The latest Tia Chocolate column is ready for reading!!! Peanut Brother & Jelly: The other day, as I sat in the drudgery of deadlines and air conditioning (haha, just kidding, I do kinda like my job), my little brother came by for his usual homework help. He's a twin, but they were separated in school, so I only see one at a time. It's relief really, since when they are together, I can hardly handle their cuteness. Anyway, Kevin swings by with his best friend Ramses, who's at least two heads shorter than him, but has a smile that is more of a beam - a bright, blinding light. I mean I practically swoon at his smile, it's so wide and contagious; and his eyes sparkle with mischief, even when he's just asking for help. Enamored of him, I asked him if I can adopt him as my little brother as well, and he nodded yes. So, now I have four brothers total. It's really fun as I only see them occasionally, plus I'm their homework hero - so it's love, love, love and more love all around.
The San Pedro Sun
Join us in celebrating the annual Lighted Boat Parade! The San Pedro Holiday Lighted Boat Parade organization is in full swing in anticipation of Saturday December 7th, when gaily decorated and lighted boats will illuminate the sea. The San Pedro Business Association (SPBA) is actively seeking the support of the local business community to assist us in ensuring that this will be a successful, fun event that can be enjoyed by the many spectators on the island. We ask that any business that will benefit from the parade, or that enjoys the boat parade will consider making a donation. We are seeking gift certificates and cash awards as the prizes for the Best Boat, Most Creative Boat, Most Religious boat etc. receive prizes.
San Pedro Town celebrates 29 years� Happy Township Day! San Pedro Town celebrated 29 years of being a municipality on November 27th. Two different events took place to commemorate the occasion. The first was an awards ceremony hosted on the beach at Ramon's Village Resort on the night of Tuesday November 26th and the second was a students' rally held on Wednesday November 27th at the San Pedro High School. Organized by the San Pedro Town Council, the first event was held to recognize people that have contributed to the growth of the island. Keynote speaker for the occasion was Manager of Ramon's Village Resort Einer Gomez. In his remarks, Gomez said that the forefathers of the island had a dream and along with their dedication to the settlement, eventually led to the development of San Pedro Town, one of the best municipalities in the country. "But what is most rewarding is that our fathers embraced all that was instilled in them and made this community one of the most envied and respected throughout our country. Our fathers were the ones that paved the way for us to live better lives. The life we enjoy today. With their hard work and sweat they converted a community into a village." Gomez said the native islanders have embraced what the island has turned out to be. "We have learned to adapt to grow not only as a Town but also as a tourist destination by protecting our environment and at the same time being proud of our past." He highlighted that it is the togetherness and unity that makes San Pedro stand out from the rest of the country. "Time and time again, we have shown the world that our community is vibrant and alive. Ironically, it's disasters like hurricanes, fires, sickness that brings out the San Pedranos in us to a fault! A fault that is contagious and admirable. In times of need, we are all one! This quality is not found anywhere and it is this quality that keeps us together. When one succeeds we all succeed."
Preparations for SP Holiday Boat Parade in Full Swing Since the inception of the San Pedro Holiday Lighted Boat Parade on Ambergris Caye seven years ago, residents and tourists have been looking forward to the special event that kicks off the holiday/tourist season on the island. Lights, sound and cheerful glee fill the night's sky and everybody at Central Park, at home or at their special viewing spot has a great time.
The San Pedro Holiday Lighted Boat Parade organization is in full swing and the San Pedro Business Association is actively seeking the support of the local business community to assist us in ensuring that this will be a successful, fun event that can be enjoyed by the many spectators on the island. Ambergris Today has always been an avid supporter and sponsor of this special event. Here is an update from the SPBA as they ask the community for their full support in order to make the Boat Parade a smashing success once again.
Misc Belizean Sources
In Our Own Words Video We're in the middle of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. A powerful video was released by the Special Envoy for Women and Children where they interviewed kids from all around Belize, some in Cayo, and asked them about the consequences of violence.
In related news, tomorrow morning at the Cayo Welcome Center, the Ministry of Health is having an information fair as one of the activities for the 16 Days. It starts at 9:00am.
"Violence affects everyone. In this video children and adolescents from across the country share their stories and feeling about violence in Belize. In their own words. Produced for the Special Envoy for Women & Children, National Committee on Families and Children (NCFC) and UNICEF."
News Exchange Magazine Issue 15 News Exchange Magazine has their Fall 2013 issue in stores. There are some cool articles; definitely worth picking up. Tons of exquisite pictures too, and the cover girl lives in Cayo.
"News Exchange Magazine has their newest issue out. It has a little of everything Belize in it. From culture, to food, to fashion, and many of the great photgraphers have some nice shots in this issue. You can get a copy at Venus Records and Gifts in Cayo.
We were able to track down the model from the front page, and had her sign a copy. Thanks, Asuncion Martinez! Danny Chung took the perfect cover photo."
Belize River Valley Expo The Belize River Valley Eco Tourism and Commerce Expo, organized by the Community Baboon Sanctuary Women's Conservation Group, starts tomorrow. They'll have information booths from many different businesses and NGO's, and there will also be a county music competition. If you are interested, or would like more information, email them at [email protected].
"Informational booth, funding agencies, conservation NGO's, Cultural activities, 1st ever local country music competition, plantation dance, kis-kis, fly brush making, rice and cohune beating. Also get local wine, local eggs, turkey, local chickens, organic vegetables, Christmas decorations, cohune oil, coconut oil, tablata, wangla and much more!"
Talla Walla Vibrations at Soul Project Musical interlude of the day. Emmeth Young and the Talla Walla Vibrations rocked the Soul Project for Independence Day. Here's a short video that captures some of the amazing rythyms of the night. Tomorrow night is Friday, which means it's their Open Mic Night, so you can catch some great, free music along with awesome tacos and drinks.
The Soul Project, Cayo's cultural hub, just released a handful of videos from their Open Mic Nights, and you can see them on their page. International artists like the World Culture Band and Keren Bein have played there multiple times. Tabby Johnson will be performing there on December 14th.
Three Regional Firms Win investor of the Year Awards . The inaugural Regional Investor of the Year Award was held at the Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina before a host of invited guests, including members of the private sector from Belize. The event, part of the 4th Annual General Assembly of the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA), was held in recognition of the contribution of foreign and local investors to the Caribbean. Receiving the award for Foreign Investor of the Year was Qualfon Guyana Inc., a business process outsourcing and call center service provider based in Georgetown, Guyana. Vice President of Marketing and Product Management Brian Kearney accepted the award on behalf of Qualfon. The values-driven company, he said, is not just about business but also about a passion for improving the lives of people in the communities they serve. ARS Humano, a privately held health insurance company in the Dominican Republic, was awarded for both the Local and overall winner of the Regional Investor of the Year. Marketing and Corporate Development Vice President Diomares Musa, in accepting the awards, said she is honored that the work of ARS Humano over the past fourteen years is being acknowledged by the Caribbean Export Development Agency and CAIPA.
Mennonite Gurls A'ken Cook: Tater Cokunut Candy Thishere can'y brings back minny a recolleckshuns o'yeers gone by. I wuz chattyun' wit my frien las week an' I knoe hern Mom an' mine made these can'y ever Christmus. I rilly enjoyet eatin thishere can'y togeth'r wit peenuts..I would ett a few shellet peenuts an' the I would take a bite o't' can'y. Can'y wuz a speshul treet an' so I tride ta make it las as long as I could.
My Mom did nairy dip 'um n' chocolate, jes rollet 'um n' cokunut. I coultn't find hern recipe so did t'bes o'whut I memberd an' wit t'hep o'my frien I must say thishere can'y tastes like I memberd. T' xtrey dark chocolate coatyun' helps balance t'sweetness o't' can'y. I uset tater flakes but I knoe my Mom did nairy have thems roun, she uset reglar mashet potatoes.
An Overview of Placencia Belize Placencia Village, known more simply as Placencia, sits at the very tip of the narrow Placencia Peninsula in southern Belize. As a result, it feels more like an island. It's just a few minutes walk from the lagoon side to the open Caribbean.
Less than 500 people are lucky enough to be considered permanent residents of Placencia, Belize's tranquil community. The majority are Creoles, and descendants of European settlers and African slaves. The Placencia Peninsula is sixteen miles long, home to two other communities: Seine Bight and Maya Beach, The name "Placencia" is actually a distortion of Punta Placentia, the name the Spaniards gave to the peninsula in the 1800s. In English, it means Point Pleasant. It's not surprising.
Placencia's beaches are often declared the very best on mainland Belize. The village's tourism association calls them "Barefoot Perfect". But that designation fits the rest of the town as well. There are no paved roads in Placencia Village, merely a series of pathways for foot traffic. Main Street is a just a sidewalk! However, a number of luxury resorts have sprung up along the peninsula, adding a little more rush to the Placencia lifestyle.
Explore the Rio Frio Cave The Rio Frio Cave is one of the most remarkable attractions in the Mountain Pine Ridge Nature Reserve.
Everything is gigantic in this cave! When you enter, you will see huge stalactites hanging from the massive cathedral-like vault which was part of a cave system that the Maya used to bury their dead.
Room size boulders are strewn throughout the cave and a stream flows through forming pools with cascading falls.
Here is a video that provides an overview of Rio Frio Cave:
Dance X BZ 2013 Latino Dance Mix from Corozal - performing Saturday night, November 30th 8:00 PM... Bliss Centre Belize City. The Corozal Daily wishes them a huge success!
WANTED BY COROZAL POLICE Alex Reid and Kevin Manzanero. Both persons are wanted by Corozal, Belize City and San Ignacio Police in connection with a number of robberies. They are considered armed and dangerous. If seen please contact the nearest Police station or Crime stoppers at 922 TIPS.
The Corozal Town Council has embarked on a street repair program Patching all those streets leading to various Primary Schools in order to alleviate their current conditions. Below is the San Andres road leading to Mary Hill Primary School that was being graded. Other streets that have been patched are 5th Avenue and currently, works are being carried out on 1st Avenue in front of St. Francis Xavier Primary School and the southern entrance on 1st Avenue. Works will continue and we will bring you further updates as they progress.
Consejo Road Disaster Task Force writes letter of complaint against Mayor Hilberto Campos on bio-hazard threat at the Consejo road Dump site NOTICE OF BREACH OF RESPONSIBILITY OF DUTY
BY MR. CAMPOS, MAYOR FOR COROZAL TOWN
Greetings Ms. Candelaria Saldivar Morter,
It is with our sincerest regret that we are providing your office this letter of NOTICE OF BREACH OF RESPONSIBILITY OF DUTY BY MR. CAMPOS, MAYOR FOR COROZAL TOWN. It is the overwhelming consensus of the members of the recently organized Consejo Road Disaster Task Force, that Mr. Hilberto Campos, Mayor of Corozal Town, is blatantly guilty of flagrantly violating his oath of office.
Mr. Campos' repeated acts of negligence are absolutely unacceptable. He has deliberately disregarded an organized group's initiative of residents of Consejo Community who are being pro-active and have already chosen to freely volunteer to donate money, labour and other necessary resources in an effort to assist local government in bringing about solutions to the current highly toxic Corozal Waste dump site bio hazard.
Mr. Campos has knowingly committed an obvious breach of his responsibility by disregarding his clear duty as a municipal leader; as he has deliberately neglected to act responsibly in a matter vital to progress, due to the people of the Corozal Town and Consejo community.
PUP: "Run The Recall" Eight weeks after their leader gave an ultimatum - the PUP today formally triggered a recall effort against UDP Cayo Northeast representative Elvin Penner.
At 10:00 this morning Deputy Leader Julius Espat and Cayo Northeast Caretaker Orlando Habet, along with their recall team, presented 2003 signatures to the Governor General in Belmopan. They've been criticized for taking too long to hand in the signatures, but now the process begins in earnest.
The Elections and Boundaries Office will now start the reconciliation process to determine if the PUP has met the 30% threshold for the writ of referendum to be issued.
Today, Espat and Habet told the media that the 2 month collection and vetting process was important to ensure that the next step can be taken. As a result, they are confident that the threshold has been met:
Orlando Habet, Cayo Northeast
"Today we called it D-Day for delivery of the signatures for the recall against Elvin Penner. We commenced this collection of signatures on the 3rd of October and we did almost exactly a month of signature collection and after that we did vetting of the signatures at our office with our committee."
Opposition Leader Calls PM's Visa Flip-Flop "Disgraceful" And after the petition was submitted this morning in Belmopan, in the afternoon back at party headquarters in Belize City, Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca, held a 45 minute press briefing where he spoke on matters of public interest.
Foremost among those was the impasse in the sugar industry where BSI and the Cane Farmers can't agree on what price, if any, should be paid for bagasse.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced the official government position, which is that bagasse has a value and the farmers should be paid for it. But he stressed that they shouldn't hold the industry hostage by refusing the deliver cane.
And what does Francis Fonseca say? Pretty much the same thing: that farmers should not protest by delaying the start of the season, But he criticized the Government for not getting both parties to the negotiating table:
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition
"Certainly the Prime Minister's intervention yesterday we view as being woefully inadequate. This is a very serious matter. It is not a political matter. It is a national issue which requires leadership and it requires immediate intervention. We cannot allow one single more day to pass without resolving this issue. It is going to affect the entire country of Belize. It is going to affect the entire economy of this country. We can't allow this issue to fester any longer."
Family Says Ladyville Cops Didn't Have To Kill 22 Year Old Today, Ladyville police are gathering key witnesses who they say can attest to the fact that 22 year old Travis McKay fired on police before they returned fire and killed him. Police also have the weapon he carried with three expended shells.
But, despite all that, Travis McKay's family is not satisfied that their loved one had to be killed. Today, they spoke with me in Ladyville:
Monica Bodden reporting
This is where the shooting happened at 3:40 yesterday afternoon - just one block away from the Ladyville Police Station. The usually quiet neighborhood looked on in stunned, shaken disbelief as the scenes of crime team searched for expended shells and combed the entire area for additional evidence.
The victim - 22 year old Travis McKay lay dead inside this yard - with a gunshot wound the chest area and some say one to the head. His body was then covered in a white sheet and put behind the pan of this police pick-up truck.
Grandmother And 12 Year Old Couldn't Put Out Fire A Belize City family was burnt out last night. It happened around 9:00 on Faber's Road, where a 12 year old was at home with his 89 year old grandmother and four younger nieces and nephews. That's when a candle started a fire, which the grandmother and pre-teen could not put out. The boy's mother who was nearby but not at home told us in an off camera interview that she rushed home only to find that all had been lost:..
Voice of: Irma Crawford, resident of house that was burnt down
"When I reach there I ask where my mother and my kids are and I was told that they were at the long barracks step."
Geovanni Brackett, reporter
"It appears that the fire may have started in a room, particularly from a candle or something?"
Voice of: Irma Crawford, resident of house that was burnt down
"Yes it started in my mother's room and then it just spread. She says that she and my son was trying to put out the fire but the water that they had was too little, so my son took out my mother and the 4 year old and took them downstairs and he went up for the rest. After that he says he doesn't know what happen. He says that he saw the house in flames."
Man Says Minister Chanced Him Out Of Leased Land You already know all about about UDP area reps, Elvin Penner from Cayo Northeast, and Edmund "Clear the Land" Castro from Belize Rural North, who are under public pressure. Well, tonight, the UDP's Corozal Bay Area Rep. Pablo Marin is the one who has questions to answer. Corozal resident Lennox Garbutt Sr., claims that Marin used his influence as an Area Representative and a Cabinet Minister to have Garbutt's lease to a piece of land cancelled and then transferred to Marin's sister, Ada Luz Romero.
That land is lot #73 on the Consejo Road, and Garbutt claims that this cancellation was done without his knowledge, and that he couldn't make a case to the Lands Department to show how he has kept up his end of the lease requirements. Yesterday evening, he came from Corozal, where he explained the full story. Here's what Garbutt had to say:
Lennox Garbutt Sr. - Claims Land Was Unfairly Taken Away
"I was isssued this parcel of land on November 30th 2011. All through I paid my annual tax which is $60 per year and finished paid $120 on the 13th September 2013."
Mayor Bradley Stonewalls On Freetown As we rpeot4ed earlier this week Lee Mark Chang has stepped down in the Freetown Division - clearing the way for a new candidate. Many are pushing for Mayor Darrell Bradley to take his eyes off Caribbean Shores and focus instead on Freetown. We're told the PM even announced to Cabinet on Tuesday that he and the Mayor had agreed to that. But, when we spoke to Mayor Bradley yesterday, he didn't want to discuss it:..
"We know that Lee Mark Chang has vacated his caretaker seat in Freetown. We know the Party has been prodding you for some time to offer yourself in Freetown. What is the outlook?"
Mayor Darrell Bradley
"The situation right now is really not focused on any general elections matter. The Mayor and his office is really keeping maximum focused and attention and at this present moment I am not really looking at that."
City Council Launches Emergency Repairs But before he offers himself for any political office - mayor included - Bradley has to rehabilitate his image, which, right now, means rehabilitating streets that have fallen to ruin with the last month of rains. Today the City announced that major works will start on two high volume traffic areas. The work will block or partially block two major access ways into the city:..
Kenny Morgan, Public Relations - Belize City Council
"One of the two major arteries in the city will be interrupted; one being our present location at the corner of Partridge Street and the George Price Highway. The entire section between the Lord Ridge Cemetery; from Partridge Street to its junction with Vernon Street will be worked on commencing tomorrow morning at 10am. Because of the works that will be carried on of course we will have to do some traffic diversion. I take this opportunity to inform the public of the altering routes that will be provided. At this time we are looking at for entry and exit from the city we are looking at utilizing Western Avenue and Mahogany streets and this will be for the larger vehicles; goods trucks, delivery vehicles and trailers. We will be asking these drivers to utilize the Western Avenue/Mahogany Street route."
What's Up With Pen Road? Another area that's in a mess is Neal's Pen Road, which was just paved this year. The work was obviously inferior and after the rains, the street looks just as pot holed as any 10-year-old street. The road was paved under the southside poverty alleviation project and we asked the man behind that project, Boots Martinez, who is also the area representative, what went wrong:..
Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez
"We believe that the heavy downfall of the rains, but that is not no instrument for making excuses. The contractor must go back and do what is necessary because we have a guarantee period and as I understand it the Ministry of Works have contacted the contractor to repair or make the necessary adjustment to the street."
"I would look at that street as the materials were maybe inferior, the compaction was maybe inferior and the works itself maybe chip and seal need two layers, maybe it never had the proper two layers. That looks like an inferior job to me."
Interesting New Names For UDP Convention Races Earlier we showed you Mayor Darrell Bradley stonewalling the media on whether he was interested in offering himself for the Freetown division.
Well, while he's playing cagey, some newcomers are not! Tomorrow is the deadline for those wanting to submit their names as candidates for UDP conventions. And, reports reaching us are that some interesting names have been, or will be put into the mix.
Second in command of the police department, Deputy Commissioner Elodio Aragon today confirmed to us that he will offer himself as a candidate for the Orange Walk East constituency. But to do that, the 18 year veteran of the police department will have to step down from his post and retire. He told us he is in the process of arranging an orderly departure and plans to formally launch his candidacy on December 15th. Aragon's father, Elodio Sr. was a three time UDP representative in Orange Walk East.
Major Programme To Focus On Youths In 4 Southside Communities An ambitious new programme was launched today. It's called the "Youth and Community Transformation", or YCT Project. The 15 million dollars CDB funded initiative will directly address the needs of youth on the southside of Belize City. That was outlined at this morning's launch:..
The target communities are Port Loyola, Lake Independence, Pickstock and Collett.
The money will be disbursed on the construction/rehabilitation of critical community infrastructure including a new resource centre in the Lake Independence area called the Lake Independence Resource Centre and the upgrading of the Wilton-Cumberbatch playing field.
Profile First off, tonight's profile is anonymous. Due to the sensitive nature of the revelations, the subject's face and voice have been masked. It's about an anonymous female high school student who was adopted and in a quest to get to know her birth mom, she ended up being raped. She started cutting herself in an attempt to deal with her pain but when she almost lost her life she ended up turning to music and refocussed on a positive future.
The profile was produced in conjunction with WIN Belize which approached us to feature relevant stories during the 16 Days of Activism to end violence against girls and women.
Woman Indicted For Murder of Her Baby's Father 26 year-old Calaney Flowers, the woman who is accused of purposefully running over her baby's father 29 year-old Lyndon Morrison, and killing him, will stand trial for it in the Supreme Court.
Her preliminary inquiry was held today before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, where the prosecution tendered all the evidence that they intend to use against her in the trial, which included more than 20 witness statements. After reading the statements from 26 year-old Sochyl Sosa, Morrison's girlfriend who was with him and got injured in that accident, as well as the one from Morrison's mother, Chief Magistrate Smith found that the accused must stand trial in the Supreme Court. Her case was committed for trial for the April 2014 session.
A Vegetable Stall across the Canal? Yesterday CISCO construction created a stir when the company moved into the Collet Canal area in front of the Michael Finnegan Market and installed an unusual prefabricated concrete structure across the canal. Some thought it was another fish market, but Cisco Woods explains that it's only a new way to utilize dead space:..
"Actually it's a donation that we did towards the city. It's really business; it's a market that goes over the canal. If you notice this is a busy spot on Saturday morning, they actually block-off the street so that vendors can lay out their products and sell it. We made the recommendation to the Mayor to put something across the canal where really it's just wasted space and get the vendors off the street onto that for different stuff; selling clothes, vegetables, you could sell anything off of it."
"It will give enough space for either two or four vendors, depending on how the city wants to divide it up and how they will charge. It's an opportunity to hold vendors that are on the street right now to be able to be in a very neat and controlled area and very sanitary as well. It would be nice to get all the food stuff off the street getting it on to proper shelf, so it's away from the dirt."
Dance On, Dance X It's the 5th annual Dance X Festival - which is hosted yearly by the Institute of Create Arts. Over the years it has become something Belizean dancers from across the country look forward to attending. It's not only about showcasing dance to the public, but also creating an atmosphere where dancers have an exchange with each other. Also the event features a line-up of international professional dancers and dance instructors facilitating workshops at the BLISS. One of those is our very own Jamie Thompson from the Dallas Black Dance Theatre - one of the oldest Dance Companies in the US. Today we stopped by the Bliss to find out more about what's happening.
A hundred and twenty five dancers will be participating in the event.
Late Evening Accident There was a fatal traffic accident about an hour before news time tonight. It happened just outside of Belmopan near Art Box and it involved a government vehicle, and another pickup truck. Reports to 7News at this time are that it has resulted in a fatality.
One of the first responders, Phillip Willoughby, Belize City Councillor with responsibility for Emergency Management, told us that he was driving on the highway when he saw the Government vehicle, which had 5 passengers in it slam head on into a green pickup. The 5 people inside the vehicle suffered head and body injuries, and had to be transported to the Belmopan Hospital, where one government worker passed away.
The other injured passengers will be transferred to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. We'll have more on this story in tomorrow's newscast.
PUP turns in signature to trigger recall On October fifth the People's United Party launched a campaign to collect signatures on a petition to recall Elvin Penner. The move came just weeks after news broke of the [...]
Police confirm they shot and killed Travis McKay Police are saying tonight that Ladyville resident, Travis McKay, was shot and killed in a cross fire, but family members who witnessed the shooting vehemently contradict the police version. Wednesday's [...]
Residents Of Guadalupe Street Take Up Plan of Action to Fix Their Street If we were asked to select one infrastructural problem that the Orange Walk Town Council has been addressing since they took office back in March of 2012, we would have to say streets. At the same time, we have to recognize that Orange Walkenos are gravely concerned about the conditions the streets are in despite the council's constant efforts to have them upgraded. The good news is though, that residents and business owners of one particular street have come up with a plan of action that could see the complete facelift of the street they live on. Today Mayor of Orange Walk Kevin Bernard spoke to us about the initiative which could see the adoption of Guadalupe Street.
"Las week or weed and a half ago I had a meeting with members of the business community of that street Mr. Salas, Mr. Mendoza from CGI, Mr. Rempel and also representatives from the Cane Farmers Association came to meet with me and we discussed the proposal they would want to see Guadalupe street improve and how they as business persons can assist in the development on that street through the taxes that contribute and also through contributions by the business community in that area. In extension, the proposal then lead us approach the residence of that area, those residence that live on that area we want to see how they can and the commitment that the council would have been to ensure that the taxes that are collected from that street goes into a special fund so last night meeting was basically to throw out the idea to the residence and I want to thank all those who attended and I think it was very receptive, it was a very positive meeting and we should be having another meeting on the 9th of December."
Elvin Penners Recall In Full Swing Today the People's United Party held a press conference in Belize City at the Party's headquarters. A number of issues were discussed; of course, among them was the P.M press conference. In a solo presentation, leader of the People's United Party, Francis Fonseca, weighed in on 7 issues that were discussed yesterday by the Honorable Dean Barrow. Fonseca kicked off by giving an update on the recall referendum for the Cayo North East constituency.
"Our standard bearer for Cayo North East, Mr. Landy Habet along with our deputy party leader for the west honorable Julius Espat secretary general and other members of the Cayo North East committee PUP committee and community presented to the Governor General today the petition for the recall referendum this morning in Belmopan. As you know the 30% threshold requirement calls for about just under 1800 signatures are necessary to meet that 30% threshold necessary and this morning we delivered to the Governor General His Excellency the Governor General I think 2003 signatures attached to that petition so we expect now that the Governor General in accordance with the law the Governor General will now forward that petitions and those signatures to the chief elections officer at the elections and boundaries commission and the election and boundaries office will have a maximum, a period of one month to vet those signatures and to approve those signatures."
Orange Walk Gets Smallest Share Of GOB's Million Dollar Road Infrastructure Program The Prime Minister's Press Conference yesterday was loaded with promises on behalf of his government to the people of Belize. Among them is a 76.72 Million Dollar National Road Infrastructure Programme funded under the Petro Caribe agreement with Venezuela. Included in the programme is 10.25 million for the Corozal District, 15.61 million for the Toledo District and 6.34 million for the Cayo District. Notably though, out of all the districts, Orange Walk Is getting the smallest share of the pie as Government has allocated a mere 2.92 million for the entire district. Now, the news did not sit too well with many Orange Walkenos and with the Orange Walk Town Council who has constantly been lobbying with Government for financial assistant to upgrade the streets across town.
Kevin Bernard- Mayor Orange Walk Town
"When I spoke to the CEO on Tuesday in Belmopan he clearly said to me when I ask them what are they going to do about the Main road meaning between mile 53 and 55 that runs through our town he said they don't have the budget for it but they have been given an approval for them to fix certain areas of the Belize/Corozal road that have been damaged and these are sections like coming after the UNO gas station, in front of Sabor Cosina and I understand just before the traffic light here by fire station and then also by Cheetos and a little down on Otro Benque road those are the areas that they are going to be fixing which he told me it is a little bit over three hundred to four hundred thousand that is being allocated for that, I understand that some slight work is going to be done on San Antonio road but is not going to be paved majorities of these monies are going into some of these areas like San Estevan road and these areas that needs attention, and so when I look at that it is very, very eye opening to see that we in the north that have one of the biggest industry the sugar cane industry we have a lot of farmers who travel through our roads and even though many use the by-pass but if they are looking at the by-pass itself the by-pass also needs some attention because if they leave that road unattended it will also deteriorate but we have some very serious concern I mean if the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister is very serious in developing Orange Walk district they need to start to focus their attention as well to the town."
Radio Announcer Accused of Rape Tonight 37 year old Michael Martinez, a radio announcer from the Corozal District is facing the long arms of the law after he was accused of rape.
According to an 18 year old woman, around 9:30pm on November 20th, she went to Martinez's work located in the Rainbow Town area of Corozal Town to talk to him.
The woman stated to police that Martinez had promised to give her some answers to questions that he would ask on a giveaway program in order for her to win a cellular phone.
Reports are that when the 18 year old arrived at the radio station, instead of giving her the answers, Martinez pushed her into a room located at the back of the building and had sexual intercourse with her against her will.
Agriculture Sector Experiences Millions Of Dollars In Loses Due To Flooding Yesterday government announced immediate remedial road improvements along with larger scale major road rehabilitations across the country. In addition to that, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that the government will also be providing financial assistance to the agriculture sector after receiving a preliminary report of damages to other crop. According to the report, farmers, including those in the north, have lost millions of dollars as a result of the recent inclement weather.
Honorable Dean Barrow- Prime Minister of Belize
"Latest preliminary report we are looking in terms of crop damaged at people suffering in Cayo, Belize, Orange Walk, Corozal a total of $2,634,600.00 by way of losses and we are talking about soy beans, 800 acres having been destroy 350 acres of corn, having been destroyed 50% of vegetable farmers affected an if the weather persists all the vegetable farmers will be affected."
Opposition Party Disagrees with PM’s Statements During Press Brief Apart from the PUP's effort in recalling Elvin Penner, Fonseca also spoke about the scandal within the immigration and nationality department. In yesterday's press conference, Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse did not offer any update on the ongoing investigations. PUP Leader Francis Fonseca says it is unacceptable.
HON. FRANCIS FONSECA
"Absolutely no update was provided on this very important issue. The Belizean people still have so many unanswered questions about this issue and we heard the Minister of Immigration says, well, no essentially his response was no there is no update. What are the police doing? We hear that there is a police investigation taking place. There should be provided to the people of this country some update as to what is taking place with that police investigation. We understand as well that the FIU is supposedly investigating this matter as well. Well the Belizean people deserve to know what the status of that investigation as well. We hear that the auditor general is in the Ministry conducting an investigation. Again, there has been no report or update to the Belizean people on exactly what is taking place and this is completely unacceptable."
Fonseca also threw blows at the Prime Minister's stand on the ongoing bagasse dispute between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and the Belize Sugar Industries Limited and American Sugar Refinery.
Mother Says Police Didn’t Have To Kill His Son A man was shot and killed in Ladyville yesterday. Reporter Marion Ali returned to Ladyville today and here is her report.
MARION ALI REPORTING
"His aunty was coming, running while crying and screaming, 'Travis, stop; Travis stop' and then she started to say, 'please don't kill my nephew; please don't kill my nephew' and then he was saying please don't hurt me, my brother."
"Travis McKay was reportedly killed by a policeman during a cross fire with Ladyville police sometime at around 3 o'clock on Wednesday afternoon. It happened on Seagull Street in that village. A police press release issued today stated that a police patrol cornered McKay on Seagull Street soon after he ran out of a business establishment on the Philip Goldson Highway. Police claimed that while they had him cornered, McKay produced a .38 revolver and fired three shots at them and they responded in kind, killing him. Officer commanding the Ladyville police station, Chris Noble told reporters soon after the incident the same sequence of events."
3-Month Baby Has Successful Surgery in Venezuela A Belizean child has successfully undergone cardiac surgery at a medical institution in Caracas, Venezuela.
The Ministry of Health announced today that three-month-old Cassidy Martinez became the first Belizean to undergo a surgery of this nature at Hospital Cardiologico Infantil Latinamericano.
She was diagnosed with an Atrial Septum and Ventricular Septum Defect in Belize City and her parents were advised to seek surgery abroad.
The Embassy of Venezuela in Belize, through Ambassador Yoel Perez Marcano, along with the Ministry of Health, accepted and facilitated the request to assist baby Martinez, and she underwent the surgery on October 10th. The baby returned to Belize in the first week of November. The Governments of Belize and Venezuela signed a technical cooperation agreement
Transforming Youth and Community with Help From CDB This morning the Government of Belize through the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, with financial assistance from the Caribbean Development Bank launched the Youth and Community Transformation Project. The project is intended to help tackle the root causes of crime and improve citizen and community security, particularly in Southside Belize City. The project will be implemented through a ten point four million dollars loan and a two hundred and ten thousand from the Caribbean Development Bank and Government's counterpart contribution of four point one million dollars. The project will also allow for the construction and rehabilitation of critical community infrastructure including a new resource centre in the Lake Independence area and the upgrading of the Wilton-Cumberbatch playing field. Community agencies participating in the project include the YMCA, Samuel Haynes Institute of excellence, Youth for the Future and Yabra Community Policing Centre.
University Community Wants to Know Dr. Fraser’s Status with UB At yesterday's press conference Prime Minister Dean Barrow said he was aware of the letter sent to him by the President of the University of Belize Dr. Cary Fraser. According to the Prime Minister he has not met with Dr. Fraser to discuss his resignation. Today the University of Belize Faculty and Staff Association has called on the Prime Minister to inform the University of Belize community and the nation on the current status of Dr. Fraser. The Association says it is gravely concerned that the national university is presently being run by a quote "retired/rehired, interim provost who is also the acting president" Unquote. According to the UBFSA this managerial instability is negatively impacting UB as decisions recently made by President Fraser, are now being reversed in his absence which will cause UB to go into further dire financial crisis. The Association says it strongly supports Dr Fraser's position that the UB Board of Trustee must desist from micro-managing the university and operate solely from a policy level. In addition, the UBFSA strongly supports that all UB assets be placed into a Land Trust in an effort to sustain our national university on a long term basis. It also demands that the Minister of Education ensures that the Ministry of Education fulfils its outstanding debt obligation of over two million dollars owed to the university. UBFSA continues by saying it has zero tolerance for the crippling cuts in the budget that occurs on an yearly basis which impacts the quality of programs delivered to students by dedicated, qualified faculty and staff.
Woman Will Stand Trial for Murder of Estranged Lover The case of 26 year old Calaney Flowers, charged with the murder of 29 year old Lyndon Morrison, was today committed for trial in the April 2014 session of the Supreme Court. Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith told Flowers that a prima facie case has been established against her and that there was enough evidence to send up the case to the Supreme Court. The preliminary inquiry was done by paper committal. The incident occurred on August 28, 2012. Police reports are that Morrison and his girlfriend, Sochyl Sosa, were riding a motorcycle and Flowers trailed them in a red Saturn car and struck the motorcycle from behind when they reached in front of Central Assembly church on Freetown Road. Both Morrison and Sosa were flung from the motorcycle and they sustained injuries. Morrison succumbed to his injuries shortly afterwards.
Andy Faces Another Drug Charge While Out on Bail Thirty-four year old Andy Alford, who was on bail for a charge of drug trafficking, was remanded into custody when he appeared today before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith and was arraigned on a second charge of drug trafficking. Alford's next court appearance is January 16, 2014. Alford, who resides in Ladyville and has several convictions for drug offences, was busted around midday yesterday when police stopped a passenger bus in Ladyville and searched him. The police reported that they found 88.2 grams of cannabis in a black plastic bag that was in the front pocket of his pants. As a result, Alford was taken into custody and charged. The suspected cannabis was labeled as exhibit.
Lands Commissioner Says Land Was Reissued to a More Deserving Person Lennox Garbutt, a resident of Corozal North Constituency says he is a victim of political land fraud and nepotism. Garbutt who once held a lease for a twenty acre parcel in the Consejo Area in Corozal, found out a few months ago that parcel 73- the parcel in question- has been re-issued to another Corozal resident by the name of Ada Luz Romero. According to Garbutt, Romero is the sister of Minister of Health and Corozal Bay Area Representative Pablo Marin who was the one who recommended for the parcel to be reissued.
HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING:
"November 30, 2011; that's the date Corozal resident Lennox Garbutt says he received a lease to parcel number seventy three located in the Consejo Road area. But three months ago, after attempting to keep his payments up to date, Garbutt found out that Parcel 73 had been reissued to someone else. "
"I went to Lands Department in Corozal and found out that someone was issued that lease. So, I went to Belmopan and investigate it and I found out that it was issued to one Adalus Romero the Minister Pablo Marin. I also have files that show that Minister Marin had requested a cancelation for this parcel of land and reissued to his sister."
One Year In Prison Following 60th Appearance in Court Forty-eight year old Robert Bainton, a laborer of Hattieville who has made 60 court appearances and has several convictions for crimes of dishonesty, was sentenced to one year today by the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith, after he pled guilty to the theft of a beach cruiser bicycle. The complainant, gas attendant Lawrence Smith, reported to the police that he was at Atlantic Bank on Freetown Road making a deposit for his work place when he looked through the glass door and saw Bainton jump on his bicycle and ride off. Smith said he pursued Bainton on foot and caught up with him on Freetown Road. A police mobile patrol was passing at the same time and Smith indicated to the officers that he needed help and they detained Bainton and took him into custody. Police recovered the bicycle from Bainton and charged him with theft.
Open House at Centre for Employment Training The Cayo Centre for Employment Training is today holding its eighth open house. Correspondent Elaine Berry filed a report on the activities for the event.
"This is a time when our students showcase their talents and what they have learnt in this institution over the past years. We have guests from the business sector, we have guests from the churches, and we have guests from other ITVETs around the country and other institutions from San Ignacio and the surrounding areas too. We have invited everyone to come and to enjoy the displays and there are also the culinary arts which is an attraction for many people. Cayo Center for Employment Training opened its door somewhere around 1995. We started with a population of about maybe 15-20 students and as you heard the manager say today, we have about 255 new trainees at the moment. There is a need at the moment to do an expansion and In fact we are already thinking of building in the future and the plans are there for a hotel already where we can train our hospitality classes and then use this institution also to bring other people from ITVET here to do their training. We do mechanics, we do refrigeration, we do culinary arts, we do tourism etc. And we are expanding by the day and it's a very attractive institution. We have people from the villages coming. We do our own books here. You can visit the Resource Centre here and you will see that the population is growing it's not diminishing its growing."
Health Officials Put Importance on Maternal and Neonatal Care In Belize, like most other countries, the health and survival of women and their newborn babies during pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period is of key importance. On this premise, the Ministry of Health in Collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund and the Belize Medical and Dental Association is hosting the 32nd International Pre-congress. Dr. Francisco Martinez Guillen (GUI-YEN) a Pediatrician and Neonatologist from Nicaragua is the facilitator. He spoke on some of the issues impacting maternal and neonatal care in Belize.
DR. FRANCISCO MARTINEZ GUILLEN
"We have a lot of obesity and overweight and pain and before pain. We have some increases in diabetic disease and hypertension and preeclampsia has a lot of trouble in our pregnant Latin American and Caribbean countries. So we need to change this kind of struggle; we need to reduce this kind of trouble in our pregnant women and the consequence in the new born baby."
Dr. Jorge Polanco, Deputy Director of Health Services, explained how the pre-congress hopes to address the issues of maternal and perinatal morbidity.
Police Finds Cannabis on Passenger Bus
Thirty-four year old Andy Alford, who was on bail for a charge of drug trafficking, was remanded into custody when he appeared today before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith and was arraigned on a second charge of drug trafficking. Alford's next court appearance is January 16, 2014. Alford, who resides in Ladyville and has several convictions for drug offences, was busted around midday yesterday when police stopped a passenger bus in Ladyville and searched him. The police reported that they found 88.2 grams of cannabis in a black plastic bag that was in the front pocket of his pants. As a result, Alford was taken into custody and charged. The suspected cannabis was labeled as exhibit.
One Year Sentence for Stealing Bicycle
Forty-eight year old Robert Bainton, a laborer of Hattieville who has made 60 court appearances and has several convictions for crimes of dishonesty, was sentenced to one year today by the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith, after he pled guilty to the theft of a beach cruiser bicycle. The complainant, gas attendant Lawrence Smith, reported to the police that he was at Atlantic Bank on Freetown Road making a deposit for his work place when he looked through the glass door and saw Bainton jump on his bicycle and ride off. Smith said he pursued Bainton on foot and caught up with him on Freetown Road. A police mobile patrol was passing at the same time and Smith indicated to the officers that he needed help and they detained Bainton and took him into custody. Police recovered the bicycle from Bainton and charged him with theft.
Murder Trial Set For 2014 for Ex-Lover
The case of 26 year old Calaney Flowers, charged with the murder of 29 year old Lyndon Morrison, was today committed for trial in the April 2014 session of the Supreme Court. Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith told Flowers that a prima facie case has been established against her and that there was enough evidence to send up the case to the Supreme Court. The preliminary inquiry was done by paper committal. The incident occurred on August 28, 2012. Police reports are that Morrison and his girlfriend, Sochyl Sosa, were riding a motorcycle and Flowers trailed them in a red Saturn car and struck the motorcycle from behind when they reached in front of Central Assembly church on Freetown Road. Both Morrison and Sosa were flung from the motorcycle and they sustained injuries. Morrison succumbed to his injuries shortly afterwards.
Ladyville Resident Killed by Police After Alleged Robbery
Police in Ladyville are anticipating a criminal and internal investigation into an officer-involved shooting in the village following an alleged robbery on the Philip Goldson Highway. Officially the report is that a certain Travis McKay was cornered in an area next to the basketball court, one block from the...
Prime Minister Recovers from Back Surgery and Playing Santa Claus!
Wednesday's press conference hosted by Prime Minister Dean Barrow was his first since returning from successful back surgery in the U.S. earlier this November. He began by expressing gratitude to those who wished him well in recovery and says that while he really should be off his feet for...
How to Appease Caribbean Financial Action Task Force?
Last week, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force listed Belize as one of the countries that have failed to comply with the Action Plan addressing legal deficiencies in the fight to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism. This, despite Government passing over a dozen pieces of legislation recently...
Murder Rate Drops down to Half in Belize City
After a nasty start to 2013, the criminal element appears to have settled down. Prime Minister Dean Barrow reported that compared to the record-breaking pace of 2012, murders are still below the century mark as of this week. Prime Minister Dean Barrow: "In terms of crime (very quickly), the...
Blacklisting on Fisheries of Belize by EU to be Addressed
The European Commission has recommended that several countries including Belize be blacklisted for failure to do enough to stop illegal activities on the high seas by ships registered in our name. A High Seas Fishing Bill has been passed by the House of Representatives but accompanying regulations and other...
More Development Money The past three months of consistent rain has put a battering on the infrastructure of the entire country and the Government of Belize is responding to the massive damages that has beset the roads. Prime Minister Dean Barrow held a press conference on Wednesday November 27th where he explained that the roadway problems will be addressed firstly in a remedial manner and thereafter in a comprehensive national multi-million dollar approach.
P.M. Barrow announced that immediately 2.269 Million dollars will be made available to the ministry of works which will see remedial road works in all municipalities with the first tranche of over 96 thousand dollars already being made available. Corozal will receive $494,216.25 dollars; Orange Walk $184,356; Belize District over $442,295; the Cayo district will receive 1.1 Million dollars; Stann Creek will get $87,795 and the Toledo district will receive $59,160.
While that is the planned spending to offer some respite for road users, a greater more holistic and comprehensive look at the infrastructure across the country will see Central Government investing $76.72 Million dollars on the major highways as well as the Old Northern Highway and village roads . These monies are currently available for infrastructure development through the Petro-Caribe Initiative.
According to the Prime Minister, the investment will be made as follows: the Phillip Goldson Highway will see $16.73M in upgrades; the George Price Highway will get $5.3M; the Old Northern Highway will receive 1.7M. Investments will also be done on village roads as follows: $6.34M in Cayo; $10.95M in the Belize District; $8.63 in the Stann Creek district; $15.61 in the Toledo district; $2.92 in Orange Walk; and $10.25 in the Corozal district. The Prime Minister described the plan as one that was "muscular, a plan on steroids."
Government stands with Cane Farmers but... The Prime Minister was categorical on Wednesday when he announced that the government was standing behind the cane farmers. Hon. Dean Barrow stated that "we are convinced that the farmers have a case." He continued, "the argument that the bagasse is waste and not a byproduct in our minds cannot stand." But after having made it clear that the farmers have a case, he added that "now we part ways with the farmers, in terms of the manner in which it seems they are determined to make their point and to press their case. We cannot consider it helpful for the industry, for the economy in the north and for the country for there to be this talk about strike and none-commencement of the crop. That will hurt all of us but it will hurt most the very farmers that are being encouraged not to deliver."
The P.M. continued stating that he is willing to speak to the farmers for them to determine a way forward but he was quick to add that if it were not for ASR we would not have a sugar industry.
There is now a tentative meeting with the Prime Minister which would be scheduled by Monday of next week. Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Gaspar Vega is expected to also be a part of any such meeting.
Couple brutally beaten in Placencia, one Suspect is Dead Twenty seven year-old Tyson Rodriguez, a Dangriga resident who was the main suspect in the home invasion of a Canadian couple in Placencia, has died while in the custody of Placencia Police. The direct consequence of his sudden demise has triggered the Commissioner of Police to order an investigation into the circumstances of his demise.
A 59 year-old Canadian man and his 61 year-old wife were at their home at the Plantation area on last week Thursday night, and at around 8 p.m., 3 dark-skinned men ambushed, savagely beat them into submission and forced them to allow the assailants entrance into their house. The wife suffered a broken jaw and multiple facial injuries almost disfiguring her. The husband's head was dunked under water several times; he almost drowned. The men then burglarized the house and escaped with the couple's white GMC SUV speeding down toward the Southern Highway.
Placencia police, as immediately as they responded the call for help, alerted all police formations of the home invasion, and the stolen vehicle, and surveillance and response teams were deployed. 13 and a half hours after the burglary, Corozal Police and Customs Patrol spotted the vehicle, which had its license plates removed, on the Chan Chen Road, over 200 miles away from where it was stolen.
When they finally managed to get close to the vehicle and recover it, the two men who were inside had already dumped it, and they fled on foot. The investigating teams combed the surrounding area and saw one of the men who they believe was in the vehicle. That man was waiting at the Xaibe Bus stop, and as soon as he saw the officers coming he tried to run away, but with the help of Xaibe villagers, police caught him. He was later identified as Tyson Rodriguez, the Dangriga resident who had a run-in with San Pedro Police last year after one of the officers shot him, reportedly in self-defence.
Coming Soon - Salary increase for Public Officers Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced once again on Wednesday November 27th that a salary increase for public officers is next to being guaranteed. Hon. Barrow made the announcement at a press conference which he held to update the country on infrastructure investment the government has planned.
PM Barrow had previously committed to public officers that their raise will be contingent on an increase on the recurrent revenue of the country. This year the collection centers have been performing exceptionally well and the PM noted that 50% of the increase will be allotted to public officers as a raise. Those monies will "will give a significant salary increase," to public officers.
Aside from that announcement the Prime Minister also expressed that he may well be playing the role of jolly old St. Nick as this year Christmas Hampers and toys will be made available to all constituencies. Even representatives of the opposition will be getting their share to spread the Christmas cheer.
Making Protected Areas a Personal Issue Most Belizeans are aware of names such as the Chiquibul Forest, Sarstoon Temash National Park, Sapodilla Caye Range and the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. These are some of the most famous protected areas in the country but with the exception of a small group of people nobody knows why it is important that these areas be protected. On Wednesday, November 27th, the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development launched an awareness campaign to educate Belizeans on the role and importance of protected areas across the country.
The initiative is entitled Branding Campaign for the National Protected Areas System and the launch was attended by Government officials as well as representatives of protective areas management organizations. Valentine Rosado, Communications Officer for the National Protected Areas Secretariat, says "Traditionally, awareness initiatives have mainly been conservation and science based and that only appeal to a small portion of society." Rosado says previous awareness efforts have not resulted in the kind of public support necessary for efficient stewardship of our natural resources. He says, "The idea behind the branding initiative is to demonstrate that protective areas are of direct value to all Belizeans."
Editorial: Manufactured Outraged and Stone Soup You may know the story of the itinerant swindler who found himself in a remote village one night. The villages, suffering from hard times, did not offer to share their limited food with him. He told them that he fully understood their lack of hospitality, but asked only for a little help to make his own pot of stone soup. "Stone soup!" exclaimed the villagers, "No one can make soup from stones." "Just lend me a large pot and let me use your fire hearth and I will show you how," responded the silver tongued con artist.
He set to work with a flourish stirring his pot of water into which he dropped three large smooth, clean stones. When it was bubbling away, he made a great show of tasting it and smacking his lips in delight. He exclaimed that it was coming along fine but a little salt would certainly improve its flavour. Continuing this charade, he persuaded the gullible villagers to drop in assorted vegetable such as onions, carrots and potatoes and finally a freshly prepared chicken and even to stir the pot themselves. As promised he produced a delicious pot of stone soup!
In a parallel story, there is a heavy pot of manufactured outrage prepared by a consortium of interested parties hungry for political power. Their supposed pot of corruption is being offered to a Belizean public weary of global hard times. The cauldron admittedly contains a few heavy stones of individual passport irregularities, but the other ingredients are manufactured or manipulated by people who are well practiced in the art of deception. The accounts of individual wrong doing at SIF or Southern Regional Hospital are distressing but are no more indicative of government corruption than similar recently exposed instances of fraud at a large private enterprise point to corruption at the highest levels of management at Brodies. Other ingredients include completely fictitious narratives based entirely on rumour and hearsay.
The Alvarine Burgess "revelations" have been widely shared on Channel 5 and other consortium media outlets, but it now appears that they have no substance. She has presented no evidence and large parts of her story have been proven to be factually inaccurate or completely fabricated, but the tricksters continue to stir her tale into their pot of lies. The US may or may not be listening in to our telephone conversations, but they would never admit to such a thing and certainly not to a no-body such as Ms. Burgess.
Force Ripe My grandmother, the late Ms. Martina Carpizo, did not like us eating "green things" when we were young, so although she had several mango, plum, orange and guava trees in her yard, we had to wait until these fruits were ripe before we could have them. To avoid temptation, our Mammy would, during the season, pull the "full" mangoes from the lower branches of the tress and hide them away to ripen.
The children would, at every opportunity, sneak into the little thatched storeroom and vigorously squeeze the mangoes to hasten their ripening process, and when they got soft enough, Mammy would, to our delight, allow us to eat these. I tell you, we enjoyed those bruised mangoes with salt and pepper, in spite of the bitter aftertaste they left in our mouths. We later learnt that such practice is called "force ripe".
In today's world of politics, the pattern of persistent repetition of the same topic by Amalia at Channel Fox reminds me of the force-ripening tactic kids would employ in having their way. This PUP die-hard now comes across as desperate in trying to trigger a general election well before it's due time, in an effort to gorge on the corrupt fruits that she and the Old Chap have tasted and become addicted to.
Even after circumstances have exposed the so-called whistle blower as untruthful, Channel Fox refuses to let go, claiming new evidence, which even a Standard IV student can cut and paste, in the continuous pit bull attack against Hon. Castro.
Channel 5 Beating a dead Horse
It appears that Channel 5 has not yet fully understood that their ploy to try to destabilize the government by attacking Hon. Edmund Castro simply will not work. We thought that after their so-called informant was outed by the U.S. embassy as a downright liar they would have tried to ease up. But the rabid pitbull at the helm of that media organization simply will not let go.
On their newscast on Tuesday they came again with the same old same old. They said Hon. Castro had given recommendations to 21 persons to receive visas in a two week span. Well if nobody has given Amalia the memo that recommendations given by area representatives are the order of the day, then this article may serve as such.
On a daily basis area reps write out all manner of recommendations, from visa applications to the U.S. to visa applications for family members of constituents. Recommendations are also written for jobs, land considerations, references. You name it and the letters are written. Now even after the recommendations are made, it does not guarantee a positive outcome on the other end.
Amalia fully knows well but she insists on beating a dead horse. To her we say, the carcass is beginning to stink, please don't beat it no more because that one there, is going nowhere.
When minion Michael Roudon tried to bring it up during the Prime Minister's most recent press conference, the Prime Minister simply chucked that one to political mischief by Amalia Mai and the PUP.
Ministry of Education honors the best Print
On Thursday November 21, over 900 hundred students from around the country were honoured at the 2013 CXC Award Ceremony at the UB Gymnasium in Belmopan. This year's May-June 2013 session saw some of the most promising students yet; Edward P. Yorke graduate Xiaowen Huang managed to sit and pass 17 CSEC exams, with an astonishing 16 grade ones and 1 grade two. She got the highest grades in the country for science, technology and vocational subject group, clothing and textiles, and integrated sciences. In her speech to the students and proud parents at the ceremony, she commented that there were many factors, such as hard work, dedication and careful planning, which allowed her to perform so well in the exams.
Huang was closely followed by SCA's Marilen Guerra, who achieved 15 grade ones. She also received a subject group award in humanities. Both Huang and Guerra were awarded with iPad tablets as a token of appreciation for their hard work and achievements. Both of them are currently double majoring at the Saint John's College Junior in Biology and Chemistry.
Eulogy for Clarita Leonie Dyer Geban
Clarabelle Leonie Dyer Geban was born December 24, 1937. At this time in history Belize was undeveloped and largely unknown on the world stage. The times were simple, the people were unsophisticated but honest. Her father was Alfred Dyer Senior, the patriarch of the family. Her mother was Madeline Haylock Dyer. The Dyer family earned a living by exploring the vast resources of the sea surrounding the coastland and the cayes. She had five brothers, three of whom on the Dyer side were hardened sea-fearing men.
While the boys joined their father in the fishing community, Clara the only girl, went on to St. Hilda's College and earned a diploma. This was the first for her family. At twenty-one years, she met Louis Geban and were married. Clara worked for many years at the Belize City Council as a tax collector.
Throughout her life she was passionate about her church, her family, and politics. Like her father before her, she lived for the church in which she was baptized and in which she grew up. At St. Mary's was actively involved in fund-raising projects, especially the St. Mary's Feeding Program. Her family was critical of her. She was extremely proud of her children and would let everyone know that. Her family, however, extended to many people, included relatives, neighbors, and friends.
Minister Faber meets with UDP Youths
Almost every Saturday between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. you can find the youngest (and perhaps most enthusiastic) supporters of the United Democratic Party assembled together at the party headquarters on Youth for the Future Drive. The United Democratic Party's rise to relevance on the national political stage was the result of a powerful youth movement. Many officials of the present administration can testify of the passion developed for country and party during meetings of the Youth Popular Front back in the days. The Youth Popular Front is back and senior officials of the United Democratic Party are working with the group to make it as dynamic as years past.
On Saturday, November 23rd, Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, attended a meeting of the Youth Popular Front. Faber has been the group's most dedicated supporter and had attended numerous meetings since its resurgence. He sees it as a responsibility because he too was a member of the Youth Popular Front. On Saturday there were over forty youths present at the meeting, as young as eight and a couple in their early thirties. Faber spoke to them about his experiences as a member of the group. He said it was then that he developed a passion for volunteerism. He always volunteered to be part of the party's initiatives, especially Faith Babb's initiatives. It was this willing attitude that earned him opportunities to move forward in the party- to the point where he was a legitimate contender for Standard Bearer in Collet and now to the point where he is one of the most secured Area Representatives of the country. Faber encouraged the youths to adapt a similar spirit of volunteerism and to take the party's message wherever they go.
Global Investment Agents Visit KHMH
Dr. Adrian Coye, Director of Medical Services at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, guided a special tour of the hospital on Wednesday, November 27th. Two Directors of Nueterra Global Alliance are in the country meeting with health practitioners, policy makers and institution executives. After a meeting with KHMH Executives on Wednesday afternoon, the Nueterra representatives toured the facility along with Hon. Pablo Marin, Minister of Health.
Nueterra is a global leader in developing joint equity partnerships with health systems, governments, hospitals and physicians. Many healthcare investors are interested in taking advantage of medical tourism opportunities now available in Belize and since the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital is the institution with the most material and human resources it is ideal for joint equity partnerships. Nueterra says its vision is "to create a truly borderless world of care - connecting patients, physicians, educators and investors from all over the globe."
Minister Marin says any organization that is going to improve the healthcare system of Belize is welcome. He says medical tourism should improve the infrastructure of our institutions, skills of our medical practitioners and overall healthcare system. The representatives of Nueterra were extremely impressed with the hospital management's plans for expansion (space and services). Paola Reyes, Regional Sales Director, says, "There are great opportunities for partnership at this institution."
The two parties plan to keep in touch.
Lake-I's first Turkey Trot
Always on a mission to keep the constituents of Lake Independence engaged, Hon. Mark King, on Sunday November 24th organized the first ever "Turkey Trot." The idea was to have men in the constituency come out with their sons and have a trot through the constituency to encourage greater male participation in the lives of young boy boys.
While the participation was less than was expected, Hon. King says he is encouraged by the fact that there were young boys who came out. Those who did not have their fathers present were accompanied by an older sibling proving that male role models in young boy's lives are not necessarily only fathers but other older males in the family unit.
At the conclusion of the Turkey Trot, some participants received turkeys.
Rural Central Committee Holds Retreat for Village Councils
Chairpersons and Councilors from nine villages in the Belize Rural Central constituency attended a retreat at the Black Orchid Resort in Burrell Boom Village on Sunday, November 24th. The retreat was organized by the Belize Rural Central Committee. The main objective was to provide an opportunity for networking among village leaders of the constituency in order to more effectively execute the United Democratic Party's developmental agenda for the area.
The keynote address was delivered by Michael Hutchinson, UDP Caretaker for Belize Rural Central. Hutchinson reaffirmed his commitment to continue working on behalf of the people of Belize Rural Central with the support of a Central Government that is preparing to inject an unprecedented amount of financial resources in rural communities across the country. Jacquelyn Franklin, Regional Development Officer in the Ministry of Local Government, and Diane Haylock, Chair of the UDP Committee for the Organization of Women, were also in attendance to address the village officials. Franklin presented on the role of village councils as authorized by the regulations in the Village Council Act. Haylock presented on transformational leadership and the need for more women in politics. Also allowed an opportunity to address the gathering were aspiring candidates for UDP Standard Bearer in the constituency, including councilor Dean Samuels.
Students Impressive at Entrepreneurship and Innovation Expo
Hundreds of Belizeans visited the Princess Hotel on Thursday, November 21st, to view the creative displays of students from the University of Belize and high schools from across the country at the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Expo. The expo is now an annual event made possible due to a partnership between the Ministry of Education, Belize Youth Business Trust, the University of Belize and the United States Embassy.
This year there were thirty booths and along with the Marketing class of the University of Belize there were fifteen high schools representing all six districts. Sylvia Cattouse is the Special Assistant for Community Initiative out of the President of UB's Office. She says the expo is important because "there is a critical need to develop young entrepreneurs." Her message to the student population is "You are not just to look for a job or go to school to be hired by someone but if you are passionate enough about something then you can create your own opportunities." Cattouse says, "In any developed country it is the entrepreneurs that are the drivers of the economy."
Some thoughts from the President of the University of Belize
The President of the University of Belize has made known some of his thoughts on the issue of education in Belize and the Region. Dr. Cary Fraser recently met with main advocate Mrs. Maria Eugenia Paniagua in Belmopan for a brief discussion on a proposed Central American Educational Policy PEC that seeks to provide all Central Americans with at least nine years of basic education and bring educational excellence to the Region.
PEC has the endorsement of the Council of Ministers of Education of the member countries of the Central American Integration System SICA. This Regional Strategy also has the support of the Council of Ministers of Education, Summit of Presidents and Heads of State within SICA.
"Ultimately we should be thinking about 12 years of compulsory schooling, everyone should be legally required to be in school until they are 18; as the World has become increasingly technologically complex, it will be important for students before the age of 18 to be exposed to a level of knowledge that will allow them to enter a World that is so technologically complex that they will be left behind if they are out of school without the adequate level of preparation," said Dr. Cary Fraser, at a recent meeting at the University of Belize, bringing together Education Officials and the supporters of PEC.
Jose Funez charged with carnal knowledge
On Monday November 25th 32-year-old Jose Funez, a resident and Technician of Mahogany Heights appeared before the Belize City Magistrate's Court to answer to one count of carnal knowledge.
Funez is accused of having sex with a child age 13 years. When he appeared in court, he was read the single charge but no plea was taken since the case is an indictable matter. No bail could not be offered and Funez was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until January 14, 2014.
The alleged incident occurred on Saturday, November 23, 2013, at Funez's home. It was not until later that day that the child told her mother what had happened and as a result she was taken to a doctor who examined her and confirmed that she was carnally known.
Daylight Robbery in San Ignacio Town
There was a brazen daylight robbery at a Chinese Store in San Ignacio Town on Sunday, November 24th. 34-year-old Xiang Rong Chen, reports that his business on Flamingo Avenue in San Ignacio know as 'Kenny's Store' was robbed at about 8:15 am on that date.
Xiang Chen, a Naturalized Belizean, told police that two unmasked persons entered his store, one armed with a firearm and the other with a knife. Chen was held up along with his worker Pedro Lopez, where a demand was made for money. The person with the handgun then took Chen into his room to the back of the store and again demanded money wherein Chen complied and handed over $2,000.00 and a check written to Pine Lumber for the amount of $380.00. Chen was then taken outside of the store. Meanwhile; the person with the knife started searching for cash in the register and took $300.00 as well as a black Mitsubishi brand lap tap valued at $1,300. The robbers also took another black lap tap valued at $1,500.00, an I-Phone with calling number 630-0896 valued at $1,200.00, which was on the counter. Chen lost to the robbery some $6,680.00 in total after which both robbers ran out of the store and made good their escape.
The aforementioned, 'Kenny's Store' has also been the scene of a crime before; where a security guard from Camalote and employed by 'Security Force' had been killed.
Sandhill schools to represent Belize Rural in Belize District primary schools football finals
The Belize Rural Primary Schools Football competition was played on Thursday November 21, 2013, out at the Sandhill Football Field.
In the girls' championship game, Pancottoq q edged out its neighbourhood school Guadalupe RC by the score of 5-3 in penalty kicks. The goal scorers for Pancotto were Shana Bood, Luz Monzon, Cassie Augustine, Aesha Metzgen and Aldean Williams. Meanwhile, the goals for Guadalupe RC were scored by Shevaun Vaccaro, Brandy Grinage and Brianna Leslie.
In the first girls' game of the day, Guadalupe RC blanked Maskall by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Shevaun Vaccaro.
In game two, St. Therese Anglican School defeated Our Lady of the Way RC from Ladyville by the score of 4-2 via penalty kick. The goals for St. Therese School were scored by Vittian Trapp, Georsha Sutherland, Chelsea Humphreys and Alesha Baizar, while the goals for Our Lady of the Way RC were scored by Virginia Reid and Kavita Bardalez.
Cycling Twilight Criterium continues
The Belize Cycling Association through collaboration with the Belize City Council proudly presents the Thursday, Twilight Criterium, on November 28th commencing at 6:30 pm on Marine Parade.
According to the Belize Cycling Association, the Female, Youth, Junior and Masters category 4/5 riders will ride for 45minutes, after which they will do 5 laps. Meanwhile, the Open Elite riders will ride for one hour and then do 5 laps to complete their category.
The Belize Cycling Association is also reminding all members of the association that registration for the 2014 Cycling Season is presently taking place. Cyclists and cycling personnel can contact the following individuals in their zones for registration: Northern Zone - Arturo Vansen, Western Zone- Gilroy Spence (San Ignacio Area) and Delvit Castillo (Belmopan Area), Central Zone - Leticia Westby and Southern Zone - Cordell Gordon.
Inter-district Football competition starts
The Football Federation of Belize 2013 Inter-District Season commenced on Sunday November 24 with a number of games across the country.
The teams that are participating in this year's competition are PG Police FC, Mavericks, M&M Steelers, GB United, San Martin FC, Hope Creek Pumas, Roaring Creek United, Umadagu, Penarol, Brown Bombers, Georgeville Strikers, Ebony Lake, Ranchito Warriors, San Estevan, Progresso and Athletico Club Los Lobos. The teams are divided into 4 zones.
In Zone 1 games played over the weekend, PG Police United blanked M&M Steelers by the score of 5-0. The goals for PG Police United were scored by Devin Burgess (2), Rowlin Burgess and Deon Burgess (2).
In the second game played, Mavericks defeated GB United by the score of 5-2. The goals for Mavericks were Everette Recinos, Leslie Williams, Andre Logan and Kenton Galvez (2), while the goals for GB United were scored by Henry Jimenez and Jose Lopez.
Paradise/Freedom Fighters regains lead in Belikin Cup
The Premier League of Belize Opening Season Tournament for the 2013 Belikin Cup continued over the weekend with three games on the schedule.
On Saturday November 23, at the Marshalleck Stadium out in Benque Viejo Del Carmen, the home team Verdes FC blanked the visiting Belize Defence Force by the score of 2-0. The 1st goal of the game was scored by Orlando Jimenez in the 5th minute of play to give the home team Verdes FC an early 1-0 lead. That lead was further extended when Julio Ayala scored his team's 2nd goal of the game in the 22nd minute of play for a 2-0 lead.
The Verdes defence was able to protect the 2-0 lead in the remaining minutes of the first half of the game, and in the entire second half for the big win.
The competition then continued on Sunday November 25 with two more games. At the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, San Ignacio United white-wash the Belmopan Bandits by the score of 2-0. The San Ignacio United squad was able to get onto the scoreboard when Anthony Gonzalez scored the 1st goal of the game in the 17th minute of play to give his team an early. In fact, that was the only goal really needed in the game. The lead was further extended for the San Ignacio United squad when Carlos Vasquez scored his team's 2nd goal of the game in the 46th minute for play for the win.
And at the MCC Grounds in Belize City, the current leaders' in this year's competition Paradise/Freedom Fighters and FC Belize played to a1-1 draw.
Volleyball General Congress takes place this weekend
The Belize Volleyball Association will be holding its General Congress on Saturday November 30, 2013 commencing at 1:00 pm at the Radisson Fort George Caracol Room.
The highlight of the General Congress will be holding of Elections.
Thanksgiving Morning On Ambergris Caye Many of you are in places where the change of seasons is marked by birds migrating south or leaves falling from the trees. Here, in Belize, it's the return of the tourists.
I took a morning walk this morning up the beach and our island is bustling.
Resorts have all their new cushions out, the beaches are neatly raked and tour boats are loaded and headed out. The "high season" has begun.
The Christmas chill is also in the air. Our first real cold front. Last night, as I rolled myself into a blanket burrito, the temperature dipped into the low 70s, the humidity below 80% (my lips are already chapping) and the wind blew from the North west. Sweatshirts, winter jackets and wool caps are out in San Pedro.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Chaa Creek The staff and management of Chaa Creek wish all of you, wherever you are, a truly wonderful Thanksgiving.
We know that we'll be taking the time out to be grateful for what we have, which includes you, our many friends and guests from around the world.
You're the reason why we're here and you continue to be part of our growth while sustaining our philosophy that yes, you can combine Green, sustainable practices with quality and a certain casual luxury. In fact, our guests' enthusiasm for responsible travel has contributed tremendously to our growth.
Over the last 30 years Chaa Creek has evolved into a community consisting of over 130 dedicated staff members who in turn support many Belizean families. This allows us to provide educational and career opportunities that have a positive effect on Belize through initiatives such as the Chaa Creek Cares program. Ten per cent of what you pay for accommodation goes directly into environmental and social upliftment programs. We hope our guests sleep soundly knowing that their stay here is actually good for the people and country of Belize.
Belize preparing for a prosperous future In a solid step forward, The Government of Belize, with financial and technical assistance from the United Nations Development Program is working on something with implications for every Belizean.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has begun work a "Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy for the Period 2014 to 2017".
This strategy will be one of a series of medium-term plans working towards realising the vision behind Horizon 2030. This vision reads:
"Belize is a country of peace and tranquillity, where citizens live in harmony with the natural environment and enjoy a high quality of life. Belizeans are an energetic, resourceful and independent people looking after their own development in a sustainable way."
We think that's a great goal, and achieving it requires effective planning starting with good medium-term strategic plans, and then linking these plans to successive operational year-to-year budgets and putting in place a solid monitoring and evaluation framework.
EU warns Belize, Curacao about fishing sanctions European Commission (EC) is urging European countries to impose trade sanction on Belize over illegal fishing, while warning Curacao that it may be next.
The EC also urged European Union governments to hit Cambodia and Guinea with the sanctions, cautioning South Korea and Ghana that they, too, may be next in line.
The EU executive called for action against Belize, noting that no "credible progress" has been made since hitting it with the so-called "yellow cards" last year.
"Once placed on an official list of "non-cooperating countries" in the fight against illegal fishing, related products from those territories will find themselves all-but shut out of the EU market of half a billion consumers," the EU said in a statement.
The Commission also flagged up a new round of "yellow cards", which puts key free-trade partner Curacao under mounting pressure to meet international obligations.
Caribbean Pulse beats again THE last album Caribbean Pulse released was Stand Up 10 years ago. After a self-imposed break, the Los Angeles band is back with a new single.
Blessed is the title of the song which was released November 1. It is from their pending album, Yesterday, which is expected to be out in early 2014.
Caribbean Pulse is built around founder and rhythm guitarist William Smith, his brother Jason Smith who plays bass and lead vocalist/percussionist Ezzy Judah. All are from Belize.
"Right now our focus is finishing up the Blessed video and we look to start doing shows in late January. We are in talks to do Rebel Salute and the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival," William Smith told Splash.
The band is an experienced unit with members from Belize, Jamaica and the United States. Caribbean Pulse also includes Jamaican drummer Carlton 'Santa' Davis (of Soul Syndicate Band fame), Michael Hyde (keyboards), Gil Smith (keyboards), and guitarist Steve Verhault.
Tropicals are the new produce frontier Consumers are getting more exploratory in the produce department, and this is good news for Brooks Tropicals LLC, headquartered in Homestead, FL. "North American consumers are adventuresome," said Director of Marketing Mary Ostlund. "They love a frontier. And in the produce section, tropicals are the new frontier. [This is] particularly important with everyone upping the amount of fruit and veggies they're eating. They want to eat more of the produce they love. But they want to be tempted to love more."
Brooks Tropicals is a premier grower, packer and shipper of tropical produce grown in Florida and around the Caribbean. More than 4,000 acres are farmed, and the company harvests more than 70 percent of what the firm sells. Production areas are found in Florida, Belize, Brazil, Jamaica and Mexico. Commodities are also imported from countries in Central America and South America.
Central America opens the door to renewable energy Over the last decade Central America has begun launching a range of small clean energy projects to reduce the impact of climate change and high oil prices, and to supply energy to communities in remote regions.
As a result, today almost 65 percent of the electric power supplied to public utilities in the region is contributed by renewable energy sources, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America, a United Nations body.
In Perquin, a village in the forest on the border between El Salvador and Honduras, Salvadoran families have built a gravity-powered micro hydropower plant in the local river.
Previously, community members cut down trees to burn for fuel, deforesting the area and affecting the ecology of the river basin.
But today they sell energy to neighbouring Honduras, using the profit to maintain the hydro plant and as a community emergency fund.
Juan Benitez, a farmer in Perquin, said that electricity generated by the hydropower plant runs lighting that enables children to do their homework in the evenings, and that smoke from fires no longer affects villagers' lungs and eyes.
Latin America and the Caribbean advance toward universal access to HIV treatment Three out of four people who need antiretroviral treatment (ART) in Latin America and the Caribbean are receiving it, according to a new report from the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). That leaves one in four without the life-saving treatment but represents a 10% improvement in just two years and puts Latin America and the Caribbean ahead of all other developing regions in levels of ART coverage.
"Latin America and the Caribbean lead the world in providing and expanding antiretroviral treatment on the basis of technological innovation and scientific evidence," writes PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne in the preface to the report, Antiretroviral Treatment in the Spotlight: a Public Health Analysis in Latin America and the Caribbean 2013. "What remains is to close the gap in treatment coverage and ensure equitable access to and delivery of services," writes Etienne.