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Today's Belize News: April 27, 2013 #463224
04/27/13 05:40 AM
04/27/13 05:40 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 73,443
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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

SACNW Sign Painting
On Saturday April 20th, students of San Pedro High School (Community Service and enjoyment) and members of the SACNW (South Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch) gathered at Lone Star Grill and Cantina for a very productive and creative afternoon in a continuing effort to improve the cleanliness of South Ambergris Caye. A huge Thank You goes out to Marc, Leanne and Jaime for hosting the event at the Lone Star Grill and Cantina and for their contributions, Mrs. Conchita Flota, Vice Principal of the San Pedro High School for organizing the group of students that participated, the parents that sent their kids out to share their talents and especially Josie Nunez SACNW President and organizer and Laura Schmitt the talented artist. We also extend our appreciation to event contributors John Now, Janet Goff, Surendra, Carolyn and Nina Kumar, Renee and Mike Steinmetz, Paula Peake and Kimberly Malega.

NDACC awards 22 students of SPHS following a 12-week training
The National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDAC), San Pedro Branch awarded 22 students of San Pedro High School with certificates of achievement for successfully completing a twelve-week Youth Empowerment Program. The program aims to educate students on issues not only on alcohol and drug abuse, but also on the root causes that lead to the use of alcohol and drugs. The program took place once per week at the San Pedro High School campus. According to NDACC, parents came in and agreed for their kids to attend the program, and thus it was a collaborative effort of the parents, school, students and NDACC. “We did interactive activities that showed them positive way to deal with real life situations,” said Romero. NDACC is also running a similar program at New Horizon SDA School and Ocean Academy in Caye Caulker.

Ambergris Today

Neighborhood Watch Group Post 24 Colorful Signs in Area
On Saturday, April 20, 2013, students of San Pedro High School (Community Service and enjoyment) and members of the SACNW (South Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch) gathered at Lone Star Grill and Cantina for a very productive and creative afternoon in a continuing effort to improve the cleanliness of South Ambergris Caye. With neon and bright colors, they painted more than 24 signs with catchy slogans such as LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE, TRASH IN DA CAN MAN, FEED DA CAN MAN, STASH THE TRASH, KEEP LA ISLA BONITA CLEAN, and NO LITTA IS MO BETTA.

Two Belizean Women Excel in Bodybuilding Abroad
Two Belizean women living in the United States of America are making a name for Belize in the bodybuilding arena as they have stepped up to the challenge of transforming their bodies to healthy works of art. Both have recently participated in top competitions and garnered trophies for their hard work. Up first is Zarifa Liseli Waight, a 27-year-old mother of two living in Santa Monica, California. She competed in the NPC Grand Prix held on April 13, 2013, in Culver City and placed fifth in the largest class of the entire competition. Zarifa explains that this was a huge milestone for her as she trained by herself in the basement of her house. And while Zarifa is making waves in California, another Belizean bombshell is taking trophies across the United States in Florida State. Cricel Castillo also made Belize proud as the 24-year-old took the first place trophy in the Figure Competition at the Diamond Classic, Boca Ranton Florida.

Misc Belizean Sources

San Pedro, Ambergris Caye Town Council Plan 2012 - 2015
Following municipal elections, the new San Pedro Town Council tasked itself with formulating a strategic plan that sets out this Council’s vision, mission and guiding principles while giving clear direction on the objectives for the next three years and beyond. This is the high-level, overarching plan that guides and shapes our municipal programs, and the services provided to our community. The 2012 - 2015 San Pedro Town Council Strategic Plan identify our priorities for the social and economic well being of our community, the sustainability of our environment, and for town services and administration. These priorities are dependent on budgeting and available resources and we have made the commitment to find innovative ways of addressing these priorities and achieving our objectives. We stress the importance of embracing change and diversity and the significance of principled action, accountability, openness and transparency.

Caribbean Cooler Video at SIRH
The latest Caribbean Cooler video was shot at the Stork Club at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, and even features their staff in the video. Island Time Beverages really has a winner on their hands, and they have been sponsoring some fun events around Cayo.

FCCA Essay Competition
The BTB and the FCCA are having an essay competition for children up to the age of 16. The focus is sustainable tourism, and the topic is 'What Makes My Destination Different from Others?' There are 2 months left to submit the essays. Best of luck! "The Florida Caribbean Cruise Association and the Belize Tourism Board are delighted to invite the students of Belize to participate in the 2013 FCCA Foundation for the Caribbean Children’s Essay Competition. This essay competition seeks to promote and stimulate environmental awareness among Caribbean students – promoting their destination - while effectively educating our younger generation on the importance of environmental protection."

Cornerstone Feeding Program
Feelgood news of the day. The Cornerstone Foundation has posted some pictures from their feeding program. Thanks, Cornerstone, for keeping the kids well fed! In related news, Cornerstone is getting ready for their next Feed the Children Fashion Show. See their page for more details.

Nutrition Rocks in Cayo
The Nutrition Rock Video series has a video that was shot mostly at the Cayo Saturday Market. The Santa Elena Primary School is in it too. "Hey guys, you've been asking for more submissions from our Nutrition Rocks Music Video Competition, here is Santa Elena in action."

VIDEO: Caravan to Caracol - Celebrating with the Maya in Belize
Last September we went to the Maya city of Caracol for the Fall Equinox celebration that was being preformed by a Maya Itza Leader from Peten Guatemala. It was a very special event that we were extremely fortunate to witness and document on film. Hopefully the Belize Film Festival will accept the picture so we have an excuse to visit Belize City for the party. The Maya leaders told us we must stay up all night if we were to experience the ritual the proper way. Pretty plainly this was the most trying part of the trip because we were not planning on staying up, but camping and waking up before dawn for the fire ceremony. Special thanks to the park ranger Mike for sharing his coffee and making it possible.

Belize Talk Radio with Amanda Cyphers and Peter Margesson
Here how Amanda Cyphers and her family are settling into Belize after just a year and a half as Expats. They first appeared on House Hunters International on HGTV with Macarena Rose. A great family with lots to share… Peter Margesson is the owner of one of the best restaurants in Belize. Ko-Ox Hannah Restaurant is right downtown San Ignacio Town. Peter is a long time Expat from South Africa with a very interesting story..

Police First Quarter Report
The Corozal Police Formation under the command of Superintendent Andrew Ramirez held a most successful town meeting last night at the Andres Campos Civic Center. The meeting was chaired by Henry Menzies, President of the Citizens Coalition For A Better Corozal.

Truly one of the most iconic images in the Zoo's history. See 30 years of conservation in Belize through the eyes of April the tapir and all her loving fans and friends. Today we celebrated National Tapir Day, and April's 30th birthday! She remains the oldest living female tapir on record in the world, and is a national treasure, icon, and champion for her species.

New Horizons’ medical team makes a difference while training
U.S. and Canadian medical professionals completed the second of two New Horizons large medical readiness training exercises April 25, at San Felipe School, Belize. The 11-day medical exercise began April 15 and provided general medicine, dentistry, pediatrics, pharmacy, and optometry services at three locations in the northern part of the country: Guinea Grass School, San Pablo School, and San Felipe School. “I believe conducting medical exercises provides the opportunity to build friendships, and friendships improve lives,” said U.S. Army Maj. Carla Tate, Team Chief for the second medical exercise. Among the 5,596 patients treated during the training exercise, U.S. Army Capt. Blong Ly, general dentist assigned to the 352nd Combat Support Hospital, recalled a dental patient in his early twenties whose quality of life was improved when he visited the team while they where at the San Pablo school. “We had a patient who came in early in the morning with large abscessed swelling in the upper left area of his face,” said Ly. “His left eye was swollen shut and the whole upper face was swollen comparable to the size of a baseball.”


Africanized bees near Hawksworth Bridge
This is bee season! Faye Garnett, District Agriculture Coordinator, Cayo affirmed a department call from the Police Dept in regard to swarms of Africanized bees near Hawksworth Bridge swarming out of their nest at the top tower of the bridge. In collaboration with BEL, the Town Board and the Police Dept traffic was redirected in order to spray and elevate the beekeepers to remove the hives accumulating over 30,000 bees. She affirmed reports of hives on the bridge for the last 20 years so it will be a recurring problem. For this month alone there have been a recorded 42 bee cases throughout the Cayo district primarily in Belmopan, San Ignacio, Succotz, Cristo Rey, Teakettle and surrounding areas. Reports can be made to is 804-2079 in order for the situation to be assessed.

Volunteer with the DYS
Would you like to make a difference and gain some valuable experience at the same time? The Department of Youth Services in Benque is asking for volunteers between the ages of 14 and 29 to help with upcoming community events. They are planning sporting events, clean up campaigns, and a singing competition at this point, and could really use some help. Call 803-3027 for more information. "This is call to all youths who wish to become an agent of change in Benque Viejo and help make a difference for the youth in our community. Become a volunteer with the Department of Youth Services and aid in organizing activities or events that will allow our beloved youth in this jewel of ours grow positively and actively."

AGRIC One Week Away
The Agriculture and Trade Show is only a week away. They have a weel done flier out with the new logo and theme. May 3rd through the 5th.

Channel 7

Italian Man Of Mystery Is A Fugitive
Last night, we told you about, Italian Antonio Velardo who docked up in San Pedro aboard a catamaran with twenty two thousand US dollars in un-declared US currency. He was charged and paid a five thousand dollar fine – and we thought that was the end of it, but tonight he’s still detained in San Pedro, on the strength of an Interpol warrant. After he paid his court fine, the Immigration Department gave him what’s known as an “RLL” – refused leave to land – which they can give to any undesirable person at any point of entry. That’s because authorities have information that he is an international fugitive. So he was detained again, and is being questioned at this hour. His attorney Godfrey Smith told us there’s not much that can be done for Velardo at this time, but he has asked Authorities to produce documentation to support the claim that he is wanted by Interpol. As we understand, the Financial Intelligence Unit is leading the investigation which suggests that Velardo may be wanted in connection with some financial inquiry. As we told you last night, an internet write-up lists him as profitable player in international real estate along with his partner Harry Fitzsimmons in their company, VFI. He boasted in an interview four years ago that that they developed a turnover of 100 million Euros in less than eight months.

Sentenced For Shooting Man In Chest
28 year-old Leroy Ramsey is spending the first night of an 8 year sentence in prison which Justice Troadio Gonzalez handed down today. He was convicted of 2 counts of attempted murder last week Friday for attempting to shoot Lincoln Broaster and Cecilio Madril to death. In the trial, evidence came out in court that both men were on Raccoon Street socializing with Robert Wagner on the night of February 18, 2008. Wagner took the stand and testified that he was speaking to both men when he saw Ramsey approach them with a firearm. Ramsey shot Broaster twice, once to the chest, near the heart; and once to the left thigh. According to Wagner, Ramsey immediately turned the weapon on Madril fired 3 shots at him, all of which missed. The prosecutor called Broaster to testify, who confirmed the details as described by Wagner, but he told the court that he never saw who shot him. Broaster was treated as a hostile witness, and he eventually admitted under cross-examination that he gave a statement to police in which he identified Ramsey as his attacker.

Alleged Bad Cheque Man Bounces Into Court
On Tuesday, 7News told you about bogus checks which were bouncing around at different business places. Well tonight, 31 year-old Rupert Avila is out of bail tonight after he was taken to court in relation to a bogus check with different serial numbers. According to police, at 12:20 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, he was found in possession of a Nova Scotia Bank cheque #077 in the sum of $5,810.00. He allegedly attempted to pay the cashier at Benny’s Bargain Center with this bogus check. Police say that the cashier called them to the establishment at #54 Freetown Road, where they detained Avila based on information received of a “bogus” cheque. They interviewed him, and were not convinced that he had no idea that cheque was not authentic. They believe that it belongs to the Unity Presbyterian Primary School, who they contacted before arresting Avila.

Man Charged For Vicious Dogs
50 year-old Brian Castillo, a resident of Lord’s Bank area, is out on bail after he was taken to court for keeping unmuzzled ferocious dogs. According to police, his neighbor reported on Sunday, his 3 dogs got out of his yard went into her yard, and killed her $1,500 dollar pit-bull. She told Monica Bodden her story today. Sandra Williams - Dog Killed in Attack "Sunday I left for work at 7:30 and by the time I arrived at work my neighbor was calling me so I came back around three hours after. My neighbor was calling me to tell me that a dog was attacking my dog. My dog was all the way at the back of the yard tied to a running chain. I put him at the back because children pass on the street and because of the size of the dog I didn't want the children to be afraid of him and throw a stone at him. I had a problem previously with a child that had stoned him so I put him away at the back of the yard so that children can't get to him. Eventhough he's a Pet dog - he is still very big. He is massive and Pit. He is trained to be around children because my child has played with him from he's a child."

Rosewood Amnesty Ends; Minister: "Tomorrow Is A New Day… I Still Love My Job"
The 19-day Rosewood Amnesty ended today and the Forestry Department says it is still collecting data, and won’t know until next week the volume of Rosewood collected under the Amnesty. But the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development Lisel Alamilla – in a quite candid Facebook post - seems to be glad it’s over. She says all material will be stamped by the end of the day and next week the team begins supervision of loading for the export market. She says when total material is quantified the figure will be sent to CITES and as it is exported it will be tracked and deducted from the total sum allowable as pre-convention Rosewood. She adds that material that was moved during amnesty from out of Toledo district was for the local market, for later export as a value added product. She says this was causing confusion so her department disallowed any movement out of the district. Alamilla says she went into the bush with Forest Department and two conservation NGOs to determine if fresh Rosewood was being cut. Her findings were that the reports of cutting of new trees was not supported by what she observed on the ground. She said if trees were felled during this amnesty, that would be minimal.

Caribbean Chicken Will Try For Trinidad Again
Caribbean Chicken will try to export to Trinidad again. That’s after a 20 foot container with 24,000 pounds of poultry was sent back to Belize from Trinidad, because it did not have proper import permits. According to the CEO in the Ministry of Agriculture, Jose Alpuche a meeting held this morning between BAHA, the Producer and the Importer who was trying to get it into Trinidad. Alpuche says that there were mis-steps at all levels and his ministry will take up the matter, and the first task will be to have the Chief Veterinary Officers of both Belize and Trinidad coordinate to avoid a recurrence. He says both have come to a commercial agreement that they’re satisfied with both are determined to make the business happen. Isaac Bergen the General Manager of Caribbean Chicken told us that he remains committed and determined to export to Trinidad but presently has no time-frame for when the next shipment might go off. He says his company did incur expenses with this failed effort. This is the first time Belize has tried to export poultry to CARICOM.

Still No Confirmation On “Encouraging Oil Show”
24 days ago, Government announced that there had been “an encouraging oil show” in the Orange Walk District. The timeline was that in two weeks we would know if the oil was in commercial quantities. Well, almost four weeks have passed and there is still no word. Joy Grant, Minister with responsibility for petroleum today told us that there have been a number of equipment delays – and so there is still no official finding on the commercial viability of the Maranco oil find. She says that there was a mishap with one of the pieces of equipment which was brought in to determine if there is oil in commercial quantities. She says there will not be any definitive answer until next week.

Cracks Appear On Chetumal Street
And there seems to have also been a mishap on Chetumal Bouelvard. IT was just opened on Monday, but already the concrete surface is showing significant cracking in one area. This morning when we passed, we saw workers with a jackhammer, breaking open the surface to concrete certain areas again. The City Council press officer Kenny Morgan told us that there is an area of 30 feet where cracks had occurred. He says according to the city engineer, those are expected over that distance of road, where defects will come up. He says the City Engineer has given assurances that it is nothing that will compromise the integrity of the concrete slab. But at least one engineer we’ve spoken with differs; he says it is a significant event because the crack will allow water to infiltrate the concrete and undermine the foundation. We note that this contractor is the same one who did Evergreen Street behind BWSL – which had to be patched in multiple places.

Patrick Menzies Has Another Run-In With The Law
A man who has had a number of run-in’s with police had another one last night. Patrick Menzies – who is presently facing charges of the attempted murder of a police-man, was beaten by police last night. According to reports, the whole thing started at a Belize City bar where Menzies and PC Griffith had a run-in. Griffith, you may recall was the officer that the Murillo family accused of killing their son, Teddy. Menzies is the deceased Teddy’s first cousin. Well, last night Menzies knocked out PC Griffith which is when he was arrested and then beaten by police. His family additionally claims that he was pistol whipped by Griffith who was retrieved from the hospital just to settle the score. That is a claim which Griffith’s police colleague Darrell Tutsi Usher denies; he told us that Menzies attacked Griffith in the bar for no reason and that up to this morning, Griffith was still confused about his whereabouts. Menzies was treated for head injuries and released form the hospital . He faces charges for punching out Griffith. No word on what internal investigation may be launched.

Aging April Still Likes A Good Party
April the Tapir, is probably the best known of the animals at the Belize Zoo. She’s seen a lot of its history, and she’s become the icon in Belize’s culture for the elevation of her species as one of Belize’s national symbols. Every Year, the zoo holds a major birthday bash in her honor, and this year, as she turned the big 3-0, it was even more special. 7News attended and Daniel Ortiz has that report. Daniel Ortiz Reporting At the Belize Zoo, birthday parties are extravagant events, and the 30th birthday celebration for April, the Tapir, was no different. Students from all over the country gathered in her honor at the Zoo. Keeping mind that this lady’s life span is being measured in human years, she’s outlived her life expectancy by 5. That is impressive not only because she’s survived so long, but also because when she was just a calf, she had to be rescued from a parasite infestation, which almost claimed her life. And now, she’s the poster-girl for her endangered species residing in Belize. Jamal Andrewin - Bohn - Environmental Educator, Belize Zoo "We have to keep noting that April is the oldest living female in captivity in the world. That is a huge achievement. Normally in the wild they live about 20 - 25 years. I think the record is at 34 years so we're hoping that she beats that record. From April got here 30 years ago has been an ambassador of her species. April is a Belizean icon - everyone knows her.

Family Pleads For 14 Year Old Ana to Return Home
Tonight, the family of 14 year-old Anna Aguilar continues to worry about her whereabouts after she went missing on Tuesday. Aguilar was supposed to go to her school at Our Lady of the Way RC Primary in Ladyville, but she never showed up when classes started. Since then, her family has been looking for her, and today, they spoke to us to make a public plea for her safe return. Christina Quinote - Anna's Mother "She went missing from Tuesda morning. I sent her to school and she didn't arrive at school. When I came out of work in the evening I asked my mom for Anna and she said that Anna had not gotten there as yet. I started to cry and wanted to know where my daughter was. I started to investigate with all the family and she wasn't with her different families. I went to the Police Station and I gave a statement that my daughter was missing. All I want is for Anna to come back home. [Message to Anna from her mother] 'Anna, Mamma misses you, Granny misses you, your sisters say to come back home.' "

Where Will Cruise Port Go?
On Wednesday, we told you about the appointment of the new Director of Cruise and Regional Initiatives, Valdemar Andrade. He has to figure out how to shore up sagging cruise tourism numbers but he also has to map out a plan for Belize Cruise future. It’s widely accepted that Belize has to get a berthing facility – that means a port where the cruise ships can pull up – and the passengers disembark unto dry ground – without having to board tenders. We asked him to look in his crystal ball. Jules Vasquez "Which will rise? We hear State Bank is on the table and we are hearing now about Crawl Caye. What will be the solution and how soon will that solution arrive?" Valdemar Andrade - BTB, Director of Cruise and Regional Initiatives "We certainly have to make a decision this year on what the solution will be. The Government has currently put together a Crusie sub-committee to look at those initiatives and look to see which one will be best or whether more than one solutions will be available because we are also looking at a birthing facility for Belize City itself as the Port of Entry for Cruise. We are looking at how we can also spread cruise throughout the country and not only relegated to a Belize City option in regards to that Tourism sub sector of cruise. Over the time we do have to consider the best option and of course the best option - if you look at the National Tourism Master Plan - it calls for a Cruise Port. At the end of the day the issues for Cruise is to be able to get into the Port within a certain time period and get out of the port within a certain time period. So the best option is always a port with a birthing facility where people can get on and off safely, comfortably and quickly."

Big Ladies, Unite!
It is called Miss Plus Belize Pageant – and it’s for large ladies only. On Saturday night, 7 contestants from across the city will be vying for the title. Organizers say it’s not promoting obesity – but instead advocating for big boned women to love and appreciate who they are. 7news got up close with the ladies and here’s a glimpses. Monica Bodden Reporting You’ve just met the 7 contestants vying for the Miss Plus Belize Pageant. Normally, beauty pageants are not usually associated with rolls of flab or participants with thunderous thighs. But this is no ordinary beauty pageant - these girls are comfortable within their own skin and are highlighting their beauty from inside out. Their message is simple, they are showing that there is no difference between skinny and fat and no one should determine that only skinny girls are beautiful. Lauren Burgess - Pageant Organizer "This pageant is not just a pageant to say that we are just having a pageant. It's a pageant for the participants to be empowered, enlightened, encouraged and to build their self esteem and self confidence. There are different women, different size and different class. There are skinny, skinnier and skinniest women. Well you also have fluffy, fluffier and fluffiest that are just as good."

A Song Encouraging Industry
3 weeks ago, we featured Aaron “Driver” Louriano in our newscast as a video producer for the new Mr. Program new single, “Tek It Easy”. Turns out, he’s not just a music video man, he’s also a performer, he came to 7News to unveil his news song and video. It’s called “Turn Up the Fire”, and he told us that it’s all about sending a positive message: Aaron "Driver" Louriano - Artist "This song is called 'Turn Up the Fire'. If you're going through something right now then it means you have to turn up the fire some more. Don't allow anyone to try to stop you so you make more and big up yourself more. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't make it and that you cannot be prosperous and that whatever it is that you do is not going to come true. Believe in your dream and fight for your goals. The video is really deep. It shows that someone was getting burnt this does not mean physical fire to burn a person with fire. But it is saying that if this person is becoming an obstacle to you then you need to move it out of the way and get on with your life. Don't waste your time try to stay back with that person and with that obstacle in your life. You have to turn up the fire and move on with your life and do what you need to do with your life. The inspiration is to tell people out there to 'Turn up your fire' some more. If you work as a mechanic then 'Turn it up some more'. If you work in a Law Firm then 'Turn it up some more'. If you work as a fireman or police man then just 'Turn up the fire' and fight for prosperty and keep going forward."

Channel 5

3 Guatemalans caught illegally harvesting in Chiquibul National Reserve
Last Friday, a joint foot patrol in the Chiquibul National Park along with B.D.F. and Rangers led to the detention of three Guatemalans conducting gold paning in the river. The men namely, thirty-two year old Marcos Domingo Para, thirty-two year old Mario Rolando and forty year old Estevan Putul Mai were caught red-handed. Para was [...]

The Prince and Little Iguana Caye’s unsanctioned development
Officials of the Department of the Environment were in San Pedro Ambergris Caye this week to assess dredging activities taking place near the San Pedro Marina Channel for which a stop order was imposed. While conducting site inspection, they ran into another development project; this one located at Little Iguana Caye also off San Pedro. [...]

Oil company folds on operation and moves to another
The Prime Minister will be having a press conference on Monday at which time information may be forthcoming on whether or not the oil find by Maranco Energy Belize Limited is deemed to be in commercial quantities. But tonight there is information of another company that has been exploring in Northwest Belize near the Rio [...]

To Aguas Turbias and beyond; Territorial Volunteers on the road again
The northern component of the Belizean Territorial Volunteers, led by Orlando de la Fuente, will be heading to the border this Saturday; destination is the border marker at Aguas Turbias, which is the intersection point of the Mexican, Belizean and Guatemalan borders. The trek will lead first to the Belizean/Mexican frontier and from there south [...]

Italian realtor wanted by Interpol
Tonight, Antonio Velardo, a wealthy Italian visitor is being questioned by San Pedro Police. Velardo was fined on Thursday for not declaring twenty point five thousand U.S. dollars found in his yacht, the Aventura. But Velardo was freed only briefly because he is back in police custody and is being questioned for another matter. The [...]

Holy War in Chief Justice chambers; Church defends against UNIBAM
On May seventh, the landmark case on the constitutionality of section fifty-three of the Criminal Code gets underway before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. Section fifty-three states that persons who engage in carnal knowledge against the order of nature shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years. It is a highly controversial case in which the [...]

Fired K.H.M.H. Security Guards say they are owed overtime from 2011
In January of this year, the security staff of the K.H.M.H. was dismissed following a decision by the Board of Directors of the national referral hospital to outsource security services to a private company, SOS Security. At the time, the hospital claimed it was a cost-saving measure since tens of thousands of dollars were being [...]

Who let the dog out? Brian Castillo
A Lord’s Bank resident has been slapped with quite an unusual charge; one that is not often reported in our newscast. Keeping an Unmuzzled Ferocious Dog at large is the charge that Brian Castillo is facing after two of his purebred dogs mauled his neighbor’s pit bull to death. Around eleven a.m. on Sunday, forty-eight [...]

Customer detained at hardware store for bogus cheque
A well-known technician from Belize City has been slapped with a charge of possession of a false document and claiming upon a forged document. Police believe that thirty-one year old Rupert Avila, a technician employed at Belizean to the Bone, is the man responsible for a bogus Scotiabank check which has been making the rounds.  [...]

USAID representative leads discussion on behavior at HIV Forum
The first National HIV Prevention summit is the handiwork of the National AIDS Commission of Belize.  The stakeholders at the conference are being educated by experts to help them understand the psychological processes that lead people to risky behavior. The other topics include examining youth culture and how HIV correlates to drug use. A study [...]

Numerous works from hardest working mayor causing traffic jam?
If in the past few months you’ve been unfortunate enough to be in a vehicle on the Northern Highway between the Haulover Bridge and the city anytime between the hours of seven am and eight thirty, then you’ve been a victim of the incredibly frustrating traffic congestion. It’s been bad for the past months, but [...]

Belize Zoo’s April, the manatee celebrates a milestone
To many of you watching this, the news that a new Miss Belize was crowned today will come as a big surprise. The venue was the Belize Zoo and Education Center and the occasion was a very special one – the thirtieth birthday of a celebrity who over the years has become the face of [...]

Ras Indio, musician back from Ethiopia
Ras Indio is a Belizean musician who is so busy that his passion for the art keeps him on the road. Indio, normally participates in Caribbean tours and reggae tours in the USA and Canada. Recently, Indio had crossed the Atlantic and smoked with the crowds in Amsterdam. But this time, the son of Bredda [...]

Belize District High School Festival of Arts
A little over a month ago, the Preschool Festival of Arts was held at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts. Since Wednesday, the high schoolers have been taking the stage…this time at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall for the District festival. Simultaneously around the country, the Belize District High School Festival of Arts is [...]

A Call to Worship
There will be a massive congregation of the faithful from all denominations on Saturday in Belize City. It’s a Call to Worship…a night devoted to God which coordinators say has outgrown and exceeded all its expectations since it first started five years ago. Today, Director of the Call to Worship Committee, Althea Garbutt, visited our [...]


Three Persons Involved In Traffic Accident, No One Injured
Three persons were involved in a traffic accident this afternoon at around 3:30 when two pickup trucks with Corozal license plates collided into each other between miles seventy two and seventy three on the Philip Goldson Highway. The impact of the collision caused both drivers of the vehicles to lose control of the wheel. When we arrived at the scene we observed Mexican National Oscar Lagos, who was driving this green Mitsubishi pickup truck bearing Corozal license plate C-18857, exiting his vehicle from the passenger door. According to eye witness Jose Gonzales, the driver of this brown Chevrolet pickup truck bearing Corozal license plate C-16960 swerved in front of the pickup he was travelling in. Right after, they heard a loud bang.

The Road To Patriotism Begins Tomorrow
Tomorrow the Belize Territorial Volunteers Northern Branch will be traveling to the Aguas Turbias as a sign of loyalty and patriotism to Belize. The Aguas Turbias Monument has brass plates with names of both Mexico and Guatemala but none of Belize. That is about to change; however, because the northern group plans to install a plague with the inscription Belize on the monument. Accompanying the group tomorrow will be president of Belize Territorial Volunteers Wil Maheia who has been at the forefront of the “Clear the Border Project”. Wil Maheia- President Belize Territorial Volunteers “Tomorrow we will be going to Aguas Turbias which is one of the border marker that was put down in 1859 and this is to commemorate the 30th of April, so we are very close to that day which will Tuesday, so tomorrow we will to there and show the world that yes we do have a border. Sunday we will be with Nancy Marin and her crowd in the Cayo District going to Garbutt Falls. There are three border markers, so Aguas Turbias, Garbutt Falls and Gracias a Dios down by the sarstoon so tomorrow Aguas Turbias then on Sunday it is Garbutt Falls and on Tuesday it is Gracias a Dios down by the sarstoon so we are coming covering the whole country so that people of Belize could know and see that yes there is a real border.”

B.T.V. Says No To The ICJ
During our interview with Maheia this morning, he also weighed in on the issue of Guatemala backing out of the October 6th simultaneous referendum. Wil Maheia- President Belize Territorial Volunteers “I believe that again and I hope that the Belizean people pay attention to what is taking place here this is a people power thing, the Guatemalan government has noticed that Belizean are behind us by the thousands and they know that we will vote no when it comes to going to the ICJ and there is no reason for us going to the ICJ, this is our country and all the nations of the world recognizes us with our border intact and Guatemala already know that we will vote no and that is one of the reason why for every means to escape from going to the ICJ and as a result I believe that we have achieved a victory there, we don’t want to go to the ICJ there is a no vote that we will advocating for no and as a result I think that is a big victory for us by getting Guatemala to back out because we cannot go to the referendum if the referendum is not held simultaneously, so again I want to call on the Belizean people don’t let your government play games with you, there should be no referendum if Guatemala is not going to hold it simultaneously.”


Ongoing Land Issues in Armenia Affects Farmers
Yesterday we told you about the water shortage which the Village of Armenia has been facing; today we will tell you about an ongoing land issue within that community. The village chairman of any community has the authority and responsibility to issue land to its villagers. However such is...

Judge Upholds Belize City Undertakers Challenge To Citco’s decision
David Coye, a long-standing undertaker of Belize City, challenged in court the City Council’s decision to prevent undertakers from building and reopening graves in the two public cemeteries. The Belize City council made the decision earlier this year to prevent the Funeral homes from building graves in the Mile...

Oil companies halt exploration
Works were at Rio Bravo after an oil company deemed the area non-commercial. The New World Oil and Gas Company pulled out of their exploration after it was reported that unsatisfactory commercial quantities of moveable hydrocarbons were found at the Rio Barvo Well, which is north of Belize. William...

Treaty Energy Corporation suspends drilling in San Juan
If you think that last week’s Supreme Court ruling by Justice Oswell Legall had implications only for old petroleum contracts related to offshore drilling, well, think again. The court declared six contracts “illegal, null and void.”, including contracts held by Princess Petroleum in Belize, adding that an EIA is...

Michael Gladden freed of attempted murder
23 year old Michael Gladden has been freed of the attempted murder of a Belize City cab driver. In court on Wednesday, the victim, Leon Young testified that on November of 2008, he dropped off six persons at a park on the north side of the city, where they...

Man charged for keeping an Unmuzzled Ferocious Dog
It’s not often that we hear about someone being charged for having their dog roam about unmuzzled. But after a baby pit bull was mauled to death by three dogs, the owners are heading to court. The complaint, a resident of Lords Bank, told Police that on Sunday morning,...

April the Tapir is 30 years old
April the Tapir celebrated her 30th birthday today. April, probably the most famous animal in the country, is also the oldest tapir in the entire world. And as is customary, the Belize Zoo threw April an extravagant party. Tumblers as well as the Belmopan marching band were present to...

Local journalist is Belize’s correspondent for Reporters Without Borders
Today long-time news anchor and journalist Janelle Chanona announced that she has been named the Belize correspondent for the organization Reporters Without Borders (RWB), also known in French as RSF (Reporters Sans Frontières) which is “dedicated to the defense of freedom of information of the press.” Chanona, who previously...

A desperate father pleads for the return of daughters
Belize City automotive tradesman Jaime Chan is desperate tonight, as he believes local authorities conspired with the mother of his two daughters, ages 8 and 5, to take them from his custody earlier this week. Chan told his story to PLUS News today. Jaime Chan – Automotive Tradesman: On...

New Era Development showcase Egoli estate in Belmopan on Saturday
For almost a year now, PlusNews has had as part of its advertising lineup, an ad by New Era Development, featuring an Instant community called Egoli estate, which is being Built in Belmopan. The ad features animated 3D images of the community, but all that is about to change....

Armenia Village Chairman says his efforts to get water for the community are thwarted
The Village of Armenia is located about 15 minutes outside the City of Belmopan and is within the Cayo District. With a population of just over 1000 persons the community has the unique privilege of many chiefs and no Indians. What do we mean? Well the Hon. Julius Espat...


Activists say yes, but Ministry of Education says no Activist and president of the “Do the Right Thing” Pedestrian Crossing Program, Philip “Fawda” Henry, has been pressuring the Government of Belize to investigate the legitimacy of American Global University School of Medicine (AGUSM) in Belize. Henry claims that the medical school is a fraudulent institution that is not contributing in any way to the nation of Belize. AGUSM vice-president, Peggy Allen, has spoken to the media in Belize and objected to all allegations Henry has made against the school. Some of the allegations were that there aren’t any students enrolled at the institution because no one has ever seen anyone on the school grounds and the school has relocated several times because it’s constantly under investigation for the validity of its programs.

Treaty Energy Corporation, the joint venture partner of Princess Petroleum in Belize, announced today, April 24, that it has decided to suspend drilling operations in southern Belize, as a consequence of last week’s Supreme Court ruling by Justice Oswell Legall, which included an injunction placed on the Government of Belize that it should no longer pursue works under six contracts, including that given to Princess, which the court has declared “illegal, null and void.” According to the Louisiana-based corporation, Treaty Energy Corporation, back in 2010 it entered into a joint venture agreement with Princess Petroleum Ltd. to develop its oil and gas concession. The contract, which originally covered 2 million acres, is mostly for offshore works. “Due to the current injunction placed on offshore concession holders, and by extension Treaty Energy Corporation, drilling on San Juan #3 has been suspended,” the company’s press release issued today said.

His wife said that he had told her of his frustration with his job, but the Police Department said he never complained A well-loved policeman of Jalacte Village stationed at Gales Point Village Police Station is dead. Constable Jose Pan, 25, of Jalacte Village, was found on Tuesday evening, April 23, in the kitchen of his house on the upper flat of the police station with a gunshot wound to the right side of his head. He was taken to the Southern Regional Hospital, where he died at about 10:30 that Tuesday night, while receiving medical treatment. Police reports are that at about 6:45 that evening, they responded to a report of a suicide at the Gales Point Police Station. They went to the station and found P.C. Jose Pan in the kitchen of the living quarters on the upper flat of the building lying face up with a gunshot wound above the right ear (entry) and left ear (exit) in a pool of blood. His police service revolver was lying at the right side of his body. The .38 revolver was loaded with five live rounds, and one expended shell was in the cylinder.

My old friend, Alfred “Jack T” Campbell once said, in response to a man who was espousing war with Guatemala, which was threatening to invade our country, “of course those six and one half million Guatemalans will be torn to pieces by us 150,000 warlike Belizeans.” One hundred and fifty thousand citizens, if they were armed and united; disciplined and trained and resolute, could defend themselves successfully against 30,000 soldiers, which was the size of the Guatemalan army at that time. We could do so, if we were like Israel and, were supplied with the materiel de guerre by a friendly country like the United States of America. The man who was taking the strong stand against aggression, was reacting against the policy of Premier George Price. Mr. Price was saying that we should extend the hand of friendship to Guatemala, because we were a British Crown Colony and, Britain was still a world power. Guatemala would have been very unwise to attack Belize, then.

Over the past two decades Belize has plunged head on into the abyss of so-called offshore banking. Since the early 1990’s the community of offshore banks in the nation of Belize has proliferated. How these shadowy entities have directly benefitted Belize and the quality of life of the average citizen, is anybody’s guess. The offshore banks frenzy was authorized by the Banks and Financial Institutions Act of 1995, the introduction of the Offshore Banking Act, 1996 and the Money Laundering Act of 1996. By law these offshore entities cannot serve customers who are citizens of Belize or legal residents. However, there are many loopholes and serious weaknesses in the ability of oversight and enforcements. For example, an individual living in Belize can easily establish a bank account in a foreign country under a fictitious or associate name, and in return use the service of an offshore bank in Belize to essentially evade paying taxes. Indeed, it is widely believed that major drug cartels and their subordinates are able to do just that and avoid detection. Others open a wide range of so called legitimate business fronts in multiple jurisdictions, making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to detect.

The Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) calls on the Prime Minister to immediately rescind the rosewood amnesty that was declared by the Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry and Sustainable Development on April 9, 2013. The amnesty’s objective of taking stock of previously cut rosewood for export is severely undermined by the fact that the Government did not 1) identify a location in which the rosewood should be stored and guarded, 2) ensure that no rosewood is purchased and transported during the night, 3) have road check points at strategic locations to monitor transportation of rosewood, especially during the night, 4) identify and license the agents who would buy the previously cut flitches. The absence of these measures for the amnesty has only served to trigger flurries of illegal rosewood cutting in Toledo. SATIIM’s pictures are evidence that rosewood flitches are being cut in numerous areas in Toledo.

Leroy Betson, 35, drowned on Sunday, April 21, at Gracie Rock. Betson’s mother, Joyce Flowers, said she didn’t know that her son had left home to go anywhere. She said they received a call about 6:00 p.m. from one of his friends telling them that he drowned and they couldn’t find his body. Betson went to Gracie Rock with five other people sometime around 3:00 p.m. The group went into the water for about an hour, then came out and decided to have a few drinks. Flowers said she was told that her son only had one drink because he was driving that day. She said after they socialized for a while, the group decided to go swimming again. Betson was said to have swum away from the group when his friends realized that he had gone down in the water and never resurfaced.

A 20-foot container with 24,000 lbs of chicken exported by Belizean poultry company Caribbean Chicken was returned by Trinidad on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. Isaac Bergen, general manager of Caribbean Chicken, said that he is not completely sure what transpired when the products arrived in Trinidad, but he was told there was “miscommunication” between the Trinidadian health authorities and Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA). Bergen said that this was the first time the company has exported its products to the Caribbean. The shipment was returned despite the fact that it had the required BAHA certificates for exportation. We contacted BAHA for comment, but were told that no one there was in any position to comment on anything.

Dear Editor, Everybody I presume is happy with the paving of streets in their neighborhood. The Mayor and his crew are redesigning the look of the city; kudos to them. But noticing the streets that have been cemented, I notice that I haven’t seen any FIRE HYDRANTS on the streets. I think that should have been part of their plan when designing. BWS have already dug up the streets replacing pipes. Why HYDRANTS haven’t been in the plan on those streets? We always hear complaints about the Fire Department not having enough water to fight fire. Now in this new plan the City Council should have consulted with the Fire Chief about putting hydrants on every street.

Dear Editor, From the very introduction of the Vocational/Technical (Vo-Tech) study into the education system, students have received numerous achievements as a result of teachers who have trained in the (Vo-Tech) area. These teachers prepare students for life and have thus continuously displayed excellent performances which are made possible by teachers in the field, who in fact are continuously offering extra classes and still carrying out the same duties as all other subject teachers. It must be highlighted that the Vo-Tech teachers get the lowest pay or are, in actuality, on the lowest pay scale (8). With that said there is no available vocational/technical program in place or made available to upgrade these teachers at the Baccalaureate level in order for the teachers to be trained and receive a full teaching license. Sadly enough, I must mention that teaching certification memos are given to teachers of Vo-Tech area with no consideration for their status or the lack of the availability of appropriate curriculum in the local university for higher education in the Vo-Tech area. The ministry fails to realize the peculiar situation of these teachers and just simply class them with all other teachers, which in truth is bias.

Dear Editor: After reading your article posted 19-Apr-2013 regarding the musical history of Belize, I felt it necessary to respond and share with you a snippet of the vibrant music environment that Belize has had dating back to the late 1800s. I believe that it is way overdue that a comprehensive chronicle of Belize’s musical history be written. As a matter of fact, there are other aspects of our country where a detailed account of it should also be written for posterity. While we may not want to go back and include the colonial era of music, for obvious reasons, it is still a part of our history. We need to tell the story from the beginning, to pay homage to the named and unnamed individuals upon whose shoulders today’s entertainers stand. I understand that it might be a difficult task to compile all the data simply, because time and the elements might have destroyed much of the information. But it is imperative that we leave no stone unturned when searching and to then paint a complete picture of the musical history of Belize.

The most important power in the hands of a ruling political party is the power of taxation. When a political party wins the majority of the seats in a general election, that political party forms the Government of Belize, and at this point there is supposed to be some kind of difference between the government formed, on the one hand, and the organized political party whose constituency standard bearers were elected to be area representatives, on the other. The area representatives who form the new Cabinet retain a lively consciousness of the political party to which they are loyal, because almost all area representatives intend to offer themselves as candidates for the next general elections, and they will need their political party for a successful re-election campaign. Apart from the power of taxation, which we describe in the first paragraph as a ruling political party’s most important power, the ruling political party, or government, also has the power to award contracts and to make other decisions which bring financial benefits to favored individuals and/or companies. So then, government is actually a business, a public business which draws most of its revenues from the people, in the form of direct and indirect taxation, and then uses those revenues to pay its employees and those individuals and/or companies to whom government awards contracts.

“On some level, Spaniards believed that there was no real language barrier between them and Native Americans, a belief that underpinned the 1513 edict that required conquistadors to read a statement – in Spanish – before attacking them. The document, known as the Requerimiento (Requirement), informed natives of a sort of chain of command from God to pope to king to conquistadors, with the latter merely putting into effect the divinely sanctioned donation of all American lands and peoples by the pope to the Spanish monarch. Native leaders were asked, therefore, to recognize papal and royal authority (that is, to surrender without resistance), and if they did so, the expedition leader was to tell them: “His Majesty and I, in his name, will receive you … and will leave your women and children free, without servitude so that with them and with yourselves you can freely do what you wish … and we will not compel you to turn Christians. But if you do not do it … with the help of God I will forcefully enter against you, and I will make war everywhere and however I can, and I will subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and His Majesty, and I will take your wives and children, and I will make them slaves … and I will take your goods, and I will do to you all the evil and damages that a lord may do to vassals who do not obey or receive him. And I solemnly declare that the deaths and damages received from such will be your fault and not that of His Majesty, nor mine, nor of the gentlemen who came with me. “

Re: Today's Belize News: April 27, 2013 [Re: Marty] #463225
04/27/13 05:41 AM
04/27/13 05:41 AM
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It is entertainment; it is a sport with some rules, and it gets the fans off their feet and “in it” for almost every bout. It is not the “sweet science” of boxing, or the “game of death” called karate, or simply the haul and pull and tumble down action of wrestling. In fact, it is all of the above, and Belizean sport fans, like fans everywhere and especially on T.V., have succumbed to the primeval appeal for no-holds barred war between two combatants in a cage, whose only weapons are their meagerly gloved hands and bare feet, and their simple objective is to beat down each other until the referee intervenes for a time break or unlocks the tangled bodies. It was billed as the “Belize Mixed Martial Championship,” hosted by the House of Shotokan Karate Academy under Master Kelly; and Belizean fans in attendance last night at the Belize Elementary Gymnasium got their money’s worth ($10.00 adult, $5.00 children) of “Show Time” style action, where the gladiators joined in the spirit of the sport with generous pre-fight show-boating as well as sharing post fight camaraderie and demonstrations of respect and appreciation for their opponents, win or lose.

One kilogram of suspected cocaine was seized at Tropic Air at the Corozal Municipal Airstrip by members of the Gang Supression Unit (GSU) on Friday, April 19, 2013. At about 4:30 p.m. on Friday, members of the GSU conducted a search operation at the parcel section of the Tropic Air office in Ranchito Village, Corozal. The suspected cocaine was concealed in a blue bag inside a brown Devon biscuit box. The package originated from a San Pedro Ambergris Tropic Air flight that arrived at the Tropic Air office in Corozal District at 7:15 a.m. on Friday. No one claimed the package up to the time of the discovery of its contents. The package was opened by the GSU members at the Tropic Air office in the presence of an office representative of the airline. The suspected drug was then weighed, sealed and labeled, after which it was signed by the representative.

One of two men from Santa Elena, Cayo, who were wanted on murder and attempted murder charges, among a long list of other crimes, and were flushed out by a massive police manhunt, was remanded to prison after he gave himself up to police on Friday, April 19. Marvin Neal, 20, was charged with murder, attempted murder and aggravated burglary. He was then ordered into remand yesterday, Monday, April 22, by the San Ignacio Magistrate. Neal is to be brought back to court on Thursday, August 8. Police said that Marvin Neal was the robber who killed Steven Valencia, 48, in his home on the night of January 24 in the Trapiche area of Santa Elena. He entered Valencia’s home and shot him, and then stole all the family cash — about $7 — that was in the house.

Middleton was convicted on April 10 for carnally knowing a minor, 14 Arden Middleton, 38, was convicted on April 10 of carnal knowledge after a jury of nine found him guilty of the crime against a then 14-year-old female student. In the trial, the victim testified that on July 13, 2011, instead of going to her summer classes, she instead decided to play hookey and went to Middleton’s shop, Little Wilt’s. She said that she asked to use the bathroom and was given directions on how to get there. But by the time she was walking through a bedroom to get there, Middleton was right behind her and proceeded to initiate sex with her. The victim also told the court that she had been a virgin at the time and that the entire act lasted one minute. She said she then left the shop and went to a mechanic shop up the street from Middleton’s shop.

The Reporter

Editorial: Referendum Dead! Guatemala killed it
The decision by Guatemala not to proceed with its planned referendum over the future of her claim to Belize has brought any thought of a judicial solution to a screeching halt. Internationally, the plan to take this ancient claim to arbitration, to the International Court of Justice, was widely seen as a practical and sensible way to settle the century-old dispute. On December 8, 2008, Belize and Guatemala signed a Special Agreement or Compromis, in which both countries agreed to consult with their citizens via referendum. The referendum would ask whether there was consensus to take the dispute to the International Court at the Hague. Two years later, on September 9, 2010 the Guatemalan Congress overwhelmingly approved the idea of a judicial intervention. Belize also concurred that it would seek the support of its electorate for the International Court of Justice to adjudicate the claim and settle the matter once and for all.

The root of all Belize’s woes
It is almost like every other week there is some accusation or suspicion of abuse of power or some form of corrupt practice in government. In this year alone, there have been several allegations of malfeasance appearing before us in some form or the other. Everything from the rosewood issue to secret oil contracts to blatant nepotism show that Belize’s structures for true oversight are anaemic or just downright dead! Last year, prior to the general elections, it was the mass naturalization issue. Not too long after that, there were the “Land Grab” scandals—which just became a tit-for-tat game in the House of Representatives. And what makes it even more glaring is the “there-is-nothing-wrong-with-that” position that these “men of power”—who apparently double as judge and jury for the merits of their actions and decisions—seem to have taken to such concerns. When the deputy prime minister (DPM), for example, was asked about his part in that scandal, he openly admitted to giving his family members several pieces of land. But what makes it even more disturbing is the fact that he resorted to the same there’s-nothing-wrong-with-that attitude. Looking at the current rosewood fiasco, we have the DPM’s brother exporting rosewood during the amnesty; and, to this, we hear it again: “If I have a business or my brother has a business or my son has a business and it is a legitimate business dealing in an enterprise that is not illegal, then I don’t see a problem with that and I wouldn’t countenance that as corruption.”

Med School: fraud or legit?
Belizean community activists say that American Global University School of Medicine is a “bogus” institution; but the school’s vice president, who called local media Wednesday, says the school is legitimate.

Gales Point policeman commits suicide
Police Constable #956 Jose Pam, who was attached to the Gales Point Village Police Sub-station was pronounced dead on arrival at the Southern Regional Hospital, around 10:30 p.m.,on Tuesday, April 23, police said.

Guatemala official suspends referendum
The government of Guatemala has announced that it will not hold a referendum in October. An article posted on the official website of the government of Guatemala says that on Monday, President Otto Perez Molina sent a letter to the Congress of the Republic, notifying the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, that [...]

City Mayor halts drainage project
Belize City mayor Darrel Bradley threw a monkey wrench into the works of a $941,316 infrastructure project to install drainage in the Buttonwood Bay suburb north of Belize City where nearly 2,000 people live.

Freedom of Information Act seeks regional support
Belize and other Caribbean countries will now have regional support to develop, implement and enforc Freedom of Information (FOI) laws .

Battlefield Park gets $394,000 facelift
When Belize City Council relocated the street vendors from ‘ground zero’ parking lot that was once the Paslow Building to Battlefield Park, Mayor Darrel Bradley had warned the vendors not to get too comfy since the Council had a major renovation of the park scheduled in 90 days.

Genocide trial that implicates Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina suspended
The genocide trial of former Guatemalan dictator, Efrain Rios Montt, which also implicates Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina, has been suspended. Judge Carol Patricia Flores suspended the trial of the 86-year-old former US-backed military general on Thursday, April 18.

Belize mourns ‘Chocolate’ Heredia
The Belize environmental community is mourning the passing of a pioneer Belizean marine conservationist, Lionel “Chocolate” Heredia, who contributed immensely to the protection of Belize’s marine resources, and manatees in particular.

What is ‘Clean eating’? And should you try it?
While the term “clean eating” is relatively new, the concept originates from the 1960s and its (hippy-dippy) health-focused condemnation of diets containing high amounts of processed foods.

Central athletes dominate NSSSA track
The Central Division athletes dominated the national track and field championships organized by the National Secondary Schools Sports Association and hosted by Mopan Technical High School at the Marshalleck Stadium, “La Cancha,” in Benque Viejo del Carmen on Friday and Saturday, April 19-20.

Mexico beats Belize 6-3 in mixed martial arts
Belize won only three of nine bouts on the fight card, but Belizean fight fans got their money’s worth when the Sensei Kelly and the Belize Shotokan Karate Dojo hosted an evening of mixed martial arts fighting at the Belize Elementary auditorium on Saturday night, April 20.

More finances needed for Caribbean to achieve climate stabilization
A new book to be released this week estimates net additional costs of reducing emissions related to land use, energy and transport – the three main contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). A ninety seven percent decarbonization of the power sector by 2050 would [...]

Guatemala Rios Montt trial returned to disputed judge
The highest court in Guatemala has ruled that the trial against ex-leader Efrain Rios Montt should be taken over by a judge who had earlier handled it.

Man who killed step-daughter sentenced to life in jail
A Belizean man has sentenced to life in prison, in the United States after he pleaded guilty to the October 30, 2012 murder his stepdaughter.

Tristan Gordon, 21, acquitted of Kenyon Plunkett murder
Tristan Gordon, 21, who has been charged with the murder of Kenyon Plunkett was acquitted on Tuesday, when Justice Adolph Lucas ruled that the prosecution had not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The April 28th, 2013 issue of The Capital Weekly is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Darrell versus Santino: Another UDP Challenge in the Making?:
    That UDP Mayor Darrell Bradley has within a short time proven himself to be a decisive and effective political leader is without question. And that many within and outside the UDP expect him to make the logical transition from City Hall to National Politics is not much of a secret. What is not too clear is where and how exactly he intends to enter that arena of National Politics. That is until Thursday of this week when Bradley confirmed to Channel Seven News that he is in fact interested in Caribbean Shores: “Persons have approached me from Caribbean Shores. I’m talking about members of the Caribbean Shores Committee. That’s an area that I have very close contacts with. I worked previously on Carlos Perdomo’s campaign. I assisted him in public relations. I have very strong contacts and ties in that area. Persons had approached me for running in that area. I will say at this moment that is not something that I have ruled out and I am actively considering that as an option. But at this present moment, my total focus is directed at being an effective Mayor. The city has a lot of challenges and I am in no way thinking on any kind of elections.”
  • Belmopan’s Bernard Bestowed British Honour:
    Four Belizeans have been honoured at the Belize House for their selfless and outstanding contributions to Belize. The honourees include 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.
  • Yanira Wins! New UB President:
    The University of Belize Student Body held elections over the past week, and Yanira Garcia emerged as the new President of the Student Government, beating out four other candidates for the position, namely incumbent, Hope Abadi; and challengers, Anthony Bedran and Caramyn Reid. Yanira Garcia garnered 234 votes. Coming in second (10 votes behind Yanira) was Caramyn Reid with 224 votes. Third was Anthony Bedran with 140 votes. Incumbent Hope Abadi came in last with only 55 votes. The other persons elected to the Student Government are: Luis Mendez Jr.(Vice President); Jasmine Thompson (Financial Controller); Felix Mai; (Secretary of Legislation); Jamira Serano (FEA Senator); Victor Cayetano (Secretary of Programming); Daniel Smith(F.S.T Senator); Elenita Norales (Nursing and Allied Health Senator); and Kent Welch (Secretary of Sports); Yadira Argueta (Administrative Officer); Shahira Quiroz; (Secretary of Advocacy); Liane Torres (FMSS Senator).
  • Belize’s Tourism Figures Up for First Quarter of 2013:
    by Laura Esquivel Frampton Director of BTB. The Tourism Statistics are in for the first quarter of 2013, and once again, the news is great. Those figures show that the hotel sector registered revenues of $60 Million since January. Overnight arrivals were as high as 93 Thousand during that period. In March alone, overnight arrivals reached a record high of 35 Thousand in a single month. Even Cruise Tourism, which had been lagging behind, showed an encouraging increase in arrivals. Speaking with Channel Five News this week, Director of the Belize Tourism Board, Laura Esquivel Frampton, said: “We’re happy to say once again that we have another record breaking months this year. In fact, all of this year, so far—January, February and March—have been record breaking in terms of overnight arrivals. Overall, and this includes the airport and all the other ports of entry, January saw 17.1 percent increase; February saw 11.59 percent increase; and March saw an 11. 03 percent increase. So, cumulatively, for the quarter, we are seeing a 13.02 percent increase in Tourism Arrivals for the overnight sector.
  • Count Our Blessings!: Delroy Cuthkelvin Chairman, Editorial Board:
    Last week, we reprinted a news story from the Caribbean about the fact that the Economy of Barbados had not only failed to register any growth during the first quarter of 2013, but had actually contracted or shrunk. That was bad news for the Economy of a nation which is the wealthiest and most developed in the Eastern Caribbean, and which has for some time now enjoyed one of the highest per capita incomes in the region. This week, we report on the notable increase in Belize’s Tourism figures, which is only one sector of our Economy that recorded GDP Growth in the past year of 5.3 percent. While we do not yet have the overall figures on the performance of Belize’s Economy for the first quarter of 2013, all projections are that when the final figures come in for the current fiscal year, we would have again registered considerable growth.
  • PM Barrow meets UN Sec Gen in New York; Foreign Minister and CEO Join Him for CARICOM Meeting:
    Prime Minister, the Hon. Dean Barrow left the country on Sunday, April 21, 2013 on official business to New York and Haiti. In New York, the Prime Minister had an audience with the Secretary General of the United Nations, His Excellency, Ban Ki-Moon. Prime Minister Barrow briefed the Secretary General on Belize’s position on the upcoming Referendum in October and on the Special Agreement with Guatemala. The Prime Minister’s visit to New York is being coordinated by the Office of Belize’s Permanent Representative to the United Nation. In Haiti, the Prime Minister meets with fellow Heads of States of the Caribbean at the Fifth Summit of Heads of State of the Associates of Caribbean States on 25th and 26th April, 2013. There, in Haiti, the Prime Minister is being joined by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred Elrington, and Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Alexis Rosado. Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow returns home to Belize on Sunday, 28th April, 2013.
  • Belmopan Bandits T-Shirts for Sale:
    Fans of the Belmopan Bandits Football Club are advised that the official Bandits Team Jersey is on Sale at a price of $50.00 each. Visit our Team Facebook page at www.facebook/ belmopanbandits or email us at [email protected] com or call: 626-8362. Dress Like a Winner !
  • Oh How Sweet It Is! Residents of ‘Young Bank’ Community get Potable Water:
    Residents of Young Bank, a community on the outskirts of Camalote Village in the Cayo District, now enjoy quality, potable water twenty four hours a day thanks to a Social Investment Fund (SIF) and Belize Water Services Limited (BWSL) project, which aims to improve and expand water supply to rural communities in Belize. The project was officially inaugurated on Sunday afternoon, 14 April 2013 during a brief ceremony in Young Bank. Young Bank is located about ¼ mile on the Valley of Peace Road off the Western Highway and is a relatively new settlement behind Camalote Village with a population of approximately 470 Belizean residents, who were original immigrants from the neighboring Central American republics of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Prior to the project, the residents suffered immensely from the lack of potable water especially during the dry season, when they had to rely on outdoor water reservoirs and delivery water trucks.
  • New Drainage Project Addresses Infrastructure Needs In Buttonwood Bay Area of Belize City:
    A d r a i n a g e project that will address the infrastructure needs of over 600 residents in the Buttonwood Bay area of Belize City was officially launched during a brief ceremony on Monday April 22, 203 at the Canaan Seventh Day Adventist High School compound. The project will be implemented by the Social Investment Fund in collaboration with the Belize Water Services Limited (BWSL) and financed by the Government of Belize through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The project is estimated to cost $941,316.00. “This project exemplifies New Drainage Project Addresses Infrastructure Needs In Buttonwood Bay Area of Belize City the Government’s seriousness to address the infrastructure needs of Belize City and to improve the living conditions of residents in the Buttonwood Bay Area, despite the economic challenges facing our country,” Hon. Santiago Castillo, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and Area Representative for Caribbean Shores, said. The project will entail the construction of approximately 5,700 linear feet of Ferroconcrete lined drains with covers for sidewalks, the replacement of new driveways and walkways and installation of new culverts and wing walls. In addition, water mains and service entrances will be relocated and new service connections will be installed. It will focus on Park Avenue, Pike Crescent East and Pike Crescent West, E Street and Buttonwood Bay Boulevard.
  • Faith Lift By Zelda Hill: Are you on Solid Rock or in Sinking Sand?:
    Ho p e - f u l l y, by now y o u h a v e been convinced that no government has the answers to the problems that plague us as individuals, families and societies. National and global events may have also caused you to question whether there is a God. And if you believe God exists, you may have questioned whether He cares about us and our world. Take heart! Although our world seems to be spinning out of control, God is ultimately in control. However, God exercises His permissive will to help us understand that we could never be better off under our own rule than under His. But still we stubbornly reject His way and prefer to become dependent on leaders, governments and earthly systems to ease suffering, cure terminal illnesses and to bring an end to all the crime and violence.
  • Spreading the Love:
    the Love “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” That’s exactly what Honourable John Saldivar is to Matilde Cerna, a 40 year old resident of Salvapan in the Belmopan area. Matilde lost her mobility as a result of Diabetes which resulted in an operation being conducted on her feet. She is the mother of four children, all boys. One of them is 15 year old Wilser Echavarria, seen in the photo along with his mother and Belmopan Area Representative, Honourable John Saldivar. He says the entire family is very thankful to their area representative as they are a household with limited means, struggling daily to make ends meet, and could hardly afford the cost of purchasing the wheel chair which his mother absolutely needs to be able to move around in her present condition.
  • Upgrading Belmopan’s Infrastructure Waiting Sheds - Shuttle Buses - Paved Streets:
    In the Old Capital, Belize City, the revolutionary upgrade in infrastructure spearheaded by that city’s Mayor, Darrell Bradley, has been receiving much publicity, and deservedly so. In the new Capital, Belmopan, under the leadership of Mayor Simeon Lopez and his City Council, much is also happening in terms of the overall upgrade of the city’s infrastructure, through a number of projects which are all a part of the comprehensive master plan to transform the Nation’s Capital into a modern city. Thanks to the World Bank funded Belize Municipal Development Project (BMDP), monies obtained through the good stewardship of the Dean Barrow Administration (a total of $30 Million aimed at providing much needed infrastructure in seven major municipalities Countrywide) are being spent on the rehabilitation and upgrading of a number of streets in the Capital City.
  • At Long Last! Potable Water Finally Coming to Belize River Valley:
    On Wednesday April 24, 2013, Hon. Edmund Castro, Area Representative for Belize Rural North, along with Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Rural Development, and Chairman of the Belize Water Services Limited (BWSL), Alberto August, broke ground for a $7.8 Million water project in the Belize River Valley. The project will see some 550 families in nine villages in the area benefit from safe, potable water supplied by BWSL. Work has commenced immediately on the project, and within 90 days Scotland Half Moon should become the first village to be supplied with water. As the project progresses along the river valley, the other villages will be hooked up to the system. The project will be completed in December of this year.
  • CEO and Commander Complete Course for Senior Officials in Republic of China on Taiwan:
    CEO in the Ministry of National Security, Colonel (Ret.) George Lovell and Commander of the Belize Defence Force, Brigadier General David Jones have both completed a three-week National Development Course in the Republic of China on Taiwan. The course, which ran from April 1 to 19, 2013, was for senior level Government officials, both military and civilian. The participants were educated on a wide range of issues and challenges that Taiwan faces, with a view to explore how those experiences and the response to them could be translated, adopted and applied to the issues and challenges confronting developing nations such as Belize. There was extensive and meaningful exchange on Military and Police matters, but knowledge was also imparted on a wide range of non-security topics, including the Economy, Industry, International Cooperation and Exchange, both Technical and Educational as well as Cultural.
  • Caribbean Disaster Managers Converge in Belize; Two-Day Planning Session Conducted at Radisson Fort George Hotel:
    A two-day session was conducted in Belize on April 17 and 18, 2003 by the Technical Advisory Committee of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). It’s a committee that is made up of National Disaster Coordinators from the 18 members states of the Caribbean and participating regional bodies. The purpose of the two-day session was to formulate a five-year regional strategic plan for the period 2013-2018. Speaking with the local media at the start of the two day session, the Executive Director of CDEMA stated, “Well I think that one of the first challenges we face is changing the culture of our people to understand that disaster risk is a development issue. It is not simply a response issue. With that said, we also need to look at the collective capacity of our region to deal with the requirements for responding to catastrophic events, and I think what we are trying to do as an organization is to link development, the macro-economic framework of countries, to this disaster resilience issue. I think if we can show clearly the relationship between the development, economic prosperity, which all our countries are now striving to achieve, then we can perhaps influence a little bit of the politics.”
  • Over 25 Attend Prosecutors Course:
    In order to improve the effectiveness of the Police Department and other law enforcement agencies in Belize, a Prosecutors’ Course is being conducted at the National Police Training Academy in Belmopan. Speaking with the Government Press Office, Superintendent Flowers of the National Police Training Academy said: “This morning we started a two-week prosecutor development training course for members of the Police Department; that is from the ranks of corporal and sergeants; and we also invited members from the Fisheries Department, as well as Belize City Municipal Traffic, personnel who deal with court procedures. It covers the basic prosecution; introduction to prosecution, as well as formulating charges, and presenting a case in court, all the process that comes with that; how to, and what is needed in a report, when you are presenting; How to brief your witness or your police officers who will be witnesses in Court.
  • John Saldivar Basketball Classic; Inter-Site Tournament Organized by Belmopan Basketball Association:
    The John Saldivar Basketball Classic is an Inter- site Competition managed by the Belmopan Basketball Association on behalf of, and with the gracious support of the Hon. John Saldivar. The Tournament is unique in that it not only divides players by geographical zones. Also it serves as a bridge between Basketball generations as teams must be comprised of senior players, over 35 players and under 18 players. This unique format allows for the transfer of basketball knowledge from older generations to younger generations. The tournament has six teams, those being: The New Site Falcons, Site 7, Tiger Town, Police Housing Areas, Piccini Extension/Cohune Walk and Roaring Creek Christ for Life.
  • LeBron James and Kevin Durant: The Rematch that Everybody Wants to See:
    It took all of six hours Sunday night to reaffirm a sentiment that spent the last six months germinating: Anything less than a rematch of the 2012 Finals between the Heat and Thunder will be a disappointment. It won’t be a disaster if one — or even both — of the league’s top-two teams stumbles on the way to the sequel, but it will be a letdown. Heat-Thunder II is the rare scenario in which virtually all angles of analysis lead to the same conclusion. Want to see the best players? LeBron James and Kevin Durant are No. 1 and No. 2 again this season. Want to see the best teams? The Heat had the league’s best regular-season record and the Thunder finished second, while Oklahoma City posted the best margin of victory and Miami ranked second. Love offense? Miami was first, Oklahoma City second. Love defense? Both teams finished in the top seven.
    The Elections and Boundaries Commission, in accordance with Part II, Sections 6 and Part VI, Section 35 of the Village Councils Act, Chapter 88 of the Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2003, hereby release the official schedule for Village/Community Council Elections 2013 In all villages nomination opens at 9:00 a.m. and closes at 10:00 a.m. No asterisks denote Poll closes at 1:00 p.m. * Denote Poll closes at 3:00 p.m. ** Denote Poll closes at 5:00 p.m.
  • Alumni Achievement Award: Hon. Liselle Allamilla receives from University of Idaho:
    The Senator, Honourable Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development for Belize, has been honoured by the University of Idaho’s College of Natural Resources (CNR), as the winner of its “2013 International Alumni Achievement Award”. She was presented with the award at a banquet honoring outstanding CNR alumni and students in Moscow, Idaho, on Thursday, April 18, 2013. Minister Alamilla was nominated for this award due to her outstanding achievements, including her appointment as a minister in Belize’s Cabinet, her selection as winner of the 2012 Whitley Award for Nature and her selection as winner of the 2010 Marsh Award for Conservation Leadership.
  • Contracts Signed to Begin Road Project In Santa Elena - San Ignacio Area:
    In a brief ceremony held on Monday, April 22, 2013, at the Ministry of Works and Transport Conference Room, contracts were signed for Lot 4 of the 4th Road Project to begin works on the Santa Elena/San Ignacio Bypass Project, which includes the upgrading of Joseph Andrews Drive in San Ignacio up to its intersection with the Benque Viejo Road. The project, which is Development Bank (CDB) and the Government of Belize, was awarded to Norman Reimer of A & N Construction. The Ministry of Works will be assisted by supervision consultants, Becker International Consultants Limited. In addition to the aesthetic and infrastructural improvements, the BZD $5 Million project will bring economic benefits and employment to the area. The works are expected to be completed in eighteen months.
  • Southern Zone Again Lowest levels of Crime in March of 2013:
    Last Wednesday, April 17, 2013, Minister of N a t i o n a l Security, Hon. John Saldivar presented a Certificate of Award and a Cheque of $1,000 to Senior Superintendent Robert Mariano, who heads the Southern Zone and is also the Officer Commanding the Dangriga Formation, which forms part of the Southern Zone. The Cheque of $1,000 is for the best performance by the Southern Zone, and the Certificate of Award is for the best performance by the Dangriga Formation in the Month of March.
  • Belize Welcomed Home Her Very Own Yoga Master, Yogi Charu!:
    Belize recently welcomed home one of her very own, internationally acclaimed yoga master, Yogi Charu! The 37 year old yoga practitioner and teacher, Yogi Charu, was born in Belize City and grew up on Prince Street. He was first introduced to yoga at age 15 through his classmate and lifelong friend, Alexander Aguet. By age 16, determined to deepen his yoga practice and his understand of life through the science and philosophy of yoga; the young Belizean set off on a journey that took him to places like California, Hawaii, India, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, Germany, Poland, Sweden, several countries in Africa, and New York where he currently resides. More than 20 years after leaving Belize; after years of studying yoga and meditation with adept yogis, after living as an ascetic yogi in the Himalayas, after years of teaching yoga around the world, after making a name for himself as an authentic yoga master; Yogi Charu has returned home to Belize to share his knowledge of yoga with us.
  • Belmopan Kids and Youth Cup 2013:
    (Organized by Belmopan Football League)
  • Good Things Happening in Cayo Central: Basketball Court Upgraded - Tournament Kicks Off:
    This past weekend, the Rene Montero Basketball Tournament kicked off in Santa Elena. The tournament in itself is significant news, but what is perhaps bigger news is that its is taking place on a sporting facility, the Santa Elena Basketball Court on Carmen Street, which has been greatly rehabilitated and upgraded through the commitment and effort of the same Area Representative, Hon. Rene Montero. The rehabilitation and upgrade included the installation of 1500 watts light bulbs on all posts; electrification of both bathrooms and the snack shop; connecting water supply to the court; installation of two brand new toilets and sinks for both bathrooms; hang metal doors on all 3 structures, and a metal window on the snack shop; total renovation of the fence and installation of 2 new gates, the front which is a slide gate and the back a swing gate; construction of a concrete drive-way at the entrance of the court.


GMO Awareness Month in Belize Raises Concerns
The fear that Belize’s indigenous corn, which was first developed by the ancestors of Belize’s Maya population, will be threatened by the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops in this tiny Caribbean country was just one of many concerns raised during a recent “GMO Awareness Month”, according to Belizean environmentalists at Chaa Creek. Brion Young, a licensed naturalist guide and assistant manager of Chaa Creek’s Belize Natural History Centre said that environmental, health, legal, ethical and other issues were also discussed during the campaign, which ran between March and April. As a result, more Belizeans are now questioning whether GM corn crops should be introduced into the country’s fragile ecosystem, which boasts huge tracts of unspoiled rainforest fed by pristine rivers and where over 36% of the land remains under protection.

“Deja Vu” in Ambergris Caye
Another trip to the Dental Center yesterday but I won’t bore you with all of the (gory) detail. This time I caught the Belize Express Water Taxi 8.30 am service to Belize City for my 10.30 am appointment. Apart from a different water taxi service everything was the same as the previous day. Deja vu. After just over three hours in the chair and with a mouth that felt exceedingly sore I got the 3 pm boat back to San Pedro where Rose was waiting for me so that we could take a trip to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. We thought that by the time we got there the guys would be cleaning their tools and getting ready to pack up for the day but pleasingly we were wrong. They were applying the finishing coat to the Second Floor exterior veranda wall and it had to be finished. No coming back the next day to finish it off!

“It’s Goin Down” in Ambergris Caye
A really lazy, do nothing morning for me yesterday. Up too early (what’s new) finishing the latest book I have been reading (this one by Robert Ludlam) because the Internet was ‘down’. That gave me an excuse (who needs an excuse?) to go to Estel’s to ‘feed’ (food and their Wi-fi). The rest of the morning (the Internet had resumed) I spent reading and responding to emails. A bite for lunch and it was time to go to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. Rose and I got there around 2.30 pm and seeing that the scaffolding had been moved from the southern side of the house went straight up to the First Floor and saw where it had been moved to. The western (lagoon) side of the house. A walk in to the First Floor and we could see that the scaffold was back to provide access to the roof so up I climbed where I could see that they were busy ‘striking the lines’ for the final coat of cement. This coat though has to be applied so that each section has slopes to take the rainwater to each of the six internal downpipes that run down to the water tank under the house.

International Sources

Supreme Court set to debate anti-gay sex law next month
The Supreme Court in Belize will debate the Central American country’s criminal code which outlaws same-sex sexual activity, next month. Under the code, gay citizens face a penalty of up to ten years’ imprisonment. Section 53 states: “Every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years.” The United Belize Advocacy Movement, UNIBAM, is part of a constitutional challenge to overturn the ban on same-sex sexual activity.

New World Oil and Gas dips after deeming Rio Bravo well ‘non-commercial’
Shares in New World Oil and Gas dipped on Friday morning after the oil and gas exploration company reported that insufficient commercial quantities of moveable hydrocarbons had been found at the Rio Bravo well in Northwest Belize. The company, which is focused on Belize and Denmark, said that the well, which is located in the Petén Basin, had been drilled to a measured depth of 9,010 ft on April 21st. Following analysis, and in consultation with New World’s partners, Blue Creek Exploration, and the government of Belize, the company said it had been determined that insufficient commercial quantities of moveable hydrocarbons were present to economically justify running casing and well testing operations. As a result, the company said it had deemed the well non-commercial and decided to plug and abandon Rio Bravo.

Earth From Space: The Great Blue Hole
The Lighthouse Atoll in the Belize Barrier Reef is featured in this image acquired by Japan’s ALOS satellite. In the upper-central part of the image, an underwater sinkhole known as the Great Blue Hole appears as a dark blue circle. Surrounded by the shallow waters of the coral reef, the Great Blue Hole measures over 300 m in diameter and about 123 m deep. Formed when the sea level was much lower, rain and chemical weathering eroded the exposed terrain. Water later filled the hole and covered the area when the sea level rose at the end of the ice age. Also visible in the image are two coral islands – green with vegetation – called cayes. The larger to the west is Long Caye, and the smaller Half Moon Caye is to the east.

VIDEO: Welcome to: Coastal Belize - Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker, a small 5-miles island off the coast of Belize, is a hidden jewel for backpackers and tourists. Less crowded than its bigger sister Caye Ambergris, this beautiful limestone island is the perfect place to enjoy the Carribean sea and to appreciate a wide range of activities including snorkeling and diving.

Natural solitude, reefs a draw in Placencia, Belize
It’s obvious why filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola built the Turtle Inn resort here: White sand, a blue Caribbean Sea and, some 20 miles offshore, the second-largest coral reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. To the west, the sun sets behind the mangrove-fringed Placencia Lagoon and the distant smoky-blue Maya Mountains and Victoria Peak. There’s one more compelling reason to come here: Solitude. On a glorious afternoon, I found a beach to myself. An Englishman told me he went bonefishing for a half-day and didn’t see another boat. A kayaking trip turned up lots of birds, a few manatees and no people. Let everyone else go 100 miles north to Ambergris Caye, the largest island in Belize and its No. 1 tourist destination. The island’s population has swelled to 12,000, not including all the American ex-pats and retirees who have built multi-million-dollar homes along the island’s beaches and have bought up new beach-side condos. Placencia, however, a village at the tip of the 16-mile long Placencia Peninsula, still retains the character of a sleepy fishing village with a population of barely 1,000, many of whom live in colorful stilt cottages, earn their livings from fishing or diving and have family histories that go back to colonial days. While San Pedro, the largest town on Ambergris, is Chardonnay and champagne, golf carts and designer clothes, Placencia is Belikin beer and Caribbean rum, fly rods and snorkel fins. Big, dusty trucks and SUVs are the vehicles of choice.

Born in Belize: Rutgers Folk Fest focuses on diverse Caribbean region
Celebrate New Jersey’s natural ethnic diversity this Saturday at the annual free New Jersey Folk Festival with an ethnic group 98 percent of us probably have never heard of: the Garifuna people. Native to the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean, they came to Brooklyn and other parts of New York – and from there to New Jersey – from Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Belize. Eleanor Bullock, who spent the first 10 years of her life in coastal Belize – before moving to Brooklyn, Queens, back to Brooklyn and now Keansburg – has been instrumental in helping to organize this year’s New Jersey Folk Festival, working closely with American Studies professor and festival executive director Dr. Angus Gillespie and his committee of Douglass and Rutgers College students. “We were all born in Belize,” Bullock explains of her siblings, who include five sisters and one half-brother, adding her family moved here in 1968.

New World Updates Belize Drilling Ops
New World Oil and Gas Plc, an oil and gas exploration and development company focused on Belize and Denmark, announced that the Rio Bravo Well located in the productive Petén Basin in Northwest Belize was drilled to a measured depth of 9,010 feet April 21. Following analysis, and in consultation with New World's partners, Blue Creek Exploration Ltd., and the Government of Belize, it was determined that insufficient commercial quantities of moveable hydrocarbons were present to economically justify running casing and well testing operations. As a result, the Company has deemed the well non-commercial and decided to plug and abandon Rio Bravo. The logs and core samples were independently analyzed, as well as mud logs and all other available data. It has been determined an active hydrocarbon system exists and, as in the Company's previous well, live oil shows were measured in the Y3 and Hill Bank formations. Extensive residual oil was also present along with high saturations of formation water. It is the Company's prognosis that the primary issue in the sub-surface was that the timing of oil migration occurred prior to trap formation.

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