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Today's Belize News: june 22, 2013 #467067
06/22/13 05:59 AM
06/22/13 05:59 AM
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The San Pedro Sun

Laru Beya: relaxing comfort on ‘on the beach’
After an utterly exhausting trip out in the deep (and you know we’re talking 3,000+ feet deep) blue ocean, frolicking with dolphins and in general being tourists in our own country, it was time to take our tired selves to our hotel room at Laru Beya. Located on the beach at the Placencia Peninsula, Laru Beya (‘on the beach’) is a quiet resort offering respite and relaxation – just what we needed. We got our keys from a smiling, friendly Raquel at front desk, and luggage in hand we made our way to the room. As we neared the top of the stairs, we could hear the crash of the waves on the beach, and felt the cool sea breeze. We stepped in and were absolutely delighted at the spacious lodgings we would be staying in. Of course the first thing one does is head out to see the view! The Quarter Deck restaurant was beautifully lit, emitting a soft glow in the darkening evening. Dinner would indeed be cozy that evening, and as we placed our order for the first of several bottles of wine, conversation ebbed and flowed all around us, at our table and at the bar above. According to Rene Nuñez, manager of Laru Beya, locals and visitors alike enjoy their meals at Quarter Deck. It could be the quiet, easy ambience – there is no rush, there aren’t activities or distractions, just comfortable chairs and a table set aglow by lamplight, food served quickly to be eaten at a leisurely pace, and the feeling that one could quite possibly linger as long as one wanted. (We tested that theory, and yes, indeed, had the howling winds of a freak storm not arrived, we’d probably still be there!)

Hon. John Saldivar Assists Fire Victims in Belmopan Area
Minister of National Security and Area Representative for Belmopan, Hon. John Saldivar, visited two families in the Salvapan area of Belmopan, whose homes were completely burnt down in an accidental fire. Accompanied by NEMO Belmopan Coordinator, Mrs. Clare Moody, Hon. Saldivar took a number of items, including food and clothing, for the two families. After assessing their situation, Minister Saldivar is arranging temporary lodging for the two displaced families through the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation. Meanwhile, the Minister says, he will also ensure that the two families receive all the assistance they need to rebuild their homes.

Wayne Miller is New Chairman of Caye Caulker Village
Wayne Miller is the new Chairman of Caye Caulker village and is taking over from Alberto Villanueva. Miller was elected on Sunday June 16th following elections for local government. He will head the local government in Caye Caulker along with six councilors for the next three years once they are sworn in by a Justice of the Peace. From early during the day, most candidates – all who ran independently were busy bringing in their supporters to the polls. Nominations started at 9AM sharp and polls were declared open by 10AM and remain opened until 5PM. The entire process went peacefully. Three hours following the closure of the polls, preliminary results were out. Results indicated a clear advantage for Miller over the other opponents. But while the Belize Elections and Boundaries Department has not officially released the results, The San Pedro Sun spoke to a few candidates that contested the election to confirm the results.

Ambergris Today

Belize Police Department Reports Decrease in Crime
The Belize Police Department this week released the comparative crime statistics for the first five months of the year indicating that major crimes are down compared to the same period in 2012. Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie, who was appointed to that post five months ago, was understandably relieved and proud to report that crime statistics up to the end of May show that there has been a decrease in major crimes.

Evangelical Alliance of San Pedro Objects Belize’s National Gender Policy
We, the Evangelical Alliance of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye; which includes the Evangelical pastors of San Pedro Town and their congregations are outraged and condemn in the strongest terms possible, the humanistic "New World Order" Revised National Gender Policy 2013. We also condemn in the most vigorous way possible the misleading and "closed doors" in which it was conceived by the current Government and his Cabinet without any consultation of the people of Belize who placed you in office to uphold and defend our Constitution. We support and defend the worldview, written in our constitution, that God is Creator, and that He is sovereign, and He alone gives us our human rights, and that the role of government is to protect God-given rights. We also hold that He created us male and female, and that He created the family unit as a key element in a society for a healthy and prosperous culture.

Celebrity DJ Latin Prince's Return Visit to Belize
They play our favorite music, they entertain us on the radio and they definitely make us dance all night long at the clubs. DJ's are found all over the world and they are on this planet to entertain. In Belize we have many talented DJ's and some are lucky to be part of the Bum Squad Belize Fraternity founded by Lady Gaga's Tour DJ, Latin Prince. Latin Prince is back in the country and reunited with his Bum Squad Crew ready to perform inside Thirsty Thursdays in Belize City on Friday, June 21, 2013. But before his big performance he decided to come to Ambergris Caye to soak up some sun, eat some lobster and say hello to some good friends.

Misc Belizean Sources

April Unemployment Rate Down
Preliminary results of the April 2013 labour force survey conducted by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) show that the national unemployment rate was 12.1% in that month, compared with 14.4% twelve months earlier. This represents a fall in the number of persons without a job from about 21,370 to 17,920 persons. The decline in the unemployment rate was due to a smaller percentage of working age persons working or available for work and a significant increase in the number of jobs available. At the district level, the unemployment rate varied from 8.0% in Toledo to 15.5% in Stann Creek. With the exception of Belize and Stann Creek, which were among the three districts with the highest rates of joblessness, there was a decline in the unemployment rate in all districts.

APAMO calls for EIAs for the Stake Bank and North Drowned Caye Developments
The Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO) expresses great concern on addendums to two EIAs originally submitted in 2007 for development projects at Stake Bank and North Drowned Caye (NDC) and is totally dissatisfied with the public consultation held on the night of 19th June 2013 at the Biltmore Plaza in Belize City. A mega development of this nature has high probability of adversely impacting the sensitive marine ecosystems on which our thriving tourism and fisheries sectors depend. APAMO strongly feels that responses to questions and clarifications were incomplete and unsatisfactory. We are astounded that the Department of Environment (DOE) has not requested a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for these addendums recognizing the following:

Yesterday, we were caught by surprise when Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie made a gutsy move and ordered the immediate interdiction of Police Constable Nelson Ramos attached to the Corozal Police Department after he refused to testify against Minister of State Mark King in Corozal’s magistrate court. No investigation was carried out against the second officer who refused to identify Mark King from the witness dock in the same case. However, members of the Professional Standards Branch, which is an internal branch of the police department who investigate their own, found sufficient evidence to interdict P.C. Ramos yesterday.

Cruise line executives and industry stakeholders talk business in Belize
Over 20 senior-level cruise executives traveled to Belize to meet with Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Platinum Members during the FCCA PAMAC Platinum Event. Taking place from June 19-21, the event featured numerous meetings and functions to foster business relationship building; promotion of members' products and destinations; discussion of industry trends; idea brainstorming; and much more between some of the key decision makers throughout the cruise lines and crucial stakeholders from the destinations. One of the most important proceedings was the PAMAC meeting, where the latest developments and issues in the industry or any topic/question offered by the members were discussed by an expert panel in order to stay informed on all of the most recent trends and how to best actualize the knowledge gained. Also featured were one-on-one meetings with cruise executives selected by the members, which let members promote and pitch their products to cruise executives that decide what to offer onboard and which ports to include for current and future itinerary development. The meetings also offered the executives' insight and any necessary input to make a viable business model that coincides with the cruise industry's standards and requirements.

VIDEO: Message to Political Class of Belize
Following the disappointing level of support shown for the recent telethon effort to raise finances for Belize's national football team, the Jaguars, to compete in the 2013 Gold Cup, Mose Hyde delivers a heart felt message to viewers on the nation's premier morning talk show, Krem WUB (Wake Up Belize Morning Vibe... but can Belize's political class hear him? #17.06.2013

San Antonio Vet Clinic
The Institute for Sustainable International Studies is having another vet clinic tomorrow. San Antonio is the location this time. The students, along with Dr. Tesecum, spayed and neutered many animals at the Bullet Tree Falls clinic, pictured above, a few weeks ago. Thanks, ISIS. "Our summer students volunteered to help with a vet clinic in the Village of Bullet Tree Falls. Students and their supervising Vets saw 58 animals and preformed 15 spay surgeries. Paying it forward from ISIS to Belize."

Old Timers Folk Concert
The Festival of Arts is ending this weekend, and it's going to go out with a bang. They are having the Old Timers Folk Concerts all around Belize, and at the Cayo Welcome Center here. Obando's Band will be performing, for free, tonight, starting at 7:00pm. The Benque Marimba Academy will also be performing. "A night of good old Belizean Folk Music! The National Festival of Arts and San Ignacio Town Board Presents..."Old Timers Folk Concert". Sat. June 22nd, Welcome Center, San Ignacio!"

Kulcha Xchange Concert at GPC
The Kulcha Xchange concert is tonight at the George Price Centre, starting at 6:30pm. Youth Voices will be there, along with other Belmopan artists.

Micro-Enterprise Utility Start-Up Package – “An immediate relief measure for entrepreneurs and new starts-up”
The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) is pleased to announce the “Micro-Enterprise Utility Start-up Package” for the promotion, strengthening and support of the newly registered Micro Enterprise (ME). Micro Enterprise is defined as a business with: a) less than 5 employees; or b) less than $100,000 in annual sales; and c) less than $50,000 in capital investment. With the support of the Government of Belize, through its Office of Public-Private Dialogue, BELTRAIDE had partnered with the Belize Telemedia Ltd (BTL), Belize Water Services Ltd. (BWSL,) and Belize Electricity Ltd. (BEL) to make this initiative possible. These three key utility service providers will be offering attractive packages for new starts-up businesses. The packages will waive connection fees and deposits for these three utilities.

The Belizean Business Leaders in visit hope to advance the signing of FTA with Taiwan
Under sponsorship of the R.O.C. (Taiwan) – C.A. Economic Development Fund (CAEDF), the R.O.C. Government invited five Belizean business leaders to visit Taiwan on April 21st – 27th, 2013, and Central America Trade Office (CATO) was responsible to receive the delegation with arranged agenda for their visit. The five Belizean delegates are: Mayor of San Pedro Town, Mr. Daniel Guerrero; President of Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), Mr. Herbert Hugh Haylock; Vice President of Belize Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Israel Ivan Marin; Board Member of Corozal Free Zone Chamber of Commerce (CFZCC), Mr. Khub Chand Vanjani; and Chief Policy Analyst of Belize Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Marilyn Suzette Pinelo.

Channel 7

OCEANA Loses Ground But Saves Face In Court
For the last 2 months, 7News has been closely following the victory which OCEANA Belize, COLA and the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage enjoyed against the Government of Belize when Justice Legall ruled in April that 6 offshore oil drilling contracts were null and void. Justice Legall also granted an injunction retraining the Government from carrying out any parts of those contracts, so Oceana believed that they had won a first major round in the battle against offshore oil drilling. Well, in May, GOB filed an appeal of this decision to the Court of Appeal, and they made an application to the Supreme Court to lift the injunction, which was finally heard to completion 10 days ago. The position from GOB was that by granting the injunction, Justice Legall restrained them from policing the oil companies to make sure that they were following environmental guidelines. OCEANA countered that because the Government is the gate keeper of oil in the country, once they were restrained, the companies couldn’t do any exploration. So today, after reviewing the case from both sides, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin granted the application by GOB, and he lifted the injunction. That’s a major upset because the claimants don’t get to enjoy the fruits of their judgment. 7News was there when the decision was handed down, and we asked both sides about the outcome and its significant.

A War Of Words Between Barrow and Matura-Shepherd
But the oil companies Princess, Treaty and Providence continued on as if the Legall judgment was of no importance, conduct which OCEANA condemned and blamed the Government for. Then, the Petroleum and Geology Department released a map last month which showed that the oil exploration blocks for Providence Energy and Princess Petroleum were still intact. OCEANA once again voiced their condemnation of this map, referring to it as GOB’s latest step to undermine the Legall judgment, which declared the contracts which these oil companies null and void. So today, we asked the Government attorney about those interpretations in the context of this decision. He said that from the onset, the claimants have misunderstood the significance of the Legall judgment, and they’ve gone on a propaganda campaign, much to the detriment of the Belizean people: Dennys Barrow - Attorney for GOB "I don't know if you saw on the internet the responses immediately following the court's, Justice Legall's decision - there was in the oil industry internationally, a major interruption, major concern. Oil exploration is shut down in Belize - you would have been aware of the letter of one of the oil companies which said that a 60 million dollar fund that they were going to have raised by their bankers was shut down because of the impact of that judgment. So that judgment creates the impression that you cannot do business as an oil explorer in Belize."

Labour Force Survey: Unemployment Down
The preliminary results of the April Labour Force Survey were released today, and they show that unemployment is down. The Statistical Institute of Belize reports that the national unemployment rate was 12.1% in April 2013, compared to 14.4% in April of 2012. That’s over three thousand more persons working. Unemployment is highest in the Stann Creek District at 15.5% and lowest in the Toledo District at 8%. Unemployment declined in all districts except Belize and Stann Creek. But in Toledo and Cayo unemployment fell by more than five percentage points, due to greater employment in the agriculture sector. The unemployment rate was more than three times higher among women than it was in men. A more detailed report will be released in two months.

TD2 Saves City From Epic Blackout
On Sunday BEL had planned an epic power outage for virtually all of Belize City – from 5:30 am to 12:00 noon. It was scheduled to blanket the city in blackout, right up to mile one on the Northern and Western Highways. But the good news is that it’s not going to happen after all. And for that, we have TD 2 to thank. Sure, the storm wreaked havoc with floodwaters in the south but it also dropped an immense amount of rain on the Chalillo dam in western Belize. That’s the cheapest energy source available, and so BEL is holding up the blackout to harness the low cost power option. Company Secretary Dawn Sampson Nunez explained: Dawn Sampson - Nunez - BEL Corporate Secretary "We have made the decision to postpone that power outage to a later time - mainly because the water levels at the Chalillo hydroelectric facility has increased significantly following Tropical Depression 2. It did surprise us in terms of the level of water that that weather system brought with it but it is good news - there’s a significant increase of water levels and subsequently energy being produced from that facility. So by postponing the outage it gives us the opportunity to be able to use the energy flowing from the hydroelectric facility as opposed to having it waste."

Stranded Manatee Calf Saved
On the news last night we told you all about the proposed Cruise Tourism project for Stake Bank Caye and North Drowned Caye – which would erect a causeway across the Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary – which is a manatee reserve. Well, today the issue of manatee safety – or lack of it – was brought into sharp focus – when a stranded manatee calf was found in the waters off Belize City near Marine Farms on the Western Highway. That’s far from the proposed site – but close enough to raise the issue of manatee safety. Jules Vasquez went to see the injured calf:… Jules Vasquez reporting This manatee calf is being hand-fed by Jamal Galvez -that’s because it was found stranded and listing this morning in a canal off mile 3 on the Western Highway with a wound from a boat propellor. Galvez rescued it and brought it here to the Coastal Zone office Jamal Galvez - Manatee Research Associate - CZMAI "It seems stable but from the way the animal was swimming I could tell that it has some sort of internal injury, probably to the lungs."

APAMO Disses Stake Bank Project
And going back to the proposed development at Stake Bank and North Drowned Cayes, the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO) has released a statement saying it is, quote, “totally dissatisfied with the public consultation…” End Quote It adds, “APAMO strongly feels that the responses to questions and clarifications were incomplete and unsatisfactory.” They list 5 concerns stemming from the consultation on Wednesday. The first is that they’ve taken issue with the fact that EIA’s and the ECP’s on these projects are from 2006 to 2007, and are still considered valuable by the Department of Environment, even though they were done 6 years ago. APAMO also mentions that the second causeway from North Drown Caye to Stake Bank is to run right through Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary, set up to protect the manatee population. According to them, this is being totally ignored.

Patrick Menzies Blasted UB, then Loses Job As Lecturer
Patrick Menzies – he’s the outspoken activist who came out against the University of Belize a month ago for the excessive fees being charged to students in the bachelor’s programmes. Only problem was, Menzies was working at UB when he did that. He was also backed up by a number of students who did the research. In a statement, the University Administration said it applauded the students for raising the issues. But, applause is not what Menzies got. When he showed up on Monday of this week to teach his Management Information Systems Class, he was told the class had been handed over to another lecturer. Menzies told us he wasn’t given any notice:… Patrick Menzies - FORMER Adjunct Lecturer, UB "My students applied knowledge - my students gave UB freely a study of what the problems were and how to fix it and I told my students this shouldn't be a problem. Well, the problem hit me. I went to the class Monday of this week because I was scheduled to teach and everyone in the media would ask me if I was sure I was going to have my job and I said I really don't think that UB is going to be really that ridiculous to try and tell me to go home. I get up and asked my students if the class was open and they told me it was locked so I went downstairs for the key and this guy walked besides me with the same key so I asked him how could he get it before, if it's my class. So I asked him which class he's teaching and he told me and I told him 'well that's my class'. The secretary calls the office and finally said 'Mr. Menzies that class belongs to the other lecturer'. I have recorded emails that between March 22nd - 25th I was asked to teach this class - no where have they ever told me, at no time that the class was going to be taken away from me, never."

BEL Promises Better Financial Performance In 2013
Last night we told you about BEL’s record loss of 16 million dollars for the financial year ended December 31st, 2012. The company held its Annual General Meeting last night where it broke the bad news to shareholders – who got paid a modest dividend of five cents per share. To get a better understanding of what caused that loss – and for a forecast of the present financial year, we spoke to the company’s Senior Manager, Finance & Human Resources, Betty Tam:.. Betty Tam - Senior Manager, Finance & Human Resources "Yes, indeed we made a record high $193million in revenues last year, however, if you would take a look at our statement of comprehensive income - the cost of power was actually $164million. So in reality after we net that off, we had more or less $29million to work with." Jules Vasquez reporting And despite strong and growing sales, that plunged the company into a record loss due to a record high cost of power – 164 million dollars. 35 million more than the previous year because BEL had to purchase power mostly from CFE in Mexico.

Senior Citizen: Leave Sun-Dry Street Alone!
85 year-old Elmira Vasquez-Phillips, a resident of Sun Dry Street has been living in her home at that address for decades, and for all that time, it has been a dead-end street. Well, Belize Estate Company Limited, which is located on a vast property right next door to her single-lot house, wants to open up the street so that its customers have another entrance. Phillips is strongly against it, and she has voiced her concern to her area representative, but apparently it’s gone unnoticed. Elmira Vasquez-Phillips - Resident, Sun Dry Street "At least we had expected that they would come and tell us what they were going to do but they just went ahead and did what they wanted to do. My neighbors are like my family, we worked hard to build our own homes and the five people that live on this little street all own their own homes and we live like family."

FATCA, Do We Have To?
Unless you’re a banker, you probably don’t know what the term FATCA means – but the United States Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act has far reaching implications for Banking in Belize and all over the world. It’s an instrument designed by the United States Internal Revenue Service to crack down on tax cheats; mainly US citizens and permanent residents who bank their money in other countries – and in so doing, evade US taxes. Now, the IRS wants overseas banks to sign in time for implementation on December 31, 2013. That includes Belizean banks which had a special meeting with the Prime Minister yesterday to discuss the far reaching implications of FATCA. The banks are being forced to sign possibly as early as August – but there are many issues to iron out first. And we say “forced” because if the local banks don’t sign, they lose their correspondent banking relationship with US banks, in which case, they’d basically have to close down. But it’s what you might call a “ticklish” issue because the banks will have to report to the IRS all US citizens or green card holders with over fifty thousand dollars in Belizean Banks. And there are heavy penalties against the banks and the individuals for non-reporting.

The Prize For Primary School Volleyball
Today, all district primary school volleyball champions gathered in Belize City to compete in the 2013 National Primary School Volleyball Championships. It’s an annual event where the district champs compete against each other to see who is the best of the best, and 7News got to meet at a few of the teams today at the Birds Isle. Here’s what they told us about their anticipation to compete against other top teams: Joel Wade - Vice-Chairman, National Sports Council Board "This is not a contact sport so if you look at the size difference between some of the teams you might say that one team has an advantage over the other but like I mentioned it's not a contact sport so it's basically your skills that will prevail." Dennis Sampson - Coach, Holy Redeemer Volley Ball Team "It's a great honor for me to represent Belize District, my boys worked hard - we were city champs for three years and finally this year we captured the title and I hope to keep the national champ to Belize City."

Best Antidote to Climate Change: Biodiversity
Today at the George Price Center in Belmopan, there was a public consultation on the conservation of agro biodiversity as a response to climate change. Main Speaker Dr. Allan Williams explained that the response to climate change is to maintain biodiversity. Dr. Allan Williams - Consultant, CARDI/CTA "How do we then use the diversity in our eco-system to create an agriculture system that is climate change resilient. Now we can start by saying that we need to have an agriculture and foods production system that conserves diversity and crops species, conserves diversity in habitats (both livestock and fisheries) but there is also a reason to conserve diversity through farming practices and this is the diversity that allows us to play on the synergy between biological control agents and pest disease suppression." Williams is an economist and specialist in land administration. The event was organized by CARDI.


Field Officers Receive Training In Pesticide Control
The 2012/2013 sugar cane season has come to a close and cane farmers in the north are getting ready to collect their second payment for the crop season. Many of the farmers have begun replanting cane but the recent showers have caused an effect on the process; be it negative or positive. But while cane farmers are preparing the soil to plant new cane, others are cognizant of the many challenges that haunt the sugar cane industry. One of the major problems which cane farmers are presently focusing on is the “frog hopper” pest which has required immediate attention. Along with the frog hopper, there are other pests that need to be closely monitored so that the adverse effects are minimal. In efforts of addressing this issue, the Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute along with the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and key cane farmers hosted a training workshop for field officers in the integrated management of pests in the sugar cane production. Jose Daniel Salazar is an agricultural engineer in Costa Rica who specializes in pest control and he told us why it is important to conduct this workshop.

Full Moon Concert To Feature Corosalsa Band
On an annual basis the Corozal House of Culture features four full moon concerts with the aim of promoting local artist and keeping culture and arts alive. This coming Saturday the house of culture will host its first Full Moon Concert for the year 2013 featuring one of the finest musical group’s from Corozal Town. Debra Wilkes Gray - Coordinator Corozal House of Culture “Really looking forward to this one and the whole idea of the Full Moon Concert is to give exposure to oncoming artists as well as to give the community the opportunity to listen to some of the more well established artists, so this Saturday we are very excited because we have one of the finest band in Corozal it is called Corosalsa, you may have heard and I believe they have performed last year at the Costa Maya in San Pedro but even they are about a year now they are quality top class so this Saturday right in front of the House of Culture at 7pm we will have Corosalsa performing a couple of hours.”

Gender Policy Garners More Opposition
One of the major topic’s that has been in most newscasts recently is the National Gender Policy 2013 Revised Edition which was launched by the Women’s Commission of Belize. While the policy addresses issues of gender inequality, some of its contents do not sit well with the several organizations within the community. After reviewing a section of the policy entitled “Respect for Diversity” which partly states, and we quote, “the customary religious and cultural practices must be subject to the right of equality” end quote, religious leaders concluded that the statement pushes an agenda of inclusion for homosexuals. Based on the concerns raised, Cabinet agreed to amend the section by removing the final sentence of the paragraph which reads: “... and customary religious and cultural practices must be subject to the right of equality”. But even with the amendment, churches and other interested party’s continue to be in disapproval of the Gender Policy. Today Pastor Thomas Zetina from Corozal Town told us a special meeting will take place on Monday June 24th, 2013 to discuss further action against the policy.


Chief Justice Rules In Favor of Government
Back in April Justice Oswell Legall declared that six Production Sharing Agreements which the Government of Belize signed with oil companies to be null and void. The following month, Treaty Energy Belize, a sub-company of Princess Petroleum- one of the six companies that hold a Production Sharing Agreement- resumed drilling for oil. OCEANA Belize launched a full legal battle against GOB and this morning, after weeks of back and forth, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, declared his ruling on the matter. OCEANA lost this leg of the case but according to lawyer for Oceana, Godfrey Smith and Oceana’s Vice President, Audrey Matura –Shepherd, it’s not over yet as Oceana plans to take the matter to the Court of Appeal. Godfrey Smith, Lawyer OCEANA Belize Essentially he has accepted the government’s argument that if the injunction isn’t halted, isn’t stayed; the government will suffer irreparable harm. Our view was that on the evidence the case had not been made out which was the job of the government to make out, that if suffer irreparable harm. That continues to be our view. We obviously need time to examine the judgment carefully but I am fairly certain that the instructions will be need to appeal that decision. So that is where matters rest at this time. Frankly I am disappointed but that is the risk of litigation. You think you have a good strong case and judgments, because this case is a high profile case there is a great deal of public disappointment. As I said, we usually take time to look at the written judgment to digest and then if the client instructs us to appeal then we take it from there. We did not believe that an exceptional case was made out. The Chief Justice obviously did. We will take time to look at his reasoning closely and decide our next step from there.

Decline In Unemployment Reported
The Statistical Institute of Belize, SIB, today released the preliminary findings of its labor force survey conducted for the month of April 2013. The survey looked at the rates of unemployment in terms of age, gender, and by districts. According to the results, the national employment rate for April 2013 stood at 12.1%- a decrease from 14.4% as recorded for the previous year for the same month. According to the Statistical Institute of Belize, the decrease to 12.1% represents a fall in the number of persons without a job from about 21,370 to 17,920 persons. In terms of unemployment rate by districts, it varied from a minimum 8% in Toledo to a maximum 15.5% in Stann Creek. The SIB says that there was a decline of unemployment rate in all districts, particularly in Toledo and Cayo where the unemployment rate decreased by more than 5% with its attributes in the agricultural sector. In terms of gender, the survey found out that women continued to be more affected by unemployment than males. According to the results, women are three times more likely to be unemployed than men. Persons between the ages of 14 and 24 remain the highest sector to be unemployed. The SIB says that the decline in the unemployment rate was due to a smaller percentage of working-age persons working. It is expected that a more detailed report will be released in the next two months.

Third Border Marker To Be Verified By Belize Territorial Volunteers
The Belize Territorial Volunteers will continue with their patriotic venture of clearing the border between Belize and Guatemala this weekend in the Cayo District. Member of the group, Wil Maheia spoke to us about their plans. WIL MAHEIA “Well tomorrow not much clearing will be taking place but verification will be taking place. We will be going to Garbutt’s Falls and one of our missions when we started was to verify that the three markers were in place; a few months ago we went to Aguas Turbias, a few weeks ago we went to Gracias A Dios and those are in place and tomorrow is the final one where we will be going to Garbutt’s Falls. Now, Garbutt’s Falls, it’s not as remote as the others because Benque Viejo is very close to it so it is almost in an urban setting but tomorrow to show that world that we have a border, there is a straight line between these markers and that is the border line; we will be going to Garbutt’s Falls, we will be greeted in San Ignacio by the People’s Front, Nancy Marin – her organization; we will have the CJ, we have the group from Orange Walk and Corozal coming and we also have from Belize, Dangriga and Toledo; we usually have a surveyor coming along and he has confirmed he will be coming along and we will go to the marker and doing some cleaning up around there. We want to bring more awareness to Belizeans and this is showing that we are in solidarity with Belize and we show the world that Belize has a border. On July 26 and 27, we will be camping along the border lines between the villages of San Benito Poite, Otoxcha and Dolores and we have written to the ministry of Defense to have the BDF accompany us since we will have several youths with us.” Maheia says that their scheduled trip to Garbutt Falls, has not garnered the reaction of the people or the government of Guatemala like in previous occasions. They call on all concerned patriots to join them and take the stance in showing Guatemala and the rest of the world that quote, “Belize da fi we and we da Belize- and we have a border” end qu

Belizean Tour Guides Internationally Certified Following Training
Two Belizean tour guides employed at The Calypso Train Tours were today presented with official international certification following a training they undertook. The Guides are Deland Gongora and Leticia Magaña and the Tour Guide Excellence Program they completed was offered by Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence. The Managing Director of the Calypso Train Tours Limited, Denise Ockey said quote, “Providing international training promotes our Guides to deliver a new level of tour excellence” end quote. The presentation of certificates took place at the Belize Tourism Industry Association’s office on North Park Street in Belize City.

APAMO Asks If Disregarding Protected Areas Has Become A Trend
The Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations, APAMO today issued a press release in which it calls on the Government especially the Department of the Environment for Environmental Assessment Impacts for the Stake Band and North Drowned Caye Developments. They also stress their dissatisfaction with the public consultation held on June 19th at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City. This afternoon, Love News spoke with the Executive Director of APAMO, Jose Perez. JOSE PEREZ “We came to this conclusion after attending the public consultation that was held on the 19th at the Biltmore Plaza; after attending that forum we realized that there is a lot of information that is lacking; there is key consultations that did not take place and why we are very concerned is that one of the proposed addendum includes a causeway from North Drown Caye to Stake Bank and that traverses or passes right through the Swallow Caye Sanctuary which is popularly known for its protection of the manatees, the friends of Swallow Caye who are the co-managers are our members and we are very concerned that they were not consulted in this whole development of this proposal.

Orange Walk Police Investigates Another Robbery
Another robbery has been reported in Orange Walk Town. In this case police apprehended the suspects on the name night. According to reports, last night around 8:30, two men entered Orchid Palm Inn on Queen Victoria in Orange Walk Town to rob the hotel. The men were reportedly wielding knives and assaulted the receptionist who was on shift at the time. The men took one lap top, a cellular phone and one gold chain before letting themselves out. No one was hurt but the entire incident was captured on video as the hotel has security cameras installed. Police responded and have detained two suspects in connection with the incident; both individuals are from Orange Walk. No charges have been levied as yet, but police recovered some of the items reported stolen in the possession of the men in custody. Investigations continue.

Laborer Out On Bail Following 2009 Incident
Twenty-two year old Stephen Palacio, a laborer of Mahogany Street Extension from whom charges including manslaughter by negligence were dismissed, was brought to court today to face the same charges. Palacio, who was represented by attorney Bryan Neal, was arraigned in the court of Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. Apart from the charge of manslaughter by negligence, he was charged with causing death by careless conduct, drove motor vehicle without due care and attention, using motor vehicle not covered by third party insurance, using an unlicensed motor vehicle, failed to report an accident, failed to stop and render aid, taking a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner or any lawful authority and drove motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license. The charges are in relation to an incident in which Jose Garcia was knocked down by a green Toyota SUV at the corner of Amara Avenue and King Street. The incident occurred on May 23, 2009. The charges were dismissed in 2010 due to lack of evidence. Senior Magistrate Fraser said that some of the charges, the ones which can be tried summarily, may be statute barred. Palacio was released on a bail of six thousand dollars. His next court date is July 29.

Damages From TD2 Assessed In Southern Belize
The assessment of damages caused by tropical depression number two has begun. We hear more in this report from our Dangriga correspondent Harry Arzu. HARRY ARZU “Officials from the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) Stann Creek branch have completed a comprehensive damage exercise on the communities that were affected by flood waters associated with tropical depression #2. Earlier this week the depression passed over Belize and caused tremendous damages to the Stann Creek District. Here is the Chairperson of NEMO, Stann Creek Mayor, Gilbert Swazo.” MAYOR GILBERT SWAZO “The damage assessment was concluded yesterday and a total assessed damage of $338, 275.00 was assessed. This assessment was carried out by four teams that were deployed; one team was deployed to the area of Mullins River; one to Sarawee; one to Hope Creek and then one to Dangriga. The damage assessed excluded the culvert and the bridge at the Coastal Road. The total assessed damage in Hope Creek and Mullins River were mostly household items totaling $68,000; the agricultural damage that was assessed was noted in Sarawee, Hope Creek, Mullins River and Red Bank totaling $32, 775 and this included damage to cassava plantation, plantain, hot peppers, chickens and over a thousand tilapia. In Dangriga it was noted that there was substantial infrastructural damage to the roads which totaled to over $200,000. So, again I must commend the damage assessment team that went out to conduct these assessments and we are certainly grateful for the job that they have done throughout the impact of the TD Storm.

Professional Gardeners Program Produces Graduates
A group in the Cayo District today graduated from a professional gardener’s program. We join Correspondent Elaine Berry who attended the graduations and shares the details. ELAINE BERRY “The Belize Botanic Garden today held their 3rd Professional Gardeners Program graduation exercise at the Duplooy’s Jungle Lodge. A total of ten students completed the 3-month training course; the welcome address was given by Judy Duplooy, Project Director; Mario Teul, Project Administrator and Rudy Aguilar, trainer. Love News spoke to Mario Teul about the Professional Gardeners Program.” MARIO TEUL “The Professional Gardeners Program is a 34-month long program which is funded by the European Union and the Government of Belize. We hope to do 12 cycles of on-the-job-training program and as well seven cycles of the Horticulture Program. Our main goal is to train at least 94 personnel in gardening skills over the terms of the grant. This is our third graduation and we are graduating ten personnel which bring the total number of graduates from the horticulture program to 26 and the total number from on the job training to 10. Our next intake will start on July 1 for the horticulture training and July 8 for the on-the-job-training.

Electric Company Pays Off 30 Million Dollar Debt To Consumers
Last night the Belize Electricity Limited held its Annual General Meeting of Shareholders for the year ended December 31st 2012. BEL reported to its over one thousand five hundred small shareholders that during the previous year, it sold 462,000 megawatt hours to more than its 65,067 customers. In addition, BEL shared that the company was able to pay off a 30 point three million dollars in debt to customers. Even though BEL recorded a loss last year, Senior Manager for Finance and Human Resources, Betty Tam, explained that every shareholders’ capital increased. BEL purchases electricity from Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) in Mexico and according to Tam, CFE has agreed to grant BEL a ten percent decrease in the cost of power. BETTY TAM “WE declared dividends to our shareholders and we informed our shareholders with good news of their share capital being increased with over 30 million dollars. In the dividends we paid five cents per share to each shareholder with record date as at December 31, 2012 and with respect to the 30 million, that was the amounts the customers had paid us that we owed them between the year 2008 and 2011 because at the time we did not have a review with the regulators because of some challenges we had in the courts...

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Court stays injunction against Government in OCEANA case
Today Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin in the Supreme Court stayed an injunction against government. The injunction was granted by Justice Oswell Legall in April restraining the Minister of Natural Resources from acting on the production sharing agreements signed by six companies exploring for petroleum offshore Belize. Justice Legall had...

BEL reports massive loss to shareholders
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) last night held its annual general meeting at the Belize Biltmore Plaza. Unfortunately, the company had a rather poor year in 2012. It reported a loss of $16 million. The reason? Sharply increased cost of power offset by a return of $30 million to consumers...

Damage Assessment of Tropical Depression #2 has been completed
Tropical Depression #2 is behind us, but its aftermath still lingers in southern Belize. A damage assessment concluded on Wednesday and today, we spoke with Chairman of NEMO Stann Creek and Dangriga Mayor, Gilbert Swaso, who told us just how destructive the storm was. Gilbert Swaso – Chairman of...

Stephen Palacio charged for manslaughter by negligence
Four years after a fatal traffic accident, a Belize City man has been criminally charged. Stephen Palacio was arraigned today before the Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer and was read 9 indictable offenses. Those include one count of manslaughter by negligence in the fatal traffic accident that caused the death...

Injured baby manatee is recovering
The gentle sea creature known as the manatee has had a rather unlucky last few months. There have been 20 cases of manatees injured or dying as a result of running into propeller boats in the open waters. Today there was another case reported, this time of a motherless...

Shepherd’s Academy celebrates with students
Shepherd’s Academy celebrates with students. The Shepherd’s Academy has been in operation for almost five years now and this morning the school of approximately 100 students boarded vehicles for their own personal parade around the ring road. Mrs. Carolyn Hulse is the Principal at Shepherd’s Academy and she told...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Caye Caulker Football Team Earns Silver!
In a move that delighted Hicaquenos young and old, the Caye Caulker football team, the underdog in a football tournament organized by San Pedro, won 2nd place. The tournament began on 16 February 2013. The final game was on Caye Caulker’s home turf on 16 June 2013, the same day of the Village Council elections. This culminated in a win for the Hicaquenos which earned them the 2nd place spot. Wild cheering and an impromptu street parade erupted as a result. 11 teams participated in the tournament; 10 from San Pedro and 1 from Caye Caulker. First place went to the Legends team from San Pedro. Second place to the Caye Caulker Tsunami team, and third place went to the Lebanese team from San Pedro. The winning team earned $3,000 for their win, plus a team trophy and individual trophies. The second place team won $1,500 plus a team trophy and individual trophies, and the third place team won $500, a team trophy, and individual medals. The Caye Caulker Tsunami football team is managed by Mr. Julian “Neno” Rosado, Mr. Ronnie Sosa, and Mr. Noe Sandoval.


Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie, has made a big time move by ordering the immediate interdiction of a police constable who refused to testify against Lake Independence area representative, Hon. Mark King in the Corozal Magistrate’s Court. This is a very gutsy move on the ComPol’s part, and it is safe to say it caught most Belizeans by surprise. Hon. Mark King, 38, charged in the Corozal Magistrate’s Court with aggravated assault, threatening words and disorderly conduct, had been freed of all charges after the arresting officer, Constable Nelson Ramos, stunned the court by announcing that he was withdrawing all charges against King on Tuesday, June 18. Since there was then no complainant or witness left in the case, the presiding magistrate, Clive Lino, said that there was not sufficient evidence to continue the case, and with that, King walked out of court a free man. The incident occurred at about 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 5, while King and his group were partying at Princess Casino, just outside the Corozal Free Zone, next to the Belize Mexico Bridge.

He had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and in his mitigation, told the court that he was sorry for killing his mother-in-law Peter King Contreras, 44, pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge on Tuesday, June 11, 2013, when his trial was scheduled to start. According to the facts which were read to the court, at about noon on December 13, 2010, Contreras was giving his mother-in-law, Argentina Garcia, 50, a ride in his vehicle to the junction of the Philip Goldson International Airport road and the now Philip Goldson Highway, in order for her to catch a bus. During the ride, Contreras and Garcia got into an argument in the course of which Garcia told him “Why would Lesley (my daughter) want a loser like you?” This statement enraged Contreras, who then punched Garcia twice in her face, and it was then that Garcia attempted to get out of the vehicle. But Contreras restrained her from getting out with a piece of rope, which he then used to choke her to death. Contreras put Garcia’s body into the trunk of his vehicle and drove around with it in there for the remainder of the day, then left it there for the entire night and into the early hours of the morning.

The gunman walked into his home, climbed the stairs and shot Delone Vernon, 32, to death. A Supreme Court witness who was scheduled to attend a Supreme Court trial in an attempted murder case, which arose from an incident in which a man attempted to kill him, on October 12, 2012, was murdered in his home at about 8:30 p.m. on Monday, June 17. Delone Vernon, 32, a father of two sons, 2 and 6 years old, was shot and seriously injured in October, while walking to his workplace at the Youth for the Future on Magazine Road. This time Vernon was shot in his house while playing a game of cards with family members, a day before the Supreme Court case in which he was to testify commenced. A gunman went into his home on Sibun Street and shot him in the chest in the presence of the six other people with whom he was socializing. Witnesses told police that on Monday night, the gunman came into the house, climbed the stairs to the second flat, aimed the gun at Vernon and fired several shots at him, hitting him in the heart, and killing him almost immediately.

Carl Wallen, a resident of Placencia, Stann Creek, is calling for an investigation into what he considers the strange death of his common-law-wife, Danish Logan, 27—a young woman who reportedly suffered heart failure—which he fears may have been the consequence of a contagious bacteria being spread in Belize. Amandala contacted Belize’s only native pathologist, Dr. Hugh Sanchez, to query what caused Danisha’s death, and he told us “…nothing was found.” Based on anecdotal information from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) team which attended Danish before her death, it has been ruled that she died from cardiac arrest, said Wallen. One of Danisha’s doctors, Dr. Pedro Arriaga, who attended to her at the Belize Healthcare Partners Limited (BHPL) before she was transferred to the KHMH for further care, told our newspaper when we contacted him that he was still awaiting the full post-mortem report. However, he said that Danisha arrived at BHPL with “a serious infection,” which began to manifest itself after she had dental works done in Dangriga. Arriaga said that bacteria like staphylococcus or streptococcus would tend to be the ones that cause infections following dental procedures; however, blood and urine cultures done on Danisha Logan, to see what was causing the infection, were all negative. He said that this could have been because she had already been taking antibiotics.

There have been unconfirmed reports that genetically modified seeds sourced from the multimillion-dollar corporation, Monsanto, are being sown in Belize. The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) has heard of those reports as well; however, Director of Plant Health, Francisco Gutierrez, M.Sc., told our newspaper that while they have never confirmed the presence of GMO corn in Belize, they have found GMO soybeans, and indications are that the seeds were being sown in Belize for years without BAHA’s knowledge. The Belize Grain Growers Association (BGGA) said in a statement issued on May 29, 2013, that it is cautioning farmers to know the origin of their seeds and avoid planting GMO seeds until Belize establishes the legislative framework. It noted that the importation of GMO seeds is strictly prohibited by BAHA. On Friday, June 7, BAHA issued a release confirming that GMO soybeans had been discovered in Northern Belize; however, to date, the Government of Belize has refused to disclose which Mennonite farmer was responsible. Tests confirmed locally and abroad, at Eurofins Genescan Laboratory in the U.S., confirmed that the soybeans were genetically modified.

Hilberto Kib, 24, was granted bail today, Tuesday, after being charged with aggravated assault. Kib was accused of using a machete in a threatening manner against a man on June 17, 2013. He pleaded not guilty to the charge and since he had no previous convictions and there was no objection to bail, he was granted bail of $500 plus one surety. He was ordered to report to the Queen Street Police Station every Tuesday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Kib is to reappear in court on August 8, 2013.

Nicaragua national Oral Lewis, 40, was granted bail today, Tuesday, after being charged with burglary. Lewis is accused of burglarizing a home in the Kings Park area of Belize City on June 5, 2013 and stealing $2,000 cash. He pleaded not guilty to the charge. He had no previous conviction and the prosecution had no objection to bail. He was granted bail in the sum of $1,000 plus one surety. Lewis was ordered to surrender his passport to the court and report to the Queen Street Police Station every Monday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. His case was adjourned until August 8, 2013.

Stephen Anderson, 21, was remanded today, Tuesday, after appearing in court on charges of keeping a firearm and ammunition without license. Anderson was apprehended on June 16, 2013 after being found with an unlicensed 9 mm Smith and Wesson brand firearm and eight unlicensed live rounds of 9 mm ammunition. He pleaded not guilty to the charge but was denied bail and remanded to the Belize Central Prison until his adjournment date, which is August 6, 2013.

Police are on a manhunt for three men who are wanted for robberies in the northern districts: Robert Hill, 37, and Austin Sutherland, 23 – both of whom are residents of Corozal; and Nimrod Tillett, 28, of Orange Walk. Police said that Robert Hill is wanted for the armed robbery of Chan Li Game Room, which occurred on Wednesday, June 5. Police said that he went into the game room, pointed a gun at the owner, and stole all the money that was in the establishment’s cash drawer — over $800. Hill also stole a bicycle from a customer who was in the game shop at the time, and escaped on it. He has since been on the run. A few days earlier, at about 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 1, police say, Austin Sutherland went into the room of the owner of Sea Breeze Hotel, in Corozal, and stole over $75 in cash and over $600 worth of items. He is also on the run.

The Guinness 9-Ball Tournament continued on Sunday, June 16, in Belmopan with two matches, and we are pleased to share the results. At Chan’s Place in San Martin, the National Champs for the last Guinness tournament, Salvapan Shattaz blanked Dolphins, 5-0. For Shattaz, it was Juan Guzman over Moises Aguirre, 5-2; Victor Orellana over Daniel Orellana, 5-1; Oscar Avelar over Santos Palma, 5-3; Elder “Small Chino” Paredes over Marvin Yam, 5-2; and Erwin “Big Chino” Paredes over Jose Palma, 5-4. At Besos Al Aire Bar in Las Flores, it was Barriofino defeating Las Flores, 3-2. For Barriofino, it was Mario Lopez edging Julio Hernandez, 5-4; Pedro Escobar hurting Eggy Guy, 5-3; and Captain Ernest Turner hurting Adali, 5-2. In the losing effort for Las Flores, it was Salvador Orellana defeating Stanley Mira, 5-2; and David Mejia winning Arturo Pelayo, 5-1. Standings to date reveals that Shattaz leads with 16 points, while Las Flores and Barriofino are tied with 10 pts, and Dolphins trails with 4 pts.

The Father’s Day Race from Flowers Bank Village to Black Orchid Resort, Burrell Boom, got started a little before 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 16. It got off to a late start due to the heavy downpour of blessings from above! Nonetheless, the rain held up nicely, giving the paddlers time to finish the race. Once again, this year’s race had only six teams participating in five categories; not what we were expecting. Finishing first was “Guydis Canoes” (Chris Guydis, Brandon Lind and Jermaine Sanchez) with a time of 2:56:37. They out-paddled “Guydis Remedy” (Wilberto Daniels, Kenrick Daniels and Michael Daniels) of the Intramural Category, who settled for second overall with a time of 2:57:43. Both these teams were together until we last saw them at the BWS Water Treatment Facility. The “Black Orchid Runners,” comprising of Matthew Mask, Jeffery Seguro and Martin Gideon, finished the course in 3:02:42, to take the Juniors Category. A few minutes later was “Turd’z” (Elvis Sutherland, Derocy Haylock and Glenford Sutherland), sponsored by Raymond Woods, second Intramural, finishing in 3:05:06.

The Belize Volleyball Association will host its summer camp at the Belize Elementary Auditorium commencing on Monday, July 1. It will be Mondays to Fridays throughout the summer with the following schedule: BOYS & GIRLS: Ages 5 to 8 – 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.; Ages 9 to 12 – 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. GIRLS: Ages 13 to 17 – From 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. BOYS: Ages 13 to 17 – From 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (In all cases above, where necessary, they will be divided into groups, depending on age and ability.) There is no registration fee, but donations (of any kind) are accepted). We are scheduled to have an International Cuban coach for at least a week at the latter portion of the camp. Interested persons can register at the venue on July 1st or the following days or they can preregister by contacting the Belize Volleyball Association (BVA) at:

MAYOR, MAYOR… Editorial
It is at least fifteen years now that Belize City has needed a fourth bridge across the Haulover Creek. Presently, as you know, we have the Swing Bridge, BelChina, and Belcan, so we have arguably been operating with only 75 percent of bridge requirements for almost two decades in the nation’s population center. The reason the fourth bridge has not been constructed is because of sociology and politics. When the fourth bridge was to be constructed, it would have linked the western section of Lake Independence, which is an economically depressed area, with a southern section of the Freetown constituency which is slightly upper class. No matter that there are economically depressed areas of Freetown which are a stone’s throw from the “slightly upper class” area, the slightly upper class residents of Freetown have pressured successive PUP area representatives to fight against the bridge. These slightly upper class Belizeans are afraid of poor people from the Lake coming across the proposed bridge and committing crimes, or, at least, lowering their property values. Well, there are poor people in that area of Freetown who are potential criminals, but, even if that were not so, nowadays the criminals ride in cars, so if they want to leave from the Southside to commit crimes on the Northside, they don’t have to walk across the proposed fourth bridge: they can drive in their own vehicles, or, if they want to, “jack” one and drive across the Belcan, the BelChina, or the Swing Bridge. Still, nothing we write here will change the minds of the slightly upper class people of Freetown: they will continue to fight against the fourth bridge until kingdom come.

The ruling UDP’s claim of 70 per cent victory devastation of the PUP in the recent village council elections will force the Blue back to the proverbial drawing board. Remember, the PUP had been saying that they would come back to national power in Belmopan with their District support, but most of the villages are in the Districts. So where are we now? You know, in boxing we have seen over the years that the same courage and determination which made men like Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, and Larry Holmes great heavyweight champions in their youth, made them look like fools when they aged and stayed around too long. They kept on fighting after they should have exited the stage, gracefully. The PUP were very confident because of their surprisingly strong performance in the March 2012 general election, and no one could say a word to the contrary. But village council results such as PUP Deputy Leader Dolores Balderamos-Garcia’s crashes in Ladyville, Hattieville, La Democracia, and Mahogany Heights cannot be swept under the Independence Hall rug.

Two or three months after the June 1993 general election, Michael Ashcroft visited me in the original UBAD/Amandala building. He appeared out of nowhere, without any appointment or fanfare, and left in a similarly low-key manner. I had never met him before. I received him in the room where our young workers used to fold the newspaper. This was a room in the southern side of the ferro-concrete building, and our building had been sinking on that side for twenty years. So, this was a dank place, and not all that bright. The conditions were not what Mr. Ashcroft was used to in his air-conditioned board meetings, I’ll say that much. I believe Mr. Ashcroft was having a hard time with the new Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Manuel Esquivel, most notably with Mr. Ashcroft’s holdings at Belize Electricity Limited (BEL). That’s as far as I remember. I suppose he would have known that I had endorsed Mr. Esquivel’s opponent in the recent election, and that there would have been some major antagonism between myself and the new Prime Minister. So, overall that would have been the area where he and I had some common ground. I’m just speculating. The Kremandala Raiders had recently won their first semi-pro basketball championship, so I remember distinctly inviting the billionaire gentleman to buy a franchise in the league, and I remember the answer. He said, “You know, of course, that I would have to win.” I think I smiled, and I think I understood what he was saying: that he was so big, he could not afford to lose in any such domestic competition.

Dear Editor, Two weeks ago, I wrote to you about BECOL and their early warning system and the test that did not happen. I had read the ad on Channel 2 and it appeared to say May 30th. That was in fact the date their letter was written, and not the date of the proposed test. I did not know this until I was at the ATM in Atlantic Bank in San Ignacio on Tuesday, June 4, and saw the flyer in its entirety taped on the wall of the ATM. It was almost 12.00 noon, so I hung around waiting for the siren. Nothing happened Then I saw my husband’s cousin, who said he had heard that the test was to be on Tuesday, June 11th. Later in the week, I saw someone from NEMO who invited me to go with him to see how the system worked. (He had read my letter to you in the Amandala). Unfortunately, I did not get there as I had to go to the border to send money to my husband who was in hospital in Guatemala. I got back to San Ignacio about 11.45 a.m., went and paid BEL and the phone bill on Burns Avenue, well within earshot of any siren. NOTHING HAPPENED. When my husband got back from Guatemala, he bumped into the guy from NEMO, who said I should have been there to witness the failure of the system.

I was thrilled to learn you and your colleagues rightly rejected the NCL proposal at Crawl Caye, but equally dismayed to find out that Harvest Caye, just two miles south of Placencia, is being considered by NCL. On June 3rd I wrote to you and your colleagues as a coral biologist and MSc student; today I write to you as a long-standing member of the Placencia Tour Guide Association (PTGA, since 1997), licensed tour guide, PADI SCUBA Instructor and registered voter. Last night (June 19, 2013), a general PTGA meeting was held with 44 attendees, including a few invited, non-PTGA members namely, Stewart Krohn, Chair of BTIA, Placencia Chapter, and newly sworn-in Placencia Village Chairperson, Ms. Ilsa Villanueva. The PTGA committee clarified that the previous support letter sent to your administration was from the newly formed Placencia Tourism Cooperative, chaired by Mr. Brian Young, Sr., who was absent from last night’s meeting, not from PTGA. An official vote was held last night, with the vast majority of the members present (~three exceptions), voting to reject any NCL proposal at Harvest Caye.

Please allow me a little corner in your newspaper to write about the jaguars in Belize. I would like to shed some light on the other side of this jaguar phenomenon. You see, I am a fisherman; I raise African bees and sheep. Now sheep seem to be a favorite food for jaguars as I’ve lost over 32 to these so-called beautiful animals. These jaguar conservationists should walk in my shoes for a little while and see if they would still have the same opinion. I have jaguars come in the middle of the day and at night dragging my animals away right from in front of my home. While these conservationists sit at home at night congratulating themselves on the jaguars they’ve saved, I am sitting outside in the dark waiting for the jaguar that just killed four more sheep to come back so I can kill it. While their children are playing outside in the evening, my children are begging me to close the doors and windows so the jaguar won’t eat them. My children try hard not to use the outhouse at night, and if they have to they won’t go without me escorting them and never alone in the day. While their children are watching TV cartoons I carry a 170-pound jaguar on my back home so I can educate them on what a jaguar looks like and how dangerous they are.

Michael Young, 22, decided that school wasn’t for him while he was a standard six student at Wesley Primary School. He told everyone that he just didn’t want to be in school anymore, and only years later admitted that his reason for dropping out of school was that he couldn’t read. “I had too much pride to admit to it,” he said. “The first thing that would come to someone’s mind when they find out you can’t read, is that you’re ‘simple,’ you’re dumb. And that used to really upset me,” he explained. Young said he told his mother not to waste her money on sending him to high school because he wouldn’t go. She agreed and he decided that he would try to make a living for himself however he could. Young said his literacy challenges kept him from being able to find a job and he turned to doing illegal activities in order to make money. However, during his late teenage years, Young decided that he wanted to change because the life he was living was not one he wanted to continue.

It’s a Humpty Dumpty world In Lewis Carroll’s great classic, Alice in Wonderland, there was a conversation between Alice and Humpty Dumpty, which went like this :- H.D: “When I say a thing it means exactly what I want it to mean. Alice: The question is whether you can make a word mean what you want. HD: The question is who is to be master, that is all.” It seems that Lewis Carroll was a prophet as well as a philosopher, because that is exactly what is happening in the world today. Humpty Dumpty was right: what matters is who is the master. He who has the power, makes the rules. History is written by the conquerors. It was a glorious victory, even if the victors were in full armor, on horseback, and armed with swords, made from the finest steel, while the vanquished were half-naked, on foot with wooden spears. When the battle is over, the victors dictate the peace terms and the vanquished, who are allowed to live, are happy to accept them. In olden times, people were very foolish; they had to be convinced by force of arms who were the masters. Modern history is different. When Nazi Germany decided to annex Austria, Hitler sent his emissaries to convince the Austrian leaders that Anschluss was better than war, and they agreed.

— by Michael Finnegan I could say that I took a sabbatical leave from my column but that would be the wrong approach to you, my loyal readers. My e-mail, both my private and public telephone numbers were ringing off the hook, and at the same time people were congratulating me on placing history into its proper perspective. Arriving at the Philip Goldson International Airport, I met several people who congratulated me on my article in the No. 1 leading newspaper, Amandala. While tiptoeing and walking on one side to the next side like an old man, I would have expected that people would show me their concern primarily because of the surgery I had just undergone; however, my health was only their secondary concern. Foremost in their minds was the series of articles published in the Amandala newspaper. I believe that why my health was their No. 2 concern was because they were confident I would push through as I usually do. So have no doubt that I will find the time, every week, to continue my historical writing. It is a tedious task and it involves lots of local and international telephone calls and research to confirm historical details. At this time I would really like to say thanks to the management and editorial board of the Amandala newspaper to allow me the space I have been given to record history as I see it.

Investors’ proposed project is only 8 miles south of the majestic Belizean wonder. The Great Blue Hole has been nominated for the designation of the 8th Wonder of the World, and environmental activists in Belize want to ensure that a multi-million-dollar, mega-tourism project by Puerto Azul Belize Limited—but which investors want to set up only 8 miles south of this majestic Belizean wonder, at the Lighthouse Reef Atoll—does not see the light of day. The tentative project duration is December 2013–December 2017. Amandala was told that the matter has been raised at the Cabinet level; however, Government has not yet made any of that information public. The directors for the company are Italians Domenico Giannini & Fabio Nicola La Rosa, members of the management team named for another Puerto Azul project proposed for the Dominican Republic. The legal address of the Belize company is listed as Barrow & Williams Law Firm, the Prime Minister’s law firm. Like Norwegian Cruise Line’s Crawl Caye proposal, which was recently turned down by Cabinet, the promise is for a major tourism development that would bring business and jobs to Belize.

Carnal knowledge cases more than double... The Police Department today issued comparative statistics for January to May 2013, and according to the data, major crimes, reported at 1,016 cases to date, have dropped by an estimated 13%. Murders were down by 15%, from 60 incidences for January to May 2012 to 51 cases for January to May 2013. Today, Minister of National Security John Saldivar presented a certificate of appreciation to Senior Superintendent of Police Joseph Myvette, who heads the Northern Zone and is also the Officer Commanding the Orange Walk Formation, since that zone showed the greatest crime reduction for the month of May. In addition to receiving a certificate of appreciation, Myvette was also presented with a cheque for $1,000. Whereas the Northern Zone, overall, showed a marked reduction in major crimes, the district of Orange Walk, which is included in the zone along with Corozal, showed an overall increase, primarily due to a major escalation in burglaries. The Eastern, Western, and Northern zones all showed a reduction in major crimes, but the Northern Zone led with a 53% reduction over May 2012 and 45% over April 2013.

The witness’ testimony was not believed in court... Today, Justice John “Troadio” Gonzalez was scheduled to give summation of the trial of Lincoln Sabido, 28, who was facing a possible life sentence if convicted of murder. Sabido was accused of killing Norman Reyes, 31, on January 15, 2008. According to police, Reyes was asleep in his sofa sometime between 5:30 and 6:00 that morning when someone stomped open his back door and fired several shots at him, one of which caught him in his throat and exited his chest. Although critically wounded, Reyes managed to walk out of his house and walk a distance of about 50 yards, after which he collapsed and died. Three days after the killing, Sabido was arrested and charged with the murder. The trial commenced on May 22, 2013, with witnesses being called to testify in a voir dire, after Sabido’s attorney, Anthony Sylvester, argued that Dennis Nembhard’s statement should not be allowed as evidence in the trial because Nembhard was killed before the trial started, and no one would be able to assess its validity through cross-examination.

5 weeks and no charges for Mayan temple’s destruction... Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that the additional police work needed to wrap up the case preparation in the Noh Mul investigation would have hopefully been completed by Friday, June 14. To date, no charges have been levied. Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie told journalists Wednesday that police should be handing over the completed case file to the Director of Public Prosecution, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, by the end of this week, June 21. Barrow had said last week that when the file was first handed over to the DPP, she directed that additional police work be done. “I am confident that by the end of the week that file will be at the D.P.P.’s Office,” Whylie said today. He said that he had directed the regional commander, to spur him, and the file will be passed over to the DPP.

Making the Chiquibul Forest a national conservation priority... Belize’s most prized forest, the Chiquibul – opulent with natural resources such as highly coveted hardwoods and exotic species of wildlife – has been under siege for decades, a prime target for illegal incursions, and Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD), in an effort to raise awareness of the escalating threats to the biodiversity of that forest, is hosting a special symposium next month. The Chiquibul Symposium 2013 will be held under the caption: “Alarming Threats to Biodiversity, Peace and National Stability.” The session will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Friday, July 19, 2013, in the Caracol Room at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City. If you have never had the chance to see inside the Chiquibul, this is your opportunity, as there will be gliding footage of the Chiquibul on a big screen just before the start of the symposium. Invited speakers include Chief Forest Officer Wilber Sabido, FCD Executive Director Rafael Manzanero, Belize Defence Force Commander David Jones and Retired BDF Major Lloyd Jones.

Oceana announced today that Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has adjourned the announcement of his decision on the request by the Government of Belize for a stay of execution on the injunction granted in April, stopping the Government from acting on six petroleum contracts which the court has declared to be “illegal, null, and void.” The decision was originally scheduled to be presented on Thursday, June 20, 2013, but it will instead be presented on Friday, June 21. In claim #810 of 2011, Oceana Belize, along with Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action and the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, challenged the issuance of six offshore contracts, and Justice Oswell Legall ruled in their favor, declaring the contracts to be “illegal, null and void.” Government has argued that without the stay on the injunction, also issued by Legall with the April 2013 ruling, they will continue to be unable to properly supervise operations currently being undertaken by Treaty Energy Limited, joint venture partner of Princess Petroleum.

Frank Lizama, Colville Young, Jr. and Norman Hamilton appointed to the Order of the British Empire... The Queen’s birthday honours list 2013 has been released and three well-known Belizean figures have been included. Frank Lizama and Colville Young, Jr., have been appointed Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), and Norman “Sam” Hamilton has been appointed as Member of the British Empire (MBE). Norman Samuel Elburt Hamilton will receive his MBE for his contribution to music. Hamilton told us this is the third award he has received for his musical endeavours. He was presented with awards in the past by KREM Radio and musical icon Lord Rhaburn. Hamilton was in Lord Rhaburn’s band for 20 years before he became a solo music artist. “It’s not my first award but I feel honored to be receiving it for my work in music,” he said. “I’m very excited about this one because it’s like real higher heights.” Currently Hamilton has his own group called Foreign Exchange Band. He performs at private parties and has been performing frequently at the Tourist Village in Belize City for the past 12 years.

Gregory Bennett, also known as Gregory Scott, 38, of Belize City, who was living in Los Angeles, was found dead in his home by his sister. He apparently died on Sunday, June 16, Father’s Day, from multiple gunshots to the head. His mother told reporters that his sister went to his house to on Monday, June 17, after not seeing him on Father’s Day, and when she entered his house, she found him dead, with three gunshot wounds to his head and face. Police took him to a morgue, where he was declared dead on arrival. The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating his death. His grieving mother, who lives in Belize, said that she raised her son well.

Belize bankers meet with GOB to discuss new US requirement for bank disclosures... News coming out of the Ukraine today indicates that that country’s Cabinet has approved the draft of a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with Belize. The Director-General of Belize’s International Financial Services Commission (IFSC) told Amandala that to date, Belize has in place 16 such agreements with other countries, the most recent one having been signed with Poland on May 16, 2013. He confirmed that Belize today received notification from Ukraine that they are ready to sign the new TIEA with that country. Since 2009, Belize has signed TIEAs with Australia, United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Greenland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Faroes, Portugal, France, Ireland, and Mexico. The draft TIEAs with Italy and India, said Ghandi, are awaiting signature. Belize has sent a draft TIEA agreement to the United States government; however, talks on that proposal are still pending.


If you haven’t done so already, break out the swimsuits, hats, shorts and light cotton dresses, throw some soft drinks and beers in the cooler, fire up the barbeque and don’t forget the suntan lotion. Summer has officially arrived. June 21 usually marks the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, the longest day of the year. This year is an oddity – it begins as usual on the 21st at 1.04 EDT in the US, but for some western parts of North America, it began June 20, according to the Clark Planetarium website. Of course, in Australia and New Zealand, this date marks the beginning of the Winter Solstice, and the shortest day of the year. Summer solstice occurs when the Earth’s axis is the most tilted toward the sun; what is known as the “maximum axial tilt” with the sun rising at its most north easterly point on the horizon and setting at its most north westerly point – in the northern hemisphere.

Being an Eco Kid
The reason I want to be an Eco kid is because, I want to help protect the environment. Ways I can help protect the environment is by saving the earth is by; being one with nature and live a healthy life. The first way of the environment is by recycling, planting trees, cleaning up our neighborhood. When we recycle we will be saving a lot of our marine animals. Animals like the dolphin, turtles and sharks. When we throw plastic in the sea these animals eat the plastic and other garbage that floats around in the seas and oceans. These animals cannot digest plastic or the plastic get stuck in their mouth or throat and the animal dies. Second is by planting more trees. When we plant more trees we will be helping to keep the air clean and we will have oxygen, fruits and vegetables. The trees give us oxygen, which people breathe in and the carbon dioxide we breathe out is taken in by the trees. The trees take in the carbon dioxide, which is poison to human beings and recycles it for us. And these same trees provide us with food – fruits, vegetables and even medicine.

Here comes the Sun
It’s time for some Friday fun, here is a 25 second video of someone driving their new screen door home on a golf cart. For me this video is a reminder of the quirky and charming side San Pedro. Hope you all have a fun weekend planned. For us, the countdown to the San Pedro Lobster Festival Block Party is on. I can’t wait It has always been one of my favorite parties. We finally had a ran free morning, perfect weather for an errand run to town. On the list was paying bills, getting veggies and of course some junk food for later. There was definitely an increase of people out on the streets enjoying the nice weather and so far it has remained a dry day. I still packed my dry bags for camera music player and phone when we went out, just in case. I did not bother with a raincoat, that is a good sign.

YaYa Marin Coleman raised concerns about St. Martin Primary
On August 15, 2012 I received a letter from the Office of the Ombudsman regarding a complaint that I lodged about the Education Board’s failure to act. Enclosed in the envelope was a letter from Sister Barbara Flores, General Manager of Catholic Public Schools, in which she responded to a meeting that the President of St Martins De Porres PTA, Andrea O’Connor and I had with her in February, 2012. It took me the stretch of appealing to the Office of the Ombudsman office seeking assistance to direct Sr. Barbara Flores to respond. She responded almost 6 months after the initial meeting! As I read the letter, I thought it was sent because a response was required, not because any meaningful investigation was conducted. Words cannot express my disappointment born out of the fact that the letter is/ was vague! The letter did not address the concerns we shared. Once again, I am seeking your assistance to request definitive answers for each of the concerns we listed.

International Sources

WKU Team Visits Belize to Develop Research Collaborations, Educational Programs
At the end of May, a group of faculty from WKU’s Department of Geography and Geology and Honors College, in association with the Office of International Programs, visited Belize for a marathon week of meetings with several entities within the country to initiate multiple projects that will provide student and faculty teaching, research and engagement opportunities, as well as develop collaborations and capacity building within the region in the areas of climate change, water resources, karst geoscience, environmental education and sustainability.

Stalagmites & Hieroglyphs: Investigating the Maya Demise
You think you have interesting work, and indeed you may, but chances are it doesn't involve hieroglyphs, fieldwork at a Belize geological site, a 2,000-year-old stalagmite or coordinating a team of diverse experts across oceans to help solve a centuries-old mystery that may hold important lessons for us today. But if this work, which is that of environmental archaeologist Douglas Kennett, sounds a little bit like Indiana Jones, it is in fact, often a slog. For his late 2012 published research related to the role of climate in the collapse of the Classic Maya (300 to 1000 C.E.), his team extracted and analyzed thousands of samples from a 2,000-year-old stalagmite. "It was intensive, intensive work," says the Penn State professor. "In my lab there were students drilling samples 20 to 30 hours a week for a year."

The Garifuna Collective Carry on Andy Palacio’s Legacy
The band is The Garifuna Collective. Its front man was Andy Palacio, who passed away unexpectedly five years ago at the age of 47. Before his death, Palacio and the band were spearheading a resurgence of the Garifuna culture of Belize. Once Andy Palacio died, many wondered if The Garifuna Collective would continue. Well, they have. The band’s first album since Palacio’s passing is called “Ayó.” That means goodbye in the Garifuna language. The album’s dedicated to Andy Palacio and two other band members who’ve died in recent years. It’s The Garifuna Collective’s way of saying that the torch has been passed — and Garifuna music will live on.

John McAfee's Shocking Plunge Back into the Public Eye
Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC), maker of the popular Norton Antivirus software has to be loving the recent video posted by none other than John McAfee, the founder of McAfee, the maker of the other most popular antivirus software. McAfee is the founder, but he hasn’t been associated with the company for 15 years, for reasons soon to be quite clear. Apparently, McAfee was getting a lot of emails from unhappy people who want to know how to take McAfee software off of their computer. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and YouTube are foreign to these emailers, so they did what any resourceful person would do unless they work for the Belize police force: They found John McAfee. McAfee got tired of all of the questions so he made a video. Before we link to the video, here’s the disclaimer: In a world where shocking is no longer shocking, you’re likely to be a bit disturbed by this. The video depicts John McAfee decked out in a Hugh Hefner-style smoking jacket, lighting a cigarette with burning money, and cussing so much that it would be an insult to cussing sailors to say that he’s “cussing like a sailor.” Did we mentioned the barely-dressed women, sexual subject matter, some drugs and for the big finale, gunfire? (Watch the 4:30 minute video if you want the full plotline.) And in case you’re wondering, if you’re looking for the answer to your original question, McAfee has “no idea” how to uninstall the software.

Photo Essay: Disappearing Places
There is all the time in the world. Or is there? For many places on our planet, the clock is ticking. Belize joins a very elite groups of places in the world ... with a photo of South Water Caye

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