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Today's Belize News: March 1, 2013 #459216
03/01/13 09:27 AM
03/01/13 09:27 AM
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The San Pedro Sun

Government warns Belizeans about clearing border between Guatemala and Belize
The Government of Belize (GOB) today issued an official warning against a group of Belizeans to cease from their plans to clear the Belize-Guatemala borderline. Toledo based activist Wil Maheia announced a few weeks ago that he had secured 100 machetes and was recruiting people for a group called Belize Territorial Volunteers who would be taking it upon themselves to clear the borderline. It’s a strong and bold move, but one that the GOB says is “dangerous” and can cause “tension.” The statement from the Belize Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains that the area is part of what Guatemala and Belize has been committed to work on together; to reduce problems as part of the confidence building measures. Those measures were put in place because of continuous confrontation that had occurred on the borderline as a result of the Guatemala territorial claim over portions of Belize. In his social media account (Facebook) Maheia explains that “the planning continues for our trip to clear the Belize borderline with Guatemala. Today (February 25th) we will meet with Santa Elena villagers and San Antonio villagers. Yesterday we met with the Belize Territorial Volunteers in San Jose and people are fired up to show the world we have a border and we Belizeans love our country and since the PUDP’s have neglected it, we will clear it and show the world where our borderline is at…we will all show up in the village of Jalacte on March 2nd and start clearing the line.”

New regulations introduced for passport application
Starting on March 1, 2013 there will be many changes to adhere to when renewing or applying for a new Belizean Passport. The Ministry of Immigration and Nationality recently unveiled the new regulations for the application process. The changes are being implemented in order to facilitate legal travel procedures abroad and to safeguard the validity of the nationality of a person. Passports will only be given out to Belizean nationals. Apart from the new regulations for the application process, there is also a revised application form. The revised application forms consist of two separate forms, one for minors and one for adults. Minors (anyone below the age of 16) filing for a passport must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, and their passport is valid for five years. Any applicant 16 or older can file independently for a passport which is valid for ten years. Together with the completed application form,the person must submit a certificate of birth along with a form of photo identification; no driver’s licenses will be accepted. Two recent passport size photos must be presented along with a police record, previous passport (with the exception of first time applicants),a form filled by a Class A recommender and a form filled by a Class B recommender. Class A recommenders can be a Justice of the Peace, Minister of Religion, Medical Practitioner, Notary Public or Attorney at Law, while Class B recommenders are Members of the House of Representatives. After the application form is completed, it takes a month to process the request.

Death of US National Kristy Lynn Sy being investigated by San Pedro Police
The female was declared dead shortly around 9AM by Dr. Giovanni Solorzano of the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Poly Clinic II. Speaking briefly to The San Pedro Sun, Dr. Solorzano explained that bruises around the neck of the female was observed which can be consistent with “strangulation” but said however that it could only be confirmed by a proper post-mortem examination. When asked if the female had signs of drowning, Dr. Solorzano explained that “it does not appear so” but repeated that a post-mortem would be necessary to determine that. Based on the initial examination on the body, it is believed that the person may have died between the hours of 3AM and 7AM. “We understand that the female suffered from continuous seizures. However, the police is treating it as a murder investigation until a post mortem indicates otherwise. We are hoping that the post mortem can point the investigation in a different direction other than a murder, but we are not discrediting that possibility either,” said Superintendent Castellanos. So far, police investigation indicates that while in San Pedro Town, Sy would go for daily walks along the beach in the area in which she was found. According to police the US Embassy has been notified and from there on they will be making contacts with Sy’s family back in the USA. Meanwhile, Sy’s body has been transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) for a post mortem examination. Police continue their investigation.

Eric Donis to represent Belize in Triathlon at the Central American Games
Well known island athlete Eric Donis is the second Sanpedrano to join the 2013 Belize delegation to the Central American games scheduled for March in San Jose, Costa Rica. This will be the first time in history that Belize will have a triathlon competitor in the Central American Games and the first for Donis in the biggest competition in our region, next to the Pan-American Games. The fourth form student athlete is preparing both physically and mentally and remains optimistic of his chances in Costa Rica. Donis is the second resident of San Pedro Town, who will travel to Costa Rica to represent Belize; Gustavo Morataya was named a member of the Beach Volleyball Team last week. Eric-Donis-SwimmingDonis has been taking on triathlons seriously since the age of 15. He has participated and done respectfully well in various competitions within Belize. When speaking to The San Pedro Sun from the San Pedro High School, Donis said that travelling to the Central American Games is a big step in his athletic aspirations. “To me it’s a step forward, perhaps the first step in maybe a 1000 more as my goal is to one day represent Belize in the Olympics. This means a lot to me; I am overjoyed and excited,” said Donis who will be travelling around the same time that he is due to sit exams. “I am trying my best to cope with the two of them since education is also a priority,” he said determinedly.

Belize City’s Albert Street comes alive with Street Art Festival
Belize City’s Albert Street was teeming with people of all ages at the annual Street Art Festival held on Albert Street. The festival has been gaining momentum, and this year featured decorated booths of artwork, handmade items, foods and beautifully decorated pastries, children’s corners and even fashion designs and a tattoo booth! Organizers of the event had the street festively set up, with music blaring from 2PM until 10PM. Many families came out to enjoy the event, which provided a variety of entertainment for everyone. The most popular booths included the face-painting area, and for the many mini-musicians, the Winds and Strings and Puppet Booth presented quite the attraction.

Ambergris Today

Female Tourist Found Dead South of San Pedro Town
San Pedro Police is investigating the death of a female US National whose body was found in a shallow area of the sea south of San Pedro Town. The 32 year old female from the state of Wyoming in the USA was found dead at 8:00 am on the beach front area of Royal Palm Villas. The female was identified to be 33-year-old American National Kristy Lynn Sy. An autopsy was conducted on the body of Krysty Lynn Sy which confirmed that Kristy died of natural causes.

Mexican Army's 100th Anniversary Commemorated in Belize
On Tuesday, February 19, 2013, Mexico celebrated the Mexican Army and Air Force Day and its 100th Anniversary. In Belize, the office of the Military Attaché of the Mexican Embassy held a commemoration ceremony on Saturday, February 23, 2013. The event was headed by the Mexican Military and Air Attaché, General Pedro Almazan, and the Mexican Ambassador Mario Velazquez. In celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Mexican Army, General Almazan remarked that this military force includes individuals from all sectors of the society, the voluntary recruitment of its members and its positive reputation for its subordination to civil authority, which have characterized it above other defense forces in the world.

Misc Belizean Sources

Turkey Dinner Fundraiser
The Aguada will be having a turkey dinner fundraiser today for lunch to raise funds for Tarun Butcher, who is the frontrunner in the Mr. and Ms. SHC Pageant. Have a wonderful meal, and support a great cause at the same time. "Limited Tickets available. Grand Turkey Dinner Sale on Friday, March 1st, 2013. We will deliver within town limits or you can pick food up at Serendib Restaurant. Turkey, ham and all the works for only $10. Call Aguada 804-3609 to reserve your tickets."

Channel 7

BDF Commander To Wil Maheia: Soldiers Will Not Come To Your Rescue
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already sent Wil Maheia and his Belize Territorial Volunteers a warning. And tonight the Commander of the BDF, General David Jones confirmed that Maheia and his Volunteers are on their own. Jones, who walked the borderline as a young soldier and know the area well said that BDF officers, no matter how experienced they are, often wander unknowingly into the Guatemalan territory. More than that, he said that the BDF cannot maintain a presence among the Belize Territorial Volunteers because they cannot risk a military stand-off. He told us more:.. General David Jones "I sympathized with the patriotism that these people have. However I don't believe it's a wise idea because as I soldier walking up and down the border especially the Western border with Guatemala it is difficult in some areas to determine exactly where the border is. Even us as soldiers stray sometimes into Guatemala. In advertently sometimes we meet up with the Guatemalan armed forces - they were courteous enough to escort us back and there have been cases where Guatemalan soldiers also have strayed into Belizean territory and out of courtesy we escort them back to where they belong.

Waste Control Takes Mayor To Court For Contempt For 2.3 Mil Dollar Debt
Last night 7news broke the story that Belize Waste Control was taking Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley to Court for contempt - and that the Mayor was facing a committal warrant. It's for a multi million dollars arbitration award dating back to 2009 - which the council did not pay. Now, the debt - with interest - is 2.3 million dollars. A court ordered the Council to pay it from last year - again, they didn't and so today Waste Control's Attorney Fred Lumor took the Mayor to the Supreme Court to ask Justice Michelle Arana to cite him for contempt. He backed that up with a committal warrant, so that if she cited him - he would be committed to jail! High stakes and it went before Justice Arana in her chambers this morning. Mayor Bradley, supported by his councilors waited patiently to learn the outcome of that audience before the judge. When Lumor exited the court, he told the media that the judge decided to give the council a few months breathing room:

Life Behind Bars For Japheth
20 year-old Japheth Bennett, the man who was convicted the murder of 37 year-old Ellis "Pepper Gacho" Meighan Sr, will spend life in prison. That was the sentence that Justice Adolph Lucas handed him in the mitigation hearing today. Bennett was convicted in a landmark case on Monday in which, a statement was used as evidence, even after the witness - who gave that statement - refused to cooperate and said that he didn't give it in the first place. But, using a new law, it was admitted into evidence. In that statement the witness said he saw Bennett with a gun in his hand standing over Meighan after he was killed. It was admitted into evidence, and after deliberating for just under 4 hours, a jury of 12 believed that the written statement was given freely, and reflected the true events as the occurred on the night, even though the witness took the stand and denied he ever gave it. In today's mitigation hearing, Bennett's friend took the stand and begged the court for leniency and a second chance. On his own behalf, he told the court, quote, "I apologize for the struggle the family has gone through. I believe I did not kill Ellis Meighan, so I am asking you to have mercy on me and to give me back some time. I have accepted that the jurors found me guilty, but as there is a God above, I did not do it." End quote.

Accused Girl Killer Bert Vasquez Gets Off Six Assault Charges
Bert Vasquez appeared in a Cayo courtroom for an adjournment hearing today, and 6 common assault charges against him were dropped. Back in June of 2012, he was arraigned for 11 counts of common assault. These were for inappropriate contact he allegedly had with a number of under-aged girls in the Cayo District. It is unclear at this time why the charges were dropped. Vasquez remains on remand for the murder of 12 year old Jasmine Lowe. His next hearing is on April 16th, 2013.

American Tourist Found Dead Was Not Killed
A post mortem has confirmed that the American woman found dead on San Pedro yesterday died of natural causes. 33 year old Kristy Lynn Sy, a resident of Casper, Wyoming in the USA was found dead yesterday morning in front of Royal Palm Villas. She had gone for her morning run a few hours earlier - and that was the last time she was seen. She was found fully clothed and police said there were no signs of violence to her body. Police today report that they had quote "interviewed two of her Belizean friends that had interacted with her for almost a month who indicated to us that she suffered from seizures and was on medications for such seizures." Sy had been in Belize for a month and was to have returned yesterday. A newspaper in Wyoming notes that her husband filed for divorce on February 8th.

Bze Ballers Withdraw From Guat Tournament After Offensive Logo Appears
Belize is sending about 160 athletes and officials competing in 13 disciplines to San Jose, Costa Rica for the tenth Central American Games. They will be competing in Athletics, Judo, Basketball, Karate, Body Building, Softball, Boxing, Tennis, Cycling, Triathlon, Fencing, Volleyball and Football. The games run from March third to the 18th. But Belize's men's basketball team got a jump on the competition by signing up for a warm-up tournament which started today in Guatemala. It's an international tournament called the "New Era of the Mundo Maya" organized by the National Sports Federation of Guatemalan Basketball. From the paperwork, it has all appearances of being a good opportunity for the Belize Team because they will meet national selections from Guatemala, Nicaragua, Dominica Republic and two professional teams from Guatemala and Mexico. The only problem is, the Guatemalan Federation's logo. Watch it closely and you'll see that it depicts Belize as a part of Guatemala. Right there on the imaginary Western coast of Guatemala, that's Belize.

Change In Passport Procedures Produces Panic
Starting tomorrow, there will be new requirements imposed by the Immigration Department for persons applying for passports. One of those new requirements includes an addition of a second recommender for the person making the passport application. According to the Immigration Department, these new measures are being put in place to ensure the security of the process. But for some Belizeans, this new passport regulation simply complicates an already complex application process. And so, crowds thronged to the immigration office today and lined up both inside and outside the corridor trying to beat the new system. Mario Arzu "Actually it's one of our peak seasons for applications when Easter comes around. The other part is also because of the new application process that should take effect tomorrow March 1st. I guess Belizeans also wants to take advantage of the old application process which may appear to be less cumbersome than the new application process that should take effect tomorrow, so they are trying to put in their application before the deadline." Monica Bodden "Tell us about the new application and why the change?" Mario Arzu "The new application process why that comes about primarily for two reasons; one, that the applicant say exactly who they are and that we could verify indeed that that individual is who they are and secondly that the applicant is indeed a Belizean national.

Tourism Still Trending Up
2012 was a strong year for tourism, and the figures for January show the numbers continuing to climb. According to a release from the BTB, January figures show that overnight tourist arrivals have increased by 17.2% compared to the same period for last year. That's 28,431 overnight visitors 4,168 more than January of 2012. Encouragingly, Cruise tourism figures are also showing a sharp increase by 19.4% for January, 2013. That's 16,743 more visitors than January of last year.

Budget Looks To Be Grim, But Regionally, Belize Doing Well
The budget for 2013/2014 will be presented tomorrow, but there's like zero buzz about it. And that's probably because it promises to be a fairly un-inpsiring affair, with few sugarplums for the citizenry. In fact, in the wake of the Superbond renegotiation, it kind of has to be a grim affair - to demonstrate to bond-holders that Belize remains poor - while the Superbond in its original form would have made us broke. But, while that is the context for tomorrow's presentation, within the wider regional context, Belize is doing surprisingly well. This is what we take from a CDB press conference held earlier this month in Barbados. President of the CDB Dr. Warren Smith said that Belize leads the region in growth:.. cdb from 7News Belize on Vimeo. The growth in the agricultural sector is owing to the rebound in the banana and citrus industries.

Faber's Road Property Owner Bedeviled By Bureaucracy
And while the figures may look good, poverty in Belize is a crushing, omnipresent reality. In Belize City - or any municipality - you don't have to go far to find it. We spoke to one woman on Faber's Road today who's got her land, but not much else:.. Jules Vasquez reporting Marilyn Burgess lives here at the corner of Faber's Road - her family home for 50 years. But she has land problems - not the kind most people have. She has land, plenty of it, about an acre off Faber's Road. It was willed to her by her parents in the 60's and she also has title, free and clear: Marilyn Burgess, Frustrated Property Owner "Only because I have my title, but its lots of things that I had to go through. I had to put back myself in the system - lot of things I had to do. They took me at the court and I made a deal with them that I will pay how I can. I have all the documents there to prove and I had to live without electricity for 5 years just to pay them their money so they didn't have to take away any of my land." But she can't subdivide the land and her son in law who's building here had to stop work: Rafael Caceres, Son-in-Law "They don't want to give us the final approval for the sub-divide because they say that we have to push a road that isn't necessary - it's not us that is supposed, it's the government that supposed to do that."

Fewer Oil Concessions In Offshore Areas
The event billed as the People's Referendum happened exactly one year ago. Nothing came of it formally, because of those famous rejected signatures - but as a sign of success the Coalition which sponsored the referendum points to the before and after maps showing the lessening of offshore oil concessions in Belize. The areas that have come out of active concession areas are Turneffe, Lighthouse (including the Blue Hole) and the Glover's Reef Atolls. Five offshore oil concessions, including the Princess Petroleum Limited oil concession remain active.

BDF Gets Trucks
Tonight, the Belize Defence Force has 3 brand new Mahindra pickup trucks courtesy of the Ministry of National Security. It is part of a fleet of 10 vehicles which the ministry committed to donating, and today the Minister of National Security himself handed them over to the Commander of BDF, Brigadier General David Jones. Jones told the media this afternoon that these vehicles come at an opportune moment: General David Jones "These vehicles are excellent for what we needed because some of the terrains that we need to deploy are off roads. Sometimes we need to go behind the Mountain Pine Ridge area. You may be aware that there is an escort of tourist hat we do in the De Silva area, the terrain is rough and it is dirt road and those are the terrain that we use to have our Land rovers working on. We don't have the Land rovers that we use to but now these vehicles work as good as the Land rover, they are very comfortable and they stay on the road very well and they are very rugged. So far we've tested them for over a couple months now and they've been working excellent."

Savouring The Street Art
The Street Art Festival was held over the weekend in downtown Belize City. We told you a lot about if in advance, but we also got to see it up close. Tonight, we take a look at some of the live art pieces and learn about the successes of the street fest:.. Karen Vernon "Albert Street was totally into a very artsy area, people came out with paintings, sculptors, jewelry, there was entertainment, there was the fashion show, there was the youth stage. The entire section of that area came alive on Saturday." "The feedback that I got walking along and taking pictures and talking to people was very positive. One of main thing was they ask if this can be done every month or can we do it more often or in different areas. The people that were out there certainly enjoyed it. I saw families and young children enjoying themselves. All in all I think it was a tremendous success." The 2014 Street Art Fest is set for the last Saturday in February of next year.

Celebrating Belize's Best Secondary School Athletes
Last year, the National Secondary Schools Sports Association selected teams to represent Belize in the Central American Scholars' Games organized by CODICADER in Guatemala, El Salvador and Panama. Seven teams which included a total of one hundred and seventy Belizean athletes were sent to these games to represent the country. After the tournaments were over, our athletes brought back 14 medals - 10 of which were gold. Today award ceremony was held to honor those outstanding athletes. 7news was there. Deon Sutherland - NSSSA "Last year was one of our best years; we had a total of 14 medals, 10 of them gold medals and 3 team medals; 2 gold and 1 bronze. In basketball and softball we got gold medals in team sport as well as volleyball we got bronze medal. We got 3 gold medals in track and field and a gold medal in baseball which was the first time we participated in that discipline. Overall we did very well." Monica Bodden "How many disciplines did Belize took part in?" Deon Sutherland - NSSSA "We participated in 7 disciplines; 4 in Guatemala, 2 in El Salvador and 1 in Panama."

Tonight's profile is about Sandra Felix. She's a volunteer teacher whose love for learning was formed at an early age. In tonight's profile she says she learned early that a good teacher has to be generous with his or her time:..

Channel 5

Several charges dropped from alleged sex offender, Bert Vasquez
  In June of last year, there was a huge uproar by residents from the Twin Towns of Santa Elena and San Ignacio after a promising youth was killed. Thirteen year old Jasmine Lowe’s body was found on June sixth, 2012 in bushes on the Cristo Rey Road. This prompted the neighborhood watch committees of [...]

Guatemalan president alerted by group ‘erasing’ border
Patriotism is the guiding force of the Belize Territorial Volunteers. The group headed by Wil Maheia of PGTV and the People’s National Party will take busloads of people to carve out a clear and distinct line to demarcate the border between Belize and Guatemala. When the exercise is complete, the volunteers intend to clear an [...]

B.D.F. does not support actions by Territorial Volunteers
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has gone on record to say that it does not support the initiative. Foreign Affairs Minister Sedi Elrington recited the incident in 2000, when four soldiers were taken by the Guatemalans military which claimed they were trespassing on Guatemalan soil. It took great measures to get the soldiers and he [...]

National basketball team in Guatemala; but claim persists in sport
The referendum process has encouraged Belize to be more aware of trends and slights by different organizations in Guatemala that are obligated to promote that country’s propaganda. The latest infraction has been reared in sports. The National Basketball Selection is preparing for the upcoming Central American Games in Costa Rica from March eleventh to the [...]

Passport Office flooded to beat technology transition
If you plan to attend the games in Costa Rica you probably intend to make sure your visa requirements are updated in your passport. But today was not the day for a regular visit to the Passport Office. Dozens of Belizeans flocked to the Passport Office in Belize City in a last-minute effort to apply [...]

ICJ Campaign teaches principals about Referendum
The education process for the Belize/Guatemala Referendum is ongoing and it is expected to take place inside the classroom, at political rallies and at sessions with the business community. Today educators became students as they were presented with a history of the claim. News Five Isani Cayetano attended a session with the Office of the [...]

Mayor Bradley hauled to court for contempt
The Belize City Council often sends reminder to citizens to pay their taxes or face the court. In a reversal of fortune, the Mayor of Belize City Darrell Bradley had the unenvious task of being hauled before the court over a debt incurred by the City years before he became mayor. Belize Waste Control (B.W.C.) [...]

Council intends to pay year old debt to Waste Control
The morning’s session lasted merely half an hour and a cool headed mayor exited the courtroom with his attorney Michael Young. Mayor Bradley admitted that the council has not paid a dime of the old debt which has doubled with the years of interest on the principal amount. How will the council make good on [...]

Female U.S. national was not murdered
The lifeless body of thirty-two year old Kristy Lynn Sy, an American national, was retrieved from shallow waters in San Pedro Town on Wednesday morning.  The corpse was discovered by a teenager running along the beach.  Local authorities immediately launched an investigation, treating the incident as a potential homicide.  Doctor Giovanni Solorzana, who declared Sy [...]

Convicted of murder on strength of written statement
  The murder count did not increase since the cause of death has been determined; however, the poor conviction rate was increased by one today. Twenty year old Japheth Bennett, who at the age of seventeen was accused of murder Ellis Meighan senior, was found guilty on Tuesday. Bennett appeared before Justice Adolph Lucas today [...]

Repeat offender owed the court money
  A resident of Mahogany Heights is charged a second time for Drug Trafficking. Thirty-three year old Albert Weller, an Auto-Painter appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano where he pleaded not guilty to a single charge of drug trafficking and was offered a bail of five thousand dollars. But Weller already owes the court for a [...]

No pay before the end of day; former K.H.M.H. guards
At midnight a new security firm will be assuming the responsibility of safeguarding the grounds of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.  That decision, taken by the management, has raised the ire of a handful of employees, who have been dismissed in the wake of the privatization of the hospital’s security.  For all, today is their [...]

B.D.F. receives 3 vehicles from Ministry of National Security
Earlier this week, the Ministry of National Security donated two Mahindra pickup trucks to the Police Department. And today at the B.D.F. compound at Price Barracks in Ladyville, three were handed over to the force. The vehicles now bring the fleet to ten vehicles. Following the brief ceremony, B.D.F. Commander, Brigadier General David Jones told [...]

Oceana wants offshore referendum on October ballot
A year ago on March second, the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage along with other environmental groups stood together to collect signatures that would advance a Referendum on the question of offshore drilling. Twenty nine thousand two hundred and eighty Belizeans participated in the drive and ninety six percent voted no. However, after the [...]

Wildest party in the country
And while Oceana celebrated the seas, there was a very wild celebration on the mainland. Our camera friendly buddies at the Belize Zoo were gyrating to the sound of the voices of preschoolers from La Democracia on Wednesday morning.  The singing group called “The Gibnuts” regaled Junior Buddy, the ambassador Jaguar and Panama, the Harpee [...]

Healthy Living helps couch potatoes leave the room
The rise in non communicable diseases, or what some people call lifestyle diseases has been an area of concern for most health professionals in Belize. Diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol are only a few of the common non communicable diseases that we hear about so often. The Ministry of Health and several other health [...]


National Secondary Schools Sport Association Holds Award Ceremony
The National Secondary Schools Sport Association, NSSSA (“N” triple “S” “A”) today held an award ceremony to honor their sponsors, outstanding athletes, teams and schools for the Central American Scholars’ Games, CODICADER 2012, held in G...

Mexico Hosts Belizean Officials At The Army's 100th Anniversary
Belizean officials were guests as the Mexican Army observed its 100th, Anniversary in Belize on Monday. The event was headed by the Mexican Military and Air Attaché General Pedro Almazan, and the Mexican Ambassador Mario Velazquez. During the event Almazan remarked t...

Tacos Booth Targeted by Armed Robbers
Armed robbers hit again in Orange Walk. Police are investigating another armed robbery this time at a popular tacos booth in Orange Walk Town. The two reported male robbers held up forty-three year old Modesta Alicia Gregoria Garcia at her tacos place “Cafeteria Luis Garcia&rdquo...

Duo Gets Off On Charge of Handling Stolen Goods
Thirty-six year old Kelvin Geban and 19 year old Hugh Thomas, charged with handling stolen goods for a motorcycle engine and gas tank, were freed of the charge when it was struck out today by senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser after the virtual complainant, Marlon Flowers, testified that ...

Stolen Items From School Recovered; Robber Pleads Guilty
Twenty-six year old Cruz Allen, charged with handling stolen goods for some computers which were stolen from Salvation Army Primary School, pled guilty to the charge. He will be sentenced by senior magistrate Sharon Fraser at the conclusion of the trial for burglary of the school...

Convicted Murderer Sentenced to Life Imprisonment
Twenty year old Japeth Bennett, who was convicted of the murder of 37 year old Ellis Meighan Sr., was sentenced to life imprisonment today by Justice Adolph Lucas. Justice Lucas stipulated that the sentence should commence from October 4, 2011, when Bennett first appeared in court. Bef...


Tacos Vendor Robbed Of $14K
Another day marked another armed robbery here in Orange Walk Town and this time the robbers made off with approximately $14,000 in cash. Early this morning, at 4:00 to be exact, 40 year old Alicia Gregoria and her female employee, fell victim to the hands of robbers as they were opening “Cafeteria Luis Garcia” located in the heart of Orange Walk Town. Reports are that seconds after the business was opened, two male individuals of dark complexion barged into the establishment and held up both the owner and employee at gunpoint. We understand that besides the $14,000 that was stolen, the criminals also made off with Gregoria’s personal documents and cell phone. Fortunately no one was hurt during the incident. The robbers made good their escape on separate bicycles. Again we must note that for the past few weeks there seems to be a growing trend on robbery reports.

SY-FY In Sugah City
If you are a fan of Science Fiction then you probably know all about the Sy-Fy Channel. SY-FY is a division of NBC Universal and for the past 9 days, a crew of 15 persons including cameramen, producers, reality actors and all the personalities that it takes to produce a show has been in Belize filming an episode for an upcoming season. Today was the last day of filming and the Sci-Fi crew was seen at the Panacea Restaurant at the Banquitas House of Culture. The crew has been all over Belize filming with 4 of their star actors. The producer on set told CTV3 News that they were unable to provide any interview due to confidentiality reasons. But we understand that the show is part of a 6 episode program and is a reality documentary that will begin to be aired on the SY-FY channel this April. The crew will fly out of the country on Saturday.

Orange Walkenos To Take Part In "Clear Our Borderline"
Bright and early on Saturday morning well known activist, Wil Maheia will be leading the Belize Volunteers Group along with other individuals to the South-West border between Guatemala and Mexico. The group’s objective is to demarcate the border line between Belize and Guatemala as an action of patriotism. The assemblage is set to leave Punta Gorda Town at 6:00am and travel to the bordering village of Jalacte where, with machete in hand, they will commence their “Clear Our Borderline” campaign until they reach south to the community of Gracias A Dios. The action is being condemned by Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington and by Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but that is not stopping a group from Orange Walk from joining the planned action. Orlando De La Fuente, Going to Border “Depending on the mood of the Guatemalan Army because it’s not part of the border that is divided by the river. So we will be in plain sight of the Guatemalan Army. We could see them and if they seem to be agitated or seemed that they will cause trouble we will probably will not be clearing the land but it is very likely that we will. Most of us want to really clear the land even if the Guatemalan Army is there because we believe that we have a right to do it. It is our land. It is our country and it is absurd that even the government could support Guatemala’s position, causing trouble for us and our land that we were born in.

Pope's Last Day
Pope Benedict XVI ended his papacy today, becoming the first pontiff in 600 years to step down and from now on, he will be known as Benedict XVI, pope emeritus. The historic resignation took effect at 8:00pm Rome time, that’s three hours after the 85 year old left Vatican City and was flown to Castel Gandolfo, a summer residence just south of Rome, in a white Italian air force helicopter. After Benedict the 16th’s official resignation, the ring that carried the seal of his authority was broken. Earlier Thursday, in Rome, the pope pledged obedience to his future successor. Meeting with cardinals for the last time inside the Apostolic Palace, Pope Benedict said he would remain with them "in prayer". "Among you, the College of Cardinals, is the future pope to whom I pledge today unconditional obedience and reverence," the pope told the cardinals. In his last hours as pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI addressed a crowd of faithful from the balcony of his summer palace, saying that he would soon no longer be leader of the Catholic Church, rather "a pilgrim who begins the last stop of his pilgrimage." Greeted by a crowd of people chanting "Benedetto, Benedetto" and waving flags, the pope thanked his supporters and said that he would continue to "work for the good of the Church."

Post Mortem Shows US National Died Of Natural Causes
A post mortem examination conducted on the body of a female Caucasian who was found partially floating in the water at about 8:00 yesterday morning, near the southern part of San Pedro Town, has determined that she died of natural causes and was not murdered as was initially suspected. The woman has been identified as 33 year old U.S National Kristy Lynn Sy of Casper Wyoming. Sy’s body was discovered yesterday morning by a teenager running along the beach. It was later retrieved from the water by group of men, who were cleaning the beachfront near Mata Rock Resort. Reports coming out of San Pedro are that Sy was staying in a nearby resort and had been in the country for about a month and was scheduled to leave Belize yesterday. At first Sy’s death was being treated as a criminal investigation since the body was observed with what appeared to be bruises around the neck consistent with strangulation. The post mortem; however, has determined that Sy died of natural causes. The report does not mention what exactly she died of. We understand that two Belizeans who had been interacting with Sy during her stay in Belize told police that she suffered from seizures and was on medications which would explain the foam in her mouth when she was discovered. Police investigations also reveled that while in San Pedro Town, Sy would go for daily walks along the beach in the area in which she was found.

2013: Tourism Off To A Great Start
2012 proved to be a good year for tourism in Belize and it seems that the success is making its way into 2013 as latest statistics show that tourist arrival for January of this year has increased compared to January last year. According to the Belize Tourism Board, overnight tourists have increased by a remarkable 17.2% compared to last year’s numbers. A total of 28,431 overnight tourists were recorded in the first month of this year- an increase of 4,168 compared to January 2012. Arrivals at the Phillip Goldson International Airport were up as well, showing an increase of 7.6%. Records also show that 19,965 passengers disembarked at the PGIA in the last month, making it 1,407 more than last year during the same period. Cruise arrivals also increased whopping 19.4% for the first month of this year. The year also started with off with 102,871 tourist arrivals via cruise, an increase of 16,743 compared to last year’s January.

Molina: Guatemala On High Alert!
And while Wil Maheia and the Belize Volunteers group are showing no signs of recalling their mission, Guatemala’s President, Otto Perez Molina says, that they will be vigilant after being notified of Maheia’s intentions to clean up the borderline. A Guatemalan Newspaper states that Maheia has rounded about 500 Belizeans who are willing to be part of the Clear Our Borderline Campaign. For its part, the Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Fernando Carrera, said on local radio today, that the process which Maheia and his group are taking does not contribute to solving the path of dialogue for the territorial dispute. Carrera added that actions like those sought by the group convened by Maheia, would undermine the efforts being made with Belize for the referendum scheduled for October 6th, as part of bilateral efforts to resolve the territorial dispute. As previously mentioned, GOB, through Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington, has expressed that they do not support Maheia’s actions.

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Mayor of Belize City narrowly avoided a contempt order
Mayor of Belize City Darrell Bradley narrowly avoided a contempt order threatened against him and the Belize City Council by a company with which they have been doing business for many years – Belize Waste Control Limited. Claiming losses due to a previous Council violating the terms of their...

CCJ panel set dates for written submissions from BCB/Belize Bank and the Government
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is inviting the attorneys representing the British Caribbean Bank Holdings Limited (BCB) and Belize Bank as appellants and the Attorney General as respondent to argue the appeal of a majority decision at the Court of Appeal given last year in which the Court...

President of Guatemala on “alert” regarding Belize Territorial Volunteers’ proposed actions
The “Clearing Our Borderline” saga continues. By now you probably know that there is a group of Belizeans called the “Belize Territorial Volunteers” who have committed to demarcate the borderline where Belize and Guatemala meet. This Saturday, the group, along with a number of other NGO’s, intend to take...

Mayor of Orange Walk supports Belize Territorial Volunteers’ proposed actions
The Belize Territorial Volunteers’ proposed actions have gained the disapproval of Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington, but they also have the support of many other Belizeans. And today, the Mayor of Orange Walk Town expressed his full support of the initiative. In a press release sent out today, Mayor Kevin...

Ministry of Health launch Field Epidemiology Training
A third cohort will embark on a Basic Level Course in Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) in Belize. The Ministry of Health launched a Field Epidemiology Training yesterday. The exercise is geared at preparing public health and military personnel with the knowledge and tools to eliminate public health threats...

U.S. Fleet team donates eight Seabee boats to the BDF
Earlier this week we told you about the U.S. Fleet team that is in Belize working with the BDF to strengthen civil and maritime capabilities in our seas. We told you about several initiatives they have been conducting – building a multipurpose open bay structure called a seahut, providing...

Tim Tam and wife Lisa involved in traffic accident
Tim Tam and wife Lisa involved in traffic accident. Tim Tam, is Executive Director of The Word At Work; and yesterday evening around 3pm, the Tam’s were involved in an automobile accident near San Jon, New Mexico. Plus news understands that Lisa Tam is in serious condition as she’s...

Belize begins to export cattle to Mexico
For the past decade, Belize has been barred from exporting cattle to Mexico – this is because of the drawn out process of testing, screening and documentation that each head of cattle must undergo in order to meet Mexico’s standards for exportation. After several failed attempts to export cattle...

Villagers of Blackman Eddy clear community land
Villagers of Blackman Eddy are taking on the task of clearing community land for themselves. Approximately 100 residents of Blackman Eddy; some with machete in hand, have taken it upon themselves to clear 20.703 acres of land belonging to the Government. Their reason for doing so; well simply put,...

Bishop Martin Neighborhood Watch Committe plan to hold a mass demonstration
The Bishop Martin Neighborhood Watch Committee is one of the most active neighborhood watch groups in the country. The group was formed in 2011, when the community was shaken by a series of criminal activities. The committee has since grown in number and has made a significant impact in...

CARSI donation assists crime fighters
We have previously reported on donations from the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) to local organizations including Police. Yesterday Crime Stoppers Belize, the Community Policing Unit and The National Neighbourhood Watch Program received support from the program. Crime stoppers Belize Executive Cris Garcia thanked her partners and the...

American National Kristy Lynn Sy found dead
An American National was found dead in Belize this morning. This morning at approximately 8:00am police were called out to an area South of San Pedro where they saw the motionless body of a female apparently dead. She was later identified as 33 year old American National Kristy Lynn...

The Guardian

Handover of Vehicles to the Police Department
On Monday, February 25th, Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar handed over two additional vehicles to the Police Department.

Foreign Affairs warns of Dangers in Clearing Western Border
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is warning individuals who are attempting to clear the western border. According to a press release by the Ministry it “advises all members of the public that any attempt on their part to clear the Western Border can give rise to serious danger to themselves and we therefore strongly advise against participation in any such action.” The release continues stating that, “proposed efforts as reported in the media may conduce to a disturbance of the peace and to unnecessary tensions between two countries, contrary to the long-standing efforts that successive Belize Governments have been working hard to secure.” The release then sites a specific incidentin February of 2000 when a joint BDF and Police border team, comprising of Second Lieutenant Romaldo Herrera, Lance Corporal Lucio Arana, Private Luciano Tzub and Police Constable Macedonio Sanchez, were on a routine patrol within Belizean territory when they were detained by 25 Guatemalan soldiers and taken into Guatemala where they were later charged with illegal entry and possession of prohibited firearms.

Belize now exporting Cattle to Mexico
On Monday, February 25th, for the first time in many years, Belize began the legal exportation of cattle into Mexico. As many as 44 cattle were trucked into the northern country to officially mark the beginning of Belize's formal trade of cattle into Mexico. According to the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Jose Alpuche, Belize has been certified as being a country that Mexico can import cattle from.

Ministry of Health conducts Field Epidemiology Training Program
Ministry of Health conducts Field Epidemiology Training Program A third cohort has embarked on a Basic Level Course in Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) in Belize.

Mexican Army commemorated in Belize its 100th Anniversary
On February 19th, Mexico celebrated the Mexican Army and Air Force Day and its 100th Anniversary. In Belize, the office of the Military Attaché of the Mexican Embassy held a commemoration ceremony on February 23rd. The event was headed by the Mexican Military and Air Attaché, General Pedro Almazan, and the Mexican Ambassador Mario Velazquez.

Old Paslow Building Site renovated
The site where the Paslow building was once located (popularly known as Ground Zero) is scheduled for a makeover. Over the past weekend, the Belize City Council moved vendors who were located on the grounds and placed some of them in the Battlefield Park while others chose other areas across the city to place their booths. Speaking to Public Relations Manager at the Belize City Council, Kenny Morgan, he explained that a request came from the Sustainable Tourism Programme to move the vendors as extensive work will be done in the area as the project nears the foot of the Swing Bridge. Morgan says that the vendors were given two weeks notice during which they were to have found somewhere else to go. For those who did find a new location, they were moved to the new location while others who were unable to identify a new location were placed at the Battlefield Park for a period of 90 days during which they will once again be moved since that park will also undergo major renovations. As for the Paslow site, Morgan says that the persons who is leasing it will fence the property and begin to collect parking fees from people who use it.

New Requirements for Passports
As of March 1st, the Immigration Department will be adding requirements for persons to apply for passports. Among the new requirements is the addition of a second recommender for the persons making the passport application. Persons who are making applications from foreign missions will also be asked to fill out an additional form. For those persons who have lost or have their passports damaged, a form is also being introduced that needs to be filled out as well. According to Acting Director of Immigration, Maria Marin, the measures are being put in place in order to ensure the security of the process. In the past, the application process only required an applicant to have one recommender who would have been a Justice of the Peace, Minister of Religion, Medical Practitioner, Notary Public or an Attorney at Law. Now, there is a second recommender being added who should be a Member of the House of Representatives, a Chief Executive Officer in any Ministry of Government, a Head of Department or a Licensed Teacher. In addition to filling out the form, those making recommendations will be asked to certify by way of a picture that the person is who he or she says they are. Other changes in the application process the addition of expedited services where passports can be delivered in 24 hours for a fee of $200, 48 hours for a fee of $100 and 3 to 5 day service for a fee of $50. All other fees for passports remain the same as before.

Petillo’s Fair Distribution of Land
Every time Nigel Petillo appears on the news media, he harps on having fair distribution of land. Well, while nobody can fault him for asking, we can fault him for not practicing what he preaches. And the Harmonyville distribution of land is proof of this.

Who will show up at the Next Protest?
There have been three protests 4 protests since the year started and from the way things are shaping up to be, there is a guarantee that there will be another sometime soon. Maybe the reason for that protest will be that the sun is shining brighter and hotter these days and people are not happy about it. Whatever the protest however there is one certainty: the same people will show up to demonstrate. The following is a list of those who will surely make it. In no particular order they are: Don Hector, Geovanni Brackett, Moses Sulph, Wil Maehia, Nigel Petillo, Murphy McClaren and Micah Goodin. We haven’t seen Yolanda in a while still we will include her.

John Gideon murdered in Hattieville
Popular employee of San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi, John Gideon was gunned down just after giving two friends a ride home on Friday night, February 22nd. According to reports, 32-year-old Gideon left his home in New Site Hattieville Village at around 11:30 p.m. to drop two friends home. It is believed that on his return home, his grey Mercedes Benz ran out of gas near Mile 17 on the George Price Highway. Gideon got out the vehicle, took out his battery, and started to walk. Shortly after, he was approached by a man riding a bicycle who stopped and fired several shots at him before riding off. Gideon was shot to the face, head and back. He died on the scene. Police have not reported any arrest in the case as yet and the investigation continues. Gideon leaves behind a wife and two children (a 6-year-old daughter and 14-month-old son).

Guilty of Murder
On Monday, February 25th a jury of 12 stepped into the deliberating room to decide the fate of Japheth Bennett, who was only a teenager when he was accused of killing Ellis Meighan Sr., the brother of well-known cyclist, Ernest “Jawmeighan” Meighan. After almost 4 hours of deliberations, they reached a verdict of guilty of murder and their decision was unanimous. When Bennett heard the verdict, he was in shock; he disbelieved that he could have been found guilty. Meanwhile, Justice Adolph Lucas deferred sentencing for Thursday, February 28th, 2013. Ellis Meighan Sr., was gunned down on September 9th, 2009 at the corner of Banak Street and Central American Boulevard. He was shot once to the head and according to Dr. Mario Estradabran who testified in court, Meighan died from trauma due to a single gunshot wound to the head. He explained that the shot he received to the head had entered the back and exited the front and that it was shot from a distance ranging from 28 to 30 inches.

Jose Guido Campo chopped to Death
Police are investigating the murder of 56-year-old Jose Nemencio Guido Campo which occurred sometime between 6 p.m. and 12 midnight on Friday, February 22nd. According to reports, Jose was travelling with his son, Luis Campo, from Cotton Tree Village to their residence in Sunset Park Village. Luis told police officers that his pickup truck experienced mechanical problems near ile 9 on the George Price Highway and his father decided to continue the journey home on foot through a shortcut that is situated between Miles 8 and 9 on the highway. It was at about 11:45 p.m. that Luis became concerned over his father’s whereabouts since he did not arrive at home. Luis stated that he went to search the shortcut that led from the highway to Sunset Park Village when he saw blood stains on the path. He later saw the lifeless body of his father with cut wounds to the face and right hand. His left arm was amputated. Police was informed of the incident at 12:01 a.m. and they responded to the scene of the discovery. No arrest has been reported in relation to the incident as yet and police are encouraging anyone with information that can assist with their investigation to call the nearest police station or 0-800-922-8477.

Bail granted to Pregnant Woman
On Friday, February 22nd, 25-year-old Natalie Coleman, a pregnant Libertad woman who was convicted on January 3rd and sentenced to 5 years for possession of 4-16 gauge cartridges, was granted bail in the sum of $5,000 plus one surety of the same amount. Her attorney, Anthony Sylvester, took the matter of bail to the Magistrate's Court, where Coleman was convicted since her conviction has been appealed and is to be heard soon. In his submission to the court, Sylvester asked the court for a stay of execution of her January 3rd, 2013 conviction as they have already filed a notice of appeal in the Supreme Court. He asked the court to consider bail for several reasons. One reason being that Coleman's case has a reasonable prospect of success. Another point was that she is 7 months pregnant and prior to her conviction, she had no record or had been before the court. His main ground is that Coleman’s penalty was inhumane as the punishment does not fit the circumstances and the law indicates that her sentence upon conviction was nothing less than 5 years. The minimum now for firearm and ammunition conviction is 5 years. Before the amendment it was 2 years minimum.

Accused of having Sex with a 13-year-old Girl
A Gardenia mechanic, who is accused of having sexual intercourse at least once with a 13-year-old primary school girl, was arraigned in Magistrate's Court on Tuesday February 26th where he was read a single charge of carnal knowledge. 22 year-old Marlon Dawson, appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano where he was denied bail due to the nature of the offence and was remanded to the Belize Central Prison. The matter was reported to the Belize Human Services Department on Friday, February 22nd. The girl, who was accompanied by her father told authorities that on December 14th, 2012, Dawson had sexual intercourse with her whilst at a home in the village. The child has since been examined by a doctor who has confirmed that she was carnally known. Dawson is due back in Court #4 on March 28th, 2013.

Waitress convicted of Drug Trafficking
On Tuesday, February 26th, 31-year-old Elvia Dominguez, a Biscayne resident was convicted in Magistrate's court for drug trafficking. She appeared before Magistrate Anne Marie Smith unrepresented. In court, Dominguez gave sworn testimony denying the allegations. She said that on that day, she had gone to the Municipal Airstrip in Belize City and heading back home, she caught a taxi. She added that another man had also boarded the taxi earlier on but that he was dropped off at the Conch Bay area. Whilst inside the taxi, the police stopped it and found weed in her purse. She told the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith that all she had in her purse was a big butcher's knife and that she had no idea or knowledge of how the weed got inside her purse. But the Chief Magistrate did not believe her side of the story and found her guilty. Dominguez was then fined $10,000. She was ordered to pay $2,000 forthwith or in default of payment, she will spend 6 months in prison. The balance she was ordered to pay by January 30th, 2014 or in default of payment, she will spend 3 more years in jail.

Honduran Driver charged for Manslaughter
On Monday, February 25th, 57-year-old Honduran truck driver, Luis Beltran Garcia, appeared in Magistrate's Court before Magistrate Dale Cayetano where he was charged with manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention and permitting a person to travel without being properly seated. In court, Magistrate Cayetano denied Garcia bail since his status in Belize is uncertain. He was then remanded to prison until March 29th, since he is considered a flight risk. Garcia was charged after Kenrick Sutherland fell off a garbage truck on Friday, February 22nd, and was run over. Sutherland, who was sitting in the pan of the vehicle, fell out and was crushed by the rear wheel after he fell under the truck as it was dumping garbage at the landfill located at mile 3 on the George Price Highway.

Ex-Cop acquitted of Perjury
On Monday, February 25th Justice Troadio Gonzalez intervened in the trial of former police officer, Anthony Polonio, who was before the court on charges of perjury. In his intervention, Justice Gonzalez asked a jury of 9 to find the accused not guilty of a charge of perjury. Polonio had been charged after he allegedly lied to the court during the trial of businessman Chayben Abou-Nahra, who had shot and killed Belize City resident Shawn Copious on Lottie Waight Street in the Kings Park area back in 2005. Bou-Nahra was charged with manslaughter after he claimed he acted in self-defense. But Copious was shot in the back. He was granted bail and in 2007, stood trial for manslaughter but walked free at the end of the trial. During the trial, none of the three officers, Darius Ramos, Clement Cacho and Anthony Polonio were able to identify Bou-Nahra despite the fact that they claimed they dealt with him in some way or the other. The manner in which the trial concluded before Justice Adolph Lucas led the judge to call the officers "wicked and worthless." Two of the three officers were later charged criminally for perjury while the third, Cacho was only disciplined before a tribunal. PC Darius Ramos later died from illness leaving only Anthony Polonio, now 46, to stand trial.

Ernest Savery Executed
In October 2010, 32-year-old prison officer Miriam Gillett was shot in the head while travelling in a vehicle that was being driven by her co-worker, Ernest Savery. Gillett and Silvano Cal were traveling with Savery when a gunman ambushed the vehicle near the Boom Road junction with the George Price Highway. The vehicle was riddled with bullets and crashed into a lamppost near the junction. Savery and Cal were injured in the incident but Gillett died on the spot as a result of the gunshot wound to her head. It is speculated that Savery was the intended target in the 2010 shooting. However, he did not escape death on Friday night, February 22nd; as a gunman pulled up on him while he walked out of his home on Perez Road in Ladyville Village and fired four shots in his direction. One of the bullets hit Savery in the right side of the abdomen. He was transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital but succumbed to the injury shortly after. In August 2004, Savery was one of three men convicted of the murder of a 67-year-old resident of San Pedro Town. He was later set free when the Privy Council reversed the guilty verdict.

Three Called to the Bar
Candice Westby-Fisher, Michelle Trapp-Zuniga and Baja Shoman On Friday, February 22nd, three 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, who is originally from Belmopan City; 39-year-old Michelle Trapp-Zuniga, a Belize City resident and an employee at Legal Aid, along with 27-year-old Baja Shoman, who is also presently employed at Legal Aid. Ceremonies were held where all three women were given opportunities to speak of their long journey. Putting into motion the grand moment for Fisher was attorney, Fred Lumor while Attorney, Anthony Sabido made the motion for Baja Shoman and Hubert Elrighton did so for Michelle Trapp Zuniga. Fisher is presently employed at the Belize Intellectual Property Office in Belmopan as the Deputy Registrar. She graduated from Norman Manley Law School in 2012, and was awarded the Belize Bar Association Prize. In 2010, she graduated from the University of the West Indies where she was awarded the Pitts and Elrington Award.

Graffiti Artists win Snorkeling Trip to Great Barrier Reef
First place winners of the BTB’s Graffitti Competition During the Belize Street Art Festival on Saturday, February 23rd, ten young artists took part in a graffiti art competition. The competition was sponsored by the Belize Tourism Board. BTB’s media relations officer, Andrea Polanco told the Guardian that they wanted the youths to display their talent in front of a live audience. The artists were given a blank canvas and wide range of materials to work with. Hundreds of people stopped at the work site to get a look at art in progress. They saw young artists formed images of national monuments and historical sites using materials that can be found around the house. Some artists formed alliances and at the end of the day six pieces were submitted. On Wednesday, February 27th, the Belize Tourism Board handed out prizes to the winners of the competition. Third place went to Micah Vernon and second place went to Brad Steadman. They received gift bags. First place went to the team of Shantel Carter, Kristen Carter, Miguel Chan and Moises Granedos. They received gift bags and a snorkeling trip to the Great Belize Barrier Reef. The Belize Tourism Board also recognized Erron Golanche, Briheda Haylock, Kody August and Gian Novelo for their pieces.

3rd Annual Street Art Festival
The third annual Belize Street Art Festival, held on Saturday, February 23rd, was a huge success. A steady flow of Belizeans and tourists made their way out to Albert Street to enjoy the food, entertainment and other works of art on display. Albert Street was blocked off from the Belize Bank to Doony’s Store on Prince Street. Tents were set up across the stretch featuring the works of various artists. There were paintings, weaved baskets, sculptures, local fashion accessories and, more. There were also booths where people stopped in to get tattoos, facial paintings and other body art. In the children zone, there were trampolines, bouncy houses, puppet shows and lively games. The youths had their own stage in front of Scotia Bank to showcase their talents. It was an expressive display as young men and women presented poems, songs and dances of world class quality. Performances at the youth stage ended at 8 p.m. and all the attention was turned to the established local artists. The main stage was inside the Battlefield Park and a few hundred people gathered in and around the park to watch their favourite local artists perform. The crowd enjoyed the latest from gifted vocalist Melonie Gillett and listened attentively to lyrical genius Jenko Veli. The song of the night was “Street Anthem” by Nello Player and the most electrifying performer was Ernestine Carballo. Karen Vernon, Coordinator of the Festival, said that there were so many requests for booths that she anticipates the festival zone will be extended by one block next year.

Alex Neal won Boxing Bout over Mohammad Harmouch
The Lion’s Den in Ladyville, a member of the Belize Boxing Federation, sponsored a most successful Boxing Card at the Bird’s Isle in Belize City on Sunday, February 24th, 2013. The day’s events included boxers from the promoting gym Lion’s Den in Ladyville, Leopold Smart Gym here in Belize City and the Lion’s Den in Cayo. There were a number of fights before the main event which featured Alex Neal and Mohammad Harmouch. In the first bout of the day which featured Eduard Garcia and Brandon Aguilar, the fight demonstrated a lot of skills especially by Garcia in the early goings when he showed superior foot movements. However, Aguilar because of his better fitness was able to overcome the early goings and started to land the much needed hits on Garcia. At the end of the fight, the judges’ decision was in favour of Brandon Aguilar. The second fight of the day featured Simeon Lino against Rayford Smith. Rayford Smith was declared the victor in this fight based on the judges’ decision. In fight number three, J.R. won over his opponent based on the judges’ decision that he landed more hits that Brenton Flowers. In the fourth fight of the day, it was Portio Anderson against Oren Velasquez. At the end of the fight, it was Portio Anderson that was declared the winner. In fight number five, Kenyon Wright came up victorious via the Knock out route over “Chino”. In the only female exhibition game, between Pauline Reneau and Shenique Michael, ended in a draw. In the final and main event of the day, Lion’s Den Alex Neal went up against the older, experienced and heavier Mohammad Harmouch. At the end of the bout and the judges tabulations, it was a unanimous decision that Alex Neal was the victor.

More Crime Fighting Tools for communities
The United States Embassy through the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) handed over hand-held radios, flashlights, handcuffs and whistles to some 20 community watch groups across the country. The donation is part of a three year program where the U.S. embassy will provide support and equipment to these organizations to a total of 400 thousand dollars. According to the U.S. Ambassador, Vinai Thummalapally, the contribution is part of the U.S. State Department’s support to Belizeans in the fight against crime. He stated that since the introduction of the program in Belize in 2009 the U.S. has trained some 33 police officers in community policing specifically to address the growing problem of crime. The CARSI program he noted is specifically geared to help Central American countries by assisting the citizens in security matters, helping youth and empowering communities to reduce crime through community participation.

Belizean Athletes to 10th Central American Games
The Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association will have representation at the 10th Central American Games scheduled for March 3rd -17th, 2013, in San Jose, Costa Rica. Belize will send a contingent of 175 athletes and officials to the 10th Edition of the games, which will be made up from 13 Sport Disciplines. Belize will have participation in softball (female), Volleyball, Track & Field, Tennis, Judo, Fencing, Triathlon, football, Basketball, Bodybuilding, Karate, Cycling, and Boxing. The Official Opening Ceremonies of the 10th Central American Games is scheduled for Sunday, March 3th, 2013, with the first wave of Belizean athletes to the games leaving the country on Saturday, March 2nd, which includes Softball, Judo and Fencing. The second and third waves of athletes will follow after that. The Chef-De-Mission to the 10th Central American Games is Frank McKenzies.

Belmopan Bandits continues on Winning Path
The Premier League of Belize 2013 Closing Season continued over the last weekend with four games played across the country. On Saturday, February 23rd, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the defending champions and the league’s leading Belmopan Bandits defeated the national sub-champions Police United by the score of 3-2. The visiting Police United was the first to get onto the scoreboard when Amin August, Jr. scored the 1st goal of the game in the 25th minute of play to give his team a temporary lead. However, it was in the closing minutes of the 1st half of the game that the host team Belmopan Bandits were able to get onto the scoreboard when Jerome James scored his team’s 1st goal of the game in the 40th minute of play. In the second half of the game, Police United was able to take the lead once again when Daniel Jimenez scored the 2nd goal of the game to give his team a 2-1 lead. Once again, the defending champions and current leaders in this year’s campaign the Belmopan Bandits were able to tie the score at 2-2 when Jeremy Bermudez scored the equalizing goal in the 75th minute of play. The Belmopan Bandits took the lead for good when David Trapp scored his team’s 3rd goal of the game in the 82nd minute of play for the 3-2 victory.

Tuff “E” Nuff and Baby Ruth Baaba Shap leads Interoffice Softball Competition
The 2012 Belize City Interoffice Softball Competition continued over the last weekend with seven games at Rogers Stadium, the MECCA for softball in the country. On Friday, February 22nd, in the first game played, BWSL defeated Tuff “E” Nuff by the score of 29-16. BWSL scored a total of 29 runs while pounding the combined pitching of Cojac Smith and Kamira Black for 22 hits. Included among the hits were a3 run home run by third baseman Joe Domingo in the top of the 4th inning and a 2 run home run by left fielder Earl Noralez in the top of the 6th inning. The winning pitcher was Sharea Pandy and the losing pitcher was Cojac Smith. In game two, the defending champions BTL defeated Baby Ruth Baaba Shap by the score of 13-9. BTL scored 13 runs on 14 hits. The BTL offence was led by catcher Nelson Tillett who collected 3 hits which included 2 double and a single. Tillett also drove in 4 runs. For Baby Ruth Baaba Shap, it scored 9 runs on 9 hits.

Secondary Schools Challenge Cup opens in Orange Walk
The Orange Walk Football Association will be having its opening of the Orange Walk District Secondary Schools Challenge Cup on Friday March 1st, 2013 beginning at 4:00 pm at the People’s Stadium. This weekend’s games will be hosted by Muffles College and the cover charge is only $2.00 and all proceeds will go to the school hosting the games. The first game is scheduled for 4:00 pm between New Hope School and Belize High School of Agriculture. In game two, it will be Muffles College High School against Orange Walk Technical High School.

Nazarene High School Girls unbeaten in softball
The Central Region Secondary Schools Softball Competition in both the male and female categories continues at Rogers Stadium. On Tuesday, February 26th, 2013, in the only game on the schedule in male competition, Maud Williams High School defeated Wesley College by the score of 20-5. The winning pitcher for Maud Williams was Amir Ramos and the losing pitcher was Keiron Young. On Monday, February 25th, in the female game played, undefeated Nazarene High School blasted St. Catherine Academy by the score 17-2. The winning pitcher was Elma Wade and the losing pitcher was Jacqueline Alas. In the second female game, Ladyville Technical High School defeated Pallotti High School by the score of 21-6. The winning pitcher was Denika Noralez and the losing pitcher was Marlette Martinez.

Biscayne Government School girls and Holy Redeemer Boys are Belize District Softball Champions
The 2012-2013 Belize District Primary Schools Softball Championship came to an end on Monday, February 25th, 2013, at Rogers Stadium. In the girls’ championship game, Biscayne Government School defeated St. John Vianney by the score of 6-4 to capture its first ever district title. The winning pitcher was Ashley Robinson and the losing pitcher was Princella Samuels. In the first game of the day, St. John Vianney School, the Belize City champions ,defeated Belize Rural Primary School the Belize Rural sub-champions by the score of 6-5. The winning pitcher was Princella Samuels and the losing pitcher was Erleen Casasola.

Big Nothing!
BGYEA has a membership of 1,000 persons, or so we thought. And we were led to believe this because that is the number of people who Petillo submitted to get an acre of land each at the Harmonyville area outside of Belmopan. To be exact it was 1,040 names that were submitted under the BGYEA banner so we were left to assume that that is the number of members that belong to the organization. The demonstration held on Tuesday, February 26th, however, clocked exactly 136 persons. A head count proved that. To have even been able to have a head count proves that the demonstration could not live up to the billing. What's more, those who participated were the regular demonstration prototypes. Those who will come out for any and all demonstrations (we wonder if these people work for a living to be able to find time to be at every demonstration even during the week. Or maybe it is that they make their living off demonstrations.)

Youths Take Ownership of Their Future
On Wednesday, February 27th, young Belizeans from across the length and breadth of the country gathered at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts to celebrate the launch of the National Youth Development Policy of Belize. The policy was developed after extensive consultation with youths from urban and rural areas in every district of the country. According to the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Hon. Patrick Faber, “The policy is reflective of the vision and drive of our Belizean youths and their ability to harness their abilities to achieve a common goal.” The first National Youth Policy was ratified by Cabinet in 2001. There was no real effort to implement the policies of the document and a decision was made to update it in 2006. The policy remained in draft state on a bureaucrat’s desk until the Ministry of Education and Youth partnered with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 2011 in an agreement to revisit the Draft National Youth Development Policy with an aim to update the policy based on new approaches. That new approach was based on youth leadership. Throughout the consultation process, the youths directed the conversation and drove the debate. UNICEF representatives explained that there were to be separate consultations with youths in each district; however, the youths became totally engaged and the process featured a travelling party in which youths travelled from district to district in order to get their peers involved in the development of the national policy.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Teachers Improving Child Safety at the Schools
The Administration, Teachers and members of the PTA from Caye Caulker’s Ocean’s Academy, Caye Caulker Roman Catholic School and Little Stars Preschool are taking theirfirst step in creating an efficient School Safety Plan for their Staff, School and most importantly thier Students. An efficient School Safety Plan is essential for the prevention and mitigation of a risk, as well as the preparedness of a school community to adequately respond to any emergency. Their first step was partaking in a School Safety Course given by Mr. Jose Zuniga from the Ministry of Education starting on the 27th of February. They are now getting better prepared and learning necessary information on what to do or not do in case of different emergencies. This will help them improve their existing plan, resources and reduce future risks. Working together with various organizations such as the Police, Fire Department, NEMO, Red Cross to coordinate further training in first aid, prevention and safety is important for any School Safety Plan, and these teachers are dedicated to have all the resources at hand for the safety of their children.

We love Danny Michel
Here at the Caye Caulker Chronicles, we LOVE Danny Michel. Danny has been one of the biggest cheerleaders and benefactors our our little island high school. His contributions to the school are nothing short of phenomenal. He is a true friend of Caye Caulker and we cannot be more grateful. Danny, we wish you only the best on the launch of your new album! To read the story of the launch of Danny’s new album, please visit the Windsor Star HERE.

Volunteering at the Caye Caulker Humane Society Gets Hectic!
So January comes around and we are tired and overworked from a busy schedule of our own celebrations and work commitments that we all have here on the island. But we are ‘Cooper’s People’ so we sit and listen while she outlines the next few weeks. ‘So’, she says, ‘ I think we really need to get a few things done in the next month or so, to start with we need to keep up the numbers on the Spay and Neuter Clinic, then work on getting around the dogs and cats in the Bahia area and the back neighborhood where the owners are not so willing to bring the critters into the clinic for vaccines etc, then I have a contact who is coming to town to volunteer for 10 days and we need to make the most of that’. We sigh, she has too much energy. ‘On top of that we are getting pressure from the Village Council to get more strays off the streets and as you know we don’t want to euthanize so let’s get our collective heads around the problem dogs and find them homes…. Oh and I think we need to get some more cats fixed as people are saying there are so many feral cats’. Easy right? All this is on top of the regular weekly clinics and inevitable emergencies. So, she sets us up with the program and we react like the well trained organ grinders that we are and set to work. Week one, three dogs are identified as being stray, we find fosters for them, while we work on how to get them a ‘forever home’. 3 cats are caught in cat traps and we spay or neuter them. Week two, we get a list of required surgeries and set to work on that…. And more cats.


Early morning flights, my whirwind trip to Belize Cty and our Crawl North
I had the best intentions to finish an post this Tuesday afternoon and ended up on on Belize time and an adventure crawl to North Ambergris Caye which you will see pics and details of below. Wednesday the exciting Tropic Air announcement of Belize to Cancun flights bumped it and my morning was reserved for spending time with Dennis before he left on the 3pm Thunderbolt water taxi to Corozal. After seeing him off, emails took precedence and before I knew it it was time to go meet Mawags and her crew at the Squirrels nest beach bar for a drink. The sky is busy this morning, puddle jumpers have been flying back and forth since 6:20 am today. I was laying in bed listening to the planes thinking I was glad I did not have to be at the airport till 9:30. Taking a Tropic flight to Municipal as I have an 11:00 am appointment in Belize City today. I would have taken a shopping day after but decided to make it a quick trip and get back home asap to hand out with Dennis on his last day on the island. Left San Pedro at 10am and was back by 1:00pm and that included a stop at Philip Goldson International Airport too – I love how quick and easy it is to fly here.

AMAZING Community Support for February's SAGA Humane Society Cook-Off
Yesterday evening, Average Joe's (AJ's) Bar hosted the monthly SAGA cook-off to raise money for the kick-off of the operation SNIP program. Animal control has always been a problem on the island of Ambergris Caye and this program is being put in place to spay or neuter as many dogs and cats as possible. This is an island folks! If we all get our animals responsibly fixed and keep them safely contained in our houses and yards, we can solve this problem. August 26th and 27th were part of the official kick-off with a free veterinary clinic to fix pets on the island for free. The event was a huge success. But there is so much more to do. So what better way to raise money and make islanders and visitors happy? Serve them cake. And LOTS of it.

The Kaleidoscopic Colors of Belize
Belize is one of the most enchanting and colorful places to visit in Central America and the Caribbean because it offers a travel experience unlike anywhere else in the world where visitors have the opportunity to enjoy three unique destinations in one visit – Lush Mountains, Pristine Rain forest and White Sandy Beaches. In this blog post we highlight the beautiful colors that you will encounter on a Belize vacation:

Awarding the graffiti artists
Graffiti is an emerging form of art in the jewel, through which messages are scribbled or painted on public property. This past Saturday at the Street Art Festival, a number of artists competed in a graffiti contest but their work was not on buildings or sidewalks, instead their message found their way on canvas. This afternoon, the Belize Tourism Board says the unique competition has potential.

Ministry applauds youths for policy
Seventy percent of the population is under the age of thirty five which means Belize is a young society. Perhaps that is why youths, with the assistance of UNICEF and NGOs, have developed their own policy. It was compiled into a document called the National Youth Development Policy of Belize 2012-2022. The policy’s commitment gives existence to a National Youth Commission as an autonomous youth body that will be responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the policy. It also encourages dialogue between youths and related Ministries. Minister of Education Patrick Faber and Minister of State Herman Longsworth attended the launch. Longsworth says the most important factor in the fifty- eight page document is that the policies were devised by the youths.

U.S. and Belize sign MOU
The Government has signed on with the United States Government to place restrictions on the Illegal importation and exportation of archeological material particularly Mayan antiquities. Through a MOU signed today between Belize and the US, law enforcement agents from that country are authorized to restrict the antiquities from entering the US and have them returned to Belize. News Five’s Jose Sanchez was present for the signing of the MOU.

Trade & Investment Convention (TIC 2013)
The region’s largest business-to-business event, TIC brings together manufacturers, service providers, exporters, buyers, distributors, wholesalers and investors in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean’s largest economy and the gateway to the Americas.

Up, up and away
Didn’t get up this morning until 7.15 am. The consequence of an action packed,fun-filled day (OK so I am easily satisfied) yesterday. Had two mugs of coffee to give the body the caffeine boost it needed whilst reading The Times on line and trawling through my emails. The best -and most welcome one- being from my sister Chris (for those of you that think you know me there is a soft side to me). A quick shower and shave and four slices of jam (no butter!) on toast ( see I don’t eat a fried breakfast every day – although if you read this blog regularly it might seem like I do) and I was ready to knuckle down and pull the paperwork together for our application to enter the QRP ( Belize’s Qualified Retirement Program). First off was assembling the documentation needed to prove that I (Rose will be a dependent – always told her she depended on me!) will be able to meet the requirement of bringing in to Belize not less than US$ 24,000 (equivalent of US$ 2,000 per month) a year. This is the only element of the application process that a dependent does not have to provide. Then it was digging out copies of our Birth Certificates and our Marriage Certificate. I then moved on to completing the application form ( I got mine from the Belize Tourism Board office located in Barrier Reef Drive, San Pedro Town but you can get a copy on-line). There are only four pages to it ( but most of these are filled with explanatory notes) so this didn’t take too long.

Mennonite Gurls A'ken Cook: Maple Blueberry Granola Bars
2 cups old-fashyuned rolled oats 1/3 cup chopped pecans 1/ 2 cup sunflowr seeds 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetabull 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup pure maple syrup 1 egg 1 teespoon vanilla extract 1/2 teespoon cinnamon 1/4 teespoon salt 1/2 cup flour 1 cup froze blueberries (nairy thawed) er 3/4 cup dride blueberries

Punta Gorda Sports Center
Punta Gorda town is in need of a proper sport auditorium so that the young people can expend their energies in a positive way.

International Sources

Wyoming woman found dead in Belize
The body of a Casper woman was found south of the town of San Pedro, Belize, about 8 a.m. Wednesday, according to authorities. An autopsy performed Thursday confirmed that Kristy Lynn Sy died of natural causes, according to The San Pedro Sun newspaper. San Pedro police initially treated the case as a murder investigation. At the time, Dr. Giovanni Solorzano of the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Poly Clinic II told The San Pedro Sun that bruises around the woman’s neck could be consistent with strangulation. According to Eric Heyden, public affairs officer for the United States Embassy in Belmopan, Belize, the autopsy "may have determined" that Sy had a seizure in the water and drowned. “I have no information which would confirm strangulation or foul play,” he said in an email to the Star-Tribune. The San Pedro Sun Editor Tamara Sniffin, formerly of Laramie, told the Star-Tribune that Sy’s driver’s license had a Casper address.

Belize Police investigating death of Wyoming woman
The body of a Wyoming woman was found near the southern part of San Pedro, Belize, about 8 a.m. Wednesday, according to a local newspaper report. San Pedro Police are treating the case as a murder investigation until they know more details. Kristy Lynn Sy, 32, was identified after police began circulating photos around resorts and hotels on the island, according to the San Pedro Sun. According to police, an initial examination revealed bruises around Sy’s neck that could be consistent with strangulation. However, Superintendent of Police Luis Castellanos, Officer in Charge of the San Pedro Police Formation, told the Star-Tribune there is still a “strong possibility” that the woman died of natural causes.

LMU's Rollins Discovers Previously Unknown Slime Molds
Lincoln Memorial University’s Dr. Adam Rollins, assistant professor of biology, has coauthored a paper in the journal Mycologia which describes 10 previously unknown dictyostelid cellular slime molds from the Central American seasonal rainforests. Four of the 10 newly discovered species were collected from Belize utilizing LMU’s Rainforest Science Cooperative Lab, which is operated under the purview of LMU’s Cumberland Mountain Research Center (CMRC) and located on the Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education (BFREE) compound. As a member of the Appalachian College Association (ACA), LMU has built a partnership with the non-profit foundation. BFREE is a private research and educational facility located on an 1153-acre reserve in the Toledo District of Belize. These four newly described species have been named Dictyostelium angelicum, Dictyostelium capillare, Dictyostelium montium and Dictyostelium reciprocatum. They and the six other species described in the paper represent a growing trend which consists of the discovery of small species (2 mm or less) which have presumably been overlooked in the past.

VIDEO: Huron Scuba Dive Team - Belize 2012/2013
Shot with GoPro3 Black edition on location at Halfmoon Caye in Belize. Jan.1 2013. TURTLE!!!!!!!!

VIDEO: Afternoon With The Manatees At North Caye Caulker
A day spent visiting and filming the pair of manatees that live in the North Caye Caulker Channel, just South of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. They are about the most beautiful, gentle and curious creatures I have ever had the pleasure of encountering.

It All Began in Belize…
Brie Cokos is a marine scientist at Ocean Consulting, LLC, in Miami, as well as a competitive rugby player, traveler, and writer. Thanks to her go-with-the-flow travel philosophy, she landed in Belize in 2001 and ended up staying for three years, exploring and researching the coral reef ecosystems of Glover’s Reef Atoll. It changed her perspective, her career, and her life. Amble Resorts: So how exactly did you end up in Belize? Brie Cokos: Well, it was a bit of good fortune, but I think Belize was definitely going to cross my path at some point. I wanted to experience a different culture and immerse myself in a world totally foreign to me. I opted to pursue Environmental Biology at Columbia University and I had to do an internship before my senior year. I went for what sounded the most exotic: coral reef ecology in Belize. Living on a secluded atoll with five other people – perfect. AR: What was it like? BC: I lived on Middle Caye, one of the five islands that makes up Glovers Reef Atoll. It is about 17 acres of dense brush. There is a little section of the island carved out for the staff and guests – no tourists allowed. I lived there for two and a half months. The only other people I saw were the local staff: a cook, caretaker, boat captain, divemaster, and the station manager. We had limited phone service, no internet at the time, and limited electricity.

An islet for a sea
Colombia smarts from the loss of territorial waters WHEN Nicaragua took Colombia to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague in 2001 over a handful of small islands in the Caribbean, Colombians felt they had little to lose. The islands have been theirs ever since independence in 1822. They remained so after Colombia lost its former province of Panama to a 1903 separatist revolt engineered by the United States. Colombian sovereignty over the islands and their waters was confirmed in a treaty with Nicaragua in 1928. In 1980 Nicaragua’s Sandinista government declared the treaty invalid. But by then, the two countries’ maritime border had long been accepted as the 82nd meridian. After studying the case for 11 years, the court issued a ruling on November 19th that stunned Colombians. Although it confirmed the country’s sovereignty over seven uninhabited islets near the Colombian islands of San Andrés and Providencia, it granted Nicaragua an exclusive economic zone extending 200 nautical miles (370km) from its coast. It drew a new maritime boundary sharing out the waters claimed by both countries (see map). By Colombia’s calculations, this transfers to Nicaragua about 30,000 square miles (75,000 square km) of sea, with valuable fishing rights and, perhaps, oil. Two islets are now cut off from the others. The fishermen of the islands of San Andrés and Providencia now fear for their livelihoods.

An Orgasm A Day: For A Better Tomorrow
The real question is: Why are we all so sexually uncomfortable -- why do we act like adolescents who want sex but are equally afraid of it?

Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
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