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Today's Belize News: November 16, 2013 #477599
11/16/13 05:18 AM
11/16/13 05:18 AM
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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
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The San Pedro Sun

Four contestants vie for the title of Miss Lions 2013-2014
The Miss San Pedro Lions Pageant will be held on Saturday, November 23rd at 8pm at the Angel Nunez Auditorium. Four lovely contestants are vying for not only the title of Miss Lions 2013-2014, but the title of Miss Lions Zone 59. Competing for the crown and the chance to be the face of the San Pedro Lions Club are Catlin Benguche, Erica Bodden, Arlethe Lima, and Julissa Trejo. The lovely contestants are in their final stages of their preparations and they all promise to do their best as they vie for the title currently held by Alexis Del Valle. The San Pedro Sun has the pleasure to introduce the four contestants to our readers. The pageant organizers are promising a bigger and better pageant this year. The winner of the Miss San Pedro Lion’s Pageant will also become the Miss Lions Zone 59 and will be crowned at the Lions Annual Convention next year. The San Pedro Sun wishes all the contestants the best of luck!

ReefCI receives Global recognition at the World Responsible Tourism Awards.
Highly commended for Best for Responsible Wildlife Experiences goes to Marine conservation organization ReefCI at the 2013 10th Annual World Responsible Tourism Awards. The winners and highly commended were announced at the World Travel Market (WTM) exhibition in the UK to an audience of tourism ministers, destination managers, industry professionals and media. The WTM exhibition, held at Excel, London on 4-7 November 2013 is the leading global event for the travel industry. This is a huge acknowledgement for Belize and Toledo, we have shown the world that Belize is not just an incredible destination but we also take responsible tourism very seriously. The awards panel of judges pre-announced: ‘We are focusing on organizations that are both committed to wildlife protection and to providing their guest with memorable experiences tourists will talk about and share with friends and family when back home.

Harrison “Bin” Jacobs walks away from a 2010 murder charge
25-year-old Harrison “Bin” Jacobs, a San Pedro Town resident, walked free of a murder charge on November 4, 2013 after a main witness was not located. Jacobs had been on remand for the murder of 20 year old Francis Alexander Figuerroa Cardenas, which occurred on November 28, 2010. Sometime around 5:40AM on the date of the incident, Cardenas was allegedly beaten and tortured in an isolated area in the San Juan neighborhood. He managed to escape and as he was running for his life, his attackers caught up with him on Seaweed Street just outside his area of residence. He was shot in the head and left to die. Neighbors heard the single gunshot blast, and seconds later, they noticed Cardenas in a seated position on the edge of a concrete fence, bleeding from the head. A white cart was seen leaving the area. Police on Ambergris Caye detained Jacobs, citing that on the day of the incident Jacobs had an altercation with the victim which escalated into a fight. According to police, Jacobs was accused of beating Cardenas, who ran away but was later caught and fatally shot to the head. During the investigation, police found a golf cart belonging to Jacobs with blood stains.

Ambergris Today

Canary Coves Sponsors Park Beautification
Canary Coves does it again! Our Island has gained a great benefactor who has us at heart and is always giving back to the community wholeheartedly. Mr. Don Listwin, owner of Canary Cove, sponsored the beautification of the Boca Del Rio Park under the supervision of Mr. Gil Nuñez. The beautification consisted of the construction of four new palapas with picnic tables, a complete playground set with swings, slides and rock climbing area. The basketball court received a new paint job and several plants were planted around the area for further beautification. Owners of Canary Cove, a private residence located five miles of North Ambergris Caye, have been visiting La Isla Bonita for years, bought their home on North Ambergris Caye and are giving back generously to the community they now call home. Giving is norm to them. They have assisted the police department as well as the tour guide association and their biggest donation has been the construction of the picnic area at the San Pedro RC School as well as a new school building that houses three brand new classrooms.

Belize to Observe World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Road Safety Project, in its approach to promote Road Safety, seeks to encourage everyone in Belize to recognize the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. This day was adopted by the United Nations in October 2005 and held on the third Sunday of November each year (Sunday, November 17, 2013) – to remember the many millions killed and injured on the world’s roads, together with their families and many others also affected, as well as reflect on the tremendous burden and cost of this daily continuing disaster. Why is this day important? Because… * It draws attention to the devastation caused and calls for government action; * This day creates a link between road victims throughout the world; * Lack of information about this catastrophe provokes social indifference; * The number of people killed and injured on the road represents the largest human-made disaster; * Modern societies tolerate enormous numbers of victims of wholly preventable technical risks; * We remember lost lives and evoke the names of real people, who deserved to be alive today, to have fulfilled their dreams.

Boxing Champion Danny Garcia Vacationing in San Pedro, Belize
Undefeated American professional boxer, Danny Oscar García, the reigning WBC, WBA (Super), and Ring Magazine light welterweight Champion is vacation in San Pedro, Belize. Danny along with girlfriend Erica Mendez arrived in our beautiful island on board Belize’s #1 Airline, Tropic Air on Thursday, November 14, 2013. He was greeted by staff of Tropic Air and fans. He was happy to greet them and take a picture with everyone. “We had to fly, drive, get on a boat to get our private island” – posted Danny on his tweeter page. Danny is staying at one of San Pedro’s top resorts, Coco Beach. Welcome to La Isla Bonita, Danny and Erica, hope you enjoy your stay!

Misc Belizean Sources

Lucky Boy’s Story
Hi, my name is Lucky Boy. And I really am a lucky boy. My story doesnt start out so great, though. Eleven years ago I was born in captivity in a Mexican zoo, and then sent to a resort in Southern Belize. In mid-July 2012, Facebook throughout Belize was all a-buzz about 2 jaguars discovered in an abandoned resort in Southern Belize. Things had gone OK for years, but then something went not-so-okay, and the owners had to leave. He left me and my companion spotted jaguar in the hands of caretakers, who left us. We had no food and hardly any water. My spotted jaguar best friend died. I nearly died…but word got out and the Belize Forest Department and The Belize Zoo came to rescue me.

Celebrate the Solstice with Us & Explore Our Maya Culture!
Date: December 21, 2013 Activities begin at 10:00 am. Organized by Juntuulico’on at Maya Centre Village. Herbal Medicine Workshop - Led by Aurora Garcia Saqui, Maya Healer. Traditional Mayan Cooking Demonstration & Launch of New Cookbook! Buffet Lunch: Delicious Maya cuisine. Winter Solstice Ceremony - Led by Maya Priest & accompanied by Maya flute and drumming. Through the ceremony, we give recognition of the past, welcome the new year, and renew our commitment of good relations to each other and our environment. The fee for participation is US$75.00 person for a full day & US$55.00 for half-day (including lunch). Children 10 & younger US$20.00. Buffet lunch included. Belize residents get 50% off. The fee is payable at Nu'uk Che'il's office at Maya Centre between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. Deadline for payments is Wednesday, Dec. 18th. Limited to 50 participants (same day registration based on available space). For more information, please call: 665-1313

The Claim for Payment for Bagasse
by Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI) BSI believes that it is in the interests of the parties and stakeholders that communications on this issue be conducted between the parties rather than by back and forth through the media. The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA) has however taken to the airwaves to seek to paint BSI as unfair or that its own cause is morally right and therefore BSI makes this statement to briefly bring certain points to the attention of the public. As BSI has stated to the BSCFA in a recent letter – the Company buys sugar cane from the farmers and the farmers sell the cane to BSI. The cane purchased and delivered to the sugar mill includes: sugar, water, fiber (bagasse), mud, etc. The cane becomes BSI’s property, responsibility and risk. This is confirmed by the long standing historical position that BSI alone (i) undertook and financed the cost of the storage and disposal of bagasse, (ii) was responsible for and had to manage the environmental challenges of the storage and disposal of bagasse, (iii) faced and dealt with the risk of claims and liability for the storage and disposal of bagasse both in respect of possible statutory liability and regulation and private claims. For the 30 years prior to 2010 BSI dealt with the bagasse and its disposal at substantial cost, amounting to approximately BZ$20 million without any contribution from the BSCFA. As requested, BSI has submitted details of this expenditure to the BSCFA.

With cooperation Garifuna Settlement Day celebrations could be less burdensome
By Wellington C. Ramos In the United States of America there are several Garifuna organizations and individuals who sponsor events to celebrate the Garifuna 19th November celebrations to commemorate the arrival of our people to the country of Belize. Plus, the Garifuna people from St Vincent, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua have a different day to celebrate their day. In Belize, the National Garifuna Council is the organization that is vested with the power to conduct all activities on behalf of the Garifuna people in the entire country. Due to this control and power that they have, other organizations and individuals have not come forward to conduct any 19th November Celebrations activities. The only other national Garifuna celebrations activity that I know of that is not under the control of the National Garifuna Council is the Battle of The Drums Contest that is held in Punta Gorda Town annually, which was founded and spearheaded by Darius Avila, a Garifuna activist. This event has been successful over the years since its inception.

VIDEO: Crooked Tree Village Flood- 2013
The Village of Crooked Tree and the wildlife sanctuary has been in a state of flooding for weeks now; today November 14, 2013 and the lagoon is still rising. Covering more than 32,000 acres, Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary lies in a flat pine-savannah landscape less than an hour's drive north of Belize City's international airport. This is the rainy season and the seasonal floods, but this year it seems to be earlier than usual. It's been more than 3 weeks of rain and there is no end in sight. The water is still rising.

VIDEO: Sarteneja Road Flooding Belize

Paul Nabor Concert Weekend
Paul Nabor will be playing 2 shows in Cayo this weekend. Tonight, he'll play at the Soul Project, starting at 8:00pm. Saturday evening, he'll play at the Cayo Welcome Center, starting at 4:00pm. Both concerts are free, thanks to Running W. Don't miss one of the best Belizean musicians as he plays this weekend. In related news, tomorrow at the Soul Project, they'll have a limited edition Paul Nabor DVD for sale for only $12, and you can have it signed by Mr. Nabor himself.

Bishop Martin Donates to Cancer Society
Feelgood news of the day. The students at Bishop O.P. Martin primary school raised funds for the Belize Cancer Society. "A very special donation presented to our branch by the Std. V children of Bishop Martin Primary School. It was heartwarming to hear the children's presentation on cancer and to accept their very kind and thoughtful donation."

Tropic Air Starts New Cayo Flights
Tropic Air starts their new flights to and from Cayo, using the newly paved Maya Flats airstrip, today. There are 4 inbound and 4 outbound flights every day, and while 3 are to Belize City, there is one that goes to and from Placencia. "Located in western Belize, San Ignacio serves as the capital of Cayo District. It got its start from mahogany and chicle production in the Colonial era, but has gradually evolved into the center of commerce and tourism for western Belize. Visit the area to see its many Maya sites (including Cahal Pech, Caracol, and Xunantunich), caves such as ATM, and other sites such as the Mountain Pine Ridge, Tapir Mountain Reserve and the Macal River. Cayo is also home to many award winning resorts and nature programs (like the Green Iguana Project)."

Corozal: Our roads have completely fallen apart
Lino's bus stuck. Students left to walk in mud! And this was my truck on Wednesday ,where is public works

Channel 7

US Embassy Denies Wiretapping Hon. Castro
Last night, 7News showed you the comments from National Security Minister John Saldivar when we asked him about the possibility that the United States Government wiretapped conversations between Belize Rural North Area Rep. Edmund Castro and the immigration agent turned whistle-blower Alvorine Burgess. She claims that she went to the US Embassy where a staffer played her recordings of conversations she'd had with Castro and another person. Castro has denied the allegations, and he has taken out a lawsuit against Burgess and Channel 5. He says he doesn't believe anything that Burgess says. But the Burgess claims have to be taken seriously - in light of the Eric Snowden allegations which say that the US security apparatus has set up a vast web of international electronic surveillance. If her allegation is true - that the US is eavesdropping on public officials and private citizens in Belize -it is an invasion of privacy - and a very startling, very unlawful one.

Brodies Cashiers Charged For Stealing From The Company
On Wednesday, 7News told you about the Brodies cashiers who were accused of misappropriating almost $20,000 from their workplace. Well tonight, we have confirmed that police charged 33 year-old Kimberly Goff, and 34 year-old Alma Gabourel Choc with theft. As we told you, the financial controller reported to police he discovered bogus receipts for items to a total value of $19,073, which the company didn't collect, receipts which were issued between October 21 and November 10, 2013. Police investigated, and charged Choc and Goff with theft yesterday. They believe that Choc is responsible for $12,185 of the company's money; while Goff is being connected to the rest. They were arraigned before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer, where they pleaded not guilty, and were granted bail, which they were able to meet.

American Fugitive Had Bogus Belize Passport
Daniel Rae Morris is an American fugitive who has a Belizean passport - and 7news has learned that it may have been fraudulently obtained. The news tonight is though that his passport number is legitimate, and it could be yours! That's because corrupt officers at immigration appear to have simply inserted Morris's bio-data into an existing passport record to scam the system. The passport number is P180550 and the document itself is genuine in every way, except for the data page that you see here. All the information for Morris is accurate but it's in someone else's passport! Apparently the Immigration Department was on the lookout for it back in March when Morris was intercepted at the northern border with Mexico. He was reportedly attempting to re-enter Belize from Mexico. We asked Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse about it via text message and he told us that he can't shed any light on it other than that they are looking into it.

Mayor Bradley & Councilor Elrington Hyde In A Shouting Match?
7News has received credible report saying that there was almost a rumble in City Hall yesterday as Mayor Darrell Bradley and Councilor Alifah Elrington Hyde had a shouting match. It got so bad that the mayor called security to have his own councilor ejected from the building! Elrington Hyde left on her own, but not before giving him a piece of her mind. Now, it sounds really incredible, we'll agree, but we have heard this report from multiple credible sources. Still, when we texted both Mayor Bradley and Councilor Elrington Hyde, they did not answer. What was it about? Well reports vary - some say it started with a ticket given by Elrington Hyde's traffic department to the city's constabulary department. But when we called the City Administrator Candice Burke - who we are told was also in the mix - she said she would not comment on it and that they quote, "have disagreements daily at the council - that it just a part of the job."

Belizean Caught With Cocaine In Chetumal
Tonight there are two stories coming out of Chetumal involving Belizeans. The first is about three Belizeans caught in Subtiniente Lopez and accused of trafficking almost a kilo of cocaine. Michael Ashton Ramirez, Orlando Habet and Ruperto Tzul were caught along with Mexican Andres Freddy Vargas yesterday afternoon. Mexican police say they had 900 grammes, about two pounds of cocaine in a vehicle with Corozal license plates. In other news from that area, Por Esto Yucatan is reporting that some heavy equipment stolen from the Belize Customs Yard ended up outside Calderitas Mexico. A man named Enrique Santana Sergio Magaña told Mexican police he was hired to find the heavy duty road equipment and he located it at a farm 400 meters from Calderitas. But the Mexican police said they could not act because it was on private property. Belize customs told us there is no truth to the report - nothing has been stolen from their compound. A customs official did tell us that there is a commercial dispute between a Belizean company and a Mexican partner - but everything that has been exported has been done so legally.

ASR Will Negotiate With BSCFA On Bagasse
The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association can claim a small victory tonight: BSI has agreed to discuss bagasse when both sides meet on the 19th November. That's the gist of a long letter sent today from BSI's Chief Financial Officer Belezario Carballo to the chairman of the BSCFA Leonardo Cano. The letter says quote, "cooperative rather than adversarial relations are in the interests of BSI, the farmers and the industry," end quote. And so, now, the agenda has been modified for Tuesday's meeting: both sides will discuss quote, "how the dispute between the parties on the matter of…payment for bagasse can be dealt with," end quote. And while that's the olive branch extended by BSI, will the Cane farmers accept? Up to this evening, they had no official response. Last week, the farmers threatened that if they don't have an agreement on bagasse, they won't start the crop on November 25th.

LPG Now Comes In Low & High Grade
The price regime for LPG, Liquid Petroleum Gas is changing again, and consumers will now have a choice: you can either buy cheaper, less efficient propane rich LPG, or buy the more expensive, more efficient, butane rich version. A release from the Bureau of Standards notifies that Belize Gas Limited and Western Gas, which import their LPG from Mexico will sell for 121 dollars per hundred pound cylinder in Belize City with varying prices in other districts. That's the more expensive gas, which has 60% propane to 40% butane. The higher butane content makes the gas more efficient, basically makes it hotter.

US Donates 2 Million Dollars In Equipment to Security Forces
Tonight there are 7 brand new heavy duty military vehicles parked on the BDF Price Barracks which the US Government officially handed over today. Today, 7News attended the handing over ceremony, and we found out that not even bad weather dampened the gifting: Daniel Ortiz reporting This morning, standing in the rain, Coast Guard and the BDF Commanders smiled for the cameras along with their Security Minister, as they received the keys to brand new vehicles and equipment, an early Christmas present from the United States Southern Command. They took possession of 2 million dollars-worth of equipment which included 7 J8 Military Vehicles, and one Boston Whaler Outrage Justice Boat. The donation is part of US SouthCom's Counter-Drug Program to help the Belize to deal with transnational narcotics and illicit trafficking. Hon. John Saldivar - Minister of National Security "Our security forces continue to grow into a force which is capable of ensuring that the citizen and people of Belize live in a safe secured and tranquil environment at peace with itself and its neighbors."

Coast Guard Gets Another Boston Whaler
As noted in our story, the Coast Guard also got its 7th vessel from the US Government, and even though it's only slight increase, the Commandant told us today that they appreciate it nonetheless. According to Admiral John Borland, it's part of a 15 year plan laid out to help them to be better equipped to protect Belize's waters: Admiral John Borland - Commandant, Belize Coast Guard "This is a part of a 15 year strategy for the Coast Guard to develop its fleet. As you would recall in the past we operated the Colombian fleet and they are a dying fleet now and so it's being replaced by these state of the art Boston Whaler vessels and some safe boats. This is the 7th boat we have received to date as part of that plan and of course this boat gives us the capability that the old Colombians couldn't give us which is better sea keeping qualities, better platforms to operate, better surveillance capability, better communication capability, used for mounting our weapons and keeping our crew out of elements during foul weather as we are experiencing today."

Belize And US Teamed Up To Get rid of $30 Mill Marijuana Plantations
It almost went unreported that over the past 5 months, the BDF and the US Military Liaison Office have collaborated to destroy over 30 million dollars' worth of marijuana plantations around the country. The operation was conducted in 3 separate raids, and it was only possible with the US Military's helicopter assistance, which mobilized the BDF unit to remote areas - which would be otherwise inaccessible. Today, we spoke to the Commander of the BDF, and he outlined how the raids took place, and why they chose to withhold the reports from the public, which would have been major positive press for the Force: Brigadier General David Jones - Commander, Belize Defence Force "The operation was actually a BDF operation; We had two BDF operations, one took place in April and another recently in September. There were a total of over 90 soldiers which included the six seals from the coast guard that took part in the operation but those are BDF type of operation in (joint task force bravo) that is located in Honduras. We negotiated with the US military liaison office here in Belize for their assistance to do the anti-drug operation here. In the April operation, they sent a Chinook and Blackhawk helicopters to do that operation."

Coast Guard SEALS Are Among The Best
And on the September 25 to September 28 Raid, the newly minted Coast Guard SEALS, which were US trained, accompanied the BDF and the USMLO where they successfully destroyed 22 marijuana fields, in which almost 38,000 plants were growing. Today, we asked their Commandant how they fared when placed among highly trained soldiers, and he told us that the report he received says each Coast Guard SEAL officer was as good as any of their counterparts from the BDF and US Military: Admiral John Borland - Commandant, Belize Coast Guard "The newly minted seals, as you call them are trained to operate in air, land and sea so being a part of the joint forces that operation "incisive gallop" which was a BDF operation in the Chiquibul forest wasn't anything out of the norm that they would do. They were under the command of the BDF during that operation. They formed a huge component of the eradication that took place with all the marijuana plantations you heard and of course the destruction of all the agrarian encroachment that were located within the adjacency zone. The feedback that I got from the BDF officer commanding the operation was that the seals performed tremendously didn't miss a step. It was as if they've been infantry soldiers all their lives so they've integrated very well in to whatever job that has been handed down to them so far."

Will Belize Own A Helicopter Fleet?
So, the lesson that the Government of Belize has learnt is that in order for them to conduct operations as widespread as these, they have no choice but to acquire their own helicopters. Today, the Ministry of National Security announced that officials are engaging in talks about how to fund Belize's own helicopter fleet: Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security "This is certainly a must have asset for Belize, if we are to continue to get concrete results. My government has been brief on the cost implications of owning and sustaining this asset but we believe that the benefits will out way the costs so I would like to publicly mention that this government is committed to any serious cost share arrangement that our partners are prepare to undertake in the acquisition of helicopters for Belize."

Belize's New European Ambassador Takes His Post
On Monday, Belize's new Ambassador to Europe Dylan Vernon will take up his post in Brussels. After a one month familiarization with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vernon left the country today for Belgium. Vernon is a well-respected researcher and development strategist who recently completed post graduate studies at University College London. Since Joy Grant left Belgium to take up a ministerial post in Belize, there has been no ambassador to Europe.

"Shyne" Got Married?
We haven't heard from Shyne or Moses Michael Leviy in a while, but tonight the Electronic Urban Report website HAS POSTED that Belize'S Cultural Ambassador has gotten married. It says that on Wednesday he posted instagram pictures of himself with his new wife at the Dead Sea in Israel under the caption "Me and the Mrs at the Dead Sea." The report says he has since confirmed the news to, but has not revealed the identity of his bride.

Garifuna Culture Day At Gwen Liz.
Tuesday is Garifuna Settlement Day, Belize's richest cultural observance. And today some schools across the city held cultural appreciation sessions despite the weather. Our team visited one such school - who welcomed us with some drumming, singing and dancing. A SIMILAR ACTIVITY WAS HELD at Wesley Lower School where drummers got just the reaction they wanted when they asked the kids to get involved…

Modeling For Charity
It is called Retro Flash Back - a charity fashion show featuring 45 models both children and adults. They will be bringing back styles from the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's. That's an era most of us can relate to and the organizer of the show stopped by to explain the concept. The show starts at 6pm on Sunday at the Princess Hotel and Casino.

Jury: Steeno Stabbed His Common-law's Lover To Death
Tonight 49 year-old Vincent Tillett, better known as "Steeno", is behind bars awaiting sentence after he convicted today of manslaughter for stabbing 22 year-old Darwin Phillips to death. The incident happened at Tillett's residence at 170 Antelope Street Extension on February 13, 2011, where Tillett's common-law wife, Denise Stuart was involved in a relationship with Phillips. Tillett came home and found Phillips there, and became enraged, and the situation became tragic when he pulled a knife and stabbed Phillips in the chest, penetrating his heart. Well, the prosecution called Stuart to the stand, and had to treat her as a hostile witness when she refused to testify and provide evidence against Tillett. Another important crown witness also recanted his statement to police, and this forced the prosecutor to admit their testimony as evidence.

A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against John McAfee
Last week we told you about the new documentary on John McAfee. In it you saw murder victim's Gregroy Faull's father, disconsolate because the murder investigation was going nowhere. Well now Faull's daughter is suing McAfee. The Reuters news agency reports that the family is bringing a wrongful death lawsuit against Mcaffe who has said he will testify willingly about the murder of his American neighbor. McAfee denies involvement in the death of Faull, an Orlando contractor and restaurant owner. But he told Reuters in a telephone interview he would not fight a subpoena for deposition in the lawsuit. The lawsuit, which was filed Friday by Faull's estate in U.S. District Court in Orlando, accuses McAfee of shooting Faull in the head or having him shot. The lawsuit also names two of McAfee's former girlfriends, Samantha Vanegas and Amy Herbert, describing them as McAfee's possible agents in the killing. The estate is seeking a jury trial and damages in excess of $75,000 on behalf of Faull's 26-year-old daughter.

Channel 5

Is the U.S. Government listening in on private phone conversations in Belize?
Visa informant Alverine Burgess has provided first-hand testimony of her financial dealings with Minister of State Edmund Castro. She has stated repeatedly that she paid Castro for each visa he [...]

Foreign Affairs C.E.O. and Opposition Leader say they would not be surprised
As we said, it is not surprising that Chargé d’Affaires Margaret Hawthorne would vehemently deny any recording which would suggest clandestine and unsanctioned intelligence-gathering activity. Currently, the U.S. is under [...]

U.B. President Carey Fraser confirms 2014 departure
In Thursday’s newscast we showed you the press conference hosted by the University of Belize’s Board of Trustees, ostensibly to clarify the resignation, removal, or none of the above – [...]

UB Board of Trustees charts the way forward
Chairman of the Board of Trustees Harrison Pilgrim did not wish to comment on the report that the Government of Belize owes U.B. two point five million dollars, and that [...]

U.S. Government gifts the B.D.F. and Coast Guard vehicles and equipment
Today, the Belize Defense Force and the Belize Coast Guard received a significant donation from the United States Government. The operational capabilities of both branches of Belize’s armed forces have [...]

B.D.F. wants a chopper to assist with drug operation efforts
While the vehicles and vessels will no doubt be welcome additions to the fleets of the armed forces, the B.D.F. wants a helicopter. According to B.D.F. Commander, Brigadier General David [...]

Leader of Opposition says allegations by whistleblower is serious
The overwhelming revelation of the visa hustle and the passport scandal over the past month and a half has landed a big black eye on the current U.D.P. Administration. Ministers [...]

Fonseca says G.O.B. should inquire on eavesdropping
As to the alleged involvement of the US Government in eavesdropping, Fonseca says that the Government of Belize should want to gather information on what is happening.   Francis Fonseca, [...]

2 Brodie Company Ltd employees arraigned for theft of $20,000
This evening, thirty-three-year-old Kimberly Goff and thirty-four-year old Alma Gabourel Choc were charged with the theft of more than nineteen thousand dollars from James Brodie and Company Ltd., a Belize [...]

Belize City man sentenced to 12 years for attempted murder
This morning, in the Supreme Court chamber of Justice Troadio “John” Gonzalez, twenty-one-year-old Diondray McKoy, who appeared unrepresented, was slapped with a twelve year sentence after being found guilty of [...]

Vincent “Steeno” Tillett, Guilty of Manslaughter
Eighteen days ago, a trial by judge without jury in the murder case of forty-nine-year-old Vincent “Steeno” Tillett concluded before Justice Adolph Lucas, who paused to decide the fate of [...]

Panama, the harpy eagle, turns 10
On November first, Belize mourned the loss of April, the oldest tapir in captivity. Today, however, it celebrated the birthday of Panama, a captive-bred harpy eagle imported from its namesake [...]


After Eight Months Potable Water Reaching Sarteneja Residents
Since the month of March, the two thousand residents of the Village of Sarteneja in Corozal have been without potable water. That makes it 8 months that the pipes across the village have been dry and residents have had to depend on manmade wells to obtain water, to drink, bathe, wash and carry out other daily routines. The problem arose when the reverse osmosis system began experiencing filter problems. Since the village had no funds to fix the system, the Social Investment Fund had to step in. But in order to get water back into the pipes SIF had to purchase an entire new system which recently arrived into the country. According to Secretary of the Sarteneja Village Council, Darnell Cruz the new system should be completely installed in the next few days. Darnell Cruz- Secretary Sarteneja Village Council “Estamos agradeciéndole a SIF que ellos están poniendo de su parte no ha mostrado que realmente quiere trabajar para el beneficio de la aldea, nos prometieron un nuevo RO Plant, Reverse Osmosis Plant, y hoy en día es un hecho esa planta ya está aquí en el wáter station, lo que está atrasando un poquito es lo de el contractor, él tiene que acabar con las líneas de tubería y ciertas modificaciones que necesitan para esta nueva planta creo que va hacer una de la mejores plantas de aquí de la región de Corozal Southeast no.”

Mexican Business Owners Plea For Reopening Of Old Bridge
In the month of June 2013 Mexican business entrepreneurs from Subteniente Lopez, a Mexican community bordering the Belize/Mexico Border, staged a protest at the mouth of the new International Bridge Chactemal, connecting Belize and Mexico. Due to the protest, a number of Belizeans traveling in an out of Mexico were left stranded at the border for hours. Viewers might recall that more than one hundred angry villagers and small business owners carried out the protest in efforts of attracting the attention of their Government to lobby with the Belizean Government and reopen the old bridge. They claimed that since the opening of the new bridge the small town’s economy went down and many local merchants were even forced to close their businesses. This is because tourists, including Belizeans, no longer have the need to pass through the community better known as Santa Elena to access Chetumal.

Progresso Resident Shot By Cop
A resident of Progresso Village is tonight recuperating from a gunshot wound at the Northern Regional Hospital after he was shot by a police officer on duty. Yesterday, at around 5:36pm, P.C Oscar Arzu, Officer In Charge of the Progresso Police Substation, was called out to the home of Roberto Pasos, a cane farmer of Progresso. Upon arrival, Officer Arzu was informed that 26 year old Dalio Sedacy, 24 year old Jesse Sedacy and Jose Maria Portillo, who were apparently under the influence of alcohol, approached Pasos at his residence and accused him of trying to run then over with his pickup. After the accusation was made, Dalio Sedacy reportedly punched Pasos on the left side of the cheek.

Three Belizeans Detained In Mexico For Drug Trafficking
Tonight three Belizeans are guests at the central prison in Chetumal Quintana Roo after they were busted with two kilos of cocaine. According to Mexican Newspaper El Diario De Quintana Roo, the three Belizeans only known as El Michel, El Ardelfo and Orlando and a Mexican identified only as Freddy were intercepted by the marines in the small community of Subeniente Lopez. Reports indicate that with the assistance of an anonymous caller, members of the Marine intercepted the suspected drug traffickers as they drove through Cuauhtémoc Street in Subteniente Lopez. It is not yet known where the drugs were destined to since investigations continue. All suspects were handed over to the Federal Public Ministry at the headquarters of the Attorney General of the Republic in Chetumal. Tonight three Belizeans are guests at the central prison in Chetumal Quintana Roo after they were busted with two kilos of cocaine. According to Mexican Newspaper El Diario De Quintana...

Diabetes, Are You At Risk?
Today, November 14th, is being observed as World Diabetes Day. The day aims at increasing awareness of the effects of diabetes and its complications among the people. For example, opponents of the disease want you to know that for every Belizean diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes another person goes undiagnosed. Reporter Maria Novelo sat down with Vascular Surgeon and Andrologist Vlademir Sarrion who shed some light on things you need to know on this World Diabetes Day. In Belize, statistics in 2012 show that 45 thousand Belizeans are living with diabetes, it raises many concerns because the numbers are rapidly growing. Diabetes knows no race, age, color or creed. It has been dubbed the ‘Silent Killer’ because it can, and does, destroy the major organs in your body; and if left untreated, it will take your life. Dr. Vladimir Sarrion – Vascular Surgeon “Mucho pacientes creen que solamente se elevan la azúcar en la sangre con la diabetes mellitus y no es así van acompañado con otros desordenes el desorden metabolismo de los lípidos en la proteína. La más conocida son la diabetes tipo uno y tipo dos, la diferencia esencial es que el paciente diabético tipo uno es aquel que nace con la diabetes y que necesariamente para poder sobrevivir y seguir viviendo necesita la utilización de la insulina. El paciente diabético tipo dos es aquel que debuta después de la adultez, después de la mayoría de edad y no necesariamente necesita insulina para su tratamiento hay una gran confusión con esto dos tipos de diabetes, el paciente diabético cuando le incorporan en su tratamiento la insulina creen que son diabéticos tipo uno y no es así o sea el paciente diabético en un momento el tipo dos en un momento de su tratamiento puede llevar insulina no quiere decir que cambia de diabético tipo uno simplemente es asi el diabético tipo uno es el que necesariamente necesita insulina para seguir su funcionamiento normal y el diabético tipo dos no.”

Engineers To Access Road Condition
As mentioned in the story, District Manager for Ministry of Works Emil Cano was expected to visit the area today to access the situation and see how soon work can commence in the area to alleviate the flooding. What we can tell you is that Cano did inspect the road today, but the news coming out of the Ministry of Works is not good. Screen_Shot_2013-11-14_at_8.32.25_PMWillard Levy – DEMO Coordinator “I got in touch with Mr. Cano of the ministry of works today and he gave me an update of the conditions of the Sarteneja road and the problem is that it was worse than what was originally thought and Mr. Cano ran through the flooded area and he mentioned that it was about half mile of flooded road that we have.” Victor Castillo – Reporter “What will NEMO do to assist these people that need to get in and out of the village presently until something can be done by ministry of works to alleviate the situation?” Willard Levy – DEMO Coordinator “The only thing we can think of is to find a way how to transport these people back and forth, one way of doing is probably getting the BDF to get involve and give some assistance by transporting these people across but I need to get this confirmation from headquarters and see if that would be possible and if we can do that then I believe we can assist the people in the time being until some solution is found.”

Re: Today's Belize News: November 16, 2013 [Re: Marty] #477600
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Constant Rains Hinder Assistance for Sarteneja Residents
Continuous rain over the northern part of the country continues to hamper assistance to users of the Sarteneja Road. On Wednesday we reported that due to heavy rainfall more than a quarter of the Sarteneja Road near Saint Viator Highschool was under more than two feet of water. This had obstructed vehicles from traversing the area, stranding residents of Sarteneja and nearby communities. NEMO sent the BDF to assist those who need to cross the flooded road but we understand the water level is too high for their trucks to cross so heavier machinery is being sent to the area. Heavy rain from this morning over northern Belize have just complicated things as water continues to rise. When we spoke with NEMO Corozal Coordinator Willard Levy on Wednesday he told us that they were recently informed of the situation of the road despite the road was flooded for over two weeks. Plans were in place for machinery from the Ministry of Works to go to the area and attend the situation but continuous rain has hindered the work.

Forensic Department Personnel Gets Training on Ballistics
An expert from Canada was in Belize over the past week conducting a three-day workshop with personnel from the National Forensic Science Service who operate the Integrated Ballistic Identification System, IBIS donated to Belize by the Canadian Government. Senior instructor from Forensic Technology, Petar Zenovich, was here as part of the company’s commitment to ensure proper maintenance and effective utilization of the system. Zencovich, who has been coaching IBIS operators for over 13 years, expressed his that personnel at the National Forensic Science Service were making tremendous progress by applying the training they received to operate the system. Zencovich noted that the personnel have succeeded in creating a healthy database and establishing precise protocols in order to fully integrate the system into their daily tasks and overall function. Personnel at the National Forensic Science Service who operate the system and took part in the three-day workshop include, Orlando Vera, the Supervisor at the Firearms Unit; Renie Moh, the Exhibit Manager and Assistant Analyst; Mark Wallace, the Forensic Analyst; and Ebony Lyall, also a Forensic Analyst all from the firearm unit. Director of the National Forensic Science Service, David Henderson, showed appreciation to Zencovich and congratulated the local analysts for their outstanding effort, initiative and dedication. The IBIS is the most advance system with full capability to collect, store, compare, analyze and prepare conclusive reports on ballistic evidence to assist law enforcement authorities in investigation, prosecution and conviction of persons involved in firearm related crimes. It was donated to Belize one year ago by the Government of Canada.

Woman Faces Drug Trafficking Charges Following GSU Operation
Thirty-five year old Natalie Fuller, a resident of Regent Street West, was charged with two counts of drug trafficking when she appeared in court today. Fuller pled not guilty to the charges. She was offered a bail of ten thousand dollars and her case was adjourned until January 16, 2014. The incident occurred around 11:30 yesterday morning. The police, members of the GSU, reported that when they searched Fuller’s house they found a black plastic bag containing 262 grams of cannabis in her bedroom. The police also reported that when they searched the yard they found 23 black plastic bags containing 2.9 kilograms of cannabis that were in a Tommy Hilfiger brand bag near to some mangrove. Fuller was represented by attorney Bryan Neal.

Thieves Hit Customs Compound in Northern Belize
Unconfirmed reports are that heavy machinery was stolen from the customs lot at the northern border. Information to Love News is that three tractors and two back hoes that were stationed at the northern border were stolen and were eventually located near Calderitas, Qunitana Roo. We have been unable to confirm who the owner of the machinery is but are told it is a Belizean who had the intention of selling the heavy equipment over at the Mexican side. We understand that the machinery which includes two caterpillar tractors, one Kelly tractor and two caterpillar backhoes were parked in the customs lot and when these were noticed missing the owner decided to search for them on the Mexican side. With the help of Mexican Police the heavy machinery was found on Wednesday in a farm near Calderitas. Because the machinery was in private property Mexican police could not proceed but spoke with the caretaker of the farm who explained that the owner of the farm was not there. Mexican police advised the Belizean to make a report to both Mexican and the Belizean authorities so he can recover his property. We contacted the Custom Officer in charge at the northern border but he was unavailable.

Man Charged With Murder But Convicted of Manslaughter
49-year-old, Vincent Tillett, charged with the murder of Darwin Phillips, was found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter today by Justice Adolph Lucas. It was a trial without jury. Justice Lucas has deferred sentencing until November 26. Phillips was fatally stabbed in his chest on February 13, 2011 while he was at a house on Antelope Street Extension that was occupied by Tillett and his common-law wife, Denise Stuart. The two main witnesses for the prosecution, Angela Hyde and Oran Young, were both deemed as hostile witnesses when they testified and gave testimonies that were contrary to the statements they gave to the police. But their statements were admitted as evidence. Tillett testified and denied that he committed the offence. He said that at the time of the incident he was in Sandhill. Tillett was represented by attorney Arthur Saldivar while Crown Counsel Kayshia Grant represented the prosecution.

Arrested Belizeans Identified
Love News has been able to ascertain the names of three Belizeans that were caught with cocaine near the Belize Mexico border. According to Mexican news outlet, the Belizeans that have been detained are Michael Asthon Ramírez, Adelfo Ruperto Dzul and Orlando Habet. Accompanying the three Belizeans was Mexican National, Freddy Andrés Lagos Vargas. As we reported yesterday, the group of men was riding around in a vehicle with Corozal license plates in the neighboring town of Subteniente Lopez. Marines from the Mexican army, who had received an anonymous tip, intercepted the vehicle on Cuauhtemoc Street where their search led to the discovery of nine hundred grams of cocaine in the vehicle. The four men remain detained in Chetumal awaiting directives from the DPP office in Quintana Roo.

Students, Faculty and Friends of SJC Junior College Donates to Cancer Society
On Friday, November 8, 2013 the students of SJCJC along with faculty and family came together and organized a marathon to raise funds to aid those in our society who are suffering from the damaging effects of cancer. Today they headed over to the Belize Cancer Society’s headquarters to hand over a cheque of over two thousand dollars. Kathleen Azueta is one of the event’s organizers. KATHLEEN AZUETA “As part of raising awareness on cancer and also as part of instilling in our students the whole idea of leading a healthy lifestyle, we decided to hold a cancer awareness fundraiser marathon and the marathon was held last week Friday commencing at 5:30am. We had about 165 participants comprising of students, faculty members, parents and other interested individuals and in signing up, each participant donated ten dollars; so, we managed to raise $2,120.00 and that is what we are going to present to the Belize Cancer Society this morning. We decided to do that because this organization has displayed great commitment in raising awareness on cancer here in our country.”

Supermarket Cashiers Arraigned for Theft
Two former cashiers of James Brodies Store, located at mile four on Phillip Goldson Highway, were charged with theft in two separate cases when they appeared in court today. They are 34-year-old, Alma Gabourel and 33-year-old, Kimberly Goff. Gabourel, a resident of West Canal Street, was charged with the theft of twelve thousand one hundred and eighty five dollars. Goff, who resides on Gibnut Street, was charged with the theft of six thousand eight hundred and eighty eight dollars. They both pled not guilty to the charge. Gabourel was offered a bail of ten thousand dollars and her case was adjourned until January 20, 2014. Goff was offered a bail of five thousand dollars. Her case was adjourned until December 31. According to the allegation, Gabourel stole the money between October 21 and November 10, while Goff stole the money between October 28 and November 10. Both women were represented by attorney Bryan Neal.


Minister of National Security Concerned about Foreign Snooping on Belize
The Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar is tasked with protecting Belize’s internal secrets from foreign snooping. But with the recent revelations about high-level monitoring of public officials in many countries, some wonder if Belize isn’t also being monitored. Confirmation appeared to come with the news from whistle-blower...

UB’s Board of Trustees Meets Urgently Pending the President’s Resignation
According to the Chair, on November 1st, Dr. Fraser announced at a the commencement of a Board Meeting that he was considering an appointment that would take him away from the University and that if he decided to accept the offer, he would be leaving the institution by mid-2014....

Pen Cayetano Mounts Dominant Exhibition at the Venezuelan Institute of Culture
Garifuna culture in Belize has fostered and inspired many talented painters, musicians, and craftsmen. Among those most influential is Belizean artist and musician Pen Cayetano. Artist Cayetano began painting in the late 1970′s at a studio in Dangriga. He remained in Dangriga until 1990 when he moved to Germany....

Public Accounts Committee Needs Changes for Future Excellent Governments: Hon. Julius Espat
Although the Public Accounts Committee has been lying dormant for decades, has in the recent months, been dominating headlines. The Chairman of that committee, the Hon. Julius Espat, set fire to a countrywide dialogue that eventually led to re-activate it. The Chair had a list of proposed changes to...

Independence Village Should Taste Benefit of Norwegian Cruise Line Project, says its Chairman
With the Norwegian Cruise Line Project in the pipeline, communities in the south have been putting in place mechanisms to benefit from what is anticipated to be a successful tourism venture. One such community is the village of Independence. The Village Council, in conjunction with the N.C.L. Steering Committee...

Fugitive and Alleged Potential Thug Falls Prey to Interpol and Mexican Authorities
A joint effort conducted last weekend, between the Guatemalan and Mexican authorities have led to detain a suspect wanted for the disappearance of his wife. It is said that the fugitive made his way to Mexico not too long ago, using a falsified Belizean passport. Roberto Barrera de León,...


As we go to press tonight, the nation of Belize continues to experience torrential rains as a result of a northeasterly airflow over the warm Caribbean waters – making for another wet month at the tail-end of the 2013 hurricane season. Forecaster Michael Gentle told Amandala tonight that rains are expected to continue into Friday night. Gentle said that the daily weather readings have been showing that for the past two weeks, there has been incessant rainfall on most days. However, he said, they expect the intensity of the rains to taper off a bit during the next 24 to 36 hours, with a return to normalcy on Saturday and Sunday. Last month (October) was wetter than usual and the flooding being experienced across the country now has resulted from an accumulation of continuous rains. The outcome was tragic for Cayo last night.

Acquitted of murder but convicted in August of illegal reentry of a deported alien and possession of a firearm and ammunition by an illegal alien Well-known Belize City street figure, Kenneth “Big Tom” Flowers, was deported last week by US Federal authorities after serving time in Utah for gun and ammunition possession, as well as illegal entry into the USA. Flowers had been acquitted of a murder charge in relation to the death of Cisco Cross, 45, who Flowers claimed to have killed in self-defense. A report carried by Salt Lake Tribune said Big Tom, 36, was escorted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to Belize last week. “He was turned over to Belize authorities for questioning related to gang activities in that Central American country,” ICE said.

Cane farmers say if their demands are not met, they will not deliver cane to BSI come new crop year later this month. The membership of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA)—numbering 5,339 active farmers at last report—are threatening to strike when the new crop year opens later this month. The farmers are at loggerheads with the management of the Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) over their demand for a financial stake in revenues earned from the production of electrical power from bagasse – the wastes from sugar cane now being used to produce power, not just for the company but also for the national grid. Any strike by cane farmers would not only affect sugar production and exports – for which Belize must maintain production to protect its international niche – but could also affect power supply and prices charged to consumers, since the BELCOGEN (BSI) prices are substantially lower than the cost of power from non-renewable sources, such as Mexico.

Reports are that he had been receiving documents and cash through Belize. Roberto Eduardo Barreda de León, 37, the son of a prominent ex-judge in Guatemala and the prime suspect in the high-profile mystery murder of Cristina Siekavizza, a Guatemalan mother and wife who disappeared more than two years ago, will be facing trial in Guatemala for her murder. Why is this story relevant to Belize? Multiple media reports coming out of Guatemala indicate that Barreda, who had assumed a false identity with a fake passport, had received his documents and financial support via Belize. In fact, one news report goes further to say that Barreda had actually been traveling back and forth between Mexico and Belize – even while Interpol had him on their most wanted list. Barreda had reportedly changed his identity to Carlos Roberto Barreido Villareal and had papers claiming he was a Mexican citizen.

A proposition by the Barrow administration to set up a new law to govern private sector pensions has created alarm in certain factions—and those concerns apparently won’t be allayed until a formal draft of the bill becomes public. Amandala was informed by Alma Gomez, Supervisor of Insurance, that the Solicitor General is still working on the document, but after the drafting process is complete—to ensure that the bill, formulated by a Canadian consultant, aligns with domestic legislation—the bill will go to Cabinet before it is made available to the public. Gomez told Amandala that there were consultations held with the private sector—including the insurance companies—in December and March, but further consultations are due to be held after the bill is ready for circulation. “We need to look at what will happen in years to come – the senior years,” she said.

Maurice Tomlinson, attorney at AIDS Free World, and a Jamaican homosexual married to a Canadian pastor, has asked the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to strike down a clause in Belize’s Immigration Act which he alleges makes it an offense for homosexuals to visit Belize. Tomlinson is jointly challenging the Immigration Act of Trinidad and Tobago, on the same basis – that the law bars him, as a homosexual, from visiting the country. As a citizen of the Caribbean Community, Tomlinson claims rights of free movement in member states, such as Belize. Tomlinson makes this claim on the basis of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas – the legally-binding instrument which is the foundation for the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). Tomlinson’s attorney, international human rights attorney, Anthony Gifford, QC, a British baron, told the Caribbean Court of Justice on Tuesday morning, that in his reading of the Belize and Trinidad statutes, the laws require his client to seek a special permit from local authorities to visit their country.

A small delegation made up of one female (F) and three male (M) Masters athletes left the Jewel in the middle of last week to compete in the 18th annual Central American Masters Track and Field Championship held in Managua, Nicaragua, from November 7 – 9. According to Daland Jones, a member of the Belize delegation, the meet involved some 450 Masters athletes from the seven Central American countries, which were each allowed no more than two participants in each Track or Field event. The small Belize delegation only participated in the Field events, and returned on Sunday with a remarkable take of 5 Gold, 2 Silver and 4 Bronze medals, after having competed in 13 individual events. Most outstanding was veteran athlete (over 60 years old) and former President of the Belize Amateur Athletic Association, Fred Evans, who captured an amazing 3 Gold and 1 Silver medals.

Yesterday, the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) released the final eighteen (18) player list for the UNCAF U-16 Championship 2013 which will be hosted in Belize at the FFB Stadium in Belmopan next week, with games daily from Monday to Friday, November 18 – 22. Six of the seven Central American countries are participating in the tournament (Panama withdrew), namely Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. On October 24, the FFB released a list of 26 players who were reportedly in camp to prepare for the upcoming tournament. That list has been reduced to the final 18 who will represent the Jewel in next week’s UNCAF U-16 Championship. Technical Staff: Head Coach – Renan Couoh; Assistant Coach – Alex Norales; Goalkeeper Coach – Kent Gabourel; Physical Trainer – Dennis Serano; Physiotherapist – Bertha Gonzalez; Doctor – Alain Gonzalez; Equipment Manager – Herbert Trapp.

Veteran Belizean distance runner Anthony Flores, 53, a.k.a. “Ladies,” says he placed third in his age category at last year’s Placencia Half-Marathon, behind a first place American and a second place Nigerian. It’s an annual international event in connection with the tourist industry down south in Placencia, and “Ladies” says athletes are treated “special” with the best accommodation, food and refreshment, making this race very appealing to participants. But Anthony “Ladies” Flores is a serious runner, not just going for a holiday. He says he recently won his third annual BDF half-marathon in a row, a race he has dominated ever since the passing of his nemesis, the late William Bailey of Ladyville. Flores says he runs because he enjoys it and also because it keeps him healthy. “I have no problem with sugar or pressure,” he maintains, and advises others to take up running for fun and fitness.

On October 29 of this year, the Belize Boxing Federation (BBF) took a team of 2 boxers to represent Belize in the Central American Boxing Championships, which was held in Nicaragua from October 30 until November 3. Representing Belize were Maxwell Williams and Sherman Galvez, who both qualified to enter the tournament due to their experience. They both subsequently won Bronze in their categories, which were the 64 kilos and 69 kilos. According to the President of the Belize Boxing Federation, Moses Sulph, the competition that Williams and Galvez had gone up against was “very elite competition,” because he pointed out that all the other countries had to go through a process of elimination, due to the fact that there is a wide pool of fighters in the same weight class, so they have to go through a whole elimination process in order to be qualified. He acknowledged that, nevertheless, both the Belizean boxers did very well. He informed us that they both made it to the semifinals; however, Sherman Galvez lost his second fight in which he was going up for either a gold or silver medal.

Another sporting event in conjunction with the Garifuna Settlement Day celebration in Dangriga will be the 6th annual Rock Bottom 3-on-3 Basketball Marathon at the Why-Not-Island this Saturday, November 16. The time has been changed from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. All teams must be at the Why-Not-Island by 3:30 p.m. Registration per team is $25.00. First place receives $125.00 U.S. along with Jordan slippers; second place will each receive Nike slippers; and the MVP of the Marathon will receive a pair of Jordan tennis shoes and a basketball. SCFA 1st Division Week 10 games The Stann Creek Football Association (SCFA) 1st Division Football Tournament for the Old Master and Paul’s Guest House Cup will have its Week 10 games this weekend at the Carl Ramos Stadium.

As we Belizeans look around our country and examine our infrastructure, we see that our streets, bridges, roads, schools, parks, stadiums, auditoriums and so on are not in good shape. As a people, our morale is low. We are frustrated, puzzled, undisciplined, and argumentative. Law and order have been breaking down. We are afraid to go out at night. Overall, the quality of our life is unacceptable. There are individuals and enclaves which are exceptions to these general rules. Perhaps the most notable such enclaves are the Mennonite ones. The Mennonites, however, live according to their own way of life, which they brought with them to Belize more than five decades ago. The Mennonites are a numerical minority, and there is no chance that the majority Belizean population will adopt the Mennonite lifestyle. Belize is considered a Christian nation. There are many faiths which are active, all of them promising salvation in the hereafter if people believe in and practice their principles. It is assumed, we suppose, that life will be better on earth itself if people believe and behave, but the Christian faiths emphasize eternal salvation more than earthly well-being.

“On the next day, the 9th, sports were held in the Contingents’ honor at Newtown Barracks … the sports on the 9th only served to remind the men that their real status in their own society had in no way changed. The sports field at the Barracks was overlooked by the capital’s various social clubs – the preserve of the white-Creole elite – and, on that day, afternoon tea was served on the various verandahs to white store owners, Creole mahogany contractors and the dignitaries of the Colonial Administration.” - RACE RIOT, CLASS WARFARE, AND COUP D’ETAT: THE EX-SERVICEMEN’S RIOT OF JULY 1919, Peter David Ashdown The Southside of Belize City first went against the PUP in the Belize City Council election of December of 1974, when the UDP won 6 CitCo seats to the PUP’s 3. In the December 1977 CitCo election, the UDP won all 9 seats in a landslide victory. Then, in the general elections of 1979, the UDP won 2 of the then 3 Southside seats in the House of Representatives, with their Philip Goldson winning Albert and their Curl Thompson winning Mesopotamia. (The PUP’s Harry Courtenay retained the Collet seat.) The number of Southside seats was expanded to 6 for the 1984 general election, and the UDP won all 6, winning 9 out of 10 seats in the old capital overall.

Eight men, 7 of them from Corozal and one from Cayo, were all charged with customs and criminal offences and were arraigned today in the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court after a Police Quick Response team discovered them in possession of what are believed to be chemicals used in the manufacture of the highly addictive and deadly drug called methamphetamine, more commonly known as “crystal meth.” San Ignacio police said that around 12:30 p.m. on Monday, they were on patrol in the Bullet Tree area when they spotted a 40-foot container attached to a towhead truck that was parked on the side of the Calla Creek Road, just past the Bullet Tree Police Substation. They subsequently searched the large blue container, which was loaded with only ten 50-gallon blue barrels. Those barrels, however, contained suspicious chemicals, which are supposedly chemical precursors. The barrels were un-declared, un-documented and likely smuggled across from Guatemala.

I must confess I have made it a personal choice not to be glued to my TV set every evening for the weekly dose of news from the various media houses … Honestly the negativity after a long day’s work is just too much, so I find time to just browse the transcripts as time allows or needs be. The reason I no longer wish to be sucked into the tubes or plasma, in these modern times, is because too often it seems Belize has gone mad … Mad to the point that we have to deal with men having sex with men fighting the rest of us, to being sued by some gay activist at the CCJ, to men gunning down and killing men on the streets, to men facilitating shipment of precursor drugs through Belize, to fugitive men obtaining Belizean passports to escape the law, to police brutalizing citizens and men raping women or abusing children … okay maybe I should re-phrase: it’s like our men have gone mad! Recently the scandal that does not go away is the one involving our nationality. Our identity to the rest of the world and the pride of being a Belizean with a Belizean passport has been diminished. Penner has refused to resign; Castro denies he was bribed for visa recommendations; evidence is getting closer and closer to another elected minister. And Hulse, with all his big chats, has been emasculated by politics. The evidence is there and the police are not allowed to go in and find it. Shame on us!

In September, 2013, Deputy Party Leader Julius Espat, tried to amend the membership of the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives to increase the number of the PUP members to three. This could possibly give his party a greater influence on this important group and strengthen the oversight of the House over the expenditure of public funds. Transparency would certainly be enhanced. The Prime Minister moved quickly to secure control of this key committee by his party. He appointed a fourth colleague to the PAC. Not only the People’s United Party but the whole country at large once again had to confront the reality that transparency and accountability are not high on the list of this Prime Minister’s priorities. This conviction was re-enforced last week. By a vote of 7-6 the Senate rejected a motion put forward by Civil Society representatives on the Senate and the People’s United Party to launch an investigation into the various scandals emanating from the Ministry of Immigration. Included in the allegations of criminal acts and misconduct is the charge that Cayo North East Representative, a key UDP member, Elvin Penner, had signed some immigration documents – an official act outside of his scope of responsibility.

Things egregious Many Belizeans disagreed with independence, some believing the time was wrong, others fearing a Guatemalan invasion, while some “Britishers” adamantly refusing to accept it, preferring to die under colonial rule, servile and subservient. Belize is now 14 years young and proud of our record so far in governing ourselves. One wonders for some of the decisions made are, to be kind, mindboggling and incomprehensible. What’s going on? Constitutional Guarantees 1981 … Regardless of the race, place of origin, political opinions, color, creed or sex, every person in Belize shall be entitled to the following human rights and fundamental freedoms: (a) Life, liberty, security of the person and protection of the law. (b) Freedom, convenience of expression, of assembly and association. (c) Respect for his private and family life, protection for the privacy of his home and recognition of his human dignity, and

The Ministry of Health has issued a public notification which states that the Ministry would like to advise the general public not to purchase or use Vitalikor, which is sold as a sexual enhancement product on websites, pharmacies and supplements stores. According to the press release, the advice is based on recommendations by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which detected the presence of Tadalafil and Vardenafil, which are both active ingredients in the prescription drugs Cialis and Levitra, but for some reason, are not mentioned as ingredients in Vitalikor. The consumption of the Vitalikor supplement in combination with prescriptive drugs which contain nitrates may lower blood pressure levels to dangerous levels because the undeclared ingredients are likely to interact with other nitrates that are found in some prescription drugs, such as nitroglycerin which is used in treating men with diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease.

The continuous rains over the past days have been making bad situations worse in various parts of the country. The rising flood waters are inundating certain sections of the north, such as the Sarteneja area, where the road is covered with water for miles, with depths of up to over 3 feet in parts, making traveling on the road very difficult. The owner of a bus line in Sarteneja announced today on KREM Radio that tomorrow, Friday, is the last day he is allowing his buses to traverse the impassable Sarteneja Road, due to its terrible condition and the damage being caused to his vehicles by the high flood waters on the road. He claimed that parts of the road are so bad that he fears that his vehicle will become bogged down. He said that his vehicles will not be travelling until there are improvements to the road. This lack of public transportation will create additional difficulties for travelers to and from the village, who must travel from the village to work and to school. NEMO of Orange Walk announced that the Ministry of Works has been informed about the terrible situation, and the Ministry has indicated that an assessment of the situation will be carried out, and repairs to the road will be done as soon as the weather improves.

Linsford “Supa G” Martinez, Adrian “The Doc” Martinez, Constable Bert Martinez and their family of Georgetown are mourning the death of their eldest brother, Patrick Anthony “Patos” Martinez, a former teacher, policeman ,and soldier of the Belize Defence Force. Patos, the father of 6 children, died on Monday at his home in Georgetown, after suffering a long bout of illness. Patos was taken to the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga, where his body awaits a post-mortem. Constable Martinez told Amandala that Patos was at the Southern Regional Hospital, but had improved and was discharged and went home, only to die on Monday. Patos was a musician in his own right who composed songs. Those of us who were fortunate to spend time with him while he was serving in the Belize Defence Force, will always remember him as a mild-tempered and quiet soldier, who was friendly and easy to get along with.

A joint military training exercise that was being conducted between a Belize Defence Force team and foreign military counterparts was disrupted at about 11:30 a.m. today after the gusts that were generated by their helicopter allegedly blew the pickup truck of a nearby work crew into the Haulover Creek. This morning, a team of BDF soldiers and members of foreign armed forces was reportedly in a 100-foot long Chinook helicopter doing routine training on top of a 3-storey abandoned building situated in an area off the Airport Road near the Haulover Creek when the incident reportedly occurred. Residents who live in the vicinity told us that the BDF had previously informed them that they would be conducting training exercises in the area, which they occasionally did, but this was the first time that the training was done using a helicopter. One of the witnesses said that the helicopter stirred what he described as “hurricane force winds” as it landed on top of the building, which is when the strength of the air currents not only sent tree branches toppling on top of nearby vehicles and blew items from a neighbor’s yard into the nearby river, but it also pushed a pickup truck into the murky waters as well.

A Mexican, Juan Alberto Hernandez Zuniga, one of two men who were acquitted of gun possession charges at the Corozal Magistrate’s Court yesterday, has been returned to his country after he pleaded guilty to being a prohibited immigrant. Zuniga was ordered by the Corozal Magistrate’s Court today not to return to Belize for the next 6 months. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $1,000, to be paid forthwith, or serve 5 months in prison. Zuniga paid the fine immediately and he was taken to the northern border by officers of the Immigration Department. Police said that on Sunday, May 11, Zuniga and another man were arrested and charged with firearm and ammunition possession without a gun license after police pursued a vehicle out of which a 9mm pistol and three magazines loaded with 13, 14, and 15 live 9mm rounds were thrown.

— by Major Lloyd Jones (Ret’d) Dear Editor, The residents of Ladyville/Lords Bank should seriously consider becoming Belize’s next town! According to the Statistical Institute of Belize (2010 census), Ladyville has 5,458 residents whilst Lords Bank has 3,140. Combined, the greater Ladyville area has a population of 8,598. Should the residents decide to become a town it would make Ladyville/Lords Bank Belize’s sixth largest town. Larger than Punta Gorda (5,205) and Benque Viejo (5,824) and almost as large as Dangriga (9,096) and Corozal (9,901). I do not think that it is unfair to say that the residents of Ladyville/Lord Bank have been under-served in terms of government services. The area has no hospital, no fire service and inadequate police presence. Other critical government services such as lands, treasury, vehicle/drivers licensing, vital statistics, etc. are also not available and residents have to go to Belize City in order to access those services.

— by Wendy Auxillou Dear Editor, Wow! Vega/Castro/Pennergate are the gifts that keeps on giving! Before Vega/Castro/Pennergate, we had Godfrey/Fonseca/Musagate. It should be clear by now, 32 years after “independence”, that the Belize Constitution is the supreme manifesto for white collar crime. It is beyond time that this illegitimate constitution – written by politicians, for the enrichment of politicians, be trashed. Why is it illegitimate? The Belize Constitution came into force during some of the worst rioting our country has ever seen. The people were not consulted, and no national referendum to approve or reject the constitution was held. In fact, it could safely be said that a large portion of civil society was against it coming into force, the result which was the aforementioned rioting and civil unrest. Independence Day, 1981, saw our new nation on “lock down” and under martial law due to a State of Emergency. On a day when the population should be celebrating, military officers with large guns and with orders to shoot to kill anyone walking on the streets after sundown, patrolled the streets of Belize. It is into this distressing scenario that our nation and constitution were “born.” And that is how an oppressive, kleptocratic constitution, which served our colonial masters so well was passed down to the local apprentices as inheritance on Independence Day.

— by Paul Rodriguez Editor Sir: Every country has the right to devise and formulate its own constitution. And, yes, Mr. Coombs, the heart and soul of Belize is expressed in the Preamble to our constitution. The Belizean people decided it is our standard of morality, not the Government. The standard of morality is changing and has changed in America and England, the most powerful and influential members of the United Nations; and they are seeking to impose them on small nations, like Belize. If it suits your agenda and you believe that might makes right, you have a right to do so. (Signed) Paul Rodriguez

Re: Today's Belize News: November 16, 2013 [Re: Marty] #477601
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Chinese nationals Fenglan Wu, 35, and Chenbo Xu, 38, were charged for failing to declare the US$10,000 they arrived with into the country on Monday, November 11. On Tuesday, represented by attorney Ellis Arnold, they were arraigned on that charge, with Wu pleading not guilty and Xu accepting responsibility. They were offered bail and Arnold asked the court to expedite the trial since the couple are visitors to the country. The Chief Magistrate granted his request and their trial was set for this Friday, November 15. This morning, however, the couple appeared in court, and since Xu had already pleaded guilty to the charge, he was fined $20,000 to be paid forthwith, which he was able to do.

This morning, Fenglan Wu, 35, a Chinese housewife, and her husband, Chenbo Xu, 38, a Chinese real estate agent, were jointly charged with failing to declare $20,000 in Belizean currency when they arrived into the country via the Philip Goldson International Airport. The couple arrived here yesterday at 10:30 and after the cash was found, they were taken to the Queen Street Police Station, where they were charged. Their lawyer, attorney Ellis Arnold, argued that the couple didn’t have a charge to answer to since between the two of them they were operating within the scope of the law by having $10,000 each. He also argued that they didn’t have to fill out a declaration form listing the cash, since it didn’t have to be declared in the first place.

Jose Mario Portillo, of Progresso, Corozal, is recovering from gunshot wounds to his leg at the Orange Walk Hospital after he was shot by police during the execution of an arrest in Progresso village at about 5:40 yesterday evening. He was rushed to the hospital, where he is receiving treatment. His condition has been declared as stable. Constable Arzu (whose first name was not provided), the officer in charge of Progresso Police Station, reported that yesterday evening he responded to reports of an altercation at Javier Jones Store. He said that Vanessa Jones, a resident of the village, called the police because three persons, known to her as Dalio Sedacy, Jesse Sedacy and Jose Maria Portillo, who were under the influence of alcohol, had approached Roberto Pasos, 57, a cane farmer of Progresso who was at Javier Jones’ welding place, located at the same address of the store, and told him that they wanted to run their pickup over him.

An autopsy conducted on the body of a Guatemalan, Edgar Salazar, 28, of Fabers Road Extension, Belize City, who was stabbed to death after an altercation between his friends and another group of men that began near La Catracha Bar on Coney Drive, certified the cause of his death to be exsanguinations due to external bleeding from a renal vein injury as a result of a stab wound. The autopsy was conducted by Doctor Mario Estradabran, police coroner, at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) on Monday. Police say that at about 1:10 Sunday morning, Edgar Salazar was socializing with some men near the La Catracha bar when a fight broke out on the street in front of the bar between Salazar’s group and another group of men. Salazar and his friends reportedly ran to escape their attackers, but some of the men chased the group and caught him some distance away. One of the attackers, who was armed with a broken bottle, stabbed Salazar in the right lower back. He was rushed to the KHMH, where he was declared dead about fifteen minutes after his arrival.

On Friday, November 8, Kevin Jex, 38, was charged with attempted murder, dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm when he appeared before the Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith. But this afternoon, he was returned to court where those charges were withdrawn and replaced with a single charge of murder. Jex is accused of hitting Desmond Miller, 49, behind his head with a large piece of wood, causing a large cut wound in his head. Miller was in front of the Belize City Council, where he was employed as a security guard. Miller was receiving treatment at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, but died from his serious injury on Sunday.

Dwayne Davis, 32, who was charged with the June 18, 2012, murder of Dr. Ivan Garcia, had his case committed to the January session of the Supreme Court when he appeared in court. Davis is accused of killing the doctor and leaving his half nude body on the bedroom floor inside the doctor’s house. Dr. Garcia was found with a bruised eye and a cut to his head, and his throat showed signs of manual strangulation. Davis was arraigned for the murder on June 20, 2012, before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser and was represented by attorney Bryan Neal. His preliminary inquiry was held before the Chief Magistrate, and he was again represented by Neal.

Charles Peebles, 44, of San Pedro Town, has been remanded to the Belize Central Prison on a charge of keeping an unlicensed firearm. Peebles, of Swan Street, was taken to the San Pedro Town Magistrate’s Court on Friday, where he was arraigned on the charge and remanded until December 14, when he is to return to court. Police said that about 11:45 on Thursday night, they were on mobile patrol in the San Pedrito area, where they intervened and broke up a fight between two men, one of whom was identified as Charles Peebles. Police reported that Charles Peebles had an object in a black plastic bag in his right hand, and they took it away from him.

The November 2013 - January 2014 issue of The BELIZE AG REPORT is online.
Click HERE to download the PDF

This Issue's Stories:

  • Belize’s ‘Green Coal’: The Multi-Purpose Cohune Nut: The cohune palm tree, Attalea cohune, familiar to Belizeans, produces a nut about 6 inches in diameter in huge heavy clusters, weighing about 100 pounds. One tree can have several of these clusters. The nuts have been used by the Mayas, and in more modern times, by other Belizeans for fuel and oil. The kernels are 65 to 70 percent oil, but they amount to about 6% of total weight. The nuts are unusually hard and difficult to crack and their collection and transportation can also be difficult; so commercial oil recovery has been relatively undeveloped. Peter Singfield, who lives in Xaibe, Corozal District, developed an oil extraction system using a conventional oil expressor. First the nuts need be heat treated to loosen the meat from the shell or they are impossible to extract. Properly heated, the nut falls from the shell when the shell is “properly” split. Peter used to set them out in the hot sun on a black tarpaulin for four days or so, where the mid-day sun on a black surface reached temperatures 145° - 150°F. Others boil them for 30 minutes, while some people make fire pits and after the coals are sufficiently hot, put in the nuts and cover them with soil to process the next day.
  • Letter: Biologically Appropriate Technology or GMO: Biologically appropriate technology is designed to do no harm to the environment – the air, water and soil. It is working with nature, not against it. It is learning from and respecting nature. Having been an environmental journalist turned anti-nuclear/prorenewable energy activist, I am seeing similar patterns in the debate over GMO corn as existed in the nuclear debate. The parallels lie in how the public was sold on nuclear power back when there was concern that nuclear power might not be “ biologically appropriate technology.” Touted as being “safe, clean, and too cheap to meter” by the industries that financially benefited, nuclear energy turned out to be an expensive environmental nightmare, costing trillions, and many lives. Safely dealing with nuclear waste is still an unsolved problem; Fukushima is an ongoing out-of-control environmental disaster contaminating water daily with ionizing radiation that flows to the open sea. When there is controversy regarding a technology, it would seem best to stay on the side of caution. So, we ask ourselves, is genetically modified seed (ie: GMO corn, etc.) biologically appropriate technology? Those who gain the dollars from having mass control over the world’s food production view it as appropriate. Those who understand the Creator’s command to “respect all that I have created” do all they can to stop GMO corn from tainting the perfect food given to us by the Creator. Genetically modified corn is designed to cross pollinate and then take over a species of plants, not unlike an invasive.
  • Positive Changes In The Citrus Industry: The Belize Citrus Industry was started in 1913 and this year marks its 100th anniversary. Congratulations! The industry has grown to be of major economic importance in Belize. There are now about 45,000 acres of citrus groves and the industry represents 4% of GDP, accounts for 22% of major export earnings, and directly benefits 10,000 people and indirectly 50,000 people. The Belize Citrus Industry is facing many of the same challenges as other agricultural sectors including increased costs of fuel and fertilizers, global changes in trade with price fluctuations, natural disasters and climate change, and pests and diseases. The industry has survived many of these challenges. Today it faces an additional one: the devastating Citrus Greening Disease, also known as Huanglonbing (HLB). This disease is spread by an insect vector—the Asian Citrus Psyllid (Diaphorina citri). The disease is also spread from infected propagation materials in citrus nurseries. Greening was confirmed to be present in Belize in 2009. Since then it has spread to many groves, mainly in the Stann Creek District, and groves are declining, many trees have died and some groves have been totally removed. This past year witnessed a decline in fruit production up to 50% countrywide and Greening was a major factor.
  • The Soil & Agriculture: Agriculture as we know it has been with us for over eight thousand years. Science first became evident with the ancient Mayas, Peruvians, Persians, Egyptians, Chinese and Indians some two to three thousand years ago. These ancient peoples knew how to grow healthy crops with high yields and feed some 50,000 to 300,000 persons in cities with very good sanitation and running water. However, after the year 1,100 AD all this knowledge was lost to humanity because their civilizations collapsed. It was not until the middle to late 1800’s that Von Liebig and Julius Hansel both of Germany brought science back into agriculture with their works on soils. Then between the period 1930 to late 1950’s two Americans, Professor Emeritus Dr. William Albrecht and Dr. Carey Reams leapfrogged the knowledge of soil science. In the late 1920’s, early 1930’s, Dr. Albrecht and his colleagues made the very important discovery in soil science, the role of the clay fraction of soil in cation exchange capacity (CEC) you see on soil tests. His published work is collected in 8 volumes by the late Charles Walters of Acres USA. It still stands as the greatest work in agriculture, yet Dr. Albrecht’s name doesn’t even get a mention in modern soil science textbooks. The Belizean farmer must understand that his farm MUST have five essentials for good soil. All five are absolutely necessary. Nature is precise. First, the soil must contain energy. It takes energy to break-down limestone. A fertilizer’s job is to provide energy, but it is important not to use fertilizers that harm or kill the soil.
  • “Feed the Soil” Theme of 2013 Organic Fair: The old method of slash and burn for farming is being replaced with slash and mulch by the farmers in Toledo and Stann Creek who have seen the dramatic increase in corn crop yields in side-by-side field experiments. The results of the experiment reported at the 5th annual Organic Fair held in Punta Gorda on October 25 and 26 also included increases in organic matter, water retention and carbon content of the soil based on soil analysis before and after the experiment. The theme, Feed the Soil, was emphasized by every speaker at the event including Mr. Burton Caliz whose organic farm was toured by the attendees. In addition to mulching, the soil in southern Belize is being enriched by reforestation (223 acres), cover crops, and “alley” cropping (growing crops in between rows of trees e.g., Inga Edulis, Madre Cacao, and Leucaena, which are pruned regularly to allow exposure to sun). Mucuna beans are advocated as the primary cover crop, which can add as much as 30 tons per hectare of organic matter to the soil. Crop rotation, composting, and integrated pest control using organic ingredients and methods were also described.
  • BEYOND THE BACKYARD A Grain of Truth: We have become used to the labels fat free, sodium free, cholesterol free, nut free; now gluten free seems to be the latest trend. On the one hand we realize that the food industry is a business; so selling the idea that you need or suffer from something is inevitable. On the other hand we must consider the fact that incorrect labeling or secret ingredients for some people can become a matter of life and death. At a recent cocktail party two people said they were allergic to shrimp, one to oysters, two to nuts, one is lactose intolerant, one to the polymers of surgical gloves and four out of the ten were on gluten free diets. One may have celiac disease and the others were advised to try avoiding gluten the sticky protein found in wheat, barley, spelt, kamut, triticale, malt and rye. They reported that they felt so much better in many ways, regained a waistline, thought more clearly and eliminated joint pain. Other gluten related conditions such as gluten ataxia can affect the brain and create neurological problems. A gluten free diet has been found to be useful in the treatment of autistic children. Even products such as shampoo and body wash can contain wheat germ, barley or rye and since the skin is the largest organ of the body it could be adversely affected. Surprisingly cigarettes may also contain gluten either from plant contamination or from the wheat processing of the papers.
  • Agro-Processing Project Review: Agro-Processing, one of the four core projects of the Technical Mission of The Republic of China (ROC) (Taiwan), begun in 1999, held its annual meeting on September 6, 2013 at the pavilion of the National Ag and Trade Show (NATS) grounds in Belmopan. The project, which is funded by the International Cooperation and Development Fund of the ROC (Taiwan ICDF), is headed by Mr. Carson Huang, who recounted project activities including (1) making almost 800,000 dried fruit snack packs (from over 400 tons of rejected export fruits: pineapple, banana, and papaya) that supported the school lunch program in Belize 2006 to 2010, (2) organizing and training over 21 groups (over 600 women) that have been formed throughout the country over the last 7 years, (3) developing training for vocational schools, called TVETs, (food science lectures and practice courses) for over 420 students in 5 districts: Cayo, Orange Walk, Corozal, Toledo and Stann Creek, and (4) initiating and technically supporting products, some of which were on display at the meeting: potato flour, crystallized ginger, pineapple yogurt jam, dehydrated mango, and the very successful soy sauce which is produced by the women’s groups in Orange Walk and Corozal. The coconut and mango popsicles served for a snack to the attendees were really appreciated on the hot day. In addition, sweet potato rolls, made by one of the groups, complemented the traditional Belizean lunch.
  • Soil Structure, Strength and Consistency: The major objective in preparing the soil for the cultivation of any crop is having good soil preparation as the medium for plant growth. We can have good soil and make it poor as well as poor soil and make it good. Aside from the fertility which is a measure of the chemical nutrients, we need to create favourable physical conditions for the plants. These conditions are consistency, soil strength and soil structure. These three characteristics of good soils allow the presence and movement of air and water in the soil as well as provide sites for storage/release of nutrients for the plants. Good soil structure creates a good environment for the holding of water and air in the soil. Ploughing, harrowing and other forms of tillage are merely the mechanical means for the creation of these favourable soil conditions. We refer to the chemical or mineral makeup of the soil as the consistency or soil texture, that is, the amount of sand, silt and clay that are the inorganic constituents. Soil texture is the commonly associated term for the ‘feel’ and includes soil properties such as friability, plasticity, stickiness and resistance to compression and shear.
  • Thiessen Liquid Fertilizer’s Rice Trials: Rice production is expanding in greater Spanish Lookout and Cayo District, with almost 4,000 acres currently under cultivation by the Mennonites. Thiessen Liquid Fertilizer ran trials comparing rice qualities, costs and yields between crops grown with their liquid product versus those receiving traditional dry fertilizers. 6.6 acres received dry and 8.9 acres received Thiessen Liquid. As shown in the chart below the rice receiving Thiessen Liquid did better in 3 ways: 1. There were more pounds per bushel. (Corn is measured in 56lb bushels; soy in 60 lb bushels; and rice bushels are measured by volume not pound.) The rice which received the dry gave 36.3 lbs/bushel, whereas the rice which received the liquid gave 38.1 lbs/bushel. The increase in weight indicates a heavier, higher quality grain. 2. The moisture content of the dry was 24.8%, whereas the moisture content of the liquid was only 21.3%: another win for Liquid. 3. The fertilizer cost was also a winner for Liquid, with dry at $310.41/ac and Liquid at $289.15/ac. Dry pound yield per acre was 3,325 for the dry fertilizer and 3,251 for the liquid fertilizer. Nevertheless, Liquid’s heavier grain yielding the heavier bushels, with less moisture and lower fertilizer cost was still the winner. Belize Ag’s Issue 24 (due Feb 2014) will have a more detailed report on the rice industry in Western Belize.
  • BEL-CAR UPDATES Lower Prices but Record 1.3M Cwt. Corn Harvest for Greater Spanish Lookout/Banana Bank Farms: CORN: Cayo’s corn harvest for 2013 broke all previous records, with approximately 1.3 M Cwt. (1.3 million 100 lb sacks) harvested from combined acreages of Spanish Lookout’s Mennonite farmers and Banana Bank. Shortly after farmers harvested the final acreages from the approximately 30,000 acres, rains pelted the area flooding bridges and closing roads. The corn this year had been a little later than normal by about 1-2 weeks, due to later planting than usual (weather related). Some expressed surprise and relief that the quality had not been more affected, due to unusual weather, for example, rains coming prior to harvesting at the end of September. The yields per acre are slowly climbing up in Spanish Lookout; the exact tallies of acres and lbs/acre were not ready at press time and will be in issue 24 of The Belize Ag Report. Bel-Car estimates the average yield per acre at about 4,000 lbs/acre. Some better hybrids will be over that. Yields used to average 3,500 lbs/ac.
  • : BEANS: Red Kidney (RK) beans will be planted toward the end of November with Black Eyes more toward December, as it is more critical that the Black Eyes do not get rain during the last weeks. There may be a slight increase in planting RK’s and less Black Eyes, because the Black Eyes had a slower selling season. However, Bel-Car believes that a continuation of the current planting ratios would be good, as sales go in waves and what was slower one year may be in more demand the next. Find local and some international commodity prices on our Agriculture Prices at a Glance section, page 15.
  • International Promotion of Agricultural SME’s: Small and medium enterprises (SME’s) are to receive government assistance in the export of their products in accordance with the policy passed in 2013. The workshop on the international promotion of agricultural SME’s, held at the George Price Center on October 22 and 23, brought together the stakeholders to report on and discuss the opportunities, successes, and challenges of agricultural exportation. For an inside venue there was an enormous amount of planting those two days: seeds of marketing and business ideas that could germinate and benefit Belizean micro, small and medium ag enterprises. Small enterprises are defined internationally as those having 10 – 49 employees, US$1oo,000 – 3$M in assets and US$100,000 - $3M in sales. Medium enterprises have 50 – 250 employees, US$3M - $15M in assets and US$3M - $15M in sales. Although 95% of all enterprises in Latin America and the Caribbean are SME’s, most of the farmers in Belize are classified as micro with less than 10 employees and are not linked to the export market.
  • Bird Watch – From My Perch: Migratory birds are arriving daily from the North. You can use e-Bird (Bird Log) to enter the birds you see. This information is uploaded to the Cornell University Ornithology Lab. The data becomes available to birders all around the globe. With more and more people using this global database, scientists are learning more about migratory patterns and about the abundance or decline of individual species. There is a “world” version as well as a “Central America” version, BirdLog CA. You don’t need both; if you are a world traveler, choose the world version; otherwise, the Central America version is fine. If you are curious about when the warblers arrive, there is a terrific companion app called BirdsEye CA. There you can browse birds, look up a particular specie and learn quite a bit about it. You can also select the pin icon for a look at all the recent sightings and their locations. There is a link to “notable sightings” on the home page where you will find unusual or rare species. You will be able to see when and where they were seen. Once you have signed in to BirdsEye CA with the same user name you use for Bird Log CA, you will be able to also see your own lists and even find out how you stand among the top 100 Birders of Belize. iBird Pro is a superior application for studying birds, listening to their songs, looking at photos, range maps and getting good descriptions.
  • The Development of Corn: Scientists have been tinkering with the DNA of plants since the dawn of agriculture. The wild ancestor of corn for example is a grass called teosinte. Teosinte doesn’t look much like corn, especially when you compare its kernels to those of corn, but at the genetic or DNA level, the two are surprisingly alike. They have the same number of chromosomes and a remarkably similar arrangement of genes. In fact, teosinte can cross-breed with modern corn varieties to form corn-teosinte hybrids that can go on to reproduce naturally. At the dawn of agriculture some 10,000 years ago, ancient farmers in what is now Mexico took the first steps in domesticating corn when they simply chose which kernels (seeds) to plant. These farmers noticed that not all plants were the same; some plants grew larger than others, or some tasted better or were easier to grind. The farmers saved seeds from the plants they liked and planted them for the next season’s harvest. This process is known as selective breeding or artificial selection. Corn cobs became larger over time, with more rows of seeds, eventually taking on the form of modern corn. By selectively breeding plants, our predecessors transformed a scraggly and inedible grass called teosinte to the large, plump, colorful and nutrient rich corn plant.
  • Profitable ‘Green’ Intensive Commercial Farming is the Future: Wish to silence environmental critics lambasting the foul of commercial farming and still remain profitable? Looking to contribute to increasing global demand for food while protecting land, water and biodiversity? Environmental gains alongside intensive productive and profitable agriculture is not only possible but the future method of farming if we are to double global food production by 2050 while protecting land, water resources, soils and biodiversity for future generations of farmers. Known as Sustainable Intensive Agriculture, this farm of the 21st century has been implemented and documented for productivity and profitability in Europe and parts of Asia for several decades. Field margins are the strips of land between the field boundary and the crop, field corners and buffer zones. Research has shown that careful management of uncropped field margins not only contributes to water protection and increased biodiversity, but can also raise the crop profit margin.
  • Competency Based Education Training (CBET) at Central farm.: Competency based education and training (CBET) is being emphasized in the agricultural sector of Belize. CBET provides learners with the skills needed to perform well in their given industry. Learners need to know what is expected of them, employers need to know what skills their employees have, and instructors need to plan their courses and lessons so as to include these skills. Facilitators from Canada, Pat Bidart (Bow Valley College, Calgary, AB) and Angela Wilm (Lakeland College, Vermilion, AB) spent two weeks working with teachers and instructors at Central Farm, University of Belize. The facilitators provided sessions on active learning strategies to assist instructors in moving at times from a lecture format to an interactive applied format in teaching. The facilitators were very pleased with the passion and energy of the 27 trainers who completed the course.
  • Homemade Health Coconut Oil: If I could choose only one thing to keep in my medicine chest, it would be virgin cold-pressed coconut oil. This one substance is a superfood, providing health benefits in addition to supplying important nutrients, including some also found in breast milk. It is also a medicine; it fights bacteria and viruses and fungus. It can be used all over the body, inside and out. It can be used to treat insect bites, rashes, burns and wounds. Used internally, it boosts metabolism and shifts energy levels into high gear. Unlike caffeine, the effects are gradual but not addictive. What makes coconut oil so special? The difference is in the fat molecules that make up the oil. All fats and oils are composed of fat molecules known as fatty acids. Most of us are familiar with one way of classifying fatty acids, based on saturation: saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Another way to classify fatty acids is based on the size of the molecule, the length of the carbon chain within the fatty acid. There are short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) and longchain fatty acids (LCFAs). Most of the fats in our diet are composed of long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs). Corn oil, olive oil, canola oil, lard, soybean oil, and chicken fat are composed entirely of LCFAs.
  • PANELA - EVAPORATED CANE JUICE (That Healthy Molasses Fudge): India leads the world in panela production and it is known there as gur. In Colombia it’s called panela, as in most of Latin America with exceptions of Brazil where it is called rapadura, chancaca in the Andes, papelón in Venezuala and piloncillo* in Mexico. Colombia is 2nd in world production and first in consumption with a whopping average of 31.2 kg/year per capita. Making panela is Colombia’s 2nd leading rural vocation (after coffee cultivation). Panela’s precursor, fresh cane juice, is making its mark in trendy North American ‘raw cane juice bars’, and we expect savvy Belizean establishments to be serving it as well. Sugar cane is believed to have originated in New Guinea where it has been cultivated since 6000 BC. This member of the grass family produces about 70% of the world’s sugar. It likes the humid tropics but tolerates some sub-tropical areas. Sugar cane produces more calories per acre than any other crop. Panela is a value-added sugar cane product. Sugar cane, Sacharum officinarum, was and is designated as a medicinal plant. When you see ‘officinalis’ (or any of its declined forms) used as the species name in the Linneal binomial system of plant taxonomy, that indicates that it’s one of over 60 plants designated this way as medicinal.
  • Mamey Sapote: This is the last apple in the ‘Apples of Belize’ series. Although none of the apples in the series (custard apple, star apple, mamey apple, sugar apple, wax apple or bell fruit, velvet apple) are botanically classified as apples, they are all widely recognized as, and called apples. (As they do not look like apples, or grow on trees, pineapples are not part of the ‘apple’ series). The Mamey sapote (Pouteriasapota), is a member of the Sapotaceae family. Mamey is also spelled Mammee, Mammey, Mammy or called Mamey Apple and is also known as Zapote Colorado in Spanish. The Mamey sapote is a fruit-bearing tree which is native to Mexico and Central America. The long fascinating history of Mamey sapote dates back at least to the early Aztec and Mayan days. Fruits were recorded as growing in Panama in 1514. It has been documented that Mamey sapote fruits helped to keep Hernan Cortez and his army alive on their famous seven hundred mile expedition from Mexico City to Honduras in 1519 that caused the fall of the Aztec empire. Mamey sapote is the national fruit tree of Cuba and has grown in popularity in Central America, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, southern Florida and Australia.
  • Guidelines for Farming Watch the Moon Phase: Belize farmers are captivated by gardening by the phases of the moon. Since prehistoric times farmers have discovered that various plants do best when planted and harvested at certain phases of the moon. Before planting or harvesting follow the rules of thumb: 1. Crops that produce their yield above ground should be planted during the waxing moon (new to full). The first week is especially good for crops that have their seeds on the outside, and the second week (between the first quarter and the full moon) is the best time to plant crops that produce seeds on the inside. 2. During the waning moon (full to new moon) is the time to plant root crops. No planting is to be done on the day of the new or full moon. 3. Fruits harvested during the full moon phase tend to weigh more and get a higher price in the market.
  • The Pesticides Control Board of Belize celebrates its 25th anniversary: The Pesticides Control Act (PCA) for the regulation of pesticides in Belize came into effect in December 1988, bringing into existence the Pesticides Control Board (PCB), a statutory body mandated with the implementation of the provisions of the PCA. The PCB Secretariat is excited to announce its plans to mark this important 25 year milestone at an event scheduled to be held in November 2013. The event will have the participation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture, and other stakeholders. There will be a panel presentation and discussion titled “Sustainable Agriculture and Pesticides: Regulation and Responsibility” and an expo featuring technological innovations in pest management and outreach programs that support sustainable agriculture.
  • Agriculture Prices at a Glance- $$$$$: Find local and some international commodity prices on our Agriculture Prices at a Glance section.
  • Ag Briefs
  • Letters To THE EDITOR


Fodors Rates Chaa Creek Among World’s Top 10 Solo Destinations
Fodors, the world’s largest publisher of English language travel and tourism information, has picked The Lodge at Chaa Creek as one of the world’s top 10 destinations for the solo traveller in a November 13 2013 feature, according to Chaa Creek marketing administrator Roberto Harrison. “It’s of course a great honor to be chosen among the top ten solo destinations in the world from someone as respected and authoritative as Fodors,” Mr Harrison said, “And while Chaa Creek caters to travellers ranging from families, couples, groups and really everyone, it was great to be singled out as a perfect destination for singles as well,” he said. The feature travel article, “10 Best Solo Escapes this Winter”, listed destinations from Kauai, Hawaii, Valle d’Aosta, Italy, New Zealand to Belize. In describing Belize, the article singles out Chaa Creek:

Dive into Adventure: Cave Tubing in Belize
You float along the cool water, gently pushed by the current as your headlamp illuminates the beautiful limestone caves that are sacred to the Maya people. This is definitely the coolest way to see all that Belize has to offer wrapped up in one adventure: ancient Mayan culture, a beautiful natural landscape, a lazy river and, of course, our fascinating caves. All while lounging in an inner tube! You start out with an informative hike through the rainforest, passing incredible animals and native plants as you follow your guide deep into the jungle. Soon you’ll reach a stunning lagoon surrounded by steep limestone walls, and then the fun really begins!

“Living in a Box” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
I can’t really remember too much about Wednesday. I know I went out on the veranda around 05.00 hours with my mug of coffee (black, the coffee not the mug, that is) and my iPad. I also know that it rained (well I’m pretty certain it did anyway because it feels like it has rained every single day during the last two weeks). I also know that Rose and I took a drive to ‘Town so that she could get her Belize Drivers License which is -for those of you who might be interested – a really simple process. You fill in the application form and take it , along with a photocopy of the driver’s license from your country of origin, to the San Pedro Town Council’s Transport Department (located on the ground floor now), have your photo taken (for your new license), pay a fee of BZ$ 60 (BZ $ 180 for a three year license – you can only get one of these after you have had a one year license first) and you get your licence. Simple!

Roatan’s West End: Eating, Tormenting Turtles and the World’s Best Rope Swing
Yesterday was our first full day on the island of Roatan. My friend Krista and I are staying at The Beach House in the West End. It is under relatively new management and being renovated. Our suite is beautiful. And the view is ridiculous. We are right over the water and right next to the most popular bar in the West End. Sundowners. The water felt fantastic and gets deep quite quickly. I like that. By the end of the dock, it must be about 10 feet. The West End is settled along a sandy cove, a small bay that is protected by coral. You can swim out to the coral for snorkelling but just before you get there is the coolest rope swing. There is a wooden sailing boat that we noticed is a bit tilted. On the back is a high platform and from the mast hangs a long rope. A swing.

International Sources

Coppola In Belize (And Other Adventures)
In these three non-fiction stories, critically acclaimed National Geographic writer, Simon Worrall, takes the reader on an exciting journey to one of the world's last wild places: Belize. The first story, Hike Across The Vaca Plateau, describes a 20-mile trek through a remote part of the Cayo district, accompanied by a Mayan guide and a mule. On the way, Worrall brings to life the amazing wildlife of the region: jaguars and wild pigs, poisonous snakes and tarantulas. Journey Down The Macal River, the second story, is a hybrid: part travelogue, part investigative report. sent to Belize by the Guardian, Worrall travels down the Macal River, cutting between his adventures in the jungle and the murky story behind the construction of the ill-fated Chalillo Dam and its disastrous effects on the area's fauna and flora, above all the Scarlet Macaw. The result is a searing indictment of an ecological catastrophe. The title story takes the reader behind the scenes of Hollywood icon, Francis Ford Coppola's life in Belize, in which the great director talks about the best way to cook pasta, his disaffection with Hollywood, and how he has managed to stay married to the same woman all his life..... 72 pages

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