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Today's Belize News: March 6, 2013 #459585
03/06/13 09:15 AM
03/06/13 09:15 AM
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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
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The San Pedro Sun

SPHS dominate National Softball Northern Regionals
The San Pedro High School (SPHS) softball team traveled to Orange Walk Town to compete in the Northern Regionals in the male and female division of the National High School Softball Competition. It has been about seven years since SPHS has had a female softball team representative. The competition took place on Saturday March 1st at the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk Town. Coaching the male team was Marion Mejia, while the female team was coached by Iris Perez. The first game saw reigning national champions SPHS boys against the Belize Rural High School. A strong pitching performance from Konrad Gonzalez and great defense from SPHS ensured the first win with a 10-0 score. The great performance of the boys in the first game was elevated when SPHS girls won their first game against Escuela Secundaria Mexico of the Corozal District.

Belize Tourism Board boasts hike in Tourism Arrival in early 2013
The impressive increase of arrivals into Belize in the year 2012 has continued into the start of 2013. January numbers are in, and overnight tourists have increased by a remarkable 17.2% compared to last year’s stats. 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 7.6% higher than last year’s January arrivals. Our records show that 19,965 passengers disembarked at the PGIA in the last month, making it 1,407 more than January 2012.

San Pedro RC School promotes Healthy Eating
When we become adults, the words “healthy” and “nutritional” finally start making more sense to us as our metabolism starts to decline and the pounds start adding up. However, as a child, it just doesn’t seem that important. Don’t you remember craving all the sinful delights that held absolutely NO healthy or nutritional values? We are talking such ‘delicacies’ as “choco bananas” (chocolate covered frozen bananas), chips, biscuits, sweets, ideals and pops – just to name a few. Remember gagging at the veggies our poor harassed mothers tried to make us eat? Tsk, tsk! Yes, we were taught about healthy eating – but for some reason, the concept just never really seemed to sink in. Well, last week Friday at the San Pedro Roman Catholic School, Health and Family Life Education teacher, Kenny Witzil took his students through an entire event promoting healthy eating. The event took some preparation. After teaching the kids about the value of eating from all the main food groups and combing the proper portions of meats, legumes, vegetables and fruits – the kids were tasked to come up with their own meals showcasing a healthy, nutritional balanced meal comprised of all the main food groups.

Former PM of Belize Said Musa remembers Hugo Chavez
Former Prime Minister of Belize Rt. Hon Said Musa says that the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is a “loss to the region.” President Hugo Chavez, 58 years, lost a long battle to cancer on the afternoon of Tuesday March 5th. The Vice-President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro made the announcement during a press conference; news that captured world-wide attention. Even Former PM Musa, considered an ally of Chavez, lamented about the passing during an interview with The San Pedro Sun following news of Chavez’s death. The Government of Belize (GOB) has enjoyed a good relationship with Venezuela through generous financial policies initiated by the Chavez administration ever since his election to office in 1998. “I am grieving for the loss of Hugo Chavez. It’s a great loss for Venezuela and indeed for Latin America and the Caribbean. Hugo Chavez was undoubtedly a very controversial leader but there is no doubt in my mind that his heart was in the right place – he felt for people, especially the poor people of Latin America and the Caribbean. There is no doubt that he will go down in history as someone who transformed the lives of millions of people, particularly in his own country. I think it is a great loss not only for Venezuela but for the whole region. I have no doubt that in Latin America and in this region the Chavez legacy will live on because people will remember him for the good work he has done in his life time. He will be greatly missed,” said a somber Musa.

Deputy Prime Minister presents Land Title to University of Belize
The Deputy Prime Minister and Acting Prime Minister, Hon. Gaspar Vega today presented the title for University of Belize Toledo Campus to the President of the University, Dr. Cary Fraser. This is second title presented by Hon. Vega to the University. In September 2012, the University was presented with the title to the campus for its Central Farm campus by Deputy Prime Minister Vega.

Ambergris Today

Three Peat Win for San Pedro High School Softball Team
The San Pedro High School Male Softball Team is the Northern Regional Champion once again! The male and female softball teams of San Pedro High School travelled to Corozal Town on Saturday, March 2, 2013 and Sunday, March 3, 2013, where they participated in the Northern Region Championship Games and did the town very proud. In their first game, the San Pedro High School Male team played against Belize Rural High School. Behind a strong pitching performance from ace, Konrad Gonzalez, and air tight defense San Pedro triumphed over Belize Rural High School. Although San Pedro would score 10, one was all they really needed as Gonzalez would hurl his first career perfect game striking out 12 of the 15 batters he faced in the 10 to 0 shutout. San Pedro took the lead in the bottom of the first when leadoff hitter, Damian Pollard, stroked the second pitch he saw for a leadoff homerun, a lead that was never relinquished.

The History of San Pedro's Community Center
The Community Center was used for public activities, like social dances. A couple of Peace Corps volunteers lived there for many years and operated a library and child educational/recreational center for many years. By the way, the water reservoir on the ground level provided water for the village for some 15 years. (NOTE water reservoir still there) It was designated as a hurricane shelter but has never been used. In 1971 San Pedro High School opened its doors for the first time right here. The door where the students are gathered was the Principal’s Office 1971 to 1987. The other door and first window was a small classroom of eight. The remaining windows was a classroom for Form One and Typing Room. In 1987 San Pedro High moved to its own premises and the San Pedro Town Board remodeled it to the First San Pedro Town Hall under Mayor Gilberto Chico Gomez. Six consecutive mayors have held offices here. Court sessions also took place here for many years.

Misc Belizean Sources

Ferry and Ferry Generator For Sale
Ferry 12 ft x 25 feet with one adjustable ramp Same design and same fabricator as ferry in Succotz at Xunantunich crossing Originally set up to be free wheeling in the river. Does not include motors, gas tanks or batteries. These were stolen. Currently in dry dock in Spanish Lookout Bz $42,000 Ingersoll Rand “Power Source G25, Version IV” Been in storage in container almost new NEW Environmental, low noise diesel generator Staged, High Efficiency 480 Volt, 60 Hz, 26 kVa, 24 kW, 31 amp, 1800 RPM, 3 phase, Cos Phi 0.8 Weight 980 kg with extra 200 amp transfer switch, only 7 run hours Operating manual Bz $19,000 Original cost was $26,000 plus customs and shipping CALL 600-2853 By Appointment ONLY

Belize border clearing exercise takes place without incident
On Saturday, a private group known as the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV), spearheaded by Wil Maheia of PG TV and the People’s National Party (PNP), met at Belize’s border with Guatemala, to carry out a cleanup campaign to clear vegetation on Belize’s side of the border. The group consisting of 150 volunteers began the work at Container Hill from sunrise to late afternoon. The contingent had representation from various social groups including Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA); the University of Belize; the Belize Coalition for Justice; BelizeCan, a nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization established as a “watchdog group” to strengthen the democratic principles and social justice in the nation of Belize; Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association; and various media representatives, along with Belizean men, women and children. According to Maheia, the day was a successful one, with approximately 20 meters being cleared along Belize’s side of the border.

VIDEO: Loggerhead Mating Season 2013 "Let The Games Begin"
Around March each year in Belize, divers often report Loggerhead sightings. Here a look at a recent pair kicking off mating season. Thanks to Arlen, Josh and Teryl for supporting reef conservation awarness here in Belize

Sam Harris and The World Culture Band
Sam Harris and the World Culture Band played Saturday night at Lucky 5 Sports Bar and Grill. The WCB plays at Lucky 5 most every weekend. Cayo finally has some great live music on a regular basis. On a related note, In Bloom will be playing at Lucky 5 on Friday.

BumSplash Ultimate Pool Party Pictures
The Bum Squad had a successful Bumsplash pool party at Midas Resort Saturday. Danny Chung was there to capture the moment.

Belikin's La Ruta Maya Teaser
La Ruta Maya is only 3 days away. Belikin put together a teaser from last year's LRM start. There are some good camera angles from the canoes themselves. "Belikin, the beer of Belize presents the Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge."

National Youth Policy Launch in Belmopan
Today in Belmopan, at the Univestiy of Belize's gymnasium, there will be the National Youth Development Policy Launch for Cayo. It'll be from 4pm until 6pm.

Communication Workshop at Cornerstone
The Cornerstone Foundation will be having a Communication and Decision Making workshop today, from 1pm until 4pm, to celebrate Women's Month. "Learn the skills of proper communication and the steps to making decisions."

Belizean Rice Pudding
Rice Pudding, like Bread Pudding is a popular Belizean dessert. This pudding is decadent, rich and milky.

8 Tips To Get Around Belize Easily & Safely
Getting around Belize is not the easiest of things, especially if this is the first time you have actually set foot here. I am a local and even I find it tedious to get to places. It is not because Belize is over populated or traffic is a major problem — it is just that access to things, in general, are so hard to get in some parts of Belize. Unlike other countries, Belize has a town every couple miles and it not until you reach the other town that you have access to most commodities and services. I can talk all day about the troubles you may face getting around Belize, but instead of wasting quality time on that, I will give you 8 tips that will help you to get around Belize easily and safely. This goes for both visitors and locals.

Channel 7

Chavez Passes, Could The End Of the "Bolivarian Revolution" Be Bad News For Belize?
He called himself El Comandante, and tonight 58 year old Bolivarian revolutionary Hugo Chavez is dead. The Venezuelan President died this afternoon at 4:25 in Venezuela - after battling cancer for 2 years. It is news in Belize because Venezuela was a venery generous ally of Belize giving tens of millions of dollars for housing, medical, fuel and financial assistance. This evening Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington told us that "Chavez was a visionary and a regionalist, and the region will mourn his passing." He added that, quote, "Venezuela has a long history of assisting us - we would wish to have that relationship continue and we would hope the passing of Chavez would not affect it adversely." Presently the Government of Belize benefits greatly from the Petrocaribe initiative, which was re-activated in September of last year. A regime change could spell disaster for this programme in which Government is able to purchase Venezuelan fuel and pay for it over time at very concessionary rates.

Late Evening Killing In City
A man was killed in Belize City an hour ago. It happened on Glynn Street - which is at the end of Church Street in the city's southside. When we got to the scene, his body was face down in the drain. No identity has been confirmed but his family and friends were at the scene - and were pleading with police to get access to the crime scene - which they were eventually allowed to do. The man had reportedly just been paid and his death may have been the result of an armed robbery.

OW Police Recapture One, Lose Another
A man accused of murder escaped from police custody in Orange Walk yesterday - but was recaptured at noon today. The police press office predictably hasn't issued any release but 7news has learned that 19 year old Trinidad Pineda was being taken from the prison - where he is on remand - to the Orange Walk Magistrate's Court for an adjournment. But, reports say, when the Police pickup slowed down for a speedbump at the Tower Hill junction, he made a run for it. Today, Police caught him at a roundabout in Orange Walk town. He was driving his uncle's Ford Ranger pickup, which had been reported stolen by the owner earlier in the day. Pineda is accused of the March 2012 murder of 24 year old Cristobal Santos. Pineda is accused of stabbing Santos to death in a drunken brawl. And while he is in custody pending charges of escape - we can't say the same for Abbas Khan. On Sunday police searched his home at 18 3rd Street in Corozal Town and found five Indian passports. So he was detained pending charges, but according to reports he's disappeared. Corozal police say he's in Orange Walk, and Orange Walk police say they know nothing of it.

Woman's House Burns, She Says Arson is Retaliation For Murder
Last night we told you about the shooting in Hattieville that left one man dead and another injured. 23 year old Abel Arana was shot and killed inside the yard of Ralph Sherlock Mini-Man Martinez who was also shot. According to police, Arana and Martinez were socializing at the residence when they started to argue and shot each other. But the details of that story remain sketchy since police have not yet recovered any weapons from the scene. Martinez's girlfriend and brother-in-law are detained by police. But only 24 hours after we reported this story, there is another possibly related incident to report on tonight. Mini-man's sister-in-law is claiming someone burned her hosue down in an act of retaliation. Tiffarah Usher was not at home at 4:00 this morning when her house burned but she told us she was receiving threat messages from unknown persons in regards to the death of Abel Arana. This mother of two who lost everything told us she is the victim of guilt by association:

Mother Of Murder Victim Disputes Story Of His Death
And then there is the other side to this story. Today 7news caught up with the mother of Abel (Able) Arana who believes that her son was chanced out of his life. Caroline Castillo claimed that her son was indeed friends with Mini-Man Martinez. She wanted to speak out about certain allegation made against her son that she claims is false: Caroline Castillo - Mother of Abel Arana "Well his friends told me that they set up my son. And that hurt me a lot becasue his friend went on TV, and said that my son and his friend are not friends. They are friends because my son's baby's birthday was thursday. The same boy that killed him was at his house celebrating the birthday with him. He said he came for his cake.

GSU Finds Big Gun
Yesterday afternoon at 4:20 the GSU search the home of 21 year old Keron Pinto, on Tigris street. Pinto was not at home, but three women were, and in their presence, police found a firearm in the yard. It's an unusual weapon, a Chrome .40 Millimeter AMT brand pistol fitted with a chrome magazine containing two .40 Millimeter live rounds. The firearm was stuffed in a garbage crate in the yard. Keron Pinto later accepted responsibility for the firearm and was formally arrested and charged for Kept Prohibited Firearm and Kept Prohibited Ammunition. With that, the three females were released. But when Pinto was taken and arraigned before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith today, he changed his tune completely and pleaded not guilty to both charges. Due to the nature of the offences, Chief Magistrate Smith remanded him to the Belize Central Prison until April 5, 2013, his next court date.

CITCO Back To The Drawing Board On Southern Foreshore
The City Council is celebrating its one year anniversary - we'll tell you about that shortly - but first we look to the downside of what ahs been the Hallmark of that one year in office: those concrete streets, dozens of them! But, as we pointed out a few weeks ago - the streets are supposed to last for decades, yet some of them have proved to be substandard. In fact, right now, a section of the street on southern foreshore is being ripped up and re-done. The mayor says the city council has staffed itself with three engineers and is now demanding a higher standard of proof from contractors: Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council "We are monitoring our contractors very vigilantly. They're giving us regular reports. We're requiring PSI testing of all our streets so that we know the PSI and strength, that it's going to last. And where we find deficiencies, even if it is something arguable, we will require the contractors to go in and do corrective work.

Mayor Says Traffic Lights Not Fit For City
The mayor also answered another vexing issue for city residents: the traffic lights that haven't been working for weeks at the Mahogany Street junction. Now, all of Central American Boulevard is the responsibility of the Ministry of Works - including those lights - but today the Mayor proposed that maybe lights are not the best idea: Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council "We don't have the system to support traffic lights. And it's very expensive to maintain. The parts are not obtainable in Belize city. So I favor the round about. And actuaclly when the central american bulivard is upgraded. There is plans for a round about in that very vasinity. But ofcourse we've been trying to source the part for the traffic light. So that we can repair it. But every single traffic light that is in Bleize city has malfunction at some point. And when you have a round about. It's a far easier thing to operate. And it's far less maintainance. So my personal view is that you are likly going to see additional problems with more traffic lights. And where trying to move away from that system."

Farrakhan To Activists
Yesterday, we told you about the arrival of the Leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan for his third visit to Belize. Minister Farrakhan has a full itinerary of public appearances planned for this week, and this afternoon, he had a 2 hour seminar with the activists at the UWI School of continuing studies. His message is extensive, but we'll a small excerpt of the conversation he had with the activists, and the role they play in an informed democracy. Here's what he had to say: Minister Luis Farrakhan - Leader of the Nation of Islam "So an activist today is a valuable person, for the future of the country. But activists must not just be activists, because you don't like this one or that one. We must be activists for something bigger than ourselves. And the biggest thing in Belize is Belize itself. And when we love Belize, more than we love our party, more than we love the personality of the person for whom we are voting, then our interest is not in what you say. Our interest is in what you do."

Vendors Complain About BTB
The artisans who work out of the BTB's Fort George Craft Market are tonight dissatisfied with the mode of business that they've been restricted to conducting. Over 2 years ago, the market was created to organize them in one general area where the tourists can visit, peruse and buy from them. But according to them, business has been bad, and as a result, they've had to resort to leaving the market to approach tourists to convince them to buy. They told 7News that if the tourism police officers will enforce the rules against them, no one should get preferential treatment. Here's how they explained it to us: Timmy Stamp - Crafting Vendor "In the yard where they have us selling carvings, it's not working. Nothing is not happening in there. So, I have to come out and walk on the street for me to make a dollar. If you don't walk on the street, you will not make anything."

Observing International Children's Day of Broadcasting
Good evening, and welcome to the 7news celebration of international children's day of broadcasting, I am Kelcy Longsworth. Every year in March, broadcasters around the world join in airing quality programming about children, and allow them to take part in actually making the news. Here at Channel 7, we thought we would use the opportunity to find out how kids feel about violence. My peers and I are fed a daily dose of it in movies, video games, music, and, the evening news. Our youth correspondent Lovell Mejia is one of those youths. He is a fourth former at EP Yorke and on Sunday night a man was killed a block from his home in Hattieville. Today, he asked his shoolmates at EP Yorke how they feel about violence: Thanks very much guys! 16 year old Lovel Mejia is a fourth former at EP Yorke and 10 year old Kelcey Longsworth is a Standard 3 student at Horizon Academy. Great work guys!

Belize Ballers Find A Place In US Rosters
And staying on the subject of youths - we're following up on two young men who left Belize for basketball opportunities in the USA. Kashief Thomas and Andrew Ortiz, both former stars at Sadie Vernon High are doing well in basketball programmes in the states and so is Devin Daly, the former SJC Standout. Andrew Ortiz is on scholarship to finish High School at St. Peter Chanel High School in Cleveland Ohio is playing for St. Monica's Church in the Catholic Youth Organization Regional Finals. Menawhile, Kashief Thomas plays for Iowa Western Community Colege while Devin Daly plays Lake Superior State University.

Belizean Youth Seeks UK Post
Another Belizean boy is making news abroad. He is Ramel Flores, whose parents Melvin and Aracelly relocated from Orange Walk to Ireland about a decade ago. Ramel is now offering himself for the UK youth Parliament where he proudly touts his Belizean ancestry. He has been featured in multiple newspapers. Voting finishes on Thursday.

PM Accompanies Wife For Cancer Treatment
Prime Minister Dean Barrow left the country today, to accompany his wife, Kim Simplis-Barrow for continuation of her cancer treatment. He returns on the 13th. March and during his absence, Deputy Gaspar Vega, the Deputy Gaspar Vega will act as Prime Minister.

Channel 5

Shot to the head while buying Johnny cake
There was a murder late this evening in the heart of Belize City.  Frank Neal, an employee of the Port, was shot in the head at the corner of Cairo and Glenn Street which is located behind X-tra House near the downtown area. Residents in the area say Neal does not live in the neighborhood [...]

Woman thinks arsonist wanted her and children dead
Twenty-two year old Abel Arana was killed on Sunday night after he was shot twice—once to the abdomen and to the buttocks. His alleged killer, Sherlock Martinez, is currently hospitalized at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after according to reports; he was shot to the abdomen by Arana. But the village where the incident occurred [...]

Santa Cruz, the shire across from Jalacte
On Saturday News Five was a part of the group led by Wil Maheia of the Belize Territorial Volunteers on what was dubbed an expedition to demarcate Belize’s border line between the villages of Jalacte and Santa Cruz. While a majority of the hundred or so persons from different organizations stayed on top of Container [...]

Passport charges appear and Pakistani Belizean disappears
Where is Abbas Khan? Inside his home at number eighteen Third Street in Corozal Town, the police found six passports in the names of Tajinder Singh, Gagandeep Singh, Parminder Singh Baryar, Gurdeep Singh and Surjit Singh. The thirty eight year old Khan, under, told the police that the foreign nationals were not present in the [...]

B.N.T.U. district branch consult on salary adjustment
Today the general membership of the Belize National Teachers Union (B.N.T.U.) Belize District Branch held a regular meeting at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall in Belize City.  News Five spoke to Belize District President, Kathleen Flowers, who declined an interview at this time but stated that the meeting was a regular pre-convention session. We were [...]

Is Belize being soft on Guatemala?
And our question for tonight is: Do you think our government is too soft with Guatemala? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote on our e-poll at You can also send an email with your comments to [email protected]

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez passes away
  President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, died today after a long bout with cancer. The very vocal and powerful Chavez was diagnosed with the disease last year, but his government had kept the gravity of the medical situation under tight wraps. His condition had steadily deteriorated since a fourth surgery in Cuba in December of [...]

Minister Farrakhan scrutinizes Land of the Free
Another international firebrand who has kept ties with Belize returned for a visit on Monday. Leader of the Nation of Islam Louis Farrakhan is meeting with various community groups and educational institutions over the week. Today at the University of West Indies campus in West Landivar, Farrakhan spoke to activists who normally take their issues [...]

Busted with weed on bus
  A sculptor from the village of Maskall on the old Northern Highway was today fined ten thousand dollars after he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking. Thirty-three year old Lenton Polonio was arrested and charged for drug trafficking on September fourteenth, 2012, after he was found with a bag containing one hundred and forty seven [...]

Females released after Pinto pleads guilty to gun possession
  The Gang Suppression Unit continues to conduct regular operations in Belize City, and on Monday executed a search at the home of alleged George Street gang member Keron Pinto at number seventy-nine Tigris Street. Pinto was not home at the time, but the search was conducted in the presence of three females. While the [...]

City Hall sits with the elderly
And while the GSU visited the homes of alleged criminals, other public servants gave some other city residents a welcome home visit.  Dozens of elderly men and women at the Sister Cecilia Home were treated for lunch today by members of the Belize City Council.  Mayor Darrell Bradley took time out of his otherwise busy [...]

Mayor envisions roundabout at the Mahogany crossroads
Motorists traveling along Central American Boulevard would notice that traffic lights at its inter-section with Mahogany Street have been malfunctioning for quite some time.  While City Hall awaits the arrival of a much needed component in order to repair the stoplight, Mayor Bradley has his sights on building a roundabout at the crossroads.  The signal [...]

Galen University student apologizes for sports/nationalism foul up
While the softball team is writing some victories at the games in Costa Rica, another local athlete has also penned a statement regarding his performance at a recent basketball tournament in Guatemala. It was the same tournament that caused the Belize National Basketball Team to return to Belize prematurely from Peten, because the facility, the [...]

Softball team wins 2 games in Costa Rica
The Central American Games is underway in San Jose, Costa Rica and the National Women’s Softball Team is making great strides in the event by winning two of its games.  On Monday, Belize won over Costa Rica with a score of nine to two. The winning pitcher was Kenreen Gillett. However, Belize with zero points [...]

Patrick Faber says former G.O.B. caused UB problems
One man who held no apologies at last week Friday’s House meeting in the Capital is Minister of Education Patrick Faber. Faber addressed the payroll audit of the University of Belize which was commissioned by U.B. President, Doctor Cary Fraser.  The draft report has been the reason why the Faculty and Staff Association held an [...]

Education Minister says payroll audit not complete yet
UB’s Faculty and Staff Association wrote a letter to the government suggesting that an independent, external auditor should be hired to carry out a new payroll audit.  Minister Faber suggested that Sanchez Burrell and Associates is an independent, external auditor and he said that the audit is not yet complete to make any assertions about [...]

Fairytale ending for baby found in a bucket
Some people say fairy tales are for kids because there is no such thing as a happy ending. The true life story that our online geek squad found proves that saying is only half true as it is for kids. KBTV Fox 4 reported on a baby that was found abandoned in a bucket in [...]

US gives hugs and toys to Liberty Children’s Home
The sentiment does not end with that story. Loving Hugs is an American charity that collects donations of stuffed animals, called “hugs”, and sends them to children around the world to bring them comfort and hope.  The organization has collected over seven hundred stuffed animals. And this afternoon, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy [...]

Meet the Y’s Women of Valor
The Young Women’s Christian Association is hosting a pageant on Wednesday entitled Women of Valor. It features five young students at the school and organizer, Leroy Green says that it will be a clean, fun competition aimed at building confidence and exposure with competition geared to promoting Christian values and school spirit. Today, freelance reporter [...]


University of Belize Receives Land Title For Its Toledo Campus
The University of Belize has received the title for the University’s Toledo campus. Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega today presented the land title to President of the University of Belize, Dr. Cary Frazer. In September 2012 Deputy Prime Minister Vega presented the t...

Belize Prime Minister Accompanies Wife For Further Medical Treatment Abroad
Prime Minister Dean Barrow left the country today. The Prime Minister is accompanying his wife, Kim Simplis Barrow for her continued medical treatment. Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega will act as Prime Minister until the Prime Minister’s return on March 13. ...

Belize National Teachers Union Holds General Meeting
The Belize National Teacher Union, Belize branch held a general membership meeting today. The venue for the meeting was the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall. The meeting, according to executives of the Belize Branch, discussed the upcoming national teacher’s convention, part...

Teenager Detained On Allegations of Sexual Assault On Minor
Police in Orange Walk town have detained a seventeen year old boy following an allegation of sexual assault. A fourteen year old girl, accompanied by her grandmother, went to the police station to report that on Saturday, she had sexual intercourse with the seventeen year old who...

Teenager Detained Following Attempted Murder of Basketball Player
Police have detained an eighteen year old man in connection with the attempted murder another on Monday morning. Lloyd Alexander King, a resident of Mayflower Street is in police custody pending investigation of the shooting incident which happened around eleven o’clock yes...

Accused Teenaged Murderer Sentenced For Handling Stolen Goods
Nineteen year old Anthony Carballo Jr. , a remanded prisoner charged with the murder of 53 year old businessman Jeremy McNab, was sentenced to six months today by Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith after he was found guilty of handling stolen goods for a memory card that was stolen alon...


Accused Murderer: Hands Himself to Police, Escapes From Custody, Is Captured!
It did not make the news last night since police were tight lipped about the escape of a convict. CTV3 News understands that 19 year old Trinidad Pineda, who was charged back in March of 2012 for the murder of 24 year old Cristobal Santos, escaped from police custody yesterday morning while being transported from the Hattieville Prison to Orange Walk. As mentioned, the incident was not reported by police yesterday, but we do understand that when the police pickup truck which was transporting the prisoners stopped by the bump near the BSI Junction, Pineda saw an opportunity and jumped out of the vehicle making good his escape by running into some nearby bushes. Despite the fact that police set chase after the convict, it was not until this morning that the he was apprehended. With an accused murderer on the lose, Officer in Charge of the Orange Walk Police Department, Senior Superintendent Joseph Myvette, launched a manhunt for Pineda. It was around 12:30 this morning that the convict was recaptured by police near the roundabout by the Establo Restaurant. Pineda, we understand, was driving a black Ford Ranger pickup truck when he was detained. The vehicle is in police custody and it allegedly belongs to Pineda’s uncle. That information is presently being investigated by police. We have been informed that this morning the owner of the vehicle visited the Orange Walk Police Station and reported it as stolen.

Baby Girl Abandoned In Bucket, Now Has A Family
Tonight we bring you a heartfelt story from the United States that involves a Belizean child. Years ago, a couple from Beaumont Texas, was in Belize when they found a 10 weeks old baby girl in a bucket suffering from club foot. The child was allegedly abandoned by her mother and the couple decided to rescue the baby girl and take her to the United States. The child was named Sarah and just recently she was adopted by the Smith Family. KFDM Channel 6 news in South East Texas aired this report yesterday.

Khan On The Run From Police
Last night we told you about the search that led Corozal Police to the discovery of five passports for the Republic of India belonging to Tajinder Singh, Gagandeep Singh, Parminder Singh Baryar, Gurdeep Singh and Surjit Singh. The finding was made on March 3rd after Belmopan Police searched the residence of 38 year old Abbas Khan, a naturalized Belizean businessman of number#18 3rd Street Corozal Town. When interrogated by police Khan stated that none of the individuals are in Belize. He; however, could not give a proper account as to why the passports were in his possession. Now, here is where the story becomes interesting because sources tell us that Khan has escaped from police custody. We understand that the 38 year old was apprehended by Orange Walk Police for a commitment warrant which was issued for money he owed. Kahn was scheduled to appear before the Belize City Supreme Court for the commitment warrant on Monday March 4th. But during his detention here at the Orange Walk Police Department, he was picked up by Belmopan Police who took him to Corozal and searched his residence. After the passports were found Khan was informed that he had committed the offence of unlawful possession of passports and would be charged by the Corozal Police Department after his hearing at the Belize City Supreme Court. With that, Khan was transferred back to the Orange Walk Police Station where he was detained in a holding area and not a cell as is customary. And it was at around 2:15 Monday morning that Khan absconded from police. How he managed to escape is another question, since Orange Walk Police area mum about the situation. Presently Khan is still on the run.

Toyota Pickup Stolen
And while Orange Walk Police investigate if the vehicle Pineda was traveling in was indeed stolen, Leonardo Hernandez, 45 year old Belizean Car Dealer of #87 San Andres Street, Orange Walk Town, reported that at around 7:00 last night he parked his red 1989 Toyota EX-10 pick-up truck with California L/P, valued $6,000.00bcy in front of his residence. Six hours after, at 1:15 this morning to be exact, Hernandez’s wife informed him that the vehicle was missing. Police investigations continue.

Another Case Of Carnal Knowledge
It seems that the reports of Carnal Knowledge filed across the country are becoming a norm. The latest report was made by a 14 year old girl from Orange Walk Town who visited the police station in the company of her grandmother and reported to police that on the 2nd of March 2013 she and her 17 year old boyfriend had sexual intercourse at his residence. Police have detained the 17 year old pending investigations.

New Horizon To Come To Belize
New Horizons Belize through the U.S. Southern Command has once again partnered with the Belize Defense Force to provide a large-scale humanitarian assistance exercise. It is a joint exercise where the Belize Defense Force, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education will be working hand in hand to train over 200 U.S. soldiers in engineering and in the medical field. According to Humanitarian Manager at the United States Military Liaison Office, Cruzita Cadle, the exercise will benefit Belize in the education and health sectors. When it comes to education, Cadle says classrooms will be built at four primary schools across the country, including here in Orange Walk. Cruzita Cadle, Humanitarian Manager “In the engineering aspect we will be building classes rooms with the Ministry of Education and the Belize Defense Force. They will be working side by side with US forces to construct classrooms building in Louisiana Government School, Trail Farm Government School, Lady Technical High School and as well as Crooked Tree Government School.”

Hugo Chavez Dies After Battling Cancer
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died this afternoon after a two-year battle with cancer. His death ends 14 years of tumultuous rule that made the socialist leader a hero for the poor but a loathed figure to his opponents. The flamboyant 58-year-old had undergone four operations in Cuba for a cancer that was first detected in his pelvic region in mid-2011. His last surgery was on Dec. 11 and he had not been seen in public since. The news of Chavez’s death was announced by Venezuela’s Vice President Nicolas Maduro this evening in a televised address. Maduro said quote, “We have just received the most tragic and awful information. At 4.25 p.m today March the 5th, President Hugo Chavez Frias died.” Chavez swept to power in 1998, promising to stamp out corruption and improve the lot of his country's poor. But as the economy slumped, he was criticized for his autocratic style and his government's harsh suppression of any opposition. He succeeded in changing Venezuela's constitution to allow him to run for re-election in 2012 - a vote he won, despite battling cancer. Here is a story aired by BBC World News Network after Chaves death was announced.

SEDATT 2 Makes Dreams Come True
Today was a good day for members of the La Inmaculada Credit Union and 8 groups formed by residents living in Rural Areas in the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts. The groups were the proud recipients of a grant funding under the Micro and Small Enterprises Development and Strengthening program, which falls under LICU’s Small Scale Enterprise Development In Agriculture and Tourism for Orange Walk and Corozal Rural Communities. SEDATT 2 was approved funding in the amount of 80 thousand Euros or one hundred and ninety five thousand Belize dollars. According to General Manager of LICU, Yolanda Gomez, a total of 45 applications were received. That amount was narrowed down to 21 through the Project Steering Committee. Out of the 21 applicants 8 groups were selected and today they received their grants during a special ceremony held at the parking lot of the La Inmaculada Credit Union. As mentioned, there was much to celebrate as LICU also signed a contract for two hundred and fifty five thousand dollars with R and A Construction Company Limited from Orange Walk who will be charged with the construction of a small business development centre and bathroom facilities. The building will be constructed on the second floor of the LICU building. Construction of the building is expected to commence tomorrow. We will have a full coverage of this story in tomorrow’s newscast. Be sure to tune in to find out about some of the innovative projects that have been launched or will be lunched here in the north with the assistance of LICU.

Re: Today's Belize News: March 6, 2013 [Re: Marty] #459586
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Galen University student Raul Roches appologizes for his actions
The issue of Belize’s Territorial dispute and whether or not to take it to the ICJ has been a main topic of discussion across the airwaves. There are supporters of the idea, but the loudest voices so far have been opposers. The Belize Guatemala issue has caused certain flare...

Belize Territorial Volunteers promise to make more trips to the Belize/Guatemala border
Passions are running high over the ICJ issue. As we told you , a group of nationalistic Belizeans headed to the border on Saturday to clear along a part of the border on the Belize side. The Belize Territorial Volunteers say it was their first of many trips to...

New details on shooting of Ronald Rivers
New details have emerged surrounding a shooting yesterday morning in front of the UNO Gas Station in Belize City. The victim, 28 year old Ronald Rivers was a part of the National Basketball Selection that was in Guatemala, but returned prematurely in protest of the Guatemala Federation’s now infamous...

House fire possible retaliation for murder
There was a house fire this morning in Hattieville. The sister to the girlfriend of shooting victim Ralph Sherlock Martinez, aka Miniman believes that her house was deliberately targeted for arson this morning. The house is located in Hattieville, directly behind where the incident was said to have taken...

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is dead
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is dead. At age 58, the polarizing president of Venezuela lost his long battle with cancer. The country’s vice president made the announcement today. Chavez’s cancer diagnosis was first announced in June 2011, however no details were ever revealed about what kind of cancer he...

Belize City Council addresses concerns
The adage about “progress brings problems” can be applied to the ongoing renovation of streets across the Old Capital. Even as the Council claims credit for concreting 53 streets and counting and upgrading a total of 90, the long-standing traffic lights at the corner of Central American Boulevard and...

Businessman charged with Immigration violations escapes custody
Last night, Plus News told you about a Belizean businessman who is under investigation for unlawful possession of five passports. The passports, which are for the Republic of India, were found by police inside the 38 year old’s home in Corozal. Because he could not give a proper account...

Rehabilitation of Burrell Boom Police Station in progress
La Ruta Maya river challenge canoe race is set for this coming weekend and Police are planning a major presence. Work has begun on rehabilitating the village police station in Burrell Boom and Rural Executive Officer for the Police ASP Chris Noble gives details. ASP Christopher Noble – Rural...

Successful Clean-up Campaign in Santa Elena
The Bishop Martin Neighbourhood Watch Committee is not your ordinary neighbourhood watch group; besides being an invaluable participant in reducing crime, the committee is also active in different sectors of their society. And this past Saturday, they continued in this effort by organizing a cleanup campaign in the Bishop...

Recycling encouraged by Resource Recovery Recycling Company
Technology moves fast, and what’s fresh and in style this year may be passé and out of date very quickly. With computers and accessories available literally at your fingertips, there’s little place for the classic CPU and many are gathering dust in basements, attics and the like. The Resource...

Belize City Council celebrates first anniversary of election
Belize City Council is marking its first anniversary of election with a week of activities. Today, the Council hosted a special luncheon at Sister Cecilia Home for the Elderly. Mayor Darrell Bradley spoke to PLUS News on why they chose this location. Darrell Bradley – Belize City Mayor: When...

Home Going Service held for Diplomat Rafael David Baptist
Today, family and friends congregated in Belmopan for the home going of Diplomat Rafael David Baptist. Baptist, who served as the Foreign Service Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belmopan, passed away last Saturday. Loved one described Rafael or “Raf” as he was affectionately known, as a...

PM accompanies wife for more treatment abroad
Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow left the country today to accompany his wife for continuation of her medical treatment as she battles breast cancer. Prime Minister Barrow expects to return to the country Next week Wednesday, March 13th. During the Prime Minister’s absence, Hon. Gaspar Vega, the Deputy Prime...

Minister Gaspa Vega presents land title for UB Toledo to University President
Today, Minister Gaspa Vega presented the land title for University of Belize Toledo Campus to the President of the University, Dr. Cary Fraser. This is second land title presented by Hon. Vega to the University. In September 2012, the University was presented with the title to the campus for...

Police Officer grazed by bullet during scuffle with armed robber
An officer was grazed by a bullet during a scuffle with an armed robber. On Saturday, sometime around 12:30am, two masked men, one armed with a hand gun, entered the Hong Kong Restaurant on Belize Corozal Road. Both men approached the owner of the restaurant and demanded her to...

Chopping incident almost turned deadly
A chopping incident almost turned deadly for a Belize City resident. The victim, Kareem Foreman Swaso told police that on Sunday morning, he was in Belmopan when he got into a quarrel with a 17 year old resident of the area. Foreman said the teen chopped him to the...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Vote for Vanessa Smith for Councillor


There is no Players Draft in the Premier League of Belize (PLB) like in the NBA, to improve parity among competing teams, but something is happening in Belize football that has resulted in another monster contest among the top clubs in the country. While one club – San Ignacio United – went the whole of the Opening Season without a win, and two others – Paradise/Freedom Fighters and FC San Felipe Barcelona – didn’t register their first win until their 7th outing, presently at Week 4 of this Closing Season, all 8 teams have already made their mark in the “win” column. Last season, with 12 teams participating, was hailed as the most competitive in recent memory; but this one, down to 8 teams, looks to be even tougher. There is no “light” team in this tournament, and courageous fans would be well advised to be a bit modest in their predictions. In Week 4 games this past weekend: On Saturday night at the MCC Grounds, visiting San Ignacio United got a first half goal from Rosny Martinez (23’), but Police United FC got the equalizer from Daniel “Danny” Jimenez (50’) for the 1-1 final score. Also on Saturday night, F.C. Belize travelled to the Marshalleck Stadium, where they fell, 2-1, to host Verdes FC. Julian Maldonado (23’) gave Verdes the early lead, but Norman Nunez (36’) equalized for FC Belize before the intermission. Verdes got the game winner from Julio Ayala (90’+) in injury time for the 2-1 win.

Andrew Ortiz, who is on scholarship to finish high school at St. Peter Chanel High School in Cleveland, Ohio from the King James Project, will play today at Akron St. Vincent and Mary’s High School (Home of LeBron James) in the CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) Regional Finals game to advance to the State Championship games. The team he plays for is St. Monica’s Church in Garfield Heights, Ohio. I also have video footage from his game last Saturday, which I will send to you guys once I figure it out. If I can’t, on Monday I will hand deliver it to you so you can download it. I will also have pictures from today’s game. Also, Kachief Thomas plays tonight at 7:00 p.m. for Iowa Western CC, and Devin Daly plays today at 1:00 p.m. for Lake Superior State University. It’s “March Madness” for sure.

The high tension in the nation of Belize on Friday was reflected in the nationally broadcast meeting of the House of Representatives where, early in the afternoon, the elected PUDP representatives of the people, perhaps realizing how irrelevant the following morning’s border clearing expedition of the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) was and would be making them and their discourse, began lashing out at one another across the aisle in all kinds of personal, scurrilous and scandalous attacks. It was the worst House exchanges we have ever heard. There was high tension in Belize on Friday because Belizeans did not know how the BTV expedition, led by Wil Maheia, would turn out. The Foreign Ministry and the National Security Ministry of Belize had both done their best to frighten off Maheia and the BTV in the days leading up to the expedition. This was because the Guatemalan government had sent a diplomatic note the Friday before, February 22, branding the expedition’s stated border clearing mission as provocative. The Belize government immediately panicked, and did everything in their power last week, short of tying up Wil Maheia and the BTV, to prevent the expedition from setting out for the Jalacte/Santa Cruz border between Belize and Guatemala. Wil Maheia was calm and steadfast throughout. He had traveled the road from Punta Gorda to Jalacte hundreds of times, and his core group of Toledo-based BTV were also hardy and experienced on the road and in the jungle. As it turned out, the activities of the BTV expedition were somewhat different from what most Belizeans had understood these activities were going to be. Where the BTV drove and trekked on Saturday was not heavy bush and jungle border. Between Jalacte and Santa Cruz, the border is pretty much cleared already, so there was no danger of crossing the border into Guatemala “by mistake.”

The power structure of Guatemala is a militarized one. By that I mean that military personnel have been prominent in their decision making for almost the entire life of the republic. In the late 1980s, a stream of civilians began to be elected, but most political observers believed that the generals were never too far in the background. Today, Guatemala has returned to a military presidency, in the person of the former general Otto Pérez Molina, and his military career was very controversial, to put it mildly. Guatemala’s aggressive claim to Belize had the effect of introducing militarization in Belize, and the claim will inevitably increase Belize’s militarization. Belize will not be able to enjoy a situation like that of Costa Rica, which does not have an army and can therefore use all its resources for education, health, housing, infrastructure, and so on. It was the late Hon. Philip Goldson who first introduced the concept of a Belizean army in the House of Representatives. He was the only Opposition National Independence Party (NIP) representative in the House between 1961 and 1965, and one of just two between 1965 and 1969. I am not sure if Mr. Goldson called for a Belizean army before 1965, or afterwards. What I do know is that he was ignored by the ruling People’s United Party (PUP) until the Belize City uprisings provoked by Bethuel Webster’s Seventeen Proposals in 1968. The police proved unable to cope with the mobility and ingenuity of the protestors in the old capital, and that was when the Belize government decided to establish the so-called paramilitary force, which was designed to be part police, part army. Original members of that paramilitary included the late Charles Good, Ornel Brooks, James Sanders, and Michael “Pro” Myvett. The officer in charge of their training was the late Fred Gill.

“…they have not concluded that there exists any instance of missing funds.” At Friday’s Sitting of the House of Representatives, Minister of Education Patrick Faber, who is also the United Democratic Party area representative for Collet, rose to defend the integrity of the board of trustees of the University of Belize (UB), chaired by Imani Fairweather-Morrison, saying that they have his unwavering support. Since last year, there have been reports of possible irregularities in the university’s payroll, and a special audit is being undertaken by Castillo Sanchez and Burrell, independent auditors. The board of trustees, said Faber, is “not perfect, but they are not into fleecing and robbery as others would like you to believe.” He said that Morrison has given selflessly to the University of Belize: “For two years, she did not take the stipend given to board chairmen,” Faber said, indicating that there were others on the board who also did not take the stipend. “She donated over $10,000 cash of her personal money to UB. She did it without fanfare, because that is how she is.”

A traffic accident that occurred around 9:50 p.m. on Sunday, March 3, 2013, between Miles 33 and 34 on the George Price Highway claimed the life of 28-year-old Barney Shol, a police officer attached to the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU). Shol was travelling in a white four-door Toyota Camry with two other passengers – Hilberto Ack, 22, and George Ferguson, 27, both police officers attached to the GSU in Belize City. They were travelling from Belmopan towards Belize City. Reports are that Shol lost control of the vehicle and it flipped several times. The vehicle landed about 30 feet in the bushes away from the highway. The three officers were taken to the Western Regional Hospital. Shol, who was originally from Laguna Village in the Toledo District, was pronounced dead on arrival. The other officers are reported to have sustained minor injuries to their bodies.

Resurgence of controversial maps, a response to ICJ process. The continued use by Guatemalans of a national map annexing all of Belize as their territory is causing quite a stir on the international front, as Belizeans continue to protest the use of what Belize officials describe as an “offensive” map that clearly does not respect Belize’s land borders. Alexis Rosado, Chief Executive Officer in the Belize Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Amandala today that Guatemala stands alone across the entire international community, since no other country uses the annexed map to represent Belize and Guatemala, but they all recognize Belize’s land borders. We asked the CEO: What can Belize do to have the map corrected? He pointed to the juridical process at the level of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which, he said, would put an end to this once and for all. Asked if Belize could seek the passage of a formal resolution from the international community at the upcoming Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly in June in Antigua, Guatemala, CEO Rosado said “even if they wanted to do it, I don’t know that they can do it.”

5.3% growth for 2012 best of Barrow’s 5 preceding budgets; better than Latin America and Caribbean average Despite plummeting petroleum production and earnings, Belize’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—the value of all the goods and services produced in the country for the year—is approaching $3.2 billion, up from the $2.9 billion reported for 2011, according to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow, reading his 6th budget in Parliament today. “Preliminary estimates compiled by the Statistical Institute of Belize indicate that our economy grew by 5.3% during 2012, well above the 1.9% recorded for 2011 and just about the best in the Anglophone Caribbean,” Barrow said at the presentation of the proposed 2013 budget. “Contrast that to the best in the Caribbean, which is Guyana, at 3%,” Barrow added. He explained that “brisk activity in agriculture, agro-manufacturing, tourism, construction and telecommunications, which more than compensated for the sharp downturn in petroleum extraction, domestic electricity generation and cruise-ship disembarkations,” accounted for the sharp increase in the country’s GDP. Barrow said that according the Central Bank Belize, “…this growth is notably above the entire Latin American and Caribbean Region’s estimated average of 3.0%.” Looking ahead to the economic performance for 2013, Barrow cited projected GDP growth to decelerate to about 3.0% in 2013.

The US Islamic leader, 79, is on a 6-day visit to the Jewel. Islamic Minister Louis Farrakhan, 79, leader of the Nation of Islam in the United States for over 42 years, arrived in Belize City this afternoon on a six-day tour, coordinated by Nuri Muhammad, a former imam in Belize. The media was invited to a press conference, but was strangely excluded from an interview given exclusively to the Government Press Office at the VIP Lounge. In fact, KREM and other private media had to interview Farrakhan through the chain link security fence. Afterwards, Farrakhan called on Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow at his Coney Drive, Belize City office. This is Farrakhan’s third visit to Belize. Farrakhan also visited Belize in 1975 and 1986. “I am very happy to be back again after 27 years and I’m looking forward to meeting as many of [the] people of Belize in [the] 5 or 6 days that I shall be here with you,” Farrakhan told the media on his arrival at the Philip Goldson International Airport after 3:00 this afternoon. “I am honored to be here, happy to see you all and I’m looking forward to making contact. You are what I live for,” he went on to say.

No incidents – Wil Maheia and Belize Territorial Volunteers prove Foreign Minister Elrington wrong. Despite the best efforts of the Government of Belize, in the person of Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington, to scare Toledo activist Wil Maheia, his group, the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV), and other interested persons who had announced plans to go on Saturday, March 2, to the Belize-Guatemala border and clear a 3-foot path along a borderline that reportedly had been used previously by British soldiers, the exercise, dubbed “Clearing Our Borderline,” has been declared a success, if only symbolically. The declared intent of the group was to cut a 6-mile path in this, their first attempt, beginning with Jalacte, and to do the rest of the border in stages. In fact, only 500 feet were cleared by the approximately 150 persons who “roughed it” to the area and converged on an area dubbed “Container Hill,” which is about seventy-five meters from the border. This was reportedly because much of the time was spent observing the historic occasion through speeches, the holding of hands, the observation of a moment of silence, the partaking of light refreshments, and the relishing of entertainment by drummers from Punta Gorda, who also travelled to the area to mark the importance of the moment.

2013 budget boasts super-bond success and no new taxes. “…this Budget will see absolutely no new taxes and no overall spending cuts.” “The Draft Estimates of Revenue and Grants amount to $871.1 million for FY 2013/14 and are comprised of $825.6 million in Recurrent Revenue, $5.1 million in Capital Revenue and $41.1 million in Grants.” Shortly after 10:00 a.m. Friday, March 1, inside the National Assembly, Prime Minister Dean Barrow read his 6th national budget speech, captioned “Achieving debt sustainability, stimulating economic expansion”, in which he boasted nearly half-a-billion dollars in savings for debt repayments and no new taxes. The proposed budget calls for $934 million in overall spending, $72 million more than last year, despite significant savings in interest repayments on the US$544 million super-bond, which is being restructured with international bondholders this month. Barrow, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, struck “two high notes” at the start of his presentation: “We have pretty much done what the skeptics said was impossible: The super-bond—that bane of our existence, that monster of our nightmare—has been tackled and tamed. Not vanquished, mind you, but put on a leash and confined to its lair,” said Barrow. “And as a direct consequence, but also as a result of adroit stewardship and unshakeable commitment to the welfare of this nation, this budget will see absolutely no new taxes and no overall spending cuts….”

Two Hattieville residents shot each other after an argument, and as a result, one is dead and the other is critically injured. The incident occurred about 8:20 yesterday evening, Sunday, on Camal Street in Hattieville. Abel Arana, 24, was shot in his abdomen and buttocks, while Sherlock Ralph Martinez suffered gunshot wounds to the lower abdomen. Arana was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at about 12:20 a.m. He is awaiting a post-mortem to certify the cause of his death, while Martinez had been admitted to ward in a critical condition. Police reports are that both men were socializing at a house on Camal Street in Hattieville when they became involved in an argument. Both men, after a while, drew their licensed firearms and fired at each other. The people in the area ran for cover.


Catching up with friends at Blue Water Grill
Not quite a year ago we met a future Belizean expat, Debbie, and her family for a nice lunch at Aji. They are building a condo on north Ambergris, which due to some initial problems with the development that is now back on track, has been in progress for several years. This month she and her family were visiting Ambergris Caye again, and they were kind enough to invite us out for lunch. This time we chose Blue Water Grill and had an absolutely beautiful day for it. Joining us were Debbie's husband Tom, son Justin, and friend JW. It was great to catch up with the "Wags", and since I know Debbie will be reading the blog at some point, I'll say thank you once again for your generosity. We truly enjoyed spending time with all of you!

An Opinionated Guide to Belize – My New Website
Welcome to my new website, San Pedro Scoop – An Opinionated Guide to Ambergris Caye & Belize. I know lots of people don’t like change (me included), but I’m hoping you like this site. I want it to be colorful, information and hopefully fun. While I will continue to focus on Ambergris Caye (hard not to…I live here), I’m going to be expanding to as much of the country as I can. And lucky, lucky me, that means doing a bunch of travelling so that I can cover it properly. Burrell Boom, Punta Gorda, Placencia, Barranco, Mango Creek, Double Head Cabbage, Tobacco Caye, Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve…finally…here I come!

As the Caribbean gateway to Central America, Belize shares the best of both worlds. With an English speaking, well-educated workforce, stable political economy, investor-friendly tax environment, and a location only two hours from the US, there are many advantages to investing in the beautiful country of Belize.

Belize Tourism Board boasts hike in Tourism Arrival in early 2013
Press Release – Belize Tourism Board – Thursday, February 28, 2013- The impressive increase of arrivals into Belize in the year 2012 has continued into the start of 2013. January numbers are in, and overnight tourists have increased by a remarkable 17.2% compared to last year’s stats. 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 7.6% higher than last year’s January arrivals. Our records show that 19,965 passengers disembarked at the PGIA in the last month, making it 1,407 more than January 2012.

International Children’s Day of Broadcasting is celebrated worldwide on the first Sunday of March each year. In keeping with our tradition to encourage children participation in the media, here at News Five we invited Mariana Moguel to show her budding skills as a teen journalist. Working along with Isani Cayetano, Mariana put together a report on an enterprising entrepreneur who started a small and growing business from scratch. Here is Mariana’s report.

"Dallas” not Ambergris Caye
Up nice and early this morning at 4.45 am . Pleased with this because there were just one or two things that I needed to take care of before we headed off to Dallas. Had to be a little more conscious of my noise levels though because our friends Jane and Brian are staying at our rented condo. Not that I don’t try to keep quiet for Rose but … I had organised the last element of our travel arrangements on Sunday when I booked our flights from/to the island with Tropic Air. I had a credit note from a previously unused flight and got a ten percent discount so the tickets for Rose and I came in at US$103.45 each. Nearly two and half times what we are paying to get to/from Dallas! With the tasks taken care of I headed off to Estel’s ( yes again) for a hearty breakfast – my last one there for a couple of weeks – to set myself up for the day because with the connection times we have it might be difficult to have a decent meal on the way. Just before 1 pm we said goodbye to Jane and Brian and drove our golf cart to our friend’s house for safekeeping ( neither Jane or Brian drive or we would have left it with them). He took us to Tropic Air and we got there at 1.20 for the 2 pm flight. For those of you who have never been to Ambergris Caye below is a photo of Tropic Air’s relatively new check-in desk.

Mennonite Gurls A'ken Cook: Brisket Chili
I wuz intrigued wen I saw a chili recipe usin brisket and deecided t'adapt it t'air lackin. T' meat wuz so nice and tendr at t'end. Thishere is a recipe that will feed a group uf 20 easilee. Mah photo at t'end shows t'chili with more uf t'oppings we had availabull t'add. As usual y'all should adjust t'seesonings t'yer own lackin er tolerance uf spices.

International Sources

Why Go Barefoot?
Lately, there’s been a lot of hype about being barefoot. Barefoot-style shoes, barefoot running…it’s cool to be barefoot. I tried it out after hearing about the Tarahumara people of Mexico, who can run for miles and miles barefoot or in sandals called huaraches. I thought, “there has to be something to this” and so I started walking barefoot more often and then decided to take up barefoot running. The first time I took off my shoes and took a walk, I felt amazing…it felt like the receptors on the soles of my feet were waking up. I was in contact with the ground and it created a feedback loop between the earth and my body that had me feeling…well…more grounded.

Who comes after Chavez?
For 14 years, Hugo Chavez was a troubling global presence. He was an avowed critic of American capitalism…and yet he generated billions selling oil to the United States. He was a populist, whom some revered but others despised. One thing's for sure, Venezuela’s president was a fighter: last year it seemed he might even have defeated cancer. But the cancer returned, and when he couldn’t attend his own swearing-in ceremony, it sparked a natural set of questions in Venezuela and around the world: what's next? Whoever inherits the presidency, Chavez has cast a long shadow. Look at his record. On the one hand, the poorest are actually better off. According to the Center for Economic Policy and Research, poverty has declined by 50 percent since 2004. Extreme poverty has declined by 70 percent. Over the same period, college enrollment doubled, and millions of Venezuelans gained access to health care. Many are getting free housing – Chavez announced on public television last year he would build two million homes for the poor.

United States and Belize Work Jointly to Protect the Cultural Heritage of Belize
The Department of State is pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the United States and the Government of Belize regarding protection of Belize’s cultural heritage, effective February 27, 2013 for a period of five years. This MOU demonstrates a commitment by both governments to staunch the pillage and illicit trafficking of Belize’s archaeological heritage of African, indigenous Maya, Spanish, and British influences. The Government of Belize requested this agreement under Article 9 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The Convention offers a framework of cooperation among State Parties to reduce the further pillage of intact archaeological sites and ethnological objects. With this MOU, the United States now has agreements with Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua in Central America, promoting a regional approach to combating pillage and trafficking of cultural property. The Designated List of restricted types of objects, published by Customs and Border Patrol, and information about the Agreement can be found here.

Fantasy Island
Indulge your every whim at Royal Belize. Peter Luppi doesn’t wear a white suit like the enigmatic Mr. Roarke. And he doesn’t have a frenetic, diminutive sidekick named Tattoo. But the elegant general manager of Royal Belize, a private island resort in the Caribbean Sea, nevertheless dabbles in tropical fantasy, and he excels in the art of ensuring his guests’ dreams come true. Like a castaway from reality, I find myself marooned at Royal Belize for a birthday weekend with a friend. Because the island only takes one-party bookings (up to eight people), we have the whole seven-acre tropical paradise to ourselves—well, ourselves and the myriad staff, from personal chef to masseuse to butler. Though surrounded by support, we barely see a soul until we actually need them. When we do, they seem to appear as if summoned by telepathy. “Bring us a piña colada,” we mutter lazily from a hammock, certainly not loud enough to be heard. Yet suddenly, even before we awaken from our sun-induced stupor, a staff person appears, frozen drinks held aloft on atray, all delivered with flowers and a swishy little bow. At World’s End, I contemplate the meaning of life. That’s easy to do at this aptly named spot with cushy seating at the end of an astonishingly long pier. Around me, the breeze swirls fingers of salty air through my hair. Pelicans dive for dinner, herons bend in ballet positions and the water hums with the riveting buzz of a thousand tranquil monks in chant mode. Sitting here, I alternate between profound philosopher and spoiled hedonist.

No Tax Changes For Belize In 2013-14 Budget
The Belize Government has announced no new tax measures in its 2013-14 Budget, but instead anticipates that improvements to tax administration will boost tax compliance rates. The Government has newly implemented the ASYCUDA tax administration system, a computerized customs management system, developed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNTCAD), which covers most foreign trade procedures. In particular, the system handles manifests and customs declarations, accounting procedures, transit and suspense procedures. The Belize Governments hopes the system will boost customs duty collections and improve authorities' ability to tackle non-compliance with respect to the nation's General Sales Tax (GST) and Business and Income Tax regimes.

New World Oil & Gas starts work on third Belize well
New World Oil & Gas (LON:NEW) said drilling of the Rio Bravo 1 well on its West Gallon Jug Crest prospect began on March 1. This is the company’s third well in Belize after a mixed start to the campaign there. B Crest 2 and 2A wells drilled last year found oil - just not in commercial quantities. In fact the group uncovered three of the four attributes required for a working hydrocarbon system - source, migration and seal. The element missing was the trap for the oil. What showed up on the seismic was either a late trap development (created after the migration of the oil past), or late tectonic movement, which causes traps to breach. Tectonic movement seems the likeliest explanation given the oil saturation levels (as much as 65%) that just wouldn’t be present with late trap development. Luckily, the current well, which is being drilled to 8,800 feet, is not fault dependent.

5 Active Adventures in Belize
Sure you can relax in a hammock with a cocktail in Belize, but why would you want to, with so many adventures to be found? Here are the top must-dos, from diving the Great Blue Hole to hiking through the jungle to discover Mayan ruins. If your idea of the perfect winter getaway revolves around a cocktail, a good book and a hammock with a view, I won’t judge. But if you’re going to Belize, you might want to rethink the focus of your trip. Yes, Belize has beaches and cabanas and the obligatory decent local bottled beer (side note: try the stout), but the country’s speciality is doing things: scouting for wildlife, exploring Mayan ruins and getting out there in nature rather than just watching it from the sidelines.

Andrew swims with sharks and sting rays in Belize. He explores an ancient cave and sinks his teeth into Maya-style pork brains and the country's most prized rodent!

Top 10 Maya Secrets
The Maya world remains shrouded in mystery, and many misconceptions about the people and their history endure. Here are some secrets of the Maya revealed. The Maya haven’t disappeared. Just as the fall of Rome didn't meant the end of Romans, the decline of great Maya metropolises, such as Guatemala’s Tikal, which reached its apex in the ninth century, doesn’t mean the indigenous people have vanished. About 40 percent of Guatemala’s 14 million people are Maya, and southern Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula are home to many more predominantly Maya regions. Not only are the Maya enduring almost five centuries after the Spanish conquest, but their cultural traditions, agrarian lifestyle, and celebratory festivals continue on. There are more than 20 distinct Maya peoples within Guatemala, each with their own culture, style of dress, and language, and hundreds of thousands more Maya live beyond the borders. The Maya don’t believe the end of the world is coming. Apocalyptic movies may suggest the Maya believe the end of the 5,000-plus-year calendar—December 21, 2012—is an end-times moment, but that’s just not true. Many Maya may celebrate the beginning of the next 5,125-year cycle of the Long Count calendar just as we celebrated the new millennium. But they don’t believe the end of the world is on the horizon. If anything, they’re hopeful that a new era will usher in an age of higher consciousness, greater peace, and enhanced understanding among the diverse peoples on the planet.

Maya Rise & Fall
The saga of a civilization in three parts: the rise, the monumental splendor, and the collapse. A late bloomer in the Maya world, the city of Uxmal in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula continued to flourish in all its splendor after the fall of Tikal, Palenque, and the other great cities to the south in the ninth century. A ruin with ornate roof combs known as the House of the Doves showcases the Puuc architectural style, named for the hills of the northern Yucatán Peninsula.

Top 10 Foods of the Maya World
We may not realize it, but many of our favorite foods—from guacamole to tamales to chocolate—were discovered, developed, and refined centuries ago in the Maya world. Here are a few of our favorites. Chocolate Cacao is endemic to the lands of the Maya, who were the first to take the seeds of the fruit and roast them to make hot chocolate. The ancient Maya didn’t make candy bars, nor did they add sugar and milk to the cacao. Instead they took their chocolate as a ceremonial elixir and a savory mood enhancer. For the Maya, cacao was a sacred gift of the gods, and cacao beans were used as currency. Ek Chuah, the Maya god of merchants and trade, was also the patron of the cacao crop. When the Spanish invaded Maya lands in the 1500s, they adopted the beverage, adding sugar and milk to make it sweet and creamy. To learn more about cacao and taste chocolate, visit the Ecomuseo del Cacao in the Puuc region of Yucatán, Avocados and Guacamole The avocado, originating in southern Mexico and Guatemala, is loved for its rich taste and creamy texture and was a treasured crop of the ancient Maya. Even today a person from Antigua Guatemala is called a panza verde, or green belly, because of the region's reliance on avocados in hard times. Combined with chilis, garlic, cilantro, onions, and lime or lemon, avocados become guacamole, a sumptuous appetizer. Don’t expect to find lots of Hass avocados in the Maya world—there are many other varieties, most of which are bigger. In 1917, Wilson Popenoe, a California Avocado Association explorer, reported why Guatemalan avocados are best: “The flesh is of a deeper yellow color, smoother, more buttery [in] texture, and richer [in] flavor than any varieties yet known in the United States.” Poc Chuc This distinctly Yucatecan dish dates to the days before refrigeration, when meat was preserved with salt. Slow-cooked pork is combined with sour orange juice and vinegar to temper the saltiness of the meat. The orange juice refreshes the salted pork and gives it a tangy flavor—“sour orange” is a variety of orange; the juice hasn’t gone sour. The dish is topped with onions sauteed with coriander and a bit of sugar.

Top Ten Maya-Themed Family Activities
With its towering yet climbable temples, beguiling and accessible caves, and inclusive indigenous festivals, the Maya world is an inviting region where families can play and learn. Following are some of the most enticing experiences. The single can’t-miss attraction in the Maya world is a visit to the ruins of a lost civilization, and perhaps the most engaging place for this is Tikal in Guatemala’s Petén jungle. The towering temples of Tikal, some as high as 20-story buildings, pierce the jungle canopy. Several can be safely climbed. Here’s what makes Tikal so special—it remains surrounded by wild jungle just as it did while inhabited by the brilliantly advanced Maya civilization, which mysteriously began to decline in the ninth century. After the signing of 1996 peace accords, local Maya have officially been allowed to return to the Grand Plaza to celebrate rituals. Many travelers visit just for the day, but those who stay overnight in Tikal or nearby Flores can experience dawn at Tikal and hear the howler monkeys roar. Explore the caves of Río Secreto. In Mexico’s Riviera Maya, just south of Cancún, is Río Secreto, an underground river that traverses a hidden world of shimmering limestone curtains, stalactites, and stalagmites. The water in the caves is calm and typically only knee-to-waist-high, though there are a few places where it gets higher and you need to swim across. All tours are led by trained guides who explain how the caves formed. All guests wear a helmet, life vest, and headlamp for safety, and wet suits are available. On our tour there were several children; they had a fantastic time exploring the caves, often exclaiming with delight as we entered each new “room.” The minute of silence in the ethereal caves is priceless.

Top Ten Maya Secrets
The Maya world remains shrouded in mystery, and many misconceptions about the people and their history endure. Here are some secrets of the Maya revealed. Just as the fall of Rome didn't meant the end of Romans, the decline of great Maya metropolises, such as Guatemala’s Tikal, which reached its apex in the ninth century, doesn’t mean the indigenous people have vanished. About 40 percent of Guatemala’s 14 million people are Maya, and southern Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula are home to many more predominantly Maya regions. Not only are the Maya enduring almost five centuries after the Spanish conquest, but their cultural traditions, agrarian lifestyle, and celebratory festivals continue on. There are more than 20 distinct Maya peoples within Guatemala, each with their own culture, style of dress, and language, and hundreds of thousands more Maya live beyond the borders. The Maya don’t believe the end of the world is coming. Apocalyptic movies may suggest the Maya believe the end of the 5,000-plus-year calendar—December 21, 2012—is an end-times moment, but that’s just not true. Many Maya may celebrate the beginning of the next 5,125-year cycle of the Long Count calendar just as we celebrated the new millennium. But they don’t believe the end of the world is on the horizon. If anything, they’re hopeful that a new era will usher in an age of higher consciousness, greater peace, and enhanced understanding among the diverse peoples on the planet.

Belize is a cultural and historical oddity: the only part of Central America that has English as its national language, a relic of its time as British Honduras. Even after independence in 1981, British troops underwent jungle training here; their bullet cases are easy to find, scattered on the jungle floor. Now, though, Belize manages its security alone, and the ruler-straight border with Guatemala isn’t far away. Belize has an uneasy relationship with a larger neighbour that has long coveted its shoreline as well as the riches of its rainforest. Roni Martinez is conservation officer at Blancaneaux Lodge, a gracious bit of tourism infrastructure in a particularly peculiar part of Belize. Take those pines, for example. Much of this country is clad in broad-leaf rainforest, damp and exotic, full of orchids and bromeliads, strangler figs, vines and creepers. Huge palms stretch upwards. Ferns shoot sail-like fronds up to the canopy. Below all the dripping vegetation lies soft limestone, riddled with caves and cenotes, once thought by the ancient Mayans to be the gateways to the underworld. However, the area around Blancaneaux, known as Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, is a geological oddity..

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