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Today's Belize News: July 31, 2013 #469293
07/31/13 05:47 AM
07/31/13 05:47 AM
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The San Pedro Sun

Belize court affirms Maya land rights but strikes out protective orders
In a long-awaited judgement issued yesterday, Belize’s Court of Appeal has affirmed Maya people’s rights to collective land ownership throughout southern Belize. However, in a concerning development, the Court of Appeal struck out court orders requiring that the Government of Belize take specific action to protect those rights. The Maya communities of Toledo, Belize’s southern-most district, rely on the land and its natural resources to preserve their culture and way of life. In 1994, the Government converted an area of nearly 42,000 acres of Maya ancestral land into Government land, the Sarstoon-Temash National Park – without consulting Maya people. The Government then opened Sarstoon-Temash to oil exploration by US Capital Energy Belize Ltd, a wholly owned Belizean subsidiary of American company US Capital Energy Inc, and entered into an agreement with the company for oil exploration. ‘MRG welcomes this further recognition of Maya land rights over their ancestral land in Toledo,’ says Lucy Claridge, Head of Law at Minority Rights Group International (MRG). ‘We remain seriously concerned, however, that the Government has failed to protect these rights – most recently by permitting US Capital Energy to begin exploring for oil on Maya land.’

Delegates of the Costa Maya Pageant busy on the island
Activities relating to the International Costa Maya Festival are fully underway. On Saturday July 27th, Ramon’s Village Resort, the official resort of the delegates Costa Maya Pageant, hosted the annual Noche Tropical on the beach. All eight delegates of the International La Reina de La Costa Maya Pageant were present and entertained the audience. On Monday July 29th, they were back in the spotlight at the SAGA Humane Society benefit function hosted at Fido’s. At the first event, the audience got to see a glimpse of what to expect ahead of the pageant which is schedule for Thursday August 1st. Throughout the course of the night the eight beauty ambassadors took to the stage and gave the audience a taste of their country. The participants got to introduce themselves as well as model in their country’s costume and several attires courtesy of Ramon’s Village and Moondancer boutiques. During the event, entertainment was provided by Maryposa, who also invited the delegates on stage to learn a few moves.

Belize Zoo comments on ocelot incident
To Whom It May Concern: The Belize Zoo would like to address the incident involving a youngster who was bitten by our ocelot, “Ollie”, as this has received much attention. An ocelot is a wild cat, native to Belize, and is considered to be a small-to-medium in size, weighing about 20-25 lbs. To clarify what occurred last Monday at the zoo, please read the points below. Sharon Matola, Founding Director. OCELOT INCIDENT OCCURRING AT THE BELIZE ZOO MONDAY 15 JULY 2013 1. A young boy, approximately ten years old, along with his mother and other family members, visited “Ollie” the ocelot. 2. There were no zookeepers present. The youngster, put his hand inside the ocelot exhibit, seemingly to “pet” the cat. 3. In order to do this, he had to go to the effort of crossing over a wooden barrier, as well as ignoring the small mesh fence, placed there to keep people from putting hands in the exhibit. 4. Having crossed the barrier, and ignoring the other fence precaution, he put his hand in. The ocelot bit his thumb. 5. This was brought to the attention of Animal Management Supervisor, Humberto Wohlers, who applied first aid to the bite immediately.

Ambergris Today

'Bachelorette' Star Jef Holm Celebrates Birthday in Belize
On Tuesday, July 16, 2013, Bachelorette reality star Jef Holm tweeted that he was off to Belize to celebrate his birthday (July 23), by Friday, July 26, he was rubbing elbows with the eight contestants of the Miss Costa Maya Pageant at Elvi’s Kitchen, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Besides celebrating his birthday in San Pedro, he may have also been looking for a wife. Jef had kept a low profile with the media in the United States after he ended his engagement to Emily Maynard. They were engaged a few weeks after the show finished airing, but quickly ended their relationship. Ambergris Today’s cameras caught Jef Holms while he dined at the world famous Elvi’s Kitchen in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye where he took the opportunity to mingle with the eight beauty contestants of the Costa Maya Pageant who were being hosted by the restaurant during their popular Maya Buffet Night.

Rotary Club to Donate Water Filters to San Mateo Residents
Rotary Club representatives will be in the community of San Mateo from August 4-6, to train residents and provide Sawyer water filters to those who need them. A donation of $5 BZ is required for each filter. If you live in San Mateo and your drinking water is contaminated, you will be able to get a filter on Monday or Tuesday of next week, (August 5 or 6). There are only about 40 filters left. If you still need one, please ask Miss Glenda to add your name, and contact info, to the list. (She is the nurse who lives in San Mateo.) People on this list will be the first to receive filters.

Ramon’s Village Hosts Costa Maya Noche Tropical
Ramon’s Village, the official resort of the Miss Costa Maya Pageant, was host to the eight contestants of the upcoming Reina de la Costa Maya Pageant for Noche Tropical, on a special night that gave island residents a glimpse of what to expect on pageant night, Thursday, August 1, 2013, the commencement of the Costa Maya Festival. The evening’s entertainment featured the eight beauty delegates modeling island clothing from the Ramon’s Village boutique and that of Moondancer, both sponsors of the pageant. The resort went all out this year by constructing a runway coming off their pier and setting up a complete catwalk for the audience to enjoy. The contestants also showcased cultural clothing from their respective countries, describing their colorful costumes and educating the audience of their significance to their country’s culture. In between fashion segments, entertainment was provided by bellydancer Maryposa who also had the opportunity to teach the contestants some belly dancing moves at the end of the fashion show.

Visually Impaired Teen Dives Belize Blue Hole
After a few delays due to unfavorable weather conditions, fifteen-year-old and visually impaired Rowan Garel became the first blind person to dive the world famous Great Blue Hole of Belize this past weekend, Friday, July 26, 2013. Rowan, who had become a household name in Belize for now climbing the tallest mountain in Belize and walking across the country, this weekend completed his most ambitions and challenging feat yet. With training and assistance from Sea Sports Belize and PADI certified instructor, John Searle, Rowan and his team, Rowan Garel was able to dive one of the world’s most popular sites all in the name of fundraising for the Belize Council of the Visually Impaired (BCVI). All of his challenges have been to support the organization that provides year-round support to children who are blind in Belize.

Misc Belizean Sources

“The Worst Part Was Leaving”
While I never stayed in the guesthouse, I did spend a lot of time there, which was great. I loved having a place where I could hang with Harri and the other guests that wasn’t a hotel room or a restaurant. I had a lot of fun spending time there. I am a pescatarian (a vegetarian but I eat fish and other seafood) and there was never a meal on the island where I thought that I didn’t get enough to eat. All of the food was amazing (thank you Adrianne and Brittany)! There was nothing better than eating a fish that was caught earlier that day (delicious!!!). One of my favorite parts of this trip was that while I was having a blast diving, I was also helping with the reef conservation. Everyone did a great job teaching us about all of the different parts of conservation and explaining why we were doing it. Of course lionfish spearing was one of my favorite parts because not only were we able to help remove them from the reef, but they were delicious to eat. It was the best of both worlds.

New CRFM project to launch electronic policy on Caribbean fisheries
Fisheries stakeholders in Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) will have the opportunity for stronger dialogue, under a newly initiated, regional project which aims to tangibly fortify their capacity to contribute to the development of policy directed at improving fisheries earnings and raising the standards of living of fisher folk. The CRFM had approached the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Co-operation ACP-EU (CTA) a few months ago, for support to implement the new CRFM Communication Strategy, which seeks to increase the use of information and communication technology to, among other things, boost efficiency and productivity in the fisheries sector. In line with that request, the CTA has awarded a Euro 84,817 (USD112,480) contract to the CRFM. The one-year agreement provides for policy dialogue on fisheries issues in the Caribbean through the use of online knowledge platform. CRFM Executive Director Milton Haughton signed for the Caribbean organisation, while CTA Director Michael Hailu signed on behalf of the donor. In inking the agreement, CRFM and the CTA acknowledged that there is the need for further discussion beyond face-to-face meetings on Blue economic issues – exploring ways to bring abundance to the region out of existing resources.

Benque Marimba Academy and William Harvey
Musical interlude. William Harvey played some with the Benque Marimba Academy at the Benque House of Culture last week, "Mr William Harvey performing along with the Benque Marimba Academy players."

Channel 7

Taxi Man Murdered In Orange Walk
Orange Walk Town taxi driver Hugo Moreno was found dead today. The 42 year old was last seen on Saturday at 12:40 pm when he left home to pick up his daughter at a local cultural event. She got home, but he never did, and his wife, 41 year old Magda Moreno reported him missing on Monday afternoon. The search for him ended this afternoon when his car, a white Dodge was found in a sandpit in at the back of Carmelita Village – just outside Orange Walk Town. His body was found stuffed inside the trunk – and the vehicle was then set on fire. It is a particularly brutal murder, and a rare one for Orange Walk, which had not reported a murder since October of last year.

Vega Dismisses Lands Beef With “Sis’”
Last week we told you about the ugly situation that had flared up at the Lands Department, culminating in the CEO of the Ministry of Housing being shown out of the building by armed security. It got to that point because of a few dozen abandoned properties at the Fresh Pond Housing Community near Burrell Boom. They were supposedly set aside to be distributed among party faithful who were both low income and did not yet own a house or land. But, even though the structures are wrecks, it’s good high land, and it seems, some UDP connected folks, had their eyes on the 50 or so lots, and arranged to get possession of ten of the properties using the names of relatives. One of those is the Deputy PM’s driver Chris Hendricks, whose brother Marlon Miranda got one of the properties. That happened to be a property that the Prime Minister’s sister, Denise “Sister B “Barrow had been looking at for one of her Queen’s Square constituents. That dispute reached the PM’s ears and brought the whole thing to a head. So where does this leave the Deputy PM? After all, his driver crossed the PM’s sister, who is his political officer in Queen’s Square. We caught him at an event today and while he initially did not to give an interview on that subject, in the end, he downplayed the dispute.

It’s Official, Lizarraga Resigns, Next?
Who will lead the BTB now? That’s after the Chairman of the Board, Ian Lizarraga resigned last night in a letter to Tourism Minister Manuel “Juniour” Heredia. Heredia now has to find his fourth chairman in just over five years – which indicates instability, even as overnight tourism continues to post 10% annual growth. CEO in the Ministry of Tourism Tracey Taeger Panton today told us that a new chairman has not been named and the Minister is consulting with the PM to decide on his new chairman. In the interim, Deputy Chair, Einer Gomez is holding over. And while Herredia is now managing another transition at a tourism Board that has seen three directors, three CEO’s and now it’s fourth Chairman, industry insiders are wondering what led to Lizarraga’s departure. The official reason stated in his letter is that with his new restaurant in Cayo he can’t afford the time – but other information suggests discord within the BTB, and even hint at inappropriate behavior by the outgoing chairman.

Government Getting Ready To Sign Norwegian MOU?
And one of the issues behind that discord might be – what we are told is the imminent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with Norwegian Cruise Line for a cruise facility on Harvest Caye. Multiple sources suggest that it will be signed possibly this week. The MOU that we’ve seen is an initial copy, and some key provisions have since been revised. One provision that remains is that Norwegian would still get 60% of the 7 US dollar head tax. As we understand it, there was some push-back on it from the BTB Board because that body has not been consulted – and the possibility of a cruise facility on southern Belize runs afoul of the National Tourism Master Plan. Government’s key man in the negotiation is Godwin Hulse, who heads a cabinet committee on investment. Despite numerous requests for comment, we’ve been unable to get any word out of him for two weeks. But today we caught him at an event, and here’s what he said:… Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Labor "We have looked at the project in depth and it was a little unfortunate that there were lots of reports that this is happening and that serves to trump up hysteria. Remember first of all this is called negotiation and when you come into Belize - or being the business man I've been forever - if I can get 50 or 100 years concession I will ask for two then we work down and down until we get it. The whole idea - remember I have said, they had to be some standard by which we analyzed these investments.

Did Drunk Driving Case Near Fatal Accident On Western Hwy?
Well known auctioneer Kevin Castillo is recovering from a broken left arm, a fractured ankle and bruises from an airbag deployment after a pickup truck driven by David Medina Jr ran into him yesterday. It happened between miles 25 and 26 on the Western Highway at around 2:00 in the afternoon. Castillo was driving to Belmopan while Medina Jr was heading to the City. An eyewitness said that Medina overtook her and then barreled into Castillo’s lane. Castillo swerved to avoid a head on collision, but Medina’s vehicle still collided with the driver’s side. Medina was flung from the pickup unto the road, which is how he sustained serious head injury. His wife who was following him, rushed him to the Healthcare Partners hospital. Castillo was knocked unconscious and initially trapped inside his vehicle. He was eventually lifted out, and also taken to Belize Health Care Partners for treatment. Medina’s wife told a first responder that her husband was drunk and that is why she was following him, to try and stop him from going fast on the highway – and somehow prevent an accident, which is just what ended up happening.

And Then There Was One, Two Prisoners Caught
Last night we told you about the three teenaged prisoners who escaped from the Wagner’s youth Facility on Sunday night, 17 year old Roque Teul, 17 year old Hector Garcia and 19 year old Wilmer Guzman. Well, this afternoon at around 2:30 someone called police and reported that they had seen the men walking on the road between miles 27 and 28. According to reports, a motorist on the highway spotted the three prisoners moving together and alerted the authorities. The other two prisoners Roqael Tiul and Wilmer Guzman managed to escape in the nearby bushes. Hattieville police and prison authorities responded immediately and managed to capture one of them, Hector Garcia, while the other two ran off and eluded authorities. Garcia was scheduled to be deported to Guatemala yesterday.

Labour Department Criticizes Kolbe
And while prison authorities expect to find the other two prisoners, we’d also expect there to be some disciplinary measures against the guards who were changing shifts when the trio escaped. But, the prison bosses would be well advised to thread carefully before they fire anyone since the Labour Department just finished a report on firings at Kolbe. It all springs from the Belize Central Prison Coalition which alleged that there were arbitrary mass firings from the prison, and that there were other labour irregularities. So, Labour Minister Godwin Hulse ordered Labour Commissioner Ivan Williams to conduct a thorough investigation. That was handed a week ago and found that during the 6 months ending June 19 2013, staff was reduced by 33 people, 12.3 %. Commissioner Williams found that three staffers were terminated on the instructions of the Director of the Prison, Mrs. Taheera Ahmad based on hearsay, and without due process and fairness. He also found that in some cases there was quote “an abuse of the termination process”, end quote and workers were never told of the real reason for their termination nor were they given an opportunity to respond. In other instances, text messages were used to communicate important work-related matters. The commissioner found that KOLBE quote “failed to live up to its obligation to do all that is necessary for the proper management of the employees” end quote. He was speaking specifically to the lack of clear job description and terms and conditions of employment. That 12 page report is pretty tough on KOLBE, and though he’s had it for a week, today the minister told us, he is still studying it:

The Future Of Your Garbage
For over 3 years, Belize City residents have been plagued by the conditions at the Garbage Dump Site at mile 3 on the Western Highway. It is a topic which made the news very regularly when the situation got out of control, but tonight, the news is that the dump site is now a model of proper waste disposal. Today, it was reopened by the Solid Waste Management Authority after being complete remodeled and 7News was there. Daniel Ortiz has that report. Daniel Ortiz reporting The Belize City Dump site has been a huge problem for years. You may remember that consistently since 2009, the site has been a health hazard because of recurring fires. Gilroy Lewis - Project Director, Solid Waste Management Authority "If you will recall, here where we stand is the great Belize City dump site. A place where fires became an annual event; an event that we seemed unable to control and perceived as inevitable every time the Easter comes around. Every time when it's dry season, we have some tremendous fires out here, the media is here, even in helicopters and so on and so on; that's changed now with the Belize transfer station."

Belize Waste Management Plan, A Regional Leader
And so, while all the garbage from the City only makes a temporary stop at the Transfer Station, its final destination is at the Mile 24 Regional Landfill. It is a new facility, at which work has been ongoing for some time now, and today, it was officially opened. We attended the ceremony, where there were several speakers who explained how the country’s garbage will be handled. One of them, the representative from IDB, told the gathering that this landfill puts Belize ahead of all the other countries in the region when dealing with waste management. Javier Grau Benaiges - Representative, IDB "Prior to this project there were no sustainable landfills in Belize, however, with today's inauguration - approximately 50% of Belize's population will benefit from proper disposal in a modern sustainable landfill. This puts Belize at the head of other countries such as Nicaragua, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and the Dominican Republic and Belize. This is consistent with the master plan of Belize for 2013 - Belize is now solving one of its main constraints in tourism growth and until now the solid waste management has made an impact in Belize's perception as a country, however, this perception is now going to change."

KHMH: No More Bugging Buckley?
Twice now, Belize City resident, Steven Buckley has come to 7News to complain that the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital has been on his back about medical bills which haven’t been paid. He claims that the former Commissioner of Police had pledged to him that the Police Department would take care of the bill due to the circumstances of his injury. Viewers may remember that he was shot by an on-duty police officer, who was later criminally charged for the wrongful shooting. Today, we spoke to the Chairlady of the KHMH Board, who told us how the hospital is now handling that situation: Chandra Nisbet-Cansino - Chairlady, KHMH Board "We are aware of the situation - we have a credit system that is collecting on our behalf, one of our problems at KHMH is that less than 50% of the hospital bills are paid and as hard as it is to say that we need money to run the hospital - it is part of the reason we are in the situation that we are in today. I believe that the credit masters system, issued a letter to Stephen Buckley as a person on the list of persons that owe and since then, I believe that the Karl Heusner has asked that they hold back on that request until after his situation goes to court - because it's a pending court issue and we understand that. I think there was also an allegation made that Karl Heusner is withholding medical information because he has not paid his bill - that is no so, that is not true. The court has a process that it goes through to request information, I believe that has been done and the information has been given. If there is anything else that they need I am sure that the Karl Heusner will be more than willing to provide the necessary information."

KHMH Looking At PAHO Report
And while we had the opportunity, we asked the Chairlady about the PAHO report which was released last month. It’s been quite a while since the Hospital gave an update on how they will deal with findings of that report, which gave a pretty clear idea on how the neonates died while inside the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. We asked what the Board is doing about it, and the Chairlady told us that, unfortunately, they’ve not reached a final position yet: Chandra Nisbet-Cansino - Chairlady, KHMH Board "We are not working at the pace that probably the public would want us to work, a lot of people that are engaged in the process - I think first and foremost we want the public to know that the hospital is as safe as a hospital can be. We don't want you to fear anything - the board is engaged, we're having some conversations and making some decisions. Unfortunately, we haven't discussed our decision with all the relevant persons so we can't give you more information than that. I can tell you that we will be issuing a release very shortly of what has been done, what will be done and possibly to answer more of the public's questions." Daniel Ortiz "Tell us about how seriously the board is taking the PAHO report?"

The Other Side Of The Snake Story
On Thursday, 7News showed you the 27 boa constrictors which were found in our Channel 7 office, and we also shared the comments by our snake catching neighbor. Well, the experts at the Belize Zoo contacted us to say that he made come erroneous comments, and in fairness to wildlife they would like to set the record straight. The first is that boas are not venomous, and that they are non-aggressive for the most part. And how did they give us this education? Of course, It was only by allowing us to meet resident snake ambassador, Bal Boa, who’s dealt with thousands of humans in her time at the Zoo. Here’s what the Zoo’s environmental educator told us about Bal Boa, and about her species in general- Jamal Andrewin - Environmental Educator, Belize Zoo "Bal Boa would probably have me out of a job if she would be able to speak. She's our resident Boa educator/ambassador for her species - she meets about 13,000 school kids we get here a year at the zoo and her job is to be their meet and greet as they come into the zoo. We give them an introduction to the park then they head there and meet Bal Boa and her job is to educate them - the most misconception for Belizeans is that all snakes are venomous and all of them bite and that they are all dangerous.

Finnegan On Football, Part 2
He may be minister of housing, but Michael Finnegan is also a football authority. Last night he discussed the strengths and weaknesses of Belize’s Gold Cup team – and tonight, he offers some historical perspective on their accomplishment. As you might guess, he thinks the players of his generation would have fared better at the world cup, but, first, we’ll let him explain why he doesn’t buy the argument that playing at altitude and travelling seven thousand miles affected the team. Jules Vasquez "These players were playing in unfamiliar grounds, at altitude, unfamiliar food, they had to fly great distances - like you have to take a five hour flight from Utah and you're playing within 36 hours." Hon. Michael Finnegan - Football Historian "I don't buy that - what we are trying to do, we are trying to excuse our way out of what happened in North America. I don't want to excuse our way of what happened out there. When I was involved in football, when we leave from Belize City - we leave in the back of a truck and from here to Cayo it's 'bang, bang, bang' until you reach because the road was so bad. How long does it take you from here to Cayo now?" Jules Vasquez "One and a half hours, 90 minutes."

Sandhill’s Serious Upgrade
Sandhill has a new community center. The largest village in Belize Rural North got a 300 hundred thousand dollar facility. At the opening yesterday, we found out how it will benefit the community: Nellie Trench - Financial Coordinator, Social Investment Fund "The facility will benefit over four hundred students who prior to the project had to travel all the way to Belize City to do their school research due to the lack of computer and internet resources in the village. The project was implemented by the Social Investment Fund and financed by the Government of Belize at a total cost of $300,246." Hon. Edmund Castro - Area Representative, Belize Rural North "For the first time we have a nice beautiful library for the children, we have an internet spot for them - we are planning to do an internet area whereby even when they are playing football and play basketball, they will have access to wifi."

Channel 5

KHMH Board to make decision about entobacter outbreak
That’s good news for Buckley…. But there is also some news for the grieving parents of newborns who died at the K.H.M.H. as a result of a bacteria outbreak in [...]

Two escapees caught, one Guatemalan still at large
Two of the three escaped prisoners are back behind bars at the Belize Central Prison. Around two-thirty this afternoon near mile twenty-eight on the George Price Highway, all three men [...]

Minister receives report on irregular firings at Kolbe
Following reports of labour infractions including unfair terminations at the privately managed Belize Central Prison, a report was commissioned by Minister of Labour Godwin Hulse. The man chosen to investigate [...]

Solid waste transfer stations open up across country
The ghastly dump site at the eastern entrance of the City has been transformed into a transfer station for waste that is produced in homes, businesses, factories and just about [...]

‘Like a lee breeze’ absolutely no corruption in visa scandal
In early June, Belizean, Carlos Murga, was detained by Cuban authorities after he flew into Jose Marti Airport carrying Chinese passports with Belizean visas. It was suspected at the time [...]

Indian national busted with fake visa
An Indian national who arrived in the country on Monday via Taca at the Philip Goldson International Airport was detained soon after he set foot in the Jewel.  Instead of [...]

Burglar busted in the act in Maxboro
A burglar who was caught in the act of breaking into a home may find his next residence to be the Central Prison if he is found guilty. The owner [...]

Canadian job placement agency opens up shop in Belize
A Canadian company is currently recruiting Belizean students to study in Canada. Actyl first gained attention last November when its representatives came to Belize looking for persons to work in [...]

Goalkeeper, Woodrow West considers options
The Jaguars, Woodrow West and Ian Gaynair, are still in the United States of America spending time with their families. West and Gaynair were honored at the final game of [...]

A camp to keep you healthy if living with Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the deadliest diseases. The prevalence rate among Belizeans is roughly at thirteen percent, which means that at least forty thousand persons are living with the condition.  [...]

Amazing! Exciting! Interesting! Because they are Superstars!
Tickets are all sold out for tonight’s episode of Be the Next Superstar. The show starts with eight hopeful Superstars and will narrow down to six performers after two are [...]


Two of Three Escaped Prisoners Captured
Authorities have recaptured two of the three prison inmates who escaped on Sunday night from the prison facility on the Burrell Boom/Hattieville Road in the Belize District. 17-year-old, Hector Garcia was captured between miles 27 and 28 on the George Price Highway at around two thirty ...

Transfer Station for Waste Opens In Belize City
For years the mile three dumpsite off the George Price has been an eye sore, an inconvenience with combustions resulting in uncontrolled fires, and an overall health hazard for people on the periphery of the site. But that is now a thing of the past because the new Belize City Garbage Trans...

Police Constable Missing in Northern Belize
A police officer stationed in Corozal has been reported missing. Reporter Dalila Ical has more in this report. DALILA ICAL “Corozal Police is asking the public’s assistance in locating Police Constable Martin Bustillos, a 27-year-old officer attached to the Corozal Polic...

Motorcycle Driver Falls Asleep and Crashes on Highway
Two persons were hospitalized following a motorcycle accident on Monday night in Belmopan. Correspondent Fem Cruz has the details. FEM CRUZ “According to 17-year-old, Kevin Alvarado, a student of Cotton Tree Village in the Cayo District on Monday, July 29 around 8:45, he was t...

NGO In Northern Belize Appeals To Locals to Read and Understand Gender Policy
For the past few weeks we have seen hundreds of Belizeans come out in support of the pro-constitution march led by Belize Action and Belize Can. The two organizations led marches in all districts in a show of protest against the gender policy in its present form. Now an organization i...

Invalid Cheque Used to Pay for Six Thousand Dollars of Poultry
Police are investigating a case in which someone made off with over six thousand dollars worth of products from Caribbean Chicken. The cashier at Caribbean Chicken on New Captain Eiley Street in Belize City told Police in early April she received a telephone call from a male person who iden...

Well Known Auctioneer Involved in Traffic Incident
A traffic accident on the George Price Highway on Monday afternoon has left two men hospitalized. Police say they responded to the scene of a traffic accident between miles 25 and 26 on the George Price Highway where they saw a red four door pickup truck with its front portion and windshiel...

Mason Fails to Meet Bail for Burglary Charge
Forty-seven year old Valentine Sanchez, a mason from Sandhill, was charged with burglary and a mischievous act when he appeared in court today. Sanchez pled not guilty to the charges. He was offered a bail of three thousand dollars and his case was adjourned until September 27. Sanchez was unable...

Indian Student Fined and Deported For False Visa
Twenty-two year old Indian student Lovepreet Singh Dhaliwal, who entered Belize with visa permit that was not genuine, was fined two thousand dollars today by Magistrate Leslie Hamilton after he pled guilty to attempting to use a permit not issued by lawful authority. Magistrate Hamilton ordered ...

BREAKING NEWS - Taxi Driver Found Dead
Reports reaching Love News are that 42-year-old, Ernesto Moreno of Orange Walk Town has been found dead earlier today in Carmelita Village. Moreno was reported missing by his wife, 41-year-old, Magda Moreno. The wife told Police that her Ernesto had left home on Saturday to do his taxi ...


Charred Body Of Missing Taxi Driver Found Inside The Trunk Of His Car
He was reported missing by his wife over the weekend and by three this afternoon the charred body of 42 year old Hugo Moreno was found inside the trunk of his white taxi car which was also badly scorched. Details into the death of the taxi driver from Orange Walk Town are sketchy since police are still investigating. But what we can tell you is that Moreno’s car was found less than a mile out of the Village of Carmelita, off the Sand Pit Road in some bushes. The last time his wife spoke to him was on Saturday shortly before midnight. Tonight we can safely say that Orange Walk has recorded its first suspected murder case since October 2012. Irvin Aragon Reports. Irvin Aragon - Reporting Magda Moreno, Wife of Deceased “Llego la policía allí en el negocio del pastel y me dijeron que llegaron a saber que él llevaba unos pescadores e hizo un viaje y eso es la noticia que tengo hasta ahorita y los pescadores iban para rumbo a Corozal solo eso yo sé.” This interview was conducted with Magda Moreno, wife of the now deceased Hugo Moreno, just a few moments before she received the tragic news that the charred body of her husband was found inside the trunk of his taxi car. The burnt vehicle was discovered a little less than a mile from the village of Carmelita near the sand pit road in some bushes.

Missing Police Constable Gets In Contact With Police Department
While there are more questions than answers surrounding the death of 42 year old Hugo Moreno, the family of Police Constable Martin Bustillos is worried sick because he has been missing for eight days. Few were the details we could reveal last night since the police report merely mentioned that Bustillos, who is attached to the Corozal Police Formation, has been missing since July 23rd. Tonight; though, we have more information on his disappearance. Victor Castillo reports. Victor Castillo – Reporting Today marks eight days that 27 year old Police Constable #227 Martin Bustillos has been missing. CTV3 News understands that Bustillos was scheduled to report to work on Tuesday July 23rd, 2013 at the Corozal Police Station, but he was a no show. Superintendent Andrews Ramirez- O.C , Corozal Police Department “The last time he reported on duty was on July 19th however, he went into day off the 20th , 21st , 22nd and he has not reported to work since because last week schedule was from 7am to 4pm so whole of last week he did not appear for duty and there is no communication because he is not in possession of any cell phone, we made contact with mother and father because he is originally from San Estevan and no information was copied from that side and we made checks because he resides with his common-law wife in Santa Clara, likewise we have not receive any information from them.”

BSCFA Falls Into Non-compliance , Corrective Measures Are Taken
If you are a person that follows the Sugar Industry closely, then you already know that Fair Trade and non-compliances don’t mix. Fair Trade is a certification which allows our Belizean sugar to command premium prices in foreign markets. But it’s not a certification handed out at random; in fact, there are a number of rules and regulations that need to be followed. In 2008 the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association joined the Fair Trade movement and just over a year after they were suspended for a litany of non- compliances with the Fairtrade standard including mismanagement and lack of accountability. On January 8th 2010, the suspension was lifted and the BSCFA was re-certified after they managed to rectify the non-conformities. Since then it has been smooth sailing for the BSCFA, that is, until now. The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association was recently audited by members of FLOCERT and the results of the audit were not good as the organization received 11 non-compliances. Alfredo Ortega- Chairman BSCFA, COM “Los non-compliances que nos encontró el auditor es que a nivel de branch no se buscó información o las minutas de que se han estado llevando acabo juntas y no es de que no se están llevando a cabo juntas se han estado llevando acabo juntas pero ahora como ya no tenemos un branch office como estábamos al inicio del programa entonces pues eso ha puesto limitante pues tu sabes los branch chairman no tenemos mucho conocimiento en bookeeping y filing y esas cosas entonces pues ya cuando vino la auditoria el audito a nivel de branch diferente a como se había estado haciendo anterior el vino a ver qué es lo que está haciendo la comitiva y en eso conseguimos un failing grade que nos vino como un non-compliance.

Two Men Placed Behind Bars For Having Sex With A Minor
Two men accused of committing the crime of Carnal Knowledge are tonight behind bars pending charges. The duo was detained after a 15 year old minor from the Village of Concepcion in the Corozal District, visited the police station in the company of her mother and reported that sometime in the month of October 2012, she had sexual intercourse with a 19 year old laborer of San Narciso Village, Corozal. The minor further stated that she also had sexual intercourse with an 18 year old student of Libertad Village, Corozal, on at least 5 different occasions dating back to May 19th of this year. As mentioned, both men have been detained pending charges of unlawful carnal knowledge.

Case Against Matthew Williams Is Adjourned
Today the case against well-known Orange Walk businessman Matthew Williams was once again brought up at the Orange Walk Magistrates Court. But the case was adjourned yet again, this time to October 9th 2013. Back in June of 2012, Williams was charged for two counts of unlawful possession of passports after the Gang Suppression Unit searched his house located on #236 Smithsonian Street and found four Belizean Passports, 1 Panamanian and 1 Spanish passport in his bedroom. One of the Belizean passports, belonging to Audrey Matura Shepherd, had been tampered with as her picture was removed and replaced with that of another woman. Shepherd, will stand as a witness for the Crown Council. Her passport was stolen from her vehicle in 2008 and on June 11th 2012 it turned up at the home of Williams.


Manhunt for three escaped prisoners
Sometime Sunday night, three prisoners escaped from the Belize Central Prison. CEO of the Kolbe Foundation Earl Jones told us more. Earl Jones – CEO Kolbe Foundation: On Sunday the 28th of July, 2013, we had an escape from the prison about 7:10 pm. ...

Taiwan helps establish Disaster Management Information System
Belize and the Republic of China (Taiwan) have long shared close ties of friendship and cooperation, resulting in financial support a wide range of national interests. On Monday, that partnership extended, as Belize became the recipient of a grant funding to establish a Disaster Management Information System. The system...

APAMO says Senator Lisel Alamilla is a threat to protective areas.
Representatives of the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO) today spoke to the press about the controversy surrounding the signing of co-management agreements with the Government of Belize. Four of its members, it charges, have been made to sign the agreements under duress of losing important funding and...

14 year old accidentally shot his 10 year old cousin
Lately, police have been cracking down on gun related violence, by taking weapons off the street. But last week, one landed in the hands of a 14 year old, who accidentally shot his 10 year old cousin Deon Samuels Jr. It happened in Ladyville, right behind the Ladyville Police...

Couple threatened in San Pedro
A couple in San Pedro may be able to breathe had a bit lighter tonight after their alleged aggressors were placed behind bars. The couple was asleep on Saturday night, when around 9:30 they were awakened by three men, standing outside their home. The husband then went outside, and...

Near-fatal collision on Philip Goldson Highway
A Belizean man is tonight in Chetumal Mexico undergoing treatment following a road accident over the weekend. The near fatal collision took place a little after 3 on Saturday afternoon on the Philip Goldson Highway. Heading toward the northern border, were driver Tessa Owdker, Judge...

CAPSS holds its 24th biennial conference
The Caribbean Associations of Principals of Secondary Schools (CAPSS) held its 24th biennial conference at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel last week which concluding with a closing ceremony on Friday night and an award banquet in commemoration of exceptional teachers in the Caribbean. Among those awarded was Belizean National...

Family of six remanded to prison
After 3 nights in lock down at the Belize City Queen Street Police Department, a family of 6 including a mother, her common-law husband, and their 4 sons, were all remanded to prison after they were arraign on three criminal offenses....

PlusNews tours the Placencia Penninsula
Last week, we showed you day 1 of PlusNews’ coverage of a media familiarization tour hosted by the Belize Tourism Board. The purpose of the trip says the BTB, was to have the local media experience what the foreign press and travel agents do when they...

Rowan Garel conquered the Blue Hole
Rowan Garel, the visually impaired, but adventurous teenager, conquered the world’s famous Blue Hole. It was months in the making and on Friday, Rowan cheered on by a crowd of supporters, completed his dive for charity at the Blue Hole....

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Summer Splash Bash This Weekend
Palapa Gardens, Aug 3 & 4

NOTICE From the Village Council
No Driving of Golf Carts on beach between EZ-Boy Tours and Palapa Gardens

Re: Today's Belize News: July 31, 2013 [Re: Marty] #469294
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More News: Scroll up from here


She said police invaded her North Creek Road home and beat her up, fracturing her arm in three places A woman told Amandala this morning that she is suffering with a dislocated shoulder, torn ligaments and fractured bones in her arm in three places, as well as pain in various parts of her body. She also told us that she was not given the doctor’s report, which was given to the police. Cherry Anderson, 55, told Amandala that at about 6:30 Friday morning, July 26, she was ‘roughed up’ and beaten in her home on North Creek Road by police, then she was handcuffed and arrested. Anderson said that she was taken out of her house naked, but before being taken downstairs, a blouse was thrown over her head, and she was put into the pan of the police mobile unit — allegations that the police have since denied. In the pan of the police vehicle, according to Anderson, clothes were put on her because she was unable to dress herself because of her injuries.

Musa’s deed “was illegal, void and contrary to public policy:” CCJ. Only parliament can regulate and alter taxation, the CCJ stated The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)—Belize’s final appellate court—has declined a request by BCB Holdings Limited and the Belize Bank to enforce against the Government of Belize, a US$44 million arbitral award—plus 3.38% interest—which the parties had won from the London Court of International Arbitration back in 2009. The legal battle has its genesis in a settlement deed that the Musa administration had signed with the Ashcroft group back in 2005, as a trade-off for the Ashcroft group to withdraw litigation against the Government of Belize in their dispute over Belize Telemedia Limited and the buy-back arrangements. At 2:00 on Friday afternoon, a panel of five judges of the Trinidad-based court dropped the bombshell, announcing that “…the deed was illegal, void and contrary to public policy and Caribbean courts have an obligation to strike down executive action that undermines the authority of the legislature. For these reasons, the Court found that the enforcement of the Award should be refused…” The Court stated that the settlement deed purported to alter and regulate taxation; but under the Belize Constitution and statutes this could only validly be done by Parliament.

Belize Central Prison officials are presently investigating the circumstances surrounding the escape of three inmates from the Wagner’s Youth Facility who seized the opportunity to slip away from the juvenile facility located inside the Kolbe Foundation compound at around 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. Reports are that the prisoners capitalized on the fact that the guards were somewhat distracted since there is usually a shift change at the same time, and made good their escape into the night. They have been identified as Wilmar Guzman, 16, who is from San Juan Village in the Stann Creek Valley area and is serving a 6-year prison sentence for theft; Roque Teul, 17, a Guatemalan, serving a 5-year sentence for an unlicensed firearm; and Hector Garcia ,17, also a Guatemalan, who was incarcerated for illegal entry and was actually scheduled to be deported back to his home country today, Monday.

Even though police found nothing in their house or property, they were charged for drugs, gun and ammo found in neighbouring church roof On Friday, July 26, 2013, members of the Gang Suppression Unit descended on Victoria Street at the Jones’ residence where a thorough search was conducted on the premises and inside the house. And although nothing incriminating was found on the Jones’ premises or inside their house, the attention of the GSU was drawn to an adjoining property, where, tucked away in the roof of the building, police found a .38 revolver, (8) 9mm live rounds and five parcels of suspected cannabis which amounted to 619 grams, or 1.36 pounds. The GSU said that the slugs of the 9mm rounds, which are bigger than the .380 rounds, were all filed and adapted to be fired by the .380 pistol. The find came after 3 hours of an intensive search of the area on Victoria Street. But the story isn’t so much about what was found, but where it was found – in the roof of a church! Today, even though nothing incriminating was found at the Jones’ residence, the Jones’ family nevertheless was brought to court facing charges of firearm possession, ammunition possession and drug trafficking, all stemming from the search that was made on Friday.

Wade allegedly had sexual intercourse with a female minor, 12, in April 2010. Today, Maxwell Wade, 21, a resident of Ladyville, was acquitted of two counts of carnal knowledge after a nine-member jury returned unanimous not guilty verdicts. Wade is alleged to have had sexual intercourse with a female minor, 12, twice between April 1, 2010 and April 30, 2010. According to the minor, now 15, in April of 2010, she went to Wade’s house in Ladyville, and after watching the television for a short time, Wade kissed her. They then went into the bedroom and she asked him to play the keyboard and sing a song for her, which he did. After Wade serenaded her, they both got undressed, Wade put on a condom, and they engaged in sexual intercourse. The minor told the court that after 30 minutes, she asked Wade to stop because it was hurting her. They both took separate baths and returned to the living room, where, after preparing something in the kitchen, Wade again had sexual intercourse with her.

Three (3) games were played in Flowers Bank yesterday in the 2013 Belize Rural Female Softball Tournament. There are 9 teams in the tournament: Lords Bank Sunrise (Lords Bank), Arrows Reloaded (Bermudian Landing), UB Jaguars, Butter Cup Uprising (Butter Cup), Ladyville Rising Star (Ladyville), Mell’s United (Double Head Cabbage), Village Gyal (Rancho Dolores), Easy Does It (Flowers Bank), and St. Paul’s (St. Paul’s Bank). In game 1 yesterday, Easy Does It certainly didn’t take it easy on Village Gyal, beating them by a whopping 25-1 score. Winning pitcher was Margaret Hendy, and the loss went to Angie Smith. In game 2, it was Buttercup over Arrows Reloaded, 15-4, with Tricia Flores picking up the win for Buttercup, while Christine Brackett got the loss. The last match of the day was a thriller, and it was Mel’s United getting the 9-8 nod over UB Jaguars. The winning pitcher was Annette Morey, and the loss was charged to Herlette Clarke.

The Belize District Volleyball Tournament continued with games in the Female (F), Male (M) and Interoffice/Firms (Fr) categories on Thursday and Saturday of last week at the Belize Elementary auditorium. The opener on Thursday, July 25, was the Female Championship Game 2, and saw (F) Moen Stars defeating Lady Jaguars in 5 grueling sets, 25-23, 17-25, 34-32, 22-25, 16-14. That was followed by a Firms match, as (Fr) Scotia Bank edged BEL, 25-23, 25-21. The action started on Saturday with the Female Championship Game 3, and this time it was (F) Lady Jaguars outlasting Moen Stars in 5 sets, 25-22, 23-25, 20-25, 25-18, 15-10. Two Firms games followed. (Fr) Simon Quan dropped Police, 25-20, 25-23; and (Fr) Belize Bank crushed First Caribbean Bank, 25-16, 25-13. The nightcap was a Male encounter, as (M) Rebels defeated Simon Quan Dragons in identical straight sets, 25-22, 25-22, 25-22.

MR. GAPI: Editorial
Powerful indicators, including his outright convention defeat of Patrick Faber earlier this year, followed by rosewood, Noh Mul, and now Fresh Pond, point to the fact that Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar “Gapi” Vega has surged dramatically in clout. Vega came out of the March 2012 general elections as somewhat of a UDP scapegoat, because he lost three out of the four Orange Walk District seats to the PUP’s Johnny Briceño, defending only his own Orange Walk North constituency. As late as 11 p.m. on general election night, it appeared that the incumbent UDP, which had been expecting a big victory over a seemingly confused PUP, was about to lose a shocker to the blue. In the aftermath of the narrow UDP escape, the smart money said the big disappointment had been Gapi’s performance in his home district. One of the big seats which came in late to save the UDP, however, had been that of Belize Rural North’s Edmond Castro, and Castro had been an area representative who had been disgraced by Prime Minister Dean Barrow and sent to the back bench. Not only that, Castro was being challenged by a talkative PUP lawyer who exuded all kinds of confidence – Arthur Saldivar. Castro, nevertheless, won big. He won big because Gapi Vega had his back. The man who was seen as having bested Gapi in the Orange Walk District, Johnny Briceño, had been the PUP Leader from March of 2008 until late 2011. During his PUP leadership, Briceño had had to spend and borrow millions to sustain the PUP Opposition. The two kingpins of the PUP from 1996 to 2008 – Said Musa and Ralph Fonseca, had wanted Francis Fonseca to become PUP Leader, but Briceño defeated him in a leadership convention. The sources of PUP financing which Musa/Fonseca controlled, essentially became closed off to the Briceño leadership, which led finally to Johnny’s resignation as PUP Leader in late October of 2011, just four months or so before general elections.

(The Belize Weekly Newsletter No. 2 of 1965 – up to January 10, 1965: Published by the Government Information Service, Belize City) During September of last year, government concluded negotiations with Shell for prospecting licenses over offshore areas in this country, including the Turneffe, Lighthouse Reef, and Glovers Reef areas. The company is to make preliminary explorations prior to drilling for oil. The announcement from the Ministry of Natural Resources last week said the essential part of this exploration is that of seismic work which consists of firing small explosive charges in the sea and registering their reaction on instruments made for this specific purpose. The lines on which these charges will be set off are about five miles apart so that large areas will remain untouched. The release emphasized that this method of oil exploration has been used all over the world in offshore areas, especially in places like the Gulf of Mexico, the coast of Louisiana, Texas and Mexico. This method was also used by the Phillips Petroleum Company up to two years ago in this country in the offshore areas of the Toledo and Stann Creek Districts. Experience has shown both abroad and in this country that the amount of fish killed by the explosives in this process is negligible, and that there has not been any apparent damage to fishing grounds or reefs wherever this method has been used.

— by William W. Schmidt Dear Sir, In your editorial of July 28 “Recolonialism,” you state Belizeans are living in a world of make believe. Belizeans have lost control of their destiny. The will of the people is disrespected repeatedly. I am submitting an article which demonstrates what you are saying. The Toledo Association of Village Councils upon the request of their members provided a strong letter of support for the tried and proven Toledo Eco Tourism Association (TEA) Village Guesthouse Eco Trail Program, providing why they believe the GOB Min. of T and C and the BTB, the NGO‘s working in Toledo and the private businesses should support the Toledo People‘s Eco Park Plan for the development of profitable community-based eco tourism and other businesses in the villages. The BTIA is the only significant NGO in Toledo who did not sign in support of the poor people‘s plan. The BTIA runs the show in Toledo; the majority of the members are foreign born. The TEA has been given a series of 6 shows on “Developing Toledo” TV show after PG TV news. We have had 4 shows already. This week Thursday night 6:30 on Channel 22 Ms.Leila Vernon, our Queen of Brukdown music, will be raising hell about this unfair discrimination.

Goal of $100,000 for BCVI not yet met... After conquering Victoria Peak and walking across the country from the Benque Viejo border to Belize City, Rowan Garel, 13, the teenage hero who is visually impaired, has performed another feat. This time, he dived in the world-famous Blue Hole, located in the Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Garel conducted the dive on Friday, July 26, accompanied by his supporting staff. He went down to depths of more than 40 feet, but not to the bottom of the Blue Hole, which plunges hundreds of feet below. Garel and his team were trained by Sea Sport Belize to prepare them for the dive. Dive instructor John W. Searle said that information was first given to them in a classroom setting. They were then taken to practice in a pool before they were taken to the open sea, and along the way Garel was confident. Searle told Amandala that Garel’s dive would be successful, since he did well throughout the training, up to his certification. Carla Ayers Musa, BCVI’s communications officer, who also went down on the dive with Garel, told Amandala that they would not have been allowed to dive if they were not trained and equipped properly. However, the regulations, based on Garel’s age, only permitted him to go down to 40 to 60 feet, although recreational divers go down to as deep as 130 feet.

On Thursday, the Court of Appeal delivered a significant ruling in the Maya Land Rights dispute with the Government of Belize. That decision also impacts other cases pending resolution by Belize’s judiciary. Whereas the disputes come under the general umbrella of customary land rights, more specific issues such as oil drilling inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park (STNP) have recently taken the front-burner. Although Thursday’s Court of Appeal decision affirmed Maya ancestral land rights, it set aside certain orders that the Supreme Court had made to give effect to those rights. Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay is the attorney representing the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) in the legal dispute with the Government of Belize over plans by US Capital Energy to drill inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park and surrounding Maya communities. He spoke of the domino effect that decision may have on the pending case. Courtenay told the media that the effect is not fatal, and they will press ahead with the lawsuit: “My clients propose to continue the claim, and the primary point for consideration in the court in that claim is whether or not there can be drilling in the national park. And we believe that the law is very clear, that it is not allowed. And that has nothing to do with the question of whether or not you are an indigenous person. That was an additional limb on which we were going to argue, and in fact we are probably still going to argue. As I said, I haven’t finished analyzing the case [from the Court of Appeal], but certainly, it has affected the case, but it is not fatal at all. We still have very strong arguments to deploy.”

The new co-management agreement is “a bad deal for protected areas…” says APAMO. Chairman of the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO), Edilberto Romero, called a press conference today to respond to declarations made by Forestry Minister Lisel Alamilla, who said that the NGO community which co-manages protected areas in Belize is gradually coming on-board with signing new co-management agreements, without any pressure from the Government. Romero went on to present the chairman of the Rancho Dolores Environmental and Development Group – Raymond Reneau – who told the media that they do not agree with the new template for the contracts, and they are particularly concerned about a clause in the document that talks about the entry of third parties on the protected areas under co-management. According to the APAMO Chairman, “The co-management agreement opens all the protected areas to oil exploration and development; and there is still no appropriate zonation and guidelines to safeguard the protected areas and the watersheds. The Government can terminate the agreement if they ascertain that you exceed the scope of the agreement.” He said that this clause may be used to target those who are vocal on issues. Romero said that the new co-management agreement is “a bad deal for protected areas…”

Six people were involved in two separate road traffic accidents, on the George Price and the Philip Goldson Highways. Police said that about 2:30 this afternoon, two vehicles, an SUV and a pickup truck, collided on the George Price Highway between Miles 25 and 26. The driver of the SUV, identified as Kevin Castillo, an auctioneer, was trapped in his vehicle. He was eventually cut out of the vehicle wreck by rescuers of the Fire Department that responded to the road accident as First Responders Castillo was travelling to the city from Belmopan, and the truck was travelling to Belmopan when the collision occurred. Both vehicles were extensively damaged in the frontal collision. Both vehicles were taken to the Hattieville Police Station. Traffic backed up for about half mile in both directions while Castillo was being cut out of his vehicle, and police processed the scene. He reportedly suffered a broken ankle and received treatment at Belize Medical Associates.

Amandala has been reliably informed that at an extraordinary meeting of the Toledo Alcalde Association (TAA) held today, a decision was taken to appeal last Thursday’s Court of Appeal ruling, dismissing an injunction against the Government of Belize, to the Caribbean Court of Justice. Cristina Coc, spokesperson for the Maya Leaders Alliance (MLA), which helped to organize today’s meeting, told Amandala after today’s meeting, which she said was attended by 7 busloads of people, that the decision was unanimous. Coc said that representatives of 39 Maya villages in the south renewed their commitment to press ahead with the cause. As a consequence of last Thursday’s ruling by the Court of Appeal, the MLA and TAA were forced to withdraw their application to the Supreme Court, in which they were asking the court to cite the Government of Belize for contempt, in relation to a push to drill for oil on ancestral lands. That case was due to be called up today, Monday. Coc said that the Maya of Toledo believe it is now best that they go to a higher court on the matter.

Justices Morrison and Alleyne affirm Conteh decision... Last week, our newspaper reported on the decision by the Court of Appeal affirming that the Maya of Southern Belize do have customary rights to the lands they have traditionally occupied. When he read the decision in court last Thursday afternoon, Court of Appeal President Justice Manuel Sosa had indicated that his view was the minority one – differing from the other two justices on the bench. While Justice Sosa shared a snippet from his decision, that snippet was merely to indicate his apology for the length of time the court took to render the decision – not to state his view on the substantive matter raised before the court. Amandala was able to peruse the 198-page document, which contained Sosa’s further comments on the case. In it he says that, “the respondents have not shown, and cannot show, to the required standard, links to and with the original inhabitants of the lands presently occupied by them in the Toledo District for the purpose of establishing continuity to…” Justice Sosa said that he was unable to agree with Dr. Conteh, in his 2010 decision, that “on the evidence, there exist the essential historical and ancestral links between the original inhabitants of what is today the Toledo District and the respondents…”

The July 31st, 2013 issue of The Capital Weekly is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • CCJ Rules against Mr. Litigate: “A Great Victory for Belize and the Rule of Law”:
    In Belize, the name Ashcroft has become almost synonymous with Litigation. The British billionaire, who somehow under the last administration managed to wrap his tentacles around every part of the nation’s economy and financial system, seems to pride himself in his ability through litigation to frustrate and impede a sovereign nation and duly elected government from managing its own affairs in the best interest of its people. This past week, however, the Government of Belize scored a major victory over the Ashcroft Alliance in what has apparently become his favorite arena, the courts. Judgment was handed down on Friday July 26 by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) which upheld the Government of Belize’s position that it cannot be legally bound to honor a tax-write off arrangement entered into by the last administration which involved a Settlement Deed in which the Government of Said Musa agreed to abandon litigation against the Carlisle Group for the recovery of outstanding business taxes in exchange for the Carlisle Group abandoning its pending litigation related to the BTL buy back.
  • West & Gaynair of Belmopan Bandits Rewarded by UNCAF:
    Wilson West who performed spectacularly for Belize at the Gold Cup, and Ian Gaynair who scored our only goal, were invited to watch the Gold Cup Finals as a gesture by CONCACAF for having turned down and exposed offers for match-fixing bribes. They were also invited to President Rafael Tinoco’s Banquet. Here at home they are being honoured by the Belize Olympic Committee with the Gilmore Henkson Fair Play Award to be presented by the Governor General.
  • Fighting the Good Fight ! Battle Camp Closes with Service and Ceremony:
    Fight the good fight of faith!” The famous Bible verse taken from 1 Timothy 6:12 was one of the passages of Scripture that was quoted from the Good Book by the Force Chaplin who led the church service that marked the end of this year’s BDF Volunteer Battle Camp . The Church Service and Closing Ceremonies were held this past Monday, July 22. The event started with a drill competition, followed by the Church Service led by Force Chaplin Canon Jeris Valentine.
  • From the Desk of the Chairman: No Distractions - Stay Focused!:
    When this U D P Government first got elected in 2008, it was on an overwhelming mandate to clean up corruption, restore honesty and sanity to the management of the nation’s affairs, and serve the interest of the masses rather than that of a few. It was a given, of course, that this would be accompanied by, and to some extent result in real and sustainable economic growth. By all accounts, the Government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow has to this point succeeded in attaining these basic goals, having withstood and overcome the turbulence of a global economic recession that saw developed economies going under or struggling to stay afloat. We have certainly succeeded thus far. But success, like failure, is never permanent, and there is a kind of complacency and permissiveness that seems to follow triumph almost as surely as night follows day.
  • United States Wins Gold Cup!:
    The United States men’s national team collected their fifth CONCACAF Gold Cup title at Soldier Field on Sunday, downing Panama 1-0 thanks to a goal from substitute Brek Shea, scored just seconds after he entered the game. It will not be remembered as a classic match –- for long periods it was simply unwatchable -- but it extended the American’s win streak to eleven games and earned them another piece of domestic hardware. Shea’s goal in the 69th minute finally broke open what had been an interminable match. Coming off a cross from the far right flank from Alejandro Bedoya, Landon Donovan attempted to slip the ball to the far post of Jaime Penedo’s net, but missed. Bedoya’s ball kept on running and would have ended up in the net had Shea not even put a boot on it.
  • Garifuna Collective in Canada:
    Garifuna Collective may be the most exotic act at this year’s Interstellar Rodeo. The septet represents the largest-ever tour of musicians from Belize. While they’re justifiably proud to bring their special Central American sound to the rest of the hemisphere, that hasn’t kept them from collaborating beyond their borders or looking to the future. That’s something you catch on to listening to their new album Ayo (on the Cumbancha label). “This is not about preserving something in a glass box in a museum,” explains Ivan Duran, producer and contributing player with the Collective. “This is about showing the world this is a vibrant culture that will survive because it adapts. Our music is based on the traditional roots and primal rhythms but it has evolved a lot over the last decade.”
  • Faith Lift By Zelda Hill: Abortion is Not the Only Choice:
    A wise person said that a more suitable label for “Pro-Choice” (those who support a female’s right to choose to keep or murder her unborn child) would have been “No- Choice”! Indeed, those who profit substantially from propagating the lies that abortion is a human right and can be a normal and safe procedure without any consequences, skillfully weave their schemes to convince their vulnerable victims that they have no other choice. Even in this era where science and medicine continue to make giant strides in reducing and eliminating many medical dilemmas with the intent to preserve life, Pro-abortionists continue to magnify the probability of the risk of death to the pregnant female in support of their position. In Belize, Abortion for a “crisis” is legal under the Medical termination of Pregnancy clause (Criminal Code Chapter 101 of the Laws of Belize Revised Edition 2000, Section 112).
  • Missionaries do Good Works in Belmopan “Let Your Light So Shine Before Men!”:
    Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) That is certainly the principle behind the good works recently being carried out by a church group consisting of local Christians from the Belmopan area and over 30 missionaries from Erie, Pennsylvania, USA. The Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan recently received a much-needed facelift, thanks to the group of foreign and local missionaries led by Pastor Richard Smith of My Refuge Christian Network. In conjunction with the Hospital Management, the group repainted the building, cleaned up the compound removing garbage and debris, and organized and painted the parking lot in front of the Hospital. While the hospital facelift project was going on, members of the same group of missionaries also conducted an eye-clinic mainly in the Salva Pan area of Belmopan.
  • Improving Revenue Collection & Expenditure: City and Town Councils Participate in Revenue Enhancement Program:
    The final report on the Revenue Enhancement Support Program (RESP) for all city and town councils in Belize was presented this past Wednesday July 24, 2003 at the George Price Centre for Peace and Development in Belmopan. The RESP was carried out by Mr Peter Doty and Mr Edmund Zuniga, Financial Consultants, as part of the capacity building component of the Belize Municipal Development Project (BMDP) during a period of 18 months. The main objective of the RESP was to strengthen the capacity of the local city and town councils to become more effective in carrying out their responsibilities with a view to attain financial sustainability through enhanced financial position by increasing revenue collection and improving efficiency in expenditure.
  • BDF Volunteer Battle Camp Closing Ceremony:
    Joan Garbutt Stadium, Esperanza, Monday, July 22, 2013
  • Renewal & Advancement: Sandhill Multi-Purpose Center Inaugurated:
    The Sand Hill multipurpose Centre was officially inaugurated on Sunday July 28 in Sand Hill Village, a community nestled between mile 14 and 22 on the Philip Goldson Highway. The facility will benefit over 400 students, who prior to the project had to travel all the way to Belize City to do their school research due to the lack of computer and internet resources in the village. The project was implemented by the Social Investment Fund and financed by the Government of Belize at a total cost of $300,246.00. Of this amount, $285,246.00 was in the form of a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank while the remaining funds were contributed by the community of Sand Hill.
  • Policy, Strategy, Ways & Means: Remarks by BDF Commander David Jones at Chiquibul Symposium:
    I have had many compliments in regards to what the BDF is doing. I have even had suggestions as to why doesn’t the BDF take over and do everything for the Country. And I had to remind people that this is a democracy, and there is no intention for any military dictatorship in Belize; it will not happen, definitely not under my watch. But it’s good to be here, and I want to reiterate what the Minister said this morning, that the Chiquibul is not the only area that the Belize Defence Force is actually working. There are national priorities; there are many things happening within the Country; there’s crime in Belize City; there is illegal narcotics trafficking; there’s human smuggling; there are a lot of customs issues; there are a lot of immigration issues; there are a lot of forestry issues; and the BDF is engaged in every single one of them, and more. Our soldiers work really hard; they’re doing an excellent job with the little resources they have. Of course we would like to have more resources, but that comes with money; that comes with finance.
  • Belmopan Bombers win Back to Back In Cayo Men’s Softball Competition:
    The undefeated Belmopan Bombers are leading 2-0 in the men’s softball competition organized by the Cayo Softball Association, which continued at the Denbeigh Fuller Stadium in Camalote Village on Saturday, July 20. In Game 1, the Camalote Warriors were leading 17-13 before the Belmopan Bombers recovered to win 26-18. Warriors pitcher Nelson Flowers and relief pitcher Daniel Pollard gave up 8 hits, struck out 7 batters and walked 20 batters. No runs scored in the 1st inning; neither did the Warriors in the top of the 2nd inning, but Belmopan led 3-zip when Francisco Gutierrez, Linsford Reneau and Dennis Myles scored in the bottom of the 2nd. The Warriors led 7-3 when Nelson Flowers, Joseph Trapp, Ryan Arnold, Alexander Card, Kenroy Banner, Ron Waight and Amir Quintanilla crossed the plate in the top of the 3rd. Belmopan tied the score 7-7 when Randy Joseph, Troy Williams, Stephen Williams and Francisco Gutierrez crossed the plate in the bottom of the 3rd.
  • Belmopan’s Triple B takes the Lead In Atlantic Bank Female Football:
    The undefeated Belmopan Triple B’s are No. 1 in the Atlantic Bank national female women’s football competition with 10 pts from 3 wins and a draw; while the Sugar City Girlz picked up their first 3 points of the tournament when they outlasted the 4 time national champs, Esperanza Gentle Touch, 4-3 at the People’s Stadium on Sunday, July 21. Triple B’s schooled the Dangriga Pumas 4-0 at the FFB stadium in Belmopan. Nykemah Kuylen and Cindy Flores had led the Pumas’ offensive with the help of Shayana “Shy” Caliz, Jackline Arzu, Tyra Hernandez and Sheyanne Castillo who gifted the ball to Triple B’s goalie Idania Ramirez on her first try. Sherane Anigi Welch, Patricia Marin, Ireini Lopez and Ilkei Swazo anchored the Pumas’ defence, but Triple B’s Noemi Magana stripped Patty Marin of the ball; her kick sent the ball to Iris Centeno, whose immediate left foot shot embarrassed Pumas’ goalie Shereen Vasquez with the hosts’ 1st goal in the 14th minute.
  • Belmopan Emeralds Victorious In Miley Garcia Cayo Softball:
    The Belmopan Capital City Emeralds and Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy both posted big wins in 2 back matches of Cayo Softball Association women’s competition in Blackman Eddy on Sunday, July 21. In Game 1, both the Emeralds and the Las Flores Shooting Stars did not make the cut for the playoffs, but the game determined their final ranking. Las Flores’ pitcher Guadalupe Chicas struck out 1 batter and walked 1 hitter, but gave up 18 hits. Las Flores also made 11 errors, but the Emeralds still left 8 runners on base. Paulette Flowers and Dominga Tut rounded the bases twice in the 1st inning, while Darlene Clarke, pitcher Dana Mae king, Maud Blancaneaux, Felicia Gillett and Trecia Gillett all scored to lead 9-0 in the 1st inning. Blancaneaux and Gillett crossed the plate again in the 2nd inning to lead 11-0.
  • Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy Defeats Ontario Rebels 15 to 4:
    In Game 2, Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy walloped the Ontario Rebels 15- 4. Roaring Creek led 2-0 when Myralee Ho and Stephanie Francis scored in the top of the 1st inning; but Ontario’s Indira Ireland and Kenreen Gillett scored in the bottom of the 1st. Ontario’s pitcher, Indira Ireland, gave up 13 hits and the Rebels’ made 6 errors. Roaring Creek’s pitcher Leyandra Guy gave up 5 hits, struck out 1 batter and walked 2, allowing no runs in the 2nd inning. Roaring Creek soon led 10-2 when Greta Davis hit a grand slam bringing home Tanya Davis, Myralee Ho and Francis. Shadalee Ho, Karlee Bradley, Joyce Galves and Lisandra Guy also scored in the top of the 2nd.


A funny thing we saw on our way home
Tacoboy and were driving home Sunday from our afternoon pool date and I had to stop and take a few pictures on my camera phone [I was taking weekend off from photography and did not have any of my other cameras with me.] What caught my attention was, a goat on a rope standing there by itself in the middle of the road, it was a pretty unexpected funny site. The goat was friendly and came right beside the cart to posed for a picture. Not long after it’s owner came by and and told me it was ok for to pet the goat, it would not bite. Another cart full of people slowed down to see the action and it’s owner decided he should take the goat to a better place so it would not be in the way of traffic. I would love to stay and write more write more about my weekend adventures but I have to run for my weekly meeting up north.

More than just a search – Google helps Belize’s sea turtles
When you Google “turtle” in Belize these days it’s likely to be a hands-on affair. Volunteers from Google and Belize teamed up with marine scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Hol Chan Marine Reserve and the University of Belize’s Environmental Research Institute to do a bit more than just search for turtles – they also captured, recorded and tagged the at-risk marine creatures before releasing them back into the sea. The annual sea turtle survey has been in place since 2007 to provide important information to help safeguard the survival of these beautiful creatures who occupy such an important niche in the Belize Great Barrier Reef biosphere, the Caribbean Sea and the world. “The data collected during the surveys will help us answer a number of questions on these species, ranging from how many sea turtles might live in this area to how exactly they use their environment,” Robin Coleman, the Wildlife Conservation Society ‘s Belize Assistant Country Director and survey leader said.

Homemade Dulce de Leche
Dulce de Leche is really just sweetened condensed milk boiled until it becomes caramelized. In this video I show you how to cook in the slow cooker. In my first version I show how to cook on the stove top and I give all the precautionary warnings.

July 21, 2013 - July 27, 2013 Fishing Report
Pretty nice weather but not too many anglers here to enjoy it - only a few boats going out most days. Everyone was able to land as many bonefish as they pleased but tarpon and permit were fairly elusive. ---Ed.

We had a couple of days of stormy weather here in Caye Caulker, (unfortunately one of the risks of travelling here during their rainy season!) which has meant a couple of non diving days here in paradise. The days have been starting with a tremendous thunderstorm which seems to roll through at around 4am. Some of the lightning strikes hitting the reef around 500 metres off shore from the island and shaking the ground with a deafening crack as the air explodes around it. Sadly by the time I was up and around on both days, the lightning had mostly stopped and the storm downgraded itself to heavy rain showers so I had missed the opportunity to get some pics of the lightning. Generally by the evening the sun would come out, just in time to set! So I took the opportunity to take a few photo’s above the water for a change.

Chilling in the Breeze in Caye Caulker, Belize
As far as most major cities go in a country, Belize City moves at pretty slow pace but even that seems like a rushed affair in comparison to the laid back mentality adopted on the island of Caye Caulker, Belize's backpacking island mecca. With no cars and only golf buggies and bikes to get around, it's a relaxing place which holds true to it's mantra of 'Go Slow'. With world class diving, fresh catch of the day for dinner and hammocks to swing in the breeze, it's no wonder most people make a beeline for this place when they first come to Belize. Getting to the island is easy, most people don't spend any time in Belize City itself and are dropped off across the road from the water taxi jetty, so all you have to do is walk in, buy your return ticket for $25 (Belizean dollars on this page) and hop on the next boat to Caye Caulker. If you are wanting to go to San Pedro on Ambergis Caye, there are boats from here too. If you come into the city via the main bus terminal, then you can either get a taxi to the jetty or walk 15 minutes, it's not a strenuous walk but it depends on how safe you feel walking there. Personally, I had no problems in the city and even the guys asking for change were friendly.

International Sources

Gay rights around the world: the best and worst countries for equality
Equal marriage laws are being passed in several countries, but in Russia, life grows harsher each month for LGBT people. Which places are best and worst for gay rights? The Human Dignity Trust challenges laws to end the persecution of LGBT people around the world. "Most countries sign up to international human rights treaties. If you take Belize as an example, it has ratified all the key UN human rights treaties and in their constitution they have a right to a private life, to equality, to dignity. And so basically to criminalise homosexuality is a violation. To bring a legal challenge against that takes a very brave individual." It has been supporting Caleb Orozco, the gay rights campaigner who launched a legal challenge to overturn Belize's criminalisation laws. "We're still waiting for the judgment. They said it would be out by the end of July but obviously it's not coming now." Orozco's case has prompted a backlash in Belize against him, and Unibam (the United Belize Advocacy Movement). A report last week from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the US civil rights organisation, highlighted the influence US hardline religious groups had in Belize and other countries. "Many of these American religious-right groups know they have lost the battle against LGBT rights in the US, and they're now aiding and abetting anti-LGBT forces in countries where anti-gay violence is prevalent," said Heidi Beirich, author of the report. "These groups are pouring fuel on an exceedingly volatile fire."

Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski To Script John McAfee Film For Warner Bros
Warner Bros is making a deal with Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski to script the feature on John McAfee, which John Requa and Glenn Ficarra hope to direct and produce with Conde Nast Entertainment, McAfee is the eccentric Silicon Valley entrepreneur who sold multiple estates and his possessions to move to the Belize jungle, arm and fund his own private police force, and who was arrested for suspicion of complicity in the death of a neighbor. That neighbor had complained about McAfee’s barking dogs, which the entrepreneur said subsequently were fed poison and died. The neighbor was found shortly after, killed by an execution-style bullet to the head. The movie is based on John McAfee’s Last Stand, a deliciously detailed article for Wired Magazine written by Joshua Davis which the studio bought previously for Requa and Ficarra, who helmed Crazy, Stupid, Love for Warner Bros. Davis will also be a producer.

To The Manner Born: Essential Technology Etiquette Tips For Our Digital Age
Technology impacts society in many ways — some of which are obvious and others more subtle — and those changes often call for changes in behavior. Etiquette is an important social construct that we tend to forget or ignore, but I would argue that etiquette has never been more important than now. One misstep could permanently damage or fracture your relationship with another. Technology etiquette could easily fall under the topic of “common sense” yet there are many who remain ignorant — and that’s not a judgment against those who don’t know any better. For a long while, I never knew the acceptable rules of etiquette for handling phones, shooting emails, and general Internet behavior. I was being rude without even knowing it, and there’s a chance you could be doing the same. Check out these ten rules of etiquette for today’s technology and see if you are making missteps without even knowing that you are.

Flights into Belize!
Thanks to the Belize Tourist Board, here is a list of airlines along with flight times to Belize from the United States! Delta From Atlanta, GA (ATL) 3 hours, 11 minutes From Los Angeles, CA (LAX) Flight Time: 4 hours, 40 minutes For more information, visit United Airlines From Houston, TX (IAH) Flight Time: 2 hours, 29 minutes For more information, visit American Airlines

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