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Today's Belize News: April 10, 2013 #462076
04/10/13 06:05 AM
04/10/13 06:05 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 73,452
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP


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The San Pedro Sun

Sale/Export of Harvested Rosewood to be allowed by GOB
The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, has determined that there is a supply of harvested rosewood available which had been harvested during the moratorium period. The Ministry has decided to carefully ascertain such a supply and to allow the sale/export of already harvested rosewood over the period 8th – 26th April, 2013 to avoid the complete loss of value. The Ministry reminds the public that the moratorium is still in effect and that it is illegal to harvest, transport, and trade in rosewood. Anyone found to be involved in the new harvesting of rosewood will be met with the full force of the law.

PUP Statement on Guatemala’s New Passport
On March 25, 2013 the People’s United Party (PUP) issued a statement rejecting Guatemala’s proposals regarding the Referendum process. Further to our stated position, at today’s meeting of the Party’s National Executive it was unanimously agreed that: 1. that a PUP government will not allow any person holding a Guatemalan passport which shows Belize as a part of that country to enter Belize. The Party also urges the present UDP Government to do the same. 2. that if Guatemala should persist with changing their passports to show Belize as part of Guatemala, then Belize should boycott the meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) to be held in Guatemala later this year. 3. that Belize should seek the support of friendly countries especially CARICOM to also boycott in solidarity with Belize. The PUP reiterates that Belize must remain steadfast in rejecting Guatemala’s unfounded claim and maintaining full support nationally and internationally for our territorial integrity.

SPHS dominate at Northern Regional Track and Field
San Pedro High School (SPHS) dominated in the Northern Regional Championship in Track and Field on Friday, March 22th. For SPHS Principal Emil Vasquez, the win is a great complement to the SPHS Male team winning the National Softball Competition on March 16th. The medalists who captured first and second place medals in the various games will move on to compete in the National Track and Field Championship.All members of the SPHS track and field team trained for quite some time to prepare for the games and will continue training even more for the nationals. The team participated in runs which included five and three kilometers, 1500, 800, 200 and 100 meter runs, 4 x 400, 4 x 200 and 4 x 100 meter relay runs. They also participated in shot put, discus throw and javelin. In the jump disciplines, the athletes participated in high, triple and long jumps. Both males and females competed at the junior and senior level.

San Pedro enjoys benefit of the two garbage compactors
In an interview with The San Pedro Sun, Bracket expressed his sincere gratitude for the donation made by the Taiwan Government, “these two compactors are making the job for the garbage men far more effortless. Garbage is disposed quicker than before. One more compactor would enable us to completely control our garbage problems.” As for the men driving and using the trucks, they cannot be happier. “The old truck used to get very hot and uncomfortable, this one is much better. The work is quick and less messy,” said driver Edmir Dominquez.

San Pedro and Placencia featured in The Boca Raton Observer
Two popular Belizean tourism destinations are featured in the February issue of “The Boca Raton Observer”. An award-winning lifestyle magazine from Boca Raton, Florida, USA, the magazine features everything from destination reviews to travelling advice. Focusing on two of Belize’s most popular destinations, The Observer highlighted San Pedro, Ambergris Caye and Placencia. The author of the article is Cheryl Blackerby, a writer and photographer from West Palm, Florida. Blackerby has based many of her works on tropical destinations including the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. Many of her stories are frequently featured in such magazines as The New York Times, The Miami Herald and The Houston Chronicles. Blackerby also held the position of executive editor, writer and photographer for “Destination Belize” in 2010. In the article, Blackerby refers to Belize as “a tropical oasis framed by two great beach towns and linked by one dazzling barrier reef.” The article highlights the characteristics that make San Pedro and Placencia so unique and different. “While San Pedro is chardonnay and Champagne, Gucci and Rolex, Placencia is beer and rum, backpacks and disdain for keeping track of the time.” Blackerby’s article focuses on the tropical and modern amenities of the destinations.

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Driver’s License Revamped
The San Pedro Driver’s License and Driver’s License Permit will have new look as of today, Tuesday, April 9, 2013. According to the San Pedro Town Council, the new licenses will be made of PVC and have a protective holographic film over them. The procedure for applying remains the same and the limit for renewal is three years only. A new feature added to the driver’s license is the insert of a "blood type". In case there is an emergency, it makes it easier for doctors, nurses and even police officers to identify the person’s blood type. First Issue - $60.00 Renewal - $60.00/year (3 years max.) Endorsement - $40.00 Duplicate/Replacement - $40.00 Learner's Permit - $40.00

Sanpedrano Gringo Features Ambergris Caye, Belize in New Book
The first Sanpedrano ‘Gringo’ to feature San Pedro in the opening of his book “Kumshaw” was Tom Kirkpatrick of Jacksonville Florida/San Pedro. However, fresh out of the printers on February 2013 is the book “Island of the Son” a Belizean Journey by Sanpedrano Gringo Stephen “Steve” Krueger, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A. and raised as a teenager in San Pedro, Belize. At the age of 14, Steve’s father, Lother Krueger, uprooted his family in the United States and moved to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye to build El Pescador Hotel. “Island of the Son” is an intense story of their complicated journey through Mexico and into Belize. Steve captures the dramatic events of his family’s adventure in building and adapting to San Pedro, as well as his personal involvement in high school life, social life, involvement as a goalie in soccer, his teenage romances, and even an episode in trying to become a local skin diver fisherman.

Children's Book “My Body is Precious” To be Launched
The office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation will be launching a children’s book entitled “My Body is Precious”. It is becoming increasingly important to discuss the sensitive subject of Sexual Abuse of Children. Recognizing that it is not an easy conversation to have, my office partnered with the Ministry of Human Development and with assistance from UNICEF, we were able to produce 30,000 copies of the child-friendly “good touch, bad touch” booklet to be distributed countrywide. “My Body is Precious” is part of a national public information campaign on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and follows successful symposiums hosted by my Office in August 2010 and October 2011. The book, which targets children between the ages of 6 and 10 years, will assist parents who have a hard time talking about the Sexual Abuse of Children while teaching children what to do if they are touched inappropriately. We hope that this book will ultimately contribute to the prevention of sexual abuse and exploitation of children as well as an increase in perpetrators being reported and convicted.

Destination Weddings - Get Married in a Belizean Designer Original Gown
Joris Hendrik is a Belizean fashion designer from the Maya Mountains creating visionary clothing with an experimental approach to the form. He has been described as a Caribbean avant-garde high-end fashion designer based in Belize. His latest wedding gowns have just been featured on the Belizean News Exchange Magazine in a center spread. Miss Belize Destinee Arnold was chosen to model the wedding gowns against the magnificent background of Butterfly Falls in Mountain Pine Ridge area. Locations like this one are what make destination weddings in Belize so attractive and have given rise to their popularity in the country. Wedding planners and photographers are arranging wedding packages at Belize’s most exotic locations with include various Maya Archeological Sites, sandbars in the middle of the sea, private and/or secluded islands, aboard sailing boats/catamarans, caves, exotic resorts and at the base of waterfalls like this one. Butterfly Waterfall is nestled in the 7,200 acre private forest reserve of the Mountain Pine Ridge and accessible only to guests of the Hidden Valley Inn.

More Strange Home Remedies used in the Village Of San Pedro
Home remedies have existed since time immortal, since biblical times and throughout time even when there were doctors dealing with illnesses and disease. The last time we learned how to stop a severe bleeding, stop the pain of a large wound or nail puncture, and even ease a severe toothache. So what’s up for this week for our interesting home remedies?

Misc Belizean Sources

More Sawdust Art Project Pictures
You just can't see too much of the amazing Sawdust Art Project pictures. Why is this only once a year? Benque really has some great culture events happening during Holy Week.

Lucky 5 Live Music Jam
Lucky 5 was the scene again this weekend for some great live music from In Bloom, Barefoot Skinny, and the World Culture Band. What a night!

Boise State Visits Belize Zoo
Boise State University, which has 'The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw' as it's campus read for 2012 -2013, got to visit the Belize Zoo. Looks like they had a great time seeing the zoo, which, along with Sharon Matola, is a big part of the book. "Although the Zoo was closed to the public, Sharon and her staff graciously opened the zoo for our group and provided a guided tour which included many behind the scenes areas. Below are a few photos of our memorable visit to the Belize Zoo. Our Pat the Great Cat team presented Sharon their education trail materials they prepared for the community fair"

SI United in 4th Place
The San Ignacio United FC are in the top 4 of the Premier League. Still in 4th place after the loss to the Police FC this weekend. Best of luck in the last 3 games before the semi-finals. "Remember only 4 teams will advance to semi-finals. San Ignacio FC is in 4th place with only 3 games left. Go San Ignacio!!!"

UB Central Farm Employment Project
The University of Belize is launching the Institutional Partnership Component of the CARICOM Education for Employment Project this Thursday at 9:30am at the Central Farm campus. It's a huge 3 year project that supports agricultural development all over Belize, and Cayo especially. Thanks, Caricom! "The three-year $1.63M/BZ project, funded by the Canadian government through the Canadian International Development Agency ($0.88M), a consortium of Canadian Community Colleges ($0.47M) and the University of Belize ($0.28M), is part of a Canadian initiative to support regional education and agricultural development. Its primary goal is the promotion of regional economic growth through training a competitive labour force that can respond to growth opportunities in various sectors. The project is designed to strengthen the program at the University’s Central Farm Campus through the establishment of a competency based curriculum that is responsive to the needs of local industry. The UBCF program also seeks to encourage students to pursue opportunities to for self-employment."

Simple Alfredo Sauce
My daughter Jada loves to cook for her friends, so she learned how to make things simple. This Alfredo Sauce is very simple but tasty. Normally we make it with Parmesan Cheese, but it tastes way better with Dutch Cheese.

Channel 7

Rosewood Amnesty: GOB Giving Green Light To Those Who "Ran Red"
Last night PLUS TV out of Belmopan broke the news that thousands of board feet of confiscated Rosewood were on the move from the Forestry Department Compound in the Capital. Valencia’s trucking out of Orange Walk had been hired to haul the logs – where to, no one knows for sure. But late this evening, Government sent out a release saying that it has a plan for all that Rosewood – and it’s a controversial one. Forty minutes ago, the Government release was issued; it says, quote: “The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development has decided to allow the sale/export of already harvested rosewood over the period 8th – 26th April, 2013 to avoid the complete loss of value.” The release does not say who will benefit from the proceeds from the sale, if it will derive to government, or to the red-light running exporters, or whether, as some sources suggest, it will be shared. According to our information, Government at one point entertained the plan to act as seller and export the Rosewood, presumably to China where it fetches top dollar. Under that plan, Government would then receive the proceeds of those sales - and this is the controversial part – then share that money in an even split with the companies it was confiscated from – companies such as Kambokin that had two twenty foot containers confiscated from a compound near the customs department in January of this year. Again, that is just a report, and the release gives no indication of what the revenue arrangement will be – in fact, it lends itself to the interpretation that the owners – form whom it was confiscated – will be doing the exporting.

Bus Driver Fights Off Ice-Pick Attack
A Belize City Bus Driver was viciously attacked with an ice-pick while doing one of his routine runs over the weekend. The incident played out in front of his passengers on Saturday evening around 5:30. According to Eldon Chiac, he stopped his bus in front of Social Security on Princess Margaret Drive to drop off some passengers – when a man identified to him as 26 year old Candelario Lemus entered his bus and attacked him with an ice pick. Chiac managed to escape from his bus while Lemus grabbed approximately $275.00 that was in a compartment inside the bus. Lemus then got on his bicycle and rode away towards Coney Drive. It didn’t end there because Chiac got into his bus and followed Lemus – while at the same time he called 911 for assistance. Candelario Lemus didn’t reach too far when police intercepted him near Heritage Bank. Today 7news caught up with the Belize City bus driver who gave us his story play by play. He asked to appear off camera for his own safety. Voice of: Eldon Chiac - Belize City Bus Driver "Well it happened on Saturday around 5:30 p.m., and as I mentioned before I stopped by the bus stop to pick up some passengers infront of Social Security. After all the passengers came in, I just saw a young man ran inside the bus, right beside me and he held me on my shoulder. He had a high stick on his right hand and then the man tried to stab me, attempted to stab me then I was trying to defend myself to prevent him from stabbing me. So, he finally stroke me with a stab but I managed to hold his hand.

Man Found Beaten and Bloody
This morning at around 8:30, a child was startled a badly beaten man lying in a bloody mess behind his yard. He told his parents who called the police. He was apparently suffering from a variety of wounds. Police rushed him to the hospital in the pan of a police pickup. Though badly beaten, he was able to walk into the emergency room with the help of police officers. Best information we could gather form the neighborhood is that that the man 31 year old Leonel Ramos of central American Boulevard had been drinking on Mahogany street and walked back to Tibruce street late last night with a male friend who lived in the area. He appears to have been robbed and beaten. Police say he didn’t have any life threatening injuries.

PUP Says Hasta La Vista to Guats With Offensive New Passport
For the past few weeks, we’ve been reporting on the new Guatemalan map which would depict Belize as a part of their territory, separated only by a single dotted line, to indicate the ongoing dispute between both countries about Belize’s territorial sovereignty. The map is scheduled to be printed in books by the Guatemalan Ministry of Education to be used in its schools, and more significantly than that is that this map will become the image on the upcoming Guatemalan passports – millions of them which are tendered to be printed. This image which shows Belize as part of Guatemalan territory has caused outrage in the Belizean public, and today, the People’s United Party issued their position on actions that the country and the Government of Belize should take to protest its use. This evening, Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, one of the deputy leaders of the party, spoke to us about those actions that they propose that GOB should take. Here’s how she explained it: Hon. Dolores Balderamos-Garcia - Deputy Party Leader, PUP "In discussion with our executives, we unanimously agree that first of all, a PUP Government will of course refuse to accept a Guatemalan Passport showing Belize as a part of Guatemala. And we would not allow entry into our country to any person holding such a passport showing Belize as a part of Guatemala and we would want to urge the present UDP Government to do the same because we believe that defending our territorial integrity and our nationality is of extreme importance. We also are saying that should Guatemala persist in issuing passports showing Belize as a part of the Guatemalan map, then Belize as a principled position, should refuse to attend the meeting of the Organization of American States which is slated to take place in Guatemala this year. Because we believe that we would be lending support of a mockery of our territorial integrity. Then thirdly, as a consequence of that we would be lobbying friendly countries especially CARICOM where we get the base of the international support for Belize and of course other friendly countries not to confine ourselves to CARICOM but we would like for Belize to lobby friendly countries to stand in solidarity with us and to also boycott that meeting. Belize has always respected the process, we have always participated in the process, we have always bent over backwards to make sure that we as a country are doing our part to put unfounded claim by Guatemala behind us." As we’ve reported, season observers have said that Guatemala has stepped up its campaign to maintain a strong legal position leading up to these simultaneous ICJ referendums in both countries".

Butane Prices Inching Down
The price of Butane – or as it is properly known, LPG – is slowly going down. Government has approved a three-dollar decrease in the price of a hundred pound cylinder – that is after a one dollar decrease a month ago. So, that means that the price of a hundred pound cylinder is now $113.00 in the city, 115 in Belmopan and San Ignacio, $116.00 in Benque, 114.00 in Orange Walk, $113.00 in Corozal, $117.00 in Dangriga and $118.00 in Punta Gorda.

Too Much Violence Portrayed in Media?
Is there too much violence in the media? And is there too much blood and gore depicted on the evening news? Is there too much violence in society? And is it affecting children? In a country where the murder rate is among the top 5 in the world, and in a city with possibly the second or third highest murder rate in the world, behind only Juarez, Mexico and San Pedro Sula, those are relevant questions. So with all this violence, is the media reflecting or directing it? Indeed, that is a question which we grapple with very regularly – and that’s what a visiting Jamaican sociologist, Dr. Leith Dunn is discussing in a series of lectures and presentations in Belize. Today she had a meeting with the media – a meeting, which we should note was poorly attended. She said portrayals of violence do affect children: Dr Leith Dunn - Sociologist/Senior Lecturer/Head of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies UWI "We're saying that it's not that you should have censorship, but you need to avoid sensationalism. And what we have observed online and in the print is that you have images and texts for the least common denominator, the gore, the blood, and all of that, which violates basic rights, and basic principles of international standards of journalism. It says that we need to dialogue with our media owners, and our advertisers. We need to do a lot of research, and not assume that this is what the audience wants. We need to think about the impact of this on our children, the wider society and the economy."

Prisoners Caught With Weed
Inmates 24 year-old Orel Leslie and 41 year-old Floyd Anthony are facing drug trafficking charges tonight after police conducted a sweep of their prison cell and allegedly found a large quantity of drugs. According to police the bust occurred on Saturday, April 6, 2013 inside the remand section of the prison where 2 two men and another share a cell. A search was conducted in a locker inside the cell, and the officers found 3 separate packages of cannabis containing a total of 545 grams – or 1.2 pounds.

Prison Will Sue
A week ago, 7News told you about the group calling itself the Belize Central Prison Employees Correlation, who is challenging the management of the Kolbe Foundation, the private managers of the prisons. As we reported, their main grievance is that the management has reportedly been terminating too many employees without due process, and it has driven them to produce a video which highlights this and a number of other issues, which they’ve posted on Facebook. An attorney representing the Kolbe Foundation CEO, John Woods, wrote to the lead member, Herman Blease, warning him that the organization has been engaging in a defamation campaign, but this warning did not shake their resolve. Well, tonight, 7News has confirmed that the Belize Central Prison is in consultation with their attorneys and a decision is imminent as to whether or not they will take legal action against Blease and the Employees Correlation. We spoke to Prison CEO, Earl Jones, who told us that all the materials that the organization has released to the public has been handed over to their attorneys, which included that documentary, and pamphlets which the organization’s members continue to produce other pamphlets.

Compromis: A Slight Return
In the past weeks – we’ve heard lots about moving the date of simultaneous, bi-national referendum on going to the ICJ. Guatemala’s leaders are under political pressure because they say the process will cost over 50 million US dollars in their country- and the public doesn’t want to hear that. They also say that Belize’s referendum law –amended in early 2008 to enact a 60% thresh-hold is too difficult to meet. But, in 2008 – when that law already existed, the Guatemalans had no such complaint when they signed the special agreement. Tonight, for context on all this back and forth about moving the date of the referendum, we re-visit that signing which took place at the AOS Headquarters in Washington DC. Jules Vasquez was there for the historic event on Monday, December 8, 2008 and here’s his report filed the following day. Jules Vasquez Reporting, Monday started with a breakfast meeting for the Foreign Minister and the Negotiating Team, led by Ambassador Fred Martinez with PUP representative Eamon Courtenay and his UDP counterpart Dianne Haylock. After that hour long prep and review session, it was unto the OAS main building on Constitution Avenue in downtown Washington DC, within view of the imposing Washington Monument.

Channel 5

When minister’s away, the Rosewood Kings getaway
The harvesting of rosewood is illegal and there is a moratorium in place since March sixteenth, 2012, but that has not stopped the highly lucrative trade to markets in China, where there is a huge demand for the precious hardwood. On Monday afternoon, confiscated flitches of rosewood held at the Forestry compound in Belmopan were [...]

After rosewood taken from Forest Department, amnesty declared?
But while there are certainly more questions than answers, the clouds are beginning to clear away from what is actually taking place on the rosewood scene. This afternoon a release from the Forest Department, sans official letterhead, declared that an amnesty period is in effect for rosewood harvested before March fourteenth, 2013. The release states [...]

Do you believe there is official involvement in the illegal harvesting of rosewood?
And tonight’s question is: Do you believe there is official involvement in the illegal harvesting of rosewood? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote on our e-poll at You can also send an email with your comments to [email protected]

Butane prices drop
There is some good news tonight that will affect households across the country. The price of butane is going down significantly effective this Wednesday. A release from the Supplies Control Unit says that prices are going down by three dollars when you buy a hundred pound cylinder. The lowest prices are for Belize City and [...]

Not dead, but Lionel Ramos badly beaten
Earlier today, there was information circulating of a murder on the streets of the Old Capital. And while we can say that there was no life lost to the street violence, a man was severely beaten and left for dead on the street. Lionel Ramos was found lying on a boardwalk behind a house on [...]

Unions deal dependent on Petroleum find
Last Friday, the Unions’ Joint Negotiation Team met with G.O.B. and received a counterproposal to their counterproposal, and even though word was that the unions were to have issued a release, they have remained absolutely silent. But tonight, News Five has gotten some details of government’s counterproposal. From what we can see, government is buying [...]

P.U.P. government would say no to Belize on Guatemala passport
The National Executive of the People’s United Party met this morning. It took a decision in respect of the new Guatemalan passports which are causing a firestorm among Belizeans.  As it stands, the Guatemalan government is proposing to print four million passports over the next ten years. But what is irking Belizeans is that the [...]

Charged with drug trafficking
Three Belize City men, on pretrial detention for separate charges, were arraigned in the Magistrate’s Court today for joint possession of marijuana.  Twenty-four year old Orel Leslie, on remand for the murder of former Belize Defense Force soldier James Noralez, and forty-one year old Floyd Anthony, who is behind bars for drug trafficking, appeared before [...]

UWI’s media workshop on portrayal of violence
A media workshop was held at the University of the West Indies today in Belize City under the auspices of their alumni association. The association intends to become a catalyst for social awareness and to change the portrayal of violence through the media. Belize is one of the most murderous countries in the region and [...]

Sociologist says violence on the media has adverse effects on the psyche
But does the reporting of crime contribute to the increase in violence? Do the communities in which the youth of today live also influence their character and their actions? What about video games and uncensored music? Doctor Dunn says the exposure of violence on the media has an adverse effect on the psyche of our [...]

McDonalds & Subway now hiring Belizeans for Canada
Having an opinion about a topic is easy, but finding a job is one of the most difficult tasks a person can be presented with. According to the Statistical Institute of Belize September 2012 Labor Market Survey; sixteen point one percent of the population is unemployed. In other countries, there is a shortage of people [...]

Cycling elections result protested
The Belize Cycling Association is currently having elections in each district to usher in a new board. The incumbent president, Emil Moreno won the western zone on Sunday, but there is already a protest against the results of the elections. The president of the Belize Olympic Committee, Hilly Martinez, has confirmed receipt of the protest.  [...]

Burning the cane; the real ‘Farmville’ story
The sugar industry remains one of the single most important industries.  At least one hundred tons of sugar is produced annually both for export and for the local market. Last October American Sugar Refinery acquired majority shares of the Belize Sugar Industries, and by and large, the industry is improving with better quality and better [...]


Police News
Quick police response led them to the capture of an ice pick armed robber in Belize City. The victim of the robbery, Eldon Chiac, a bus driver of Belize City reported that on Saturday he was driving a yellow mini bus on Princess Margaret Drive and that around 5:30 p.m after passe...

Home of Bank Employee Burglarised
A burglary has been reported on Vasquez Avenue in Belize City. The owner, a forty year old Commercial Loans Officer told police that sometime between 3:00 p.m on Monday April 1st, and 4:00 p.m on Sunday April 7th, a number of items including electronics, perfume, liquor, jewelery...

Man On Remand Charged With Drug Trafficking Following Discovery In His Prison Cell
Twenty-four year old Orel Leslie, one of three men remanded on a charge of murder, was one of three inmates who have been charged with drug trafficking, as a result of three separate quantities of cannabis that were reportedly in the locker of their cell. The others are 41 year old Flo...

Butane Prices Decrease
The price of a hundred pound cylinder of butane has decreased by three dollars. The new price comes into effect tomorrow. In Belize City the price is $113.00, $114.00 in Orange Walk, $115.00 in Belmopan and San Ignacio, $116.00 in Benque Viejo, $117.00 in Dangriga and $118....

Upgraded Park and Beach Reclamation To Be Completed In June
Meanwhile, in a matter of two months, the BTL Park will be ready to accommodate residents with a much more aesthetically pleasing environment. Mayor Bradley says that the seawall and reclamation aspect will be completed in two weeks and the whole park should be ready in time for ...

Consruction Works To Start At Belmopan Market; Vendors Unhappy
The Belmopan City Council has announced that due to work that is soon to commence in the market area, vendors will have to be temporarily relocated. The venue selected is the show grounds in Belmopan but some of the vendors are not in agreement. Earlier today a group of the...

Re: Today's Belize News: April 10, 2013 [Re: Marty] #462078
04/10/13 06:06 AM
04/10/13 06:06 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 73,452
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

More News: Scroll up from here


Government Awards 19 Days Amnesty For The Sale And Exportation of Precious Rosewood
With so many question marks, the Government of Belize decided to issue a press release late this evening announcing the sale and export of harvested Rosewood. The release does not say much and many questions are still left unanswered. It sates and we quote “The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, has determined that there is a supply of harvested Rosewood available which had been harvested during the moratorium period. The Ministry has decided to carefully ascertain such a supply and to allow the sale/export of already harvested rosewood over the period 8th – 26th April, 2013 to avoid the complete loss of the value. That’s it, plain and simple. Where the rosewood will be exported to, who the buyer is and for how much it will be sold is not mentioned in the release. Reports to CTV3 News are that at one point Government was looking at the possibility of becoming the agents of the rosewood and exporting the product to China. Now, here is the controversial part. Monies obtained from the sale would be split with the companies the precious wood was confiscated from including companies such as Kambokin that had two twenty foot containers confiscated from a compound near the customs department in January of this year. Again, this report has not been confirmed. The 19 day amnesty on rosewood exports will allow all those who have illegally extracted rosewood during the moratorium to bring out their fitches from hiding in order for them to be exported.

Family Of Eight Year Old Needs Financial Assistance
As parents we all wish for our children to be in the best of health at the same time realizing that they are exposed to various diseases which often at times are our closest neighbors. Meet 8 year old Owen Palma who was born on the 23rd of December 2004. He lives with his family at Joseyito Layout in Corozal Town. In April of 2012, he started experiencing pain on the right side of the back. A visit to the doctor confirmed what Owen’s mother feared the most, her son was suffering from kidney stones. Since the diagnosi,s the family has been battling with the sickness which often at times proves painful for little Owen. Today we spoke to Palma’s aunt, Suzanne Vasquez, who told us more about her nephew’s illness. Suzanne Vasquez-Owen Palma’s Aunt “Pues su problema de él es su riñón que tiene un ano que empezó, yo soy su tía de él, y ya tiene un ano que se quejaba de dolor de espalda y empezó a orinar sangre y entonces me hermana lo llevo en Corozal Hospital y le empezaron a dar tratamiento para el dolor y pues le calmaban el dolor y se le iba la calentura y después cuando le regresaba la calentura y el dolor lo mandaron a Orange Walk y le hicieron un ultra sonido, este que tengo, y allí vieron que tiene piedra en su riñón y después lo mandaron a Belice y lo chequearon que si está mal sus dos riñón, un pedazo estaba negro y se lo rasparon y cuando lo abrieron para quitarle la piedra corío la piedra en el otro riñón y es ese el problema el otro lado del riñón que esta la piedra porque siempre tiene dolor y le tengo que meter un tubo para que su sistema empiece a trabajar y empiece a trabajar bien.”

Orange Walkenos Head Out To Aguas Turbias
The Belize Territorial Volunteers is on the move again. Over the weekend leader of the group, Wil Maheia led an expedition to the Southern Border and tonight word is that the group will soon head out to the southern, western and northern part of the border where Belizean flags will be planted as sign of territorial ownership. The southern expedition will be led by Meheia, the western venture will be coordinated by Nancy Marin and the northern expedition will be headed by Orlando De la Fuente who will lead the willing to Aguas Turbias National Park specifically to the monument that marks the boundary for Belize, Mexico and Guatemala. It’s Belize’s northernmost border with Guatemala and De la Fuente told us what the group hopes to accomplish with the expedition. Orlando De La Fuente, Belize Territorial Volunteers “The expedition is to commemorate the 1859 boundary treaty signed on April 30th between her majesty and the Republic of Guatemala, so we are taking an expedition there to mark that event. Hipolito Novelo – Reporter “And would this be the same effort as the last expedition? Orlando De la Fuente, Belize Territorial Volunteers “It is very much in line with what Wil Mejia is doing in the south and we are doing the same here in the north. It’s going be like an hour and a half to the Mexican border where it will be the staging area and the Mennonites from Blue Creek, some of them are joining us and they will be providing tractors and trailers and a very reasonable cost which will be billed for fifteen dollars per person, we will board the bus from Blue Creek to the Mexican border and then we are going on a trial ten kilometres to the Aguas Turbias monument. The activities will start off with a prayer, we are going to sing the National Anthem and we are going to plant the Belizean flag on the Belize side and we are also taking a plaque because the monuments is represented by three countries and only two have plaques on it Belize does not have a plaque so we have ordered two plaques actually because Belize has two sides of the monument and so we are taking one for sure and we are going to install there and we will do some clearing but will not demarcate the border and we will clear a survey line just eat of the border anywhere from two to ten meters inside Belize and we will clear all along the border with Guatemala.”

Izak Chan Back In Court For Retrial After Sentenced To Eight Years For Rape
Twenty one year old Izak Chan was charged for rape on September 30th 2010. One year an eight months after, on May 31st 2012 to be exact, the 21 year old was found guilty of rape by a jury of 12 and was sentenced to eight years in prison by Judge Dennis Hanomansingh. Today Chan was back in the Supreme Court for retrial after the Courts of Appeal accepted his application to appeal the case. Chan is now being represented by Attorney Dickie Bradley while the Crown Council is being represented by counsels Shanice Lovell and Sabita Majarah. Even though Chan appeared before Justice Herbert Lord this morning, the retrial did not commence since Attorney Dickie Bradley requested that the case be adjourned to the Month of May 2013 in order for him to prepare for the case. Bradley also requested that Chan be granted bail since he was on bail for the first trial and abided by all the conditions imposed on him. Crown Counsel Shanice Lovell objected to bail and after several arguments it was agreed that that the matter of whether Chan will receive bail or not will be determined on April 23rd 2013.

Movement Of Tons Of Confiscated Rosewood Raises Eyebrows
There is major and alarming news coming out of Belmopan tonight as it refers to the movement of tons and tons of confiscated Rosewood. Now, we all know that here in Belize the illegal exportation of Rosewood has become a lucrative business. Despite a moratorium set in place last year, it is believed that the attempts to smuggle the precious wood, has not seized and probably all that has changed is that the smugglers have become craftier. Yesterday alarms went off when the confiscated fitches were being moved despite the fact that Minister of Forestry Lisel Alamilla is out of the country and so is Chief Forest Officer Wilbur Sabido. Footage captured by Plus T.V in Belmopan shows the rosewood being uploaded on these trucks with Orange Walk License plates. Our investigations have revealed that both trucks are registered to one Wilbert A Valencia of Valencias Trucking located in the Village of San Jose Nuevo Palmar in Orange Walk. CTV3 News understands that the trucking company was hired by one Raul Cawich, a Custom Broker whose office is located at the Northern Border. Reports suggest that Wilbert Valencia was contacted by Cawich who ordered that both trucks be sent to the Forest Department in Belmopan to pick up the rosewood.

P.U.P Weighs In On The Issue Of Guatamala's New Passports
On March 28th we reported that the Guatemalan government had issued tenders for the printing of new passports. But that was not the meat of the report. What was is the fact that the map to be used on the front cover of the four million passports, to be printed over the next ten years, will include Belize as part of Guatemala. The only distinction will be a dotted line with the wording, “territory under dispute.” As mentioned before, it would not be the first time that the offensive image of Belize forming part of Guatemala would appear in official publications. Yesterday a Government representative spoke on the issue for the first time. According to C.E.O in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alexis Rosado, the ministry has notified the United Nations about Guatemala’s intentions. In an interview with Channel Five last night, Rosado stated and we quote “We spoke to the United Nations people and whereas they were in the process of discussing with Guatemalan officials the whole procurement procedures in order to help them, they were not aware at the time that there were any specifications. What has come to my attention is that there is a depiction of it somewhere in some of the documents. And it seems to show the Guatemalan map in bold and it has like a dotted line between Belize and Guatemala, but Belize is not included in bold as part of the whole Guatemalan territory” end of quote. Rosado went on to say that the Belizean Government is positive that the UN would never participate in something that would be offensive to one of its members, in this case Belize.

Butane Prices Reduced By $3.00
Tonight there is good news for consumers of Liquid Petroleum Gas as Government has approved a $3.00 decrease for the hundred pound cylinder. The prices are as follows. In Orange Walk $114.00, Corozal $113.00, Belize City $113.00, Belmopan and San Ignacio $115.00, Benque $116.00, Dangriga $117.00 and Punta Gorda $118.00. The new prices come into effect tomorrow.


New Rosewood amnesty
There is a new amnesty period for Rosewood harvesters, more than one year after a moratorium had been declared on the almost depleted specie. It is very interesting timing considering that PlusTV reported yesterday on the movement of confiscated flitches from the Belmopan Forestry Department compound. PlusTV received information...

Bus driver fights off attacker
A bus driver in the old capital found himself fighting for his life and money. On Saturday, around 5:30pm, bus driver Eldon Chiac, driving a yellow mini bus belonging to one of the City’s bus companies, was on a run on Princess Margaret Drive where he stopped to let...

Man badly beaten in Belize City
PLUS News today happened on a strange occurrence in Belize City – a man who was thought to be dead, is alive! But it’s not quite how that sounds. 31 year old Leonel Ramos of Central American Boulevard was out socializing on Monday night at a local Chinese shop...

All is not well with Belmopan market vendors
Market vendors are protesting the relocation of the Belmopan Farmers Market. Two weeks ago, we told you that the Belmopan City Council decided that the Tuesday and Friday market would be relocated from the Civic Center parking lot to the Agricultural and Trade Show grounds. This was after residents...

Placencia Village will soon open its pier and marina
Placencia Village will soon open its pier and marina to yachts and other sea vessels. The Village of Placencia is getting ready to make its mark in the tourism industry as one of the top destinations in Belize. Placencia can be accessed by air, land and sea; and with...

Nick Pollard Jr not in favour of ICJ
The effort to have Belize settle its territorial dispute with Guatemala at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) appears to be on life support after the Guatemalans continue to insist on postponing the October 6 referendum. But the public campaign goes on and today Nick Pollard Jr. spoke exclusively...

PUP state positions on new Guatemalan passport
The People’s United Party says it has had enough of Guatemala’s antics and is calling for severe action from the Belize Government. The Party’s National Executive met today, where among topics discussed was Guatemala’s recent proposal to include a map alluding that the country’s border with Belize’s border is...

Belize media under spotlight by visiting lecturer
The common complaint that local media, particularly television, overemphasize the blood and gore of daily murders and other incidents has galvanized efforts to regulate the content of news and other programs. Today the University of the West Indies Alumni Association Belize Chapter welcomed a lecturer, Dr. Leith Dunn, to...

Free surgery offered at Western Regional Hospital
The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with New Horizon Mission Group, is looking for at least 50 patients to participate in pre-screening clinics. The group is catering to families from Belmopan and surrounding areas of Belmopan, with financial constraints unable to finance medical conditions relating to the ear, nose...

Thatched house accidently catches fire
A wooden thatched house in Bella Vista Village went up in flames yesterday morning. But it’s seems that the cause of the fire was accidental, as an empty lot two blocks away, adjacent to the house, was being cleaned and so bushes on the property were being burned. It...


Family and friends are mourning the passing of 71-year-old Mathri Gomez, who died on Saturday, April 6, 2013. Gomez’ death has captured the attention of the community in Dangriga Town because it’s not the first time that the family has had to announce her death. It is a peculiar case — that of a woman being pronounced dead twice, but Gomez’ family said they call the first “resurrection” a miracle. Gomez was admitted into the Southern Regional Hospital last week; her medical condition was degenerating and it was decided by the family and hospital that she would be transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital on Wednesday, April 3. Gomez was to be transported by airplane to Belize City. However, upon arriving at the Dangriga airstrip, she had no pulse and the doctor pronounced her dead. She was then taken back to the Southern Regional Hospital, the family told us. One of her daughters, Vivian Gomez, who was present at the airstrip, said that the doctor had removed all machine connections from her mother’s body at the airstrip after she stopped breathing and covered her face. When they arrived at the hospital, the doctors tried once again to resuscitate Gomez, but to no avail. They then officially pronounced her dead.

Otto Perez Molina is accused of human rights atrocities while commander of troops in Salquil Grande, Nebaj, Quiche. During the first genocide trial in Guatemala’s history, in which former de facto ruler Jose Efrain Rios Montt (1982-1983) has been accused of human rights atrocities, Guatemala’s current president, Otto Perez Molina, was also named on Thursday, April 4, 2013, by Hugo Ramiro Leonardo Reyes, an ex-soldier, who alleged, via videoconference testimony, that Perez Molina had ordered soldiers to burn and loot villages, and execute indigenous tribes while he was commander of troops in Salquil Grande, Nebaj, Quiche. Reuters reported that Pérez Molina has immunity from prosecution because of his high rank in Guatemala. According to a posting on the website of the Guatemalan government, its defense minister, General Ulises Anzueto, has denied the allegations made in the hearing against Perez Molina by the protected witness in the genocide trial. The allegations, which the general said were inconsistent and unsubstantiated, are intended to impact the image of the president and the armed forces, he told Notimex.

Guatemalans have no respect for their side of the “Adjacency Zone” – much development on their side of the border in the restricted Zone, and the OAS knows this. “They are taking us for a joke,” says Wil Maheia. The Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) headed west to the Belize-Guatemala border over the weekend, in their second activity to begin the on-the-ground clearing of the border, which they contend will serve not just to show where Guatemala ends and Belize begins, but which they believe should also mitigate escalating incursions inside Belizean territory by Guatemalans who venture over to hunt, log, farm, and cut xate palm for sale on local and foreign markets. However, when the team of about 60 persons, ready with cutlasses to chop, arrived at the border, they found that the area had already been extensively developed for agriculture, with a road depicting where the border is located, so not much chopping was needed. “We couldn’t clear anything. Everything was already cleared,” BTV founder, Wil Maheia, told Amandala. Two officials of the Organization of American States (OAS) were there at the site, Maheia said. They had been asked to attend as observers.

Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the conservative peer who was prime minister when Belize got its Independence from Britain, is dead at age 87, a UK Parliament statement announced today. Official reports say that Baroness Thatcher, elected to serve as Britain’s first female prime minister in 1979, died on Monday, April 8, 2013, after suffering a stroke. She will receive a ceremonial funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral with military honors, said the British High Commission in Belize. After the service, she will be privately cremated. “All the arrangements being put in place are in line with wishes of Lady Thatcher’s family,” the Commission said. It also informed that a book of condolence will be open at the High Commission in Belmopan from Tuesday, April 9, until Friday, April 12, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

A father of three children, Jahmeel Richardson, also known as “Cash”, is fighting for his life at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after he was shot in his back and legs at about 1:00 on Good Friday morning, in a yard on Partridge Street Extension. His prognosis is grim. Doctors said that he may become paralyzed from his waist down. His family said that he is not moving and complains of pain. Police said that Richardson and a friend of his were relaxing in their yard when gunmen entered the yard from the rear and opened fire on them, hitting Richardson. The gunmen then ran off. Richardson’s friend rushed him to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where it was determined that his spine had been damaged.

Three persons, reported missing, have not yet been found. They are Hilmar Cal, 15, of Libertad, who went missing on Thursday, January 31; Mamerto Castillo, 87, missing since February 13; and Conrad Jones, 64, a retired inspector of police, missing since September 13, 2012. Hilmar Ical left home in Libertad to sell homemade bread in Corozal Town, and has failed to return home since, and no one seems to know where he is. Ical is described as being of Mestizo descent, with brown complexion; he is about 5 feet tall, of medium built and weighs about 85 pounds. Ical is now missing for 27 days. Marmerto Castillo, also known as “Don Mito,” of Yo Creek Village, Orange Walk, was last seen 14 days ago by his family, at about 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 13, when he left home to go for firewood in San Lazaro Village. To date, his whereabouts are unknown. Castillo was last seen wearing a light pink long-sleeved shirt and khaki long pants. The family said that Castillo has problems with his hearing, and is offering a reward of $400 for information leading to his successful recovery.

The brutal death of a Howler monkey in March this year stirred up some discontent among the Forest Department, animal lovers and citizens on a whole. On Friday, April 5, four students and a teacher, Angel Carillo, who allegedly convinced them to torture the animal, appeared in the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court. The four students, all minors, and Carillo were charged for illegal hunting. They were all granted bail of $1,000 each and are to reappear in court on June 26, 2013. According to the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), hunting means “to kill, take or molest by any method and includes attempting to kill, take or molest by any method any species of wildlife.” Reports are that the accused teacher showed the monkey to some students and it was decided that the animal would be captured.

After a flurry of mid-week games in two consecutive weeks, all of a sudden Week 11 is completed in the Premier League of Belize Closing Season, and only 3 weeks remain in the regular season, which will decide the coveted spot in the CONCACAF Champions League tournament. Belmopan Bandits are the defending champions, having won the Opening Season tournament by a 3-point margin over Belize Defense Force, their nearest rival in the current Closing Season. According to the standings in the present Closing Season at Week 11, the Bandits lead BDF by 6 points, giving them an aggregate lead of 9 points with only 3 games remaining. Theoretically, Bandits can clinch the Champions League berth this weekend. Only one Saturday night game was played in Week 11, and it was Belmopan Bandits hosting their nearest rivals Belize Defense Force and putting them down, 2-1, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium. Denmark Casey, Jr. (30’) gave the Bandits the first-half lead. Harrison Tasher (78’) got the equalizer for BDF, but the league’s hottest striker, Deon McCaulay (85’) broke the tie and gave the Bandits the victory with his 8th goal in the last 4 games.

If you listen to the taped discourse of the Belize Black Summit of September 2003, you will realize that ten years ago Belize City (and its Southside in particular) was already experiencing catastrophic levels of criminal violence, homicide, and incarceration amongst young black men. Ten years later, the average age of the combatants has been lowered to the extent that it is possible to say that Belize City is actually experiencing the phenomenon known internationally as “child soldiers.” We should point out that the young boys and young men who are the combatants in the Belize City gang wars grew up and live in specific neighborhoods of the old capital, and some of you readers may need to be reminded that there are young girls and young women who live in those same neighborhoods. Relatively few of those young girls and young women ever engage in actual gang combat, but they support and encourage the criminal violence of the young boys and young men in their neighborhoods, because they see that criminal violence as necessary for the defence and economic survival of their neighborhoods. In our title for this editorial, we referred to a “Southside status quo” because we wanted to underline the fact that there is a state of affairs which exists and has been in existence for some time, and this state of affairs, for whatever the reason(s), is essentially satisfactory to some powerful elements, both in the city and in the nation entire.

by Evan X Hyde. “However, even though we arrived at stage three, AMANDALA insists on printing Guatemala’s human rights defects as chronicled in the foreign press many years ago like the U.S. Congressional Record of June 1961 showing Guatemala’s agents and lobbyists of 1955 and ‘Our Latin Vietnam’ of the WASHINGTON POST of February 1968.” - Alejandro Vernon on page 26 in THE REPORTER of Sunday, March 24, 2013 “Thus it was, while visiting the northern Department of El Petén on April 16 (1958), General e Ingeniero Miguel Ydígoras Fuentes crossed over into Belize accompanied by the presidents of the Guatemalan Supreme Court and the Congress. Requesting that the sergeant on duty obtain permission from the British governor general for the party to proceed to the Belizean town of Cayo, some three miles away, he had his picture taken in front of the police barracks in Benque Viejo brandishing his ‘entry permit’ – a copy of the Guatemalan constitution. When permission to proceed further was denied, he calmly returned to the Guatemalan side of the border proclaiming, ‘Belize will be ours by right or might.’”

Police “fooling around”; they just don’t care about child’s death... Two-year-old Kaylee Burgess was found dead in a bucket of water behind her grandmother’s house in Ladyville in September 2012. Since then, her parents, Kevin Burgess and Deidra Pratt, have been fighting to find answers to exactly what had happened to their baby girl. The child’s mother, Pratt, has made it known publicly that she believes that her family members whom she left Kaylee in the care of on the day she went missing and was found dead, have information that they need to give to police. The police, for their part, have informed the media that the investigation is still ongoing, but there wasn’t much to comment on. They did say, however, that the family is not cooperating with the investigation. Today, Monday, Amandala visited Pratt, who said that she has made multiple calls and trips to the Ladyville Police Station, as well as to the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP). In response to the police remarks on the investigation, Pratt said that she doesn’t believe that the police are referring to her immediate family, because they have been more than cooperative with the police.

A hundred and sixty youth, including the gang members of the crime-ridden Kelly Street community, on the North side of the city, were engaged in various sports and educational activities over the Easter holiday – possibly a reason that there were no incidents of violence in that part of the city over that weekend. Philip “Fawda” Henry, the organizer of the event, said that they were able to create a friendly atmosphere filled with wholesome fun and competition for the young people of the area, ranging in age from 7 to 17, who did not get the opportunity to travel over the Easter holiday. The youth got the chance to choose a sport of their liking – for each of which a coach and a councilor were assigned. Henry said that everything was provided free of cost for the youth, and he wants to thank the sponsors who donated to the cause. First place winners received a $50.00 cash prize and 3 DVD’s , while second place winners were given $25 along with 3 DVDs and third place winners received $20 and two DVDs. Henry said that it was a pleasure to see the parents watch their children participate in the competitions, in the safe environment they managed to create in the Kelly Street area. The youth were divided into teams, and names with positive meanings, such as “Love”, “Peace”, “Together”, “Free from Violence”, “Family”, and “Da Fu We Children” were given to the teams.

The Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) announced today that it has filed an application with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), requesting a slight decrease in electricity rates. As is customary, the PUC will review the application, issue an initial decision, and then a final decision after consulting with interested parties. In January, consumers were hit with a 17% rate increase, as the approved electricity rate was increased from 41.81 cents per kilowatt hour to 48.86 cents. In a press release issued today, BEL informed that it has asked the PUC to reduce the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) by approximately 1 cent per kilowatt hour (kWh) to reflect the actual cost of power since January 2013, compared to the projected cost submitted to the PUC in December 2012. The proposed reduction would amount to a 2% savings.

The men are all from Roaring Creek... Police Constable Bertchel Ramirez was murdered in Roaring Creek Village on Thursday, April 4, 2013. Later that same day, police arrested Juvencio Herrera, 34; Gregory Martinez, 26; Elilo Herrera, 41, and Steven Garbutt, 28, all residents of Roaring Creek Village, and charged them with murder. The four men were taken to the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court on Friday, April 5, where they appeared before Senior Magistrate Lindsbert Willis. They have been remanded to the Hattieville Prison and will reappear in court on July 19, 2013. PC Ramirez was reported to have been visiting his girlfriend in the Another World area of Roaring Creek Village. He left the house to respond to a shooting he had heard nearby when he was attacked by the four men who opened fire at him inside his vehicle. Ramirez was shot once in his shoulder and once in the head.


Feliz Bingo
If you are looking for fun and want to help support some great causes go to Bingo at Feliz bar and Grill across the bridge Wednesday afternoon at 4:00pm. Part of the bingo proceeds go to a different charity each week. They do $5 shots with the entire profit going to the sponsored organization. In the past they have done San Pedro Sailing Club and Saga Humane Society both great organizations. This week Feliz is fundraising for the San Pedro Branch of the Belize Red Cross. The Proceeds from Wednesday will go specifically to the sponsorship division of the Belize Red Cross First Aid training program. Reminder the next first Aid Course is April 29th at Black Orchid Restaurant from 9:00am – 4:30 pm. So far Victoria House Resort, The Phoenix Resort, Elvi’s Kitchen, South Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch and Caribbean Villas Hotel are all sending staff. If you would like more information or to sign up staff from your business please contact or San Pedro Branch Coordinators Jan at [email protected] or Shirlee at [email protected]

A Shady Place…The Guatemala/Belize Border: Drinking Beers at Champon
I’d been there before. A place called Champon, a sort of no man’s land after you cross the border from Belize and before the border entry of Guatemala. Shady? Very. Interesting? Always. The reason to visit this place? Here it is… Driving out of San Ignacio town at dusk along the river towards the Guatemalan border is beyond beautiful. Entrances to resorts, a few small villages, kids splashing in the wide green river, the hand ferry to the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich and about 15 minutes later, you arrive in the last Belizean town. Benque Viejo. Benque is a good sized town and as you head out, the jungled landscape has been totally cleared and is seriously illuminated with huge flood lights, chain link fence, giant warehouses, and a good amount of razor wire. Standard border I guess. Passports and ID cards are needed for immigration. Park your car on the Belize side and proceed through. This picture is horribly fuzzy but there is a new large duty free shop for non-Belizeans. No time for that. It was almost 7pm and the border closes at 9pm. I DEFINITELY do not want to spend the night in Champon. There are three bars clinging to the side of the hill as you pass through. These are not nice places…dim lighting, concrete floors, plastic lawn furniture, a bathroom that I deemed unusable (and I have a high toilet tolerance) and well…the reason people make this journey…non-Belizean beer. Coronas, Budweisers, Sol, lots of Guatemalan stuff, even contraband Pepsis. The excitement! The danger! And oh so cheap…

People’s United Party's Statement Against Guatemala's Unfounded Claim
The Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) of Belize today issued a statement saying that its national executive at a meeting rejected Guatemala’s use of a map on that country’s passport which shows Belize as a part of its territory. The official statement says that a future PUP government will deny entry to Belize for any person bearing a Guatemala passport with a map showing Belize as a part of Guatemala. “The Party also urges the present UDP Government to do the same”. But the People’s United Party goes further saying that if Guatemala insists on using a map on its passport showing Belize as a part of its territory “then Belize should boycott the meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) to be held in Guatemala later this year.” And lastly, the PUP says Belize should start looking to friendly nations, especially those in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to stand in solidarity with Belize against this latest affront to our national sovereignty by Guatemala.

VIDEO: Polar Pro Filters, GoPro Hero, Scuba Divng Belize
Polar Pro Filters and GoPro Hero scuba diving The Belize Barrier Reef from Trip Advisor's #1 island vacation destination in the world, Ambergris Caye.

“It’s Getting Better” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.
My time on the veranda yesterday morning was very pleasant. The good, strong breeze made it very enjoyable I spent a fair bit longer reading The Times than I usually do. Lots of coverage about Margaret Thatcher who sadly passed away on Monday. She had her ‘lovers’ and her ‘haters’ and I am decidedly one of the former. Through her policies I and many of my ex-colleagues enjoyed some of our most enjoyable times working in the UK press industry. Rose and I spent the greater part of the morning ploughing on with our searches on the Internet to make selections for the fixtures and fittings for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. It has been a laborious task but we are getting there. We now only have the light fittings to choose but we have narrowed this down and just need the advice of Daniel Camal, our building contractor, to make the final choices. With the list drawn up – model number and price- and screen grabs for every item I took time out to reacquaint myself with The Litigators by John Grisham that I had started reading last week. For those of you who are fans of his but have not read this book yet it is up to his normal standards.

By Gustavo A. Ramirez, Guidance Counselor / Education Consultant. In previous articles I pointed out that presently many of our people in Belize are struggling, day in and day out, to survive ever-increasing hard times. However, as pitiful and miserable as our current violent situations may be, positive change for the better is always within our control. We will improve on any out-of-hand or dangerous situations in which we live today once we choose to cease living in pathetic, but comfortable, conditions of “learned helplessness”. (See for definition.) It is sad that many of us choose to live under such negative conditions, and prefer to firmly insist that everything is beyond our control, and that there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. However, in direct contrast, I encourage you to look closely at teachers and educators to see how they deal with the problem of learned helplessness. On a daily basis they give students (our children) the “boost” which they very often desperately need in order to bounce back from total burnout situations where/when everything may be going wrong for them, either academically, morally, or otherwise. Educators (teachers, principals and administrators, school counselors, assistants and anyone who works within a school system) are often misunderstood by students, parents, and by the community. Actually, some educators themselves often misunderstand their own purpose or disregard the reason why they chose to work in Education as a profession. There is no doubt that, despite any lofty ideals they may have, all educators need to earn a living just like everyone else. So, yes, educators work everyday for a salary. However, above and beyond earning a living, educators’ ultimate goal is to prepare young people to live productively in our society. To fulfill this goal, educators willingly take on tremendous social responsibilities which, sad to say, too often are misunderstood and not at all appreciated by many in our society, beginning with the very students whom educators try to help everyday. Consequently some educators, after repeatedly being misunderstood, become disheartened enough to work in the field of Education each day merely to earn a living, nothing else.

Mennonite Gurls A'ken Cook: Cokunut Lemon Muffins
These muffins loded with cokunut and lemony goodness is jes t'rite thang t'celebrate sprin'! It is sprin' altho it shure doesn’t look er feel like it here! Fer a more decadent muffin drizzle with lemon glaze wile muffins air still warm. 1/4 cup buttr, softened 2/3 cup sugar 1 egg Zest uf 2 medium sized lemons, finelee grated 1 1/2 cups sour creem 2 cups flour 3/4 cup cokunut, flaked 1 tablespoon bakin' powdr 1/2 teespoon salt 1/2 cup xtrey cokunut fer toppin'

International Sources

Wikileaks Releases 1,200 new cables on Belize
... and 1.7 new Million cables total. This is in addition to the ones previously released.

Belize's Homophobic Laws Go Against Treaty Obligations
In mid-March 2013, the UN Human Rights Committee issued its concluding observations on Belize. The Committee, which is charged with reviewing states’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), issued its concluding observations on Belize. Belize acceded to the binding human rights treaty in 1996. Two years earlier, the Committee had ruled that discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation violated the treaty’s anti-discrimination provisions. It was therefore no surprise when the Committee concluded that Belize’s patent discrimination against gays (as found in the country’s anti-sodomy law, as well as the Immigration Act, which bans the entry of homosexuals) is irreconcilable with the country’s treaty obligations. AIDS-Free World is supporting a domestic challenge to the anti-sodomy law, and has also launched a case before the highest regional court, the Caribbean Court of Justice, seeking a repeal of the homophobic provisions in the Immigration Act. The Committee’s observation on these cases and Belize’s treatment of homosexuals is found below:

New World reports intital shows at Gallon Jug
Oil and gas explorer New World Oil and Gas revealed encouraging initial drilling at its first well at the West Gallon Jug Crest prospect in Belize. The junior oil outfit said it has recorded a number of hydrocarbon shows and that drilling operations had so far been in line with its geologic expectations, while also pointing to news of an oil discovery at a neighbouring project. New World acknowledged that, having reached 7,700 metres of the estimated total depth of 8,800 metres at the Rio Bravo no.1 well, the ‘commerciality’ of the initial hydrocarbon shows would only be determined once the well was drilled to total depth and testing results interpreted. Confirming that drilling operations at the well had so far been in line with the company’s geologic expectations, the company added that ongoing operations were continuing ‘without incident, on schedule and under budget’.

New World dips on Belize drilling update
Shares in New World Oil & Gas (NEW) dropped more than 6% on Wednesday after it announced updates on the drilling of its Rio Bravo #1 Well on the West Gallon Jug Crest (WGJC) prospect in Belize. The well was drilling at approximately 7,700 feet while the company estimated the total depth of the drill would be 8,800 feet. While a number of hydrocarbon shows had been recorded, New World said the commerciality of these shows could only be determined once the well was drilled to its total depth. The firm stressed ongoing operations were on schedule and under budget, while drilling operations at WGJC were in line with the company's geologic expectations. The prospect showed proved probable (P50) unrisked prospective resources of 113 million barrels of oil with a P50 net present value of $2.6 billion (£1.7 billion) on a 100% working interest basis. "Drilling at our WGJC prospect is progressing well with approximately 1,000 feet remaining until we reach total depth," commented chief executive officer William Kelleher.

New World says Rio Bravo #1 well drilling at 7,700ft
New World Oil & Gas Plc said its Rio Bravo #1 Well, on the West Gallon Jug Crest prospect in Belize, was drilling at about 7,700 feet but commerciality had yet to be determined. "Whilst a number of hydrocarbon shows have been recorded, the commerciality of these shows can only be determined once the well is drilled to total depth, open hole logs are run and interpreted, and well testing results are available," the company said. The well has a target depth of about 8,800 feet. On-going operations are continuing to proceed without incident, are on schedule and under budget. As reported in the Company's Re-Admission Document dated 3 July 2012, the West Gallon Jug Crest prospect shows P50 un-risked prospective resources of 113 million barrels of oil ('MMbo'), with a P50 Net Present Value ('NPV10') of US$2.6 billion on a 100% working interest basis.

Air pollution can stunt coral reef growth
Coral reefs are at risk from global warming, but regional aerosol emissions may also be a significant factor in how corals grow, according to a new study by scientists with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The research linked airborne particles caused by volcanic activity and air pollution to episodes of slow coral-reef growth. The findings came as part of an effort to to better predict the effects of climate change and human disturbance on reefs. The data came from several coral cores drilled in reefs near the Atlantic entrance of the Panama Canal formed by the coral species Siderastrea siderea between 1880 and 1989, whereas samples from the Turneffe atoll in Belize showed growth fluctuations in the coral species Montastrea faveolata from 1905 to 1998.

Research holds revelations about an ancient society's water conservation, purification
University of Cincinnati research at the ancient Maya site of Medicinal Trail in northwestern Belize is revealing how populations in more remote areas -- the hinterland societies -- built reservoirs to conserve water and turned to nature to purify their water supply. Jeffrey Brewer, a doctoral student in the University of Cincinnati's Department of Geography, will present his findings on April 11, at the Association of American Geographers' annual meeting in Los Angeles. Brewer's research, titled "Hinterland Hydrology: Mapping the Medicinal Trail Community, Northwest Belize," continues a UC exploration of the ancient Maya civilization that has spanned decades. The site for Brewer's research, which was primarily occupied during the Classic Period (AD 250-900), functioned as a rural architectural community on the periphery of the major ancient Maya site of La Milpa. Brewer says this smaller, remote settlement lacks the monumental architecture and population density typically associated with the major Maya sites, but shows similar, smaller-scale slopes, artificial terraces and water reservoirs that would have been utilized for farming and water management.

Belize firms to benefit from Caribbean Exports
The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) will be delivering a workshop on its direct assistance grant scheme on Wednesday in Belize. The workshop forms part of a wider mission of the agency to Belize as it under takes the execution of the Regional Private Sector Programme (RPSDP) funded by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). The direct assistance grant scheme workshop is brought to Belize in partnership with Beltraide and will be attended by Belizean firms and business support organisations (BSOs). The workshop will increase the schemes awareness with the Belizean private sector and those attending the information and training sessions will gain a greater understanding of the process for applying for grant funding. Ultimately, the workshop’s aim is to not only increase the number of applicants from Belize but also the number of successful applications of the direct assistance grant scheme. In addition through delivering the training to BSOs it is anticipated that their capacity is increased to support and provide assistance to local firms when preparing applications for upcoming call for proposals.

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