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Today's Belize News: September 28, 2013 #473572
09/28/13 06:36 AM
09/28/13 06:36 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 77,117
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Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP


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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
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The San Pedro Sun

Meet your National AIDS Commission Island Committee members
The National AIDS Commission Island Committee was established to carry out the local aspect of the National Response to HIV following the guidelines of the National AIDS Commission. The entity is commissioned by the Government of Belize to carry out this function. The committee is made up of a multi-sectoral body. The San Pedro Sun takes this opportunity to present the members of the executive body to you – the community that they serve. This week, we take the opportunity to Nurse Robertha Herrera. Robertha serves as treasurer of the NAC Island Committee as well as Rural Health Nurse, phlebotomist and counselor. Being at the Dr. Otto Rodriguez PolyClinic II for just over two years, Robertha is no stranger to residents of San Pedro.

San Pedro Police receive coffee maker
The San Pedro Police Department (SPPD) is determined to keep the residents of San Pedro safe from harm and maintain order in the community. In doing so, they work countless hours. With this in mind, Councilor Gabriel “Gaby” Nunez has made a kind donation of a brand new coffee maker to the SPPD to give them a boost during their late night and early morning shifts. Receiving the gift was Commanding Officer, Luis Castellanos whom is grateful for the people’s support of the SPPD. Castellanos and the entire police force would also like to thank Councilor Gabriel “Gaby” Nunez, Samuel Gomez, and Karim Maroun of BOAZ Golf Cart Rental, for loaning vehicles during the September Celebrations weekend. They also thank the general public for exercising control and good behavior during the festivities, since crime was at a minimum.

Potential inconvenience from Saca Chispas construction traffic
The public is hereby informed that over the weekend of Friday 27th September and Sunday 29th September 2013 two tun dump trucks will be utilizing the roadways between Port and the Southern end of San Pedro Town and the site of the new Sunset Board walk and water taxi terminal at the Saca Chispas Football Field. The trucks will transport large loads of fill material and some temporary public inconvenience through traffic congestion, noise and dust is expected. Please be sure that every effort will be made to minimize disruption to normal traffic flow and any inconvenience caused. We thank you for your patience and support in our ongoing partnership to uplift and revitalize this area of San Pedro Town.

Visiting Ecuadoran Ambassador meets with Mayor of San Pedro Town
On September 18th, ten visiting ambassadors presented their credentials to the Governor General of Belize His Excellency Sir Colville Young. Amongst the ten dignitaries was His Excellency Segundo Rafael Andrango-Bonilla of Ecuador. While in Belize, Andrango-Bonilla took time out to visit Ambergris Caye, where he paid a courtesy call to the Mayor of San Pedro Town Daniel Guerrero and met with members of the Town Council. The ambassador expressed his willingness in strengthen the ties between municipalities in Ecuador and San Pedro Town. They also discussed mutual areas of concern and where they can exchange technical and cultural support, especially in the area of music. After the courtesy call, Mayor Guerrero hosted the Ambassador to a lunch, which was followed by a tour of La Isla Bonita.

Ambergris Today

Tour Western Dairies, King of Dairy Products
The staff at WD works arduously to make sure that operations run smoothly during production days. The milk received at WD is tested for impurities and water; once it is approved, the milk goes through pasteurization, homogenization and production of the best ice cream in the country. Walking though the facility we can see how clean and well kept all the machinery and environment really is. The company takes pride in keeping up their standards and quality. Other fine products from Western Dairies include Milk (Fresh Milk, Skim Milk, Low Fat Milk and Flavored Milk – Strawberry & Chocolate, Chocolate Chillers and Strawberry Banana & Chocolate Energy Drink), Butter, Yogurt (Peach, Raspberry, Strawberry, Black Cherry, Plain, Mango, Mango/Pineapple, Guava and Piña Colada), Sour Cream, Cheese (Cheddar, Mozzarella, Chef Master Mozzarella, Queso Fresco and Cottage Cheese). Apart from producing dairy products WD also bottles and distributes Purified Water and Fruit Flavored Drinks (500ml – flavors include Peach, Apple, Pineapple, Tangerine, Cola, Lime, Strawberry, Grape, Orange and Fruit Punch.) They are all great products and very delicious.

Mystery Garbage Appears Along Coastlines of San Pedro and Caye Caulker
Since the past weekend residents of San Pedro started to notice some garbage washing ashore at various locations on the island. It was a mixture of old plastic containers and seaweed. But it was until late Wednesday evening that residents of Caye Caulker were shocked to notice miles of garbage drifting just offshore and eventually making it onto their shoreline. One resident of Caye Caulker recorded seeing a seven mile stretch of garbage off that island. Puzzled by the large quantity of garbage littering the waters and beaches, residents of both islands have been questioning if the garbage is coming from the cruise ships that make port in Belize City. But it is easy to disregard this assumption as just looking at the content of the garbage one can tell that it is not coming from the cruise ships. The composition of the garbage is that mainly of old broken plastic containers, gallons, Styrofoam, plastic wrappers, syringes and even shoes that have clearly been disposed of for a long time.

The Placencia Village Council Supports Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has received public, positive support from The Placencia Village Council for the line’s planned new eco-friendly cruise destination on Harvest Caye in Belize. The Placencia Village council made a public decision to support Norwegian’s eco-friendly destination on Harvest Caye. In addition, the Placencia Village council expressed their trust in the Government of Belize (GOB) and Norwegian to remain committed to protecting Belize’s local eco-system including manatee areas, surrounding mangroves, local swimming and local fishing areas during the destination’s development and operation.

Education in Belize: Breaking Free (Part II)
This past week I received very many emails and Facebook messages with readers’ comments regarding my thoughts on Belize’s September celebrations of Independence, and on its “Breaking Free”. Since this topic resonated with many readers, especially Belizeans who shared their many thoughts on the subject with me, this week I offer more ideas along these lines. To break oneself free of a habit or custom, whether it’s positive or negative, is by far much easier said than done. Adapting to change is never easy for anyone, especially when he/she is set in his/her ways. (To both my young adult sons, I humbly and publicly offer my “mea culpa”.) Painful examples of peoples and countries throughout history that chose to break free of domineering rulers show that they went to great lengths, including fighting (civil) wars that incurred many deaths and great suffering, before being able to freely choose their very own path(s). Moreover, people throughout the world who were once enslaved also had to fight and suffer greatly for long periods of time, both physically and emotionally, before finally gaining their emancipation and freedom.

Misc Belizean Sources

VIDEO: Prime Minister Barrow's Independence Day Address

International Coastal Cleanup!
International Coastal Cleanup is today. Oceana, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, students from San Pedro High School and the San Pedro Leo’s Club are leading the charge to clean up beach areas on Ambergris Caye. On Ambergris Caye, there will be two groups – one that will be going to clean the beach at the turtle nesting grounds and the other group cleaning the beach downtown. The group going up north is completed and they meet at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve Office. The second group that will clean the downtown beaches meet at the Boca del Rio Park. Gloves, garbage bags and water will be provided. Everyone can join in the cleanup effort. We meet between 8:30 AM. Let’s all come out and clean our beaches and other coastal areas. For more information, call Jorge Aldana at 634-1171, 662-0143.

Take the pictorial tour of Wild Orchid’s marina villas in Belize
A couple of weeks back we gave you the lowdown on Wild Orchid’s incredible location in Placencia, Belize. Today, we’d like to bring you some of the highlights of the project’s marina villas. It all starts with Wild Orchid’s modern architecture, featuring wooden trellises, Egyptian white shell stone, floating stairs, water featured entryways and oversized entrance doors. Inside, floor-to-ceiling sliding doors and large windows allow residents to take in the impressive views that the coastal country offers.

Cave Systems of Belize
One of Belize’s premier tourism magazines promotes the country of Belize as having the best of two worlds, and surely so, as the marine and the terrestrial environments have so much to offer. Each of these natural environments are springboards to diverse exotic natural environments that are unparalleled to anything in this world. In the marine environment, a trip to Blue Hole, a coral island or the reef is enough to mesmerize you for days. A similar trip inland to any of the towns experiencing its culture and tradition, and tasting the food would have you marveling until you come back to Belize again. In Belize, however there exists another world seen and sometimes unseen, that is subterranean in nature called the underworld or better known to scientists as the Cave Systems of Belize.

Benque Art Fiesta
The Benque House of Culture is having an Art Fiesta for their duodecennial anniversary today. The Rompe Rajas Band will be there, and of course, the Benque Marimba Academy will be playing. They'll have plenty of art and informational booths too, along with the Benque Marching Band. The festivities start at 2:00pm in Centennial park. The Mopan Polyclinic will be administering free tetanus shots. Happy anniversary to the Benque House of Culture. Life in Benque pictures.

Rotary Wine and Cheese Fundraiser
The Rotary Club of Belmopan is having their annual Wine and Cheese party fundraiser tonight at the George Price Centre. They'll have their famous silent auction, and raffles and plenty of suprises. This will help fund their Belize Children's Project, which helps get treatment for children with osteopathic diseases, greatly improving their quality of life. Thanks, Rotary! "To support The Belize Children's Project, an ongoing program helping over 350 children suffering from skeletal and muscular abnormalities."

Channel 7

Penner Speaks, Says Citizen Kim Is A Case Of Identity Fraud
The House of Representatives met today and though Elvin Penner wasn't there, he was much discussed - and we'll have that shortly. But first, to a strange and compelling email we got a few hours ago. The e-mail purports to come from Elvin Penner - who has made no significant comment since he was forced to resign from cabinet eight days ago. We tried to verify its authenticity by texting him but got no response. But we are treating it as real based on the fact that it comes from Penner's known email address - the same one listed as his reference on the Passport Application for Won Hong Kim. In the email, Penner says that there's been a major mix up. He says, quote, "The events that have been unfolding at the Immigration Department came as a surprise to me as much as they did to you and certainly the Public at large." He continues, quote, "What I do know is that (an) Asian person whom I have known through business trips ,even before I entered politics, came to me for a signature so he could get his passport. He also mention that he needed it urgently since he was about to go on a trip and was more than willing to pay the regular one day service fee."

PM Says Penner Didn’t Denies Backdating Nationality Certificate
Now, that's something... Again, it's an email and we could not verify with absolute certainty that it was sent by Penner, but it does come from his known email address. And while the explanation offered in the mail sets things in a different light - that it was a case of identity fraud - not a fraudulent passport - there are still other issues. Most prominent among them is the backdated nationality document - which is dated April 22, 2013, for a passport issue don September 9th, 2013. Today, at the House of Representatives, the Prime Minister told the public what Penner said about this. But first, the leader of the opposition spoke, basically telling the PM that he had put a rat to mind the cheese:... Hon. Francis Fonseca "But ultimately Mr. Speaker, we and the Belizean people have to hold the Prime Minister responsible because he is the one who appointed the member for Cayo North East to this position of Minister of State with responsibility for Immigration knowing fully well - he knew that he was creating a very dangerous situation by doing that."

Dangriga Mayor, Cola, Contractors Protest SIF
And while that's what was happening in the house - outside there was a protest. It was a mixed affair with three different interests coming together to voice their condemnation of government actions. And, they voiced it very loudly - not quite loud enough to be heard in the chamber, but as Jules Vasquez found out, it was not for want of trying:.. Jules Vasquez reporting Today's crowd was by no means overwhelming - probably less than a hundred - but what they lacked in numbers - the made up for in volume. Geovanni Brackett, President - COLA "Our people have been put aside, have been made to shame but today is the day that the revolution has started. So we say "charge Penner now." [Crowd chanting: charge Penner now]." It was a mixed bag of issues - COLA wanted to charge Elvin Penner, The investors in Kennard Smart's project want their hundreds of thousands back while the PUP Mayor from Dangriga brought his drums - he wanted them to finish his market:

25 Year Old Charged For Killing High Schooler In OW
Last night, 7News told you about 25 Keith Gaynair, the man charged for the stabbing death of 18 year-old Darrell Wade Jr., well tonight, we have confirmed that he has been arraigned in the Orange Walk Magistrate's Court. Police say that they have recorded a number of witness statements, and along with the quick detention of Gaynair, plus the recovery of what is believed to be the murder weapon, police charged him yesterday with murder. He has been remanded to prison, and he will be brought back to court on November 14, his next court date. According to Darrell Wade's mother, the students who were with Wade at the time, said that he gave his life to save a friend.

Medina Escapes Drunk Driving Charge
2 months ago, we told you about the serious accident on the Western Highway, which left well-known Belize City Auctioneer, Kevin Castillo hospitalized. Well today, 35 year-old David Medina Jr., the man who police say was driving the vehicle which slammed into Castillo's, was taken to court for criminal charges in relation to the accident. As we told you, the accident happened on July 29, between miles 25 and 26 on the Western Highway. Castillo was driving to Belmopan while Medina Jr. was heading to Belize City. Eyewitnesses told us that Medina overtook her, and ended up in Castillo's lane, which caused the accident because Castillo couldn't react in time. Both men ended up with serious bodily injuries, and today, after receiving treatment at the hospital, police marched Medina Jr., who still had difficulty walking, to appear in front of the Magistrate's Court along with his attorney Arthur Saldivar. He was read charges of driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention and negligent grievous harm.

Reports: Succotz Queen Suspended
On Monday, 7News told you about 18 year-old Yancy Bautista, the Miss Independence 2013, who caused quite a commotion in Succotz Village on Independence Day. As we told you, she was chosen as the winner of the Miss Independence Pageant, but she refused to accept the crown. And so, at the coronation of the runner up, she snatched the crown off her head, ran away and broke it. She told us that it was her stance against what she called political games being played with the pageant because she wasn't given what she was promised as the winner. While she made her point crystal clear, she did commit a criminal offence. So, on Tuesday, she made nice with the pageant organizers agreeing to apologize to everyone, and in return, they wouldn't press charges. And while those worries are behind her, she has others. 7News has been reliably informed that her school, Mopan Technical High School, is considering suspending Yancy for 2 weeks. We've been trying to contact the school all day, but our calls have gone unanswered. We do know however, that if the suspension is to take effect, the school intends to enforce it starting next week Monday.

OW Town Council Made Payroll, GOB Says It Won’t Help
When we left you last night, it was with the news that the Orange Walk Town Board was facing a financial crisis; its Belize Bank account had been frozen - and they faced the prospect that they wouldn't be able to pay their workers. The blame according to the PUP Mayor Kevin Bernard was that the UDP Government had not paid off an 11 thousand dollar overdraft which the council's UDP predecessors had left behind. Well today it came up as a matter of public interest which the prime minister discussed at the opening of the House Meeting. First off, he scolded the media:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "I must first of all point out that the 2 stations; Channel 5 and Channel 7, whose reports I saw are guilty either of malice or the greatest possible incompetence. They both said that the freezing of the accounts of the Orange Walk Town Council by the Belize Bank occurred in consequence of an overdraft that the Council has at the Belize Bank which overdraft was guaranteed by the Government of Belize. That is absolutely not the case." "I would have hope that by now our media would have tried to develop the kind of sense of responsibility that would have obliged them to either do their homework or to make a simple call to the Ministry of Finance."

Man Accused Of Multiple Sexual Assaults
Tonight, 52 year-old Michael Davis is at prison tonight after he was taken to court for allegations of repeated sexual abuse against a 14 year-old girl. According to police, the minor reported that on four separate occasions in last year, Davis had intercourse with her in their village. As a result of her report, police arrested and charged Davis with 4 counts of carnal knowledge, and he was arraigned today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer. He was remanded to prison due to the nature of the offences, and he will be brought back to court on October 28. And on that date, Davis must also answer to a separate offence of indecent assault, which he allegedly committed against an 18 year-old girl. According to the report of that female, she was sleeping in her home on November 13, 2012, when she woke up Davis was fondling her. He was charged with aggravated assault of an indecent nature. Davis claims that he is a religious leader in his community.

BTL, Lower Profits Higher Dividend
Four years have passed since government took over BTL in 2009. Since then, the company has faced myriad legal entanglements with the Ashcroft Alliance, but operationally it's been smooth going. And that's because after going through Ashcroft, Prosser, back to Ashcroft and then to Government, BTL's staff have learned how to manage change like pro's. That has keep the company profitable - and to keep shareholders interested, the government controlled company put back in the provision in its articles which ensures that a dividend of no less than 45% of profits is paid annually. That's why there's always a nice crowd at the Annual General Meetings, and it was no different last night as Jules Vasquez found out:... Jules Vasquez reporting BTL's 7th Annual General meeting drew a good sized crowd of regular small shareholders for the country's largest publicly held company. And while the crowd was good, the news wasn't great. The Board of Directors reported that the company's profits were down by 5.5 million, its gross earnings down by 1.5 million and its earnings per share down from 53 cents to 42 cents.

Stake Bank Makes It Official
As we first reported you last week, The Feinstein Group's development for Stake Bank and North Drown Caye has gotten full environmental clearance. As we told you the National Environmental Appraisal Committee met 2 weeks ago to review the projects, and they found 2 issues which they looked at more closely: those being the fuel lighters which was proposed to use to refuel cruise ships, and the impact on the Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary which the building of a mega-causeway. Stake Bank Island, located 4 nautical miles south east of Belize City, is proposed as a cruise ship port and an entertainment centre for cruise ship passengers and crew members.

David Gegg Defends Discovery Expeditions
And while Feinstein is on the rise, as we told you yesterday, another tourism giant, David Gegg, is having major financial troubles. His company, Discovery Expeditions Belize Limited, has been placed in receivership as of Monday. As we showed you last year, he was having problems meeting arrears with the General Sales Tax Department, owing as much as three hundred thousand dollars, he says that his financial troubles have nothing to do with the performance of the business. According to Gegg, in 2007 the company secured the confidence of Atlantic Bank, after securing administrative clearances for 2 projects, one in Belize City and the other in San Pedro. He says that these projects were supposed to generate new sources of revenue which would have dealt with his company's obligation to the bank. Gegg says that in both cases, political interference blocked the projects from materializing, and as a result, his Discovery Expeditions had to absorb all the financial obligations which he made with the bank.

Celebrating Cancer Awareness
October is celebrated as breast cancer awareness month and in solidarity, this morning Cancer survivor Kim Simplis Barrow launched a campaign called "Paint Belize Pink". A ribbon was installed on the Whitfield Tower, and we found out why. Kim Simplis Barrow "The "Paint Belize Pink" campaign is really to encourage people to wear their pink ribbons, to wear their pink shirts, to wear anything pink. To light a candle for those who have lost the battle. To change their bulb to pink. To keep the hope alive and really to encourage people to do their self-breast examinations that is so very important. To go and get tested." "We encourage women and men because as you know men too can get breast cancer and so we want to keep the fire burning for all our victims and we want to make sure they are remembered in a very special way." Reporter "How long will this campaign lasts?" Kim Simplis Barrow "The entire month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and I know that the Cancer Society countrywide will be doing different activities."

DFC Is 50?
Today, the Development Finance Corporation celebrated 50 years of service to the Belizean people, and on the anniversary, all offices countrywide began an effort to rebrand the company's logo and reputation. The lending institution wants to increase its reach with the Belizean people as lending institution, and as a result, they conducted a survey to find out how the public views the organization. After that survey, they came up with the new image that they want associated with their brand, and today, they held an unveiling. Our colleagues at CAN Network attended that event, and they spoke with the DFC General Manager. She told them about what this new logo represents given the fact that DFC has serious challenges all the way up to 2009: DFC General Manager "The transition has been tremendous. When we resume lending in 2009 the corporation as you all know had suspended lending since 2005 and absolutely no monies went into loans from the corporation."

Penner Confirms
And, before we close tonight, we note that during the news we received text message confirmation form Elvin Penner that it is he who sent us that compelling email which we headlined with. As we explained, Penner states that he is a victim of identity fraud because the person who he signed for is known to him - but it's not the same person appearing in the pictures shown in the media. We note that Won Hong Kim, the prisoner in Tawian has been extradited to South Korea according to most recent reports from South Korea. They say he was extradited at 8:20 on Thursday night and he is described as being the main culprit behind the massive embezzlement scheme

Channel 5

Prime Minister responds to concerns about the investigation into passport scandal
The House of Representatives met today in Belmopan where a number of laws, including the High Seas Fishing and Medical Practice bills, were tabled.  The introduction of the former legislation [...]

Nationality section exempted from inquiry; P.M. explains
According to the prime minister, the inquiry cannot focus on the nationality section of the department since it is the minister’s signature that was affixed to the document.   Prime [...]

Fonseca says PM is responsible for issue at Immigration and Nationality Department
Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca, in raising the matter, says that responsibility for what has transpired falls squarely at the feet of Prime Minister Barrow since he appointed Penner [...]

Angry protestors take on Belmopan for anti-corruption march
The last demonstration on Independence Hill in Belmopan was held in February, so it’s safe to say that in light of the recent controversies one was overdue. There have been [...]

P.M. versus Orange Walk mayor; Barrow says ministry not responsible for frozen accounts
On Thursday, the Belize Bank froze the accounts of the Orange Walk Town Council, bringing its daily operations to a screeching halt. The issue is an overdraft facility acquired and [...]

Mayor Bernard says PM’s personal attack on him unwarranted
The Prime Minister also punctuated his tongue-lashing of the Orange Walk Town Council with a personal jab at Mayor Kevin Bernard. In questioning the managing of the town’s finances by [...]

Castro gets a touch of woman fum fum
While former Minister of State Elvin Penner was nowhere to be seen today, his colleague Edmund Castro took his usual seat in the House. Castro has thus far escaped official [...]

Repeat sex offender back before the courts
Fifty-two-year-old Michael Davis, a deacon of Crooked Tree Village, is back in prison after being accused of committing a sexual offense against a minor.  According to the teenager, in July [...]

Employing a pair of immigrants without valid permits can land you before the court
Chinese national, twenty-three year-old Jing Mao Tan, proprietor of Lucky King Noodles Factory, was arraigned in the magistrates’ court this morning after being busted for employing a pair of immigrants [...]

A bill to update criminal code for sexual offences against children
As we reported earlier, the House meeting today saw both sides of the floor trading barbs over the passport scandal, which has seen the Minister of State, Elvin Penner fired [...]

Paint Belize Pink for Cancer
Paint Belize Pink….it’s the name of a new campaign by the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children. With the month of October observed as Breast Cancer Awareness [...]

DFC celebrates 50th anniversary
The Development Finance Corporation is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. Established in 1963, the DFC is a lending organization that provides loans for agriculture, housing, education and tourism. And today, at [...]

Mega Bingo is back…
The Mega Bingo Game Show is back… After almost a year of being on indefinite hiatus, following the broad daylight murder of its owner, Alfred Schakron, on Coney Drive in [...]


Sexual Offences Focused on In Criminal Code Amendment Bill
At the sitting of the House of Representatives today, the Criminal Code Amendment Bill addressing sexual offences was introduced. This is a bill addressing sexual offences against children and persons with mental disabilities and today, Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis-Barrow says her office has been working over five years to get the code updated. KIM SIMPLIS BARROW “It was a long process because we were consulting with judges and the different sectors to ensure that we have our entire basis covered. This is not an easy task and we don’t take it lightly and I think it is urgent, it is needed; there are many legislations that we really need to look at but talking about this one, I think that one of the important things is to make it gender neutral, we talk about girls being abused but what about our boys? Boys being abused by boys or boys being abused by women; those are the things that we are addressing; we’re addressing increased penalties for child abuse, child molestation and making it clear, it’s an introduction today, it’s a first start; I guess the entire Belize will get an opportunity to look at it and make recommendations and that is why it is the first introduction. I am not sure who all were involved but I know I did my part in terms of Special Envoy for Women and Children and I know I met with the judges along with the Ministry of Human Development and also the Solicitor General Office. We had a process where we were getting feedback.”

Chinese Employs Without Proper Documents
Twenty-three year old Jing Mao Tan, a naturalized Belizean originally from China who is the owner of Lucky king Noodles, located on West Collet Canal Street, was fined $2,000 today by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser after he pled guilty to two counts employing a person not in possession of a temporary employment permit. Tan has until October 15 to pay the fine. If he defaults on payment he will serve six months for each count. Tan was charged on September 25 when immigration officers making routine checks visited his business place and found two Honduran nationals, Francisco Verde and Jose Guiterrez, working there. When interviewed by the immigration officers, Verde and Guiterrez said that they did not have any employment permits. As a result, Tan was taken into custody and charged.

Police Makes Arrest for Student’s Murder in Northern Belize
25 year old Keith Anthony Gaynair has been charged for the cold blooded murder of 18 year old student of New Hope High School Darrel Wade Jr. Gaynair appeared in the Orange Walk magistrate court yesterday after being under police custody since his detention minutes after the stabbing incident on Stadium Street in Orange Walk Town. He was charged for one count of murder and remanded to the central prison and to reappear in court on Nov. 14, 2013. The incident happened on Tuesday evening a little before 4 o’clock. It is allege that Gaynair approached Wade who was along with 3 students after classes and the stopped at a food stall. He allegedly had an exchange of words with Wade and immediately after that pulled out a knife and stabbed Wade 3 times: 1 once in the back, and twice in the chest. Wade was rushed to the Northern Regional Hospital. He died while undergoing treatment. Orange Walk police recovered a butcher knife, which they believe was used to inflict the injuries. Information to LOVE NEWS is that Gaynair was apprehended along with his younger brother and girlfriend. The three were detained but only Keith was charged for the murder of Wade.

Penner Says He Was Duped
Former Minister of State with responsibility for Immigration Elvin Penner issued a statement today in which he alleges he was duped. According to Penner when he signed the documents for the person he knows as Mr. Kim who met through business trips, he was unaware that he was not who he said he was. According to Penner, he was approached by the “Asian person” for a signature to get his passport which he needed urgently. Penner said the picture on the nationality document, the Korean passport and the passport pictures he was asked to sign were all of the same person that he knew as Mr Kim. Penner admitted going with him to the passport office to ensure that he could get his passport on the same day. Penner said it came as a surprise to him to see the photo of Won Hong Kim that has been circulating in the media since it was not the same person for whom he had signed the documents. Penner admits he might have made a major oversight which led to his resignation however he said he cannot understand why the public officers are being suspended for doing their job. He once again pointed out that he was elected by the people of Cayo Northeast and therefore it is only his constituents that can remove him as their representative.

Resident Says Minister Took His Land and Destroyed His Home
Rudolph Tucker, resident of Cotton Tree Village in the Cayo District, visited Love News today to tell us that he is very concerned because he has now become a homeless person. That is because he alleges that his two houses were broken down this week by someone who now calls himself the owner of the land. Tucker says he wants justice to be served because he has nowhere else to go and furthermore he is alleging that the man that now claims is the owner is participating in a scam. RUDOLPH TUCKER “I came here because I had a piece of land in Cotton Tree Village and they swindled me out of my land and my house.” NATALIE NOVELO “How long have you owned that land for?” RUDOLPH TUCKER “From 1995 I’ve owned the land and I built a house on it. I had a cement house and a wooden structure house.”

October Should Be Pink
The month of October is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and as a result, the office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children will embark on a campaign entitled “Paint Belize Pink” Love News today attended the launch of the campaign and the unveiling of a big pink ribbon at the top of the Whitfield Tower on Coney Drive where the office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis Barrow is located. She told us more about what the initiative is aiming to do. KIM SIMPLIS BARROW “The paint Belize pink campaign really is to encourage people to wear their pink ribbons, to wear their pink shirts, to wear anything pink, to light a candle for those who have lost the battle to cancer, to change their bulb pink, to keep the hope alive and really to encourage people to do their self-breast examination, to go and get tested. We encourage women and men to get tested because as you know men too can get breast cancer so we want to keep the fire burning for all our victims and we want to make sure that they are remembered in a very special way.”

Trans-formative Initiatives Taken for Public Service
There have been many times in which the general populace complains about how they are treated by Public Servants or that they don’t seem to have the proper skills to approach people. That might change now, because the Ministry of the Public Service has embarked on a number of transformation initiatives. One of the most important of these initiatives is the development of a quality assurance customer service policy for the Government of Belize. In connection to this a series of workshops were held this week to above all train Public Servants in the area of Customer Service. Freya August is the Supervisor of quality Assurance in the Ministry of the Public Service and she explained more on the initiative.


Head of Nationality Section Signed Hong’s Nationality Certificate
The scandal at the Immigration Department has dominated the airwaves since news broke last week that South Korean fugitive Kim Won Hong obtained a counterfeit passport with the assistance of now former Minister of State Elvin Penner. The Immigration Department has been under heavy scrutiny, as there is an...

Belize Bank freezes the Orange Walk Town Council’s bank account
The Orange Walk Town Council and residents of Orange Walk Town are in very deep water. What we could be looking at is the temporary shutdown of the town’s functions, and this is why: Plus TV has received confirmation that the Orange Walk Town Council’s bank account has been...

New house for Ladyville resident
Lyndon Bailey has been much in the news this week as one-half of the contracting duo behind the abandoned Dangriga Town market project. But he is also proprietor of the Tubal Trade School and on Thursday we met him doing a good deed...

Placencia Village Council supports the NCL Project
The NCL’s project on Harvest Caye has sparked much controversy over the past couple of months. Ever since the representatives of NCL discussed the project at a press a briefing in mid August, the project has been strongly opposed by the community at large. One...

Four people charged after drug bust
Four people were arrested and charged for one drug bust. On Wednesday at around 8:30 am on Garza Avenue, Belmopan City, Police conducted a search for illicit possessions. This then lead to the discovery of a black plastic bag that contained 67 grams of weed. Present at the time...

Man in paralyzed condition after altercation
This is why alcohol should not be abused. On Sunday morning, at around 2:00 am, police visited a bus stop in Silk Grass Village. There, according to police reports, they saw 40 year old George Morgan lying motionless on the ground, apparently drunk. Further investigation revealed that on Saturday,...

Territorial Volunteers unveil new logo and plans
The Belize Territorial Volunteer Force have taken onto themselves the task of defending and securing Belize’s border with Guatemala from incursion by peasants and others. Yesterday they unveiled a new logo and discussed fundraising efforts. With more here is founder Wil Maheia. Wil Maheia – Founder, BTV “As we...

Premier League of Belize enters its latest season
The Premier League of Belize enters its latest season with a new partner. Bowen and Bowen Limited have partnered with the League to promote the season under the title “Belikin Cup”. Commissioner Jaime “Maito” Perdomo Jr. announces the teams taking part. Jaime “Maito” Perdomo Jr. “They...

Climate change experts assess important local assets
Climate change is no longer a buzzword. High heat, heavy rain and other wild weather patterns are an indication that what is happening in the skies above us have a great impact on what takes place on the ground. The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development has received...

First Graduation of the Sea, Air and Land Team
They are expected to be the best of the best – the men our nation turn to when there’s quite simply is no one else to defend us. For twelve weeks, they were put through the worst of the worst – literally broken. From nineteen they...

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A horrible lapse of judgment by the Belize Coast Guard officer. Petty Officer Richard Ogaldez, of the Coast Guard, has been stripped of his rank and demoted to the rank of “seaman” after exhibiting a horrible lapse of judgment that embarrassed the Government and people of Belize when he detained the boat carrying the Prime Minister of Dominica, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, who was in the country as a guest of Prime Minister Dean Barrow for Belize’s September 21 Independence celebrations. Unfortunately, PM Barrow’s Guest of Honor left the country with a bitter taste in his mouth after he and his entourage were “roughed up” by Belize Coast Guard officials while on a trip to one of Belize’s premier tourist destinations. Amandala understands that a formal apology is to be written by the Ministry of National Security to PM Skerrit. Today, when we contacted the Public Relations Officer in the Ministry, Delroy Cutkelvin, he told us that the formal apology is in the works, and that they are just going through the necessary diplomatic channels to get it completed.

Although the Belize Coast Guard might currently be suffering from a major ‘black-eye’ due to the recent case of gross maltreatment of the Dominican Prime Minister (chronicled elsewhere in this newspaper), a brief graduation ceremony was conducted at their headquarters, located at Mile 4 on the George Price Highway, this morning to introduce a team of eight, rigorously trained Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) officers after 12 weeks of intense training. The graduating class was initially comprised of 19 hopefuls, but dwindled to 8 triumphant officers who were subjected to arduous training conditions, which tested their physical and mental endurance. During the commencement ceremony, Colonel Post, Lieutenant Commander, Special Operations, US Command South, acknowledged Coast Guard Commander John Borland as the visionary for the elite team of officers. Post said that he teamed up with Borland to help develop the capabilities of the SEAL team, and that it was three months of training and working with the prospective SEALs, along with a cohesive process that was driven by a leader’s vision, that led to the ultimate result – the graduation of eight well-prepared SEALs.

Three immigration officers are currently skating “on thin ice” pending the submission of findings of the Public Service Commission (PSC). The commission’s enquiry is a response to the latest passport scandal involving former Minister of State in the Immigration Ministry, Hon. Elvin Penner, the area representative for Cayo Northeast. Penner, who served as Minister of State for Immigration and Border Protection in the current UDP administration, was requested to tender his resignation from Cabinet by Prime Minister Dean Barrow following some very grim accusations that arose sometime last week. The Office of the Prime Minister sent out a preliminary press release last week Thursday, stating that Penner “did not discharge his responsibilities with either the due judgment and balance, or the scrupulous regard for appearances, which the Prime Minister demands of all his Ministers.” As vague as this explanation for Penner’s removal from the cabinet might have been, the Government pledged to provide further information about the questionable activity that had taken place within the Immigration Department.

The interior of a warship is something that civilians usually do not get the opportunity to see. Today, however, members of the media and special invited guests were taken on a complete familiarization tour of a 432-foot modern British frigate warship, equipped with all the contemporary gadgetry and fittings, including a helicopter. The medium-sized naval vessel is making rounds in the Caribbean as part of a regional anti-drug operation launched by the Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF), a US-based multiservice task force, which coordinates regional initiatives to suppress the flow of sea-bound illicit trafficking operations. A little after midday today, the group was taken on a fifteen-minute trip from the jetty in front of EuroCaribe on Fort Street to the present location of the vessel, which is approximately 5.7 nautical miles off the coast of Belize City. The H.M.S. Lancaster, which is also known as The Queen’s Frigate, sits like a towering giant in the waters off Belize’s coast, weighs 4,900 tonnes and houses a 190-member crew. The tour commenced with a visit to the Control Room, where a 5-man crew is stationed to monitor the status of the ship’s equipment around the clock. The crew oversees the operations in the ship’s interior and also conducts reconnaissance in the nearby waters using highly advanced technological apparatus.

At a meeting of the House of Representatives, scheduled to begin at 10:00 this morning, over $100 million worth of old debt owed to the Government of Belize will be tabled for write-off. An official source told Amandala that a $113.4 million “Write-Off of Old Loans Motion”—$17.2 million in principal and $96.2 million in accumulated interest—will be tabled for loans outstanding since the era after Hurricane Hattie. We were told that the move is in line with recommendations previously made by the Office of the Auditor General. Also, a debt relief and write-off motion will be tabled for the Development Finance Corporation (DFC). In his Independence Day remarks last Saturday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that 361 persons would have their DFC loans written off. “Government is arranging to forgive some 6.22 million dollars’ worth of DFC loans,” Barrow said. He added that the loans are principally mortgage loans, but also include education and productive sector loans. “For the most part, the loans have already been foreclosed on by the DFC and the borrowers’ collateral seized, but the sale of the collateral was not sufficient to liquidate the debt, and the borrowers were still on the hook for the balance,” he explained.

Darrel Wade, Jr., 18, of Biscayne, a 3rd form student of New Hope High School, died at about 3:45 yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, in the hospital after he was stabbed three times in his chest and back. Wade was rushed to the Northern Regional Hospital (formerly known as the Orange Walk Hospital), but he died while doctors were operating on him. Police have arrested Wade’s 25-year-old assailant, who handed over the knife with which he stabbed Wade. The incident occurred shortly after classes concluded at New Hope High School. A police report of today, Wednesday, states that Wade was coming from school and had stopped at a street vendor stall in front of the back gate of the People’s Stadium to buy boiled corn when he was approached by one Keith Gaynair, who rode up on a bicycle and pointed at him, saying, “Da you ah want …you di fight with me lee bredda.” According to police, a witness told them that Gaynair quickly attacked Wade, stabbing him multiple times. The witness said that the attacker then rode away. Wade had run into a store, named “D-Store,” after being stabbed, but when he came out of the store, he was bleeding profusely, and collapsed on the sidewalk.

San Pedro police have issued a warrant for the arrest of McClain August, 23, a resident of San Pedro. The warrant states that August is wanted for three counts of attempted murder with a firearm. Police said that the shooting incident in connection with which August is wanted, occurred on Wednesday, September 18, and that a man and an 11-year-old boy were shot and another man was grazed in the incident. August is considered to be armed and dangerous. If you see McClain August or have information that could lead to his arrest, you are asked to call the San Pedro Police Station at 206-2022 or the police hotline number 911.

A supervisor and his sideman were held up and robbed of an undisclosed amount of cash, personal documents and jewelry by two thieves on George Street at about 6:00 yesterday evening. Angel Manzanilla , 41, a supervisor of Philip Neal Butane Gas Company, and a fellow worker of the company were making a delivery on George Street when two thieves, one of whom was armed with a pistol, approach the men, pointed a gun at them and demanded money. While the gunman held them at gunpoint, the other thief stole Manzanilla’s jewelry, his wallet containing an undisclosed amount of cash, and some personal items. The thieves then robbed Manzanilla’s workmate of his cell phone and an undisclosed amount of cash, after which they escaped.

This morning, Kent Peters, 52, a self-employed resident of #34 Iguana Street, was charged with forgery, uttering upon a false document, being in possession of a false document and committing a mischievous act. According to police, on Monday, September 23, Peters went to the Bowen and Bowen Limited office to cash a refund voucher, #49088, dated for the same day. But when he handed the voucher to the cashier, Melissa Garnett, she noticed that the voucher had been altered; instead of the stated dollar amount being $6.00, a “3” and a “0” had been added to the amount, and it read $306.00. Garnett alerted the police, and when they arrived and queried Peters’ name, he gave it as Kent Smith. It was not revealed in court how the police figured out that he had given them the wrong name.

On Tuesday, September 24, at about 7:00 p.m., officers of the Fisheries Department’s Conservation Compliance Unit, Punta Gorda branch, were on a night patrol within the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve (SCMR) when they came across a vessel named Julie half a mile west of Seals Caye. Whilst approaching the grey, black and red vessel, powered by a two-stroke 75HP outboard engine, the officer saw the occupants throwing what appeared to be marine products overboard. The officers identified themselves as fisheries officers and made known their intent to conduct a general search. The officers found 4 conch in their shells, 14 sea cucumbers and 4 pieces of fish fillet without the required 2-inch by 1-inch skin patch. The products were shown to the occupants of the vessel, who were subsequently informed of the offences committed and arrested.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) held two public meetings this week—on Monday, September 23 and Wednesday, September 25, 2013—when they reviewed an old audit done under the administration of the Opposition People’s United Party, and one audit done under the ruling United Democratic Party. Pro-tem chair John Saldivar said that they are not engaged in a witch-hunt, but they are trying to see what systematic flaws exist within government’s financial system which should be corrected. A total of five witnesses were called: the current Auditor General (who is also a former Accountant General) Dorothy Bradley; her predecessor – Edmund Zuniga; former Accountant General, Carmen Barrow; former Accountant General Anita Eck; and Income Tax Commissioner Kent Clare. The Opposition People’s United Party—which has dubbed the proceedings illegal—boycotted the meeting. Neither PAC chairman Julius Espat nor PUP member Rodwell Ferguson was present. Espat had previously indicated to us that he would not participate, because the PAC should only look at the last audit (2010-2011) – the only one filed under his tenure. He said that what the PAC is doing—in conducting “forensic audits”—ought to be done by a Special Select Committee.

We received these pictures along with an email a few weeks ago from former Belize basketball star of the 1970’s Evondale “Coby” Coburn. Sports records are hard to come by in Belize, so we are very grateful to Coby for sharing these treasured items with our readers. Coby’s email follows: Aug. 8, 2013 “I put together the MVP Gallery from 1970-1979. Also attached is the 1972 Old Parr Championship picture. “Some stats on the Old Parr Dynasty – Four Championships in five years; …Back to back Junior champs 1970 & 1971; .. 1972 & 1974 Senior champs; …Three-peat champs 1970, ‘71 & ’72 …the only Junior team to win the senior championship in their rookie year. “I have some more pictures and clippings on my website: visit the site @” (Ed. Note: An achievement of similar moment and rarity was first accomplished in the Belize City football competition by Dunlop in 1957-58 and 1958-59, when they moved up from Junior football champs to take the Senior football title the following year. Their picture graces the cover of Evan X Hyde’s book, “Sin, Sports and Subversion.”)

The BDF football club will still play their home games on Saturday nights in Dangriga. They won’t change it any more to Sunday evening (as recently suggested in some quarters). It’s still Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Carl Ramos Stadium for all home games. SCFA 1st Division Week 2 results The Stann Creek Football Association (SCFA) 1st Division Tournament 2013 continued with Week 2 games on Friday and Sunday, September 20 & 22, at the Carl Ramos Stadium. In game 1 on Friday, Southside FC dropped Wagiya U-17, 4-1, with goals from Lennox Mejia (41’ & 71’), Harold Nunez (52’) and Edwin Nasario (76’). Wagiya’s only goal was by Melvin Valerio (23’). Game 2 saw Hopkins FC and Silk Grass FC playing to a 3-3 stalemate. Nol Arnold (20’), Tony Avila (44’) and Wayne Casimiro (90’) shook the net for Hopkins; while Luis Reyes (23’ & 30’) and Francis Russell (83’) hit the target for Silk Grass.

Belikin manager Hilly Martinez, who is also the president of the National Olympic Committee, was guest of honor this morning at the Premier League of Belize (PLB) press conference at the Majestic Room of the Princess Hotel & Casino; that is because his firm, Belikin, according to Hilly, had only yesterday agreed to be the corporate sponsor of the upcoming PLB tournament. After welcoming the press and listing the clubs participating in the 2013-2014 PLB Opening Season, President (formerly called Commissioner) Myito Perdomo announced that the PLB had secured its first ever corporate sponsor of its tournament, which will now be called the “Belikin Cup.” The Belikin sponsorship entails $50,000.00 for prizes (including a 1st prize of $30,000.00 and 2nd prize of $15,000.00) as well as a donation of Belikin products to each club for every home game of the season (10 cases per game). In return for the sponsorship, Belikin will enjoy exclusive status at all PLB games this season, meaning that only Belikin products will be sold at the games. There will be 7 clubs participating in the new season, although 9 member clubs make up the Premier League, explained the Commissioner. 8 clubs took part in the last Closing tournament, with only Paradise/Freedom Fighters opting to look on. In the upcoming Opening Season, the Freedom Fighters will be in the mix, but two other clubs have decided to sit out this one, namely Placencia Assassins and San Felipe Barcelona.

INFAMIA Editorial
From our standpoint, this was a very, very, very serious incident on Independence Day afternoon in the waters off San Pedro Ambergris Caye when the Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, was insulted by elements of the Belize Coast Guard. There are two things you will note about the incident, or its aftermath. The first is that Prime Minister Skerrit, apart from cancelling the remainder of his official schedule for the day, Saturday, September 21, has not made as big a deal of it as he could have, neither in Belize or on his return to Dominica, which is an Eastern Caribbean island. The second thing is that Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow has not reacted in a characteristic manner: he has been completely silent on the diplomatic disaster which occurred five days ago, as we write. Let us examine Saturday’s incident more closely. San Pedro Ambergris Caye is the most Americanized piece of real estate in Belize. There is an almost racist atmosphere out there: by that we mean, and we say it bluntly for the first time, they don’t like black people out there. Roosevelt Skerrit is a decidedly black man in appearance. He was insulted in the waters off Ambergris territory.

Fr. Urban Kramer, pastor of St. Ignatius Parish, which owns the only adequate basketball court in Belize City, tonight imposed some strict conditions on the Belize Amateur Basketball Association, which intends to start its annual season on March 7. This was in a meeting held at Riverside Hall. Kramer has demanded 60 percent of profits after each night of basketball and has banned Friday night basketball. Friday night used to be the big money maker for the Association. Kramer, the heavy-handed former dictator of Lynam College, has also insisted that the season be finished by April 25th, a stipulation which will pressure the Association into uncomfortable haste with its schedule. We suggest that central government speed up its proposed civic auditorium at the Belcan Bridge in order to facilitate sports such as basketball, which is now being pressured by a private enterprise church monopoly. Arenas for sports must be in the hands of the people or we will be swallowed up by the JAWS of Pharisees.

The House In last week’s essay on this subject, I left out that when members address the House, they should direct their remarks to Mr. Speaker. During their speech, they may make references to individuals, inside or outside the House, but when they refer to other members, they must always use the term “Honorable” before the electoral division he represents, or his official title e.g. Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition. Members of your own side may be referred to as “My Honorable Friend” and, of the Opposition, as the “Honorable Gentleman.” Therefore, there is no room in Parliament for the use of the personal pronoun “you” in a speech in the House because, a member should never be addressed directly. Parliament is an institution that the people should revere. So. It has been the practice for the Speaker to set standards by declaring what he considers to be unparliamentary language. I would like to suggest that the use of “they” or “them,” when referring to the government or Opposition should be discontinued.

A problem…in search of solution… We are of the consensual opinion that one of the most distressing problems besetting our young nation of Belize is what to do with our children, our boy-men children, particularly those of the gangs. Everyone seems to have a solution; the government, the churches, the NGO’s all have their say with legislation, church groups, field trips. In all this, however, nobody seems to ask the youths what they want, what is their problem and what would be their solution. It is an opinion that the present day young man has grown up in a void caused by Hurricane Hattie and the post-Hattie era. After this hurricane their parents abandoned them to the care of their granmas, to aunts and uncles, to friends and neighbors, to strangers, to go to the U.S.A. at the most critical time of their lives, a time when love, discipline, education, the bond of family was crucial for their psychological development. Granma was too old to care for them, friends and neighbors made them feel inferior to their own children, and strangers couldn’t care less after they received their sporadic cheques.

— by Beatrice Arnold-Geban, Principal, St. Mary’s Primary School There is a very popular Shakespeare quote that people say in regards to those in leadership position and, if memory serves me right, it goes like this: Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. This quote in essence captures the workload of an administrator. According to the Statutory Instrument No. 87 of 2012 Education Rules 2012, 37 (1) A Principal and Vice Principal shall have such responsibilities related to the administration of the school as specified in their respective job descriptions and shall include:- a. Overseeing admissions, placement, promotions and graduation of students; b. Enforcing school rules and maintaining a safe and proper school environment and culture conducive to schooling; c. Assigning, directing and assessing staff;

The company plans to introduce IPTV – Internet Protocol Television. The Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) held its 7th Annual General Meeting at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel tonight. Directors proposed a dividend of 25 cents a share, a slight increase from 24 cents last year. BTL executive chairman Net Vasquez said that although profits have fallen, the company is now paying a bigger share in dividends. According to Vasquez, this is the highest dividend paid since they were appointed directors by the Government of Belize in 2009. Last year, he said, BTL had to use what the articles allowed them to use – a minimum of 45% of profits. This year, they are paying back shareholders nearly 59% of the profits. BTL director Anwar Barrow, representative of the Social Security Board (SSB), said that this represents a 5% return on share price—a somewhat better cash return than last year, despite reduced profits, Barrow commented.

— by Audrey Matura-Shepherd I do not know how many Belizeans know that Belize is a Christian democracy, and that it is so deemed because it is a church-state system. This means that the Church is an actual partner in governance and more importantly the role of the Church in forming the social conscience of our nation cannot be understated. The truth is that too often the bare eyes and untrained heart see the church as these institutions or buildings and not as the true body of Christ – that is, those people who believe the word of God and truly seek to live by it. Do note there is a difference between “religion” or “church,” and a true relationship with your Creator, Lord God. The Constitution’s preamble states: “WHEREAS the people of Belize-(a) affirm that the Nation of Belize shall be founded upon principles which acknowledge the supremacy of God …”

A report coming out of Mexico this week indicated that a lobby for the decriminalization of marijuana is being supported by a broad cross-section of people, including ex-ministers and businessmen, on the claim that such a move would curb violence and corruption. Here in Belize, the Government is still looking at options for decriminalization, although no final decision has been taken. Last year, Belize began proposing the decriminalization of up to 10 grams of marijuana. Chairman of the Marijuana Decriminalization Committee, Doug Singh, told Amandala today that he hopes to have the final report submitted to Cabinet by the end of the year; and he will recommend to the Government that the report should simultaneously be made public. Singh has previously emphasized that “…the proposal is not to legalize the offence, thereby purging it of all its penalties; it is merely to reduce and regulate.” Today, he said that the report will also look at the various definitions that could be used for the reform, including the suggestion that it should be called a de-penalization.

Five people suffered varying degrees of injury after they were hit by a vehicle during a three-vehicle collision on Sunday evening at about 8:00 p.m. at Mile 6 on the Burrell Boom Road. They have all been treated and released from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Michael Waight, one of the victims, suffered a torn ear, a cut wound to the head and a broken leg, among other injuries. Police have reported that they went to an area near the garbage dump on the Hattieville-Boom Road, and on their arrival they saw a red Isuzu Rodeo which was being driven at the time by Godfrey Garcia, 28, of Santa Elena, Cayo District, that had collided with the back of a green pickup truck.

— by Kenny Jacobs Dear Editor, We all know that in an ever-changing world, Belize needs to adapt quickly, or the country and its people will lose its grasp. Our Government understands this, for sure. But they need to reinforce dynamics into its young people. The young people today are fast adapting to technology, the internet and cable TV, for instance. However, they need to learn to apply it usefully and properly to accommodate education, entrepreneurship, and community service. These are areas which must be “worked into” the mentality of the young people in Belize to ensure that the future is not only promising, but feasible for growth, and development of the economy. Let’s take a firm look at education. Without a proper education, you can’t be properly employed. Getting an education that encompasses both academics and technical “hands-on” experience is a necessity. That is solid education. The majority of young Belizeans today are accustomed to going to school because they “have to” – because their parents send them.

— by Reyes Chun Dear Editor, The marvelous idea of setting up the Toledo Ecotourism Association and its Guesthouse and Eco-trail Program in the rural communities of Toledo in 1990, was a good one and still is today in 2013. Unfortunately, the BTB and the BTIA have continued to neglect to support our poor people’s efforts for economic development. TEA’s Maya/Garifuna members continue to suffer from racial and economic discrimination. The BTB and BTIA (TEA was a member) refused to market and promote our award-winning Guesthouse program. Our members believe this deliberate omission has caused a great loss of potential visitors and much needed income. Instead of promoting the Guesthouse program the Government promoted the competing “Homestay” program. Several surveys have shown that our people do not like this program and have rejected it because it benefits only one family at a time. The villagers complain that it creates jealousy and envy among community households who don’t have the opportunity to benefit. Tourists report that in the small two-room homes they feel they are being intrusive.

— by Joseph Alvarez Dear Editor, It was welcome news to learn that the Belize Tourism Board has decided to give an apology on their decision to use the music of Aurelio Martinez, a Honduran national, as the sound of their recently released video to showcase Belize. It’s a welcome gesture, but I thought it did not go far enough. A few days later it was reported that they also had removed the music as well – which would be the right thing to do. It was shocking to all Belizeans that this very prestigious and important organization, which is tasked with the responsibility of promoting and marketing Belize, could have made such an incredible decision. Why is it that the people who are expected to make the best decisions for the betterment of all the people of this country continue to disrespect and insult us? This latest fiasco reminds me of the plight of our national football team, the Belize Jaguars, in July. One would have thought that of all the government ministries, the Tourism Ministry, along with the Belize Tourism Board, would have taken up the mantle and sponsored the national team. This exposure and the marketing capability for the country would have automatically accompanied such endeavor. It’s deja vu all over again, and this time it’s our music.

30 CENTS Letters
— by Charles Leslie Jr. Dear Editor, If you take a quick glance at the budgetary allocation for Stann Creek West, it is approximately $6,000 to the duly elected Area Representative to be spread among, approximately 20,000 people, which gives 30 cents for assistance, per month, per person! What can you do with 30 cents? Buy a small pack of soda biscuits? This is why we must lobby for township status for Placencia Peninsula and potentially combine with Independence Village. Three of the main benefits of township status will be 1). The collection of property taxes, 2). The collection of trade license fees and 3). The submission of estimates of revenue and expenditure to the Minister of Finance. It is not complex to understand why our villages are barely functional when it comes to self-governance, organic socioeconomic growth and social assistance for villagers – it is directly linked to the easy access or lack thereof, of financial resources. The Village Council Act gives very limited power to village councils. This makes our communities technically unincorporated, and only guarantees returns of the Liquor License monies that are collected, which have proven insufficient to run villages of such size. Fundraiser events such as Lobsterfest and Seine Bight Day should be done for residual income and not a main source of income.

— by Anthony Chanona J.P. Dear Editor, The occasion of Belize’s 32nd Official Independence Day ceremonies was the venue chosen by the Mayor of the City of Belmopan to complain about the deteriorating state of Belmopan’s municipal infrastructure and to lay much blame for that fact on RECONDEV. While the evidence indicates that RECONDEV coffers, where BMPCITCO is concerned, has indeed siphoned off, this historic three-term UDP “management” of City Hall (2006-2015) and its pursuit of petty partisan policies of governance, has finally taken its toll, resulting in a failed municipal management, poor work ethic and a bankruptcy of ideas. RECONDEV cannot be wholly blamed for the institutional inertia resident at City Hall, but there can be little doubt that the designed cordial and professional working relationship which once existed between these two statutory bodies has deteriorated and malfunctioned. RECONDEV, at Belmopan’s inception, became the registered owner of all lands within the municipality. Any area of green and open spaces not surveyed and assigned a parcel number is the property of RECONDEV. As such, this Statutory Body under law Chapter 93 of the Laws of Belize is a strategic entity and one that is required to have a functioning relationship with City Hall.

— by Wellington C. Ramos Dear Editor, The scandal at the Dangriga Town market opens up the debate for us to discuss the subventions of the City, Town and Village Councils and the autonomy of these Local Governments in Belize. Firstly, the subventions that are allocated for these municipal bodies are lacking and inadequate because their budget expenditures are a lot more than the funds allocated by our Central Government for years now. Secondly, the Central Government in Belmopan is making too many important decisions that are not in the best interest of the cities, towns and villages through the Ministry of Local Government and other governmental agencies. I now call on the representatives of the City, Town and Village Councils to demand that the Ministry of Local Government submit proposals in the Belize House of Representatives to grant more autonomy to them to develop their communities.

— by Brenda Sutherland Dear Editor, Street talk of persons who are being asked to contest the PUP Standard Bearer convention for Port Loyola, has already passed the half dozen mark. Those persons include Sherol Saldivar, Wendy Castillo, Englebert Perrera, Jerry Martinez, Ashston Longsworth, and attorneys Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Kevin Arthurs, and Anthony Sylvestre, Jr. Due to their profession, any of the attorneys would have a huge war chest for the division. Bradley and Sylvestre have both been defeated twice in the Queen’s Square Division by Dean Barrow, the current Prime Minister. If Arthurs takes the plunge, however, it would be his baptism, his first entry into electoral politics. Saldivar is currently employed by the Blue machine; prior to that she was employed with the Belize City Council for a considerable length of time. Her bid to be the PUP Mayoral candidate for the 2012 Belize City Council election was unsuccessful. Wendy Castillo is the President of the PUP Women’s Group; she is also a partner in her husband’s video company. Jerry Martinez is self-employed and a former police officer. Perrera was last employed with Belize Health Care Partners as an accountant. Before taking up that post he was employed in a similar capacity with the Belize City Council. Longsworth is employed as a driver with Godfrey Smith’s law firm. When Smith was a Minister of Government, Longsworth was also employed as his driver.

The Reporter

National Sports Policy and Plan soon ready
The Government of Belize needs to invest more in sports development, and give the National Sports Council a bigger budget, more authority and more autonomy, recommends the Caribbean Sports & Development Agency (CSDA) in a draft National Sports Policy, prepared by CSDA during a six month consultancy for GOB.

Belizean sugar future sweeter than ever
The Belizean sugar industry is growing by leaps and bounds as both American Sugar Refining/Belize Sugar Industries in the Orange Walk district and Green Tropic in the Cayo district area making substantial investments to increase production.

Minister Castro accused of unwanted sexual advances in Tiawan
Reports out of Taiwan suggest that Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport Edmund “Clear the land” Castro made unwanted sexual advances on a female staffer from Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who was attached to him as his chaperon while he was on an official visit last week.

Leader of the Opposition addresses Independence Day ceremonies
The Leader of the People’s United Party (PUP) and of the parliamentary opposition, Francis Fonseca, marked his address to the nation on Independence Day, September 21, with a call to “real, meaningful reform” in key sectors of the economy and society.

Prime Minister touts “overflow of good things” in Independence Day address
The unemployment figures for the first half of 2013, and as compared to the same period last year, are down, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced last Saturday in his Independence Day address.

Recycling Belize City Center
The government will completely finance the building of a new $30 million multi purpose complex on the site of the Belize City Center, Prime Minster Hon. Dean Barrow announced in his Independence Day address to the nation

Hit & Run in Orange Walk claims life of young professional proprofessional
Erron Golanche, 25, a well-known member of the group “Acafellas”, a graphic designer, a performer on Channel 5’s “Be the Next Super Star” program, and also a feature on SMART’s Prepaid Roaming advertisement in Mexico, was knocked down and killed almost in front of his girlfriend’s house on the San [...]

Penner should face criminal charges, says PSU president
The former minister of state with responsibility for the Immigration and Nationality Department Hon. Elvin Penner should face criminal charges, the Public Service Union (PSU) president Marvin Blades said Thursday.

PM’s Independence Day gift to Belize: more write offs!
Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow announced in his address to the nation on Independence Day that government will write-off more DFC loans. Barrow said that GOB, as a part of debt relief to Belizeans, has arranged to forgive some $6.2 million worth of Development Finance Corporation (DFC) loans, the majority [...]

Coast Guard demotes officer for Dominica PM snafu
The Coast Guard officer who detained and essentially humiliated Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit last Saturday has been demoted. Following disciplinary hearing at the Belize National Coast Guard headquarters on Tuesday petty officer Ogaldez was demoted to the rank of seaman.

Public Accounts Committee reveals administrative breakdowns
By Shadel Young A break down within the public sector system was the hot topic at Wednesday’s Public Accounts Committee Meeting.

The Belize Times

Passport Penner!!…must face criminal charges
UDP Cayo North East Area Representative Elvin Penner committed several serious criminal actions when he used his special position to obtain illegal documents which gave Belizean citizenship and passport to an alleged international criminal. The nationality and passport documents which were used to process the illegal citizenship and a false passport for a South Korean national who is in jail in Taiwan were signed and authorized by the fired UDP Minister. Penner’s signatures appear in numerous documents which have surfaced. These documents are an April 22, 2013 citizenship document signed and approved by Penner for one Kim Wong Hong, and a Form C passport application dated September 3rd 2013 in which Penner confirmed to have known Wong Hong as a “friend” for “three years”.

GOB’s Protocol humiliates PM Roosevelt Skerrit
The Protocol Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ inability to properly coordinate a special excursion for Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, who was a special guest ...

$100,000 Missing at Southern Regional Hospital
The Barrow Administration is on a spiral downwards. Another scandal under the UDP Government is about to blow up. The BELIZE TIMES has received reliable information of an investigation into thousands of dollars that have gone missing from the Southern Regional Hospital’s National Health Insurance funds for ...

Castro’s Sex Scandal
Reliable sources inside the UDP indicate that Edmond “Clear the Land” Castro is next on the chopping block as a member of the Cabinet in the Barrow Administration. The disheveled Minister of State in the Ministry of ...

AWESOME Carnival this year was awesome. The dancers, the costumes, the concepts and the level of energy was befitting the nation’s birthday. In one of Bob Marley’s songs he sings “...forget your troubles and dance, forget your sorrows and dance, forget your weakness and dance… cost of living get so high, ...

Divided We Stand
By G. Michael Reid The long drawn out September Celebrations are behind us and we move now, onto the next big event on our calendar. On November 19th, we celebrate the arrival of the Garinagu to our shores. Before we immerse ourselves in the sweet rhythm of our southern culture however, ...

Aside from the love nest currently inhabited by Dean Barrow and Evan X Hyde, the UDP honeymoon is officially over. After just one year of a fresh mandate, the UDP gang of thieves, hustlers, drug users and sexual predators are now showing their true colors. This week represented a summary of ...

Duckrun III wins PUP Cayo Northeast Football marathon
Duckrun Three Football Team won the PUP Cayo Northeast Football marathon held on Sunday, September 22, 2013 in Billy White Village. Mr. Orlando Habet congratulate the winners and delivered the 1st place cash prize to the ...

Camalote Blazers win softball champs
The defending Cayo district champs, Camalote Blazers, won the Women’s Softball championship against Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy in the finals held at the Denbeigh Fuller Stadium in ...

Barney Brown wins 2nd Cycling Test Race
Scotiabank’s Barney Brown won the 2nd Test Race held on Sunday to choose a selection of riders to represent the Jewel in the upcoming Caribbean cycling championships in Curacao from October ...

Dean Barrow Can’t Be Trusted
As we listened to the Prime Minister’s speech on Independence Day, the issue for Belize was that Dean Barrow cannot be trusted with anything he said. While Barrow was talking about an economy at work, our people were at home eating ramen noodles and worried that their ...

PUP considers Recall Mechanism
Legal advisors for the People’s United Party have studied the Penner case very closely and have advised that the Party can pursue the recall of disgraced UDP Area Representative Elvin Penner. On Wednesday, the PUP Western Caucus stated in a release that it “stands ...

Did You Know?
Younger Belizeans may not be aware that when the UDP first came into office, 1984-1989, it was Dean Barrow who as attorney general amended the constitution to allow UDP cronies to sell passports. Barrow later engineered for passport and immigration matters to fall under Hon. Phillip Goldson’s Ministry where the ...

AMAZING GRACE – Church and State
This past weekend I was in an embassy (church) listening to a head ambassador (pastor) discuss the contents of the kingdom constitution (Bible). He began comparing the country of Belize with other nations! He was amazed that every Saturday we have BBQ sales, and how we only use our vehicle ...

Dominica reacts to disrespect of PM Skerrit
The news of Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit being ruffled by Belize Coast Guard officers during his special trip to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve hit a nerve among the citizens of Dominica, most who viewed the act as “disrespectful”. The BELIZE TIMES followed a comments thread ...

Faber fails Hattieville
Minister of Education Patrick Faber has become persona non grata to residents in Hattieville. Some months ago, Faber promised that he would assist Hattieville Government School with brand new computers, but left the school hanging. See, Faber is the kind of politician who loves to make promises. Just ...

PUP Corozal Bay – Serving the People
By Roberto Pasos September 19, 2013 is observed as “National Service Day”. This is the date our great leader, rhe Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price passed away. In order to remember what our National Hero represented, Belizeans are asked to carry ...

The Battlefield Park Another cement celebration The “new” Battlefield Park in the heart of downtown Belize City, which was inaugurated on September 18, is one more cement celebration. The Master Mayor spent over $360,000 to flatten and cement the park. The UDP croney construction firm of the Arguelles Brothers got the ...

PUP exhibit at Independence Hall
In recognition of the Party’s birthday and unrivalled history of service, commitment, struggle and achievement, the PUP Secretariat unveiled an Exhibition at the ...

Image of a True Patriot – Dedicated to the Memory of Our Father of the Nation, George C. Price
By Omar Silva As we celebrate the 32nd anniversary of our Independence on the 21st September, it is worthwhile to reflect on what it means to love Belize, and what the image of a true patriot is. While for some it ...

Successful Students Never Give Up
By Dr. Angela Banner Joseph No student ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him: it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required that determines the greatness of ultimate distinction. – Charles Kendall Adams You will have moments during your tenure ...

Did you know?
Did you know that Belize’s Independence in 1981 was objected to by the United Democratic Party? In his book: “George Price-Man of the People” Rudolph Castillo recorded how the people of Belize celebrated the announcement of Independence made by then Premier Hon. George Price at a July ...

Pickstock Executive Committee Sworn In
On Saturday August 31st, members of the new Pickstock Executive Committee were sworn in by PUP Chairman Henry C. Usher at ...

GOB’s Protocol humiliates PM Roosevelt Skerrit
The Protocol Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ inability to properly coordinate a special excursion for Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, who was a special guest ...

The Black Owl
by Yasser Musa He was one of the best minds of his generation. The Native American Indians have a name for people like him - Jair. It means about to soar. Erron Golanche known as Nokturnal and the Black Owl was a ...

Sprucing Up Hattieville
Last Thursday September 19th marked two years since the sad passing of Father of the Nation Rt. Hon. George Price, and in ...

Dangriga Town Council demands Market Project Completion
The Dangriga Town Council on behalf of the People of Dangriga is extremely concerned about the recent abrupt termination of the Project ...

WOMAN IN THE HOUSE – Reflecting on Belize’s 32nd
By Dolores Balderamos Garcia Belizeans have celebrated our thirty-second anniversary of Independence this past week. I remember clearly the night of September 20, 1981. I had just returned home after completing my Master's Degree at Marquette University. My sister Jo-Jo had recently finished her degree course in Medicine at UWI, and ...

Chamber opposes increase in Trade License fees
The Belize Chamber of Commerce has called on the Minister of Local Government Godwin Hulse to put a stop to any devious plans which the Belize City Council may have to increase Trade License fees in its upcoming assessment period. The Chamber, which represents the ...

Cabinet ignored allegations of corruption at SIF
Members of the UDP Cabinet knew about the serious allegations of corruption at the Social Investment Fund from as far back as July, but chose to do nothing about it. Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Santino Castillo, has admitted in media interviews ...

Independence Day Address by Opposition Leader Hon. Francis W. Fonseca
My Fellow Belizeans Today we celebrate our 32nd anniversary of Independence. Thirty-Two years ago, after a hard, skillfully fought international campaign for recognition of our right to Independence, the people of Belize began charting a new course as ...

When the House meets on Friday the 27th September 2013, 32 years after Belize achieved political independence, the Barrow regime will ram through the Parliament seven bills orchestrated and directed by Washington. All 7 laws are designed by our new imperial bosses to put Belize ...

Why did BTB disrespect our own artists?
Dear Editor, It was welcoming news to learn that the Belize Tourism Board decided to apologize for their decision to use the music of Aurelio Martinez, a Honduran national, as the sound of their recently released video to showcase Belize. It’s a welcome gesture but, I thought it did not go ...

What Legal Gymnastics?
Dear Editor: What legal gymnastics will the Prime Minister perform to satisfy the Homosexual Agenda demanding “rights” that will most certainly nullify the three most important real rights to Christians? Christianity cannot surrender freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. For Christians to do so is to ignore and ...

Smart Confessions
Dear Editor, Big up the Area Representative Hon. Ivan Ramos and Mayor of Dangriga Major Gilbert Swazo (Ret’d) and Councillor who stood up for the people of Dangriga against the corrupt SIF officers who wanted to place a tin box for a market at a whopping cost of $1.2 million. First, SIF ...

Progress or Problems?
Dear Editor, While the nation is saying that the Mayor has broken history and no other mayor has done as much as he did, I wonder how long the streets will last considering he doesn’t like to speak publicly about his lady engineer. The old capital is sinking like never before. ...

No basis for checks and balance
Editor Sir: The discussion about checks and balances will continue until Doomsday, because in our parliamentary system there is no basis for it. The parliamentary system in Britain has been working so far because it has been based on the assumption that the most important instrument of governance is men and women ...

30 Cents for Stann Creek West
Dear Editor If you take a quick glance at the budgetary allocation for Stann Creek West, it is approximately $6,000 to the duly elected Area Representative to be spread among, approximately 20,000 people, which gives 30 cents for assistance, per month, per person! What can you do with 30 cents? Buy a small ...

Penner must go to jail
Dear Editor, No other than the Prime Minister of Belize is saying to the nation that he has found Penner guilty of an offense so grave that he is forced to remove him from his Cabinet. But why stop there? Penner is not above the law and should be treated with ...


Hurricane Season in Belize
The hurricane season in Belize is well underway and Belizeans remain on watch for storms that may rip through the country like a knife through cloth. Over the last few years, we have been blessed to have all the major hurricanes glide pass us. One would assume that would reassure us, but instead it seems to make many people even more edgy with uncertainty when the hurricane season comes around. Thus each year, we wait to see what will be the outcome of the Belize Hurricane Season. In Belize, the hurricane season is from June 1st to November 30th. Despite not having any major storms hit us directly in these months for many years, visitors are urged to keep a keen eye out on the Caribbean as it is often the birthplace for hurricanes destined for our region.

Instancias del SICA reconocen aporte del Embajador de la República de China (Taiwán) en El Salvador
El pasado 26 de septiembre, la Secretaría General del Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA) otorgó un reconocimiento especial al señor Jaime H.T. Chen, Embajador de la República de China (Taiwán), por su gran aporte durante su gestión como encargado de los asuntos de cooperación regional de los países del Sistema. El evento se llevó a cabo en la Casa de Centroamérica, sede del SICA, San Salvador. Durante el acto, la Secretaría General del SICA, por medio de sus secretarías de Integración Turística (SITCA), de la Integración Social (SISCA), del Consejo de Ministras de la Mujer (COMMCA), el Centro para la Promoción de la Micro y Pequeña Empresa (CENPROMYPE), junto a la Unidad Regional de Pesca y Acuicultura (SICA/OSPESCA), expresaron su agradecimiento por el respaldo que siempre brindó el Embajador Chen, así como el pueblo y Gobierno de Taiwán.

“Pump It Up” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
It was all going so well yesterday morning and then… Out on the veranda shortly after 04.15 hours with my mug of black coffee and the iPad. A lovely warm breeze. The only light coming from the monitor. I read The Times on-line and got up-to-date with Facebook and Linkedin until shortly after 05.30 hours when I decided that I would start to pull together yesterday’s edition of the blog. With this start time I should have been able to achieve my new intended publication time of 06.30 hours Once I had made a selection of the photos I would use the copy flowed fairly easily . This will come as no great surprise to regular readers of this blog I am sure – its much of the same stuff anyway. Selecting a song title for the headline tested me the most but with this chosen and ‘worked’ in to the narrative I was on the home straight. Just had to proof read it and click the icon to publish. I was going to ‘hit’ the publishing deadline with around 10 minutes to spare. Or so I thought.

Why Belize is the Hottest New Caribbean Destination
While vacations in Belize are not a new idea, our awareness of them is. Belize is everywhere you look these days, thanks in part to their recent advertising campaigns. And for good reason, Belize is tropical and lush, distinctive yet wild, and not to be missed. Whether you consider it part of Central America due to its location or a Caribbean paradise thanks to the warm Caribbean Sea, Belize will not disappoint in the variety and uniqueness of offerings. If you’re worried that Belize will become another overcrowded tourist destination, we got the inside scoop on private tours, private suites and even whole private islands to discover what makes Belize the hottest new Caribbean Destination. Why Visit Belize Located just south of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and east of Guatemala, Belize borders the Caribbean Sea and offers the warm sea breezes, cerulean Caribbean waters and average temperatures in the 80’s year round.

Why South Korea, Taiwan and Belize can’t let this Big Man blow over like wah lee breeze
Perhaps September is the month that will allow some people to recognize the value of nationality, of being Belizean. That value allows over 350,000 people to belong to a land, to have a kindred spirit to all the square miles that our borders allow. That value is inhaled in the air we breathe, felt in the fertility of the soil, consumed by the food on the land and it consumes us when we return to the earth. Belize belongs to us much as we belong to Belize. But intrinsic value is oft replaced by monetary value, and that is where we lose meaning, lose faith, lose belief and Belize.

International Sources

10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Belize
Wedged between Mexico and Guatemala, the tiny and eclectic country of Belize has become one of the most popular eco tourism destinations in Central America for the intrepid traveler. Lush tropical rain forests, pristine beaches, ancient Maya cities, diverse flora and fauna, and the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere are just a few of the many natural attractions that allure the adventure traveler to visit. Here are 10 reasons why you should travel to Belize now: 1.) Belize is the only English Speaking Country in Central America Belize is a diverse society with many cultures and languages (Creole and Spanish are widely spoken) however English is the official language, making it easy for travelers to get around. 2.) Belizean food is tasty and succulent The food in Belize is as diverse as its population and consists of a vast array of elements from the different ethnic groups like the Garifuna, Maya, Mestizo, East Indian and Creole. Some of the top must eats are: Rice and Beans, Fry Jacks, Johnny Cakes, Stew Chicken, Gibnut, Escabeche, Tamales, Hudut, and Fish Sere.

Belize Fights Back Against an Uninvited Guest
On Tuesday July 2 at 11am, a very special box left Belize on its way to the U.S. Its contents? Eleven and a half pounds of filleted lionfish (Pterois volitans), a species that poses one of the greatest threats to the sustainability of coral reefs and fisheries throughout the Caribbean. Lionfish, an insatiable predator native to the Indian and Pacific oceans, was accidentally introduced to the western Atlantic near Florida in the 1980s. This voracious fish has been devouring its way through much of the region’s marine biodiversity ever since, wreaking ecological havoc across Caribbean reefs from Panama to Puerto Rico. With each lionfish capable of gulping down fish half its size, the unsuspecting Caribbean prey have never encountered a fish that hunts quite like it, and stand little chance in the face of their new predator’s impressive bulk and menacing venomous spines. The diverse Caribbean menu on offer has enabled the lionfish to develop a varied palate in its adopted home, gorging itself on invertebrates and reef fish alike.

Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
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Maruba Beach Klub and Spa is the premiere Secret Beach spa and restaurant located on the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean Sea at the center of Secret Beach, Belize
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