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Civilians pledge to clean the Belize border with Guatemala
The referendum on whether or not to take Guatemala’s unfounded claim to the ICJ for final resolution 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 Territorial Volunteers, which was formed over a year ago will, with the assistance of conservation groups and interested Belizeans, clear the full length of our border with Guatemala. It is a daunting feat never before done by civilians, but according to Will Maheia, who is a member of the group, it is an exercise that is very possible if all able-bodied individuals decide to take part.
The exercise will begin on the weekend of March second and third. People who want to be a part of the effort can reach Will Maheia at 610-0978 or on Facebook. For people traveling from outside the Toledo District, they need to be at the junction of the Southern Highway/San Antonio Road morning of March second. From there, they will be taken to the border point at Jalacte village to start the process. People in Punta Gorda Town and surrounding areas can board the bus at the PG Central Park.
New deputy Mayor of Belize City chosen
And while Mayor Bradley looks to complete his first years as the City’s chief executive officer, a new deputy has been chosen at City Hall. At a meeting on Tuesday of last week, councilors voted among themselves to elevate Councillor Eric Chang to the post of Deputy Mayor. Chang will take over the post of Deputy Mayor on March fifteenth, succeeding Dion Leslie. He is the first Taiwanese-Belizean to ascend to that post at the Belize City Council.
Mayor Darrel Bradley talks about infrastructure works
The Belize City Council, under the leadership of Mayor Darrel Bradley is perhaps the most progressive administration in recent times. And while there have been many complaints about the inconveniences caused by sometimes unannounced street closures to facilitate cementing, by and large most people are starting to see the big picture. That of a city transformed. One transformation that is a part of the bigger picture is happening on Newtown Barracks. And that where Love TV’s Patrick Jones and video journalist Brian Castillo met and spoke with Belize City Mayor Darrel Bradley this morning.
Mayor Bradley says he hoped to have at last sixty streets fully cemented by the time he celebrates his first year in office next month.
Young mother of two murdered
The senseless murder of a young mother of two has rocked the small village of Laguna in the Toledo District. The victim, 24 year old Corina Coh was walking to The University of Belize, where she attended school, when she was attacked and chopped several times. According to police,...
Traffic Accident leaves several injured
Tonight Police are investigating a traffic accident that left several people injured. The accident happened early this morning, on the Stann Creek Valley Road. HARRY ARZU – Dangriga Correspondent: Reports here say that they were heading to Tikal, Guatemala, when they departed just before dawn this morning from Hamanasi ...
3 persons called to the bar
This morning 3 persons were called to the bar before the Chief Justice, Kenneth A. Benjamin in the Supreme Court. They are 25-year-old Candice Westby Fisher, the daughter of Former COPOL, Gerald Westby, , 39-year-old Michelle Trapp-Zuniga, a Belize City resident and an employee at Legal Aid, along with...
25-year-old Natalie Coleman given bail as notice of appeal is filed
25-year-old Natalie Coleman, was convicted on January 3 of this year and sentenced to 5 years for possession of 4-16 gauge cartridges. But today, Coleman was given bail in the sum of $5,000 plus one surety of the same amount. Her attorney, Anthony Sylvester, took the matter of bail...
Belmopan home broken into during broad daylight
A home in the city of Belmopan was broken into during broad daylight. A resident of an Iguana street address in the Mountain View area, reported to police that sometime between 7am and 3:30pm on Tuesday, someone broke into her house and took off with a number of items....
Hubert Vaccaro charged with vehicle theft
A man was arrested for theft when he took a joyride in his friend’s car. A Belize City mechanic told police that yesterday he was along with his friend Hubert Vaccaro in his vehicle when he decided to park the car and went to purchase food. That was when...
Local artists showcase their talents
Belize’s local artists rarely get opportunities to showcase their talents. The Bliss Center for the Performing Arts has for the past three years changed that with a Street Art Festival in which it brings art and talent to the streets of Belize City. Bliss Theatre Director Karen Vernon tells...
Belize makes Trip Advisor’s Top Ten Inspiring Places List
Belize makes the list of the “10 Most Awe-Inspiring Places Around The World.” The Trip Advisor, the world’s largest online travel guide, recently released a list of the most astounding places in world, and this year, one of Belize’s national reserves cracked the top 10. The Great Blue Hole...
E.J. HILL, JR., ARTIST
The piece below is a writeup in The Studio Museum in Harlem Magazine Winter/Spring 2013 edition. The original piece could be viewed with his picture at www.studiomuseum.org.
E.J. Hill, Jr., is an MFA candidate in New Genres at the University of California, Los Angeles, specializing in performance. Hill is interested in questions of identity, territory and alienation. Using durational and interventionist strategies, he advances counter-narratives in which marginalized bodies are free to inhabit spaces of their choosing—physical, emotional, social or political.
Can it just be a body?
Hill moved to Chicago in 2007 to study at Columbia where he initially focused on painting and drawing. After watching a collection of videos by artist Chris Burden, known for his confrontational performance style that tested the limits of the human body, Hill initiated what he refers to as his first performance: a psycho-geographical duration exercise for which he crawled, à la William Pope.L, between the town center and a so-called “bad part of town” in Evanston, a suburb on the far north side of Chicago that is home to prestigious Northwestern University. Weighted down with a backpack filled with drywall from an abandoned house, Hill intended for this—as well as a later work, This Is an Imaginary Border (2009)—to open a dialogue about the economic (and occasional racial) segregation that remains a reality in cities such as Chicago.
“I had no idea I was ‘black’ until I moved to Chicago,” says Hill “I’m a first-generation American—my family is from Belize. They moved to Los Angeles in the 1970s. When I got to Chicago, my Belizean identity was taken out of conversation, unless I brought it up.”
IDEAS AND OPINIONS – MORE ON THE ICJ
At the risk of offending some of my compatriots, I will take issue with the statement that the Guatemalan claim is unfounded. We reject the claim because it can’t be made against Belize. Guatemala has no claim against Belize but, their claim is founded on their assertion that they are the successors of Spain, which once owned the territory that now belongs to our country. The claim does exist, and it will not go away until it is settled.
Guatemala should have dropped her claim when Belize became an independent nation state. The territory originally claimed, being administered by Great Britain as a colony, is now an independent country. It has not dropped its claim. Perhaps, it cannot. That is a consideration that Belizeans might take into account when we vote.
Left out of my column of last Sunday’s edition were the names of the current members of the International Court of Justice. I think it is important to have this information, which should allay our fears that they can be influenced in their judgment by other considerations besides the facts of the “claim.” They are listed below: -
1. Hisashi Owada (Japan)
2. Ronny Abraham (France)
3. Kenneth Keith (New Zealand)
4. Mohamed Bennoura (Morocco)
5. Leonid Shetnikiv (Russian Federation)
6. Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia)
7. Antonio Augusto Cancalo Triadalc (Brazil)
8. Christopher Greenwood (Great Britain)
9. Xue Harquin (China)
10. John E. Donoghue (United States of America)
11. Jula Sebrtinde (Uganda)
12. Georgio Gaja (Italy)
13. Dalvier Ghandari (India)
UNION PRESIDENTS CONTINUE SALARY NEGOTIATIONS
Union presidents have said that they have completed their countrywide membership consultation and are preparing their counterproposal on the salary adjustment negotiations to present to the Prime Minister within the next two weeks.
Belize National Teacher’s Union president Luke Palacio made it clear that the unions did not accept the government’s proposal as the final decision, but accepted it to serve as more of a basis for discussion among membership.
“It is not a done deal, it was never a yes or no,” he said. “What we had said to the Prime Minister is that we accept the proposal. Our Councils of Management saw some merit in the proposal and that we would be taking that back to our membership for them to give us their recommendation and their suggestion, and then we will come back with an answer,” he went on to say.
Palacio said that they don’t really have answers from the membership, but they have recommendations.
“As we went around the country we did our consultation; they have given us some recommendations, some suggestions,” he said. “All of those things will be compiled and form part of the counterproposal.”
Public Service Union president Marvin Blades took the opportunity to dispel rumors about the meetings not having a good attendance. The meetings did not have full attendance of membership, but Blades said that was due to the time the meetings were held.
5 SALVADORAN WOMEN CAUGHT IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING RING
Police say the females were a part of a “shipment” busted on Tuesday.
Yesterday, seven persons were brought to court where they were deemed prohibited immigrants after police and immigration officers intercepted a white van they were travelling in on the Philip Goldson Highway.
During the operation, which occurred at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the tires of the van were shot out, allowing some of its occupants to be captured, but police believe that some of the passengers, which included women, were able to escape at that time.
These women were apprehended in Los Lagos yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, by police, and they were learned to be Yessenia Guadalupe Santamaria Gonzalez, 18; Miriam Santamaria Guevara, 19; and Maribel Antonia Guevara, 24, all of Chalatenango, El Salvador.
Two minors, 17, were also apprehended along with the three women, but they were handed over to the Human Development Services.
It is believed that the women illegally entered the country via the Mopan River in Benque Viejo, Cayo, and, with the help of locals, were being facilitated with their journey to United States.
BELIZE TERRITORIAL VOLUNTEERS WILL BEGIN CLEARING THE BORDERLINE BETWEEN GUATEMALA AND BELIZE
The group has secured 100 machetes and asks other nationalist groups to join them.
Wil Maheia, Punta Gorda nationalist, activist and leader of the People’s National Party (PNP), told Amandala today that last year a group of concerned Belizeans came together and formed a group dedicated to protecting our Belizean patrimony — the “Belize Territorial Volunteers.”
The group’s mission is simple: “We exist to educate our people as to the reality of our Western border and to maintain a watchful eye, to ensure that Belize’s territorial sovereignty is never called into question.”
The group was formed, Maheia said, because our borders have been neglected and as a result, there have been several incursions into our beautiful, sovereign country.
Recently, there have been an increasing number of incursions and as a result, some villagers have been negatively affected. Guatemalans, said Maheia, have come into the villages and pillaged people’s farms and stolen their horses.
Many times when they are caught, he said, they claim ignorance about entering Belizean territory.
JOE COYE WALKS – LAND CASE STRUCK OUT!
The Chief Justice ruled that proof of loss to GoB cannot be substantiated.
Former PUP Minister Jose Coye held a press conference today, Wednesday, to announce that his case before the Supreme Court of Belize, brought by the Government of Belize, to answer to a charge of misfeasance, has been struck out.
Coye and former PUP Minister Florencio Marin were accused of underselling 56 parcels of land in the Caribbean Shores area and causing the government to suffer loss.
The issue dates back to just before the general elections of 2008, when Coye was the area representative for Caribbean Shores and Marin was the Minister of Natural Resources. They sold 56 parcels of undeveloped lands, which were inaccessible swamp grounds at the time, for $4,000 per parcel to a private company.
In the aftermath of the 2008 elections, the new government claimed that the lots were worth far more than what they were sold for, and therefore caused a loss to the government. The lands, they contended, were in a highly coveted residential area – immediately behind Belize Healthcare Partners hospital and adjacent to University Heights. They estimated that the lots were sold at a loss of $924,000 to the government.
The case was first heard in May of 2009 by then Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh, who ruled that the government could not bring such a case against a former Minister. The Government of Belize appealed, and the Belize Court of Appeals overturned CJ Conteh’s ruling.
LLOYD PARCHUE, 20, AND WAYNE HERRERA, 22, ACQUITTED OF BURGLARY
Police screwed up — the two won acquittal, even without legal representation in court.
On July 7, 2012, Mark Mitchell’s home was broken into, and police arrested and charged Lloyd Parchue, 20, and Wayne Herrera, 22, for the crime.
But today, at the end of the trial, the prosecution failed to prove its case, and Magistrate Adolph Lucas, Jr., found the two accused not guilty of the crime.
Mitchell had reported to police that he had left his home properly secured on July 7, 2012, and travelled to Chetumal. But on July 8, he received a call informing him of the burglary, and he returned the same day to make a police report.
Stolen from his house were a black Playstation valued at $1,300; an Amazon brand Kindle valued at $500; a white Apple iPad valued at $2,000; an assortment of computer wires; an LG computer monitor; a black 32-inch flat screen television valued at $2,500; 3 video games; and a black Magnavox DVD/VHS player.
According to police, Parchue was found in possession of the iPad, Kindle, Playstation and computer wires, while Herrera was found with the other items. Herrera was charged with handling stolen goods as well as burglary when he was arraigned, while Parchue was charged only with burglary.
BELIZE: OUR LIFE, OUR LANDS — RESPECT MAYA LAND RIGHTS
In Southern Belize, Sarstoon Temash National Park holds within its 42,000 acres the most pristine rainforest in the country. Its primary forests have been attributed by National Geographic as remnants of the ancient Maya’s agroforestry systems, and today continue to be sustainably maintained by the Maya peoples of Southern Belize.
The Supreme Court of Belize ruled in 2007 and again in 2010 that the Maya who have ancestrally cared for these forests shall hold the legal titles to these lands. This court ruling, along with national and international laws, mandates that indigenous peoples must give their free, prior and informed consent before any development project that may affect them. But that right has been trampled on again and again by the Texas-based oil company US Capital Energy, which received a concession from the Belize government to extract oil in Southern Belize beginning in 2001.
In further flagrant violation of the Maya land rights under national law, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and recommendations by the Inter American Human Rights Commission, the government has now granted the oil company permits to move to the second phase of exploratory drilling in the park and on indigenous territories.
BIRD’S ISLE TO MCC, BOXING TO DI BOLA ON SUNDAY
Alex Neal vs Mohammad Harmouch; F.C. Belize vs BDF.
Boxing is finally returning to Bird’s Isle after an extended leave; and the Premier League of Belize goes into full football gear with Week 3 of an already hotly contested 2012-2013 Closing Season; and it all happens this weekend.
The “Island” in Belize City will be the scene of an all-Belizean amateur boxing card beginning at 11:00 this Sunday morning, February 24, involving boxers from four local gyms – San Pedro Boxing Gym, Leo Pol Gym from Belize City, Lions Den Gym from Ladyville, and Lions Den Gym from Cayo. Promoter Clinton Tucker, manager of the Ladyville gym, says there will be a number of youth and female bouts, with two main events, one female and one male. In the female main event, Shenique Michael of Ladyville’s Lions Den Gym tangles with Pauline Reneau of Belize City’s Leo Pol Gym; and the male main event features San Pedro Gym’s Mohammad Harmouch vs Alex Neal of Ladyville’s Lions Den Gym.
And after boxing, Belize City fans will shift their attention to the MCC, where the Premier League Week 3 match-up at 4:00 p.m. will see home standing F.C. Belize, who are 1-1, taking on Belize Defense Force, who sport a 2-0 record.
KACHIEF IN IOWA, USA
Coach Bernie Tarr, who is presently spearheading the “King James Project” in Belize, forwarded the following email with attached picture to us that he received yesterday from one Jim Morris. The short note says simply: “Kachief Thomas from Sadie Vernon, 2012 graduate, playing for Iowa Western Community College. They are 27-2 and ranked #5 in the country.”
Before travelling to the U.S. last year through the King James Project, Kachief was the most decorated Belizean high school basketball player in recent times, winning multiple national championships and MVP honors in the Sadie Vernon High School uniform.
Right on, Kachief!
BELIZEANS AGAINST GMOS (BAGMO) REVEAL MONTH-LONG CAMPAIGN Letters
These past few months Belize has begun hearing again about GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms. BAHA and the Ministry of Agriculture have repeatedly promised that no permits have been given for the importation of GMOs into Belize for planting. At the same time, we have been made aware of a serious push from the Belize Grain Growers Association in Belize for the importation of GM Bt corn for planting.
So, while the Government of Belize is following its own Bio-safety guidelines, there is an urgent and active, funded lobbying effort, financed by the Belize Grain Growers Association, attempting to change Government’s policy.
The current bipartisan policy of the Government of Belize was created under the PUP and approved by the UDP. It took several years and only after many public consultations throughout the country of Belize was it eventually finalized. The decision made at that time was the precautionary approach: if the import, use, and handling of GMO technology present uncertain risks, then the Government of Belize will choose to err on the side of caution.
Contrary to what many may believe, GMOs are NOT a done deal in Belize. Government has pledged its protection with laws which require that ANY importation of GM feed, seed, or plant material MUST be preceded by a scientifically rigorous and sound risk assessment.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
“The so-called extremist right is directed and approved by the army. I recall a visit to the town of Gualan in the department of Zacapa. I went in there with a team of students from the National University to establish a new youth center. A week after the group was organized, its president received a death warning from the Mano Blanca (White Hand).
“I went alone to visit the head of the Mano Blanca and asked him why he was going to kill this lad. At first he denied sending the letter, but after a bit of discussion with him and his first assistant, the assistant said, ‘Well, I know he’s a Communist and so we’re going to kill him.’
‘How do you know?’ I asked.
“He said, ‘I know he’s a Communist because I heard him say he would give his life for the poor.’
“With such a definition of communism, we find many new names in the Communist ranks, including Christ’s.”
- Blasé Bonpane, a priest working in Guatemala, in THE WASHINGTON POST, February 4, 1968
Some people say Christ is God, and other people say Christ was a great man, but not divine. For the purposes of this column, it really doesn’t make any difference if Christ was God or man, or both. What we know is that His life is chronicled in the New Testament by four different “evangelists” – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In these Gospels, Christ’s actions and teachings are recounted in detail by four different men, and there are few discrepancies among the Gospels.
A NATION UNDER STRESS Editorial
The Belizean people are under a great deal of pressure these days. Violent crime is at an all time high, and the police have their hands full trying to keep up with the criminals. The judiciary is very much embattled. Then, there is the matter of territorial integrity and national sovereignty. While desperate Guatemalan peasants are swarming across our borders in order to rape Belize of its gold, lumber, xate, wildlife, and other resources, the oligarchy/military which runs the Guatemalan state has laid claim to half of Belize’s land and sea, and powerful regional and international forces are calling for the claim to be treated as a legal matter in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
There are two other fronts, religious and political, on which the people of Belize are under attack. Never before has Belize been penetrated by so many different religions, and never before have these religions been so aggressive and so much a part of everyday life, through the electronic broadcast media. The preachers, most of who come in the name of Jesus Christ, claim that the Belizean people have to turn to Jesus for a solution to our problems. But, Belize is a country dominated by Christian religions from the nineteenth century, and everything is already done in the name of God.
In electoral politics, a year ago the Opposition party came close to being elected to office. It would have been a surprise victory, and they apparently can’t get over what might have been. Whereas there is normally a calm after a general election campaign is over, the Opposition rhetoric has been shrill, and it appears that there are leaders amongst them who are operating on the belief that they can force another general election before the ruling party completes its five-year term.
BIG-UP TILLIMAN; CHERISH, DON’T BEAT DOWN OUR LEGENDS
There is this ridiculous talk among some unenlightened football fans, that this or that player is “too old” to play in the Premier League.
In business, there is a thing called the “free market;” and it basically says that, if you have the “goods,” and there is a “demand” for the goods that you have, then you’re “in business.” If F.C. Belize thinks that at 40 years, Norman “Tilliman” Nunez can still help them to win a championship, then who are you to question the wisdom of F.C.
It is ironic that some critics who might not even qualify to “tie the shoe las’n” of a legend like “Tilliman,” would have all kinds of negative things to say about his rumoured return to action at the MCC this weekend.
According to Wikipedia, England’s greatest football legend, Sir Stanley Matthews, “.. kept fit enough to play at the top level until he was 50 years old.” And, talking about national teams, “On 15 May 1957, Matthews became the oldest player ever to represent England, when at 42 years and 104 days old he turned out for the victory over the Danes in Copenhagen.”
Another living legend, “El Rey” Pele celebrated his 50th birthday in 1990 by playing 40 minutes of a game with the Brazil national team against a Rest of the World selection. Rest of the World won, 2-1.
OLYMPIC COMMITTEE HOLDS ELECTIONS
On Saturday, February 16, 2013, the Belize Olympic & Commonwealth Games Association held its elections. The 17 member Associations were represented by 2 members each.
The Elections were presided over by an Election Commission, appointed in coordination with NOC/PASO and Mr. Charles B. Hyde, Sr., President of Belize NOC/OA Fair Play Commission, which comprised of Mr. Raymond Lashley, Rt. Pharmacist; Ms. Sharon Frazer, Senior Magistrate; and Ms. Hadie Gomez, Rt. Principal.
The meeting was called to order, the National Anthem was sung by Mr. Sean Saldano, and the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi was recited by all.
Sir Colville Young, Governor General of Belize, was unanimously elected and appointed as Patron of the Belize Olympic & Commonwealth Games Association.
Elected to office are: Mr. Hilberto (Hilly) Martinez – President; Mr. Owen (Sonny) Meighan – Vice President; Mrs. Yolanda Fonseca – Secretary General; Ms. Josephine Flowers – Assistant Secretary; Mr. Giovanni Alamilla – Treasurer; Mr. Herman Pastor, Jr. – Member; Mr. Allan Sharp – Member; Mr. Arturo Vasquez – Member.
UB STUDENT ROBBED ON BELMOPAN CAMPUS
A 19-year-old student of the University of Belize, Belmopan Campus, was robbed while walking from school, and the thieves got away with his phone cell phone, valued at $375, with calling number 631- 4157, and $3.50. The thieves then punch him in the face and escaped into the surrounding area.
The incident occurred around 8:30 p.m. on Monday night, February 18, at the university compound beside the Jabirou Building.
The student told police that he was walking through the compound when two men rode up on a bicycle and stopped in front of him and demanded his properties. He became fearful that they were going to kill him, and he handed over what they demanded
Police came, but the thieves had already escaped.
Ch-ch-changes north of the bridge
Had to snap a few shots on our way home from town today of all the work being done from the Palapa Bar north to Grand Caribe all of a sudden. It's a real beehive of activity. There's road work, construction, and lot clearing.
The road between the Palapa Bar and Grand Caribe is being widened quite a bit. You can see the widening around the curve here. (Sorry it's blurry, I was riding my bike while snapping photos.)
In the photo above, you can see where Barry is standing with his bike. The road north turns to the right. To the left, there is a road that used to be little more than a narrow path. Now it's a lot more than that. Here's the new view down that "path" to the left. As for why this was widened, it remains to be seen. Are they hoping to bring in large vehicles laden with construction supplies the back way? Possibly.
Now, looking north up the road where it is being widened up to people's fences.
Bizarre News Story and My Big Excitement
I just read a strange Belize Mexico story this am from Ch 7 news According to Por Esto newspaper out of Quintana Roo, a couple from Belize were caught in Mexico stealing from a Walmart. The pair were busted by a security camera trying to leave the store without paying for a pair of headphones and a watch. The items totaled $598 pesos which is almost $95 Belize dollars. The pair were given a choice, either pay three times the value or go face a Mexican judge. Of course they opted to pay the triple value be set free. I don’t know about you but I have never heard of charging a shoplifter more money and letting them go, that definitely qualifies as a bizarre news story in my book. As I was on my first walk today I took a picture so you could see the stylish fence that Xanadu Resort is putting up to replace the old chain link one. I also snapped a pic of the guy cleaning the aquarium at Tropic Air. It was super hot so I stopped by there to cool down a minute and chat with Quicksilver Dianne while she was doing cell phone rental deliveries and pick ups. She said “Tropic Arrivals have been way up the past two weekends” That does not surprise me, it was super busy the whole time we were there.
Lunch at My Favorite - Wild Mango's and a Bit of Chocolate
Why does it seem like the whole Facebook world is on a dietary cleanse? All this talk of it makes me hungry. Plus, I can think of no better way to celebrate my return to San Pedro than with a lunch at my favorite splurge lunch spot, Wild Mango's. The food, the cocktails (order the caiprinha...not on the menu) and smoothies and the atmosphere make it far and away my number one lunch spot. I always recommend it.
Yesterday was a gorgeous day...our view of some kids playing while their parents finished lunch.
We arrived relatively late (around 2:15pm) and had our pick of tables...which is not always the case. Lunch in Belize is a pretty strict noon to 1pm affair.
If you haven't been to Mango's in a while, during the last slow season, they expanded the deck for more outdoor seating (good) and put a little lounge area inside (very good).
Discovery Channel Names the Great Blue Hole of Belize a Top Amazing Site on Earth
The Discovery Channel has named the great Blue Hole of Belize as an amazing place on Earth.
Formed during the last ice age, the great Blue Hole of Belize is a submarine sinkhole that is 300 meters wide and 124 meters deep. It’s made up of karst limestone formations, which, over the years, have evolved into ledges that fall away into the chasm of darkness beneath.
“From the air, the Great Blue Hole of Belize resembles an otherworldly maw, intent on drinking down the surrounding Lighthouse Reef Atoll. 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, 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 below the surface” states the article which was written by Robert Lamb and Amanda Arnold.
Top Hiking Destinations around Belize
Apart from its popular and prestigious barrier reef, ancient Maya cities and ceremonial caves, and other numerous attractions, Belize also has an incredible and spectacular array of opportunities for hiking.
Below we have compiled the top ten best hiking destinations around Belize:
Shipstern Wildlife Nature Reserve: Located near Corozal, in the northeast corner of Belize, Shipstern Wildlife Nature Reserve contains 32 square miles of forest, savanna and wetlands for hikers to explore. These unspoiled habitats of well-known Belizean insects, birds and mammals consist of both hardwood forests as well as the rare Kuka Palm forest – the only dry forest of Belize. A butterfly aviary, botanical trail and natural history museum, along with magnificent trails located throughout the reserve, help tourists to become immersed in and appreciate Belize’s jungle at a new level.
Up for Breakfast
Delayed reading The Times until I got to Estel’s (Dine by the Sea to give its full name) for a late,late (especially as I was out of bed and up for breakfast by 4.30 pm) breakfast at 10.30 pm. Decadent living ! Well, at least decadent for me.
Don’t think I have mentioned it before but I read The Times for a few reasons. I like the newspaper (and its sister title The Sunday Times too for that matter). The subscription is relatively inexpensive at the equivalent of approximately BZ$24 per month. And I want the owner of the newspaper- News International – to make money because in a few years time I will draw my News International pension. So am making some belated pension contributions!
Anyway, back to my breakfast. At BZ$15 you get a great selection to make your choice of four items from. And for a further BZ$2.50 you get unlimited coffee ( it may not be truly unlimited but I always have to call a halt because if not they just keep refilling the mug).
Having been a reader of other blogs for a while it appears that it is de rigueur to include a photo of your meal. So here it is.
High Speed Vessel Swift Kicks off Southern Partnership Station in Belize
BIG CREEK, Belize (NNS) -- Sailors disembarked High Speed Vessel Swift 2 here, Feb. 18, to begin Southern Partnership Station 2013, a U.S. 4th Fleet deployment designed to strengthen civil and maritime capabilities with regional partner nations in the Caribbean.
The team was comprised primarily of Seabees from Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 2 and Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 202.
Each team will spend time working with host-nation partners to stregthen relationships and joint interoperability.
CBMU 202 Seabees will build a multipurpose open bay structure, known as a seahut, and provide the materials for up to two additional buildings. RIVRON 2 Seabees will share their expertise with the Belize Defense Force and help them improve their skills in areas such as interdiction and inserts and extracts of security teams on the water.
The two units have separate missions but share a common purpose; to maintain a strong relationship with the Belize Defense Force and share ideas, experience and technology.
"We'll be working with the Belize Defense Force Special Boat Unit," said Riverine Squadron 2 Detachment 2 officer in charge, Navy Lt. Joe Turner. "We will train with them and share ideas and best practices. This enables us to work together better as a unit to fight criminal activities on the waterways and in the rivers."
The mission for the Seabees deployed to Big Creek differs only in the areas of execution.
The magic of Belize: Tours are a great way to explore
Our guide adjusts her headwrap and looks over her shoulder at the rainforest. The hem of her powder-blue dress twists in the breeze as she waits for us in the shade. For a second, the combination of heat, heavy shadow, and bright colour make me feel like I'm staring at a Diego Rivera mural. "She'll be waiting for you over here until you're ready, nice people," Ann-Marie Avona calls out, breaking the spell. It takes a second for me to realize that our guide is talking about herself in the third-person. I could listen to her Kriol-laced accent (similar to Creole, but with English instead of French) for hours.
It's Friday afternoon and aside from the staff and vendors in the parking lot, the temple site at Altun Ha is completely abandoned. When Ann-Marie catches me staring at a half-finished building beside the main gate, she fans herself slowly and jokes, "This is Belize. Nothing here gets done quickly, just eventually."
Steve and I are halfway into our Maya Reef Explorer tour with Pemberton-based Island Expeditions. Earlier that day, the staff at our lodge in Crooked Tree Village (roughly an hour inland by car from Belize City) pulled some strings so we could arrive at the Altun Ha temple complex after all the other tour groups had left for the day. After we pass through the entry gate, two of the tougher American women in our tour group waste no time. Here, like many other archeological sites in Belize, you can still race to the top of the massive pyramids and look out over the Belizean rainforest and savannah.
Bahamas to chair upcoming Flyingfish ministerial meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad
On Friday, 22 February 2013, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) will convene a meeting of seven Caribbean countries currently harvesting the Eastern Caribbean flyingfish (scientific name: Hirundichthys affinis), in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, to review governance and management issues that require immediate attention.
The ministers, who make up the CRFM Ministerial Sub- Committee on Flyingfish, are also expected to provide guidance to the participating States, the Caribbean Fisheries Forum and CRFM Secretariat on the way forward.
According to a CRFM research report, “...the flyingfish has been recognised as the single most important small pelagic species in the southern Lesser Antilles.”
8 Trips You Must Do Once
Looking for something besides yet another trip to the beach for your next vacation? From cooking lessons in the hills of Tuscany to snorkeling the waters off Belize, these eight trips should be on everyone's list. Snorkeling in Belize
With knockout beaches on Ambergris Caye, Caye Kaulker, and Placenia, plus inland jungles, 600 species of birds (think toucans and motmots), and Mayan ruins, Belize is paradise for landlubbers. But nothing beats exploring the blue sea and getting up-close-and-personal with the underwater residents on a snorkeling adventure. A visit to the five-square-mile Hol Chan Marine Reserve with a good outfitter will include all snorkeling gear and the chance to hobnob with colorful coral, angelfish, grunts, snappers, rays, nurse sharks (it's okay, they're harmless!), and maybe even a manatee from June to September.
Usually when I tell people that my husband and I are birders I often get an exchange that goes something like this:
Other person: “Excuse me, did you say, birder? What’s that?”
Me: “Yeah, I said birder as in birding or what most people call bird watching.”
Other person: “What do you do exactly?”
Me: “Well, we like to find different species of birds and it takes us to interesting places like Costa Rica, Belize, Mexico and even Panama where we’re going this Spring.”
At this point some people generally drop off in their interest in hearing anything more about birding. Some will give me the raised eyebrow with a “Really?” response. Others will be eager to change the subject because they don’t’ have anything else to say because think they don’t know anyone else who is a birder. Overall, it seems as though most people think birding is just a boring hobby and so they want to get out of a boring conversation.
And then I pull out this photo…
Steve and I with the "men with guns" who protected us our morning at El Pilar
…and I explain about our birding adventure in Belize two years ago where we were birding El Pilar and needed to hire “men with guns” (as our guide, Eric Tut put it) to accompany our group. El Pilar is on the Guatemala / Belize border and is known for its bandits. The prior year Eric had taken a group to the same area (sans men with guns) and some bandits jumped his van, made Eric pull over, tied up the birders and Eric, took their money, jewelry including wedding rings, cameras, and binoculars.
Caribbean and Diaspora News Round-up
Belize’s debt breakthrough
Caribbean diaspora urged to give something back
Reparations case outlined
TT and Barbados at London Fashion Week
Bolt, Trini news team do the Harlem Shake