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Today's Belize News: April 25, 2013 #463058
04/25/13 06:16 AM
04/25/13 06:16 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 73,316
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP


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The San Pedro Sun

Complexd Magazine to celebrate women of Belize in summer online issue
Earlier this month Belize was visited by a magazine writer and videographer based in the United Kingdom (UK). Writer and Editor in Chief Kered Clement of Complexd Woman Magazine Travel and videographer Algerson Vincent traveled to different areas of Belize gathering information to write a comprehensive travel review focusing on women in Belize. The two were in Belize on the invitation of the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and they plan to have the review printed in late summer of this year. “We hope to share with our readers the diversity of Belizean culture. At Complexd magazine we celebrate women of all shades, shapes and sizes and focus on cultural and social issues pertaining to women. We have done quite a few video editorials since we have been here and we are excited to share with our readers the many hats that women in Belize wear,” said Clement in an interview with The San Pedro Sun. The team was also on Ambergris Caye where they interviewed several women who have impacted the local community. Clement added, “Through our interviews we hope to discover more about the lifestyle and culture of women in Belize. We hope to share this with our readers located in 189 countries worldwide.” Those interviewed on Ambergris Caye included Jenny Stains, Flor Bradley, Maureen Utsman, Lady Dixie Bowen, Lisa Guerrero, Iraida Gonzalez, Wilema Gonzalez, Melanie Paz and Celi McCorkle.

New Director of Cruise and Regional Initiatives
The Belize Tourism Board is pleased to announce the appointment of its new Cruise and Regional Initiatives Director, Mr. Valdemar Andrade. Mr. Andrade has been in the Tourism Industry for the past two years as the Technical Advisor/Project Liaison-Sustainable Tourism Program, for the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. He has several years of experience in conservation and other environmental areas, through his work experience with Protected Areas Conservation Trust, Ministry of Natural Resource and the Environment, and the Belize Audubon Society. “As we embark this year to grow cruise tourism numbers and strengthen Belize’s position in that market, the skills and experience that Valdemar Andrade possesses will augment our goal. The BTB is confident in Mr. Andrade’s abilities, and happy to welcome him to our team,” commented the Director of Tourism, Mrs. Laura Esquivel Frampton. Mr. Andrade brings extensive experience in management at an executive level, coupled with his familiarity of the regional tourism climate. His core competency and knowledge of sustainable tourism in marketing the Belize tourism product positions him in a strategic place to help develop and grow the cruise tourism sector. He will be key in the development of cruise tourism initiatives and program, and to liaise and network with primary regional partners.

CCC and CJC host business exhibition
Corozal Community College (CCC) and Corozal Junior College (CJC) held their annual business and science exhibition (expo) on Friday April 19th, and the expo was open to the general public. The purpose of the business and science expo was for students to showcase their knowledge in their field of study and to bring the business sector into one common area in an effort to inspire the minds of the potential students who will choose between the two learning institutions. The science students from both learning institutions had all sorts of displays, from illustrations using living animals to experiments, and even investigation into different scientific theories. Those in the business section displayed their business skills by creating an actual business. Most students opted to go into the restaurant business, displaying their marketing skills in promoting their menus. Some of the restaurant specialized in seafood while other did strictly international cuisine. Others marketed ornaments and household items. Invited businesses took the opportunity to offer fabulous deals on several of their products, with some giving out samples of new products on the market.

Ambergris Today

Mayor Daniel Guerrero on Working Visit to Taiwan
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye recently received a generous donation from the Republic of China Taiwan which included two garbage compactors that have been already been put to great use on the island. Ambassador David Wu was presented with the keys to the island of Ambergris Caye as a gesture of appreciation and in return he extended an invitation to Mayor Daniel Guerrero to visit Taiwan. Mayor Daniel Guerrero accepted the invitation and left to Taiwan on Friday, April 19, 2013, along with Mr. Herbert Hugh Haylock (President, Belize Tourism Industry Association), Mr. Israel Ivan Marin (Belize Diesel & Equipment Company Limited), Mr. Khub Chand Vanjani (Corozal Free Zone) and Ms. Marilyn Suzette Pinelo (Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry). The purpose of this trip is to learn about the trade industry in Taiwan and for investing possibilities between Belize and Taiwan. Mayor Guerrero and the Belizean contingency have visited the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), China Productivity Center, Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce (CNAIC) and the Bureau of Tourism to name a few places. Mayor Guerrero along with his delegation is scheduled to arrive on Sunday, April 28, 2013.

The Belize Logo Is A Finalist for The “One Show Design” 2013 Awards
The Belize logo has been chosen as a finalist for the “One Show Design” 2013 awards, in the category of “Brand Identity – Logo Design.” The Belize Tourism Board and its Advertising and Online Agency, Olson, created the Belize logo as a part of a re-branding of Belize’s identity. When creating the new logo, Olson made several trips to Belize to capture the essence of Belize’s authenticity and incorporate it in the creative behind the new logo. The BTB and OLSON used the old logo as an inspiration, while the new look of the logo is expected to make Belize more recognizable and to better position the destination in terms of its tourism product The One Show awards are products of The One Club, which is an American non-profit organization which aims to recognize and promote excellence in advertising. The awards consist of One Show, One Show Design, One Show Interactive, and One Show Entertainment, and each of these consist of various categories. The awards take place during Creative Week, which is May 6-10. The One Show Design winners will be announced on May 6.

Marin & Lisbey Nuptials
Sully Marin and Ismael Lisbey exchanged vows in Holy Matrimony at the San Pedro Roman Catholic Church on Saturday, April 13, 2013, which was also the celebration of Sully’s birthday. Their godparents were Eddie and Ina Alamilla. A reception followed after the mass celebration at the San Pedro High School courtyard with family, friends and invited guests. Congratulations to Sully and Ismael!

Miss Chiquitita Pageant Coming Up
The Miss Chiquitata Pageant 2013 is coming up on May 4 with a line up of five beautiful contestants who you can meet below. Place: Central Park Time: 7p.m. Entertainment by: Rompe Raja, San Pedro Dance Academy and more Lots of Food and Drinks

Misc Belizean Sources

Coalition strongly refutes statements made by the Ministry of Energy
The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage strongly refutes statements made by representatives of the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities, Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Colin Young and Director of Petroleum, Andre Cho on Thursday, April 18 on the Open Your Eye show on Channel 5. The Ministry representatives stated that no non-governmental organization objected to the zoning of the offshore into different categories as presented in the Government’s draft zonation plan. It should be noted that Government’s draft zonation would allow for oil exploration in almost 95% of Belize’s offshore (see map 1).

Corozal: Free Screening -Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase
The Corozal House of Culture is pleased to be participating in the 5th Annual CaribbeanTravelling Film Showcase. We will be showing two films this Friday April 26th starting at 6:30pm. The first film is 'Bad Friday' - (Jamaica) a documentary, focusing on a community of Rastafarians in Jamaica who annually commemorate the 1963 Coral Gardens 'incident,' a moment just after independence when the Jamaican government rounded up, jailed and tortured hundreds of Rastafarians.

Honey Camp Lagoon Regatta
Belize Sailing Association Honey Camp Lagoon, Orange Walk Orange Walk is our next destination where on Saturday, April 27th, the member clubs of BzSA gather on the water at Honey Camp Lagoon. Watch for more details on this official Regatta, as it may just be a whole weekend of camping fun for sailors and visitors!

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.

VIDEO: A Glimpse of Belize HD
Belize, the only English-speaking country in Central America, offers a unique combination of richly, rewarding experiences that make it unlike any destination on the planet. Swim with the exotic sea life along the Western Hemisphere's largets barrier reef. Explore the fascinating mysteries of the largest concentration of Maya sites in the region.

VIDEO: Blue Hole, Belize
7 minutes from a dive done in March 2006. The blue finned diver had just been certified a week before, and I myself have only got 3 or 4 times in the 13 years since I was certified at 14. Her weight belt was modified between day 1 and 2 of diving and she didn't notice, sank too quickly, and was weary of using her BCD because of equipment problems the day before (it got stuck inflating). She seemed to succomb to nitrogen narcosis in her panic and was eventually noticed by the Divemaster and taken up to our safety stop. Reviewing the video, it should've been clear to everyone, but I didn't realize myself due to my inexperience and excitement/worry about being down so deep. As it turns out, neither of us should've been allowed on this deep dive, but that's the way things go with 3rd world dive shops sometimes.

Ascenthium Coming Back to Cayo
Ascenthium is paying another visit to Cayo in May. In fact, they play in Benque on May 17, and at Midas on Saturday May 18th. Tickets for the concert at Midas are on sale at Midas, Ar B's, Meluchi's, and Venus. You can call 601-7159 for more information. They have VIP, seating, and general admission tickets. See you there!

Rehab Lab Bash Pictures
Danny Chung paid a visit to Cayo on Saturday for the Rehab Lab bash to capture Riddim One and the crew.

PACT Grant Proposals for 2013
The Protected Areas Conservation Trust has new grant proposals for 2013 on their website. They have a short video out about them. They have a Research grant and an Environmental Fellowship grant. Like normal, here are the categories for the grants: Protected Areas Management and Conservation Protected Areas Promotion and Development Environmental Education and Awareness Community Development around Protected Areas

PACT Call for Proposals 2013
PACT has 3 Call for Proposals at Deadlines in June 2013! Apply today!

Book Week Opening at GPC
Today is the first day of Book Week, which celebrates books and reading, and encourages discussion of the significance of reading and writing, and how it affects educational advancement. The BBIA, ISCR, and NICH invite everyone to the George Price Centre tomorrow at 9:00am for the event. In related news, the Belize Book Industry Association will be having a Book Fair at the Cayo Welcome Center on Friday at 6:30pm.

VIDEO: Belize Mixed Martial Arts MMA 2013 Fight #4
The House of Shotokan in Belize for the first time introduced MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) matches with Team Belize fighting against Team Mexico. These UFC style matches with an octagon cage and fighting mat made its debut in Belize. Team Belize was obviously supported by its many fans in attendance shouting, hooting and hollering. Team Mexico certainly had a good showing with their skill and experience however a Belizean fighter walked away with the Championship belt. Look for the fights to follow to see the Championship Match.

Mixed Martial Arts makes its debut in Belize by the House of Shotokan
On Saturday, April 20th the House of Shotokan proudly brought Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fights to Belize. These UFC style fights have become very popular and fans from all over Belize made their way out to cheer for Team Belize. For the first time in Belize the octagonal cage and mat had been set up for these young men to do battle. Their opponent was Team Mexico who showed tremendous fighting style. There were a total of 9 fights including the fight for the MMA championship belt which was taken by a Belizean. In the end Team Mexico won 5 matches and Team Belize won 4 matches including the Championship belt. Belizean, Jamil Smith, won his championship match to become the new MMA Champ in Belize. Unfortunately for the Mexican fighter who ended the fight with an illegal kick to the face while the Belizean fighter was down.

Four Belizeans Receive Prestigious Honour of the British Empire
Four Belizeans were today honoured at the Belize House for their selfless and outstanding contributions to Belize. The honourees included Senior Counsel, Mr. Denys A. Barrow, who was awarded the insignia for Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his distinguished service to Belize and the field of law; Commissioner of the Supreme Court and Senior Justice of the Peace, Mr. Patrick Alexander Bernard, was bestowed with the insignia of a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his dedication to the Public Service. Also receiving the insignia of a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire were Mr. Pen Cayetano for his wonderful and numerous contributions to music and art; and Senior Justice of the Peace, Ms. Crispina Hyde, for her selfless service to education and community.

Channel 7

Bradley To Battle Santi in Shores?
Darrell Bradley has established himself as the busiest Belize City mayor in history, but now he has his eyes on bigger things, as big as the Caribbean Shores Division. 7news has confirmed that Bradley has consulted with his inner circle –as well as disgruntled members of the Caribbean Shores Committee – and he has decided that he wants to challenge Santino Castillo in Caribbean Shores. The rumor has been circulating since the UDP convention in February, but a source in UDP Headquarters who has spoken to Bradley today confirmed that the Mayor is definitely interested in the division. Bradley would not respond to our text messages requesting a comment, and neither would the current area representative Santino Castillo. The background to it all is that since the general election a year ago, a few members of the Caribbean shores Committee have expressed their dissatisfaction with Castillo for his lack of engagement with them and his absence in the division. And now, with the substantial cash flow from the municipal bond, the City Council is pushing into Caribbean Shores with the concrete paving of Baymen Avenue, Princess Margaret Drive and Coney Drive. Whatever the case, observers agree Castillo is no pushover and won’t shrink away from a challenge – so there will be a battle for the division. But it will take time to develop, because the divisional convention is more than a year away.

Cop Commits Suicide In Station House
The Police Department and residents of Gales Point village, remain in shock and dismay after the resident police officer stationed in the village apparently killed himself last night. At around 6:45 p.m., police discovered the body of P.C. # 956 Jose Pam in the kitchen area of the living quarters of the police sub-station. He had a gunshot wound to the right side of his head. His service .38 revolver with (5) live rounds and (1) expended shell in the cylinder was lying beside him. Pam’s wife reported to police that he left home – which is upstairs of the village station - at about 11:00 am and went in to the Village. He returned at about 5:00 pm under the influence of alcohol, where he expressed his frustration about his job, and laid down on the floor. The wife said that she then went into the bathroom to bathe their 2 year-old son and about ten minutes later she heard the sound of a gunshot. She quickly responded and found Jose Pam lying on the ground in a pool of blood. It is a tragic event which suddenly claimed the life of a valued member of the village, and today 7News spoke with the first responders about what they discovered when the wife alerted them:

Belize and Guatemala, Building Confidence With Vaccinations
As we’ve been reporting this week – the Guatemalans have made official what had been all but foretold: their Congress has agreed with their President to suspend the October sixth referendum. That puts back negotiations about six years – and so now, Belize unofficially reverts to the prior position of confidence building. And, in the end, neighborly relations are probably the best way to build confidence – and that was underscored today when Belize and Guatemala launched a joint vaccination campaign at the Western Border. It’s part of world vaccination week organized by the Pan American Health Organization – and Daniel Ortiz was in Benque Viejo for the launch. Daniel Ortiz Reporting This morning at the Benque/Melchor Border facility, diplomats, officials, and children from both Belize and Guatemala gathered for the launching of Vaccination Week in the Americas. It is an important initiative which brings countries together in the fight against illness. According to the UN Resident Coordinator, majority of children worldwide are vaccinated, but authorities must not be comfortable because there are millions of children who have no access to health facilities.

Guats Caught With Gold In South Chiquibul
A trio of Guatemalans has been convicted of encroaching into Belize. They were caught last week Friday near the Ceibo Chico Conservation Post in South Chiquibul. They were panning for gold, but one of the men identified as Mario Rolando Xol Caal carried three live rounds of 16 gauge ammunition – and later handed over a sawed off shotgun he had stashed away at their camp. The other two men, Marcos Domingo Pana Chiquin and Esteban Putul Mai each carried a transparent tube with liquid and a small amount of suspected gold mineral inside the tube. All three men are originally from the village of El Naranjon, in Peten, Guatemala. The three were ferried to the San Ignacio Police Station where Police charged them with various offences. On Monday of this week, the San Ignacio Magistrate convicted Mario Rolando Xol Caal and sentenced him to 5 years in prison for Keeping an Unlicensed Firearm and 5 years in prison for Keeping an Unlicensed Ammunition with the sentences to run concurrently. Esteban Putul Mai and Marcos Domingo Pana Chiquin were fined each $1,000.00 for illegal prospecting to be paid forthwith or in default serve 6 months in prison.

GSU Catches Kilo On Tropic Air Cargo
The Gang Suppression Unit made a drug bust in Corozal a week ago. The story is slightly dated, but it’s still worth reporting because it seems to put a new twist on the domestic drug trade. The GSU’s operation focused on the parcel section of the Tropic Air office in Ranchito Village, Corozal where they busted a kilo of cocaine. The GSU says the suspected drug arrived on a Tropic Air flight from San Pedro which arrived at the Tropic Air office in Ranchito at 7:15 am on Friday the 21st April. The GSU waited all day for someone to come and pick it up, but no one did. So, at 4:30 in the afternoon, they opened the package at the Tropic Air Cargo where they found a kilo of compressed cocaine neatly wrapped inside a box labeled “Devin Biscuits.” And while no one came to pick up the package, the GSU has searched the homes of the person who was named as the receiver and the sender, but so far none of the names on the package seem to have been actually involved in the cocaine cargo.

Bogus Cheques Bouncing Around
Bogus checks are in circulation and they look like this. Now, that may have the appearance of any other Scotiabank Checque, but the tell-tale sign is the account number at the very bottom: 91595002 000009132452. According to police, a number of Belize City businesses have been conned with check with this same number. So, check before you accept that check and police say that you should call them immediately if you come across one.

AGUSM Says It’s Moving, As In “Moving On Up”
The American Global University of Science and Medicine has been taking a public relations pounding for the past week – as social activist Phillip “Fawda” Henry has trained has trained his tasers on the Medical School. His main line of attack has been that the school is bogus, and manifestly so because it has moved into what appears to be an empty building on the Airport Road. Today a university spokespersons finally spoke up. Vice President Peggy Allen called media houses from the USA today where she said “Fawda” has got it all wrong; they have moved from San Pedro, but she says it is a move to expand operations:… Voice of Peggy Allen, V.P./Spokesperson, Agusm Via Telephone "Some of these allegations have been put out there about our program and people don't understand truly what our program is. So I think that is where the confusion is and as for some of these reports that have come out have been totally misconstrued. We just finished our brand new campuses in San Pedro; we have been in San Pedro since January 2011. We just moved and when I say 'move' and you know sometimes that word 'move' has been miscontrued that we've moved and it is not a good thing.

Tourism Numbers Boom, Cruise Tourism Still Lagging
Tourism arrivals to Belize continue to show impressive growth in 2013, after a strong rebound year in 2012. Figures for the first three months of 2013 are in – and it continues the growth trend making it 19 consecutive months of increases in overnight visitors. Tourist arrivals at the airport for January, February and March topped 2012 figures by 8% – peaking in march when there was an increase of more than five thousand visitors. And, the 28,623 arrivals make it the first time in history that air arrivals the 28,000 visitor mark for any month. And consistent with those air arrivals, in March, for the first time ever, overnight visitors exceeded 35,000 visitor mark – easily exceeding the previous record of 32,240 visitors who came in March of 2012. First quarter figures show a 13% increase over the first quarter of 2012.

Copper Thieves In Democracia
The copper thieves are at it again – and this time they were wreaking havoc in Democracia. Sometime yesterday, the zeroed in on the BTL Tower at the La Democracia junction at mile 30. They cut 40 ft of cables going up the tower, yanked out a meter socket, and cut the fence. In all, BTL will need three days to re-install 1,800 feet of cable. And police are reporting that in the same area copper thieves were at work on the Fresh Catch Fish Farm sometime between Sunday evening and Monday morning. The manager reported that someone entered the compound and stole about 1,480 feet of electrical wire valued at $7,400 dollars.

City Gets Ready For Hurricane Season
The Hurricane Season is approaching and as a part of CEMO'S annual strategic plan the Belize City Council held its official evacuation meeting today at City Hall. The initial layout of the city’s emergency evacuation route for Belize City was named. There will be 70 evacuation route signs installed along the emergency route for both north and south side of Belize City. We found out more: Phillip Willoughby - Councilor in charge of CEMO "As you can see there will be seventy evacuations route signs depicted along the emergency evacuation route for both north die and south side Belize City. As well as these emergency assembly point signs that will be strategically positioned for assembly areas to evacuate residence during a national disaster emergency. These locations will be north side, the Brodies parking lot, Lopez Mateos Park, Cinderella Plaza north side. Southside will be the Wilton Cumberbatch field, the football field on Fabers Road extension and the basket ball court behind Jane Usher Boulevard as well as the bus terminal on West Collet Canal. These signs will be directed and they will be there full time. This is the first time for the evacuation outlook when it comes to the transport portfolio and there are other committees, nine others of which we meet on every three weeks here at the Council as the City Emergency Management committees and all these aspects are looked at during our national City’s' discussion as well as the meetings that occur at the national level with NEMO."

What Soberanis Deserves
Earlier this week we told you about the plans to re-invent Battlefield park – but there’s no discussion of what will happen to the Antonio Soberanis bust that is really, the heart and soul of the battle in the battle field park. He was a labour champion and activist and held many public meetings in that park. But in the slickly designed architect’s rendering of the re-designed park, it seems that no place of prominence has been reserved for Antonio Soberanis. On the upside, so far his bust facing the Supreme Court is the only thing that hasn’t been demolished, so, there’s hope. And that’s just the hope that Sculptor Steven Okeke is clinging to. He wants the City Council to adopt his new Soberanis bust as the flagship piece of public art for the park. He says its truer to the image of Soberanis, and even the great man’s family thinks so. He made his pitch to us today:… STEPHEN OKEKE - SCULPTOR "What is here does not represtent Antonio Soberanis in any way at all and something more representative should be put in here so what I am proposing is that for a man who has done so much if you see the list of his achievments; for a man who has done so much he should be represented and be acknowledged properly."

Talking HIV Issues
The National Aids Commission is holding its first National HIV Prevention Summit over the next 3 days. The summit starts tomorrow and Executive Director of the National Aids Commission Doctor Martin Cuellar says that they will be looking at what Belize has been doing in HIV prevention: Martin Cuellar, Director of the National Aids Commission "It is a chance for us to kind of regroup as a national response to HIV. We are bringing in partners from all over country who work in HIV but in particular in prevention both from the side of people who collect data, who create statistics that help us to see where our prevention gaps, where are the highest areas of risk. As well as those who then respond to those risks with interventions and the idea that is driving this initiative is that in 2013 Belize has to look at what we have been doing? Where do we see successes? Where do we see the larger loop holes? Then consienciously get together to come up with a new plan so that in the next two or three years we know that we are doing a better job, we know that we are being more relevant, more specific, responding in a more successful way to the specific gaps that we identify and then we expect that we will start to see the overall impact which we're looking for, which is, reduction in the number of new cases as well as extension of life and quality of life for those who are already affected."

Water For River Valley
Water, most of us take it for granted, but for many of the residents in the Belize River Valley running water can seem like the greatest luxury imaginable – and that’s because they are still collecting water from the river the way their ancestors did. But, soon that strenuous, outdated practice will be a memory because ground was broken today for the Belize Rural Valley Project. It will bring water to villages in the valley. Minister of Rural Development Godwin Hulse told us more. Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Rural Development "Actuially today is a happy day for all the nine villages of the river valley because we broke ground for the commencement of the construction of a water delivery system for all the nine villages spanding form Rancho all the way to Flowers Bank and the ones in between including Isabella and Lemonal, Willows Bank, St. Paul's, Double Head Cabbage here, Bermudian Landing. It's a point seven million dollar Belize project which is being funded through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank with Government counterpart funds of about eight hundred thousand dollars; it intends to run roughly forty five miles of pipes and will connect all the households in the area and of course there will be pump stations in between as well so the project should take, I guess about eighteen months as I understand it to complete but it is a long standing wish of the people of this area."

Boots For The Border
The Belize Territorial Volunteers are preparing to make their third trip in to the border between Belize and Guatemala. And this time, their efforts are being bolstered by donors from Los Angeles, California. Those donors have provided them with 23 pairs of hiking boots, which they plan to use when they go to the Aguas Turbias on Saturday, and Garbutt’s Falls on Sunday. According to the BTV, the donation is welcomed for its morale-building effects, and comes as result of the members of the Belizean public who are spreading the word. After their treks to the border this weekend, the BTV plans to visit and examine the markers on Tuesday April 30, 2013 in commemoration of the day when Guatemala and Britain agreed on them.

Re: Today's Belize News: April 25, 2013 [Re: Marty] #463059
04/25/13 06:16 AM
04/25/13 06:16 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 73,316
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

More News: Scroll up from here

Channel 5

Cop in Gales Point commits suicide
A police officer took his own life just before seven o’clock on Tuesday night. It happened at the Gales point police station where Jose Pam who is originally from Jalacte, Toledo was stationed. Pam was found dead in the kitchen area of the living quarters of the station. His wife Simeona Pam told News Five [...]

Cocaine intercepted in package at northern airport
Following reports of a wet drop in San Pedro, the Gang Suppression Unit last Friday seized one kilogram of cocaine, which is equivalent to two point two pounds of the suspected drug that had been transported via Tropic Airlines to the Corozal Municipal Airstrip in Ranchito.  The drug was found inside a Devon biscuit box; [...]

American Global University Rep. clears up allegations
The Ministry of Education today issued a release on the situation with the American Global University School of Medicine, in particular. The release contains six points which the Ministry says should put in context statements to the media by certain individuals. It doesn’t actually say much, except that the charter to the school was issued [...]

Ministry of Health comments of American Global University
Two medical schools in Belize remain at the center of a controversy following very serious allegations against them by Phillip ‘Faada’ Henry and U.B. professor Patrick Menzies. Both men hosted a press conference on Tuesday and basically accused the American Global University School of Medicine and the Washington University of Health and Science of being [...]

City hall temporarily halts Santi’s drainage works
An infrastructural project valued almost a million dollars hit a snag when City Hall temporarily halted the work. The plan by the Minister of State Santino Castillo was to fix a drainage problem that affects about six hundred residents in the Buttonwood Bay area of his constituency. The project began this week and the construction [...]

Tourism dollars and arrivals are up
Statistics for tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2013 have been released and they are quite impressive says the director of the Belize Tourism Board.  The hotel sector alone has registered revenue of approximately sixty million dollars since January with overnight arrivals at an estimated ninety-three thousand visitors.  A new benchmark was also set [...]

Vaccination Week in the Americas inside adjacency zone
This morning Belizeans and Guatemalans gathered in the OAS-administered Adjacency Zone between the Belize and Guatemala borders, but there was no talk of the referendum, no conversation about a claim, and no discussion of a territorial dispute. This morning was all about sharing responsibility and joining forces to ensure that residents of both countries are [...]

Pregnant woman accused of stabbing brother-in-law
A pregnant Belize City woman is being accused of stabbing her brother-in-law during an alleged family dispute. Therese Bowman, a twenty four year old resident of Partridge Street, was escorted to the Magistrate Court late on Tuesday after she had been treated at the K.H.M.H.  She was charged with the Wounding of Shane Jones. Bowman [...]

3 day old baby dies under suspect circumstances
A baby, no more than three days old, lost its life under questionable circumstances on April seventeenth. The infant, in an unconscious state, was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he passed away. The mother, a sixteen year old minor reportedly denied knowing what happened after five thirty when she breast fed the [...]

Did Ladyville resident drown?
There is another death that police are investigating. On Tuesday morning, Ladyville police visited a farm on the Old Northern Highway where they saw the lifeless body of fifty-seven year old Crecencio Mai.  Mai, who was clad in khaki long pants, red tee shirt and black shoes, was found partially submerged in a pond on [...]

CEMO’s official evacuation route for city residents
The 2013 hurricane season begins in June and forecasters predict that this year will see above average storm activity in the Atlantic.  It is anticipated that there will be nine hurricanes from a total of eighteen named weather systems.  Four of them are expected to be major storms beyond the category three grade.  With that [...]

Villagers say they, not outsiders should repair shelter
Earlier, we reported that the community in Gales Point is grieving the loss of their cop who took his life on Tuesday night. But there is another problem that the residents are dealing with. The community center in the village is in deplorable condition and NEMO had offered to assist the Village Council with the [...]

Her royal highness on the new post office stamps
Every so often, philatelists receive a treat when new stamps are released. Stamp collecting is becoming less popular as more people send emails rather than use the official images on envelopes. Nevertheless, those people who still apply pen to paper and envelope will have a new print of a royal face to accompany those letters [...]


Tourism Arrivals Grow In Belize
The First Quarter report on Tourism Statistics for Belize was released today by the Belize Tourism Board. The report suggests a record number for the first quarter with Airport Tourist Arrivals, Overnight Tourist Arrivals and Cruise Arrivals. Director of Tourism, Laura Esquivel Frampton tol...

Body Retrieved From Ladyville Pond
The body of a man was retrieved from a pond in Ladyville Village yesterday. Reports are that police visited the a farm belonging to Leroy Heusner on the Old Northern Highway, where they saw the body of man dressed in long khaki pants, red t-shirt, black shoes, black belt and was...

Ground Breaking Ceremony Held For Water Project
This afternoon, a ground breaking ceremony was held at the Belize River Valley School to kick off a massive portable water project. Minister of Rural Development, Godwin Hulse says that the project has been on standby for the past ten years and today the project officially commenced. Hulse says t...

Deadline Extended For BTIA's Logo Competition
The Belize Tourism Industry Association Orange Walk Chapter has extended its deadline for entries to its name a logo competition for a new publication. BITA Information Officer, Jasmine Zetina, tells us more. JASMINE ZETINA The good thing a...

City Council Holds Evacuation Meeting
The Belize City Council today held its official City Emergency Management Organization’s evacuation meeting as part of their Annual Strategic Plan for the city. Councilor Phillip Willoughby, responsible for Security and CEMO explained the evacuation plan. PHILIP WILLOUGHBY “Th...


Orange Walk's Ten Top Spellers Face Off For A Spot At the National Spelling Bee Competition
It has become a traditional rite of passage for some of the nation’s brightest students; we are talking about the Coca Cola National Spelling Bee Competition scheduled for June 7th in Belmopan. But before reaching to the national level, competitors must spell their way through the district finals which were held today in Orange Walk. From what we found out the pressure was as high as the temperature outside. Elmer Cornejo – Reporting The Crystal Palace in Orange Walk was crowded with primary school children who came to support their favorite student in the Coca-Cola Spelling Bee District Finals. The competition got underway with the ten top spellers of the Orange Walk District taking the stage. Each participant had one aim, to represent Orange Walk at the 19th National Spelling Bee Competition to be held in Belmopan on the 7th of June sponsored by Bowen and Bowen.

Lookout For Fraudulent Cheques
If you are the owner of a business establishment then you should pay keen attention to the following report as it has to do with bogus cheques that are currently in circulation. The business community is advised to be on the lookout for forged Scotia Bank cheques that were confiscated from prominent business establishments in Belize City. Reports indicate that the fraudulent cheques all have the same account number which is 91595002- 000009132452. The person or persons carrying the cheques are believed to be operating in the area of Belize City and parts of the north.

Orange Walk Mourns The Death of Former Mayor Henry Castillo
Tonight we start off the newscast with a sad note as we report on the death of former P.U.P Mayor of Orange Walk Town Henry Castillo better known as teacher Henry. Castillo passed away this afternoon at the Northern Regional Hospital. We understand that Castillo fell sick months ago and never recuperated. After serving as a teacher and principal of La Inmaculada Primary School, Castillo launched his political career by running for Mayor of Orange Walk under the P.U.P ticket in 2003 which he won and served until 2006. He is one of the Mayors honored on the Orange Walk Town Mural constructed by the present town council. Our condolences go out to the family of teacher Henry, may he rest in peace.

Parcel Containing Two Pounds Of Cocaine Confiscated At Tropic Air Terminal In Corozal
Details are still sketchy but news tonight is that on Friday April 19th at around 4:30pm, members of the Gang Suppression Unit confiscated a parcel containing one kilo of suspected cocaine at the Tropic Air Terminal in Ranchito Corozal. We understand that the package arrived at the terminal at 7:00am from San Pedro Ambergris Caye and it had a Corozal Town address. The sealed box had the marking Devon on it and when it was opened by the GSU it was found to contain a blue bag which contained a black plastic bag. Inside the plastic bag authorities found a square shaped parcel containing two pounds of suspected cocaine. Reports are that the recipient of the package is a female from Corozal Town who did not pick up the cargo since she was alerted that it was under surveillance.

Four Belizeans Bestowed Award Of The British Empire
Four Belizeans received prestigious honor of the British Empire today at the Belize House for their selfless and outstanding contributions to Belize. The honorees included Senior Counsel, Denys A. Barrow, who was awarded the insignia for Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his distinguished service to Belize and the field of law. Commissioner of the Supreme Court and Senior Justice of the Peace, Patrick Alexander Bernard, was bestowed with the insignia of a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his dedication to the Public Service. Also receiving the insignia of a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire were Pen Cayetano for his wonderful and numerous contributions to music and art and Senior Justice of the Peace, Crispina Hyde, for her selfless service to education and community. The Governor General of Belize, Sir Collville Young, conferred the prestigious honors to the citizens on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Belizean Flag and Plague To Be Installed At Aguas Turbias
A historic visit to Aguas Turbias is set to take place this coming Saturday as a group of Orange Walkenos, led by Orlando De La Fuente, make the long trip to Aguas Turbias National Park specifically to the monument that marks the boundary for Belize, Mexico and Guatemala. While De La Fuente will lead the charge here in the north, President of The Belize Territorial Volunteers Wil Maheia will lead the expedition to the Southern Border while Nancy Marin will be at the forefront of the western movement. This time around the main purpose of the expedition is to plant a Belizean flag and install a metal plaque in the area that bears the name Belize, to identify the country thus bringing to light the one hundredth and fifty fourth anniversary of the signing of the 1859 Boundary Treaty by Britain and Guatemala.

BTB's Logo To Compete For One Show Design 2013 Awards
The good news for the Belize Tourism Board just keeps rolling in as word tonight is that the Belize logo has been chosen as a finalist for the “One Show Design” 2013 awards, in the category of “Brand Identity – Logo Design.” The Belize Tourism Board and its Advertising and Online Agency, Olson, created the Belize logo as a part of a re-branding of Belize’s identity. This afternoon we spoke to BTB’s Media and Public Relations Officer Jana Puga who spoke to us about the organizations latest achievement and what it means for Belize. Jana Puga-Media and Public Relations Officer BTB “We were informed that the new Belize Logo has been chosen as the finalist in the one show 2013 award. One Show Design, One Show Interactive, and One Show Entertainment, and each of these have several categories. The Belize Logo is a finalist in the brand identity logo design category which falls under One Show Design and it is very exciting because the award is aimed to recognize and to promote excellence in advertising and the agency did an amazing job.”

BTB Releases Impressive Figures For Quarterly Report
The Belize Tourism Board presented a positive tourism report today as they released their first quarterly figures. The report shows that 2013 started out on an all-time high for Belize’s Tourism Industry, having documented record numbers for the first quarter. The trends in the first quarter of 2013 tourist arrivals are suggestive of 2012’s patterns, in which substantial numbers were recorded per month. Figures show that the last time there was a decrease in any month for tourist arrivals was October of 2011 making it nineteen consecutive months of increases in overnight tourist arrivals to Belize. There was a record high in arrivals by air in January, February and March of 2013, showing a 7.58%, 6.0% and 10.1% increases respectively, compared to 2012. This year the month of March recorded 28,623 tourist arrivals, which is over 5,200 more than last year’s March total of 25,982. Of note is that this is the first time in history that arrivals by air exceeded the 28,000 visitor mark for any month. All in all airport tourist arrivals showed 8.1% growth in this year’s first quarter, in comparison to last year. All in all, airport tourist arrivals showed 8.1% growth in this year’s first quarter, in comparison to last year.


Philip Henry and Patrick Menzies tell PLUS TV their concerns about Medical Schools in Belize
Last week this station ran a series of stories detailing the phenomenon of medical schools in Belize. On Wednesday we featured local activist Philip “Fawda” Henry who has directed his ire at the American Global University School of Medicine (AGUSM) in Ladyville for not being forthright about their credentials...

Government will strengthen monitoring of medical schools
Plus news has been doing a series of stories on Medical Schools who have been granted charters to operate in Belize. One which has taken up the interest of the Belizean public is American Global University School of Medicine. As we told you earlier Phillip “Fawda” Henry along with Patrick Menzies of BelizeCAN has taken a strong stance against the school and is asking the Ministry of Education to respond to the matter. Well, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) sent out a press release expressing it’s concern of putting into context recent statements made to media by certain individuals regarding the situation of American Global University School of Medicine. The matter was discussed on Rise and Shine this morning where Minister of Education the Hon. Patrick Faber called in to explain some of the points listed in that release.

VP of AGUSM talks to PLUS TV
It has been a torrid last few weeks for the school known as American Global University School of Medicine in Ladyville. On Wednesday activists protested the school, making specific allegations against its vice-president of operations, Peggy Allen. Today, Ms. Allen conducted a telephone interview with local media houses including...

Guatemala will hold its referendum on October 6th., 2014
On Monday we told you that the Guatemalan Government has decided to suspend the simultaneous referendum that was scheduled for October 6 between Belize and Guatemala. Guatemala’s Foreign Minister Luis Fernando Carrera Castro, told local media Monday that a letter has been sent to the Legislature explaining the decision....

Attorney Arthur Saldivar explains Court’s role in Land Disputes
Plus news has been following a story about a land controversy in the village of Ranchito, which is situated in the Corozal district. As we told you, in 2007, the Village Council surveyed and distributed 216 lots in accordance with the Village Council Act. They collected fees and sent...

BEL explains 3 hour power outage
Yesterday, the country experienced a mass blackout when customers in the Cayo, Stann Creek and Toledo Districts were without power for three hours. BEL says this was caused by a system interruption at the West Lake Substation, that is between Mollejon and San Ignacio Town, at about 5:00 in...

Belmopan students attacked during power outage
It seems that robbers took advantage of the power outage to prey on students in the Belmopan area. Almost two hours into the blackout, five students from the Belmopan Baptist High School were walking through a feeder road which leads to the George Price Highway, when three Hispanic men...

Contract signed for Lot 4 of Fort Road Project in Twin Towns
On Monday, contracts were signed for Lot 4 of the 4th Road Project, to begin works for the Santa Elena/San Ignacio Bypass Project. This includes the upgrading of Joseph Andrews Drive in San Ignacio, up to its intersection with the Benque Viejo Road. The project is being funded by ...

Land in Dangriga sold without owner’s consent
Acres of land were sold to another while the rightful owner was out of the country. Dangriga Police is investigating a report of forgery made by 66 year old Retired American David Cooley. Mr Cooley, who currently resided at Lost Reef Resort, in Riversdale, Stann Creek, reported that on...

Drowning in Hattieville
On Sunday sometime after 6:00 pm, Morris Heinz, aged 26 years, a Technician of Belize City, contacted the Police and informed that sometime before 6:00pm that day, he was accompanied by Leroy Betson, aged 35 years, a Chemist of #7064 Raccoon Street Extension, Belize City, and four other persons...

Police Officer found dead from apparent suicide
A Police Officer was found dead in what appears to be a suicide. According to the wife of PC Jose Pan, he returned home from the Gales Point Village at around 5:00 yesterday evening. The two lived in one of the living quarters at the Gales Point Police Substation....

8.1% increase in tourist arrivals by air
There’s more good news for the BTB, as they have documented a record breaking first quarter for 2013. The report shows that in tourist arrivals, January saw an increase of 7.58%, February has a 6.0% increase and March a 10.1%, compared to last year. In fact, just for the...

Man electrocuted in Blue Creek Village
Belize City Police investigates case of sudden death. 48 year old Frank Klassen of Blue Creek Village in the Orange Walk District reported to Police that Monday evening at about 2:30 p.m. 18 year old Clayton REMPEL of Blue Creek was washing a tractor with an electrical power wash...

Man charged with murder aquitted
Triston Gordon, charged with the 2011 murder of Kenyon Plunkett, was acquitted yesterday. This case was the first trial without jury to be heard before Justice Adolph Lucas in the Supreme Court. And it was the testimony of the prosecution’s main witness that led Justice Lucas to rule in...

Constitutional Challenge begins in Supreme Court on May 7th
The Supreme Court will hear a constitutional challenge from Caleb Orozco, a Belizean citizen supported by a battery of high-powered international advocates for homosexuality and their Belizean surrogates, on May 7. Today was the last hearing before trial to go over outstanding matters before the big case, and lead...

Police advise businesses to look out for forged cheques
The Police is advising business establishments to be one the lookout for forged Scotia Bank cheques that were stolen from prominent business establishments in Belize City. These cheques all have the same account numbers 91595002 000009132452. Police have reason to believe that the perpetrators are operating in the Belize...

Belize City Mayor follows Master Plan for Restorations
On Monday you heard from Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley concerning the planned upgrades of Battlefield Park. The City has been hauled up by its bootstraps since he took office, but some wonder why the wholesale change. He says it is all part of a Master Plan. Philip Bradley...


Bingo Nights at Feliz Bar & Grill Raised Hefty Sums for the San Pedro Sailing Club
Donating a portion of the proceeds from last month’s Wednesday Night Bingo parties, Feliz Bar & Grill in The Cloisters, north of the bridge, raised $2279.60 for the San Pedro Sailing Club. In the photo below, Andy Milner on the left, the Sailing Club’s Commodore, is receiving the check form Kevin Smith of Feliz. Kevin plans to have his Bingo Nights continuously support a different charities on the island. The Sailing Club extends heart felt thanks to Kevin and Heather of Felize and to all who played Bingo to support the Club. Commodore Milner says that what Bingo at Feliz raised “is awesome! It’s half a boat” – half the price for adding an additional boat to San Pedro’s small fleet. Also, proceeds of the 3rd Wednesday night Feliz Bingo Party of every month from now on will benefit the Sailing Club Another Wednesday of every month will benefit Saga, etc. Check Feliz Facebook page with Kevin and Heather Smith of Feliz for details. San Pedro Branch of the Belize Red Cross would also like to thank Feliz for having us as your Bingo charity for the last month. Details coming soon about how much was raised.

Chaa Creek Hails Belize Reef Drilling Ban
Last week’s landmark decision to nullify offshore drilling contracts along Belize’s Great Barrier Reef and Caribbean coastline is being celebrated as a great victory by environmentalists throughout the Central American country, according to Belize Natural History Centre assistant manager Brion Young. Mr Young, who is also a licensed naturalist guide at the Lodge at Chaa Creek, which maintains the Centre, said that the decision was the result of a suit brought about by Oceana, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), and the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage. “This is a great victory not only for Belize, but for the world, as the Belize Barrier Reef is part of our collective natural heritage,” Mr Young said. “It also shows what can be achieved through effective partnerships between global and local environmental groups,” he added. The court, with Justice Oswell Legall presiding, overturned the contracts, which were issued in 2004 and 2007, after determining that the then Government of Belize failed to assess the environmental impact of drilling for oil on Belize’s waters, as required by law, before approving the contracts.

“Wasting Time” in Ambergris Caye, Belize
Dental appointment yesterday to have the crowns fitted so up early, breakfast at Estel’s and then the 8 am Caye Caulker Water Taxi to Belize City for my 10.30 am appointment at the Dental Center with Doctor Pedro Habet. Getting used to this routine now. Me, not you, I mean. Got a result at the ticket counter when the young lady let me exchange the two return tickets I had from last week (Rose and I got a plane back) for a return ticket. A fairly empty boat so I had no trouble getting a seat near one of the doors (providing a nice cooling breeze) and the boat docked just before 9.30 am. All was going swimmingly. A stroll around to Brodies in Albert Street to pick up some provisions that are not always available on Ambergris Caye and then caught a taxi to take me to the dentist. And with time enough to spare to stop off at The Tile & Stone Center to pick up a printed copy (will be a lot easier to browse than the on-line version) of the Daltille catalogue. It was going so well. Arrived at the ‘Center twenty minutes early for my appointment and settled down to look at the tile catalogue when I heard the young lady on Reception duty telling me that my appointment had been changed to Thursday. Apparently I had been sent a message to this effect. Having now thoroughly checked my In Box and Messages on my ‘phone I know this not to be the case. Four hours of my day gone. I hate wasting time.

Photos, Video, and Audio of Wild Toucans in Belize
This morning the Keel Billed Toucans that live at Lower Dover Jungle Lodge in Belize decided to stop by a large Fig Tree located near the entrance to the hotel grounds. Maybe they had a message for the large male iguana also sharing the space. More likely both animals were all there to eat the ripening fruits. Normally it is the distinct call of the toucan that alerts guests and birdwatchers that these beautiful animals are nearby. The song of the toucan sounds almost like a croaking frog if tropical birders do not know what they were listening for. When multiple birds get together in the same tree, the noise is unmistakable.

Meeting “Mommy” Janice, A Local Bush Medicine Healer
My first trip to Belize was in December 2011 through January 2012. It was partially a vacation (since I hadn’t been on vacation in almost 7 years!) and partially a small test my boyfriend, Matt, and I were putting out there. If we survive traveling in Belize for a month, we can survive anything – right? Happily, we not only survived Belize (Oh, we fought, but not much. And the ever present rum punch helped a lot!) but we thrived in the gorgeous tropical Central American climate. After the first few days, we drove from the north and went south, through Belmopan. From the Hummingbird Highway there were a couple signs for a local Farmers Market. We pulled over with no hesitation, as it was hot and we were in desperate need of something cool to drink and eat. After passing a few stalls, I saw a woman dressed all in black and gesticulating wildly. “The wild yams, mama!”, she shouted to a customer. “The wild yam are powerful stuff, mommy!”

International Sources

More Cuba travel on the horizon
Central Holidays presents an exciting new “Discover Cuba” travel program that takes US travelers to connect with locals in Cuba and learn about the architecture, music, art and culture of this enchanting country. The US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control has granted a licence to provide people-to-people cultural exchange travel programs to Cuba to Premier World Discovery/CE, a strategic partner of Central Holidays, enabling the company to offer this trip to US travelers. The fascinating 8-day “Discover Cuba” itinerary provides a full time schedule of activities that result in meaningful exchanges through people-to-people contact, offering insightful, cross-cultural and educational experiences at every turn. Travelers will explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Old Havana with the largest collection of Spanish-Colonial architecture in the Americas, the beautiful baroque-style Cathedral of Havana built in 1748, and the “Maqueta de la Habana Vieja” Museum that houses a detailed scale model of the City of Havana. Further along, travelers visit Viñales Valley and Pinar del Rio, known for its stunning scenery, a landscape of prehistoric looking flat-top mountains or “mogotes”, tobacco plantations, caves, and rivers.

Belize blessings
EIGHT MEMBERS of the Rock Community Church returned from their trip to Belize to build a house for a family and put on a children’s program with stories to tell and photos to share about their journey and the people they met. Pastor Mike Rosenau tells a bit about his experience and the Cowo family, who now has a safe house to live in, also sent their regards in a letter to the church. “They’re beautiful people who live in very humble circumstances,” said Rosenau about the families in the towns of San Felipe and Blue Creek. A photo of Rosenau and the eldest son of the family, who the team was to build a house for, Juan Cowo, above right, starts off the story of the team’s and family’s journey together. “This shot was taken at about 6:30 p.m. on the day we arrived,” said Rosenau. “We had just driven from the Belize International Airport and were on our way to our hosts homes in Blue Creek. San Felipe is on the way to Blue Creek, and so I asked the driver to stop at the building site.

Offshore Oil Drilling Stopped in Belize's Barrier Reef, in Major Victory
by Ted Danson and Audrey Matura-Shepherd. Belize is home to the largest coral reef system in the Western hemisphere -- the Mesoamerican Reef, which stretches 560 miles, 186 of which lie in Belizean waters. In the past decade the Belizean government secretly leased rights to drill for oil in its reef -- including the famous Blue Hole -- to local companies with little to no experience in the very complicated and hazardous business of offshore oil drilling. Given the high frequency of oil spills and leaks in offshore drilling operations (which, for example, occur nearly every day in the Gulf of Mexico), the decision to green-light drilling operations in the Belizean Barrier Reef -- a habitat central to Belize's tourism-based economy -- led to a fierce national debate in Belize after the secret leases were revealed in the wake of the 2010 Gulf Oil spill. Based on the history of past environmental debates in Belize, it appeared that the government was likely to prevail. But things have now changed in Belize. In a stunning decision, last week Belize's Supreme Court struck down the offshore drilling contracts that were issued by the government in 2004 and 2007, declaring them "unlawful, null and void." The court overturned the contracts after determining that the government failed to assess the environmental impact on Belize's ocean, as required by law, prior to issuing the contracts. The court also found that contracts were made to companies that did not demonstrate a proven ability to contribute the necessary funds, assets, machinery, equipment, tools and technical expertise to drill safely.

It’s a Frog! Nope, That’s the Sound of the Keel-billed Toucan of Belize!
Look at the size of that obtuse bill! You must be setting your eyes on the vibrantly colored Keel-billed Toucan, the National Bird of Belize in Central America. The bird is notable for its canoe-shaped bill, which can grow up to 20 cm long, and its flamboyant green, red, blue and orange feathers. Although their bill can take up to 1/3 of their length, it is fairly light since it is made of a spongy, hollow bone covered in keratin. This toucan is quite the loud, sociable, and playful bird. Their calls to one another resemble loud frog croaks that can be heard as far as a half a mile away! It is rare to find a single bird roaming around for they travel and live in groups of six to twelve adults. The toucans are often spotted in lowland rainforests, throwing berries at each other or jostling with their large bills. The precise use of their enormous bills is unsure but many speculate it is used to reach berries growing on weak branches or for courtship. Their diet consists mainly of fruit but can extend to insects, reptiles, or eggs. To feed, the toucan will pick up a whole piece of fruit and tilt its head back, having the fruit slide down its throat intact.

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