to be an 18 months project at a cost of approximately $10 million dollars - that's going to create significant investment in the City, significant jobs and we see that as being a massive project that we want to get off the ground within the next 2 months." Reporter "At some point you will obviously have to start campaigning for re-election. How much will a re-election campaign detract from your work of achieving your goal?"

Can You Say "Watina" In Japanese?
As Belizeans, we all know and love Garifuna music - but how many of us can sing it? Not many! And while some English speakers can bluff their way through a cancion romantica en espanol or even rough up a Ranchera, try that with Garifuna, and you'll just end up sounding lame - like la Banda Blanca butchering the Chico Ramos Classic, "Conch Soup". Indeed, for the outsider, the Garifuna language is a real challenge, but not for Fumiko Gomi. The Japanese volunteer told us how Garifuna sounds easy-Japanesey to her. Jules Vasquez reports:.. Jules Vasquez reporting This is called a shamisen - a three string Japanese guitar and we're pretty sure this is the first time such an instrument is being used to play the garifuna standard "Malate." But that's Fumiko Gomi's story - she's a Japanese volunteer in Belize - who's been here for 2 years. She teaches creative arts in Punta Gorda - her students made this map. She found out early on that music could command respect of her students:

Alex Neal Has A Future With His Fists
"Boxing, boxing at the Big Birds isle" those of us who grew up in Belize City in the 70's will be familiar with that refrain. It used to be the intro to radio advertisements about boxing when that sport was in its glory days. Those days are long gone, but the sweet science is making a quiet comeback. The boxing federation has been re-activated and this weekend, the Lion's Den Gym is putting together a major boxing card. We found out more when we visited the gym today:.. Jules Vasquez reporting Alex Neal is the pride of the Lion's Den Gym in Ladyville. He's the most promising 23 year old amateur boxer in Belize right now - and on Sunday he will be the main event, going up against the older, heavier, more experience Mohammed Harmouche. But he's unfazed:

PROFILE: Bernard Henry
Tonight's profile is about a car wash man - but he's not any old car wash man, he's been doing it for 30 years and has a real business, with business cards and plans to expand. In tonight's profile he explained how he made it when all the odds were against him:

Channel 5

M.O.H. confirms death of Toledo teen due to chronic disorder
  The Ministry of Health is tonight confirming the death of a seventeen year old from the Toledo District due to a chronic disorder. We reported on Wednesday night that seventeen year old Milka Sho had died over the weekend in Golden Stream and that she was laid to rest on Tuesday. The village alcalde, [...]

Matthew Williams remains detained in connection with alleged human smuggling
Matthew Williams remains in detention at the Ladyville Police Station where he is being held in connection with an alleged human smuggling ring. On Wednesday morning, the Orange Walk resident was taken into custody because this white van, with license plate number C-O-4-4-3-1 registered in his name was intercepted in the wee hours of Tuesday [...]

Eric Chang; Belize City’s new Deputy Mayor
A new Deputy Mayor has been elected to City Hall. Councilor Eric Chang, in a recent election for Deputy Mayor of Belize City, was unanimously chosen by his peers at City Hall to succeed outgoing Deputy Mayor Deon Leslie, who has been serving in that capacity since March of last year.  Of note is that [...]

Family of Gregory Faull asks U.S. senator to assist with getting justice for his death
John McAfee has settled back in the United States, but the woes of the anti-virus founder are still not over. That’s because the family of Gregory Faull from Florida has enlisted the assistance of a U.S. senator in their pursuit for justice for Faull’s murder. McAfee is considered a person of interest in the murder, [...]

More city streets to be under repair; commuters to pay inbound toll
The Belize City streets are undergoing major repair works but that is the source of frustration to motorists who have through a maze to get their destination. As part of the Belize City Municipal Bond a number of streets have been resurfaced and, in most cases, completely rebuilt. While the total number remains on the [...]

B.T.L. Park under construction
The Mayor has his eyes on another venture in the city. A restoration project which will see the B.T.L. North Side Park expanded, remodeled and beautified is currently underway in Belize City.  While improvement of that public space was envisioned in the U.D.P. City Council manifesto, under former Mayor Zenaida Moya, four years ago, the [...]

Science Fair at Saint John’s College
The grounds of St John’s College, was buzzing with activity today as students from numerous schools dropped by for the high school’s science fair. There were a number of innovative projects for which a hypothesis was created, tested and then analyzed. After spending weeks at experimenting among their peers, friends and families, the young scientists [...]

Trio charged for trying to steal boat engine
  Last Tuesday night, three men were found in the compound of the Port of Belize near an engine that had already been removed from a boat. This morning, nineteen year old Robert Flowers, of Belize City along with two minors, ages sixteen and seventeen appeared before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith to answer to [...]

Accused murderer freed
Forty-four year old Guatemalan national Edilio Rios, accused of the 2008 chopping death of Pedro Arturo Romero, is free of murder charges after spending almost five years in remand.  Rios, represented by attorney Ernest Staine, appeared before Justice Denis Hanomansingh in the Belmopan Supreme Court on Wednesday where he was found not guilty by a [...]

Generator missing from hospital compound
An investigation is ongoing into a missing generator from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. The gen set is the property of Gary Longsworth; the hospital’s C.E.O. and was apparently stolen from the generator room located at the rear of the hospital. The theft wasn’t reported until last Wednesday but the item had been stored since [...]

Anti-doping testing for Belizean athletes
Five athletes picked at random will be undergoing anti-doping tests. The results will determine future participation in international games. The National Anti-Doping Organization of Belize is collecting samples from five athletes who will represent the country at the tenth annual Central American Games in San Jose, Costa Rica from March third to the seventeenth. But [...]

A new book to add to your collection
Belize has an ever increasing number or musicians and artists, but one art form that has not moved at a similar pace is writing. Zee Edgell still holds prominence as Belize’s best known author but while Edgell writes fiction, a teacher at a Belize City High School is making strides in the self-help genre. News [...]

Virus transmitted by mosquitoes threatening the health of horses and humans
A mosquito borne disease is posing a threat to the health of horses and humans. The virus that is known as V.E.E. has been detected in two districts but it has the potential to spread if preventative measures are not taken. The Belize Agricultural Health Authority is on alert. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.    [...]

Healthy Living; chicken pox and shingles
Chicken Pox is a notorious childhood disease that many children are exposed to. Although extremely uncomfortable there is usually a bit of relief; that is because it is believed that if you contract chicken pox once – then you won’t ever get it again. Well, not so! There is an illness that can be triggered [...]


Saint Johns Holds Science, Book and Art Fair
The compound at Saint John’s College is alive with a Science, Book and Art Fair. The Science Fair looks to prepare the students for the National Science Fair and today, they will be judged in the Junior division which is first and second formers and the Senior division for ...

ProWorld Belize Issues Statement On Allegations of Wrongdoings
ProWorld Belize, an organization working in the Cayo district to connect international volunteers with community development projects, has issued a statement regarding allegations of wrong doing involving former employees. Without going into specifics, the organization’s statemen...

Belize Territorial Volunteers Prepare to Clear Border With Guatemala
The territorial referendum is still a few months away and the land dispute between Belize and Guatemala continues to hover over us, but one group has decided to take a proactive approach and in their own way, dispel any doubt of where the border with that country lies. The Belize...

Guatemalan National Acquitted of Murder
After more than four years on remand for murder, 44-year-old Edilio Rios, a Guatemalan national residing in the Valley of Peace Village was set free. Rios was charged with the 2008 chopping death of 35-year-old Pedro Arturo Romero. The acquittal occurred yesterday afternoon befor...

Land Reclamation Project Underway; New Deputy Mayor for Belize City Selected
A major reclamation project has started on the coastline in Belize City to upgrade the BTL Park on Newtown Barracks. The initiative is the brainchild of the Belize City Council under the leadership of Mayor Darrel Bradley. According to Mayor Bradley, work will continue for ...

Ministry of Health Issues Press Release On Sudden Death of Teenager
The Ministry of Health has issued a press release over the circumstances into the sudden death of Milka Sho, a mentally challenged 17 year old girl from Golden Stream Village, Toledo. On Wednesday evening, the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Peter Allen, ha...


Learn Something That Can Help You In Your Life: BMHS Science Fair
Today Bishop Martin High School held their annual science fair which saw the participation of 43 groups of students. This afternoon the community was invited to take a look at all the projects that were on display and our news team tagged along. In this venture, Reporter Hipolito Novelo found out more on how science can help us in our daily lives. Making it to today’s Science Fair was no easy task for 43 groups of students attending Bishop Martin High School. For over three months the students worked arduously hoping that their final presentation would gain them an A in Science. And by just taking a look at the booths on display today, we can safely say that all the hard work paid off. According to Science Teacher and organizer of the Science Fair Shakira Gonzalez, it took a lot of time, energy and research to come up with the different projects.

Doctor Reveals Cause Of Death Of Ramona Cabrera
Fourteen days after the tragic death of her three year old daughter Danely Cabrera, 40 year old Ramona Cabrera succumbed to her injuries at the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital on Monday February 18th. A post mortem examination conducted by Doctor Mario Estradaban, has reveled that Cabrera died as a result of Massive fatty Trumbo Embolism which is usually caused by physical trauma such as fracture of long bones, soft tissue and burns. In Cabrera’s case, Trumbo embolism was caused by multiple organ failure as a result of heat burns to more than one third of her body. Cabrera received first degree burns to her face and back, and second degree burns to her left and right arm while trying to pull a burning mattress out of her house which was set on fire on February 4th. When Cabrera noticed that the inferno was out of control, she ran out of the one room zinc structure without noticing that baby Danely was still inside. Instead of following her mother’s instruction to run outside, Baby Danely hid under the metal crib where she died of exuiguination due to a high degree of smoke inhalation.

3 DMAX Pickup Trucks Hand Over To Ministry
The Project “Enhancing Belize’s Resilience to Adapt to the Effects of Climate Change”, was launched back in September 2012 and is currently being implemented by the United Nations Development Program in collaboration with the Government of Belize. The project is being funded by the European Union Global Climate Change Alliance with the aim of enhancing adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change through national policies. The project will also utilize demonstrative action in support of effective governance of climate change and climate change related impacts in the water sector of Belize. This past Friday, three Isuzu DMAX Pickup Trucks, valued at a total of US84, 000 dollars were handed over to Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Lisel Alamilla on behalf of the Ministry, as part of this project. The purpose of the gift is to support the development of a strategic framework for responding to the challenges that climate change poses for sustainable and economic development and to support activities leading to watershed protection, resilience to water quality degradation, and water conservation. It is expected that these motor vehicles will enhance the ability of the project units to create greater public awareness of the effects of climate change and enable restoration activities in sensitive and flood prone forest systems proving for the effective management and recovery of damaged forest stands.

Kim Simplis Barrow Continues Her Fund raise In The States
Back in June 2012, Special Envoy for Women and Children along with CARE Belize hosted a telethon that raised one million ninety three thousand Belize dollars to erect the Inspiration Centre. The centre will mainly serve as a rehabilitation clinic to offer basic medical care and various therapies to children with special needs. At the same time it will double as a community centre with after school classes for children from the surrounding communities. To build the Inspiration Centre $3 million is needed. In order to raise more funds Kim Barrow appeared on Let’s Talk Live on the ABC-7 Network last week to promote a gala fundraiser in the US. Here is a portion of the interview with Melanie Hastings.

Open Day At BAC
While Bishop Martin High School held their annual Science Fair, the Belize Adventist College located in Calcutta Corozal, hosted their annual open day at the school grounds today. The day began with an opening ceremony that saw the participation of Zelma Godoy from the Ministry of Education who coincidentally is a graduate of the Belize Adventist College class of 1987. Celia Clarke, Principal of the High school, spoke to us about the importance of today’s event. Celia Clarke-Principal BAC “This is our 44th year since the Belize Adventist College is existence and so I want to say it might be 44 but it is close to that when it comes to our open days. What happen is that we have had one small scales at the beginning but now we have opened our doors to the public so that they can see what we have done during the school year.”

Belize Municipal Development Project Part 2
Here in Orange Walk the first phase of the Belize Municipal Development Project is almost complete. We say almost because Santa Familia Street is left to be upgraded. Work in the area is expected to commence in the next two weeks and should be completed by the end of May which will see the inception of the second phase of the BMDP. Included in the second phase of the five million dollar project, is the restoration of the Orange Walk Central Park. Kevin Bernard- Orange Walk Mayor “We have submitted the proposal after the open town meeting we had at central park and from there the consultants indentifies the area that we believe is priority. One of it is of course the upgrade of the central park and from what I have gotten the work should be commencing sometime around the end of September. We should see the central park get a good upliftment. That is not only the park but its surrounding including Arthur Street.”

Fertilizers For Cane Farmers Are On The Way
Last night we told you about the meeting held between representatives of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and owners of American Sugar Refinery, the major shareholders of BSI. ASF is looking to increase cane productivity so as to augment the amount of cane milled by the factory on a daily basis. The company is looking at a gradual increase of 5,000 tons over a period of five years taking the present figure from 7,000 to 12,000 tons per day. It is a challenge that farmers are willing to take on at the same time realizing that cane quality will be on high demand. With that in mind, the BSCFA is presently distributing fertilizers to cane farmers. The initiative forms part of the Fair Trade Agreement.

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Health official comments on setting up local laboratory for viral load testing
Two months ago the Collaborative Network of People Living with HIV, known for short and CNET Plus, went public with concerns over a delay at the Ministry of Health level in getting viral load testing done in Belize for persons living with HIV/AIDS. CNET’s concern was based on the suspicion that the medication that the Ministry was distributing was not effective in fighting the disease and hence, not having the testing done to determine the effectiveness of the drugs was keeping patients at risk of dying sooner than necessary. But in a recent interview with the Director of the Ministry’s HIV Program, Doctor Marvin Manzanero, he said that while the Ministry is still in the process of getting our own lab up and working, the plan B, which is to get patients’ samples sent to Mexico for testing, has also had its share of hiccups. But getting the samples tested is not the only glitch in the process, because Manzanero says that he was alerted of this by the United Nations Development Fund, which is sponsoring the project. And as far as that important concern that CNET Plus brought up of the efficacy of the drugs that the Ministry’s hospital and health posts administers to patients, Manzanero says that the results of the first batch of samples sent last year in no way suggests that the medication is useless. In as far as Belize’s efforts go to have the tests done locally, Manzanero said that the Ministry is working on a lab up and running. That lab was projected, by the CEO in the Ministry, Dr Peter Allen, to be functional by the next month, but again, there are a few challenges in meeting that goal, according to Manzanero. Lastly, the latest HIV figures of new infections show a trend that the group that is getting infected are men who have sex with men, according to Manzanero. Meanwhile, today, February 20th was the target date for the first batch for 2013 to be sent for viral load testing. That batch, which contains samples from HIV patients from Belize City, and should undergo a series of testing, including viral load, CD 4, geno type, feno type resistance, and hepatitis B and C.


Guatemalan national acquitted of 2008 murder
A Guatemalan national has been acquitted of the 2008 murder of a Belizean man. After a jury of 12 deliberated for some 3 hours yesterday, 44 year old Guatemalan Edilio Rios was found not guilty of the stabbing death of Belizean national 35 year old Pedro Arturo Romero. What...

17 year old died after eating a bucket of soap
Yesterday Plus News received disturbing information surrounding the sudden death of a 17 year old from Golden Street Village in the Toledo District. According to PGTV, the teen, Milka Sho was found dead on Sunday Morning. Initial reports to PlusNews had indicated that Milka died from injuries received from...

Belize Territorial Volunteers are Clearing Our Borderline
“Belize Territorial Volunteers” Clearing the Border. Incursions into Belize territory haves long been a problem. Recently there have been an increasing number of incursions and as a result some villagers mainly in the south have been negatively affected. Guatemalans have come into the villages and pillaged people’s farms and...

Athletes to be tested for PED’s
Athletes to be tested for PED’s. Belize is preparing for the Central American Games to be held in March but a few athletes will spend the next few days worrying whether they could get kicked off their team for having performance-enhancing drugs in their system. PlusNews caught up with...

Major renovations in Belize City
BTL Park to be renovated. It has been talked about for years but the opening stages of a four-month renovation of BTL Park on Newtown Barracks formally commenced today. Mayor Darrell Bradley described what the project is about, how much it will cost and who will fund it. Mayor...

Mayor Darrell Bradley may not run for second term
Belize City Mayor, Darrell Bradley says he may not run for second term. The term of a City Council is three years and surely thoughts must be turning to the 2015 campaign. But Mayor Darrell Bradley is not at all sure whether he will run for a second term....

Construction of football field in Arenal Village still causing problems
Last week we gave you a preview to an ongoing problem in Arenal Village due to the construction of a football field. As promised, we bring you the second part to that story. The footage you are seeing is that of the football field located in Arenal Belize and...

Energizing Youth Entrepreneur Workshop at the UB Auditorium
A workshop geared toward empowering Belizeans with keys and tools on how to create employment for themselves is slated for this weekend. Last year, the Statistical Institute of Belize, in their Labour Force Survey reported that the country’s unemployment rate was at an alarming 14.4%. That’s over 21,000 persons....

Olympic Committee holds rare election
Olympic Committee holds rare election. On Saturday at the Radisson Fort George Hotel, the Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association, Belize’s National Olympic Committee affiliated to the International Olympic Committee, called a special meeting. It was also a historic meeting, because the torch was passed from founding member Edward...

The Guardian

Trade Opportunities with El Salvador
The Ministry of Foreign Trade is in the first round of negotiations with its counterparts from El Salvador as part of the process to ink a Partial Scope Agreement (PSA). The negotiations will address issues such as market access for agricultural goods and products, investments, cooperation, legal and Institutional arrangements.

Three New Trucks for Climate Change Campaign
On Friday, February 15th, Hon. Lisel Alamilla accepted three new Isuzu DMAX pickup trucks on behalf of the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development as part of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) project “Enhancing Belize’s Resilience to Adapt to the Effects of Climate Change”.

Conflict Mediation Workshop for School Disciplinarians
In May 2012, over a dozen representatives from various community organizations took part in a conflict resolution workshop organized by Restore Belize and the United States Embassy. The workshop was facilitated by Julie Walton of the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) in the U.S. Department of State. CSO advances the United States’ national security by breaking cycles of violent conflict and mitigating crises in priority countries such as Belize where the focus is engaging in conflict prevention, crisis response and stabilization. The participants that completed the course are now training other community workers across the country.

Belize jumps 32 spots in FIFA Ranking
The Football Federation of Belize is proud to inform Belizeans that Belize has now been ranked by FIFA at 132 of 207 National Member Associations. The 32 point jump in FIFA rankings from 164 to 132 is due to the exceptional performance by the Belize National Selection at the Copa Centro-Americana under the leadership of Coach Leroy Sherrier Lewis. We are proud of our National Selection who represented Belize well and the Federation, through its National team committee, is working harder to ensure that Belize has the best representation at the Gold Cup in July of 2013.

Land Tax Amnesty
As of February 4th, of this year and running for 6 months thereafter, the Ministry of Natural Resources is conducting a Land Tax Amnesty program. Under the program, people who have not been paying their land taxes will be forgiven interest and fees along with a 25 percent discount on moneys owed to the Lands Department.

What Petillo isn’t saying
Nigel Petillo, of BGYEA fame, has taken to the airwaves to say that he will be holding a demonstration next week. What Petillo is not telling the Belizean public is that since he began to advocate for land, the Ministry of Natural Resources has immediately responded to just about every request that he has put to the Lands Department. Even more, those requests have been attended to with undue speed. It is because of Petillo that the Lands Department has had to open on weekends to process and deliver the land leases to people who have applied.

What happened to PLUS TV?
These days you can hear those on Plus TV snapping here and there at the Government for no real reason. They behave like a viper with a broken back, can't crawl anymore so the last actions are to poison anyone who comes near. But it is an interesting analogy and one which is not too far off. The Guardian has been receiving numerous reports that the organization was on the brink of collapse; it had run nearly broke and was grasping at straws to stay afloat.

Police Minister awards Cayo District Zone and San Ignacio Formation
Officer Commanding Sr Superintendent Guzman Receives Award Cheque of $1000 from Minister Saldivar On February 13th, 2013, Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar presented awards to officers commanding the Cayo District Zone and the San Ignacio Formation for their performance during the month of January in reducing crime within their jurisdiction.

Seven Illegal Immigrants caught in Belize: They were heading to the USA
On Tuesday, February 19th, seven illegal immigrants were taken to the Magistrate’s Court to answer to charges of illegal entry. Five Salvadorans, Maria Deisy Leon Tobias, 27; Jose Omar Guevara, 17; Jose Antonio Gonzalez Arevalo, 34; Uvaldo Antonio Alvarado Murillo, 22; and Jose Obdulio Escobar, 25 were caught in a white van that was parked near a checkpoint at Mile 13 near to the Burrell Boom Junction on the Phillip Goldson Highway. The other two immigrants have been identified as 33-year-old Honduran, Rigoberto Mendoza Palma, and Salvadoran, Santos Alexander Guevara Amaya, 19. Palma was caught by police on Tuesday morning at #64 Antelope Street in Belize City while Santos Amaya was caught by Immigration officers on Monday morning at the Belize City Bus Terminal as he got off a D&E bus from Benque Viejo Del Carmen. In court, the group of 7 wasted no time and pleaded guilty to the charge of illegal entry. They were fined $1,000 each plus a$5.00 cost of court by Magistrate Adolph Lucas, Jr., who ordered that they all pay the fine immediately or in default 1 year in prison.

Bert Vasquez in Court for Forcible Abduction
Bert Vasquez, who was charged in June of last year in the killing of 13-year-old Jasmine Lowe in San Ignacio, appeared in the Supreme Court in Belize City where he is to face charges of forcible abduction. The case of attempted abduction by Vasquez of a 16-year-old girl was called up before Justice Adolph Lucas where he was told that his next court date is set for March 21st, 2013. This date is also tentatively set for trial. This case was committed to stand trial at the Supreme Court by Magistrate Hettie-Mae Stewart on Wednesday, February 22,nd 2012. Vasquez was initially granted bail in the sum of $5,000 but he was later charged with the murder of Jasmine Lowe. Since then he has been on remand at the Belize Central Prison in Hattieville.

Sixth Suspect in Robbery of Chinese grocer remanded
On Friday, February 15th, the last of 6 suspects who police said they caught inside a grocery store in mid-January, after a robbery of Jian Vin Shop on Mopan Street, was charged in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court. He is 19-year-old Jean Pascual, a resident of #8445 Cannondale Drive and a student of ITVET evening division. Pascual was released a day earlier from the KHMH after being shot in his foot. When he appeared in court on Friday, he was charged with robbery and keeping an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. He is still recovering from his injuries and as a result, had to use a crutch as support as he was escorted into Court to appear before the Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer.

Acquitted of Murder of Andre Trapp
On Friday, February 15th, 22-year-old Nicoli Rhys walked out of Supreme Court in Belize City all smiles after he was acquitted of June 10th, 2010 murder of Andre Trapp. Rhys had his case heard before Chief Justice Kenneth. Benjamin, being the first man to be tried for murder in a trial by judge without jury. During the trial, DPP, Cheryl Lyn Vidal called as many as 10 witnesses to testify in the case. In a one-hour summation of the case, the Chief Justice ruled that while there were elements of murder proven by the prosecution, the final element, that of the identification of Rhys as the shooter, was not proven giving great doubt about the guilt of the accused. He noted that while there was identification of Rhys by the Crown’s witness, who put him to the murder scene seconds after Trapp had been gunned down, there was no identification parade conducted by the police. In his sum up the CJ stated that “There was a loop hole in the prosecution’s case.” He further said, “The court must be extremely cautious before accepting the visual identification by PC Alrick Arnold since the prosecution admitted that there was no identification parade conducted by the police investigating officer, Sgt. Manuel Espat.”

Pleads guilty to belonging to gang
Roger Anthony, 35, appeared in Magistrate's Court where he pleaded guilty to professing to belong to a criminal gang and one count of displaying support of a criminal gang. Anthony appeared before Magistrate Adolph Lucas, Jr. where in mitigation Anthony asked the court to be lenient on him and to impose a fine. Magistrate Lucas imposed two $500 fines plus two $5.00 costs of court. The first fine of $500 was ordered to be paid by April 12th, 2013 or in default 5 months imprisonment while the other $500 fine was order to be paid by June 14th, 2013 or in default another 5 months imprisonment. Roger Anthony, a resident of the Crooked Tree area in the Belize District was picked up by police over the weekend in the area known as “Ghost Town. At about 10:00 a.m., members of the GSU were on mobile patrol in the area of Vernon Street, when they stopped at the intersection of May Flower and Vernon Streets and saw Anthony and another man in the area. Both men were searched for illegal drugs and firearms; however, nothing incriminating was found on either man.

Accused of burglarizing Home of Traffic Manager
On Monday, February 18th, Luis Romero, 47, a resident of #40 Plues Street appeared in Magistate's Court to answer to charges of burglary. Romero appeared unrepresented before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Allegations are that Romero, entered the home of Belize City Traffic Manager, Kevan Jenkins which is located at #7135 Lumber Yard Crescent. The incident is said to have occurred on Monday, January 28th 2013, where over a $1,000 in items were stolen from Jenkins' home including $150.00 in cash, a pair of scandals and jewelry. In court, prosecutor, Sgt. Egbert Castillo objected to bail being granted to Romero stating that he has two convictions for crimes of dishonestie, which include theft and handling stolen goods. He also submitted that bail should not be offered to Romero because of the prevalence of the crime, the gravity of the crime, the strength of the prosecution's case especially since the Scenes of Crime technicians have lifted fingerprints at the crime scene that positively match Romero’s, the fact that there is a possibility that he may or could interfere with the witnesses and the fact that the police case is ongoing.

Two Dead, 10 survive Weekend Shootings
The weekend of Friday, February 15th, to Sunday, February 17th, was extremely violent in Belize City. The three-day span saw twelve victims of gun violence. Ten of them are lucky to be alive. The first shooting incident took place at about 3:30 p.m. on Neal Pen Road. 34-year-old Kenroy Tillett and 32-year-old Alton Roches were doing repairs on a white Ford Ranger pickup truck when a dark complexioned man rode up on bicycle and opened fire in their direction. Both men got into the vehicle in an attempt to flee but during that time Roches received a gunshot wound to the left side of the abdomen and Tillett received gunshot wounds to the left side of the neck and left hand. They were then assisted by a friend who rushed them to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for treatment. Police recovered ten 9mm expended shells from the scene but have not reported any arrest in this incident as yet.

Hilly Martinez to lead Olympic Committee for the Next Four Years
The Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association held a Special General Assembly on Saturday, February 16th, 2013, at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City, where the seventeen (17) National Federations/Associations that belong to the local Olympic Committee were in full attendance. Each of the national federations/associations was represented by two delegates at the Special General Assembly. The Special General Assembly was held in order for the elections of officers for the Quadrennial period 2013-2017. The Quadrennial period comes to a close at the conclusion of the Summer Olympics. Before the elections of officers for the Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association, the Governor General of Belize Sir Colville Young was unanimously elected and appointed the Patron of the Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association. The Elections was presided over by an Election Commission, appointed in coordination with the Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association, the Pan American Sports Organisation (PASO) and Charles B. Hyde Sr, President of Belize NOC/OA Fair Play Commission, which comprised of Raymond Lashley, Retired. Pharmacist, Sharon Frazer, Senior Magistrate, and Hadie Gomez, Retired Principal.

Anti-Doping Samples to be collected before Central American Games
The National Anti-Doping Organisation of Belize will be carrying out five Anti-Doping Sample Collections from athletes that will represent Belize at the 10th Central American Games scheduled for San Jose, Costa Rica from March 3rd - 17th, 2013. The samples will be collected from athletics, football, softball, volleyball and basketball from Thursday, February 21st, 2013 to Saturday, February 23rd, 2013, between the hours of 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight. The random selection will be carried out by the Doping Control Officers of the National Anti-Doping Organisation. All athletes are reminded that they are to make themselves available for Anti-Doping Sample Collection. The Anti-Doping Samples will then be sent to the UCLA Olympic Laboratory for analysis.

Belmopan Bandits lead Premier League Football Competition
The Premier League of Belize Football Competition continued over the last week with four games on the schedule. On Saturday, February 16th, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the defending champions and the current leaders in this year’s competition, the Belmopan Bandits blanked the visiting San Felipe Barcelona by the score of 2-0. The goals for the Belmopan Bandits were scored by David Trapp via a penalty kick in the 27th minute of play and the 2nd and final goal of the game was scored by Ian Gaynair in the 89th minute of play. Meanwhile, out at the Marshalleck Stadium in Benque Viejo Town, the visiting San Ignacio United shut out the home team Verdes by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Leonard Valdez in the 48th minute of play. The competition then continued on Sunday February 17th, 2013, with two more games. At the MCC Grounds, the visiting FC Belize defeated Police United by the score of 1-0. The goal for FC Belize was scored by Michael Hernandez in the 30th minute of play. And in the final game of the week that was played at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio, it was the Belize Defence Force winning over the visiting Placencia Assassins FC by the score of 2-1.

US Olympian Corey Hicks was in Belize
Former US Olympian in Decathlon and current Athletics Director for Track and Field at American Heritage Prep School in Plantation, Florida, Corey Hicks arrived in Belize on Friday, February 15th, 2013 and departed the country on Sunday, February 17th, 2013 after spending the weekend with track athletes at the Marion Jones Stadium. On Saturday, Hicks held a motivational talk with the athletes and coaches that were present and he also held demonstration clinics with them. He also told the athletes and coaches that the track at the Marion Jones Sports Complex is a world class track and is of the very same stock that Florence Johnson established her World Record on. Hicks, for his part, will develop a training package for Belizean athletes that will help to enhance their performance and their potentials for acceptance to American universities. Apart from the training programme, he will also develop a profile for each athlete that will help to place them in schools. Corey is expected to be back in Belize very soon.

Independence High School National Football Champions
Independence High School Female National Football Champions The 2012-2013 National Secondary Schools Sports Association National Football Championships were played on Friday, February 15th and Saturday, February 16th, 2013, at the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk Town. The schools that participated in the National Football Championships are as follows: from the North, Orange Walk Technical High School (females) and Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico (males); from Central Wesley College (females) and St. John’s College (males); from the West Belmopan Comprehensive High School (females) and Mount Carmel High School (males); and from the South Independence High School (females and males). On Saturday, February 16th, in the female championship game, Independence High School defeated Orange Walk Technical High School in penalty shoot out by the score of 4-3 to capture the female title. At the end of regulation time, the score was 1-1. The goal for Independence High School in regulation time was scored by Yosselin Pacheco, while the goal for Orange Walk Technical High School was scored by Norelia Terry. In the penalty shoot out, the goals for Independence High School were scored by Sylvia Cabral, Yosselin Pacheco, Kelsey Polanco and Erica Vallecillo. Meanwhile, the goals for Orange Walk Technical High School were scored by Yanira Chan, Gisel Baizar and Elizabeth Quintana.

Justice Minnet Hafiz-Bertram Sworn in as New Justice of Appeal
Governor General, Sir Colvile Young and Justice Minnet Hafiz Belmopan. February 18th, 2013. Justice Minnet Hafiz-Bertram was today sworn in as a Justice of the Belize Court of Appeal by the Governor General, Sir Colville Young, at Belize House, Belmopan.

Equine Encephalomyelitis Outbreaks in Belize - VACCINATION FOR HORSES STRONGLY RECOMMENDED
The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) strongly recommends to all horse owners throughout Belize, and especially in the Northern and Western Regions, to vaccinate their horses against Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis. BAHA has confirmation from the USDA laboratory in Iowa, USA that the Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis virus is currently circulating in Belize. Outbreaks have been detected in the Corozal and Cayo Districts. The viral disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and alternate infection of birds or rodents and mosquitoes maintain the virus in nature. Equine Encephalomyelitis viruses can also cause infection in humans. The risk of infection can be reduced in horses by vaccination and housing horses in screened barns, particularly during the hours of high mosquito activity. Repellents and fans can be helpful. Measures to prevent mosquito bites, including the use of repellents and protective clothing (that is, long pants and long-sleeved shirts) can reduce the risk of infection in humans. Additional information can be obtained from BAHA veterinary officers and the Ministry of Health.

It Seems too Good to be True
If it seems too good to be true, goes an old adage, then it probably is. Unfortunately, there are always people who want so much for things to be true that they suspend all critical thought and there are always others who are ready to take advantage of this need. There is never any shortage of snake oil or snake oil salesmen. (Snake oil originally referred to fraudulent health products or unproven medicinal value but has come to refer to any product with questionable or unverifiable quality or benefit. By extension, a snake oil salesman is someone who knowingly sells fraudulent goods or who is himself or herself a fraud. The snake oil salesman often uses accomplices in the audience who proclaim the benefits of the product on sale.) Call me a cynic but it is in this context we must examine the seemingly extravagant claims of motivational speakers. Undoubtedly, a good motivational speaker, like any successful preacher, can fire up a crowd and make its members feel good, powerful and/or motivated but whether this translates into any long term or even short term change in behavior is debatable. A good presentation by either a motivational speaker or a preacher may lead to a desire for change but there is no evidence that it leads to actual change.

New Bond floats
On Tuesday, February 19th, the Belize Coordinating Committee negotiating the restructuring of the Superbond announced that they would accept the exchange of the old bonds, which were due in 2029 for new ones which will be due in 2038. Through a press release, the committee announced that "all of its members have agreed to tender their Old Bonds in the exchange offer." The release goes on to quote the co-chair of the negotiating committee, AJ Mediratta as saying that "The Committee appreciates the GOB’s willingness to negotiate in good faith and to adhere to what was in the end a fair and transparent process.” He continued saying, “I wish to thank Prime Minister Barrow for his personal efforts and leadership in working with the Committee to facilitate this process.” Those who have now accepted the new bonds held over $338 million of the $548 million of Bonds outstanding.

Work gets off on BTL Park
Reclamation work began at the Newtown Barracks BTL Park on Wednesday, February 20th. According to Mayor Darrell Bradley, a contract was signed with RJB Construction Company on Monday and by Wednesday, heavy equipment and landfill began to be mobilized at the park. The contractor says that in excess of 25,000 cubic yards of material will be placed into the sea to reclaim an area of 100 feet by 75 feet. Work on the reclamation is expected to run for 2 weeks after, which a retaining seawall will be constructed to prevent erosion. This phase of the BTL park renovation project will run for approximately two months and comes at a cost of over $700,000. It is being financed by the Belize City Council. Mayor Bradley says he anticipates that BTL will be providing some counterpart funding for the project. At the completion of the reclamation and seawall construction, work will commence to build 18 stalls for small businesses and a food court. A multipurpose bandstand to accommodate concerts as well as a 100-foot pier, which will project into the Caribbean Sea will also be constructed thereafter. The BTL Park renovation project is part of a greater move by the Belize City Council to improve on existing facilities to be utilized by residents and visitors alike.

UDP’s Unity Convention
As could have been expected, the United Democratic Party held and extremely successful National Party Convention on Sunday, February 17th at the Andres Campos Civic Center in Corozal Town. Some 8,000 party supporters gathered as the party’s national convention delegates, 567 of them came together to make important decisions for the forward movement of the UDP. During the convention, what took center stage was the election of officers which included that of the 1st Deputy Party Leader, Party Chairman, and Deputy Party Chairman. At the end of the voting the Deputy Party Leader’s position was taken by Hon. Gaspar Vega, who received 311 votes while Hon. Patrick Faber received 233. Taking the Chairman’s position was Alberto August, who secured 379 votes while Roosevelt Blades got 183 votes. Holding the position of Deputy Party Chairman is now Fern Gutierrez, who received 378 votes while Roger Espejo, who also contested the position received 180 votes. If the votes do not add up to 567 votes its because there was one delegate who did not vote while the others represent spoilt ballots.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Book Fair at Cayeboard Connection
Cayeboard Connection along with Producciones de la Hamaca is hosting a Book Fair, Saturday February 23 from 3 – 6 pm. Stop by and see all the books that have been published by this Caye Caulker publisher. Meet the authors and buy an autographed book at a discount.

Tourism Presentation at Ocean Academy
For the past 3 weeks, students of 2nd form have been learning about the Tourism Industry in Belize with Ms.Elizabeth Usher. The students were then assigned presentations, whereby they they were to host a show or mini Trade Show in order for them to be able to market and promote Belize. They had about a week and a half to prepare and present. They did an excellent job. Students projected pictures and maps of Belize while doing their presentations all geared towards marketing & promoting Belize as a Tourism Destination. Today students will continue their Tourism Unit with Careers in Tourism. Mr. Efren Perez who is the Executive Director of BTIA in Belize has been asked to come to Ocean Academy to do a presentation on Careers in Tourism. Also invited is Mrs. Noeli Kuylen, owner of Rainbow Grill & Bar, who will be speaking to the students about her business and the excellent services they provide.


I was so Surpised
A while back Zac made me the offer that I could use one of his ph strips to test what my level was but that I had to take it seriously as it is not something you can just run out to the store and buy here. By taking it seriously he said I needed to give my self a day or 2 of cleaner eating before my reading. With yesterday being day 3 of our cleanse, I decided it was a good time to test so I sent him a text and got a fast reply to come by in 1/2h. When I got there he took the book strips out of a plastic container. They have to be kept airtight so moisture will not get at them, a common effect o living in the tropics. Since you are supposed to do the urine test first thing in the morning and we missed the boat on that we both opted for saliva method where you put it on your tongue. I was so surprised that I came slightly above neutral and out more alkaline than Zac did as he is one of the healthier eaters I know on Ambergris Caye and one of my main sources for heath info besides Google. I was very pleased that I was more alkaline than I thought. Since ph balance test strips are a handy guideline for helping moderate, I deiced to order some of my own strips off ebay for $2.96 for 80 and $2 shipping to Belize from Kentucky.

DJ's Seaside Bar and Restaurant: Is It Really the Best Burger in Town?
There has been a ton of hype about the newly relocated DJ's Restaurant for the past few months. I have been instructed by what seems like countless people to try "the best burger in Belize". I do love a burger. Yesterday, my first full day back on the island, seemed like the perfect time to weigh in. Glitter always gets you points on my scorecard. Owned by partners, the newly relocated restaurant sits right on the beach overlooking Boca Del Rio Park. They have a long oval favorite kind. So you can sit and chat with the whole drinking group. Meet DJ, the chef and burger creator and original owner (I practically forced the poor guy to pose for a picture after hours and hours of cooking)...

Celebrities Drawn to Belize
As Belize becomes one of the biggest boom areas of the Caribbean, affluent visitors-and more and more celebrities-soon find themselves switching from the adventures of island-hopping to the pastime of island-shopping… at the same time provocative options on the mainland are taking off. Whether fly fishing, diving or sailing, wealthy visitors soon hear that private islands and prime properties can be purchased in Belize from original owners for a fraction of what waterfront costs back in the U.S. and elsewhere in the Caribbean. Tiger Woods, Charlize Theron, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lennox Lewis, Harrison Ford and Francis Ford Coppola have all either visited or bought property in Belize, with Tiger going non-stop fly-fishing, snorkeling, kayaking and diving, according the San Pedro Sun. Tiger is an avid diver, who has been all over the world underwater, plunged in the waters off San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and Lighthouse reef. “These waters are incredible!” he told the Sun. “I have been diving in many places and Belize is definitely top notch. The Blue Hole is spectacular. The water was so clear everywhere we went. The diving near San Pedro was really impressive. Hol Chan is a very special place with the sharks and rays, and the people of San Pedro have done a great job taking care of it.”

Lonely Planet Picks Belize as a Top Family Friendly Destination
Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide book publisher in the world has selected Belize as a top family friendly destination. In an article entitled “5 family-friendly destinations you might not have thought about” written by Robert Reid and published on February 20 on the Lonely Planet website, the writer describes Belize as an affordable Caribbean destination for families. “ It’s compact, cheap and nearly everyone speaks English. There’s super wildlife to see – growler monkeys and crocodiles by land, sea turtles and (harmless) nurse sharks by mask and snorkel. First-timers will enjoy nice array of cabanas, often with kitchenette, from US$50 per night at the beach/diving center of Placencia, a couple hours south of the Belize City airport. But the interior doesn’t mean sacrificing fun in the water, with underground rivers to tube, jungle lodges on swimming holes and Mayan ruins reached by boat. If you rent a car, a tad pricey (about US$80 per day), you can connect a few dots at your own leisure. For an unforgettable stay, try the remote and family-friendly Barton Creek Outpost in the Cayo District, with a rope swing on the country’s finest swimming hole. And pull in for Garifuna drum lessons at the laid-back beach of Hopkins” asserts the writer.

International Sources

Caribbean Civil Registry and Identity System (CCRIS) coming to Belize: OAS completes work in Caribbean Civil Registry & Identity System in SVG
The Organization of American States (OAS) has completed implementation of a Caribbean Civil Registry and Identity System (CCRIS) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The implementation was done through the OAS’ Department for Effective Public Management (DEPM), with funding from the Governments of Chile, Canada, Luxembourg and Korea, CCRIS was developed under the OAS/DEPM’s Universal Civil Identity Program in the Americas (PUICA) to facilitate birth registration and to provide uniform vital statistics in the Eastern Caribbean, a release said. With equipment purchased by the OAS, CCRIS facilitated the scanning of the vital records maintained in ledgers at the Civil Registry’s Vault and their uploading to a central database. The equipment comprises one BookDrive scanner, two servers, seven computer workstations, network equipment and other computer hardware components. From September to December 2011 and June to December 2012, the project scanned a full 100 per cent of the 468 ledgers at the Civil Registry, for a total of 120,320 pages containing 614,200 birth, death, marriage, adoption and legitimization records. By Dec. 24, 2012, it had scanned and cropped 93 per cent of the scanned records and initiated data entry. The Civil Registry is now able to view the images cropped by CCRIS in their existing application, and has the ability to image, crop and process birth, death and marriage records, along with data entry, verification, editing and printing, the release said.

The 10 Most Amazing Places on Earth
From the air, the Great Blue Hole of Belize resembles an otherworldly maw, intent on drinking down the surrounding Lighthouse Reef Atoll. In reality, the 1,000-foot (305-meter) wide hole is simply a sinkhole in the ocean. Geologists believe that an underlying cave system collapsed under increased pressure some 10,000 years ago due to rising sea levels. The dark hole descends 412 feet (126 meters), terminating in lightless depths where a lack of oxygen prevents most forms of life from thriving. Divers rarely plunge these depths, however, as most are content to explore the stalactite-rich caverns accessible from depths of some 130 feet (40 meters) below the surface.

Historic CARICOM Group Meeting Opens In Haiti
The Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) begins in Port-au-Prince on Monday, the first that Haiti is hosting after more that 10 years of becoming a member. That Haiti is hosting its first meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government more than ten years after becoming a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) could be no greater indicator that it had taken its rightful place within the Community, CARICOM secretary-general, Irwin LaRocque, said. "This is certainly one occasion that the use of the word historic is most fitting. Ten and a half years after its formal accession as a member state of CARICOM, for the first time a president of Haiti is chairman of CARICOM.

Caricom maintains independence in external negotiations
The 15-nation Caribbean Community (Caricom) will be funding all future negotiations itself, according to Guyana’s Foreign Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett. She recently informed the 65-seat National Assembly, current negotiations between Caricom and Canada for a Trade and Development Agreement are being funded by the region. Rodrigues-Birkett’s statement came in the form of a written response to a series of questions by opposition front-bencher Carl Greenidge, who was previously a senior negotiator with Caricom’s Office of Trade Negotiations (OTN). This stance comes as concerns linger that the Caribbean Forum countries might have been compromised in their negotiating abilities since the rounds of negotiations leading up to the 2008 Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between them and the European Union (EU) were in fact funded by the EU.She recently informed the 65-seat National Assembly, current negotiations between Caricom and Canada for a Trade and Development Agreement are being funded by the region.

New World Oil & Gas set to move on 'giant prospect'
New World Oil and Gas CEO, Bill Kelleher, tells Proactive Investors why he remains very excited about the firm's prospects in Belize, despite recent drilling disappointment in the country. He also explains the potential of the company's 'giant prospect' in Denmark, as well as talking about plans for a tie-up with a 'large European oil and gas company'.

Belize debt debacle nears end
Reuters is reporting that a committee representing major Belize bondholders has agreed to a debt exchange on the country's US$550 million “superbond” after almost a year of negotiations. Committee members agreed unanimously to swap their old United States dollar bonds for new bonds with a maturity date of 2038, the group said in a statement. "The Committee appreciates the (Belize government's) willingness to negotiate in good faith and to adhere to what was in the end a fair and transparent process," said AJ Mediratta, joint chair of the committee and co-president of Greylock Capital Management. Under the deal put forward by the government, creditors would write off 10 percent of the value of the bonds, far less than the 45 percent haircut Belize had proposed as one of the original restructuring options. The maturity of the bonds will be extended by nine years to 2038. The interest rate will be set initially at 5 percent for 4.5 years and stepping up to 6.788 percent for the remaining term, a reduction from the current 8.5 percent rate. Glenford Ysaguirre, Belize's central bank governor, said the committee represented holders of 66 percent of the superbond's value. The remaining 34 percent is held by others, who must be dealt with individually by the Belize government, he added.

The skies are gray when we arrive in Belize—the season lingering somewhere between wet and dry, the only two seasons this country knows. It’s mid-January and a group of us—journalists from all types of publications: New York fashion blogs, outdoor adventure magazines—are here to test the latest products from Helly Hansen, Cascade Designs, Quiksilver, and, surprisingly, Microsoft. As a professional gear tester, it goes without saying that I’ve also brought a spectrum of previously received samples to test so that I can take advantage of the spring-like weather while it snows back home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Exploring Belize: 10 Must-Have Pieces of Gear
Ali Carr Troxell visits the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave, a noted Maya archeological site. Read about her trip here and then check out her list of 10 must-have pieces of gear for a perfect Belizean expedition.

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