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The San Pedro Sun

Ramon's Village Resort plans to re-open December 20th
Ramon's Village Resort, situated in the heart of San Pedro Town is only two weeks away from fully re-opening to the public. The resort has been fine tuning the minor details of the newly rebuilt structures since the fire that gutted over 1/3 of the iconic resort on August 27th. Over 250 employees, divided into four work crews, have been working daily on the reconstruction of the resort that is scheduled to re-open on December 20th. According to Einer Gomez, Manager of Ramon's Village Resort, the fire may have been terrible and catastrophic, but they are rising from the ashes and are almost restored. "We are in our last stages of reconstruction, moving along by stages. We have separated the workload in four, each being done by different groups and they are all moving along at the same time," said Gomez. He explained that the interior furniture is being taken care of by various businesses, while another group works strictly on the replanting of the trees and other greenery that was damaged by the fire.

Trafficking in persons: First visit of UN independent expert to Belize
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, will visit Belize from 12 to 16 December 2013 to examine the situation of trafficking of women, men and children. This is the first time ever an independent expert of the UN Human Rights Council visits the Central American country. "During my visit to the Belize, I will study the situation in situ, in order to make recommendations to prevent and fight trafficking, and protect its victims," the expert said. Ms. Ezeilo will visit the country at the invitation of the Government. Ms. Ezeilo will engage with State representatives as well as members of international and civil society organizations working on the fight against trafficking in persons in order to assess the challenges and opportunities in Belize. The UN Special Rapporteur is charged by the UN Human Rights Council to promote the prevention of trafficking in persons in all its forms and to encourage measures to uphold and protect the human rights of victims.

Doctor Javier Zuniga graduates with a Master Degree in International Public Health
Doctor Javier Zuniga is back in the country after a year abroad furthering his medical career. Dr. Zuniga has earned a Master's Degree in International Public Health from the University of Sydney School Of Public Health. While his departure from San Pedro Town as Medical Coordinator and Director of the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro PolyClinic II was temporarily to further his profession, it is highly possible that Dr. Zuniga may not be returning to the island to work. Dr. Zuniga explained that he is happy to be back home in Belize but may be assigned a different responsibility. "I still remain employed by the Government of Belize and will continue to serve the people and my country. It is uncertain if I will be returning to the San Pedro PolyClinic," explained Zuniga. Because of the new knowledge he has gained in the specialty of International Public Health, there is a great possibility that Dr. Zuniga will be utilized elsewhere in the Ministry of Health.

Children's Holiday Party with Santa
Santa Claus is coming to town!!!!!

Ambergris Today

Love FM's 4th Annual Christmas Parade Hits San Pedro
Christmas is here (you can say) and La Isla Bonita was in full spirit of the special season this weekend as activities kicked off with Love FM's 4th Annual Christmas Parade. This year's parade was bigger and better! People stood along the busy streets of San Pedro waiting for Santa to pass by atop fire truck. Lovely Miss San Pedro Solani Graniel led the parade, giving out sweets to children and spectators. Santa and parade revelers followed behind all dressed in red, white and green, dancing and singing along to festive songs. Everybody was in the spirit of spreading the Christmas cheer.

Trafficking of Persons: First Visit of UN Independent Expert to Belize
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, will visit Belize from 12 to 16 December 2013 to examine the situation of trafficking of women, men and children. This is the first time ever an independent expert of the UN Human Rights Council visits the Central American country. "During my visit to the Belize, I will study the situation in situ, in order to make recommendations to prevent and fight trafficking, and protect its victims," the expert said. Ms. Ezeilo will visit the country at the invitation of the Government. Ms. Ezeilo will engage with State representatives as well as members of international and civil society organizations working on the fight against trafficking in persons in order to assess the challenges and opportunities in Belize.

Pic of the Week: Young Mennonite Boy Explores Ambergris Caye
A young Mennonite boy makes his way through the streets of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize, and finds himself in awe amongst a different environment than he is used to. The Mennonites of Belize are farmers, craftsmen, wood workers, architects, engineers and 'jacks of all trades' who have elevated their private communities in mainland Belize amongsts those all other Belizeans. They make up an integral part of the country's industries and development. Although they have not settled on Ambergris Caye, they do frequent the island for trade purposes, selling their produce and products to local businesses.

Saga's End of Year Cook Off
Saga Humane Society is pleased to announce their end of the year Cook Off of Champions for Thursday, December 19, 2013 at Wet Willy's Cantina. Competing for the prize will be the winning Chefs from throughout the year from their monthly cook offs. The theme is Cooks' Choice. It is our favorite, as the Chefs surprise us every year with their creatively. Tickets go on sale at 6pm, arrive early to guarantee you will get a chance to vote for your favorite.

San Pedro Lions Club Christmas Schedule
Christmas time is here and the San Pedro Lions Club is always organizing fun filled events to spread the Christmas Cheer to island residents. Below is their 2013 Christmas Schedule for all residents to enjoy. Thursday, December 12, 2013 - Senior Citizen Dance at 7pm Sunday, December 15, 2013 - Children's Party at 3pm Sunday, December 22, 2013 - Christmas Caroling Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - Grand New Year's Dance with Super Furia from 8pm until!

Misc Belizean Sources

SAGA Cook Off of Champions Thursday December 19
Saga Humane Society is please to announce our end of the year Cook Off of Champions Thursday December 19 at Wet Willy's Cantina. Competing for the prize will be the winning Chefs from throughout the year from our monthly cook offs. The theme is Cooks' Choice. It is our favorite, as the Chefs surprise us every year with their creatively. Tickets go on sale at 6pm, arrive early to guarantee you will get a chance to vote for your favorite.

Belizean Nail Soup: A Collection of Short Stories
By Felene Cayetano Rating: Not yet rated. Published: Nov. 11, 2013 Words: 21,070 (approximate) Language: English ISBN: 9780975382028 Description Ten stories by nine writers create a vivid image of the variety of people, landscapes and talent in Belize, the tiny seaside Caribbean nation in Central America.

The final monthly tournament took place on December 7th for the Belize Amateur Golf Association
After 12 months, the 44 members have finished their tournament season. Our yearly awards ceremony will be held after next week's December 14th Roaring River Xmas Invitational Tournament. All are invited. Thanks to Peter Allen, Chico Towers, Bill Mckenzie and Michel Ardoullie for the prizes this month. The BAGA has had an active year with community work and is delighted that Denisha Francisco from Stann Creek Ecumenical High School was able to visit the players on Saturday. Denisha, who was accompanied by Amanda Brown (Belmopan Women's Group) was the recipient of our school scholarship and eloquently spoke to the members after the tournament to thank them for the sponsorship. We wish her the best of luck with her studies. The results from the Dec 7th Tournament are : Without HDCP : - Andy Hunt (33 Points) - Bill Mckenzie (28 Points) - Alan Graham (24 Points) With HDCP : Sam Mathias (35 Points) Rob Lee (35 Points) Chico Towers (33 Points)

National Heritage Library "Meet the Author" Series
The National Heritage Library in Belmopan is having its seventh segment of "Meet the Author" to be held on December 11, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The featured author for this event is Ms. Zee Edgell. Meet the Author is a free program that provides the audience a unique opportunity to hear a renowned Belizean author read excerpts of his/her works and witness the unveiling of a poster-sized, archival-quality portrait of the author. The National Heritage Library (NHL) is the depository arm of the Belize National Library Service and Information System (BNLSIS); NHL maintains a vast non-circulating collection of materials published by and about Belize and Belizeans. You may find out more about the Library Service online at Opening hours: Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 7p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 1p.m.

Belize Volleyball Association News
A new executive for the Belize Volleyball Association has been elected. The election of the new executives was held during the Association's General Congress which was held at the end of last month. The elected officers are: President - Allan Sharp Vice President (District Development) - Yvette Price Vice President (National Teams) - Albert Bradley Vice President (Female Volleyball Development) - Tanesha Encalada General Secretary - Sherylee Young-Thurton Treasurer - Leni Jo Usher Beach Commissioner - Oscar Arnold Technical Commissioner - Gillian Smith Referee Commissioner - Khalid Encalada Tournament Director - Joseph Enriquez Press Officer - Yemeri Reyes Member - Arvid Arnold. The new executive will serve for a period of two years. The Belize Volleyball Association general congress also heard reports for the 2012-2013 period which was highlighted by the Senior Female team's qualification to the Second Round of the World Championship Qualification Tournament, the winning of numerous individual awards and the success of both the female junior and youth national teams.

The Vaca Dam Experience
Galen University students got the grand tour of the Vaca dam, and they got some great pictures of the experience. They got some pictures of Lake Benque too. "Galen University was invited to the Vaca Dam in the Cayo district for a tour of their facilities. The tour was headed by Mr. Rogelio Guerra, the Senior Operator of the dam. The tour entailed a close up view of the control room, the reservoir and other ambiances of the dam and nature. The students were immediately illuminated by the picturesque view which made the experience a memorable one."

Miss Belize at Miss Earth
Miss Earth Belize, Amber Rivero, represented Belize over the weekend in the Philippines. Her dress was symbolic of the Blue Hole, and can be seen at around the 12:30 mark, and if you look hard, you'll see her here and there throughout the video. Congratulations, Amber, for being a great Miss Earth Belize. Lots of pictures, including some of her in the Blue Hole dress, can be found on the Belize Pageant page. "We would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Amber on a job well done despite many obstacles. We thank you Amber for all that you have done to place Belize on the pageant map as well as your continuous work in helping our environment. Truly a wonderful role model to us all."

Belize Blues
Another day of serenity it was in beautiful Belize. I love and miss warm weather right about now as it snows outside here in NYC. As fun as it is to resort to my childish ways of catching snowflakes in my mouth, that is short-lived and only fun on the half a block walk to Duane Reade. But I will be in Californ-i-a soon enough and honestly I missed New York a little towards the end of the trip, even the cold weather. I like being able to wake up on the weekend and go to K-town to get some asian food or go out at all hours if I feel like it. Or shop if I want to. Feel me? ANYWAYS this romper is a collaboration piece I helped design for Dahlia Wolf which you can buy here. I love the cutouts, color and simplicity. (Great travel item). Plus it is such an easy piece to throw on and accessorize. This is my new favorite color. Love.

Snorkeling Punta Azul, Belize
Snorkeling Punta Azul offers divers the chance to view moray eels, stingrays, nurse sharks and other reef fish.

Channel 7

PM Mediates in BSI/ASR/Cane Farmers Dispute; Still No Resolution
The uncertainty hanging over the start of the 2013 sugar season continues tonight, and there is no clear resolution in sight, even with the intervention of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. As we've told you the cane farmers want to be paid for bagasse, but BSI says that it is a waste product with no value, so, the farmers are not entitled to payment for it. With those hardlines laid down, the farmers are threatening to refuse to deliver cane so that the season can start in a week's time. To try and stave off the disaster which this would create, Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega have been meeting with both sides to try to convince them to commence negotiations on the issue, but so far, they haven't met. Today, trying to act as mediator, Prime Minister Barrow met with the representatives of ASR at the Radisson to explain their position on the matter. As, we've told you, Barrow supports the cane farmers on their claim, but disagrees with their negotiating method.

Customs Had To Chase Contraband Cop, He Grazed Their Truck!
It's Christmas-time, which for many means contraband time, and that's why the Customs department enforcement unit launched its special operation on November 25th. And on Sunday evening, that meant responding to a report that two vehicles were moving out of Arenal in western Belize with contraband. Customs mobilized and intercepted one of the vehicles with 12 bottles of beer and 3 liters of soft drink. Two police officers were inside the vehicle, but a civilian, who was also in the car took responsibility for the items. Customs had to work harder to catch the other vehicle. They actually had to set chase - and when they stopped the car, they found that an apparently inebriated police corporal was driving. During the chase he also grazed the customs pickup. And when they searched the vehicle, customs found out why he was running: the vehicle carried seven and a half cases of beer and 3 cases of soft drinks. Still, the corporal got a break when a civilian in the vehicle took responsibility for the contraband items. Customs reached a settlement with the professed owners, and so the matter did not go to court. That is the standard approach, since customs sees it as a fiscal and not a criminal offence. That settlement usually involves a fine of three times the value and the goods are forfeited.

Man Stabbed Uncle; Remanded To Prison
A man was remanded to prison today after he stabbed his uncle, and left him in a critical condition. Just after midnight on Saturday, at 12:20 am, 44 year old Thomas Ferguson got into a physical fight with his nephew, Oliver Peters at a residence on Arlington drive in Belize City. Police say Peters took out the knife and stabbed his uncle in the center of the chest. Ferguson was admitted to the hospital in a critical condition, while his nephew was arrested. The 37 year old Peters appeared in court today where was arraigned on charges of attempted murder, dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm this morning. Peters wasn't required to take a plea, since the charges are indictable and will be heard in the Supreme Court. He was remanded to prison and is due back in court on January 21, 2014.

Canada/US Fund Joint Operating Center
We often report on joint operations between the different law enforcement agencies, but for the most part, they tend to operate independently of each other. Well, after 2 years of consultation between the Government of Belize, Canada and the United States, all the major law enforcement organizations are pooling their resources, their expertise, and their man-power into one joint task force. It's called the Joint Operation Center, which is housed on the BDF's Price Barracks, and 7News was at the launch. Daniel Ortiz reports: Daniel Ortiz reporting Today, the Ministry of National Security, US Government and the Canadian Government celebrated the opening of the Joint Operating Center. It is a 3 million dollar facility which will fuse all forms of law enforcement, an improved form of interdepartmental cooperation.

Sergeant Accused Of Murder; Will Cops Who Backed Him Up Be Charged?
Last week, we showed you the latest on the alleged murder of Tyson Rodriguez, an apparent victim of deadly police brutality. The DPP found that based on an eyewitness account, there was enough to charge Sergeant Julio Shal for murder. That effectively refuted that statement he gave that Rodriguez escaped and then turned up dead. But all 3 officers who were present at the time gave their bosses the very same version of events, basically that he drowned after jumping out of the moving police vehicle. So now, it would seem that the other officers who corroborated Shal's account were lying. Today, we asked the Acting Commissioner of Police, Miguel Segura, if the officers are facing any disciplinary charges. Here's what he told us: ACP Miguel Segura "The criminal aspect we are working with the D.P.P., and the D.P.P. will guide us to continue the proceeding. Infernally, similarly after looking at the criminal we will deal with our internal aspect. But first and foremost the closure that the family feels, and the evidence that means the threshold in the court of law, the D.P.P. is there to assist us. Internally we are investigating that case and we will proceed based on the findings."

Man Grazed By Bullet In City
The murder count for 2013 in Belize City is down by a remarkable 50%, but while things have cooled down considerably, that doesn't mean that there's peace on every block. Violent shootings still occur, and tonight two men are lucky to be alive after they were shot up on Friday night. 20 year old Rakeem Vernon was grazed in his right temple, while 20 year old Eric Wills was shot multiple times to his lower body. It happened at 8:50 when Vernon and Wills were in a back yard at the corner of North Creek Road and Central American Boulevard in the Collett area when several shots were fired at them. Both were admitted in stable condition. And on Friday morning in the area of LA Croix Boulevard in Lake Independence, a gunshot reached into the home of 58 year old Beverly Smith. Gunshots had been sounding in the area for days between rival sets, and on Friday at 6:55 Smith was at home when one of the shots pierced the ceiling and the roof of her house. Police say two men were firing at each other outside the house.

NTUCB Demands Action On Nelson Young Case
The name Nelson Young, former BTL employee may not be instantly recognizable to even those who keep an avid interest in the news. But when the history of the unrest of 2005 is told, his name will be central to the story. That's because Young was one of three workers terminated from the then Ashcroft controlled BTL in January of 2005. As a union activist, his termination was seen as union busting, and that event was the catalyst that spurred a revolt against the Michael Ashcroft affiliated management and led eventually a countrywide shutdown targeting the Musa administration that was seen as cozy and complicit with Ashcroft. So when BTL was nationalized in 2009, the Prime Minister - in his official explanation of the move - went out of his way to express his hope that now the tribunal to hear Young's labour grievance will finally be convened. Well, 2013 is finishing and it hasn't happened. So today the NTUCB sent out a release saying that the eight year wait is, quote, "not only�unacceptable, but downright, ridiculously intolerable." The NTUCB says that it has been trying to communicate this urgency to all relevant parties, but nothing has happened.

VIP Says Mass Parties Not Committed To Anti-Corruption Action
Today was celebrated United Nation's International Anti-Corruption Day, which is set aside to recognize the UN Convention against Corruption, which was adopted by the General Assembly in 2003. Well, Belize as one of the member states, has yet to sign on to the convention, and independent political party, Vision Inspired By the People, sees this as a clear sign from both the PUP and the UDP that they don't intend to stamp out corruption in their government. They held a press conference today in Belize City, and the Chairman of the VIP told the gathering that the citizens should enjoy a corruption-free government and public service: Hubert Enriquez, Chairman, VIP "We, the VIP believe that those governance and the freedom from corruption is a sacred right for which all Belizeans by virtue of the constitution are entitled. The United Nations Anti-Corruption Convention offers some hope that the oversight practice by that organization will motivate the government to take seriously this matter of corruption. We are aware of the national sovereignty implications of this preposition and of the less than favorable view of this organization by some of our people. But we, none the less believe that the long term developmental interest of Belize would be served with the application of this convention."

Under New Coach Bandits Pull Into First Place Tie
On Saturday night from Belmopan, Channel 7 viewers got to see live coverage of the Premier League Football Belikin Cup when Verdes went to Belmopan to take on their district rival, the Bandits. It was a major test for the star-studded but struggling Bandits, which had its first outing under new coach and former national team coach Leroy Sherrier Lewis. Still, Verdes struck first with a goal in the tenth minute by Rodney Pacheco but Deon McAuley was quick to strike back in the 29th minute. He spoke to commentator Marvin Ottley:... In the end the Bandits defended their home turf and won two to one, pulling them back into a tie for first place with the Paradise Freedom Fighters. In other games played this weekend, on Sunday, San Ignacio United FC, beat Police United FC 2 to 1. And Paradise Freedom Fighters played to a 2 - 2 draw with the BDF team.

Major Mayan Show In Minnesota
The largest showcase ever of Mayan artifacts found in Belize is going on right now. But it's not happening at the museum of Belize - that's space is too small. It's happening at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul Minnesota. The ambitious exhibit is called Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed, and at a cost of over four million US dollars and sprawling over 17 thousand square feet, the show is a stunner. So much so that Jules Vasquez and camera man Codie Norales left sunny Belize on Friday to go to snowy, subzero St. Paul, Minnesota to see the show themselves. They just came back a few hours ago - but tonight we have a brief preview of what the show and the story is about:... Paul Martin, Vice President, Exhibits "This exhibition is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition ever done on the Mayan and the reason that its different from many other exhibitions that we've seen - our partnership with the National Institute of Culture and History was really key in making this whole exhibition successful because it really looks at research that's happening right now and the new knowledge that's being created on the ground in Belize in those really rich archeological sites."

Channel 5

GOB and ASR/BSI Meet - No Resolution to Impasse Reached!

With only six days to go for the scheduled opening of the sugar crop, there is no resolution yet or in sight, for that matter, in the standoff between cane [...]

Man Allegedly Stabbed by Nephew in Critical Condition

A Belize City man was gravely injured in a land dispute involving family members. Thomas Ferguson is tonight in critical condition at the hospital after he was seriously injured by [...]

Three Police Officers Caught in Customs Contraband Bust!

News Five has confirmed reports that three Police officers stationed in the west were busted with contraband goods on Sunday on the Arenal Road. Acting on information received, at a [...]

Joint Operations Center Inaugurated at Price Barracks

Belize's armed forces have been the recipients of very significant Christmas treats recently, courtesy of the US and Canadian governments. Coming on the heels of approximately five million dollars in [...]

Officers May Face Disciplinary Action for Lying in Tyson Rodriguez Murder

On November twenty-second, Tyson Rodriguez died while in Police custody. Since then a Sergeant of Police, second in command of the Placencia Police formation Julio Shal, has been charged with [...]

Gunman's Bullet Misses Victim, Hits Home on Police Street

There were two shooting incidents over the weekend in the City. In the first at the start of the weekend, a heated argument between two young men on Friday morning [...]

Two Men Shot While Socializing on North Creek

Another shooting incident in Belize City later that night landed a pair of youths inside the KHMH, both suffering from varying degrees of injuries.� Shortly before nine o'clock, twenty-year-old Rakeem [...]

Man convicted for Attempted Murder

A Punta Gorda man was convicted today in the Dangriga Supreme Court for the attempted murder of Moses Williams.� Thirty-five year old Lawrence Cholom was tried in late November in [...]

Belizean Waitress Raped by Unknown Assailants in Belmopan

In the capital, a twenty-two year old waitress is reporting that she was gang raped over the weekend. The incident reportedly happened on Sunday morning. The woman claims that at [...]

First annual Anti-Corruption Day Celebrated in Belize

International Anti-Corruption Day was celebrated globally today.� Across the world, corruption undermines democratic institutions, impedes economic development and remains a key factor in social decay. While Belize is a member [...]

VIP speaks on Corruption in Belize

Chairman for the Vision Inspired by the People also commented on the ongoing perception of rampant corruption within various government departments, including the Lands Department, as well as the Ministry [...]

BCCI Supports VIP's Stance on Corruption

Still on the issue of corruption, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry says it supports the fight against corruption. The B.C.C.I. singled out the proposals advanced by V.I.P. saying [...]

Cynthia Yates is Grand Gimme Five Winner

Channel Five's Annual Christmas Spectacular dazzled with performances from a host of Belizean talents in various genres of the performing arts.� But, the most anticipated segment of Friday's show was [...]

Weekend Sports Highlights with James Adderley

Good evening, I am James Adderly and this is Sports Monday. The Belikin Cup tournament got to present the rained out week 7 schedule over the weekend with 3 matches [...]

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More News: Scroll up from here


Belize’s Trade Union Congress Passes 13 Resolutions
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize is anticipating a year of action in 2014. Correspondent Paul Mahung has more in the following report. PAUL MAHUNG "The feeling for the upcoming New Year of Action for the National Trade Union Congress of Belize ties in with the 47th NTUCB Annual General Meeting held at the weekend in Punta Gorda. Besides being a successful two day event discussions and planning narrowed in on the way forward into the new year of action and other relevant areas as explained by NTUCB president Dylan Reneau." DYLAN RENEAU "The Annual General Meeting was a success, as you rightfully said, we just terminated the meeting. The business session was interesting; we had two posts that were elected; the treasurer is Mr. Jose Luis, he had tendered his resignation for his post as trustee and he won the election as Treasurer and Mr. Jorge Mejia is now our new trustee. In relation to resolutions, we passed 13 resolutions and unanimously the AGM resolved that 2014 will be a year of action.

Jail Time For Drinking Alcohol While In Possession of Licensed Firearm
Although he has a license for his Smith and Wesson 9 millimeter pistol, 33 year old Darrel Henry, a stevedore, became a guest of Belize Central Prison today when he was arraigned on charges of possession of a firearm whilst under the influence of alcohol above the prescribed limit, drinking in a public place and failed to provide specimen. Henry pled not guilty to the charges and Magistrate Clive Lino remanded him into custody until Friday, December 13. The first offence falls under the Firearms Act. Henry's attorney, Anthony Sylvestre, pointed out to the court that the first charge should be withdrawn because there is no way that it can be proven that Henry had alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit since he allegedly failed to provide specimen. But after the prosecutor consulted with the head of Police Prosecution Branch the charge was not withdrawn. Detective constable George Ferguson reported that yesterday Henry was drinking a bottle of Guinness at the corner of George Street and Glenn Street while he had his firearm. As a result, Henry was taken into custody and charged.

Assistant Commissioner Speaks on Investigation Against Sergeant Shal
Forty one year old Sergeant Julio Shal has been charged for the murder of 27 year old Tyson Rodriguez after the family alleges that Rodriguez was brutally beaten and killed. The post mortem results found that Rodriguez died as a result of suffocating on sand. However, the initial version of the story was that Rodriguez drowned after jumping out of a moving police mobile and into the nearby seawaters. The theory has been disproved by the autopsy and a result Sergeant Shall who was the second in command of the Placencia Police Department was charged. The family believes that two more police officers who were allegedly involved in the incident. These officers corroborated the official police report issued. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Miguel Segura updated the media. MIGUEL SEGURA "The criminal aspect we are working with the DPP and DPP will guide us as to how to continue the proceedings. Internally similarly after we have looked at the criminal, we will deal with our internal aspects but first and foremost the closure that the family feels and the evidence that meet the threshold in the court of law, the DPP is there to assist us but internally we are investigating that case and we would proceed based on the findings."

Chopping Incidents Reported in Northern Belize
Orange Walk Police is investigating several chopping incidents that happened over the weekend. Reporter Arturo Cantun has the story. ARTURO CANTUN "The first incident occurred Saturday night in San Jose Village at the school fair. According to Police, at around 8:30, 30-year-old, Horacio Yub was at the San Jose Government School Fair when from nowhere he was lashed with a machete on his right hand by one Eduardo Sanker. As a result Yub sustained a wound to his hand but it did not end there as one Luis Perez, also of San Jose Village hit Horacio Yub with a pint bottle on the left side of his head causing a cut wound to his left ear. Details are still sketchy about the incident and not much information is forth coming from Orange Walk Police, but LOVE NEWS understands that Eduardo Sanker is hospitalized at the NRH under police guard. So far it's not known what kind of injury he received and who inflicted the wounds on him. Meanwhile that same night, around eleven o'clock, three Belizeans who were visiting San Francisco Botes on the Mexican side got involved in an altercation which led to two receiving serious chop wounds. Information available so far is that 45-year-old, Andres Batun and 40-year-old, Salvador Batun got into a fight with another Belizean, 30-year-old, Azael Perez.

Cops Caught With Contraband Goods
Over the weekend three police officers along with civilians were caught with contraband goods. It happened about 4 o'clock yesterday when two vehicles were stopped by customs officials who were patrolling the Arenal Road upon receiving information. This morning Assistant Commissioner of Police, Miguel Segura told the media that he has been briefed about the matter. MIGUEL SEGURA "I was briefed about an incident over the weekend. I need to confirm it with the media and customs as advised. In this case the police would normally get a report from the agency itself and if there is a violation of the Police Act/the disciplinary code, we will proceed with that there are no two ways about it. The Zero Tolerance that Commissioner has in terms of the violation of the police act but we are being guided and supported this operation by the customs; so, they will also have to assist us in the proceedings if we are to proceed disciplinarily I was briefed in respect to a customs operation. Three officers were intercepted with a substantial amount of contraband but I may suggest that the media get the exact amount from customs that ran the operation itself."

PM Anticipates Response From ASR Shortly
The 2013/2014 sugar cane season has been put delayed after the Belize Sugar Industries, BSI and American Sugar Refinery; ASR would not meet the demands made by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, BSCFA. BSCFA is asking payment for bagasse which they say is a bi-product of sugar cane while BSI and ASR have made it quite clear that no payment would be made because they don't consider bagasse a bi-product. A common ground has not been found even though the Deputy Prime Minister, Gasper Vega and Prime Minister Dean Barrow have met with both sides. The government's role is to bring both parties to the table to that there can be an amicable solution and today both Vega and Barrow met with representatives of ASR. Vice President of ASR, Ricardo Lima, would not speak much about the situation, however; Prime Minister Dean Barrow explained to the media the status of the negotiations. RICARDO LIMA "We continue to find ways to try and bring the farmers back to the table that's basically what I wanted to say." HIPOLITO NOVELO "Have you sent out an email to them or any sort of thing to the president of the association?"

VIP Wants Government to Sign UN Convention Against Corruption
The Vision Inspired by the People Movement, VIP, has called on the Government to sign onto the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The appeal came as part of the Movement's efforts on the occasion of World Anti-Corruption Day today. Their guest speaker, social activist and Attorney at Law, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, shared enlightening details about Belize's status as it relates to the local and global effort on anti-corruption. AUDREY MATURA-SHEPHERD "Today we observed International Anti-Corruption Day, December 9; it's historic. This day came about ten years ago when right in our front yard in Merida, Yucatan, the UN Convention against Corruption was adopted by the UN General Assembly on the 31st October, 2003 by Resolution 58/4. Imagine, it was so close to us and we never signed it. Everybody knows how quick a trip to Merida is right? Many of us have been there for medical purposes but the one true healing we needed as a nation we didn't go get the prescription there and then and that was important. We have a corruption in public life legislation that requires a simple thing as the appointment of an Integrity Commission. We have a law already that deals with corruption. It's not perfect but it exists and a simple appointment of a commission cannot be done, has not been done and there is no sign in the near future that it will be done; that is part of the problem coming from our government. Then that same legislation requires some serious amendment.

Nephew Lands in Jail After Stabbing Uncle
Thirty-six year old Oliver Peters, a resident of Arlington Drive who allegedly stabbed his uncle, Thomas Ferguson, was charged with attempted murder and two other offences when he appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. The other offences were dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm. No plea was taken because the offences are indictable. Neither could the court offer him bail because of the nature of the offences. He was remanded into custody until January 21, 2014. The incident occurred on Saturday, December 7. Police reports are that Peters and Ferguson had a misunderstanding and Peters stabbed Ferguson in his chest with a knife.

Joint Operation Centre Opens at Price Barracks
The U.S. Mission in Belize handed over the Joints Operations Center, JOC, to the Ministry of National Security this morning. The JOC, which is located on the Belize Defense Force Base at Price Barracks, represents over two years of teamwork and collaboration between the Government of Belize through the Belize Defense Force, the Government of Canada and the United States South Command. Love News was there for the ceremonies and here is that report. HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING "The building is called the Joint Operations Center or JOC and in it officers of the Belize Defense Force, the Belize Coast Guard, the Belize Police Department and Belize Customs and Immigration Department, among others, will be working conjunctively in making Belize a safer place. The JOC was formed in part through the U.S. Southern Command Counter Drug Program. The JOC was made possible by the coordinated efforts of the Government of Belize, US Southern Command and the Government of Canada. U.S. Charg� d' Affairs, Margaret Hawthorne and Canadian High Commissioner to Belize, Stuart Savage detailed the functions of the JOC. "


Mayor Darrell Bradley dishes on meeting with Eric Chang
Former Deputy Mayor of Belize City, Eric Chang, has had his share of blame in the unlawful procurement of a Belizean passport to South Korean jailbird Kim Won-Hong. While past Minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration, Elvin Penner is fingered to be the architect behind the scheme, Chang...

Devastated Relatives of Knocked Down Septuagenarian Speak up
Last night, we reported on a road accident that claimed the life of 75 year old Gregory Leon Lopez. Shortly before 6 o'clock on Wednesday evening, Lopez was riding his bicycle from Ladyville to Belize City, on Phillip Goldson Highway when he was knocked down by a white Dodge...

Prime Minister Dean Barrow on the passing of Nelson Mandela
The Office of the Prime Minister of Belize has released an official Note of Condolence to the President, People and Government of South Africa on the death of Nelson Mandela. The former South African President, who lead South Africa out of decades of apartheid after serving 27 years in...

Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca on the passing of Nelson Mandela
The People's United Party leader, Hon. Francis Fonseca too extend his party's profound sadness at the passing of the global statesman and icon. Fonseca says "Nelson Mandela is unquestionably one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known and his life and legacy will forever serve as a...

Female officer attacked on the job, suspect on the run
A female Police Constable is tonight recovering after she was attacked on the job. The woman, along with a Human Development Officer, responded to a domestic violence report at a home in the Trial Farm village. When the suspect Oscar Hernandez, was approached, he managed to grab hold of...

Mother of Tyson Rodriguez visits site where he was reportedly killed
The police had reported that on November 22nd a Canadian couple living in Placencia reported to them that they were assaulted, beaten and robbed by a group of individuals. Tyson Rodriguez, who was identified as one of the assailants, was then detained in Corozal and transported to authorities in...

Traffic Tragedy Leaves Pre Schooler Dead, Driver Charged With DUI
Tonight, we report on two fatal road accidents. The first accident occurred shortly before 4:30 and claimed the life of three year old Jahston Terry and injured his nine year old brother Jaheem Terry. Jahston and Jaheem were waiting for a bus in front of a Belizean Chinese Restaurant...

NCFC issues statement on accident
This afternoon, the National Committee for Families and Children issued a statement on the accident, saying "The loss of any life is tragic, but the loss of a child so young who is full of promise and the hope for Belize is unspeakable." The release continues, "The NCFC believes...

Septuagenarian Dies on the Spot When Hit by Vehicle
The second accident happened about an hour later after Little Jaheem's tragedy had happened. At Mile 6 on the Phillip Goldson Highway, Police discovered the body of 75 year old Gregory Leon Lopez, a resident of Belize City, on the right shoulder of the road. Besides him was a...

Cordel Hyde Returns, Not Worried About Present Lake I Rep. Mark King
Earlier this year, speculations surfaced that former three term Area Representative for Lake Independence, Cordel Hyde, may be returning to the People's United Party. Well tonight there is no question that Hyde is back in the blue camp. Last night, Hyde, who was the guest speaker at a party...

Remembering Nelson Mandela
Former South African President, Nelson Mandela passed away today, at the age of 95. Mandela lead South Africa out of decades of apartheid after serving 27 years in prison. He was sentenced to prison for encouraging black South Africans to go on strike and for illegally leaving South Africa....


"FADs are man-made drifting or anchored buoys or rafts that attract and aggregate fish and other marine organisms:" FAO Fisherfolk in the Caribbean continue to be concerned about the high cost of fuel and the financial hardship it has imposed on their operations, but the use of an emergent technology known as Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) is gaining momentum as a means by which the fishing community can venture off into deeper waters to harvest pelagic species such as tunas in a more cost-effective way. Belize Fisheries Administrator Beverly Wade told Amandala that whereas tour guide personnel in San Pedro have also tested the device for sports fishing, Belize has not yet ventured into the use of FAD for commercial fishing. However, Wade said: "We have not ruled out FADs in Belize." She added that FADs may have the potential to contribute to the expansion and development of fisheries in the country.


A photographer's story of the Annual Love FM Christmas Parade through San Pedro Town by Karen Brodie.
Soon sirens and horns filled the air and the parade was underway. Voices belted out favorite Christmas Carols and a good time was had by all. This was my first Caribbean Christmas Parade and one big difference was that Santa and four additional Santa clones were in attendance. If you weren't there, you missed a fun time. All pictures and captions courtesy of Karen Brodie. To see more of her fantastic photographs you can like Karen Brodie Photography facebook page or go to Karen Brodie Photography website.

Love FM's 3rd Annual San Pedro Christmas Parade
I can't lie - Saturday night's cancellation (due to low participation) of the San Pedro Lighted Boat parade was a huge Christmas downer. But I'm going to try to rally. The beautiful town tree is up and lit and houses all over the island are looking pretty darn Christmasy. And last night, the national radio station Love FM came to town, to kick off their own town parade. This one through the streets of town rather than on the water. And it was super fun, not as big as last year's, but there for me when I need a little Christmas. Sigh� Here are the pictures I took at last night's parade. And, if you need a TON of Christmas, Love FM does the BIG ONE in Belize City next weekend. December 14th. At around 4pm. I just might. I arrived early for the line up.

Here are six safety tips for traveling with a peace of mind!
With the holiday season upon us, The Lodge at Chaa Creek is offering travellers six easy tips to ensure a safe holiday, provided by the Belizean eco-resort's Safety and Security Manager, Emil Bradley. Mr Bradley, a former police and law enforcement professional, said that while the vast majority of vacations result in happy, positive experiences, things could occasionally go awry. By following a few tips, however, travellers can optimise their chances of having a safe, rewarding holiday. "Chaa Creek promotes responsible travel, which not only entails being sensitive about your effect on nature and the local communities, but looking after yourself as well. When you're away from home, sometimes different rules apply, but by using the following six easy tips, you maximise your chances of enjoying a safe, hassle-free holiday," he said, and provided the following guidelines. Do some research. Before leaving home, do a bit of research on the country or countries you will be visiting. Get to know the local customs and culture, as what is considered acceptable in one country may be offensive or even illegal in another. It can be a good idea to write down or memorise some useful phrases if the language is different, and get an idea of the local attitude towards things like tipping and appropriate dressing.

Jalape�o Cheese Bread
In this recipe I used of basic white bread and added shredded Cheddar cheese and Jaalpe�o peppers to make a spicy loaf that is sure to satisfy.

Why Belize?
BUSINESS FRIENDLY TAX REGIME, Payable at a rate of 25% on taxable income for all employed residents in Belize earning over BZ $26,000 (US$13,000) per annum. Business Tax Businesses, companies and self-employed persons earning in excess of BZ $54,000 per annum must pay business tax. Rate varies according to business classification. Paid monthly to the Income Tax Department.

"Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me" in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Since the last edition the weather has improved quite a bit. We did experience some chilly (well by Belizean standards anyway) days and it rained (filled the water tank under the house again though!) but the last few days have been lovely, sunny and warm days. Feeling envious? You should be! Who wouldn't wanna be me? Loads of people wouldn't actually (for example a good looking twenty year old guy) actually but I needed to get the song title for today's edition in somehow! Some of you may be wondering if I am still getting up early and the answer is a resounding YES. I may not have been producing too many editions just lately but I have still had my 'just me time' in the morning. Well, me, the mug of black coffee and my good friend iPad. I still haven't worked out though where I prefer to sit. Do I sit on the first floor veranda overlooking the lagoon or move to the smaller veranda at the front of the house to look out at the Caribbean? Now you are starting to understand (and maybe appreciate or even sympathise with) my predicament. Decisions, decisions. I think though that when I have a proper chair (not the wooden chair that has served all my needs -internal and external - since we moved in to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize six weeks ago) the choice will be a lot easier to make.

When the Senate of Belize played to bypass a call for Investigation into Criminal Activity
With all the current issues ongoing with the Corruption in the Immigration Department where Mr Penner sold Belizean Citizenship to a Criminal in Jail which has blown up int the face of the current UDP Government. It seems to us that the PM is doing all he can to cover it up and to make the problem go away. On the 5th of November in a Sitting of the Senate where an Investigation was called for, it seems that the person sitting at the table in the center of the floor leaning over and in a low tone tell the UDP team to adjourn (at about 1:06:00). You decide for yourself. I guess time will tell how this will play out. Read the part of the constitution that relates to the Senate here.

Contitution of Belize - The Senate
61.-(1) Subject to subsection (2), the Senate shall consist of twelve members (in this Constitution referred to as "Senators") who shall be appointed by the Governor-General in accordance with the provisions of this section. (2) If any person who is not a Senator is selected to be President of the Senate he shall, by virtue of holding the office of President, be a Senator in addition to the twelve Senators referred to in subsection (1).(3) The President of the Senate shall have a casting vote in the event of an equality of votes in respect of any business at a meeting of the Senate: Provided that if the President of the Senate- (a) is a Senator, he shall have an original but not a casting vote, and (b) is not a Senator, he shall not have a vote, when the Senate is deciding on any matter referred to in section 61A (2)(d) of this Constitution. (4) Of the twelve Senators- (a) six shall be appointed by the Governor- General acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister;

Take the taste of Belize home to your own kitchen
Foodies will tell you, to truly know a place you've got to sample the local cuisine. In Belize, visitors can enjoy a plethora of diverse and delicious delicacies while on vacation, and taking the taste of Belize home might be easier than you think! As cooking shows and world travel trends continue to encourage people to get into the kitchen and experiment with fusion cuisine, home cooks are putting their own spins on Belizean food like never before. A key ingredient in this challenge is the cookbook- chock full of detailed recipes, secret tips, helpful preparation techniques, and substitution ingredient ideas. Look out for several cookbooks on the market that are filled with family favorites passed on from grandmothers to the next generation; these recipes are comfort foods for many Belizeans and Belizeans-at-heart.

Trina explaining a Coral Watch survey
The point of this dive is to ascertain the status of health of the various corals on the reef. The corals are watched as their colour and behaviours are predictors of how the reef will continue to function and provide food for the resident fish and flooding protection to the surrounding land based communities of Belize, Mexico and Guatamala. Coral Bleaching is an indication that the reef is stressed and can be caused by a combination of factors. Physical presence of foreign bodies ( such as fishing line) Water temperatures below and or above optimum thresholds Salinity levels Acidification of the oceans. Pollution levels of sediment, phosphates and increased algae blooming All of which (amongst other reasons) are indicators to a potential loss in sustainable fisheries due to the loss of the organic life forms within the crusty shell of hard corals. The best way I can find to illustrate the phenomenan of bleaching is to show you evidence from the dive site near Tom Owens Caye

International Sources

The Homeowner's Hurricane Safety Guide
Tropical storms are identified by their location and severity, with hurricanes just being one classification. But storms of all shapes and sizes bring havoc to coastal towns year in, year out. Consider the immediate and long-lasting damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the largest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic. All areas along the East Coast and Gulf Coast can experience significant damage from hurricanes. Some locations, however, are worse off than others. Dr. Stephen Leatherman, the director of the International Hurricane Research Center, says that the ten worst locations for hurricanes in the United States are:

3 Adventures Not to Be Missed in Belize
As the plane sets course toward the mainland, I spy the blue Caribbean below. The water is so crystal-clear that I can see the rocks and sand along the seabed. Belize's little commuter airplanes are the best way to appreciate the diversity of this small Caribbean country. From the air you appreciate the beauty -- and isolation -- of its white-sand cayes and the rolling green hills of its jungle interior. And the planes, like Belize itself, are small and intimate (the largest I've been on held just six passengers). Flying in one always makes me feel a bit like Indiana Jones heading off for adventure... And Belize is definitely one of my favorite countries for adventure. Here you can climb ancient ruins, wall-dive off the end of the barrier reef or trek in the jungle. And though you can feel like a Victorian explorer, you're never really far from civilization...which is the way I like it. At the end of a hard day's exploring, you can kick back and enjoy the street scene in Belize's many small towns, with their wonderfully diverse ethnic mix--an adventure of another kind. Here are three things to do in Belize that will give you a taste of this tiny titan's diversity:

The World's 5 Best Beach Cities for Retirement
4. Ambergris Caye, Belize. Ambergris Caye is an English-speaking Caribbean island with an intriguing past and a promising future. Formerly a pirate hideout and a Mestizo fishing village, Ambergris has more recently been the host to two seasons of "Temptation Island" and is now one of the fastest-growing communities of foreign retirees in the world. Ambergris Caye offers a quintessential Caribbean lifestyle. Just offshore is the world's second-longest barrier reef and all the snorkeling, diving, fishing, boating and swimming a beach-loving retiree could hope for. The cost of living on Ambergris Caye couldn't be described as super-cheap, but it can be a bargain compared with elsewhere in the Caribbean. And Belize (like Panama) makes establishing residency as a foreign retiree super easy.

Fortis Inc. Announces First Quarter Dividends 2014
The Board of Directors of Fortis Inc. (the "Corporation") has declared a common share dividend of 0.32 per share on the issued and outstanding fully paid Common Shares of the Corporation, payable on March 1, 2014 to the Common Shareholders of Record at the close of business on February 14, 2014. The 3.2 per cent increase in the quarterly common share dividend to 0.32 from 0.31 extends the Corporation's record of annual common share dividend payment increases to 41 consecutive years, the longest record of any public corporation in Canada. The Board of Directors also declared the following dividends on its First Preference Shares:

The Design and Fall of Civilizations
The technology uncovering humanity's past -- and perhaps its future.Archaeologists discovered the Maya city of Caracol, hidden in the jungles of Belize, in the 1930s. In the 1980s, the husband-and-wife team of Arlen and Diane Chase began the daunting project of mapping Caracol and its environs. With teams of assistants and students, they tramped through the rain forest, recording and measuring every archaeological feature they could find. By 2009, after 25 years of labor, they had some of the most detailed maps ever made of a Maya city. Then they tried a new mapping tool: "light detection and ranging" technology, or lidar. Although lidar had been used for years to survey large-scale features for projects such as urban planning and planetary exploration, only recently had it gained the resolution necessary for archaeological mapping. The Chases joined forces with NASA and the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping at the University of Houston, which supplied a plane retrofitted to carry a million-dollar lidar machine that flew five missions over Caracol and its environs, mapping the ground with lasers.

Trafficking in persons: First visit of UN independent expert to Belize
The United Nations special rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, will visit Belize from 12 to 16 December 2013 to examine the situation of trafficking of women, men and children. This will be the first time ever an independent expert of the UN Human Rights Council has visited the Central American country. "During my visit to the Belize, I will study the situation in situ, in order to make recommendations to prevent and fight trafficking, and protect its victims," the special rapporteur said. Ezeilo will visit the country at the invitation of the government. She will engage with state representatives as well as members of international and civil society organizations working on the fight against trafficking in persons in order to assess the challenges and opportunities in Belize. The UN Special Rapporteur is charged by the UN Human Rights Council to promote the prevention of trafficking in persons in all its forms and to encourage measures to uphold and protect the human rights of victims.

Hol Chan Marine Reserve
The Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest in the world, only surpassed by the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. I'll be lucky enough to have visited both reefs by the time my trip is over. Here are some photos from a full day tour of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve with Raggamuffin. I've snorkeled many times with Raggamuffin and they are my top pick for tour operators in all of Belize. I'm completely comfortable recommending them as a tour operator.

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