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Today's Belize News: March 23, 2013 #460852
03/23/13 09:11 AM
03/23/13 09:11 AM
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Posts: 71,941
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Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP


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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
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The San Pedro Sun

Wil Flack of Tres Pescados lands a Vampire Fish (in Venezuela)
Wil Flack, local resident and owner of Tres Pescados Fly Shop in San Pedro Town, can proudly say he caught a trophy Payara. The Payara is a native fish of the Orinoco River in Venezuela and is locally known as the “vampire fish” that is because of the very prominent pair of fangs protruding from its lower jaw. This “massive” fish was caught during filming for “Way Point”, a production of Confluence Films. The trophy size fish was caught at Uraima Falls, and Flack will be featured in the film as part of the fishing adventures in Venezuela. Flack admitted that it was a tough catch. “This is not a normal fly-fishing fish, since it can strain the body when it’s time to reel it in,” but Flack won that round, and has the photos to prove it.“I’m really excited, the photos look real good. I worked with an unbelievable videographer, Denver Miller. It was a pleasure working with the whole crew. I think it is going to be a great segment, I’m excited to see the finished production,” said Flack on his experience at Venezuela.

Star athlete born to Belizean family, awarded football scholarship to Westpoint Academy
An American student born to a Belizean family was recently awarded a football scholarship to pursue his education at the prestigious United States Military Academy West Point. Arizona’s 18 year old Patrick Matthew Joseph is the son of Patrick and Ramona Joseph of San Ignacio, Cayo. The offensive line player (Offensive Tackle), while on vacation on Ambergris Caye, stopped by The San Pedro Sun office to share his excitement. The young athlete has been offered a scholarship to a high-status institution which holds a significant place in the history of the US. Dating back to the US Revolutionary War, military icons such as US founding father George Washington identified the location of the academy as, “the most important strategic position in America”, and revered graduates such as Eisenhower, MacArthur, Patton and Wainwright met the challenge of leadership in the Second World War.

Don’t Mess with San Pedrito – cleanup campaign starts
The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) along with the United Nation International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) continues their cleanup efforts. A previous clean-up campaign was held in the area of San Mateo, where the SPTC and UNICEF invited all residents to participate in the campaign by picking up garbage off the streets and cleaning up their yards. The initiative in San Mateo sparked interest that generated a movement to promote sanitation and cleanliness. On Tuesday March 19th, the clean-up campaign moved to a new territory, the San Pedrito Area. Heading the movement is Councilor Kenrick Bracket,whose portfolio deals with waste management and traffic. The “Don’t mess with San Pedrito” campaign is just another chapter in the SPTC’s beautification project for the island. The event took place at the San Pedrito Park shortly after 9AM. The event started with an opening ceremony led by Master of Ceremonies, Angel Nuñez. Even though very few residents attended the ceremonies, the event still went through.

National Youth Policy launched in San Pedro Town
Belize has a population of 333, 200 according to the most recent census conducted in 2010. Of that total population 70% is considered to be at the age of 35 and below. For that reason Belize’s society is considered to be ‘young.’ And in order to drive maximum benefit from this human resource, the Government of Belize (GOB), through the Ministry of Youth and Sport compiled a document called National Youth Development Policy of Belize 2012-2022 geared toward addressing the young population of Belize. The policy was officially launched earlier this year in Belize City but a team from the Ministry of Youth and Sport has been travelling to the different municipalities conducting individual launches. On Thursday March 14th, a launching took place in San Pedro Town at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium. The policy was compiled by the GOB after consultation with the youth force from across the country during different forums. It outlines GOB’s commitment to supporting youth participation and giving them access to proper tools including adequate information for their own development. The policy’s commitment also gives existence to a National Youth Commission (Youth Parliament) as an autonomous youth body that will be responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the policy.

Pre-school children participate in Child Stimulation month activities
Over 265 pre-school students from five different pre-schools on Ambergris Caye are participating in various activities as part of Child Stimulation Month. The event is celebrated countrywide under the theme “Early Childhood Education – Molding today’s learners into tomorrow’s leaders.” Activities ran throughout the month of March starting with an opening parade on March 1st and culminating with a closing parade on March 22nd. Some of the events included a church service, family talent day, hug day, grandparent’s day, cultural day and even visits to various government institutions on the island just to name a few. On Tuesday March 19th, ABC Pre-school hosted Cultural Day in which all 81 students partook. The students were placed into groups and with the help of their teachers and parents, did displays of the various ethnic groups in Belize. The displays featured the studentsChild Stimulation Month-25 dressed in colorful cultural attire while showcasing food products and informational posters. A similar activity took place at Little Angel Preschool where the teachers took the opportunity to share information and highlight the various cultural groups in Belize.

Ambergris Today

Cayo Espanto Resort Listed in Top 10 Best Island Resorts by Islands Magazine
Cayo Espanto Island Resort, one of San Pedro’s top luxury and only private island resort, has been listed as one of the top Ten Best Island Resorts by Islands Magazine. The magazine’s editors chose their top reviews and created a new ‘Best List’ which includes a list of the best and most popular Family Resorts, Best Islands to Live On, Overwater Bungalows, Snorkeling, Romance, Wallpaper, Beaches, Dream Trips, Cruises and Private Islands. ISLANDS picked the world's 12 best private-island resorts as well as more than 100 such private islands all across the planet, from the surprisingly accessible to the beautifully exotic. According to the magazine, any of these private islands holds the promise of the dream escape, where you can have the luxury amenities of a resort while still feeling like the island is all yours.

Misc Belizean Sources

BCCI: Announcement - Letter to PM re 2013-2014 Budget
The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry has reviewed the draft Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the Fiscal Year 2013-2014. The proposed budget calls for $934 million in overall spending, $72 million more than last year, but promises that "this budget will see absolutely no new taxes and no overall spending cuts." GOB assumes a GDP growth of 3% over the previous fiscal year with $934.3 million in total spending and total revenue and grants of $871.7 million resulting in an overall deficit of $62.6 million. We note that spending has significantly increased with no mention of the major sources for financing this spending outside of domestic borrowing, bilateral and multilateral loans, which will only serve to increase our indebtedness. The BCCI has continuously pointed out to GOB a number of areas where it is critical to cut expenditure to ensure sustainability while creating room for the economy to grow. We believe that those expenditure cuts are realistic and necessary and to that end would like to suggest/reiterate several possibilities for consideration.

Commentary: Belizean nationalists must examine oil and gas interests
By Wellington C. Ramos When the British buccaneer Peter Wallace first landed in Belize in 1638, it was in search of wood to repair his ship that wrecked off the coast of Belize. His plan was to fix his ship and proceed on his pirating in other parts of the Caribbean Sea. The discovery of logwood and mahogany changed the British plan. Perhaps, the British Crown was also looking at the geographic strategic importance of Belize as it relates to the other countries in the Caribbean, North America and South America. The British later brought in African slaves to cut the logwood and mahogany. In 1763 after several conflicts with the Spanish, Spain granted them permission to continue cutting logwood and mahogany. The British, French and Dutch were against the Treaty of Tordesillas signed by Spain and Portugal and witnessed by the Catholic Pope Alexander the V1 in 1494. This treaty gave the entire Caribbean and the Americas to Spain with the exception of the country of Brazil, which was given to Portugal.

About Belize – 7 Reasons to bank in Belize
Ever wondered about Belize and why it’s chosen by so many? Belize is being chosen by many for vacation, business and more importantly for international banking. Before we give you the reasons why Belize is chosen so often, let me tell you a little bit more about Belize. Belize is small country located on the North Eastern Coast of Central America. It is bordered on the North by Mexico, the west and south by Guatemala and the east by the Caribbean Sea. Belize has a population of 312,698 people. It has a diverse society, comprising of many rich cultures and languages. It’s a nation that is considered to be a part of Central America with strong ties to both the Caribbean and Latin America. While much emphasis has been placed on tourism and the exportation of seafood particularly lobster and shrimp, the Government of Belize has placed equal emphasis on the Offshore Financial Sector. Since its Independence in 1981, Belize has introduced some progressive legislation to attract international business and investments. This has allowed Belize to become a world – class environment for the incorporation of companies thus giving you the opportunity to conduct legitimate business internationally while ensuring your security and privacy.

Mr. Greedy's Chicken Drop
Mr. Greedy's isn't just popular because they have the best pizza in town. They are now known for their Chicken Bingo, where you can 'win a crapload of money' on Wednesday nights. There were so many people this Wednesday, they did it twice. What's the best part? Watching the winners clean up the poop. "Every Wednesday night, Mr. Greedy's does their Chicken Drop. It's fun for the entire family, and you can 'win a crapload of money.' Good food, good times, and fun."

Belize Band Fest in Belmopan Today
Who's going to win Band Fest this year? Head to Belmopan today and find out. They have a parade starting at 8am, and the competition is at the FFB stadium. Thanks to all the great sponsors for making this happen.

SIPL's Storytelling at UB
The San Ignacio Public Library, famous for their storytelling capabilities, paid a visit to the University of Belize to do their magic. What a great way to celebrate Children's Month. "Our very own Branch Librarian participated in the storytelling session held at UB."

In Bloom at Lucky 5
In Bloom is playing at Lucky 5 Saturday night. If you haven't seen them, you need to. They rocked the house last week, and the pictures are up to prove it. Some music lovers were there to spice up the night. Great live music can now be found in Cayo!

CNWA Grant Progress
The Cayo Neighborhood Watch Association Executive Board met with the US Embassy to talk about the grant, and how well it's been used so far. They have a great mission! 'To inspire, encourage, and empower the people of Cayo to unite to become one voice; Neighbors looking out for Neighbors; deeply committed to serving our community and our beloved country: Belize.' "CNWA Executive board had a wonderful meeting with our contacts from the US Embassy and their team from Washington. They came to see how the grant money was being handled and what it was used for. They were very impressed with CNWA and the work we do."

Channel 7

Hon J Espat Goes From House "Brat" To Most Magnanimous
Last year the highlight of the Budget Debate came from rookie representatives Julius Espat and Santi Castillo. They got into a classic verbal spar- the highlight of which was when Espat loudly proclaimed that the only standing orders he adheres to are the ones that come from his constituents. So this year, the line-up was set the same as it was last year, with Espat leading off for the PUP - and Castillo responding to him for the UDP. But, Espat threw what baseballers would call a "change-up." He was a model of parliamentary restraint - even though he was highly critical of the Barrow budget. Here are a few excerpts of his 35 minute presentation: Hon. Julius Espat - Area Representative, Cayo South "Mr. Speaker the Prime Minister has hit the nail on the head, when he compares his budget performances and this budget with the likes of a Harry Houdini. In reality Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minster is an illusionist, and his budget is but a mere illusion. How is it possible that the stats quoted in the Prime Minister's budget indicate that our economy is growing when our fathers cannot get a job, when our highly educated youths coming out of the universities cannot fine meaningful employment, when our poor mothers do not have the means to prepare a nutritious meal for their children, when our Belizean people cannot afford to clothes or send our loving children to school? We do not feel confident enough that we are willing to borrow from the banks; we are losing our homes and businesses at alarming rates. The newspapers are flooded with foreclosures. Here are examples of the publications of just this month.

Already Accused of City Shooting, Man Charged For Midday Murder, In Same Day!
Last night we told you about 18 year old Akeem Augustine, who was remanded for shooting at four young men, two of them minors. That happened on Tuesday evening - but now police are saying that on Tuesday morning, he killed a man in the street! Augustine was today brought back to court where he was arraigned for the murder of 27 year old Ardon Belgrave. He's the Belize City Council employee who was killed on Tuesday morning at 11:30. Belgrave was working for the council, when a gunman walked up and shot him multiple times in the head. Belgrave's family believes that it was a case of random targetting. He was arraigned today before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith, who remanded him to prison until May 28, 2013, his next court date. So at this time, police believe that Augustine went on 2 separate shooting sprees: his first on Tuesday afternoon, where he allegedly killed Belgrave, and then 7 hours later, he then allegedly targeted those 4 males at the corner of Lacroix boulevard and Police Street.

GSU Gun Bust Gets 24 Year Old 10 Years in Jail
24 year-old Nelson Martinez, a resident of Plues Street, is spending the first night of a 5 year prison sentence after he was convicted of firearm offence in Magistrate's Court today. According to the Gang Suppression Unit, at 9:40 p.m. May 26, 2012, they were on George Street conducting operations when they saw Martinez riding a bicycle at the corner of Bishop and George Streets. When the GSU officers approached him, he sped off trying to escape. Just before he was caught, Martinez reportedly pulled out an object and threw it over a fence into a yard which is near to his Plues Street address. When he was detained, the officers located the object he threw away, and discovered that it was an Austria Brand Glock 9 mm pistol, which contained 13 live rounds of ammunition. As a result, they arrested and charged him with keeping an unlicensed firearm, and keeping unlicensed ammunition.

Season Stomach Flu Peaked In Bze District Last Week
We all know about "the stomach bug" - that combination of vomiting and diarrhea that always seems to be going around. Well, right now that is truer than ever. Statistics from the Ministry of Health - updated as recently as yesterday show that reported cases of gastro-enteritis peaked in the Cayo and Belize districts about two weeks ago - and that there have been 800 cases reported in the past few months. That may sound like a lot but it's actually on average for this time of year when reports of gastro-enteritis usually spikes. Epidemiologist Dr. Aisha Andrewin explained: Dr. Aisha Andrewin - Epidemiologist, Ministry Of Health "What we are seeing, is what we're referring to a seasonal increasing in cases of what is locally termed as stomach flu. Basically, it's gastroenteritis, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and abdominal pains due to a virus in most cases. That's the pattern we're seeing. We say seasonal because they're different points in the year when you'd expect it, and we see these increases from time to time. In this current instance, we started seeing an upward case about the beginning of this month, and we will continue to see these patterns. This is happening globally. The main culprit nowadays is the virus called Nora Virus. In fact, in the U.K, it's called the winter vomiting bug. In the States for example, you'd get 20 million per year, and in these part of the world we're seeing more and more of these cases as we had the capacity confirm the cases.

Chamber To PM: Rein In Spending, Freeze Wages, Raise Age For Pension
The Belize Chamber of Commerce President, Kay Menzies has written a strong letter to Prime Minister Dean Barrow asking him to reign in public spending which is budgeted to increase by 72 million dollars in the coming year. Pensions are going up by 5 million, and in view of that, the Chamber proposes that the pension age should be increased to 65. The chamber also points to what it calls an "exorbitant Wage Bill" of almost half a billion dollars, which comprises 56% oftotal expenditure for the coming financial year. The Chamber suggests a freeze on all hiring and inveighs against what it calls "Big Government" which it says "only further inflates the wage bill..." The Chamber also has criticism for government's special purpose vehicle, Belize Infrastructure limited, which will spearhead a 60 million dollars project to upgrade sports facilities. The Chamber President says "This newly registered company raises concerns." And, not surprisingly, the Chamber President also calls for Superbond Savings to be used for measures to actively stimulate the private sector, in the form of that which business owners most crave: tax breaks and lower duties.

City Councilor Gave Mayor Letter Of Resignation, Not Accepted
Today's Reporter newspaper had a provocative headline, asking "Will Councillor Elrington Hyde Resign?" The reference is to Alifah Hyde Elrington, a first term councilor who is the daughter of Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington and the law partner of Mayor Darrell Bradley. And, from what we've been able to find out, there is more than a shred of truth to the story, because though Bradley and Elrington-Hyde are partners in law, they've had their differences in the Council. But things came to a head three weeks ago when Elrington-Hyde and the Mayor's Secretary caught in an ugly war of words. It happened on San Pedro when the delegation from San Benito, Guatemala were visiting. It seems the mayor's secretary forgot the checque that was to be used to cover the lunch tab at an island restaurant and Elrington-Hyde chastised her publicly. According to our information, after that Elrington demanded that the secretary be dismissed, but from what we are told Mayor Bradley would not entertain the request. From what we are told she laid down ultimatums, and still the mayor would not budge. Things came to a head at a council meeting on Tuesday - when Elrington-Hyde put it on the agenda for a council meeting and the mayor struck it off. So Elrington-Hyde reportedly put the letter on his table - and he put it aside.

Another News Time Shooting
7news has confirmed that there was a shooting in Belize City right about when the news started. It happened on Zericote Street in the Lake Independence area. The victim was rushed to the KHMH - and reports are that his injuries are not life threatening.

Finnegan Says PUP Have "Macobi" For Mark Espat
Last night on the news, you heard Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca refer to the UDP Government's Economic Ambassador Mark Espat as the "Red Eye Boy." Today, the opposition's spree of attacks on the Espat continued - which is unusual, considering he's not in the House to defend himself. But for the second day in a row, it was open season on Espat, and another Espat was the first to open up on him: Hon. Julius Espat - Area Representative, Cayo South "For example the red eye boy, $240,000 a year, $20,000 dollars a month the same red eye boy that - or their party leader has mentioned, but I would like to take it further, the same red eye boy, the Judas, and I can say it, Mr. Speaker, because I'm an Espat, and it's a shame for us. As an Espat, I have the right to say that he is a Judas, but we took our beating. Look at the poor Prime Minister on our side, his hair is white because the man ate him a part. Watch Hon. John Briceno, his hair is getting white too, Mark Espat, well party leader, he didn't take it; he only last 3 months. But you all, you all over there, you all will suffer the consequences of the red eye boy; you all will suffer the consequences." Hon. Santino Castillo - Area Representative, Caribbean Shores "I will refer to Mark Espat who has been referred to in this House by the other members on that side 26 times. "Bwai da man bun they bad."

Finnegan is Funny-gan?
And while Finnegan seems to have taken charge of recruitments, he also provided some comic relief. He says he's over 60 but still feeling "Spritely": Hon. Michael Finnegan - Area Representative, Mesopotamia "I am one of those people that says, 'What is those kind of music are those young people playing? How do those young people behave like that?' Mr. Speaker, I try to understand their music. I try to learn and dance it, and shake the shoulder; I try to be young. You will ask what kind of clothes those young people wear, Mr. Speaker. I fall in line, and I try to dress like them, I don't want to look like any old man. Furthermore Mr. Speaker, I saw an advertisement some weeks ago during the Channel 5 broadcast news or Channel 7, one of them, but this ad was an ad promoting the 4G digicell train, and this young girl who was performing on this ad, Prime Minister, shake my heart to pieces. I said, 'Who the hell is she?' Well I could tell you, Prime Minister, Elle Marie is no joke, no ease. That's a damn competent lady, and I would want to meet her, Mr. Speaker, but you and I may meet her together sir." And Santino Castillo - who owns a cycling team and Finnegan both spiced up their presentations with cross country predictions:

US Volunteers In The South
A group of US medical professionals from a group called InterVol have been volunteering the Southern Regional Hospital this week. The group comprises 40 persons, 22 of them from the medical field, including gynecologists, cardiologists, anesthesiologists, dentists and rural doctors. Cindy Gordon outlined some of the work they are doing. Cindy Gordon - InterVol, Reg'd Nurse "As far as the medical side of things, we have 2 gynecologist with us and this week while we're here in the hospital, the local gynecologists were not available. So our GYN doctors have also taken over in that area, not only seeing the patients, they're going to see them in the clinics, also covering the patients here. We've seen a lot of need for surgical intervention, such as hysterectomies, or removal of thyroids or ovarian cisst or even removing someone's ovaries because of them being sick. We also have this year for the first time, a dental team; we have the dentist and the dental assistant, and they've been doing a lot of teeth extractions. They've been doing a lot of cleanings and just basic dental care, in the villages; it's all primary dental care. So basically, it's a lot of pediatrics, a lot of children - basically we see a lot of mothers and children, because the husband are obviously off working, as we find when we go in these real communities. So, it's a mix of both, the basic basic primary care." This is InterVol's 10th year in Belize...

Re: Today's Belize News: March 23, 2013 [Re: Marty] #460853
03/23/13 09:12 AM
03/23/13 09:12 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,941
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Channel 5

Mark and Jorge Espat come home to U.D.P.
Former P.U.P. Area representative for the Albert Division, Mark Espat has been getting a lot of accolades from the lips of Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Mark Espat led the team that successfully negotiated the five hundred and fifty million US dollar Super Bond. The praise was so intense today, that it appeared the government could [...]

Houdini Budget? Debate changes gear
After six o’clock this evening, the budget debate concluded in the House of Representatives. The budget for the new financial year starting April first, calls for nine hundred and thirty-four million dollars in spending and eight hundred and seventy one point seven million dollars in revenue and grants; a deficit of sixty-two million point two [...]

Chambers of Commerce points out irregularities to G.O.B.
While the budget debate took place in the House of Representatives, in the boardroom of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the budget was also analyzed.  The Chamber’s contributions are contained in a letter to the Prime Minister. It notes that while spending has increased by seventy-two million dollars more than last year, and there [...]

Artificial Border: Minister explains it’s no big deal
Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred Elrington is a man who has always spoken freely about his views on national affairs. He has gained much criticism for well used words at a 2009 Organization of American States Meeting in Washington. The meeting was with his then Guatemalan counterpart, Haroldo Rodas Melgar.  Specifically Elrington said, “We have to [...]

Why did Kolbe fire Mr. and Mrs. Casimiro?
The termination of a husband and wife from the Belize Central Prison over a week ago has raised concerns within the executive of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize. Colive and Carla Casimiro were fired by the management of the Kolbe Foundation individually, over what prison officials are citing as a lack of confidence [...]

N.T.U.C.B. to address release of couple from Kolbe
It has been reported in other parts of the media that Colive Casimiro’s release was, according to information furnished, a pre-emptive measure to stop him from protesting his wife’s dismissal.  The N.T.U.C.B., says Jones, is yet to formally address the matter with the management of the Kolbe Foundation.   Earl Jones, C.E.O., Kolbe Foundation “There [...]

U.D.P. Landy Burns questions trade license fee
The political free for all at the House in Belmopan is the big news tonight, but there’s another battle with political undertones being waged in Orange Walk Town. On one side of that northern rumble is the Town Council, which is managed by a P.U.P. administration. On the other side is U.D.P. political aspirant Orlando [...]

Teen charged with murder
A Belize City teenager has seen the courtroom one too many times this week. Eighteen year old Akeem Augustine who only just appeared in court on Thursday, for the charges of Attempted Murder, Conspiracy to Commit Murder and Aggravated Assault upon minors, was today slapped with charges of the murder of Ardon Belgrave and the [...]

Charged for firearm, but accused says cops lied
  Also in the courts, twenty-four year old Nelson Martinez of Belize City appeared before Magistrate Hettie-Mae Stewart to answer charges of Kept Firearm and Ammunition without a Gun License. He was unrepresented and while he did not address the charge before him, he told the court that the GSU had fabricated the events. But [...]

Firearms and ammunition forensic training
A forensic training at Price Barracks in Ladyville culminated today with some twenty-two persons from various departments receiving certificates of participation. Forensic technicians, scientists as well as the judiciary and other specialized personnel took part in the four-day training which comes on the heels of the introduction of an Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) in [...]

100 years of service with the Pallottine Sisters
The Pallottine sisters are celebrating one hundred years of service in Belize. In Thursday’s newscast we showed you the re-enactment of their arrival in Benque Viejo Del Carmen. There have been one hundred and two Pallottine sisters in the one hundred years since the first four came to Belize on a mission. Today there are [...]

Belize Amateur Athletic Association inactivity affects students
Former Vice President of the Belize Amateur Athletic Association, Deon Sutherland, is tonight speaking out against what he describes as the inactivity of an interim committee chartered with moving sports forward.  Since being elected in June of last year, Sutherland charges that the executive has done very little to improve and promote the sport of [...]

March to the beating drums at Love FM’s Band Fest
Band Fest 2013 rolls into the F.F.B. football field in Belmopan early this Saturday morning prior to the game featuring Team Belize versus Trinidad. Organizers say there are even more bands this year so competition is expected to be tougher. The tried and true will be taking on the new upstarts as they all bring [...]


ITVET Orange Walk Holds Sixth Exposition
ITVET Orange Walk held its sixth expo today. Reporter Dalila Ical was there for the showcase and has the story. DALILA ICAL "The institute for technical and vocational education and training in Orange Walk is holding its sixth annual exposition and trade fair today. ...

Institute of Creative Arts Holds Workshops for Belizean Artists
The Institute of Creative Arts has scheduled several capacity building workshops for Belizean Artists. One of those will take place this weekend. Creative Arts Development Officer at ICA is Joseph Stamp Romero. JOSEPH STAMP ROMERO "We feel it is necessary to cr...


UDP Landy Burns At Odds With OWTC Over Trade License Fees
Another UDP stalwart that is presently at odds with the Orange Walk Town Council is businessman Orlando Landy Burns. Two days ago Mayor Kevin Bernard received a letter from the law firm of Hubert Elrington where it states that the proprietor of Landy’s & Sons Hardware, Orlando Burns, believes he is being victimized by the town council because of his political affiliation with the United Democratic Party. And just how did he come to that conclusion? Well, it was after the town council increased his trade license for his business located on Belize Corozal Road. Kevin Bernard- Mayor Orange Wall Town “This is the business that he owns in Belize/Corozal Road and remember now that he has a huge investment that was done in that business and there was never an increase done to his trade and that covers not only that business but also the one in front and the lumber yard that he has as well. So, if we were to assess Mr. Burns by the law he would be paying- his annual rental value is somewhere between 79-90 thousand- take 25% of that is what he should pay, if we were to apply that. If we want to go to court, I will take the real assessment to court if that he wants. But we are saying to him: come in and pay your trade fee man. What he is afraid of and I have sent messages to him that we are going to putting stop orders to business who are not paying their trade license because we are serious about collecting the revenue. This is not about politics. This is about paying your dues that are due and so like I said for being a Rotarian he should ask himself if it is fair to all concerned. Was he paying fair taxes to the municipality? That is what he should ask himself.”

Javier Torres Needs Your Help
A family of four, including two minors from the Village of Yo Creek in the Orange Walk District, is tonight without a home. The Torres’ home burnt down on the morning of Sunday March 17th and the family is now in dire need of assistance. Javier Torres, House Burnt Down “Sunday morning we came out like around 9:30 or so going to Corozal for a confirmation. We stayed overnight at Corozal. Monday morning at around 7 o’clock we came to Orange Walk and we caught the bus to go to our house and when we arrived there we saw that the house was burnt down. Nothing stayed. All my clothes and materials things got burnt up. I don’t know who the person is, why he do it or what he do it. I think somebody burnt it down. I don’t know anybody yet. I don’t have any place to stay tonight. I am just asking persons to help me, a little materials and you know to build our house.” Anyone wishing to assist the Torres family can do so by contacting Javier at cell number 665-2126.

Crop Week 16: Magnificent
The 2012/2013 crop season is well underway and sugar production at the Belize Sugar Industries Limited continues to increase considerably when compared to last year’s crop. The 16th week of crop ended on March 19th and tonight we have the latest figures coming out of BSI. Elmer Cornejo reporting… The 16th week of the 2012/2013 Crop Season saw the milling of 43, 759 tons of cane an increase of 84,214 tons compared to last year when 600,488 tons of cane was milled. This week alone the factory received 43,759 tons of cane. The production of sugar stands as follows: 71,187 tons of the sweetener has been produced so far this is a vast increase of 10,064 tons of sugar compared to last year when 61, 123 tons was produced during the same time frame. Moving on to cane quality, cane pol stands at 13.22%. Last year it stood at 11.64% making a difference of 0.38%. In reference to juice brix, that stands at 18.58% displaying an overall increase of 0.52% compared to last year when juice brix was recorded at 16.55%. For the 16th week of crop, sugar cane is showing a juice purity of 88.70%, standing at 86.47% overall. Last year juice purity was recorded at 86.34% making a difference of 0.13% for this crop season.

Denny Grijalva Sues OWTC Because Of PAST OWTC
In 2012, when the present Orange Walk Town Council took office, they were met with a number of financial burdens acquired by the previous administration. Apart from and Over Draft Facility that was maxed out at $111,000 and, unpaid Social Security contributions for employees to the tune of almost $31,099, the council also faced a $138,277.40 contract, signed by the previous administration with De Mars Stone Company for the upgrading of Hope Street, Benque Viejo Street and a portion of Stadium Street on July 19th 2011. Out of the $138,277.40, only $49,634.83 was paid out to Grijalva by Mayor Philip De La Fuente, leaving a remaining balance of $88,642.57 to be paid by this present administration. And now, news tonight is that De Mars Stone Company Limited is demanding full payment from the Town Council and a lawsuit has been filed at the Supreme Court. Kevin Bernard- Mayor Orange Walk Town “Just earlier this week we did receive a copy of a claim served upon the Orange Walk Town Council by De Mars Stone Company. Of course we all know who the owner of that company is. The director is Denny Grijalva, on a balance that was- some agreement that was mad with him and the previous administration on some streets works that was supposedly done in Orange Walk Town, namely the Benque Viejo Street and the end of Stadium Street which links to the New Hope High School.

BCCI Not Happy With GOB's Budget
In a very diplomatic manner today the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry also expressed their dissatisfaction with the draft Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the Fiscal Year 2013-2014. The proposed budget calls for $934 million in overall spending, $72 million more than last year, but promises that there will be absolutely no new taxes and no overall spending cuts. GOB assumes a GDP growth of 3% over the previous fiscal year with $934.3 million in total spending and total revenue and grants of $871.7 million resulting in an overall deficit of $62.6 million. In a letter sent to the Prime Minister on March 18th, BCCI expresses great concern for Governments significant increase in spending which will only serve to increase the country’s indebtedness. Of note is that the BCCI has continuously pointed out to GOB a number of areas where it is critical to cut expenditure to ensure sustainability while creating room for the economy to grow. According to BCCI, those expenditure cuts are realistic and necessary, and with that in mind the organization suggested several possibilities for consideration.

Earth Hour 2013
Millions of people around the world flick off their lights for Earth Hour at 8.30pm in their local times on the last Saturday of March each year. This year however, Earth Hour will be honored one week earlier, on March 23rd to avoid clashing with the change in European Summer Time thus ensuring the greatest impact of the lights off event. Earth Hour is a global World Wildlife Fund climate change initiative aiming at creating awareness of people taking responsibility towards a sustainable future by turning the lights off. Iconic buildings and landmarks from Europe to Asia, to the Americas, have stood in darkness during previous Earth Hours. Even though Belize does not have sky scrapers, Belizeans participate in the event by joining the rest of the world in turning their lights off and lighting candles instead. Today we spoke to Conzie Carballo, Publicity Director of the Real Energetic Environmental Fellowship, REEF, who will host a vigil here in Orange Walk in celebration of Earth Hour 2013.


Orange Walk Town Council Faces Law Suits
The Orange Walk Town Council is facing a law suit from a prominent business in Orange Walk. Mayor Kevin Bernard told us today that two days ago he received a letter from the law firm of Hubert Elrington where it states that proprietor of Landy’s & Sons Hardware on Belize Corozal Rd., Orlando Burns believes he is being politically victimized after the cost of the trade license for his business came higher than he was expecting. We spoke Mayor Bernard about the matter. KEVIN BERNARD ” He believes that his trade license assessment that was sent to him is unfair and he believes that he is being politically victimized because of his political affiliation. Well I just want to make and set the record straight; we are currently undergoing an entire reassessment of all trade and properties across the municipality because we saw where there was a lot of unfair assessment done throughout the municipality and I could use an example: Mr. Burns claims to being victimized but it is not so; if we were to apply the exact rate and the exact law, Mr. Burns should be paying a huge amount of money as it relates to trade licenses. If we were to apply the twenty five percent annual rental value to his business that he owns and the ones that he runs, he should be paying a hefty sum of money to the municipality and if we were to go after him for that and maybe he would have cried even more but for example small store like Smart they were paying over three thousand eight hundred dollars a year while Mr. Burns who has a huge hardware store, a lumber yard next door and other outlets; I think he has a shop or something in the front, they were paying a little, about fifteen hundred dollars. I think it was unfair and I did not use Smart for specific reasons but they’re others. We need to ensure that taxes are applied fairly and equitably across the municipality and that’s the reason why we are doing the reassessment. What I believe Mr. Burns is afraid of is because we have sent him and informed him that if he refuses to come in and not pay his trade licenses then we will have to send a stop order to his establishment and this does not just go to Mr. Burns; this goes to anybody who owes trade licenses. A notice was even sent publicly for trade license applicants and in fact, every business owner should know that their trade license are due and payable by the end of December and so they should have applied from the 15th November which is called the return and then the Board meets and they review the applications. They are some of course that the board will say ok we will continue because they are still continue trading. But reassessments need to be done and because we did not want to seem to be pin pointing on one business, we decided to do an entire reassessment across the board. So, they are some businesses that may be getting their letter shortly as well, saying that their business may have been reassessed. In some cases they may have been some people who were assessed higher that shouldn’t and they may be getting a lesser assessment but it is something that we are doing to ensure fairness in terms of taxation in our municipality.”

Mayors’ Association Meets In Orange Walk
Mayors from across the country met today in Orange Walk for the Mayor’s Association monthly meeting. During the morning session the nine municipal representatives had a presentation from a consultant on market management, on grant funding from Canada through government agencies and were also addressed by Secretary of State for the state of Illinois Jesse White. We spoke with president of the association Mayor Simeon Lopez. MAYOR SIMEON LOPEZ “The consultant is mainly here to visit markets in the municipalities; see how they are manage and then makes some recommendations for better management. So, it is really management consultancies; only how to manage the market and get the best result out of it. The problem is there because of the fact that maybe councils can make more revenue out of the market but besides that it’s really to be able to make sure that everything is sanitary, to be able to make sure that people are satisfied with what is happening at the market. Our meeting with the Secretary of State of Illinois was really to meet us and to let us know about his program that he conducts in the State of Illinois. He has mentioned in the next month he expect to have two dialysis machines and two compactor trucks in Belize to be donated to municipalities; we don’t know who the municipalities are at this time but maybe that will be done shortly but besides that he has also mentioned of his program to help at risk youths.”

Women Engaged In Annual Women’s Summit
Women from around the country gathered for the Eighth Annual Women’s Summit hosted by the Women’s Department. According to Acting Director of the Women’s Department, Cynthia Williams, the one day event aims to engage women in discussion and information gathering on Gender, centering on this year’s women’s month theme The Gender Agenda, Gaining Momentum. CYNTHIA WILLIAMS ” Gender is often seen as a woman business everything about women but whenever we truly analyses and define what it is we can clearly see that it is both men and women because gender really affects them in different ways it has nothing to do with their sex, being a man or woman but is actually looking at who they are and how is it that they interact and the impact that issues across the society has on them; the way they may relate to each other, to their children and so this summit is really looking for that opportunity to be able to define it. We started back on the sixth annual summit where we began the discussion. During that time that really provide us with the opportunity to begin a deeper programmatic effort. Also the department and so now we feel it is important to bring it back to the table and engage persons who have gone beyond that gender divide and even gone into fields that have traditionally males of females oriented and so we will have another panel that will be looking at that experience of both men and women who are in that role. And of course looking at impact of gender on the development . We really have to understand that for woman and men to be full participants in our countries development we have to ensure that system and structures are put in place so that they can contribute what they need to and so we need to ensure that we don’t box women in and men in stereotypes because then what we are doing is simply not allowing them to freely give of what they have, to give us partners in our development and so the third panel looks at that, it looks at one of the issues that is often not discuss which is gender equality in the work place, specifically discussing sexual harassment it is an issue that we are starting to see more and more and we need to have people inform. We need people to understand that there are processes and there are systema in place and so it is an opportunity for the department as well to do that and the last presentation that will close the summit is really an overview of the implementation of the national gender based plan of action that last year got funded through the UN Trust Fund and so that in itself is really a link to how do we provide for women who live and men of course in those situations; to be able to access services to be able to then live a life free of violence and so it is a link to gender equality because we know that once gender based violence is within their life’s they would not be able to then be participants in country’s development. “

ICA Schedules Workshops For Belizean Artists
The Institute of Creative Arts has scheduled several capacity building workshops for Belizean Artists. One of those will take place this weekend. Creative Arts Development Officer at ICA is Joseph Stamp Romero. JOSEPH STAMP ROMERO “We feel it is necessary to create a special environment for artists and so we feel that these workshops will be helpful in attaining that on a professional level. One of our first workshop runs this weekend; we’re scheduling a workshop with Errollyn Wallen and she is a London composer who will be working with Belizean artists and composing songs. We know that we have the song competition coming up this year and they’re a lot of events where we are looking at the quality of songs being put out there as Belize is becoming more and more tuned into our own artists and so Errollyn will be here to offer skills and guidance and also inspiration to our Belizean artists. She is Belizean born and that puts her in a very unique position to offer great guidance and inspiration to them in a way that they can understand that you can go to the next level and be professional about what you do.

ITVET Holds 6th Exposition
ITVET Orange Walk held its sixth expo today. Reporter Dalila Ical was there for the showcase and has the story. DALILA ICAL “The institute for technical and vocational education and training in Orange Walk is holding its sixth annual exposition and trade fair today. Students in the prevocational and trade programs are show casing their works in starting classes last September. Justa Espadas acting assistant manager tells us more. JUSTA ESPASDAS We have both building and mechanical trades; so you are going to see exhibitions in building and grounds maintenance, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, welding, computer service and repairs, auto mechanics. These are the trades that we offer here so that is what you will see throughout as well the pre-vocational program which is a two year program before the guys go into the trade, so you will see stuff like math’s project science project English projects so it’s a wide array of stuff we have to show case here to the general public. We have approximately hundred and seventy students taking part today; both full time and part time. It has been very exciting; we have had good responses from employers, from people in the business community for them to come and see because this also serves as an instance where employers can scout out prospective employees as well, in the trades. The guys are here show casing what they have learnt; it’s a good time for them to come and see and say you know what maybe I need somebody who knows building or ground maintenance who knows plumbing; a perfect time for you to come and scout out. In the past years and leading up to this year we have had a very good response and we hope that in the future we continue to have the same response from the public. “

Re: Today's Belize News: March 23, 2013 [Re: Marty] #460854
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The multi-million-dollar cruise port project proposed by Michael Feinstein’s Stake Bank Enterprises Limited, which had been in abeyance due to funding issues, is back on the table. Amandala has confirmed that the company has been asked to resubmit a revised Environmental Impact Assessment. An official source told us that due to the lapse of time since the granting of environmental clearance, and because the concept of the project has substantially changed, a new EIA is required. Former Chief Environmental Officer Ismael Fabro confirmed to the company back in 2007 that environmental clearance had been granted for the project, and an environmental compliance plan was issued by the Department of the Environment on August 10 that year. However, the project, in its original design, would have cost US$25 million. Stake Bank Enterprises was hoping to partner with a major international cruise line, Royal Caribbean; however, that deal was never sealed.

“Full belly di tell empty belly keep heart…” – Opposition Leader On Friday, March 1, in 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 super-bond, the exchange offer for which closed yesterday, March 20. The 2013/2014 budget, due to take effect on April 1, is being debated for two days. Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca kicked off the 2013 debate of the national budget this morning, saying that, “For the sixth budget in a row, Belizeans have been treated to a full menu of chest thumping, and whining and empty, hollow rhetoric…. It is a budget disconnected and divorced from the Belizean reality.” Fonseca said that the UDP’s budget for fiscal year 2013/2014 reflects an absolute lack of consultation with social and economic partners. “We fully recognize and appreciate that in 2013, consultation is no longer optional. It is a requirement of a democracy – it is a requirement for development,” Fonseca said.

The shooter, deprived of his prey, shot “someone” in frustration. Ardon Belgrave 27, of Freetown Road, was murdered senselessly on Caesar Ridge Road at about 11:20 a.m. yesterday, Tuesday. Reports are that Belgrave and six co-workers, who were carrying out road maintenance work in the Caesar Ridge area, were standing under an almond tree when a student who was being chased by a man ran into their midst for safety. The gunman continued chasing his victim, witnesses say, but could not catch him. The gunman then returned, reports say, and apparently, in anger, fired into the group, shooting Belgrave, who fell. While the other men escaped, the gunman approached Belgrave and shot him multiple times at close range while he was lying on the road. The shooter then ran into the surrounding areas and disappeared. Belgrave was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival. Police say that Belgrave was shot in the back of the head, the forehead, the left hand, and the left buttocks. Police said that their initial investigation revealed that the shooter was a man of dark complexion, dressed in a brown shirt and short blue jeans pants. They processed the scene and retrieved seven 9mm expended cases and a slug.

Guatemala presents two proposals to Belize. “I don’t like what’s being proposed by the Guatemalans…” Belize Prime Minister says Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina appeared in Guatemala media reports again on Tuesday, March 19, insisting on the nation’s position that the national referenda to be undertaken by Belize and Guatemala, to decide on whether the territorial differendum should be settled by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ought to be postponed to 2014. Last April, both parties agreed on Sunday, October 6, 2013, as the day for the referenda. That date is 7 months away, but Guatemala now wants to delay the vote. Until today’s meeting of the Belize House of Representatives, the Government of Belize has been tightlipped on the details of Guatemala’s proposals. However, Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington finally made them public, as parliamentarians convened for day one of the 2013 budget debate. According to Elrington, Guatemala has presented two proposals. Firstly, they are asking for Belize to amend its referendum legislation, which in 2008 was changed to require that 60% of the electorate vote in a referendum in order to deem it valid.

Graciano Ramos has been hospitalized since February this year. The 12-year-old fell from a tree and fractured his skull. The injury has caused permanent damage to the frontal lobe of his brain. Graciano is still in the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, because the swelling in his brain has not gone down yet. He is not talking or moving any other part of his body other than his right fingers. The family has been told that he has a 50-50 chance of recovering. On Friday, March 22, Graciano will be transferred to the Northern Regional Hospital to continue treatment. The family has been advised to take him to a hospital in Chetumal to receive therapy after the swelling, hopefully, goes down. Graciano is to return to the KHMH in two months for the doctors to replace the part of his skull that was removed to help reduce the swelling of his brain. The child’s mother, Mellissa Briceño, said it has been very difficult for her family dealing with the situation.

Amandala has confirmed from official sources that Providence Energy Limited, a Houston-based group which was granted a 25-year petroleum concession back in 2007, is planning to shoot seismic tests in southern Belize, and particularly in an offshore area that includes the Port Honduras Marine Reserve – one of the first reserves being used to test the concept of catch shares among fishers. The concession spans 531 square miles. Providence announced when the contract was signed by former Natural Resources Minister Florencio Marin back in October 2007 that, “The award consists of a mostly offshore block in the Gulf of Honduras from Punta Gorda to New Haven and another block over and southeast of Glover’s Reef off Dangriga. The agreement provides for 8 years for exploration and 25 years per discovered oil field.” The Providence contract is one of the six offshore petroleum contracts that Oceana, the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage and Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) have been challenging before the Belize Supreme Court. Justice Oswell Legall, who heard the case last month, is expected to announce his judgment before he proceeds on leave in April.

It started as an Expedition in 1928 when a group of young riders decided to race to El Cayo (now San Ignacio) and back. The road at that time was a dirt road, which was in horrible condition. No one could have imagined that this event would have grown to what it is today – the greatest one-day sporting spectacle in Belize, the Annual Cross Country Cycle Race. It has now attracted cyclists from several different countries. The 1928 race started on the morning of Holy Saturday and was concluded on Easter Monday. Easter Sunday was a day of rest in El Cayo where the cyclists were greeted and honoured by residents on that day. They were also treated to an exciting cricket game. The historic event was completed in Belize City in a total of 21 hours 29 minutes on Easter Monday. It was won by Elston Kerr, who won it again in 1929. Second was Norris Wade followed by 13-year-old Bertie Cleland, Edward Osman, Maurice Patten, G. Rodriguez, Carlton Fairweather, Charles Fuller, Ricardo Meighan and Harold Neal, in that order. The stories of the 1928 race and the other early Cross Country races are numerous and include vivid descriptions of cyclists walking through mud and water with their bikes on their shoulders. The race continued in the 1930’s but there was no race in 1932 due to the 1931 hurricane, which damaged the road. Norris Wade won the Cross Country race in 1930. However, it was Donald Lightburn who dominated cycling in that decade. He won in 1931, 1935 and 1936, and was second in 1933. Robert “Sir Rob” Ferguson took the race in 1933 and 1934 and returned ten years later to take the championship in 1944. Jose Sosa was first in 1937 and 1938 and was second in 1939 behind Ben Sanchez. Hendicott Croft upset Sanchez to take the championship in 1940. James Robateau was crowned champion in 1943.

The Belize Police Department has now been restructured and reorganized to deliver more efficient services to the people. The city has been divided into four zones, called precincts, and the country has been divided into 4 zones, which are the Northern Zone, comprised of Corozal and Orange Walk Districts; the Eastern Zone, comprised of Belize District; the Western Zone, comprised of the entire Cayo District; and the Southern Zone, comprised of Stann Creek and Toledo Districts. Each zone is led by a Divisional Commander, followed by formation commanders. The Divisional Commander of the Northern Zone is Superintendent Joseph Myvette, and the Division Headquarters is at the Orange Walk Police Station. The Formation Commanders are Assistant Superintendent Andrew Ramirez of the Corozal Formation, and Supt. Myvette is the Formation Commander of Orange Walk District in the interim. The Head of Belize District Police is Assistant Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura, under whom there are four Precinct Commanders, and a Rural Executive Officer, who is ASP Chris Noble. The Division office is at the Racoon Street Police Headquarters. The Divisional Commander of the Western Zone or the Cayo District Police is Supt. Aaron Guzman, and the Division Headquarters is at the Belmopan Police Headquarters.

Ten of our students from the Belize High School attended the XIX HACIA Democracy Summit of the Americas, 2013 which was held from March 13 to the 17th in the Dominican Republic—a first time for the Caribbean, as prior to this year, HACIA Summits had been concentrated in Latin America. For Belize, our school’s participation in the event was also an historic first time—not only for us, but for our nation. HACIA, the brainchild of several Harvard undergraduate students, was founded in May 1994. Recognizing the need to establish and foster institutionalized democracy throughout the region, the founders aimed to create an educational government simulation that focused on domestic and international issues in the Americas. Based on this mission, HACIA set out to address the concerns of countries within the Western Hemisphere and to encourage both staff and delegates to explore unfamiliar but pressing perspectives affecting the region. The International School of Panama was at the forefront of the HACIA movement, and was critical to the success of HACIA’s first conference, Expo ’95, which held in Panama City, Panama. Therefore, it is of little surprise that 10 schools from Panama participated in this year’s Summit. Delegations from Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama had attended the first conference, and in the 2013 XIX HACIA Summit, of the 33 schools that participated, most hailed from Latin America. As the push has been to include a diversity of viewpoints, HACIA has been reaching out to embrace delegates from other nations, and in 2009, welcomed a delegation from China. This year, to enrich the Latin American perspective, delegates included one school from the United States, one from the Dominican Republic and the other from Belize. The growth of HACIA has been marked, also, with the inclusion of complementing Spanish language committees.

Successful closure of super-bond exchange – S&P upgrades Belize AGGREGATE FACE VALUE IS US $529.9 MILLION “We expect that Belize will continue to face a heavy debt burden…” – Standard & Poor’s, Mar. 20, 2013 Belize Minister of Finance, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, this morning announced that the Belize debt exchange offer has now “finally, legally, conclusively closed,” marking “a final successful consummation of this long-drawn-out process.” Barrow said that the closure took place on Wednesday, March 20, 2013, “with the submission of all the relevant legal documentation.” He confirmed a participation rate of 86.2% of bondholders; so, he said, consistent with the Collective Action Clause in the original bond agreement, all the bonds previously due to mature in 2029 are being exchanged for the new 2038 bonds. In a statement released via the Central Bank of Belize on Wednesday, the Belize Government announced that “Belize’s 2038 Bonds will have an aggregate face value of US $529.9 million.” White Oak Advisory LLP acted as the financial advisor, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP acted as the legal advisor, to the Government of Belize in this transaction, while Citibank N.A., London Branch, served as exchange agent.

“And who is better in religion than one who submits his whole self to God, and is a doer of good, and follows the order of Abraham, the upright in faith.” Qur’an 4:125 Dear Paul, I’m so sorry you were not able to make it to the welcome reception for the Hon. Minister Farrakhan given by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred Elrington, or to attend any of his public lectures; however, I am happy that you got a chance to hear his unifying messages as they were broadcast on radio and television. In 1975, you were one of the highest ranking public officials to welcome the Minister to Belize, and as Mayor, to present him with the key to the city. For this, you will always be remembered for your courage. On the matter of a united front of Muslims, Christians and Jews, and Belize being a special place to initiate such an enterprise, despite our size and global insignificance, I and many other believers wholeheartedly support such an initiative. While we don’t see many practicing Jews in Belize there are other believers in the One God who should join such a union to form a united front against the forces of evil that have gained a foothold in our precious land.

Dear Sir, On October the 6th of this year, the Governments of Belize and Guatemala have both agreed to have simultaneous Referendums in their respective countries to have their citizens vote on whether to take the Belize-Guatemala Dispute to the International Court of Justice (I.C.J.) for final resolution. As our Area Representative, we would like to know whether you are in support of this action on the part of the current government as a member of the People’s United Party. Based on the reports I have seen coming from the press, it appears as if both the People’s United Party and the ruling party in government, the United Democratic Party, are in support of going to the I.C.J. and have signed on to the agreement. This issue means a lot to us as Belizeans because it involves out territory and sovereignty. In addition, Guatemala is seeking the use of our port, Commerce Bight Pier, which has been inactive for many years now and should be re-activated to provide jobs for our Dangriga people. I would appreciate if you can respond to this Email at your earliest convenient time so that I can share it with fellow Belizeans and Belizean Americans living abroad.

Dear Editor, There is nothing irrational about feeling suspicious of GM seeds. Just take a look at history. In 2003, 17,107 Indian farmers killed themselves, most by swallowing a bottle of pesticide. This same pesticide—sold to them by giant agro-business transnational corporations like Monsanto—was supposed to translate into “high-yields” and net these farmers some profit. Instead, drowning in debt, these farmers took their own lives. In fact, this tragic statistic is probably inaccurate. Women, who do most of the work on farms in India, were not counted as “farmers,” so their suicides were not classified as “farmer suicides”. Why rehearse this horribly tragic Indian tale? Some people are convinced that genetically modified seeds are the way of the future and we should all bow down before giants like Monsanto. But before bowing down before these filthy rich agribusiness giants, we should take a good look at what it is we are about to worship. We’re on the brink of welcoming a modern colonial force. They strategically monopolize seed stock, tie farm production to pesticide and herbicide use, and go all out to prevent us from labeling their products (thereby denying consumer choice).

“On January 31, 1980, El Quiché literally flamed up into the world’s consciousness when thirty-seven Mayan peasants occupied the Spanish embassy in Guatemala City to call attention to the violence being inflicted on their communities. Guatemalan security forces stormed the embassy, provoking an inferno that killed all but one of the protesters, as well as embassy staff members and others trapped inside the building. Among the dead was the father of the future Nobel Peace Prize-winner Rigoberta Menchu. That night the sole surviving Indian protester was kidnapped from his hospital bed and killed. His corpse was flung onto the campus of the University of San Carlos, the national public university, before dawn. “The massacre in the Spanish embassy precipitated an international outcry, and Spain broke off diplomatic relations with Guatemala. Not long afterward, a campaign of terror against the Catholic Church that wouldn’t abate for years was launched throughout the misty mountain towns, villages, and hamlets of El Quiché, which was populated mostly by Maya. In the departmental capital, Santa Cruz, the seat of Bishop Gerardi’s diocese, the mutilated corpses of two Church catechists were discovered hanging outside a small radio station. Convents were strafed with machine-gun fire and attacked with grenades. As the fighting against guerrillas intensified in el antiplano, the mountainous central highlands, the Army seized and occupied church buildings, parish houses, and convents, turning them into barracks and interrogation and torture centers. Statues of saints were draped in military camouflage and olive green, as if to remind parishioners to whom they really owed their obedience, at least if it was earthly salvation they sought. The Spanish priest from the village of Chajul, in the Ixil Triangle, was ambushed and murdered. In Joyabaj, Father Faustino Villanueva was assassinated at his desk.”

The circumstances under which the Guatemalan Foreign Minister did not show up in Washington for an Organization of American States (OAS) meeting Sunday with a Belize delegation led by Belize’s Foreign Minister, Hon. Wilfred Elrington, constitute disrespect to Mr. Elrington and, by extension, disrespect to Belize. As far as we know, this is the very first time such a violation of diplomatic protocol has taken place when talks between Guatemala and Belize have been held through the years. This disrespect is, however, not surprising to the Belizean people, because we know that this is how the Guatemalan government and ruling classes feel about us Belizeans – that we are inferior to them. Nevertheless, the disrespect to Belize on the OAS stage was a mistake by the Guatemalans, because in the regional capitals and corridors of power this is how it will be viewed. In Belize, on the other hand, there has been a disconnect between Minister Elrington and the Belizean people since he made some controversial statements at the time of the signing of the compromis in December of 2009, and then refused to withdraw those statements or adequately explain them. Because of that disconnect, the Belizean people have not reacted to Sunday’s disrespect with the vitriol one would have expected. To an extent, some Belizeans appear to feel that Minister Elrington got what he was looking for.

The Amandala sports desk joins the basketball and sporting community in expressing our sincere condolences to the relatives, friends and teammates of basketballer Ronald Rivers who recently passed away, two weeks after being shot in the face while repairing his vehicle at a gas station in Belize City. Ronald was one of a group of National Basketball Team players who abruptly ended a visit to Guatemala after only one game, when it was discovered that the tournament’s logo had a map of Guatemala including Belize as a part of their territory. For Belize’s honor, sovereignty and territorial integrity, Ronald and the other national team members, despite their desire to play some tune-up matches in preparation for the Central American Games, decided to return with their dignity to the Jewel, only to have his life cut short by a gun in the hands of a misguided youth. We applaud the stand taken by our National Basketball Team members. Respect, and R.I.P., brother Ronald Rivers.

The National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA) held its high school softball Nationals on Friday and Saturday, March 15-16, at Rogers Stadium in Belize City, and it was pitchers Ashley Lucas of Nazarene girls and Konrad Gonzalez of San Pedro boys who stole the show with their outstanding performance, leading their teams to the national high school softball championship and securing MVP honors in the process. CODICADER Gold medalist Ashley Lucas was thoroughly dominant, and ably supported by her team, conceding only 2 runs total in the two games played. And young Konrad Gonzalez was a sensation with the female fans, as he struck out a tournament high 20 batters in two games played. With 4 female (F) and 4 male (M) high school teams representing the 4 country zones – North, Central, West and South, the tournament followed a simple knockout format, with Friday’s losers playing for 3rd place on Saturday, and Friday’s winners playing for the championship on Saturday. Representing the North were (F) Belize Rural High and (M) San Pedro High; Central had both (F) and (M) from Nazarene High; West was (F) Belmopan Baptist High and (M) Belmopan Comprehensive High; and South featured (F) Georgetown Technical High and (M) Independence High.

“I received word through Stephen Williams about developments with the Belize National Basketball team, competing in San José, Costa Rica. In yesterday’s game, Englebert Cherrington ‘blew out’ his left knee during the first quarter and had to receive surgery. Cherrington is recovering and is expected to be released from hospital today. Darwin Carter and Keith Acosta have also suffered injuries, and it is not certain if they will be able to play today.” Basketball official D. Lacey forwarded the above report to us last Friday, March 15, and things looked really bleak for our National Basketball Team. I had visited a workout session before they left for Costa Rica, and it was acknowledged from members of management that the team was severely handicapped by lack of any top level tournament in the country, as well as having to practice at the severely inadequate and undersized Birds Isle court. But, nevertheless, when we spoke to head coach Matthew Smiling today, he said the Belize team, despite their setbacks, made a heroic effort, and indeed, received a standing ovation after their last game against already acknowledged tournament champions Costa Rica. He said almost all the opposing players in the competition spoke with American accents (USA based), and Costa Rican fans had expected a “walk through the park” against Belize, after their team had beaten Nicaragua and Salvador by large margins.

The Belize Times

CORRUPTION on steroids
A newly-registered company purportedly owned by the Government of Belize to manage millions of tax payers’ dollars has already attracted a flock of UDP cronies like vultures preparing to sink their beaks into a fresh carcass. The company, first introduced by Prime Minister Dean Barrow during his lame Budget presentation on March 1st, is called Belize Infrastructure Limited. The purpose of the company is, as the PM claimed, to “create jobs, stimulate demand, purchase private sector material and supplies” in the construction market for and on behalf of the Government. While the issue of monopolising the sector will raise eyebrows among the private sector, the real controversy has to do with the company’s set up, which will see UDP cronies, who are already hired by the Government, benefit from the private ownership of public shares, and then more UDP politicos – including Ministers – being appointed as Directors and collecting salaries and huge perks. This deal stinks to high heaven of serial corruption! This is the mother of all scams. Endorsed by the Prime Minister and facilitated by UDP politicians and despots, the likes of UDP ambassador Mark Espat who did not forget to include his partner Paul Thompson in the ‘grabbings’. This deal is bound to test Belizeans’ tolerance for corruption which under the Barrow Administration has climbed through the roof. The BELIZE TIMES has obtained a copy of Belize Infrastructure Limited’s company documents filed into the Companies Registry on February 27th. It states that the company is “state-owned”. Yet, the shares are split between Joseph Waight, the Financial Secretary, and former UDP Secretary General Audrey Wallace, who is now the Chief Executive Officer in the Prime Minister’s Office. And then, the company has a slew of private individuals as Directors who are appointed by the Prime Minister. The Chairman is the incompetent Minister of Works, Rene Montero, followed by co-Chair, Minister of State Herman Longsworth, and Directors Joseph Waight, Audrey Wallace, Lennox Bradley, Allan Sharp and Paul Thompson. These directors will all collect monies for their “services” “from time to time”, including travelling and hotel expenses, salaries, percentage of profits or “otherwise” as the Directors themselves may determine. If your head isn’t spinning from the web of corruption, it will with the rest of shenanigans. The company documents state that its purpose is “to ...

Belize – Land of Opportunities
Belize likes to romance itself as a leader in conservation of natural resources and as an environmentally friendly nation. As proof… points to its large tracts of lands and sea that are under declared Protected Areas…with a plethora of laws that prohibit the harvesting of various species of fauna and flora. Any student of history knows that Prohibition, from time immemorial, has been proven to be the most ineffective and inefficient method for curbing human behavior and attitudes….especially when enforcement is next to impossible. Natural resources conservation and environmental protection should have a cost-benefit dimension. To increase the “PROFITS” from investments in natural resources conservation and environmental protection….one can either increase the output/production of the objects of conservation…..or decrease the costs/consumption. ALL of Belize’s conservation and environmental protection efforts have thus far been skewed on the cost side…in a failing attempt to limit, by legal prohibition, the harvesting of natural resources. The results are there for everyone to see….depleted fish, lobster, conch and shrimp stocks; depleted timber stocks, depleted game meat stocks, depleted bayleaf stocks, depletion of sapodilla posts and botan posts, etc., all valuable assets of utility in the livelihood of being BELIZEAN…..all in a country that is naturally blessed with rich water and land resources. The cost of this depletion has been most difficult on the lower income folks….because short supply has caused the prices of all these commodities to skyrocket. A single bayleaf that used to cost $0.10 in 1981 now cost $1.00 or more. A pound of fish that used to cost $1.25 in 1981 now cost $4.00 or more.

Guats abandon Oct. 6 referendum – Sedi says “Belize [is] prepared to accommodate Guatemalans”
Guatemalan officials have decided to abandon the special agreement signed with Foreign Minister Sedi Elrington in December 2008, in which the Ministers agreed to hold simultaneous referendums on the October 6th ...

Barrow’s $10M Mystery
The Budget Bill for the Fiscal Year 2013/14 has nothing in it for the Belizean people. It does have loads of goodies for UDP cronies and ghosts. The attention of the BELIZE TIMES was brought to ...

NO I.C.J. It’s official. There will be no I.C.J for Guatemala. Guatemala has been hinting and hinting, and last Sunday they made it official. Belize was requested to attend an urgent meeting on Sunday 17 March at OAS Headquarters in Washington (why is the Headquarters there and not in Mexico, Brazil or Venezuela?) Belize’s ...

Farrakhan 3rd Visit
By G. Michael Reid Belize was blessed with the third visit of Minister Louis Farrakhan this past week. Farrakhan is a very popular but also very controversial fellow. Though many folks love to sit and hear him speak, there is always something to be found in his message to make one ...

Taking Belizean for Stock: Behind the Budget Numbers (Part I)
While the verbose politicians will be deep in the bowels of the National Assembly presenting the single most important piece of law for the next twelve months, most average Belizeans will be more concerned about their failure to secure a room on San Pedro for Easter or what price fish ...

Barney Brown, Jim Scott & Salvador Alvarado win Weekend Warriors races
Team Scotia Bank’s Barney Brown, Team Santino’s Jim Scott and Team Zitro’s Salvador Alvarado won the A, B, ...

SP boys & Nazarene girls
The Nazarene High School girls remained undefeated as they clinched the high school softball championship by a 17-2 win by mercy rule against the Belize Rural High School ...

Independence girls & Camalote boys
The Independence Primary School girls won the national primary schools softball championships hosted by the National Sports Council at the home of softball Rogers’ Stadium on Friday, March 8. Independence’s ...

Brazen Daylight Shooting!
The broad daylight, open view and close proximity to a Police headquarters along Caesar Ridge Road were no deterrents to the shooting of 27 year old Ardon Belgrave, Belize’s most recent murder victim. Belgrave, an employee of the Belize City Council and resident of the same Port ...

Who do you know?
A couple years ago, I went on a trip to Chetumal with some family members. Upon arriving at the border, I was disappointed to see a line so long and thick that it looked like a huge concert was going on! I thought we had left out early enough to ...

Belize High School participates in Harvard Association forum
The Harvard Association Cultivating Inter-American Democracy welcomed the Belize High School Delegation from March 14, 2013 to March 17, 2013 for XIX Summit of the Americas in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. This is the first time Belize has been represented. Leading the delegation was Debate Club President ...

The National Sex Offender Registry
By Dr. Angela Banner Joseph The idea for a National Sex Offender Registry came from America with the enactment of “Megan’s Law,” which was implemented in 1996 and required states to establish sex offender registration and notification requirements. Under this law, states must release any relevant information about registered sex offenders ...

Belize – Land of Opportunities
By Richard Harrison Belize likes to romance itself as a leader in conservation of natural resources and as an environmentally friendly nation. As points to its large tracts of lands and sea that are under declared Protected Areas...with a plethora of laws that prohibit the harvesting of various species of fauna ...

Of this and that…
Blood Clothe Wow. Belize is really loose. There was a Jamaican poet. She came to Belize. The name of her show was a Jamaican cuss word. It is worse than the “f” word there. NICH slip down. Artistic freedom is one thing. Sensationalism is a tool. Artists use it. It ...

High school students get Reef Week outing
Some 40 students today got an opportunity to experience firsthand the magnificence of the Belize Barrier Reef. As part of its Reef Week activities, Oceana in Belize today took the students from Southside Belize City high school on an excursion to Caye Caulker and its nearby Marine Reserve. Led ...

SCALES OF JUSTICE: Interview with a Gunman!
By Anthony Sylvestre Jr. The first thing you noticed was the coolness in his face and his beaming smile. This perhaps explains how it is that although not even a full 25 years old, he had already fathered four children with four different women. His face contrasted his hands. They were rough, ...

Will Police’s new anti-crime strategy work?
Last week police released a flurry of crime statistics ahead of Commissioner Allen Whylie’s first media appearance since he took over the post from David Henderson in January. There were five more murders reported as of the ...

Obama cites Belize as Drug Zone
“Citizen security deteriorated countrywide in 2012… these threats will continue if more serious measures are not taken by Belize’s government” INSCR Report 2013 Belize City, March 19, 2013 U.S. President Barrack Obama has listed Belize as a major illicit drug producing, drug-transit, money laundering country for the third consecutive year. Obama’s ...

Lavender Mayor
What is going on in Belize? Someone should pinch us and tell us it is not true. Reports to the BELIZE TIMES are that Mayor Darrell Bradley is in another compromising position. This week in the Supreme ...

Dangriga Town Council Acquires New Equipment
The Dangriga Town Council Mayor Major (Ret’d) H. Gilbert Swazo has shared the good news with the BELIZE TIMES that his Council is expecting the arrival of newly-purchased equipment to carry out work in the municipality. Mayor ...

Contraband Sugar between Belize and Mexico
Mexican authorities have raised alarm over an increase in the contraband of sugar from Belize. Sugar industry officials in the neighbouring country say ...

Opposition concludes budget consultation
The Opposition PUP has done what the Barrow Administration failed to do. Met with a budget that perpetuates unrealistic needs of Belize, the PUP has led a series of consultation forums with various organisations and individuals ...

Placencia Land Grab compensation a done deal! UDP cronies paid $150,000
The UDP cronies who were given land in the protected Placencia lagoon six days before the 2012 election have already been compensated a total of $150,000 by the Ministry of Natural ...

Questions to Ministers
Can the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance say how much of the $10,000,000 spent by the Government in the fiscal year 2012/2103 for “Legal and Professional Advisory Services” was paid to the law firms: Barrow and Williams, Barrow and Co., and Young’s Law Firm? Can any of the two Ministers ...

PUP holds Referendum Education Campaign
The historic Independence Hall, the headquarters of the PUP’s movement of nationalism and the struggle for Belize’s independence ...

PM ignores call for Land Reform
Dear Mr. Prime Minister, I am writing to you to request a meeting on what I, and other Belizeans, consider an urgent need for land reform, to take place on Tuesday of next week, March 12 2013. On Tuesday of last week, a group of around 150 Belizeans, led by the Belize ...

Dangriga Mayor raises concerns over stalled Market Project
Dear Mr. Raymond, I hereby respectfully register my concern and disappointment in regards to the progress made on the Belize Municipal Development Project (BMDP), the Dangriga Market Renovation and Extension Project which officially started in July 2012. This project is now officially ...

2 steps forward, 5 steps backward
Dear Editor, It is great news that the Football Federation of Belize has decided to play the international friendly with Trinidad’s national team at the FFB field in Belmopan. When I heard that the MCC would have been used because the FFB field had been reserved for an entertainment event that ...


A Serious Walk Around Caye Caulker, Belize and A Killer Jam Session: Part Two
Yesterday I posted the very beginning of my walk around Caye Caulker...about conch breasts, lunch at the Happy Lobster and a new spot. Shall we continue? I have about 200 more pictures so I’ll make this as brief as I possibly can! More pictures, less blabbing. On my way down to the split (the cut in the island that separates south/town from the must less populated northern side), I passed Caye Caulker’s night club, Oceanside. They have a small burger and hot dog stand on the side. I think these guys are affiliated with Wade the Gringo’s burgers here on Ambergris Caye. Yummy burgers, fries and nuggets that taste JUST like McDonald’s…some say better. If that’s true, why doesn’t this sign say so! That should be the #1 item on this list. Just a warning.

7 Popular Marketing Techniques For Small Businesses
Hooray for Free Advertising When you build a business, the first thing you want to secure is a customer base. With a decent printer, an answering machine and an average computer, you can put together a fairly extensive advertising campaign without having to pay for space. 1. Flyers This is the carpet-bombing method of cheap advertising. You find an area that you would like to do business in and you distribute flyers to all the mailboxes within reach. Your flyer should be brief and to the point, highlighting the services you offer and providing contact information. Offering a free appraisal, coupon or discount never hurts. 2. Posters Most supermarkets, public spaces and malls offer free bulletin board space for announcements and advertisements. This is a hit or miss method, but you should try to make your poster reasonably visible and have removable tabs that the customers can present for a discount. Make each location a different color so that you can get an idea from the tabs where the most leads are being generated. If there is one area that is producing the majority of your leads, you can better target your campaign (flyers, ads in papers catering to those areas, cold calling, etc.)

“Almost There” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Enjoyed a really lazy morning yesterday on the beach in front of the condo we are renting . Time to reacquaint the skin with the sun and my eyes and brain with a book that I must have started reading at least a month ago. At 12.45 pm Rose and I went to pick up Kathi and Les, two friends that we first got to meet here on Ambergris Caye two years ago when we all on holiday. Kathi and Les are both originally from the UK but have lived in Canada for years and are here for a month long holiday and wanted to have a look at our build. So, we picked them up from their hotel and took them up to Tres Cocos and gave them a tour. After dropping them back at their hotel it was a quick turn-around for Rose and I to head back to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize for our 3 pm meeting with Daniel Camal our building contractor. We got there slightly early which gave me time to clamber up the scaffold ( I am getting quite good at it now and am starting to wonder if I missed my vocation in life!) to have a look at what the guys were doing on the roof. I should explain that if some of the photos look slightly weird it is because I never actually got on to the roof. I sat perched on the scaffold beside the roof.

UKYP Results are in
At the start of the month we brought to you the story of the UKYP election that 14-year-old Belizean Born Ramel Flores, who is in his fourth year at the Portstewart college, was running in the East Londonderry constituency. Well the results are in and here is the data for his division:

Guatemala refused to resume negotiations until Britain reduced its troop strength in Belize. It was not until 1975, after Belize’s election in late 1974 that the talks resumed. However, Guatemala’s position seemed to have hardened since they were demanding the cession of the southern quarter of Belize in return for recognizing the independence of the rest. This prompted the Belize government to embark on a radically new approach in which it would have to gain the support of the world to its independence. Therefore, the objectives of its internationalisation campaign were: 102 To gain the support of as many nations as possible for Belize’s early and secure independence with its territory intact; 103 To use this support to influence the negotiating process; 104 To secure a credible defense guarantee with troops stationed in Belize preferably with other nations joining the British, but failing that, putting more pressure on Britain to assume sole responsibility for Belize’s defense; 105 To exert pressure on Britain and the U.S.A. to fully respect Belize’s position. 106 With the support of CARICOM and the Commonwealth, Belize secured the support from the Non-Aligned Movement.

International Sources

Did we just have a 'rehearsal honeymoon?
A planned trip to Belize held extra meaning after we were engaged... The first signs of cold started to emerge in early October. The leaves of Ginkgo trees blanketed city sidewalks, and a misguided trip out of the house without a jacket drew immediate regret. Brrrr! Sam and I are self-proclaimed wusses when it comes to the cold and we were mourning the fact that another summer was undeniably over. We decided on a 10-day trip to Belize -- a country we literally plucked from one of those “50 places you must see before you die” books they have in the bargain section at Barnes and Noble. I was entranced by the promise of toucans, Mayan ruins and turquoise waters. Sam was focused on the average monthly temperature for March: 83 degrees.

Best Hotel Amenities When Traveling with Kids
With so many hotels around the world, sure, there are lots of choices to decide on. From the simplest hotel to the most luxurious and – the weirdest accommodation, travelers will never find it hard looking for a place to stay. For those who are on a tight budget, smaller hotels are suitable options. Meanwhile, 4 and 5 star hotels offer the best possible amenities to their guests. What are amenities? These are cool features offered to the hotel guests to make their stay more comfortable and enjoyable. Traveling with kids is a different kind of getaway. As compared to traveling alone, wherein you just have to take care of yourself, having kids as companion requires extra attention. Being aware of their needs and wants can make the entire travel experience – FUN. Be sure to check out the most awesome amenities for the little ones. Shuttle Service Many hotels offer shuttle ride from and to the airport. Look for accommodation that offers this type of service. Sometimes, it is more practical to ride in a shuttle than taking a cab or a train. Riding in a cab means spending extra money – and it is not usually cheap. Aside from money-saving, riding in a shuttle eliminates the hassle of transferring from one transportation to another. This could be tiring for the kids. Some hotels include the shuttle service in the travel package. With a shuttle, you no longer have to be in queue to get to your hotel. This service definitely spells convenience.

Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
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Maruba Beach Klub and Spa is the premiere Secret Beach spa and restaurant located on the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean Sea at the center of Secret Beach, Belize
First Class Accommodations for the Budget Traveler
First Class Accommodations for the Budget Traveler

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