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The San Pedro Sun

La Sonora Dinamita brings a taste of Colombia to San Pedro
Hundreds of islanders packed the R. A. Nuñez Auditorium in San Pedro Town on Saturday March 9th to enjoy the Latin music of the Colombian band La Sonora Dinamita. The show was promoted in Belize by LRS Promotions of San Pedro Town. Those in attendance had the opportunity to interact with the band members on stage and even behind the stage following the nearly three-hour show. Prepping the crowd before the appearance of La Sonora Dinamita was San Pedro’s very own Rompe Raja. From early during the night, the audience took to the dance floor to enjoy the musical performance of Sonora Dinamita-1the local band. Once La Sonora Dinamita was announced, everyone moved closer to the stage to welcome the popular South American band well known for its salsa, merengue and cumbia music.

Letter to the Editor: From JOY International
As I drove back to the place I’m staying at, I made a decision. I said, “If I have to buy new sandals today, I’m going to end my barefoot journey after 1,000 days (April 15). If I get my sandals back I’ll keep going barefoot indefinitely.” When I got back to my place I was ready to write and put this episode behind me. Lo and behold, about 9 hours later my phone rang. A woman introduced herself as Marleny, the Director of the Tourism Board of San Pedro Island. She asked if I was Dr. Jeff Brodsky. I said I was and she said she had my sandals and I could come and get them. I was so excited! I asked where her office was located and it was directly above the exact spot where my sandals were taken. When I got there she said she heard about what happened (from the street vendor). She immediately put her personal “tourism police” into action. They were the ones who found the man and got my sandals back. I was elated to say the least. When she asked me what I was doing on the island it gave me an opportunity to share about the work of JOY and the book I was writing. She asked if I was going to write anything bad about the island because of what happened. I assured her I would only be sharing it with a few friends and family and that I would most definitely write something nice in the book about completing it in San Pedro. She was ecstatic… but I was even more so, as I brought the sandals home.

$4.3 million-dollar Cayo Welcome Center inaugurated
Cayo Welcome Center-5The Cayo District now boasts a brand new Welcome Center situated in San Ignacio Town. Constructed as part of the Belize Sustainable Tourism Project (STP), the new facility was inaugurated on Thursday March 7th at a total cost of $4.3 million dollars; $3 million was through a loan while the remainder was the price tagged to the property by the local municipality. At hand to inaugurate the building were several dignitaries, including the Minister of Tourism and Culture Manuel Heredia Jr. and Mayor of the twin towns of Santa Elena and San Ignacio, John August. Cayo Welcome Center-6The Cayo Welcome Center is located in downtown, along Savannah and Burns avenues and lies in the historic Cahal Pech – once a large Maya city. According to Mayor August, the facility will support the economy of the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, and even the entire district. “The Cayo Welcome Centre will not only display the ancient and rich culture of our area from time to time, but will become a place for showing the cultural products, artifacts, artistic craftsmanship and drawings of the artists of this area. Through this centre, visitors will also have a clearer understanding of our values, of our traditions and of the cultural and natural resources of the Cayo district. Furthermore this centre will become the tourist information centre that plays a significant role in providing factual information to our national, local and international tourists about security, safety and services of the various tourism sites as well as providing advice related to the development of tourism in the Cayo district now and in the future. It will play a major role in promoting the tourism sector of the entire district,” said Mayor August. The $3 million dollar contribution towards the building of the welcome center came from the Government of Belize through a larger loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) as part of the STP. Mayor August explained that the San Ignacio/Santa Elena Town Council provided the land which has a market value of over $1.3 million. “The Cayo Welcome Center will improve the esthetic of the town. We have been doing other major works as it relates to the streets in the main downtown area. When our tourists come into our community, they will be able to feel warmly welcomed and can appreciate the cleanliness of this municipality and district,” added August.

Sunbreeze welcomes guests with a snazzy new look
For years Sunbreeze hotel and Suites have been serving weary travelers with their trademark hospitality and charm. In keeping up with the times, while maintaining said charm and welcoming air, Sunbreeze recently underwent several changes. The most noticeable change of course, is the introduction of their brand new, maize-colored staff camp shirt uniforms. It is quite the change from their signature aqua and cream shirts of yore.It was been 17 years since the Sunbreeze has seen such a significant change. “Everyone feels energized with the new upgrades and the change in uniform,” said General Manager Julia Edwards as she walked The San Pedro Sun staff to view the changes across the award- winning hotel. Along with the vibrant new uniforms, the 43 rooms also saw upgrades to best suit the need of clients. Every single room received a little TLC. The 13 standards rooms received new bedding, a touch of Belizean art, an in room safe and the ever so important flat screen – you know, for when the view of the reef gets to be too much!

San Pedro Lions Queen 2013
Congratulations Alexis DelValle crowned San Pedro Lions Queen 2013 tonight at the Lion’s Den. Ms DelValle was sponsored by Fido’s Courtyard and The San Pedro Sun!

SPHS wins second straight national title
San Pedro High School retains their national title as nation secondary school softball champions after defeating Belmopan Comprehensive High School in a score of 3 to 5. Congratulations teams!

Misc Belizean Sources

VIDEO: It's Loggerhead Mating Season in Belize
Each year around March many divers report seeing more male loggerheads in their search of a female loggerhead as they have done for 100s of years. Loggerhead turtles can easily be distinguished by their large head. They can weigh up to 450 pounds and their shell can be up to 3.5 feet in length Thanks for watching our short film on the Loggerhead Sea Turtle.

VIDEO: The Sharks at Half Moon Wall, Lighthouse Reef, Belize
First PADI Advanced Open Water Dive for a couple of divers. Our cast today featuring "Barry" The Barracuda, Lionfish and The Sharks at Half Moon Wall. This is dive two of a Great Blue Hole Day Trip from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize Central America. Produced by Michael Davis


President of Village Councils Respond to Allegations
President of the National Association of Village Councils Orlando Dawson has responded to allegations made by several members of the NAVCO board. In a release signed by eight members of the Board, they accuse Dawson of running a one man show. ORLANDO DAWSON “Am certainly ...

Renovation On Dangriga Town Market Faces Delay In Progress
On Thursday Dangriga correspondent Harry Arzu reported that there are concerns over the pace of the renovation of the town market. He said the renovation work stopped two weeks ago and residents of the municipality have made numerous complaints to the Town Council. Vendors ...

Dangriga Police Investigate Several Burglaries
A number of burglaries have been reported in Dangriga. Correspondent Harry Arzu reports on those and other incidents. HARRY ARZU “Police here in Dangriga have recovered three laptops and a digital camera that was stolen from a house here in the New Site Area of this...

YWCA Celebrates 57 Years
The Young Women’s Christian Association in Belize is celebrating its 57TH anniversary next week. As a result, YWCA week will be observed commencing with breakfast after the Women’s Month Bike Rally, but it will be officially launched on Sunday. First Vice Presid...

Women's Department Plans Activities for Women's Month
The Women’s Month Annual Bike Rally is scheduled to kick off tomorrow morning at the corner of Western Avenue and the George Price Highway. According to the Acting Director of the Women’s Department, Cynthia Williams, the activity looks to bring families together and ...


Belize Delegation Heads To Washington To Discuss Guatemala's Recent Referendum Move
A Belize delegation headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington will be travelling to Washington over the weekend where they will meet with representatives of the OAS to discuss Guatemala’s recent move to postpone the October 6th Referendum to 2014 or that Belize change its referendum act to a simple majority vote. As we reported last night, the announcement was made by Guatemala’s President Otto Perez Molina on Wednesday stating that the postponement of the referendum or the amendment of Belize’s Referendum Law will prevent the consultation from becoming invalid. Of note is that CEO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexis Rosado, has stated that Belize intends to stand its ground for the referendum to take place on October 6th 2013. And while there is no telling what will be the outcome of that meeting, which will also see the participation of Guatemala’s Foreign Minister Fernando Carrera, the financial support to hold the Referendum keeps rolling in. Uruguay recently announced its adherence to the Group of Friends of Guatemala-Belize to provide political, technical and financial support for the referendum in which residents of both countries will decide if the Guatemalan claim will be taken to the International Court of Justice. The South American country joins Canada, USA, Mexico, Spain and the UK as the bloc of countries interested in finding a solution to the territorial dispute between the two nations.

MJC Has Talent
On Saturday night the Orange Walk Multi Purpose Complex Building will come alive as students of Muffles Junior College expose their many talents as they take part in the annual Talent Night Show. The event is set to commence at 7:00pm and according to Victoria Urbina, Treasurer of the Student Body, its one activity that you can’t afford to miss. Victoria Urbina “You should be there. I am sure you and your family will enjoy this event. As they were mentioning this morning on Despierta Belice that this show is very important because the students are portraying their originality because they are making up their own dance steps and their own scripts of the music. There will be a variety of shows for you to enjoy with your family so you should come out and support us. We are doing it for the public and this is also for giving the students opportunity so that they can portray what they have. It gives the public and opportunity to see what MJC has to offer for them. It is for a fundraiser because every year we leave behind like a building that benefits the school and these funds will help us to raise something that we can leave behind. Entrance fee is five dollars for kids and eight dollars adults.

Super Bond Now Belize Bond 2038
Yesterday Prime Minister Dean Barrow along with the Debt Superbond Renegotiation Committee held a press conference at the Biltmore Plaza to lay down the details of the now Belize Bond 2038. According to PM Barrow, Belize will see a debt relief of 494 million dollars between 2013 and 2022. With the new bond in place Belize’s debt GDP ratio is also expected to fall to 60% in 2017, that is, if the country is as successful as last year. Of note is that Belize did not make good on its coupon payment that was due on August 2012 and the coupon payment that would have become due in February. But PM Barrow says those payments were rolled up into a new bond in which Belize saved $76.4 million by way of cash payments. If Belize would have made the payments, Barrow noted that the $76.4 million would have then been added to the $84 million financial gap for the present fiscal year which would have in turn sent the country over the fiscal cliff. After successfully restructuring the US$530 million super bond and transforming it to 2039 Belize Bond, Prime Minister Barrow also announced that a Debt Management Committee is in the making. The committee, which will more than likely be headed by Ambassador Mark Espat, will be in charge of monitoring the bond to ensure that it keeps afloat. As for the cost of restructuring the bond, Barrow was not able to present the exact figure but did admit that in terms of Belizean dollars it is astronomical.

BTIA OW Denounce Attack On Howler Monkey
The story of the Male Howler Monkey who was badly beaten allegedly by four male students of the Belize High School of Agriculture is taking new heights. The monkey’s attack is described as animal cruelty and as such the case has attracted much attention. At the center of the turmoil are four students and a male teacher of BHSA who reportedly instructed the group to kill the monkey after the animal urinated and not defecated on him as was first reported. As mentioned last night by some students of the institution who witnessed the entire incident, the accused teacher has a lot to do with the act of cruelty that was carried out by the male students. From the onset, this statement has been refuted by the Principal of the High School Cecilio Pech. While all sorts of reports are coming out of the high school, the Forest Department, based on their investigations, is yet to file criminal charges against those found responsible of committing the act. And while the Forest Department prepares to make the next move, BTIA Orange Walk Chapter also expressed their outrage towards the incident. According to BTIA Orange Walk, Howler Monkeys are endangered species and are some of the charismatic wildlife species that Belize uses to market its tourism product and killing them is wrong. The organization also makes mention that animal cruelty is a very serious offence, which should not go unpunished.

ITVET OW and University Of Texas Collaborate To Create Great Business Minds
For the past three years the Orange Walk Institute for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, (ITVET), has been partnering with the University of Texas in a student exchange program. The Business Service Project Program, is one in which 15 students of the university interact with the students of ITVET, by teaching them more about the business sector. The project also looks at educating ITVET students on how to convert business ideas into reality. Stephanie Hinojosa-Galvan, Director, Student Life “The project consists of a collaboration between ITVET and the University of Texas in which our students come and teach some basic business skills like resume writing and personal pitches as well as help some of the students who have a business idea turn that into a business plan and then they present in front of the Belize Youth Business Trust. Hopefully they get some mentorship through that so that they can present at the national competition. This is my second time year but the students have fallen in love with Belize. We have visited many business and talk to many business owners, people in education, in politics and we have gotten a real feel about what goes on in Belize and gain a real appreciation for your country.” Hipolito Novelo, Reporter “Was the appreciation showed by the students were a part of the project?” Stephanie Hinojosa-Galvan, Director, Student Life “The students at ITVET have been really appreciative of what we have been able to do for them. I think it is really special that you can have interaction with someone close to your age that can help you and mentor you to get your resume up to a high standard.”

Arte Con Voz De Mujer In Corozal
ARTE CON VOZ DE MUJER is an exhibit showcasing the talent of many women from across the jewel. On March 8th the exhibit was opened at the Corozal House of Culture in commemoration of Women’s Month. Today reporter Elmer Cornejo stopped by the house of culture and found more about the 10 talented women featured during the exhibit. Debra Wilkes Grey- Director of Corozal House of Culture “It is a wide range, diverse range of medium. We have sculpture, text tiles, fashion, and acrylic paintings. We have the tradition Maya basket weaving. We also have natural copper jewelries which are very beautiful and organic jewelries using natural seed with material found here in Belize. As well we sort of stretch it out- we are showcasing poetry, song and music.” From photographs to the world of painting, the exhibition exposes the many talents that exist in Belize. Debra Wilkes Grey- Director of Corozal House of Culture “The fantasy costume is really interesting in the idea that the theme is an orchid theme but in the design is a mural that was painted on the dress. The whole idea bringing back this festival and the pageant which is something that used to happened here in Corozal decades ago and pretty much died of. So they are bringing it back and we are able to showcase that piece and it is very tremendous.”

Join In The Ride In Corozal For Women's Month
The annual Women’s Month bike rally is scheduled for tomorrow, nationwide. It’s an event that has had increasing support and participation over the years based on the strong message that is sent across the board and the support that is shown for gender issues. In Corozal, the bike rally is set to take off at 5:30am and if you have not signed up, there is still time to do so. Consuelo Hernandez-Women Development Officer Corozal “We have the women’s month bike rally-this is an annual event that we have and this is taking place this Saturday at 6am. Actually we have registration at 5:30, everybody must register and it is free. Let me mention that it is not a competing. We are not competing against each other. It is a normal bike rally but we do have awards.” The bike rally will move from in front of the Corozal Central Park. Here in Orange Walk the event will also kick off at 5:30am tomorrow. Participants are asked to gather at the roundabout by the Establo Restaurant.

BAC+7th Day Adventist Church=Library
The Belize Adventist Junior College is a tertiary educational institution that has been in operation since 1999. A few weeks ago the institution inaugurated their new Science Laboratory after going without one for more than a decade. But while students can now boast of a new Science Lab, they also need a library and from all indications the construction of one is already under way. The building, measuring thirty feet by ninety feet is being constructed by volunteers of the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh Day Adventist Church hailing from Colorado in the USA. All volunteers paid for their trip to Belize and provided all the material and equipment needed for the construction of the library. The group of forty eight volunteers is headed by Pastor Joe Mark who elaborated on the mission. Joe Mark-Head of Volunteer Group “In this trip we have been laying down the foundation for the library. What is interesting is that we have people back in America and they know that they couldn’t make the trip but they wanted to contribute and many people have been giving donation to lay down the foundation of the library which was our goal and put up as many walls that we can in six and a half days. This is a unique trip because it was a first time that we engage the young people with the college students and they worked together. It was neat seeing the young people working together for the common goal of getting this collage ready got the young people.”

Lindy Jeffrey On Reproductive Health For Elderly Women
Around the world, including Belize, discussion of human sexuality and reproductive health and rights has often been considered too socially and politically sensitive or too personal for serious exploration or public debate. At the same time, governments implement laws and programs that have direct or unanticipated impacts on these human freedoms with little or no input from those most affected. As a result, healthy development, autonomy and personal agency in these areas have often been compromised. With the aim of strengthening sexual and reproductive health and rights, and encouraging comprehensive sexuality education and evidence-based public discourse on sexuality, the Corozal Women’s Department with the assistance of Lindy Jeffrey, Executive Director of the National Council on Aging, held a Sexual and Reproductive Health Education and Rights Workshop for women from the Corozal District. During the workshop a number of topics were discussed including reproductive health and aging. Lindy Jeffrey, Executive Director of National Council on Aging “I was invited by the women’s officer for Corozal to come and do a talk about women’s health and I chose to do on reproductive health and aging. That doesn’t always mean that we are always looking for things for old people but we are very interest of the life cycle. We want all the women here to be active and healthy in their old age. So being more aware of their body and how it works was very important to us.”

BHOC Promotes Women's Talents
Today the Banquitas House of Culture hosted a special expo in honor of Women’s Month celebrated under theme “Gender Agenda Gaining Momentum”. Women from across the Orange Walk District took part in the expo by exposing the many talents they possess. Our news team dropped by the expo this afternoon and filed the following report. Hipolito Novelo Reporting… In commemoration of Women’s Month, the Banquitas House of Culture invited several women to take part in the expo thus showing off their skills and talents. Yvette Torres, Coordinator BHOC “First of all in the gallery we have painting from Nelita Sambula and Terry Lee Crawford from Carmelita Village. Also, we have some embroidery and some beading from Felicita Cantun. Out here in the different booths we have the different artisans and they all have the handy craft works. So they are out there to show their talent and for us to start to stimulate appreciation to the positive work that these women are doing.” Many items were on display this afternoon including handmade jewelleries and accessories dedicated to the Rastafarian Movement.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Caye Caulker Coalition for Change. Leadership With A Passion. Help Us Help You.
Our Agenda for taking Caye Caulker forward. -Inclusivity: Bring all the major groups on the island to the table with us and join in our decision and execution process. This includes: Tour guide assoc., Tour operators assoc., Golf taxi assoc., Business assoc., Police department, both water taxi Companies. Both high, primary and pre-school. Develop a direct link between the council, residents and the office of the Ombudsman in Belize City. Benefits: Information becomes more available, accessible and help the residents plan their futures, investments, and know their rights. Create a welcoming center for our guests. Benefits: Eliminate the confusion happening today relative to schedules, prices and hustling issues that face our arriving guests today. Convince both water taxi’s as to the benefits of operating out of 1 location. Cost savings, island security etc, etc. Benefits: Everyone wins Acquiring a dredge: Creating our own income for our island is of utmost importance. We cannot continue to sit back and depend on Central Government for handouts. We need to get the council and our residents back the RESPECT WE DESERVE. Another stream of revenue will be to convince the powers to be that a Local Resident created the Shark and Ray Alley. Caye Caulker will insist on collecting the revenue generated from this site.

The Belize Times

Fuel Prices go sky high! – Diesel up by 60 cents
There is terrible news for commuters. With no warning or public announcement, the Government approved increases to the price of fuel at the pumps countrywide. The increases are significant. Premium gas went up by 27 cents to $12.20 per gallon. Regular gas went up by 33 cents ...

Barrow says Superbond cost is “astronomical”
On February 12th the Prime Minister disclosed that Belize will be paying $3 million to bondholders to offset the expenses they incurred during the renegotiation of the Superbond. Today, a month after, Barrow returned to the ...

PM rejects Union’s Counter Proposal! – No discussion over salaries until after Budget debates, says Barrow
Prime Minister Dean Barrow wants to pull a fast one on the Joint Unions Negotiations Team by delaying any possible meeting to discuss a counter proposal over a salary adjustment for teachers and Public Officers until ...

THE REFERENDUM COMMISSION The Government appointed a Referendum Commission. Its purpose was to prepare Belizeans for the upcoming referendum, on 6 October this year, on whether we should vote yes or no to taking Guatemala’s claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). On the same day the commission was launched, the ...

Despots Exposed
By G. Michael Reid “But the poor person does not exist as an inescapable fact of destiny. His or her existence is not politically neutral, and it is not ethically innocent. The poor are a by-product of the system in which we live and for which we are responsible. They are ...

The surrendering body of Ronald Rivers, who was in Belize City street calculation, an established basketball star, should never be lost on us. Rivers’ star power was a quiet and skilled aura, which he carried with a relaxed confidence. To the masses of Belizeans, Rivers’ shocking demise may simply be ...

All eyes on National Softball Championship
The high school softball championships will be hosted by Wesley College at the Rogers’ Stadium on Friday and Saturday, March 15-16. The Nazarene High School boys won the high school softball championships: 17-7 ...

Marlon Castillo wins SMART/Belmopan Cycling Classic
Team Santino’s Marlon Castillo won the 34th annual SMART Belmopan Cycling Classic on Sunday, outsprinting the defending champ, Ron Vasquez of Team Belikin Western Spirits on the 100-mile ride from Belize City to Belmopan and back. Castillo ...

Armin, Daniel and Amado Did It Again! – Belize Bank Bulldogs win Belikin Ruta Maya River Challenge
Defending Ruta Maya champs Belize Bank Bulldogs: Armin Lopez, Daniel Cruz and Amado Cruz won the 15th annual Belikin Ruta Maya River Challenge in Belize City on Monday, March 11. The Bulldogs were 3rd across the finish line on Day 4, but they still had the best overall time: 18:31:21 to win the 1st prize and the Kinich Ahau trophy. The overall results are as follows: ...

Go walk your dog, Sedi!
Belize has a serious problem with Sedi with the things he says and what his words really mean. Sedi seems to have a problem with himself too in that right or wrong, he is far removed from reality and could care less what the Belizean man or woman thinks of him, even when he blunders saying things like Belize’s border is “artificial”. That statement alone stirred up so much anti-sentiment against the Foreign Minister that almost everyone wanted him gone and Barrow had to resist the pressure. ...

HEAD-U-cation Part 2
By Yasser Musa “All for Plato, screech I’m out here balling, I know y’all hear my sneaks Jesus was a carpenter, Yeezy he laid beats Hova flow the Holy Ghost, get the hell up out your seats, preach...” - Kanye West and Jay Z, No Church In The Wild, Watch The Throne TOO MUCH ...

AMAZING GRACE: La Ruta Maya and God
It has been an eventful weekend. One of the biggest races in our country has been completed. It is such a huge race that it’s cut into three pieces. There are three humans who sit in a canoe, and their main instrument is the paddle. They paddle for hours and ...

Moratorium on taxi license: sign of the times
By Richard Harrison I understand that various municipal governments have decided to enter into a moratorium on issuance of taxi licenses, under pressure from existing taxi operators, i.e. they are no longer issuing licenses to new applicants who want to operate a taxi. Taxi service in Belice is a business that allows ...

CitCo’s Denial of Service Bad for Business
By Gilroy Usher, Sr. Shortly after it was elected to office, the Belize City Council led by Darrel Bradley put a stop to the licensing of vehicles or the processing of driver’s licenses for anyone who has an outstanding bill with the council. The denial of any of the vital services ...

Guatemala’s claim to Belize
A political red herring that will never go away, the ICJ is in-appropriate. It will resolve nothing. After the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the United States’ covert war against Nicaragua was in violation of international Law, the United ...

An Imminent National Social Uprising?
Without dreams of hope and pride a man will die Though his flesh still moves his heart sleeps in the grave Without land man never dreams ‘cause he’s not free All men need a place to live with dignity. (Chuck Mangione ...

Faber gets new luxury ride
These times are the hardest for Belizeans. People are barely putting food on their tables, and the Government is refusing to give public officers and teachers a small salary raise. But it appears the Government has an open access to cash – public funds – to ...

‘Krucifying’ the Bar!
Embattled Foreign Minister and Attorney General Wilfred Sedi Elrington has deepened suspicions that the Barrow Administration’s plot to destroy the Bar Association has more to do with a personal and political vendetta than anything close to enhancing the administration of justice. Last week, the BELIZE TIMES broke ...

Questions to Ministers
Can the Minister of Health explain to Punta Gorda residents why it took the UDP Government one whole year to get the X-Ray machine operational at the hospital, while his Ministry has been wasting thousands of dollars on over-priced pharmaceuticals? Will the Minister of National Security update the country on the ...

Has Minister of Health Pablo Marin lost faith in northern public hospital?
Dear Editor, Some months ago we heard several stories via the media of mothers who went to deliver their babies at the Northern Regional Hospital and of the horrible outcomes for them and their babies. In some cases the mothers and fathers told their stories with hope that some action would ...

Belize No Longer a Democracy
Dear Editor, I listened to Minister Louis Farrakhan talk about the situation in Belize in regard to its so called “democracy”. What came to mind were his words that Belizeans should be able to participate in the process here and his questions whether Belizeans are allowed to participate. I was reminded ...

A shocking revelation was exposed today at Dean Barrow’s press conference and it had nothing to do with the costly restructuring of the Superbond. As with all other acts of corruption and misfeasance under Barrow’s stewardship, the land grab turned get-rich quick program by Gapi Vega and his friends and family was just a sideshow to the main event. A few months Gapi Vega’s demonstrated his scorn for a majority of Belizeans, when he publicly declared that he and his family were not normal and that he was supervising a full-on land bonanza, ensuring that his family and friends benefit from prime Belizean land. No apologies. No remorse. Straight like that. But just when we thought the land grab couldn’t get any worse, Dean Barrow announced today that Cabinet is endorsing handsome compensations to Gapi’s friends and relatives with tax payers’ dollars for land transactions that were wrongful from the very onset. Dominique Gomez, who is the girlfriend of Gapi Vega’s son Andre Vega, received title from her father-in-law to acres of land within a designated reserve in the Placencia lagoon. The area is home to a number of crocodile and birds. Other close associates of Gapi Vega such as Dorian Pakeman who is employed at the Government Press Office, Bertram Young and Douglas Usher also were awarded land in the same area. The land grab within this protected area infuriated residents and environmentalists along the Peninsula.

Ministry of Housing is a FRAUD!
Since the Barrow Administration got into office five years ago, it has budgeted a whopping $39,321,226 for the Ministry of Housing. In the upcoming fiscal year, GOB is budgeting $2,079,977 more for the Housing Ministry. Three core objectives of the Ministry of Housing are to: 1. To facilitate low income earners with low interest housing loans 2. To provide grants to low income earners for home repairs 3. To develop special programmes whereby Teachers, BDF, Police, Nurses and Public Officers can benefit through incentives officered for long services With a total of $41 million from 2008-2013, the Government could have constructed over 8,000 homes for needy Belizeans. But where are the houses? Where are the housing loans? Where are the housing projects? The only housing projects visible throughout the country – whether it is Cohune Walk in Belmopan, Mahogany Heights and 8 Miles on the George Price Highway, Los Lagos on the Phillip Goldson Highway, San Lorenzo Housing Site in Orange Walk Town, or Chula Vista, Joseito, or Dominguez Layout in Corozal – were all accomplished by the former PUP administration OVER EIGHT YEARS AGO. Squandering Funds So if there have been no housing projects and no housing loans available, where have all the millions allocated to the Ministry of Housing gone?


A Polish Bi-Plane Lands at Caye Caulker Air Strip
…is a sentence you don’t see often. Yesterday I spent the afternoon in Caye Caulker…a very nice change of pace from the “big city” of San Pedro. Only 20 minutes by water taxi, it is a trip I should be (and will be) making much more frequently. What is not to love about a place that greets me so colorfully and warmly? I received a tip earlier in the week that a peculiar plane was parked at the small air strip towards the south end of the island. Why not take a pleasant beach walk down there to check it out? Pretty cool…I was thinking this huge “Orange Baron” must be from World War II…

Huff Post Travel Selects Chaa Creek as One of the World’s 10 Most Relaxing Destinations For Sustainable Tourism
The Huffington Post has selected The Lodge at Chaa Creek as one of the world’s 10 most relaxing destinations for sustainable tourism. In an article entitled “Eco-Resorts: The World’s 10 Most Relaxing Destinations For Sustainable Tourism” written by Carolyn Gregoire and published today March 16th 2013 on the travel section of the Huffington Post, Carolyn writes ” the health benefits of spending time in nature are well-documented, as are the stress-relieving benefits of taking a vacation. Travelers looking to really get away from it all, and help conserve some of the world’s most pristine natural habitats, should consider de-stressing at a relaxing and secluded eco-resort”. “Good for your stress levels and for the environment, these destinations are both tranquil and invigorating, often featuring spa services and complimentary yoga classes alongside rainforest tours and water sports. And it’s a vacation you can feel good about: From a private island and reserve off the coast of Zanzibar equipped with the latest eco-technology to a sustainable lodge celebrating Pueblo culture in Taos, New Mexico, all are committed to preserving the surrounding land, benefiting native communities and employing local staff” asserts the article.

Happy St Patrick’s Day from Belize!
Once again, the staff and management of Chaa Creek wish all of our friends, Irish and those just wearing a bit of the green for today, a very Happy St Patrick’s Day. Yes, in the heady multicultural mix that is Belize, the Irish are well represented. From the early days of the Baymen and buccaneers, many of whom hailed from the Emerald Isles, to present day Belize, Celtic surnames and even the odd lilt of a brogue are common. Irish priests have always been an integral part of Belize’s religious and educational life, and the Royal Irish Rangers were stationed here for years. Today there is a thriving expat community of people from Ireland, and while Guinness is freely available throughout The Jewel, many revellers will be toasting their favourite saint with the rather excellent local Belikin stout.

International Sources

Editor's Diary: Meet Kim Barrow
When we featured a cheerful portrait of Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize alongside his chic First Lady Kim Barrow in the Island Issue, I couldn’t wait to find out more. Introduced through Travel photographer Lebawit Girma, I was regrettably informed that she was diagnoised with Breast Cancer earlier that month. We exchanged emails and after expressing how much she loved Complexd I knew instantly that I wanted to make her the next Complexd Cover woman. Suitably, the issue was themed ‘Woman of Strength’. In the days and months that followed in preparation for the next issue, Mrs. Barrow displayed the type of strength I wished to express in the issue. When I deliberated about the cover, she sent me an email saying she wanted to show women the effects of cancer by not hiding behind a wig in her cover shot. I felt honoured when I found out she made that extra effort when all her strength was being drained by this life-threatening illness. Through Kim, I have seen first-hand how the power of love and support can fight off the deadliest disease. I am so happy to be publishing these portraits below because on her face is an ever-present glow and appreciation for life that she talks about in our latest interview. Enjoy reading. Editor: Was recovery as hard as the diagnosis? Kim: I took my recovery one day at a time. I did a total of six chemotherapy sessions and a mastectomy. I was scheduled for 30 fractions of radiations, but suffered heart failure after 15. I was in the intensive care unit for a week when the doctors finally agreed to terminate radiation. After resting for almost three months, I went for a second opinion on my heart condition at MD Anderson Cancer Centre, while also seeking the advice of a Radiologist. I completed 20 additional fractions of radiation on September 19th 2012. There really is no magic that can get you through the process – it’s about believing, having faith and always being positive.

Shipwreck survivor recounts drama on high seas
Quen Cultra sailed around the world in a self-built boat in his 20s. Forty years later, the real estate manager decided to conquer the high seas once more. He and two friends set sail in August 2007 for the around-the-world journey. Two tropical storms abruptly ended their journey off the coast of southeastern Africa.

Acro Knights near goal for mission trip to Belize
The Walla Walla Valley Academy Acro Knights continue to raise funds for a mission trip to Belize all the way up to their Tuesday departure. #The acrobatic team will be stationed at Liberty Orphanage in Ladyville, where the group will help with a variety of projects and perform for schools in the area. #The trip costs more than $70,000, and the Acro Knights are just shy of their goal, according to an announcement. #Donations are tax-deductible. Checks can be sent to Walla Walla Valley Academy, payable to Acro Belize, 300 S.W. Academy Way, College Place, WA 99324. For more details, call 525-1050.

Eco-Resorts: The World's 10 Most Relaxing Destinations For Sustainable Tourism
Belize has become a mecca for geotourism, and The Lodge at Chaa Creek leads the pack as one of the country's best ecolodges. Visitors enjoy a true rainforest experience at the foot of the Maya Mountains. The resort has been named the Best Eco Resort & Hotel in the Caribbean for four years in a row by Caribbean Travel & Life. Enjoy a variety of adventure activities, explore the surrounding natural beauty, and unwind at the full-service spa. Double-occupancy rooms start at $165 per person/night.

Kid-Friendly Butterfly Farm Adults Will Enjoy In Belize
If you ever visit Belize, to Cayo District in the west, the question isn’t what are we to do since it is so far from the ocean? It’s how can we fit so many activities in a day and still enjoy the tranquil, green and vastly untouched land the Mayans and people of all cultures and color called home? After all, this is the region where award winning eco-lodge and Green Globe Certified, The Lodge at Chaa Creek in Belize sits at 365 acres of rolling hills, lush tropical trees and plants, thousands of native animals dwell and where the River Macal runs through. A ten-minute walk on a walkway will bring you to the Blue Morpho Butterfly Farm. You can’t tell what is inside this caged space until you walk a little closer. Once you open the door, you see fluttering creatures going about their business for the day. Some are sitting on ant plant leaves, also known as granadillo in Spanish. Another batch feasting on cut rotting tropical fruits like watermelon. They are actually drinking the juice and sap from the fruits with its proboscis, long protruding mouth. Some are hanging on the top of the caged area.