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Today's Belize News: June 14, 2013 #466598
06/14/13 06:24 AM
06/14/13 06:24 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 74,952
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Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP


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The San Pedro Sun

In search of the elusive Whale Sharks
After an hour and half boat ride, we finally arrived at Gladden Spit and Silk Caye Marine Reserve. Just outside the reserve, Ed our knowledgeable guide took the opportunity to brief us about the procedures while swimming along with the whale sharks. Just as the briefing was over, our attention was drawn by the presence of a curious Hawksbill turtle that poked its head from the water, perhaps to greet the visiting humans and to take in some fresh air. It swam toward us for a couple of pictures before moving on. Ed signaled that it was time for us to move on as well. A quick boat ride over the reef brought us close to about half a dozen of dolphins that jumped out of the water, breaking away and escorting the vessel through the channel. It was a spectacular short show, one I had seen only on television, and now here I was, living it. Our divers resurfaced and we all made our way back inside the vessel for a quick break for lunch at the ranger’s station. Just as we anchored for lunch, I got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to marvel at a pod of six bottlenose dolphins frolicking right in front of us. It was a spectacular show as they sprang into action creating a spectacle in their natural environment. The fully mature adult dolphins sprang out of the water and into the air then splashed back into the water for a dive. All their movements were well synchronized as if they were choreographed to do so. I was determined that if I had failed on my close encounter with whale sharks, then I would settle for the dolphins. It was sight to behold and I just had to get in the water. I gradually came in close proximity to them, stopping short at a couple feet taking in the breath-taking view of the playful creatures. Under the water, two calves swam in whirlwind motions almost as if dancing to a specific tune. They whistled and clicked at each other as they synchronized their motions. Above water, the adults tested their speed and agility by jumping far into the air. Unbeknownst to them, they were putting on a spectacular show for those still onboard the vessel and in the water. After nearly 20 minutes they disappeared into the distance making their way beyond the reef. Occasionally they would jump out of the water as if to say “follow us!”

Tropic Air announces new Placencia & PGIA flights from San Ignacio
“We are celebrating an increased presence in San Ignacio, connecting local and tourism travellers with a growing number of places in Belize and abroad”, said John Greif III, President of Tropic Air. “Our new non-stop flights between San Ignacio and Belize International allow passengers access to the International Airport’s global network, an enhanced travel experience, and demonstrates our commitment to the Cayo District. In addition, our new non-stop between Placencia and San Ignacio connects western Belize with the adventures and beaches of the south for the first time”

Visually impaired Rowan Garel to dive the Blue Hole
On June 5th young Rowan Garel celebrated his 15th birthday. Rowan’s birthday has taken on much significance since he has focused attention on others, using his reach to aid other like him to be able to do normal activities. And what makes him so special? Rowan was born blind. The visually impaired teen has not let this get in the way of accomplishing great things and in fact has broken barriers while experiencing the world around him. In 2011 Rowan climbed the one of the highest summits in Belize, Victoria Peak in two days and in 2012 he journeyed across the country walking 92 miles. Both astonishing achievements were done to raise funds for the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired (BCVI) which is the only organization in Belize that caters to the blind or visually impaired. On July 14, 2013 Rowan will make yet another achievement; he will become the first visually impaired person to dive the Great Blue Hole. The purpose of the dive is to raise funds and awareness for BCVI. According to Rowan, it’s not about the personal achievement but the funds raised and awareness such daring ventures gain. “What I’m interested in is raising funds and awareness for the only program in Belize that deals with blind or visually impaired people and they have a rehabilitation program which is completely free of cost. Take that away, and all the blind people, like me, will just be behind with everything, there would be no one there to help them along and that is what motivates me.”

Island Deals Store burglarized
On the morning of Monday June 10th, an employee of Island Deals discovered that the store, located on Barrier Reef Drive, had been broken into. Entry seemed to have been gained through the front door as the latches appeared broken to allow access to the store. The store was closed on Saturday June 8th at 9PM and it was not until on Monday June 10th at 9AM that it was noted that the store was broken into, and owner of the store, PrakashWadhwa (PK) immediately contacted the police. First inspection of the scene revealed that cellphones and eight racks of clothing were missing.

Ambergris Today

Belize Embassy in Washington Raises funds for the Inspiration Center
The Embassy of Belize in Washington has raised US$60,000 for the Inspiration Center. His Excellency, Ambassador Nestor Mendez, who is visiting Belize, handed over the check to the Special Envoy for Women and Children, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow on Tuesday, June 11, 2013. The donation is the proceeds of several fundraising events hosted in Washington between October 2011 and May 2013. The majority of the funds were raised at a hugely successful gala on February 16, 2013, which brought in over US$40,000. Mrs. Barrow is extremely grateful to Ambassador Mendez and his team for their hard work and dedication as well as the Belizean Diaspora in Washington for supporting the important cause of providing a safe, inclusive environment for children with disabilities to access much needed services. The Inspiration Center will provide medical care, physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy, psychological care and social work among other specialized services to assist children with disabilities to be more productive and independent despite any impediments. The center will also assist disadvantaged children with afterschool programs, giving them access to computers and other resources to ensure their optimal development.

Caye Caulker, Belize Could Possibly Boast Largest Marine Cave in the World
Caye Caulker could possibly be sitting on the largest marine cave in the world. The entrance of the cave system is located on the west side of the island called Tarpon View, by some, where tarpons inhabit. The cave was first explored back in 1981 when the first owners of Belize Dive Services Paul Heinerth (to this day an International cave diving pioneer and author of many books on the subject) and Chuck Hattel dug into the cave. Belize Dive Services was bought by Chip Petersen in 2009 and in November 2012 he and Bill Oestreich ‘Bert’ (both recognized Cave Dive Instructors) entered the cave once more. Chip’s real dream in purchasing BDS was to follow the footsteps of his predecessors and access the cave system to allow Belize to realize the potentials of this natural beauty; so when his mentor Bert turned up on Caye Caulker, he seized the opportunity.

Tropic Air Announces Flight Schedule From San Ignacio, Cayo
Tropic Air announced today two new non-stop flights from San Ignacio. The flights to Placencia and the Belize International Airport, both start on November 15, 2013. “We are celebrating an increased presence in San Ignacio, connecting local and tourism travellers with a growing number of places in Belize and abroad”, said John Greif III, President of Tropic Air. “Our new non-stop flights between San Ignacio and Belize International allow passengers access to the International Airport’s global network, an enhanced travel experience, and demonstrates our committment to the Cayo District. In addition, our new non-stop between Placencia and San Ignacio connects western Belize with the adventures and beaches of the south for the first time”

Police Barracks Update – Donations Needed!
The much needed Police Barracks is finally becoming a reality thanks to several donors who teamed up to give the first monies towards this much needed project. Construction on the two storey building has commenced and it will have eight rooms, each with its own bathroom. In addition, each room will have a small balcony. To date the group has contributed $20,000 to the new barracks. They currently have $15,502.35 in the bank. This amount is not sufficient to complete the project, so money needs to be raised. If you are interested in contributing, kindly email Mukul Kanabar at [email protected]

Misc Belizean Sources

The Revised National Gender Policy Should be Withdrawn
Written by: Godfrey Smith I had followed only from the fringes the brouhaha that had bubbled in the media over the Revised National Gender Policy and had been meaning to bring myself up to date on the issue. After a day of courtroom arguments, I downloaded the document, summoned up my reserves of mental energy, readied myself to analyze a document thick with controversy and thorny with social implications, and then delved in. The revised policy is the product of the National Women's Commission of Belize and is funded by the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). It examines inequalities experienced by both women and men in Belize and recommends strategies to correct gender disparities in five priority areas: Health, Education/Skills Training, Wealth and Employment Generation, Violence Producing Conditions and Power and Decision-making.

Caribbean fisheries experts attend 9th CRFM Scientific Meeting
National and regional fish experts from across the Caribbean are meeting in St. Vincent and the Grenadines this week for the 9th Annual Scientific Meeting, organised and sponsored by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM). The group—which is meeting in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines this week, until Friday, June 14—is currently engaged in working group meetings to conduct scientific data analyses for providing advice to the region’s fishery managers, to review fisheries management progress and ongoing challenges, and to identify priorities for advancing statistical and other scientific approaches required to support new and emerging management needs of major fisheries within the CRFM membership and the Wider Caribbean. During this 9th Annual Scientific Meeting, national fisheries reports from CRFM member states—which provide details on production data and the fishing fleet—are also being presented. As in previous years, the scientific meeting information enables fisheries managers to understand more about the status of key commercially important fisheries across the region, and required management actions to ensure sustainability and continued profitability of the industry.

Belize government seizes control of Bermuda-listed company's assets
The government of Belize has assumed control of two registries that are 50 percent owned by Waterloo Investment Holdings Limited (WIHL) a Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX) listed company, whose majority shareholder is Lord Ashcroft, a major Conservative Party donor and former deputy party chairman. The entities involved are the Belize International Business Companies Registry and the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize. In a filing on Thursday, WIHL expressed “…its disappointment and outrage at the government of Belize’s unilateral decision... the latest in a clear and expanding pattern of the government’s rejection of private investment in Belize and clearly sends the unmistakable signal that no investment, whether local or foreign, is safe in Belize.” “BISL intends to vigorously defend its contractual rights and pursue its claim in damages to the highest level of the legal system in Belize and will exercise all options available to it to vindicate its rights,” WIHL added.

The Economics of a Maranco Commercial Oil Find shows no Revenue Inflows until 2015
The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage with the assistance of an independent oil expert developed an economic profile of a Maranco Commercial Oil Find at South Canal Bank 1. The results of the economic profile showed that Government is not expected to receive any revenue inflows until 2015. This projection period for any revenue generation from a Maranco Commercial Oil find is important as Government has tied the salary adjustment for teachers and public service workers in the next fiscal year which is April 2014 to a commercial find at Maranco’s South Canal Bank 1. There is no projected revenue in 2014 and projected revenue inflows to the Government in 2015 is BZ$24 million. Of interest is that Government receives inflows earlier than with other production sharing agreements (PSAs) as the cost recovery arrangements for Maranco are vastly different than the existing PSAs. Cost recovery for Maranco is 65% allowing Government to begin receiving funds from the production sharing much earlier than other PSAs which allow 100% of the production revenue to be used for cost recovery before the Government receives anything other than Royalty.

More Cayo Flights for Tropic Air
Tropic Air announced today that they'll be adding two new non-stop flights from San Ignacio. The flights will be to the Placencia and Philip Goldson airports. They've decided to skip the Summer busy season, so the flights won't start until November 15th. Tropic Air currently has one flight a day to Cayo. “'We are celebrating an increased presence in San Ignacio, connecting local and tourism travellers with a growing number of places in Belize and abroad,' said John Greif III, President of Tropic Air. 'Our new non-stop flights between San Ignacio and Belize International allow passengers access to the International Airport’s global network, an enhanced travel experience, and demonstrates our committment to the Cayo District. In addition, our new non-stop between Placencia and San Ignacio connects western Belize with the adventures and beaches of the south for the first time.'”

SHC Art Exhibit
The SISE House of Culture is having the opening of the Sacred Heart College Art Exhibit Friday, June 14th, at 6:00pm. See some great art from the SHC students. Thanks, SISE HoC!

Belize in You, Belize in Me, Land of the Free
We have a winner! Congratulations, Jeanelle Mencias, for coming up with this year's September Celebrations theme: "Belize in You, Belize in Me, Land of the Free." Shouldn't something that rhymes with 'you' be in the 3rd place? Like, ' The Baymen Knew.' Anyways, well done, and she will get $1000 for winning the competition. "Belmopan resident Jeanelle Mencias has won the competition for the theme for the September Celebrations. A statement today from by the National Celebrations Commission announced that the theme to be used for the 215th anniversary of the Battle of St. George’s Caye and the 32nd anniversary of Belize’s Independence is: “Belize in you, Belize in me, Land of the Free.” The official release says Mencias’ submission was chosen from among 125 entries and was selected because “it engenders a spirit of personal pride and nationalism about being Belize and Belizean.” As her prize, Mencias gets a cash award of BZ$1,000."

Play for Peace Basketball Tournament
The Benque DYS is having their 'Play for Peace' basketball tournament at the end of the month. If you are interested, you can contact Jimmy Leslie, or show up on June 18th at 7:00pm at Deacon's Court. "The Department of Youth Services in Benque Viejo in collaboration with the Benque Viejo Youth Sports Club present 'Play for Peace Basketball Tournament.' This tournament is scheduled to start on June 27, 2013 and end on July 11, 2013. Registration Deadline is June 22, 2013. For more information visit the Department of Youth Services in Benque Viejo and contact Jimmy Leslie at 633-5050. Or contact Mark Rosado at 631-5877 from Benque Viejo Youth Sports Club"

Benque Marimba Academy at NFoA
The Benque Marimba Academy represented Cayo well at the National Festival of Arts at the Bliss Centre. The Benque House of Culture has some great pictures from the event. Congratulations on a great performance! "The road to the highest platform in Belize, the Benque Marimba Project prepared, traveled and showcased their fine artistic skill to the Nation of Belize, June 6th, 2013."

Danny Michel and The Garifuna Collective
Danny Michel is in Belize, playing with the Garifuna Collective. Here's a musical interlude with them rehearsing with 'This is What is.' Hopefully they will come over and play in Cayo before they all head to Canada for their tour together. If you notice, Sam Harris, who plays with the World Culture Band at Lucky 5 and around Cayo, is there on guitar. They also did 'Break it You Buy it.'

Catwalk in the Jungle this Saturday
The Catwalk in the Jungle fashion show will take place Saturday night at the Cayo Welcome Center, and it'll be free too. Emmanuel Mangar will be performing during the event. A portion of the proceeds from the event will got to a feeding program to support families with children who are unable to provide nutritious meals for the kids. "Its going to be a FREE fashion show event in our area. Everyone is invited to this great event where we are going to have tons of surprises, entertainment, fun, ect. Come out and delight your eyes with our sexy models who will be show casing spectacular cloths from different boutiques and designers. The best thing from this event is that its FREE TO THE PUBLIC. So no excuse for not being There. We are also going to have local artist to entertain the public. Every one is welcome...."

Paraguanana Grand Opening
Paraguanana, the CACHE cafe at Centennial Park in Benque, will be having its grand opening this evening, starting at 4pm. In related news, CACHE will be having a Jumble Sale at the football field in Santa Cruz on Saturday at 9:00am. "June 14th is the grand Opening of the CACHE Snack shop under new management! Be there at 4 p.m. New ambiance, new menu, & great entertainment! Be there!"

Channel 7

Fighting Faber Throws Blows At Teachers’ Union
Today Education Minister Patrick Faber led a press conference on the results of the PSE. And while that’s news which interests a large section of the population, it’s not the headline tonight – and that’s because Faber made bigger news by sharing what might be called, “inconvenient truths” about the teaching profession and the Teachers’ union. He spoke about their request for a 30% wage increase in view of the quite dismal PSE results – calling that proposed increase “ridiculously high” and, apparently, un-deserved: Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education "The role of the teachers union; you know it's absolutely amazing and I'll go out on a limb that teachers are saying they want a salary adjustment of 30% when the government is saying that they can't afford and then we have the same old results. There is no denying that teachers have a tremendous effect on what these results are." And Faber wasn’t through with the Teachers Union there, he criticized them for standing up for deviant, sub-standard teachers: Hon. Patrick Faber "But we have a union in this country and I will get into trouble again for it. That fights for teachers who are incompetent, some of them who are molesters, some of them who don't do their job in the classroom and the officials know it. But we fight for them - they are not functioning, they are not doing the best job and the minute the principal or the management or the ministry tries to bring them up, there is a champion called the Union that fights against."

Husband Killer Viola Pook Appeals Lifetime Sentence
But, first, we go to the Court of Appeal where convicted husband killer Viola Pook’s appeal heard today. Two years ago, Pook was convicted of burning her common-law husband to death. As we reported, she stood trial before Justice Herbert Lord, where evidence was presented that on New Year’s Eve of 2008, in Rancho Dolores, Pook doused 46 year old Orlando Vasquez with gasoline and lit him on fire. He suffered first and second degree burns to 70% of his body and died two days later. The conviction depended greatly on an alleged confession, which she gave to the first officer on the scene, but which she later denied when the case went to court. And now, that confession statement is the main issue of contention that her attorney, Simeon Sampson, relied on to try to convince the Court of Appeal to overturn the conviction. Her case was heard, and after the session, 7News spoke with Sampson, where he explained his case: Simeon Sampson - Attorney for Viola Pook "The Sergeant Zuniga said when he asked him what happened, she blurted out 'I caught him on fire' - that is a confession/admission. When the client came on and when this confession was about to be led into evidence by sergeant Zuniga - the judge allowed him to rattle it off without satisfying himself as the law requires that before the admission received into evidence, he must satisfy himself beyond a reasonable doubt on the basis of evidence 'I caught him on fire' was not obtained by promise of favor, pressure or oppression or under irregular behavior on the part of the police. The law says that the police satisfy the judge.

Husband Still At Large After Wife Chopped to Death
Sergio Moran is still at large – after his wife 28 year old Julia Morran was chopped to death yesterday in Caye Caulker. As we reported, it happened in the morning and at noon, island police discovered the body covered with sheets in a bedroom inside the house they shared. She is believed to have been killed at around 1:00 am when she was heard screaming. Two hours later Sergio Moran was seen leaving the house along with their 7 year old son. He is from Guatemala and is believed to have headed to that country. At the scene, police found a machete, knife and handwritten notes.

Accused Of Killing Wife, “Bucket” Bermudez Gets A Re-trial
43 year-old Glenford “Bucket” Bermudez, the ex-BDF soldier who was convicted and sentence to life in prison for killing his wife, is tonight on remand awaiting a retrial after the Court of Appeal overturned his conviction today. In April of 2011, his case was heard before the Supreme Court where evidence was presented that on November 22, 2007, he shot his wife in the head at close range with a shot gun, killing her instantly. After his case was traversed several times to the next session of the Court of Appeal, it was finally heard to completion today, and none of the hard evidence against him mattered. Without even an attorney to advance his case, the Justices of the Appeal Court tore into the material from the case, and they zeroed in on what they referred to as misdirection of the jury by the trial judge. President Justice Manuel Sosa used words like “egregious”, “misleading”, and “gross” when referring to the trial judge’s direction to the jury. He also said that Bermudez’s unsworn statement was, quote, “carelessly thrown at the jury.” End quote.

Mayor Says City Hall Is Moving Forward With Streets
For the past two weeks – traffic in the City has been strangled by the closure of the Belcan Bridge – forcing traffic to funell through the two other bridges – which has been further complicated by the closure of a large portion of North Front Street. Well, the news tonight is that it’s only just begun, as the first half of the northern approach to the Belcan Bridge has been completed and work has started on the second half of that same approach. Today Mayor Bradley told us that when that is completed, the council has already engaged private contractors to start on the round-a-bout - which is the busiest in Belize. Sounds like pure gridlock stress to us, but the Mayor was unperturbed.

Leader Of The Opposition Fonseca Defends Decision to Sign
Last night on the news, you heard the Prime Minister allege that former Prime Minister Said Musa and former Attorney General Francis Fonseca had signed a secret and ultimately illegal document giving Belize International Services Limited two extensions on their contract to operate the IBC and Ships Registries. We didn’t have time to get an on-camera comment from the opposition leader yesterday but along with KREM Radio, LOVE TV and PLUS TV, we did speak to him at length today about the Barrow allegation and the broader context of the registry agreement. Here’s how that went. Hon. Francis Fonseca - Leader Of The Opposition "Typical Dean Barrow, when his back is against the wall - this is exactly what he does. He comes out with some bogus issue to try to divert the attention of the Belizean people away from the real problems, eating away at his government by a showman. The substantive issue that he raised in terms of this allegation of some secret agreement - well obviously the original agreement was signed in 1993, the letter that he's talking about in 2005 which extended the agreement another seven years, was absolutely not a secret. This was a letter and the agreement was vetted by the Attorney General's Ministry and the solicitor General at the time, it was vetted by officials of the Ministry of Finance, it went through the Cabinet as I indicated yesterday. Certainly we acted on the advice on the officials of the Attorney General's Ministry and in the Ministry of Finance."

The PSE, Everybody’s Failed, But Only the Kids Got An “F”
And while Fonseca’s leadership is being criticized by his former colleague, today Education Minister Patrick Faber was the one doing the criticizing – as he tried the explain the universal failure that accounts for the PSE results – where thousands of children scored less than 50% - which is considered a failing grade. At the outset, Faber made it clear that he wasn’t trying to defend anything and then went on to defend a system that is failing its students. Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education "Let me point out from the start that I am not here to defend." Jules Vasquez reporting Today’s press conference, with presentations from Ministry officials, and attendance form school principals and managers was about the PSE, not defending the consistently abysmal grades, but, in a sense sharing of the blame.

Hon. Fonseca Backs Up Faber On Key Issues
Today former Minister of Education Fonseca says he agrees that teacher training is a priority and those who are not trained have to go. Hon. Francis Fonseca - Leader of the Opposition "Yes teacher training is critically important - we have to train our teachers, we have to give teachers every opportunity to get properly trained. Yes we have to weed out of the system teachers who are not effective, not performing and short changing our students. If not performing well and they're there to collect a salary then we have to get rid of them and that is where we have to work with the churches to make sure that that is being done, that teachers are being properly supervised and properly assessed. And when they're not functioning and failing our children, they need to go." Fonseca also agreed with Faber on the issue of Corporal punishment – to which he said there must be alternatives:… Hon. Francis Fonseca "We have to accept that there are other ways of dealing with our children, I recognize that a lot of the teachers and the churches don't accept that, they believe that it was a mistake but I said at the National Assembly - I supported it at the time. I still support it, I think we have to find the right balance."

Theme For September Celebrations Chosen
“BELIZE IN YOU, BELIZE IN ME, LAND OF THE FREE” – that’s the theme for this year’s September Celebrations. It was the submission of Jaenelle Mencias and was picked from over 125 entries made to the September Celebrations Commission. For her catchy suggestion, Mencias wins one thousand Belize dollars.

City, UNICEF, Restore Bze Work With Southside School
There was a signing of a memorandum of understanding this morning between the Belize City Council and Excelsior High School. It includes the opening of a renovated computer lab with a donation from the City Council of 6 new computers and the unveiling of internal walkways and drainage done by employees of the Council. The MOU and other projects are a part of a larger plan being coordinated by the Belize City Council, UNICEF and Restore Belize to carry out series of intervention activities in the Faber’s Road Area of Belize City. The mayor explained. Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council "We're trying to broaden our relationships with community assets including schools and we're doing a lot of intervention program in the Faber's road area in Belize City, we're doing a lot of infrastructures with the streets and the drainage. Faber's road, Nurse Findley Crescent, Gill street and we said that it's a project that we wanted to have more impact, we wanted to have a relationship with Excelsior, this is something that we've been talking about for two months. So what we have done today is we signed a formal MOU which now authorizes the council to continue working with Excelsior as being a real asset in this community. What we also did today is that we unveiled the renovated computer lab. The workmen for City council were here through out the last week and a half and doing all the works to facilitate to renovate the facility, tiling of the floors, painting of the walls and installing posters. The city council donated six brand new computers to them, we had our IT people come through and check the wiring and things like that, ensuring that they have internet access and wifi.

Tonight’s profile is about Doctor Corinth Morter Lewis. She’s a highly trained educator and well-received author – but those achievements belie her humble Belize City upbringing. She grew up on Eve Street – and some of the most vivid memories of her youth recall the slop bucket she was forced to clean with “carbo-negros” and watching the funeral of her absentee father as a stranger. She tells the profile how that gave her the motivation to achieve:..

High School Student Wants Art To Be “Contagious”
Tomorrow night, the Image Art Factory is showcasing the talent of SJC High School Student Julian Kuo. He has been preparing an exhibit of about 55 paintings, which he produced between February and April of this year. It is his first exhibit, which he has appropriately named, “Contagious”, because he wants to inspire other Belizeans to take up art. He gave 7News a preview today, and he spoke to us about his work: Julian Kuo - Artist "In my art work I try a lot of different style. I want to show everybody that art is easy, you can create your art if you enjoy doing art. So you can see I have an abstract, human, landscape - so I want to make people like art and also they would want to start their own art when they've seen my show. Every artwork I can describe my own story in them so when I do my work, I have to think what I need to present in my show. In the artwork I would like people to think about the story of the art so that when people look at it they will create their own story to describe this work."

It Went “Swimmingly!”
Today at the YWCA Swimming Pool, students from 13 primary schools in Belize City competed against each other in a swim meet organized by the “Y”. It’s part of their mission to teach the children about the sport and provide them with in depth water training. To test how well they’ve retained the swimming lessons, the facilitators then put them up against each other and awarded the winners with trophies. It is a great initiative to provide the children with a positive outlet, and 7News asked the General Secretary to explain the history behind it: Sonia Linarez - General Secretary, YMCA "This is the sixth annual YWCA Fiona Stevenson swim-meet. We started this program many years ago because there was a need for swimming, to teach children to swim in Belize. We have many water ways but many of the students and children of Belize, both young and adults were not able to swim and we started a swim program here. With funding from the Fiona Stevenson foundation in England we were given assistance that we were able to provide free swimming lessons for many schools. This year we have been doing a program for 13 schools in Belize City and these children come for eight sessions. Those that are far away from the YWCA - we even provide transportation through the program, it has enabled over 200 children to be a part of the swim program. We have Fence Boys School, Holy Redeemer, Trinity, Stella Maris - every year we make sure they are a part of the program, Ephesus, Christian Central, Ebeneezer, St. Luke's Methodist and St. Martin de Pores and of course the YWCA. "

Channel 5

Secret contract? But Financial Secretary Joe Waight knew
Prime Minister Dean Barrow was very vocal about what he called a secret agreement between G.O.B. and Belize International Services Limited at his press conference on Wednesday. In his own [...]

More litigations ahead. Government takeover not legally airtight
At his press conference Wednesday, the PM described the agreement to extend the contract for the management of the IBC and Ships Registries as having been signed off in secret [...]

Radio hosts face libel suit from former Prime Minister
This morning during the United Democratic Party’s radio station, WAVE, Minister of National Security John Saldivar spoke about the management contracts. Saldivar and his co-hosts made some very serious allegations [...]

P.M. explains why OCEANA has it wrong
On June twentieth, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin will issue his ruling on government’s application for a stay of execution of an injunction handed down by Justice Oswell Legall. The ruling [...]

Ministry of Energy responds to OCEANA’s claims
In a release sent out by the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities, earlier today, it pointed out that no order or judgment was made against any [...]

Everybody’s responsible for poor P.S.E. results
Seven thousand five hundred and thirty-three students sat the exams, a five percent increase over last year. The top twenty six students have been highlighted for their achievement. But the [...]

She killed her husband, Pook’s case taken to Appeals Court
Fifty-five year old Viola Pook, sentenced to life in prison for the New Year’s Eve murder of her common law husband in 2008, appeared in the Court of Appeal today [...]

Stealing a 5 gallon will get you arrest
In magistrate court, a repeat offender made another scheduled appearance. Thirty-four year old Denfield Lemmott, was arraigned on a single count of theft when he appeared in the magistrate’s court [...]

City Hall takes care of Excelsior High School
Many of the repeat offenders at the magistrate court lack basic education. That is why it is important for schools to be constantly upgraded and the training of teachers are [...]

Contemporary artists on display at the Belisle Art Gallery
A prolific art exhibit is currently hung at Belisle Art Gallery. The curator had scoured the country for artists who are constantly working to improve their trade. Some of the [...]

Profile on Ian Gaynair from the National Football selection
Training continues for the Belize Jaguars as they prepare to take on the United States, Cuba and Costa Rica in three games to be played in the United States for [...]

Healthy Living finds out where to get true blood
Banks are institutions that help the economy of a nation to thrive, but this week Healthy Living visits a bank where giving helps to literally save lives. Friday, June fourteenth, [...]


Former Attorney General Comments on PM's Revelation of An Alleged Secret Agreement
On Wednesday Prime Minister, Dean Barrow disclosed what he termed as another secret agreement by the PUP Administration. The Prime Minister said that the agreement, was signed between Belize International Services Limited, former Prime Minister, Said Musa, and the then Attorney General, Fra...

Belize Coalition To Save Our Natural Heritage Gets Independent Report On Oil Find
On Tuesday CEO in the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities, Doctor Colin Young, told Love News that Maranco Energy Belize will soon begin the second phase of drilling operations at the South Canal Bank #1 exploration well to determine whether or not crude oil is availab...

Church Leaders Meet In Northern Belize To Discuss Gender Policy
Church leaders in Orange Walk met to discuss the gender policy. Reporter Dalila Ical has the story. DALILA ICAL “The association of churches and the Evangelical of ministries of Orange Walk joined several others churches and movements in opposition to the gender policy movemen...

Belize City Mayor Gives Major Boost To Secondary School
This morning the Belize City Council and Excelsior High School signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will greatly benefit the school. But other than just the signing of the MOU, the event also featured the opening of a newly renovated computer lab where Mayor Darrell Bradley presented a donat...

Minister of Education Discusses Exam Results
The Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, held a press conference today to discuss the Primary School Exams results. On Monday we reported that the seven thousand 359 students who sat this year’s PSE scored a mean average of 57.8% in English, while in Math they scored a mean average o...

Woman Convicted of Burning Up Her Husband Appeals Conviction; Court Reserves Its Decision
Belize Court of Appeal today reserved its decision in the appeal of 56 year old Veola Pook, a resident of Rancho Dolores who was convicted of the murder of her common-law husband and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Pook’s attorney, Simeon Sampson, had appealed on the ground that the lea...

Retrial Ordered For Man Convicted of Killing His Wife
An appeal by 43-year-old Glenford Bermudez, who was convicted of the murder of his wife and was sentenced to life imprisonment, was allowed today by Belize court of Appeal. Bermudez conviction and sentence were quashed and a retrial was ordered. Bermudez, who was not represented by any attorney, ...

Forest Home Recreational Park Completed Through Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust
An inauguration ceremony for Forest Home Village recreational park was held yesterday in the Toledo District. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details. PAUL MAHUNG “Opening prayer was done by Pastor Gideon Richards who also did the blessing of the park. A key person in the vi...

Police Continues Search For Man Following Wife's Murder
Police continue to look for Sergio Moran following the murder of his wife 28-year-old Julia Jennie Moran in the Black neighborhood of Caye Caulker on Wednesday. Police say just after midday yesterday they visited the residence where they found the woman’s lifeless body on a bed covere...

Young Artist Puts Art Pieces on Display
The word Contagious is defined by the free dictionary dot com as “Transmissible by direct or indirect contact” and artist Julian Veronin Kuo has used the word Contagious for his acrylic on canvass art collection which will be exhibited at the Image Factory. Kuo who is nineteen, ...


Mix Up In PSE Grades?
If your child was among the over seven thousand students who sat the 2013 Primary School Examination you probably already know his or her grade by now. But were you provided with the correct one? By now you must be wondering where we are getting at. Well, the thing is that this afternoon we received several calls from concerned parents of students of Trial Farm Government School who sat the exam. According to the parents, their child’s grade is being retracted since the Ministry of Education conducted an error upon calculation. One parent said that her child scored 84 percent on the exam or at least that is what she was told. When the child received her grade slip provided to students by the Ministry of Education, it contained a different grade than the one given out by standard six teacher’s of the institution. Here is how it works. Every year after the PSE, the Ministry of Education releases two reports, a school report provided to the management of each school and an individual report made available to each student that sat the exam.

Maranco's Oil Find Still Undetermined To Be On Commercial Quantities
Back in March Government announced that Maranco Energy Belize Limited had discovered an encouraging oil show at the South Canal Bank #1 exploration well located in the Gallon Jug area in the Orange Walk District. Since then Maranco has been trying to determine the commercial potential of the oil show and after more than two months there has still been no confirmation on the extent and feasibility of the finding. And that is because testing is still being carried out. According to CEO for the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities, Doctor Colin Young, the oil company will drill an appraisal well which is allowed under the company’s current Production Sharing Agreement. Maranco, says Young, has up to eighteen months to complete the appraisal well which will be used to determine whether or not black gold runs through the area in commercial quantities. The drilling of the appraisal well should commence sometime next week. But what will Belize’s cut if oil in commercial quantities is found? According to CEO Young, Maranco will pay Government 15% on the first 5,000 barrels of oil extracted while they will receive 85%. The extraction of an additional five thousand barrels of oil will yield Government 40% in revenues while Maranco will retain the remaining 60%.

During today’s press conference the Prime Minister also gave the media an update on the investigations carried out at the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital by the Pan American Health Organization in relation to the death of 13 babies at the hospital back in the month of May. Based on the draft final report, things are not looking good for the KHMH. In fact, today the Prime Minister reveled that two persons are about to resign from their post at the national referral hospital. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize “The Government cannot short responsibility that is why I was there, that is why I offered my condolences, I continue to do so, that is why I said to the board any investigation that takes place, they asked me about the possibility of liability, of people suing, I said I don’t care what the liability would be you are to cover up nothing, you find negligence you are to identify the negligence and let the people sue and be compensated man we can’t be playing the fool with a tragedy of those sorts of dimensions. I understand that a head of this draft final report that PAHO has prepared one person has already resigned to be confirmed and I understand that a second person even higher up than that person is about to resign. I don’t yet know what the draft final report is saying; I gathered from the chairlady that it does not put the KHMH in a good light whether it goes to the extent of saying person (a) and person (b) is negligent I don’t know but please if that is so then the consequence must follow, whoever was negligent must face disciplinary action and if there is negligence compensation must be given to the families there can’t be no getting away from that and I would never ever try to side step that kind of responsibility.”

Injured Guatemalan National Was On Belizean Soil
As we told you yesterday, On Monday June 3rd a Guatemalan national was shot and hit four times- twice to the upper back and once to the lower back and left elbow by Belizean forces. The security forces found in his possession 2 cell phones, 1 .22 rifle, and several rounds of ammunition. BDF soldiers offered aid to 27 year old Edgar Alexander Sacasa and it took twelve hours to transport him through rough terrain to the Western Regional Hospital where he was admitted and subsequently had to undergo surgery. Today in his press conference, Prime Minister Dean Barrow indicated that a joint team comprised of Belizean and Guatemalan counterparts has visited the area and concluded that Scasa invaded Belizean territory. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize “A joint verification team including officials from Guatemala, the OAS and the Government of Belize visited the area and confirmed that he incident had occurred well within Belize. The foreign minister or rather the CEO who accompany the foreign minister to the OAS meeting in Guatemala had a discussion with the deputy foreign minister in Guatemala, as I recollect the foreign minister did not even raised the incident with our foreign minister so presumable the fallout of this incident would be minimal especially if the man makes a full recovery.”

Prime Minister Releases Details Of Takeover Of Two Registries
On Monday June 10th, the Government of Belize announced that it was taking over the management services agreement with Belize International Services Limited, (B.I.S.L.) to manage the International Business Companies Registry and the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize (IMMARBE), effective Tuesday, June 11th. Both companies had been privately and profitably managed since 1991, but that, according to the Prime Minister, will no longer be, as the contract between the Government and BISL has expired. However, when the Barrow Administration informed BISL’s management that they were to prepare to hand over the companies, they responded with what is being called a secret agreement in which they were purported a 10 year extension by the then administration. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize “The 24th of March 2005, it turns out that on that day a secret agreement was signed between BISL and the then Prime Minister and the then Attorney General who is the current leader of the opposition, the Honourable Francis Fonseca, and that secret agreement not only purported to recognize and validate the exercise of the option which Ghandy had already said was invalid but as well it purported to extend the life of the agreement after the exercise of the option for another seven years up to the 11th of June 2020 for a consideration of US$1.5 million dollars, understand what is happening , they already operated for three years then they got the new agreement which gave them ten. When they started operating for the second ten under that agreement by way of exercising the option, Ghandy said you can’t, it is not valid. The Prime Minister and Fonseca obviously said ignore Ghandy and then two years later signed this secret document saying to them via SL not only is the exercise of your option to renew valid, we are going to give you when that option we are treating as valid finally expires in June of 2013 and additional seven years of until 2030 which will make up all together for a grand total of something like 30 years that these people would get to control the two registries. Now of course, nobody was aware of the existence of that agreement “March 24th of 2005” that Musa and Francis Fonseca signed. I have checked through directly in one case and through a third party in another of persons who were member of the cabinet on 24th March 2005 and they are quite clear that that agreement was never disclose to the cabinet, because as well no official neither Ghandy nor the financial secretary or anybody else in the public service was ever made aware of that letter, this current administration wrote on the 6th of May of this year to BISL saying that since of the face of the agreement that they had their period of control of the registry expires on the 10th June 2013, please prepare to hand over control of the registry as a consequence of fluxion of time, as a consequence as a coming to an end of the contractual agreement, please prepare to hand over control of registry to the Government of Belize. In response BISL then produced this secret agreement of 24th March 2005 and stated that in view of this agreement there is no need for any meeting we have invited them to come and sit us to discuss the logistics of the hand over. Well you can imagine how shock we were, we checked to see whether there was any copy of that agreement anywhere in the file in Belmopan and of course we came up with a big fat zero.”

P.M Admits Investigation Into Destruction Of Noh Mul Taking Too Long
At his press conference today the Prime Minister touched basis on a number of issues including the destruction of Noh Mul. Surprisingly the Prime Minister admitted that the investigation is taking way too long despite the fact that Denny Grijlava, the owner of the company accused of destroying the Maya edifice for land fill, has basically accepted responsibility. In the words of the P.M, it’s about time that charges are levied against those found responsible. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize “The file was given to the Director of Public Prosecutions who was directed that additional police worked be done to complete investigations into the matter. Police hope to do the additional work by Friday, there are two critical issues; they need to record a statement from the camera man or men that did the video recording and the drivers of the equipment are still not positively identified, the video recording available but the DPP doesn’t think that is sufficient for prosecution purposes. The DPP is obviously being extremely careful she want to be sure that when she gives the directive to lay charges the case will be water tied, yes I am concerned that the officer in charge of the investigation, whom I shall not mention name, did not from the start get some of the material or all of the material that the DPP is now sending him back to get, this report was brought to my house by Coronel Lovell after I had spoken to him during the day making blame that I wanted to be able to report to the public and that I would not be at all pleased if couldn’t report that this thing has happened or is about to happen imminently, I signaled that in my view it is taking too long no getting away from that.”

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Former Attorney General Says PM’s Behavior Is Disgraceful
On Wednesday Prime Minister, Dean Barrow disclosed what he termed as another secret agreement by the PUP Administration. The Prime Minister said that the agreement, was signed between Belize International Services Limited, former Prime Minister, Said Musa, and the then Attorney General, Francis Fonseca, and it extended the contract to 2020. But today Fonseca told reporters that Mr. Barrow is creating mischief. FRANCIS FONSECA “It is the response of a prime minister, who in my view is desperate; he is presiding over a government in crisis, a government that is being rocked by scandals week after week and is typical Dean Barrow, whenever his back is against the wall, this is exactly what he does, he comes out with some bogus issue to try to divert the attention of the Belizean people away from the real problem eating away at his government: corruption, nepotism, incompetent; so, I want to make that very clear that that is what took place at the press conference; it was a show by a show man. The substantive issue he raised in terms of this allegation of some secret agreement, well, the original agreement was signed in 1993, ten years ago even before I became a member of parliament. The letter that he is talking about, the letter of 2005 which extended the agreement another 7 years, it was absolutely not a secret; this was a letter and agreement vetted by the Attorney General ministry and the Solicitor General.

Salary Increase For Teachers May Take Much Longer Than Expected
On Tuesday CEO in the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities, Doctor Colin Young, told Love News that Maranco Energy Belize will soon begin the second phase of drilling operations at the South Canal Bank #1 exploration well to determine whether or not crude oil is available in commercial quantities. The appraisal phase of the drilling operation will span for a period of eighteen months, well after 2014- so it would be after those eighteen months that teachers and public officers will know whether or not a salary adjustment is forthcoming. We say so because Prime Minister Dean Barrow has stated that the probability of public officers and teachers obtaining a salary adjustment is highly based on whether a commercial quantity of oil is discovered. But the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage says that teachers and public officers might have to wait even longer. The Coalition obtained the services of an unnamed oil expert who developed an economic profile of a Maranco Commercial Oil Find at South Canal Bank 1. The oil expert determined that GOB will see twenty four million dollars revenue until 2015 and a decline of revenue in 2020.

Evangelical Movement Will Protest Planned Homosexual Pageant
Church leaders in Orange Walk met to discuss the gender policy. Reporter Dalila Ical has the story. DALILA ICAL “The association of churches and the Evangelical of ministries of Orange Walk joined several others churches and movements in opposition to the gender policy movement. The member held a meeting yesterday at Estereo Carlos in Orange Walk to further discuss the matter and the way forward; Renaldo Rio vice president of the association tells us more. RENALDO RIO “We are opposed because the gender policy is against our constitution; if you read the constitution you will find that the constitution is putting God in supremacy; if you read carefully, the gender policy you will find out that they are not taking any consideration in God; so they are refusing God because that is the main point of the homosexuality, they don’t believe in God, they reject God. They will say, ‘yes, we believe in God’ but my question is, what kind of God? God rejected this kind of behavior and secondly, we reject the gender policy because this will affect our society in the moral issues, education, behaviors; education will be one of the most affected area because as soon as this pass they will start redefining family, redefining sexuality and this will be affecting our children because they are the ones who will receive this information in the schools; institutions will be affected, churches, preachers, businesses, if they say, ‘no, I don’t want a lesbian in my company’ – you will sue me because you will say I am discriminating you.”

Belize City Council and Secondary School Sign MOU
This morning the Belize City Council and Excelsior High School signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will greatly benefit the school. But other than just the signing of the MOU, the event also featured the opening of a newly renovated computer lab where Mayor Darrell Bradley presented a donation of six desktop computers. In addition Mayor Bradley announced the internal walkway and drainage for the high school as well as other infrastructural works that are and will be done in that area. According to Mayor Bradley, the MOU is part of a larger project being coordinated by the Belize City Council, UNICEF and Restore Belize in order to carry out a series of intervention activities in the Faber’s Road Area of Belize City. Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Excelsior High School, Marshall Nunez, says that after two months of discussion is certainly a pleasure to see that all the dotted lines have been signed but the Principal of the school, Gayle Thompson says that this is just the beginning. GAYLE THOMPSON “We are trying to broaden our relationships with community assets including schools and we are doing a lot of intervention programs in the Faber’s Road area of Belize City and we are doing a lot of infrastructures with the streets and the drainage, Faber’s Road, Nurse Findley Crescent, Gill Street and we said that we wanted the project to have more of an impact and we want to have more of an impact and we wanted to have a relationship with Excelsior; this is something we have been talking for about two months and so what we have done today, is that we have signed a formal MOU which now authorizes the council to continue working with Excelsior as being an asset in this community and what we also did today is that we renovated the computer lab, workmen from the City Council were here throughout the last week and a half doing all the works to renovate the facility, the tiling of floors, the painting of the walls, installing posters; the city council donated six brand new computers to them.

Minister of Education Says School Management Needs To Take Responsibility For PSE Results
The Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, held a press conference today to discuss the Primary School Exams results. On Monday we reported that the seven thousand 359 students who sat this year’s PSE scored a mean average of 57.8% in English, while in Math they scored a mean average of 54.2%. Minister Faber said that the performance of students is everyone’s collective responsibility. He said he wanted the managing authorities of the various primary schools to take ownership for their students’ performance on the PSE. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education “We want the managing authorities as well to take ownership of the performance of their schools and the quality of education that is delivered in their schools. I feel very optimistic about this; we have some great managers and there’s a lot to be desired in terms of them taking ownership of this performance and for them to be doing in terms of improving the quality but their hearts are in the right place. In fact, one of the discussions we have had at our senior management level is in fact, the leaders may need training and we may need to start insisting on a set of conditions or criteria or qualifications they need to have in order to manage our schools and that is a discussion, that I take it, our managing authorities are willing to have. How is it that you will manage a school when you don’t know what to look for? And it’s not blame again, it’s saying to the managements, let’s work together to make sure that we have key people who are competent in place to help to make suggestions to improve the schools.

Rancho Dolores Woman Convicted For Killing Spouse Appeals Decision
Belize Court of Appeal today reserved its decision in the appeal of 56 year old Veola Pook, a resident of Rancho Dolores who was convicted of the murder of her common-law husband and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Pook’s attorney, Simeon Sampson, had appealed on the ground that the learned trial judge had erred in law when did not satisfy himself that the alleged confession statement that Pook gave to police Sergeant Zuniga was given voluntarily. Sampson contended that the judge should have done so before he allowed the statement to be admitted as evidence. Pook’s common-law husband, Orlando Vasquez, was set on fire and burned to death at his home in Rancho Dolores on December 31, 2009. Pook was convicted of his murder on July 8, 2011. She was sentenced to life imprisonment on July 20, 2011. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lyn Vidal, represented the respondent at the appeal hearing.

Court of Appeals Order Retrial For Convicted Murderer
An appeal by 43-year-old Glenford Bermudez, who was convicted of the murder of his wife and was sentenced to life imprisonment, was allowed today by Belize court of Appeal. Bermudez conviction and sentence were quashed and a retrial was ordered. Bermudez, who was not represented by any attorney, did not put forward any ground of appeal, but the judges of Belize court of Appeal saw that the learned trial judge had misdirected the jury in several instances. And so a retrial was ordered. The facts of the case were that on November 22, 2007, Bermudez shot and killed Raquel Bermudez on the Burrell Boom/Hattieville Road. Mrs. Bermudez, who was a taxi driver at the time, was driving on the road when her husband stopped her vehicle and shot her. Bermudez tried to hang himself afterwards. Bermudez was convicted on April 27, 2011 and he was sentenced on May 12, 2011. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lyn Vidal, represented the respondent.

BNE Charitable Trust Donates Park To Southern Village
An inauguration ceremony for Forest Home Village recreational park was held yesterday in the Toledo District. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details. PAUL MAHUNG “Opening prayer was done by Pastor Gideon Richards who also did the blessing of the park. A key person in the village level achievement was former Forest Home Village Council Chairman, David Duncan who gave the welcome and also spoke of the park project.” DAVID DUNCAN “We are gathered here today to celebrate one of the projects achieved under my leadership: this recreational park facility you’re seeing here today. To give you a brief rundown of how this project came about, I will start by saying I saw the call of proposals by the Trust in several categories. I immediately saw a category that would fit a recreational park for our community based on the Trust’s criteria. I saw that this was an important opportunity especially since our village didn’t have a park. I filled out the application the Trust provided in September 2012 and the work began. The Trust and I have worked very closely, filling out the necessary paper work, justification of the project, budgets, etc. were provided. The project took its process and despite all the delays it was approved in October 2012 and the work got started around the last week in March 2013 due to circumstances beyond our control, nonetheless it is here and it’s completed, This recreational park will enhance the quality of life for the people of Forest Home by offering a safe outdoor space to play, exercise or spending time with the family.

Police Seeks Husband Following Woman’s Murder
Police continue to look for Sergio Moran following the murder of his wife 28-year-old Julia Jennie Moran in the Black neighborhood of Caye Caulker on Wednesday. Police say just after midday yesterday they visited the residence where they found the woman’s lifeless body on a bed covered with some sheets and blankets. The body had several chop wounds. According to police neighbors reported hearing noise coming from the home after one yesterday morning and shortly after Sergio Moran leaving the home with the couple’s child. Police say they retrieved a machete, knife and papers from the scene. Investigations continue into the incident.

Art Collection Is ‘Contagious’
The word Contagious is defined by the free dictionary dot com as “Transmissible by direct or indirect contact” and artist Julian Veronin Kuo has used the word Contagious for his acrylic on canvass art collection which will be exhibited at the Image Factory. Kuo who is nineteen, has been painting from the time he was four years old. Today Love News spoke with him and he told us more about his collection. JULIAN KUO “At first, I painted on my wall at home; my wall was a mess. I learned a lot online and had a lot of my drawings on my wall and found that I am interested in art and so I started to create my own art. This is my first exhibition in Belize; I started in February up to April and I have fifty five pieces here; I have abstract, human and landscape. In each artwork, I have my own story in my mind, so if I have an idea, I just use my materials and draw it. In each artwork I want everyone to describe it from their own point of view. I have my own story for each artwork but I want them to think about their own story to describe it; this is what Contagious is about. When people walk in and they see different kinds of artworks and different kinds of art style, I want people to love art and make them think that they want to do it because painting is happy.” Kuo says he studied at the Art Center in Belize for three years and plans to head to Mexico to continue studying art. The exhibit will be launched tomorrow at 7:00 pm and will remain open until the 5th of July.

Belize’s Prime Minister Reveals Secret Agreement Signed Under Musa Administration
On Monday the Government of Belize issued release announcing that it would take control of the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize, IMMARBE, and the International Business Companies Registry, IBC. The takeover came into effect yesterday. Both companies were being semi-managed by the Belize International Services Limited, BISL. Today Prime Minister Dean Barrow laid out his reasons for the move. Prime Minister Barrow explained that the contract for the services being rendered by the two entities expired this past Monday this week after the past government signed what he called a secret contract with the owners of BISL. The Prime Minister broke it down chronologically starting with what occurred in 1993. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW “There are some of you who want to call it nationalization; the Government’s course of action is justified for any number of reasons but in particular, in consequence of the fact that the European Union by way of the commission’s decision has served us notice that unless you get control of the registry and do something to regularize the operations of the registry and in particular of the fishing fleet, you will have exports to the EU banned. We will put in place measures to regulate and to control the activities of the Immarbe fishing fleet; we are perfectly conscious of the fact that if those measures don’t work, we may, as a last resort, deregister the fishing fleet, we are not going to run any joke, we are not playing games. The fact, of our exports to the EU having to be protected at all costs mean that if we have to deregister the fishing fleet or particularly those fishing in the EU zone, we will do so but only as a last resort but people need to know about our seriousness of purpose. I see them making threats about how many millions of dollars they are going to sue us for, well, when you look at what was collected over the last few years, the figure they are talking about is outrageous and laughable but in any event, that they will seek legal recourse, that is their right and I say, bring it on.”


Leader of the Opposition denies secret agreement for registries
Today PLUS News and other media spoke to Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca about accusations made against him and former Prime Minister Said Musa at Wednesday’s press conference. Those accusations were made by current Prime Minister Dean Barrow. He charged that Musa and Fonseca secretly extended an agreement...

Patrick Faber says we have too many unqualified teachers
Last week’s release of the results of the 2013 Primary School Examinations (PSE) revealed that from 2012 to 2013, not much has changed in terms of mean performance. In response to questions about whether it is time to do away with the exam as a true test of student...

Orange Walk Pastors object to Gay Pageant
Ms. Gay Goddess – this is the newest insertion in Belize’s pageant world. It is a competition for transvestite males – that is a male who sometimes wears clothes traditionally worn by women. The photos you are looking at are those of the contestants and were obtained from the...

DPP is investigating Noh Mul destruction
Its destruction raised international eyebrows and local ire, but six weeks after the first discovery of the rotted-out center of the Noh Mul monument in Orange Walk District, charges have not been laid against contractor Denny Grijalva and his assistants. The Prime Minister today gave an update in the...

PM comments on shooting of Guatemalan in Chiquibul National Park
The Government has another headache to deal with in the matter of a shooting incident last week in the Chiquibul National Park. Prime Minister Dean Barrow gives details. Prime Minister Dean Barrow: There shooting incident, as you know, that occurred on June 3, 2013 between the hours of 2...

Belize City residents complain of garbage problem near Bus Terminal
The Belize City Council is after businessman Arun Hotchandani, owner of its former compound at Pound Yard Bridge on Cemetery Road which now contains a vendors’ market facility and parking for buses. The area has been home to rotting garbage and a foul stench for some time now and...

Excelsior High School gets much needed assistance
At its height in the 1990’s it was regarded as an athletic, if not academic, powerhouse on Belize City’s Southside. But thereafter it declined to the point where it was a junior high school and then a candidate to be taken over by the Ministry of Education for a...

Belize City Mayor promises minimal disruptions during road improvements
After the ceremony at Excelsior PLUS News spoke with the Mayor on multiple substantive issues involving City Hall. For several weeks now Belizeans living in the Old Capital have been inconvenienced by re-routes of traffic from major traffic centers, including the Belcan Bridge exit and entrance from Princess Margaret...

Glenford “Bucket” Bermudez will be re-tried on murder charge
42 year old Glenford “Bucket” Bermudez will be re-tried on a murder charge after an appearance in the Court of Appeal this morning. Bermudez was convicted of murder in April of 2011 by a jury for the shooting and killing of his wife, Hattieville resident Racquel Requena Bermudez. But...

PM updates on oil drilling status
You’ve heard the Government’s determination to have Belize become a successful exporter of petroleum. But two efforts in the North and South of the country have proven apparently barren. First, to the Maranco oil show in Orange Walk. According to the Prime Minister, it hasn’t been much of a...

Inspiration Center will be completed by September
This year’s Inspiration Telethon, an effort by the Special Envoy for Women and Children to raise funds for the construction of a facility which will cater to children with disabilities and special needs, trumped its projected mark. Meanwhile, the Embassy of Belize in Washington has been hosting several fundraising...

Theme for September Celebrations announced
“BELIZE IN YOU, BELIZE IN ME, LAND OF THE FREE.” That is the theme chosen by the National Celebrations Commission for the 2013 September Celebrations, now just 2 ½ months away. The announcement was made this morning and the winning entry out of 125 was sent in by Janelle...

The Guardian

Another PUP Secret Deal!!! Said Musa and Francis Fonseca signed it!
It would appear that the misdeeds of the past PUP administration will continue to haunt the Belizean people for an undetermined amount of time. This became evident as Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow once again exposed the past PUP leader and Prime Minister Said Musa and the current PUP Leader Francis Fonseca for having signed yet another secret agreement with Ashcroft-related interests. PM Barrow called a press conference on Wednesday, June 12th following the Government of Belize’s taking over the International Business Companies Registry and the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize (IMMARBE) on Monday, June 10th. The companies registry, through various agents sets up offshore companies in Belize. IMMARBE for its part registers foreign sea vessels in Belize so they are able to fly the Belizean flag. The Government moved to take control of the companies on Monday, June 10th after the expiration of an existing contract, which allowed the two companies to be under control of Belize International Services Limited (BISL), an Ashcroft-related company. The Government wrote to BISL informing them of this, only to be told that there was a contract between the Government and them that extended into 2020. Prime Minister Barrow stated during the press conference that, despite best efforts to locate the contract, it was unsuccessful and only came upon a copy after it was furnished by BISL.

Bernice Yorke’s Siyun Ye tops P.S.E.
The results of the Primary School Examinations (P.S.E.) were released on Friday, June 7th, and Siyun Ye from the Bernice Yorke Institute of Learning is the top performer in the class of 2013. More students sat this year’s P.S.E. than ever before with 7,359 candidates taking the exam on Monday, March 18th and May 6th. Siyun Ye recorded a score of 391 out of a possible 400 points. Ye said the exam was easy but she did not expect to be the top performer. Her only challenge was to finish the essay section of the English paper in the time allotted. Sherry Ali, Principal of Bernice Yorke, said she knew that Siyun Ye would do well because “she is a brilliant student and extremely hard working”. Bernice Yorke has been one of the most impressive institutions for a long time now and its students have recorded the best performances in the last two Primary School Examinations. Ali tributes the school’s success in the P.S.E. to its emphasis on early childhood education. She said, “Early childhood education is the launch pad to have students prepared to meet the challenges of primary education.”

GOB wants Legall’s Ruling clarified
On June 20th, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin will rule on a decision by Justice Oswall Legall,which gave Oceana an Injunction restraining the Minister of Natural Resources from executing production sharing agreements with Princess Petroleum Limited and Providence Energy Belize Limited. At the conclusion of the arguments, Senior Counsel Denys Barrow, who is representing the Government of Belize, explained that it is absolutely necessary for the ruling to be made in favor of Government since it is “undesirable when the Government is in a position where persons looking on and perhaps not having a full keen appreciation of all the facts, they see the Government doing something and things that the government is doing is disrespecting a court order or violating some order made by the court or as has been said disregarding and violating the rule of law.” According to Barrow, Legall’s ruling did not quash the contracts between the Government and the oil companies since Oceana’s claims against the Government came too late. Even so, the decision deemed the issuing of the PSA’s illegal; however, the companies continue to have reasonable expectations under their contracts since these were not quashed. Legall’s decision however, does limit Government’s regulatory powers over the contractors and as such it is necessary to have the injunction stayed.

Equality for Women - Temporary Special Measures and Quotas
The Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), makes provision for countries to adopt the use of quotas and temporary special measures. These measures are intended to fast-track and facilitate women's ability to function as equal partners in development, globally. Despite the commitment made to CEDAW, to the Beijing Platform for Action, and the Millennium Development Goal #3, Belize, like many of its global and regional counterparts, is still lagging behind in the implementation of its commitment; specifically, the commitment to facilitate the process of ensuring that more women are able to fully participate in the political life of the country, at every level. The progress towards leveling the playing field for women has been advancing slowly but steadily across the globe, as well as in the English speaking Caribbean. This progress is due in no small part to the adoption of temporary special measures, quota systems, and legislative changes specifically designed to ensure that women are represented at the decision making table in Parliament. Quota Systems More than 50% of the countries in the world utilize some form of quota system. There are primarily two types of quota systems, namely candidate quotas and reserved seats quotas.

Immigration and Nationality Department celebrates 27 Years
Hon. Elvin Penner, Minister of Immigration and Nationality Some twenty seven years after opening to the public as a separate entity of the Police Department, the Immigration and Nationality Services held an open day last Friday at its Headquarters on Dry Creek Street, near the Mountain View Boulevard in Belmopan. The special guest and speaker for the occasion was the Hon. Elvin Penner, who has direct responsibility over the Department.

Assuring Quality - Ensuring Relevance
After a year of discussion and analysis, the President of the University of Belize, Dr. Cary Fraser today officially launched the Institutional Curriculum Review at the University’s Central Campus, Belmopan. Shortly after his appointment, the President identified the curriculum as a major area requiring intervention and a comprehensive review. Today’s launch was scheduled for the university community. In July, the institution will schedule the launch of its curriculum review for the broader public.

CITCO forges Partnership with Excelsior High School
The Belize City Council is signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Belize City Council and Excelsior High School on Thursday, June 13th at the grounds of Excelsior High School on Faber’s Road in Belize City, Belize.

Corozal Town’s Face Lift
Corozal Town has completed the implementation of Phase 1 Belize Municipal Development Project, which was officially launched in Corozal on Monday September 24th, 2012. Under the first phase, 1st Street North, Zuzuc Street and Punta Gorda Street were paved. The first phase was completed with $1.2 million being invested in the upgrades. The second phase of the Corozal projects will commence by the end of November and will see the rehabilitation of 6th Avenue, 1st Street South and a sporting complex will be constructed in the south end of Corozal Town. Under the Belize Municipal Development Project, the government of Belize is investing $30 million dollars in various municipalities including Belmopan, Benque Viejo Del Carmen, San Ignacio and Santa Elena, Dangriga, Punta Gorda, Corozal and Orange Walk. In Corozal, $2.1 million will be implemented in the various projects.

Updates from PM Barrow
Prime Minister Barrow gave updates on several issues at his press conference on Wednesday, June 12th. Though the main topic discussed was the ending of agreements between the Government of Belize and the Belize International Services Limited, Prime Minister Barrow fielded questions about the shooting in the Chiquibul Nature Reserve, investigation into the destruction of Noh Mul, the Revised National Gender Policy and the oil discovery in northern Belize.

Public and Private Sector unite at Business Forum
Private sector representatives from the energy, agricultural and tourism sectors, financial institutions, wholesalers, construction companies and others joined officials of Government for the Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF) on Wednesday, June 5th.

San Estevan’s New Concrete Road
The upgrading of streets using concrete has become contagious in Belize after Mayor Darrell Bradley proved that the paving of streets in such a manner is viable. That contagion has now spread all the way up north to San Estevan village where the residents there are now enjoying the use of a new concrete road which was built through the efforts of the UDP Caretaker in the Orange Walk Central Constituency, Denny Grijalva and the UDP candidates for the upcoming village council elections.

Genetically modified Soybean Seeds In Northern Belize
The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) issued a release on Friday, June 7th confirming the discovery of genetically modified soybean seeds in Northern Belize on May 24th. These seeds were tested at BAHA's Plant Health Diagnostics Laboratory in Central Farm and were proven to be genetically modified. Further tests were conducted by Eurofins Genescan Laboratory in the U.S. on May 30th confirming tests previously done by BAHA.

Pauline rises, Max falls and Boxing wins
There were six boxing matches between Belizeans and Guatemalans on Friday night, June 7th, at the Biltmore Plaza and after all the punches were thrown the result was a 3-3 draw. Promoter James Adderley deserves a ton of credit for treating local boxing fans to quality entertainment as Belizean boxers had the opportunity to step into the ring with regional champions and other tested fighters. In the first bout of the night, Colin Lamb squared up against Franklin De Leon. The match went the entire four rounds. Lamb showcased impressive power hooks that kept his opponent hesitant to attack. However, his inability to throw a jab made the fight harder than it should have been. The judges were split in their decision but Lamb won the fight. For him to move up another level, Lamb must develop a respectable jab and work on his straight punches. Allan Geban faced Milton Moran in the second fight of the night. Geban was the most impressive male boxer of the night. He came out swinging as the bell rung. At times, he was a bit wild but, according to Geban, that was because his opponent was pressing down on his head. Geban’s greatest strength is his quick hands that he never lets rest. There are some who would prefer he fights a bit more under control but that could potentially limit his aggressiveness. He put on a fireworks show in the fourth round to secure a unanimous victory. As long as Geban learns to maximize his reach advantage, he could contend for amateur hardware.

Tuff “E” Nuff advances to semi-final round
Orlando Bowen top scored with 19 points for Police against the CYDP The 2013 Interoffice Basketball League competition knockout round of the playoffs was played on Friday, June 7th, at Bird’s Isle with four games on the schedule. In the first game of the evening, Tuff “E” Nuff eliminated Digicell by the score of 84-66. The top scorers for Tuff “E” Nuff were Ashton Edwards with 33 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 steals; and Raul Roches and Winston Pratt with 15 points each. Meanwhile, the top scorers for Digicell were Lennox Cayetano and Devon Lozano with 14 points each. In game two, No Limit eliminated Youth Services by the score of 89-74. The top scorers for No Limit were Jacob Leslie with 26 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists; and Greg Rudon with 18 points, and 6 rebounds while the top scorers for Youth Services were Akeem Trapp with 31 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal; and Jamir Enriquez with 15 points and 6 rebounds. In the third game of the evening, Sir Belikin eliminated Allied Insurance Abyssinians by the score of 96-80. The top scorers for Sir Belikin were Dorian Jones with 19 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals; Ty Bradley, Steven Williams, and Keith Acosta with 13 points each. For Allied Insurance Abyssinians, the top scorers were Darwin Leslie with 31 points, 9 rebounds 2 assists and a steal; and Rupert Brown with 14 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals.

Belize Elementary, Hummingbird Elementary and Holy Redeemer to play for Belize City Primary Schools Volleyball Titles
The Semi-final round of the Belize City Primary Schools Volleyball Championship ended on Tuesday, June 11th, 2013, with four games on the schedule. In the first girls’ game played, Belize Elementary School eliminated Holy Redeemer School by the score of 25-14 and 25-8 to earn the rights to play for the Belize City Title. In the second game played, Hummingbird Elementary School eliminated St. John Vianney by the score of 25-16 and 25-4 to earn the next final spot in the championship. In the boys’ semi-final round, Holy Redeemer eliminated St. John Vianney by the score of 25-15 and 25-21 to advance to the championship round, while in the second game, Belize Elementary School eliminated St. Martin’s De Porres by the score of 25-19 and 25-18 to earn the other final spot. The championship game in the girls’ competition will be played between Belize Elementary School and Hummingbird Elementary, while the boys’ championship game will be played between Holy Redeemer School and Belize Elementary School. The championship game has been scheduled for Wednesday June 12th, at 1:15 pm at Bird’s Isle in Belize City. The champions and sub-champions will represent Belize City in the District finals scheduled for Tuesday, June 18th, at Bird’s Isle.

FIFA’s Development Officer in Belize
The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) is please to inform the public and football fans that FIFA Development Officer Julio Rocha and his assistant Yariela Phillips arrived in Belize on Monday, June 10th, 2013. The purpose of their visit is to finalise the implementation of FIFA approve Goal Project proposal for Belize. This proposal is divided into Youth Development, Stadium Infrastructure and Office Remodeling. The two member team will leave the country on Friday, June 14th, 2013.

Olympic Day Run set for Sunday June 23rd
The Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association has announced that the Annual Olympic Day Run is scheduled for Sunday, June 23rd, 2013. This year’s Olympic Day Run will actually take place on Olympic Day June 23rd. It was on June 23rd, 1894 that Baron Pierre de Coubertin began the task of reviving the Olympic Games. The Olympic Day Run is a vital part of Olympic Week celebrations throughout the world. The run will start at 6:30 am from in front of Brodies on Regent Street; then turn left into Albert Street at the Belize Bank; down Albert Street into Albert Street West then turn right onto Cemetery Lane. At the end of the Cemetery, turn left unto Yarborough Road and continue down Regent Street back to James Brodie & Co. The first 150 participants registered on the morning of the run will receive a commemorative T-shirt. The winners will also receive medals in recognition of their performance.

Miley Garcia Softball Competition rolls on in Cayo
The 2013 Miley Garcia Softball Competition in the Cayo District continued on Sunday, June 9th, 2013, with three games on the schedule. The games were all played at the Joan Garbutt Stadium in Esperanza Village. In the first game of the day, the defending champions and the competition’s favourite Camalote United blasted Las Flores Shooting Stars by the score of 15-0. The winning pitcher was Francine Hoare and the losing pitcher was Guadalupe Chicas. In game two, Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy also blasted Belmopan Capital City Emeralds by the score of 12-0. Leandra Guy was the winning pitcher for the Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy while Dana Mae King was tagged with the lost. And in the final game of the day, the host team Esperanza Wolverines won over the Ontario Rebels by the score of 6-1. The unknown, Shareeni Soberanis bested the veteran and experienced Kenrene Gillett. The competition will continue this coming Sunday.

14th Annual National Individual Time Trial and Road Championships
The 14th Annual National Individual Time Trial and Road Championships are scheduled for Sunday, June 16th and 23rd, 2013. The Individual Time Trial is scheduled for Sunday, June 16th, commencing at 8:00 am from the CDS Gas Station in Burrell Boom, travels south toward to Hattieville turning at the Round a-bout and the return to CDS for an approximate 20 miles. The event is Open/Masters/U-23/Masters Category. The Junior/Youth/Women category will commence from CDS Gas Station, travel south for six miles, to a marker on the Burrell Boom Road and then return to finish at CDS Gas Station for a total of 12 miles. Riders will start at 2-minutes intervals. The Road Race is scheduled to start at 8:00 am, for the Elite, Masters, U-23 and Masters Categories from in front of the Orange Walk Town Hall (lead out to the Caribbean Tire round-about), travels on the Philip Goldson Highway, turning to the Boom junction unto the Boom road exiting at Hattieville unto the George Price Highway to Mount Hope (turning point on the hill top just behind Mount Hope) to finish in front of Belmopan Comprehensive School after completing two laps around the Ring Road for an approximately 115 miles. The Road Race for the Junior/Youth and Women’s categories is scheduled to commence at 9:05 am from in front of the Police Station in Hattieville, travels on the George Price Highway to Mount Hope (turning point on the hill top just behind Mount Hope) to finish in front of the Belmopan Comprehensive School after completing two laps around the Ring Road for an approximate 63 miles. Registration to participate in any of the events is $25.00 each which is payable at the Heritage Bank Account #1599.

Belize City Primary Schools Volleyball Competition winding down
The Belize City Primary Schools Volleyball Competition is fast winding down at the Bird’s Isle in Belize City. The playoffs for this year’s Belize City Primary Schools Volleyball Competition commenced on Friday, June 7th with 6 games in the boys’ competition. In game one, St. Martin’s De Porres School defeated St. Ignatius School by the score of 17-25, 25-18 and 18-16. In game two, Holy Redeemer School eliminated St. Ignatius School by the score of 25-15 and 25-22. In the third game of the afternoon, Holy Redeemer School defeated St. Martin’s De Porres by the score of 23-25, 25-13 and 15-5. In game four, Belize Elementary School defeated St. John Vianney School by the score of 25-14 and 26-24. In game five, Belize Elementary School defeated Queen Square Anglican School by the score of 25-6 and 25-14. Meanwhile in the sixth and final game of the afternoon, St. John Vianney School eliminated Queen Square Anglican School by the score of 25-17 and 25-20. The playoffs then continued on Monday, June 10th with the girls’ competition. In the first of four games played, Holy Redeemer School won over St. Mary’s School via the default route. In game two, Belize Elementary School defeated St. John’s Primary School by the score of 25-11 and 25-4. In game three, Hummingbird Elementary School defeated All Saints’ Anglican School by the score of 25-3 and 25-12, while in the final game it was St. John Vianney School defeated Muslim Community School by the score of 17-25, 25-18 and 16-14.

Graduation for Participants of Squad Drill Course
One Friday, June 7th, 2013, graduation ceremonies were held for close to twenty police officers, who completed a two-week long squad drill course conducted at the Police Training Academy in Belmopan. The course was for non-commissioned officers, corporals and sergeants, attached to the various formations and sub-formations around the country. Its purpose was to have the participating officers re-sharpen their drill skills, something which keynote speaker at the ceremony, Acting Director of Training, Senior Superintendent Chester Williams reminded them is an integral part of their discipline as members of one of the nation’s leading security forces.

Pleads guilty to strangling his mother-in-law
On Tuesday, June 11th, 41- year-old businessman Peter King Contreras appeared before Justice Adolph Lucas for the start of a murder case against him in the killing of his mother-in-law, 50-year-old Argentina Garcia. Garcia was killed on December 13th, 2010. Before the trial got underway, however, King pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter in the killing.

Charged after being found drunk
On Tuesday, June 11th, Belize City resident, 43-year-old Ernestina Reneau was arraigned on a rare charge of being found drunk in a public place.

Belizean Girls Fly
Gael Sylvia hopes to touch the lives of 10,000 Belizean girls and women as she introduces Girls Fly to Belize from Monday, June 24, to Saturday, June 29th. Girls Fly is an international organization dedicated to the empowerment of girls and young women.

The Secrets to the Success of a Leading Primary School in the Country
What are the secrets to the success of the Saint Andrews Primary School in San Ignacio? How were they able to get four of their students to be within the top 25 performers of the PSE 2013? Both Vincent Hulse and Nelson Esteban from Saint Andrews Primary obtained 96.5% in their PSE results, and in so doing received top ranks in the National PSE. But then came more surprises; Zahara Zul came in thirteenth with 95.25% and Alain Morris, with a similar mark, and both came from the same San-Ignacio based Anglican School. Vincent Hulse, who expressed thankfulness on Tuesday for coming in second in the National PSE, credits his success to the power of God, working hard, having supportive teachers and reviewing subjects that he was formerly weak on. While third place winner in the National PSE results, Nelson Esteban says that the product of his work also came with the support of his parents. “I managed to get high grade because I studied a lot. I did all my homework and the homework that we got were based on the questions that we got for PSE. My teachers pushed me and my parents too”, said Esteban. Standard Five teacher, Christina Velasquez says that the special approach that teachers at Saint Andrews School have for their students also helped in getting the high marks at the National level. Teachers at Saint Andrews work individually with the students on problem solving; particularly in finding out mistakes with students and are consistent with that approach. The walls of the class rooms at Saint Andrews are also covered with much visual aids and this is for a special reason, says Velasquez, since some students are visual learners while others learn by holding objects. In addition, says Velasquez, no child should be left behind for each pupil is considered special and have the ability to be great achievers.


Why I Love Nature
I want to start by saying that there are many ways to be an eco-kid, but one main reason why I want to be one. I want to be an eco-kid, well, because I just love nature. I always dreamed of being taught about my environment and how to protect it. I ask myself questions about the environment and do observations and research on it. I want to find out if roaches bite, what types of bugs live on plants, how many types of medicinal plants we have in Belize, and many more things about science and my environment. When I am not reading fairy-tales, I am busy reading my father’s science books that he uses to teach with. Last year, I did a science computer program to improve my knowledge on science. I enjoyed it because I learnt a lot of fun facts about science. I want to be an eco-kid because I love animals and plants and am fascinated by their interactions. I go to my backyard and have tons of questions based on what I observe. How can wee wee ants destroy an entire plant in just hours? Why is the water in the creek green? Why did I have a row of beautiful orange plants grow after my dad cleared a portion of my yard? I want to find out so much about my environment.

Romantic Things to Do in Belize
Even a single gal like myself can’t help but notice Belize’s romantic aura. The coconut trees on not-so-distant islands, the rainforests with waterfalls, the fresh water rivers and birds that greet at sunrise, and the towering Mayan temples–it’s no wonder more couples than ever flock to Belize for their weddings, honeymoons or just a private getaway. Even ABC’s The Bachelor headed here for some romantic dates (the episode aired in February 2012). Add a lack of monstrous high rises, no chain resorts, and fewer crowds: it’s hard to beat in Central America and the Caribbean. Romance in Belize can be as easy as walking along the shores of Caye Caulker or laying on a dock on a starlit night. But there are a few other unique places and ways to experience the magic, when you’re on a special voyage a deux. You won’t be able to do it all on a short visit, but you can at least select a couple. Swim and picnic by waterfalls: Belize has stunning falls and parks, particularly if you head inland to some of the less crowded spots. Good choices include Butterfly Falls by Hidden Valley Inn in the Cayo District, or Rio Blanco National Park, just an hour’s drive outside the southern town of Punta Gorda. More than likely, you’ll be the only ones there. Another beautiful day trip would be to the Blue Hole National Park. Rent an island: Belize’s offshore islands or cayes (pronounced “keys”) are straight out of a Caribbean postcard. Over a dozen have small on site resorts, from charming cottages to higher end villas. Better yet, you can rent an entire caye to yourselves, complete with staff. Look into the two-acre French Louie Caye for three day stays or week-long stays. If you have even more cash available, you might want to rub elbows with jet setters at the exclusive Cayo Espanto.

“Higher Ground” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Suitably ‘armed’ with my passport, a utility (Belize Electricity Limited) bill for our lot in Tres Cocos, a completed application form and BZ$65 I set off at 10.30 am yesterday morning for the Post Office in Pescador Drive hopeful that my third attempt at renting a P.O. Box would be successful. On arrival I was ushered straight in to the manager’s office and after he had taken photocopies of the utility bill, the information page in my passport, my “QRP” ID card and my Belize Drivers License he ceremoniously handed me three keys for my P.O Box and issued me with the address for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. Whilst with him I took the opportunity of finding out whether C.A. needs to be included within the address or not. He very quickly, and somewhat forcibly, informed me that it is not required. Belize is sufficient – it has it’s own international postal code which is BZ (Emily posted on 8 June that she had heard (correctly) that C.A. is not required within the address fields). With my one task of the day (OK it did take four visits to the Post Office to accomplish it) successfully completed I returned “home” (our rented condo), grabbed my book and went and spent some quality time lounging on the beach (it’s a hard life!).

International Sources

WORLD BANK's Jun-13 Economic Prospects for Latin America and the Caribbean
Overview After a sharp recovery from the global economic crisis in 2010, when regional output expanded by 6 percent, growth in the Latin America and the Caribbean decelerated markedly, to an estimated 3 percent by 2012. Supply side constraints have become apparent in some of the larger economies, where output was near or above potential during the recovery phase, and which contributed to relatively high inflation and deterioration of current account balances. Despite a sharp deceleration in growth, regional output is only now in line with potential GDP. Cyclical factors such as lower commodity prices and generally subdued global activity, in particular in high-income countries, have also weighed on growth. Private consumption remained relatively robust, while the contribution to growth from investment and exports weakened considerably. Outlook for 2013-2015: The factors that have contributed to the deceleration in growth in the post-recovery period will continue to weigh on economic activity over the short-to-medium term. Growth in the region is expected to accelerate only modestly to 3.3 percent in 2013, and to about 3.9 percent over the medium terms. Growth is expected to firm somewhat from a very weak pace in Brazil and Argentina, while slowing down in most of the commodity exporters, largely on account of weaker commodity prices. Growth in Venezuela is expected to decelerate markedly as highly expansionary policies are reversed. Meanwhile Paraguay will see one of the sharpest accelerations in growth this year, on account of normalization in agriculture output. Growth in Central America will benefit over the medium term from firmer growth in the United States and improvements in terms of trade. Growth in the Caribbean will be held back by large fiscal adjustments necessary to bring fiscal deficits to sustainable levels and help reduce public debt burdens.

Belize Takes Steps to Improve Internet Service
After ranking dead last in a recent survey of Internet pricing and speeds in English-speaking Caribbean countries, Belize is taking steps to improve. The country’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) hosted Belize’s first Internet Exchange Point Open Forum, bringing together international and local stakeholders to discuss options for improving the quality and lowering the cost of Internet services for Belizeans. PUC Commissioner Kimano Barrow stated, “The PUC wants to create an environment where Internet based companies and entrepreneurs can thrive in Belize. We were able to get two internationally recognised experts in this area to share their knowledge with our local stakeholders.” Over 65 persons representing ISPs, business, government agencies, civil society groups and academia, attended the half-day event in Belize City. Interactions centered on the economic and social benefits of improved local Internet service and how best these benefits can be realised in a Belize context. Bill Woodcock and Bevil Wooding from the US-based Internet research and training firm Packet Clearing House (PCH) facilitated the special forum.

Cayo Has Best Mayan Sites
While the list of Belize's amazing Mayan archaeoligical sites should be a top 20, out of the 5 on this list, Cayo has 3: Xunantunich, Caracol, and Actun Tunichil Muknal. They forgot Cahal Pech and El Pilar. The article gives great descriptions of the sites, and describes Cayo too: 'laid-back San Ignacio is the quintessential traveler’s hub, the launch pad for exhilarating adventures in the remote Cayo District, a wild place where ancient mysticism and incredible biodiversity coalesce to provide a sensual and cerebral adventure of epic proportions.' "What Xunantunich may lack in scale, it makes up for in its supreme location, crowning a limestone ridge that affords panoramic views of the Cayo District and the patchwork terraces of neighboring Guatemala... Radiating from the site’s ceremonial axis -- the pyramid of El Castillo -- are a series of residences built for the city’s elite denizens, in addition to a ball court, all which date from the Classic Period, circa A.D. 200 to 900. Rising from the jungle to a vertigo-inducing 135 feet, El Castillo features restored stucco reliefs that during the city’s heyday would have adorned the perimeter of the entire pyramid. Despite being one of the most heavily touristed of Belize’s Maya ruins, in part due to its accessibility, a supernatural aura holds sway. The name, Xunantunich, translated as 'Stone Woman,' dates to the late 19th century when, so myth and legend has it, a female figure dressed in white ascended the stairs of El Castillo before vanishing into the temple’s stone walls. The city reached its zenith around A.D. 750 before an earthquake, interpreted by the Maya as the wrath of God, precipitated its demise."

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