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The San Pedro Sun

Belize Hotel Association host Bi-Annual meeting in San Pedro Town
The Belize Hotel Association (BHA) hosted their bi-annual meeting at Exotic Caye Beach Resort on Ambergris Caye on Wednesday December 4th. At the meeting, the directors of the BHA tabled their reports to their membership about activities in the industry over the past six months. Several subjects were discussed, including issues affecting the tourism industry in Belize, and the advancements being made to strengthen the local industry. Speaking at the event, BHA President Douglas Thompson said that crime continues to be a serious issue affecting the industry, especially in areas such as Belize City and Ambergris Caye. While Thompson explained that the negative impact has to do with the way in which the media reports about crime situation in Belize, he reiterated that the Police Department is also not doing enough to address the issue. "We could do a better job in reporting about crime. We cannot stop crime completely but we are hoping that government steps up a little bit more than they are doing now. We believe our police need better training."

Engaging the youth to fight corruption
Engage the youth of Belize about what ethical behavior is, what corruption is and how to fight it. The University of Belize in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Belize recently concluded a national training of youth in Social Audit approach. The training provided a cross section of young people including males and females from rural and urban areas as well as indigenous and community leaders with the tools to conduct a social audit. Emanating from the training workshop were two critical foundations for strengthening youth active engagement in calling out and checking in on corrupt practices: 1. The unequivocal declaration by the youth from all over Belize that anti-corruption is a critical platform from which they want their voices to be heard. This is a matter of national interest and they want to be actively involved; 2. A decision to formalize their newly formed platform in an official manner and to register and incorporate the Belize Youth Social Audit Network (BYSAN)

Jenniffer Ramos is first-ever Miss Holy Cross
On Wednesday December 4th, the San Pedro Lions Den was packed with spectators who had turned out to witness the first ever Miss Holy Cross Pageant. Vying for the crown and honor of being Holy Cross' first ever beauty ambassador were five young girls; Jenniffer Ramos, Midiam Torres, Yeimi Lara, Cindy Dominguez and Breanna Amaya. Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Mr. Angel Nu�ez, while deejays Debbie and Kareem kept the music going throughout the festivities. There were many enthusiastic fans rooting for their favorite candidate, but applause was loud and hearty for each girl as she modeled her favorite sports outfit, performed a dance routine and for the grand finale, modeled pretty evening gowns. Judges for the evening were Ms. Odelia Caliz, Miss San Pedro Solani Graniel and Mr. Mauricio Mejia, and they were tasked with choosing the clear winner. After a question and answer session which each girl handled with grace and poise, the final votes were tallied.

Life Celebration for Jonathan Mullen
Saturday Dec. 14th by Boca del Rio Park

Ambergris Today

25 Years Ago: Old Timers and Christmas
One sure way you can tell the difference between old timer Sanpedranos and the modern ones is by the way they remember the Christmas season. The Sanpedranos of many years ago can all attest that the only time they enjoyed eating an apple is for Christmas. Now we all know that today we enjoy apples, red, green and yellow all year round. However apples appeared in San Pedro about the 15th of December and everyone rushed to the store to purchase their supply for the season. At home we the children delighted in smelling and inhaling the fragrance of the wrappers since each apple was individually wrapped in paper. On December 25, mom would invite us to take a bite; it was almost like a ceremony. If there had been cameras easily available back then, I am sure many photos would have been taken on the family enjoying the first apple of the year. Do you know that apples were considered Christmas fruits just like the black cake was considered Christmas cake?

Holy Cross Holds Pageant to Support Feeding Program
In order to raise much needed funds for its feeding program and other school needs, Holy Cross Anglican School San Pedro held a beauty pageant on Wednesday December 4, at the Lions Den. Five students, all of Standard Four, partook in the exciting event which included segments in dancing, talent, sportswear, professional attire and evening wear. Judges for the pageant were Mauricio Mejia of Skynet Sounds, Education Officer Mrs, Odilia Kelly, and Miss San Pedro 2013 Miss Solani Graniel. A jammed pack Lions Den enjoyed a wonderful show of dancing presented by students of Holy Cross and in the end Emcee Angel Nunez announced the winners. Jennifer Ramos won first place as well as Miss Amity, while Midiam Torreas was second place and Yeimi Lara was third. Also participating were Breanna Amaya and Cindy Dominguez.

Launch of First Ever Maya Cookbook in Belize
"Nothing is better than a home-cooked meal that is wonderfully flavored with native plants, and served with love." - Aurora Garcia Saqui Producciones de la Hamaca is proud to announce the publication of U Janal Aj Maya: Traditional Maya Cuisine by Aurora Garcia Saqui with Amy Lichty of Maya Centre. "Learn how to prepare traditional Maya food from garden to table with recipes that have been passed down through the generations."

Misc Belizean Sources

Mananitas for Our Lady of Guadalupe
Wednesday Dec. 11th, 5pm til midnight infront of the San Pedro R.C. Church

60 ASUS VivoTab RT tablet computers donated
The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is handing over 60 ASUS VivoTab RT tablet computers, donated by the ASUS Foundation of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to RESTORE Belize to be used to further education goals in Belize. This gift demonstrates the continued commitment of the Embassy of China (Taiwan) to improving education and mainstreaming technology in Belize. Thirty (30) of these state-of-the-art tablet computers will be donated to the E. P. Yorke High School Digital Learning Center to implement a pilot programme using the online Spanish language "Tell Me More" software, as part of a regional effort to improve students' performance in CXC language exams. E.P. Yorke would not have been able to participate in this important pilot without this gift of a the 30 ASUS tablets. This programme will be administered regionally by the Caribbean Examinations Council. The use of a mobile lab to augment a school's computing capacity and to prepare for CXC are landmark accomplishments in the incorporation of technological tools into our education system. An additional thirty (30) ASUS tablets will be awarded to teachers who have demonstrated excellence in teaching practice or who have been innovative in advancing the use of technology in their schools and classrooms.

Wooden bridge in Santa Elena, Cayo district will be closed to vehicular traffic from December 11 to 19
The Ministry of Works & Transport advises that the wooden bridge in Santa Elena, Cayo district will be closed to vehicular traffic from December 11 to 19 to accommodate urgent repairs. The Hawksworth Bridge will support traffic from both directions of the bridge.

5 Eggs 9 Eggs 4 Nutmegs (Grated) 1 pk Cinnamon Powder 1 Pint White Rum 5 cans Grace Evaporated Milk (Large) 3 cans Grace Condensed Milk 1 tbsp Vanilla Essence Beat eggs well (15-20 minutes) Add Evaporated Milk & beat again. Add Condensed Milk and check for desired sweetness. Add grated nutmeg, Cinnamon Powder, Vanilla Flavoring & rum Store in refrigerator. Stir before serving.

Senior Steps
Who says the senior dancers from Belmopan can't work the stage? Enjoy. Senior Steppers dance group from Belmopan performs at the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Wooden Bridge Upgrade
The wooden bridge is getting an upgrade, and will be closed through the 19th of December. The Hawkesworth bridge will be open for inbound and outbound traffic.

SHC Hosting Basketball Nationals
This Friday ad Saturday, Sacred Heart College will be hosting the Basketball Nationals. The SHC boys came in first at the regionals while the girls came in second. Go cheer SHC on as they win the tournament. "High School Basketball Nationals will be held at SHC this Friday and Saturday, December 13th and 14th, 2013. Friday Game 1 is at 3:30 p.m. and Saturday Game 1 is at 9 a.m. Entrance fee is $5 and $3 for SHC students with ID. Support SHC male basketball team as they represent the Western Region."

CTGA New Executive Board
The Cayo Tour Guide Association had their elections last night, and they have a new board. Mr. Joe Awe, owner of Nine Eco Tours, was elected as president. Congratulations to all, and here's to another great productive year. "The CTGA Executive Board is as follows: Mr. Joe Awe as President, Mr. Eric Tut as Vice President, Mrs. Alba Tut as Secretary, Mr. Anastacio Bol as Treasurer, Mr. Christopher Lowe, Mr. Mario Castellanos and Ms. Kelly Grajales as Board Members. I personally wish them the best in all of their projects for this coming year. It's no easy job to deal with one hundred and seventy five plus tour guides. We will certainly have great things coming to as Mr. Awe expressed his continued support for our online community."

San Ignacio United Beat Police FC 2 - 1
Congratulations to the SI United on their victory over the Police FC 2 to 1. They'll play again this weekend against the Belize FC here at Broaster. "Excellent performance by the boys this weekend, we were missing 3 starters due to accumulated yellow cards and injuries but the team secured the 3 points and did well proving that they have what it takes to make it all the way. SIU look forward as they prepare for this Sundays match against Belize FC at the Broaster stadium in San Ignacio."

Corozal Town Council is on high gear to get Corozal Town's streets graded and paved
A private company has been given the contract to carry out some of the works. Here is 2nd Street North getting a complete grade. The 2nd phase will entail paving. We urge the public that this may be a good time to go into the council's office and make arrangements to pay off your arrears on property taxes. More than a dozen streets will be repaired.

Almost 70% of the streets under the jurisdiction of the Corozal Town Council have been damaged by rain since the season started in 2013
As the weather has held up over the past two weeks, street repairs in Corozal Town continue to be spearheaded by the town council. The Corozal Town Council has dug deep into its coffers to provide its own financing for some of the most badly damaged streets. Central government has also chipped in for its share of the expenses and will also be assisting the council through the Ministry of Works. Streets to be repaired are those that were paved just 5 years ago which include 1st Avenue, 5th Avenue, 6th Street and others that were recently done. Streets that have outlived their life spans and are beyond repairs, will no doubt require reprocessing and paving entirely again. The Corozal Town Council will optimize the standards of having longer lasting streets once completed. The town council will be planning to tighten its spending belt so that priority must be given to the badly deteriorated streets within the town limits. The financial assistance from Central Government will no doubt compliment the town council's efforts. Area representatives from Corozal Bay and Corozal North have both committed themselves is providing assistance through the Ministry of Works in this urgent endeavor. The Corozal Daily would like to ask the citizens participation by coming in to the town council's office to pay outstanding arrears of property taxes and trade license fees.

Cooking with Flavors of Belize & Chef Sean Kuylen - Sorrel Glazed Ribs

Channel 7

Five Men Went Fishing; One Turned Up Dead; Four Missing
Police and Coast Guard teams continue to search tonight for 4 fishermen who went missing while on Belize's southern waters on a fishing expedition. For the families, it is like living in a state of suspended terror: at any moment, they are expecting bad news, possibly grave news. That's because a fifth member of their party turned up dead yesterday; and he met a violent end. Today, 7News tried to track down the families of the men, who we found in a state of sustained, unknowing fear. Daniel Ortiz has the story: Daniel Ortiz reporting Today, the family members of the 5 fishermen who went missing at sea couldn't put words together to describe the terror they're going through. 24 year-old Elgin "Ricey" Graham, 49 year-old Thomas Young, 26 year-old Derwin Gentle, 26 year-old Kenrick Chi, and 34 year-old Sergio Flores left for a fishing trip to Southern Long Caye since last week Thursday.

Elderly Woman Run Over On Her Own Verandah
Orange Walk police are investigating the death of an elderly woman in San Lazaro village, who was run over - even as she was on her verandah! CTV - 3 in Orange Walk is reporting that the woman was sitting on her verandah this morning when she was run over by this white vehicle. The driver of the vehicle was another woman who parked it in front of her house earlier, and when she returned and started the vehicle, it surged forward out of her control and slammed into the elderly woman, crushing her against the walls of her house. Villagers tried to get to the Northern Regional Hospital to receive treatment, but she died on the way. The driver of the vehicle reportedly went into shock after realizing what had happened, and she had to be hospitalized. It is expected that she will be served with a notice of intended prosecution.

Scare Over Ecuadorians With Unusual Visas Unwarranted
There were unconfirmed reports coming out of Mango Creek today saying that 5 visitors were found with suspect Belizean visas at that southern point of entry. Credible reports say that yesterday evening 7 Ecuadorians were intercepted when they came into Belize from Honduras on a ferry service called D - Express. They were arrested because they allegedly had Belizean visa's that looked like they had been forged. They told Immigration that they are to genuine tourists and had a tour booked with a local operator - a story which checked out. The confusion seems to arise from the use of an older type visa - which was stamped in their passport, and not the newer type, a sticker which is pasted into the passport. This evening, Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse told us since the tour company confirmed their booking, and since one of the group, a student visits Belize regularly, they were processed and given the newer sticker visas.

PUP Says PM Playing Politics With Government Money
If you're wondering about the Prime Minister's scraggly beard, he did say he wanted to play Santa. And government has been trying to do just that with two programmes: street and road upgrades in the town and the Christmas Cheer programme. Well, today the PUP held a press conference to say that both programmes have laudable elements but are ultimately misconceived. Let's start with the municipal upgrades. 350 thousand dollars in street repairs have been been earmarked for the Punta Gorda's PUP Town council; five hundred thousand dollars has been earmarked for the PUP council in Dangriga. Seems generous enough, and the PM called the Mayors to outline the programme. And, as they say, who pays the piper calls the tune: the PM told the mayors he will choose the contractor which in both cases is CISCO Construction - chosen for their dependence on manual labour, plus the UDP political officer in their towns gets to decide 90% of the workforce. The contractor consults with the Mayors on what streets will be paved. So, the town council will see the benefits in new streets and a few of the jobs, but they won't get to handle the funds or hand out contracts. Today, they held a press conference with their party leader to say it's not fair and it's not right:...

The opposition leader also lectured the Prime Minister for not yet resolving the dispute between the cane farmers and BAI/ASR. Things are coming quickly to a head, and after Sunday December 15th, experts say major losses will be inevitable. Fonseca scolded the prime minister for poor negotiating skills: Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "Respectfully, I am of the view that the Prime Minister is not treating this matter with the sense of urgency that is required to deal with this matter. This thing can have tremendous negative implications for the economy of Belize. He seem to be unprepared going into this meeting with BSI/ASR. If you are going into a meeting with representatives of the company, you send beforehand your plan; what is it that the government wants to get out of this meeting, so that these people can then have their own discussion with their other principals outside of Belize and come to the meeting prepared to make decisions. When you are in that meeting, if they need to get on the phone, you get them on the phone and get decisions made because the cane farmers need to know what is happening. They need to know whether or not they will have work this coming season." A house meeting will be held on Thursday and the Prime Minister travels to a SICA meeting on Friday.

Man Sentenced For Trying To Kill Ex's New BF
34 year-old Leslie Frazer tried to kill his ex's new boyfriend, and he will spend 5 years in jail for it. As we reported, Frazer was convicted for chopping Faron Waight in May of 2011. Waight testified that he saw Fraser lurking near his home. Waight grabbed a piece of stick and chased Fraser down on bicycle. When he caught up, Fraser pulled out a machete and chopped him to the back of his head. Waight fell to the ground and Fraser got over him and chopped him several more times. The woman in the middle of the quarrel also testified for the prosecution that she saw Frazer chopping Waight. It was a trial without jury, and Justice Adolph Lucas convicted Frazer on Friday, and after hearing testimony from his character witness, today sentenced Frazer to eight years in prison. Instead of serving eight years, however, Frazer will only serve five. That's because the judge deducted three years from the sentence because he said the victim provoked the attack on himself.

Man Acquitted Of Kidnapping Says False Accusation Still Haunts Him
In March of last year, taxi driver Lincoln Miguel was accused of trying to kidnap one of his customers, a 24 year-old woman, after he supposedly offered her money for sexual favors. Well, earlier this year, Miguel stood trial, and he faced his accuser in court, where he was able to prove that the woman concocted the entire story. Today Miguel came to us today saying that he's been trying to settle for an acquittal in court, but in the public eye, he's been disgraced, where his reputation has suffered because of a wrongful accusation. He told us today that the laws which protect women against sexual offences are slanted against men because women can simply create stories, lie and convince the police: Lincoln Miguel "I was wrongfully accused of a crime that I have not committed. I have been a taxi driver for the past 16 - 18 years. I have also worked in other institution including the police academy training school whereby we were trained to be discipline."

Segura Says Crime Downturn Is Not Necessarily Product Of Precinct Policing
As we've been reporting, the murder count for Belize City in 2013, stands at half what it was around this time last year, and some attribute that downturn to the success of precinct policing, which was developed to create better relationships with the different communities. All 4 precincts in Belize City come under Eastern Division, which is headed by ACP Mike Segura. Yesterday, we asked him for his take on the crime cool-down, and he told us that the police department can't take much of the credit: ACP Miguel Segura "The contribution of crime is not only from the police aspect, the contribution comes from everyone including the media. Its a complex way of dealing it because its multifaceted approach, but also when you look at job employment, media houses, parents, NGOs - everybody putting in their piece. It's not law enforcement alone that is making this difference. I take this opportunity to appeal to all public to continue give us that support because change can happen. We have seen it happen and I appeal that as we moved into 2014 that we could make Belize a different place. We need the continued support from everyone."

Precinct 2 QRT Strikes Again
And while Segura will not accept full credit for the decrease in crime, Police Precinct 2 is making the news tonight after they they've arrested 4 men for fire offence. At around 9:30 on Tuesday morning, members of the precinct's quick response team visited #7005 Antelope Street extension and conducted a search on the residence of Nurie Polanco. He was present at the time along with Kenroy Willoughby, Julian Willoughby and a 14 year-old minor. The officers found a black plastic bag which contained 3 live rounds of 9 millimeter ammunition. Because they couldn't produce any license, they were charged with keeping unlicensed ammunition. They will be arraigned tomorrow at the earliest convenience.

Senator Shoman Re-Frames Special Select Motion; PUP Leader Not Optimistic
Five weeks ago, PUP Senator Lisa Shoman took a motion to the Senate to form a special select committee. It failed, quite famously: the record will show it was defeated seven to six, while Shoman says the vote was a tie. Whichever outcome you prefer the motion did not pass, but, undeterred, Senator Shoman is bringing it right back.. She has prepared another motion, retouched it, and re-submitted it to the senate for consideration. That is expected to be taken up when the senate meets next week but today the leader of the opposition said he doesn't have much hope for it:... Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "That we have to keep trying, we have to keep trying and give the government an opportunity to come on board and to support an independent inquiry into this matter. There are still too many unanswered questions. So we will continue to push that matter and we applaud and support Senator Shoman for the work that she is doing. The government obviously made it clear they have no interest in a senate inquiry. I don't expect Senator Hulse to behave any differently and I don't expect the President of the Senate to act any differently. They are under instructions from their leader. So, yes there is good reason for me to not have any optimism that the process will work. But we have to demonstrate to the Belizean people that we are serious, that we are trying and let them understand very clearly that the only reason today in this country that we are not having an independent investigation into this scandal which involves U.D.P. ministers, is because of the Mr. Barrow and the UDP government."

Weed Bust On Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker residents 28 year-old Edwardo Lanza, and 20 year-old Clara Ack are awaiting arraignment at Magistrate Court after police busted them with marijuana today. At around 8 this morning, Caye Caulker Police officers were patrolling the South Point area when they stopped Lanza and searched him. They discovered 27 small transparent plastic bags which contained cannabis, to a total of weight of 1.71 ounces. The officers decided to escort him to his apartment on Luciano Reyes Street, where they conducted a search. His common-law wife, Clara Ack, was present at the time, and the officers found a plastic bag in a bucket under the house's water vat. Inside that bag, they found 14.5 ounces of marijuana. Lanza was charged with drug possession, and both of them were charged with drug trafficking. They will arraigned at the earliest convenience.

Media Takes On Tourism
In July we told you about a media trip organized by the Tourism Board. The idea is to get the local media and our audiences to know more about the country. Well, that first trip was to the south of the country, and over the weekend another went to Cayo, the City and the cayes. Monica Bodden was there and she has the first part of her report on the western destinations... Tomorrow Monica will tell us about the surprising city tour and the cayes�

United For Toys For Tots
Today Toys for Tots hosted fifty underprivileged primary school children at its annual Christmas party. The event was held this afternoon at the House of Culture where these six and seven year olds were entertained by clowns and also got a visit from Santa KLAUS. It's the organization's 12th annual Christmas party and today we found out why after so many years, they still continue the work. Smart and Grace Kenny Belize also joined in with Toys for Tots to make the event possible.

How To Remember "Madiba"
Today in Soweto, South Africa thousands gathered to attend the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. In Belize, you can pay your respects by signing a condolence book that has been opened at the Library of African and Indian Studies on the KREMANDALA compound. Ya-Ya Marin Coleman told us how you can respect the man they called "Madiba":.., The book is opened every day until 7:00 in the evening...

Channel 5

One found dead and four still missing at sea
Back in November 2007 seven friends went fishing, days later the body of one was found: Magistrate Richard Swift. The six others mysteriously disappeared and were never found. Tonight there [...]

Area Reps to receive monies for Christmas Cheer program
UDP Area representatives will allegedly receive ninety thousand dollars this Christmas to hand out to their constituents. That revelation came from PUP Leader Francis Fonseca, who says he got that [...]

Spain to reject imports of fishery from Belize starting December 21st
Months ago the government took control of the International Merchant Marine Registry (IMMARBE) because it claimed that the European Union would have imposed sanctions on fleets carrying the Belize flag [...]

2 Police men and 1 civilian busted with contraband
On Sunday at around four-thirty pm, two vehicles were intercepted by a Customs patrol on the Arenal Road. Reliable reports suggest that one of the vehicles, driven by a Police [...]

Infrastrucural projects awarded to Orange Walk, Punta Gorda and Dangriga, but projects to be controlled by the UDP
The Opposition People's United Party controls three municipalities - Orange Walk, Dangriga and Punta Gorda. All three municipalities will be benefitting from some infrastructural works as part of a recent [...]

Orange Walk mayor haven’t been officially informed of works to be done in his municiplaity
At a press briefing this afternoon, Mayor of Orange Walk Town Kevin Bernard said he and the Council haven't even been officially informed of any works in that municipality. All [...]

Lisa Shoman files motion for senate inquiry in immigration scandal
The last Senate meeting held on November sixth ended in some confusion and tension. Opposition Senator Lisa Shoman moved a motion for a senate inquiry into the ongoing immigration scandal. [...]

Group of Sri Lankans detained in Chetumal
We have been reporting on a long list of visas procured by ministers of government exclusively for Chinese nationals even though it is not a legal requirement for ministers to [...]

Sugar Roads in dire need of repair
The bagasse standoff remains in full effect pending word from American Sugar Refinery on whether it is prepared to come to the table to discuss a payment arrangement with cane-farmers. [...]

Cane farmers want to resolve bagasse issue outside of court
Prime Minister Dean Barrow met with representatives of ASR and BSI in Belize City on Monday. Local stakeholders in the industry are awaiting word from ASR which will dictate the [...]

Indian Nationals visas legit
Visa approvals were granted to at least fifty Indian nationals to study at the Central American Science Health University, CASHU, located in Burrell Boom. Their recent arrival sounded alarm because [...]

Honduran National charged for failure to comply with his visitor's permit.
A Honduran national who was granted sixteen days stay in Belize headed to court today on immigration offences. Thirty-eight year old Edwin Delgado Montoya caught the attention of the authorities [...]

Man receives five years for chopping ex’s boyfriend
A man who was found guilty eleven days ago of attempted murder of the boyfriend of his ex, was sentenced today. Leslie Frazer was given an eight year prison term. [...]

School students pays tribute to Nelson Mandela
The father of South African democracy Nelson Mandela is being laid to rest in his home country.� In Soweto earlier today, a four-hour memorial service was held in Mandela's honor.� [...]

Under privileged children gets a treat from United
The annual Toys for Tots campaign concluded today with Christmas gifts being presented to fifty underprivileged primary school students across Belize City.� It's an effort which began earlier this year, [...]

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Opposition Party Files Motion For Senate Inquiry
PUP Senator, Lisa Shoman filed a notice of motion with the Clerk of the National Assembly. The notion is to be placed on the order of business for the next Senate Meeting which has been scheduled for December 18 and it has to do with a Senate Inquiry into the Immigration scandal. It's not the first time that Senator Shoman filed such motion and this afternoon during a press conference, Leader of the People's United Party, Francis Fonseca told the media why they keep on the issue even though he believes it won't be successful. HON. FRANCIS FONSECA "Senator Shoman has in fact signed a second motion in respect of the immigration scandal and seeking to have a senate inquiry investigation into that matter. I just received it this morning so I haven't been able to look at it in great detail but I know it will come up. It has been sent to the clerk and it is scheduled to come up on the 18th and the next Senate meeting. So, she will once again attempt to raise that issue and as far as I understand she has again received the support of the social partners in doing so. They believe that it is such a fundamentally important matter that we have to keep trying. We have to keep trying and give the government an opportunity to come onboard and to support an inquiry into this matter.

Sri Lankans Illegally Enter Mexico via Belize Northern Border
Five Sri Lankan nationals were detained in Chetumal and it is believed they entered Mexico illegally through the Belize / Mexico border. The adults have identified themselves as 34 year old Chandrika Niroshan, 31 year old Doorandinga Niroshan, and 27 year old Silvapatham. Two minors were also in their company, one 10 years old and the other 5 years. Official Mexican police report is that the individuals had been staying for the past four days at Ucum Hotel, less than a block away from the market in Chetumal. Initial police and immigrations investigations indicate that none of the five Sri Lankan nationals had legal documents to enter Mexico. The Mexican authorities believe the five entered Mexico through the border entry with Belize and they might have been part of a bigger group of undocumented immigrants who were being led by a human trafficker. The Sri Lankans are under Mexican Immigrations Authorities who continue to investigate the case.

Coast Guard and Police In Search of Missing Fishermen
Yesterday afternoon at around two-thirty, the Belize Coast Guard got a called at its headquarters from the Belize Port Authority. Information relayed to the Belize Coast Guard was that a patrol from the Belize Port Authority had found a body floating near Southern Long Water Caye and Long Caye in Southern Belize. Operations Officer for the Belize Coast Guard Lieutenant Gregory Soberanis told us more. GREGORY SOBERANIS "We immediately deployed our quick reaction team from the headquarters and when they arrived at that location they found out from the Belize Port Authority patrol that a body had been discovered floating approximately one mile east of Colson Caye. The police informed of the situation; we were instructed to bring the body to mainland, which we did and it was handed over to the Police Department." After picking up the body at the location where his was found, it was transported to the Old Belize Marina. It was later identified to be that of 49 year old Thomas Young of Lucky Strike Village. Young had been murdered as he had two large chop wounds to the center of his head, a chop wound to the left small finger and two gunshot wounds, one to the upper left chest and one to the upper right back.

Belizeans Speak on the Great Nelson Mandela
South Africa today held a Memorial Service for the late Nelson Mandela, social activist, peace-maker, and anti-apartheid revolutionist. While many around the world grieve the loss of the icon, here in Belize, the Library of African and Indian Studies has opened a Book of Condolences for anyone who wishes to send a message to the Mandela family. Love News visited the library and spoke with Coordinators, Audley Mulati and Adele Ramos. ADELE RAMOS "When I was sitting at my desk doing the headline story for the Tuesday Amandala I realized that we don't' have a book of condolences here in Belize for Nelson Mandela and yet he has touched so many of our lives. As a teenager that name rang very loudly in my mind and my heart as a freedom fighter and I want young people today to also understand that name. Even though he has left us at the age of 95 there is a legacy that must live on and I believe that yes through this process people get to express themselves and share words of comfort. I was very delighted Marion that earlier today when we had the students come visit us, there was a student from Saint Martin's de Pores School who knew a lot about Mandela. She knew his age and that he was the first democratically elected president in South Africa. She knew that facts and that, to me, was very encouraging."

Woman Attacked by Spouse with An Axe
A security guard who allegedly attacked his common-law wife with an axe and beat her, was charged with three offences when he appeared today before Magistrate Clive Lino. He is Austin Busano, a resident of one and a half miles on George Price Highway. Busano was charged with aggravated assault, wounding and damage to property. He pled not guilty to the charges. Magistrate Lino offered him a bail of four thousand dollars and the condition that he does not contact the virtual complainant or any member of her family or any other prosecution witness directly or indirectly and he is not to go within 50 yards of the virtual complainant. The virtual complainant reported to the police that she and Busano had a misunderstanding and he attacked her with an axe and then began to beat her with his fists all over her body. She said the beating resulted in her getting a cut to her right eye and bruises to her back. She also reported to the police that Busano damaged her cellular phone which has a value of one thousand six hundred dollars.

Family of Injured Police Woman Wants Justice
Five days after WPC Marilyn Pate, attached to the Orange Walk Police, received cut wounds to her head and body while on the line of duty; she is recuperating home while awaits more medical tests. Her father Robert Pate gave us an update on her health condition. ROBERT PATE "Marilyn is not that well as people would believe; my daughter got five chops in her head and also a fractured skull and two in her hand and one on her arm and she catches cramp in her hand and that is not a good sign for a young person who wanted to be a police all her life and take it as a career as a police officer and take it even further in the police force and now she is kept back. It's a setback for the family as well." ARTURO CANTUN "You said that you have been getting assistance from the police department with your medical expenses right?" ROBERT PATE "Yes, we appreciate that. I say thanks to the formation in Orange Walk and especially I spoke directly to Director Cantun and he was very courteous and nice. When I called him and told him that the doctor requested a cat scan; he told me not to worry and he jumped on it and in about half an hour time they said that my daughter is going to Belize City and that was quick and fast and I appreciate that."

Social Drinking Turns Bloody Among Belizeans on Mexican Soil
Around 11pm on Sunday three Belizeans who were visiting San Francisco Botes on the Mexican side got involved in an altercation while drinking alcohol and 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. There are varying recounts of the incident. According to Orange Walk Police they understand that while the men were drinking a misunderstanding ensued and Andres Batun pulled out a machete and attacked Azael Perez. It is not know how Perez managed to get his on another machete and subsequently inflicted several chop wounds to both Andres and Salvador. According to Mexican Police, the three men were socializing and an argument ensued but both Andres and Salvador retired for the night. They report that Azael Perez waited for the men to fall asleep and then attacked them with a machete. As a result Andres sustained an eight inch chop wounds to the right side of his neck, a six inch chop wound to the centre of his head and a small chop wound to his left hand. Meanwhile Salvador received a three inch chop wound to the right side of his head, a six inch chop wound on his right arm and his right hand was completely severed off. Mexican authorities report the men receiving treatment at the General Hospital in Chetumal.

Police News: Missing Men At Sea
One man is dead and four others missing. Police say 49-year-old Thomas Levi Young, 26-year-old Darwin Gentle, 24-year-old Elgin Graham, 34-year-old Sergio Flores and 26-year-old Kenrick Devin Chi left Belize City on board Natasha, a twenty three foot skiff last Thursday to go fishing on Southern Long Caye. Reports are on Monday afternoon just before four o'clock CIB personnel visited Old Belize Marina on the George Price Highway where they saw a male person of dark complexion apparently dead in a state of decomposition on board a Belize Coast Guard vessel. The male person had two large chop wounds to the center of his head, a chop wound to the left small finger and two gunshot wounds, one to the upper left chest and one to the upper right back. Just after one thirty Mponday afternoon while Belize Port Authority personnel were patrolling between Southern Long Water Caye and Long Caye they found a body floating in the sea. They acquired the assistance of the Belize Coast Guard to transport the body to land. The body was later identified as that of Thomas Levi Young a fisherman of Lucky Strike Village. Dr. Mario Estradabran conducted a Postmortem Examination and at the conclusion it certified the cause of death to be exsanguinations internal and external bleeding due to gunshot wound to the chest. Police are investigating.

Senior Citizen Succumbs to Injuries Following Traffic Incident
A woman in her sixties from the village of San Lazaro, Orange Walk District, died this morning as a result of a traffic mishap. Details are sketchy but so far our news room has managed to confirm that Elena Castellanos, who is believed to be in her sixties, was sitting on a chair on the veranda in front of her house. A woman was driving a pickup truck down the street and it seemed she lost control of the vehicle and ran into the yard where Castellanos was; running over the elderly woman. Some neighbours quickly responded to aid Castellanos. Witnesses say Castellanos seemed to have a broken arm and was unconscious. The neighbours put Castellanos in another vehicle and were transporting her to the Northern Regional Hospital but she died on the way. The female driver has been detained by police pending the investigation of the incident.


Three Police Officers get Entagled into Customs Trouble
News reaching PLUS News is that three officers of the Police Department are being looked at for involvement in suspicious operations by the Customs Department in Arenal. Acting Commissioner of Police, Miguel Segura, briefed the media yesterday morning. Mr. Miguel Segura- Acting Commissioner of Police- Acting Commissioner of Police:...

BTB Takes the Media to the Cayo District
-Our home district, Cayo, is the largest in the country and home to some of its most exotic scenery and warmest people. On Thursday, it was the starting point for the second local media familiarization tour organized by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB). Our first stop was the Black...

Spain to Reject Fishery Imports from Belize
In November of this year, the European Commission made recommendation that several countries, Belize included, be blacklisted for failure to do enough to stop illegal activities on the high seas by ships registered in the country's name. In response, Government affirmed that it would strengthen its control mechanism for...

Motion for a Senate Special Select Committee to Inquire Into Immigration Scandals
A Special Sitting of the House of Representatives is scheduled for Thursday of this week, which means that a meeting of the Senate will follow. At that meeting, the People's United Party's Senator, the Hon. Lisa Shoman will introduce a motion for the appointment of a Select Committee of the...

Dangriga Mayor Complains about Strings Attached to Infrastructure Money
A few days ago Prime Minister Dean Barrow introduced a massive rollout of funds to repair the broken streets of Belize. Some $500,000 has been allocated for the Stann Creek District and particularly Dangriga Town, which has been hit by several weather systems causing significant road damage. However, Mayor...

Prime Minister Barrow says Bagasse Issue is in Hands of BSI/ASR
On Monday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow and his deputy and Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega along with other Government officials met with representatives of Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI) and its partner American Sugar Refining (ASR) in Belize City. The purpose was to convey the position of the Government...

GMO Highlighted at National Conference
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture hosted an all day National Conference today at the George Price Centre where the topic of interest was GMO's or no GMO's. The issue of Genetically Modified Organisms, known as GMO's is a very debatable subject evoking very strong opinions on both...

Toys For Tots Hosts Kids Party
United Airlines' Toys for Tots program hosted its annual Christmas event at the House of Culture for fifty underprivileged children from Belize City's Southside. With details here is country manager, Indira Craig. Ms. Indira Craig- Country Manager "Toys for Tots is a part of the United Airlines and staff...

Island Adventures with theTourism Board
Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye have acquired quite the reputation among tourists as preferred destinations in Belize. Our Belize City journalists visited them both this weekend with the Tourism Board. First, they headed to Caye Caulker, "La Isla Carinosa," where they were hosted by Seaside Cabanas and Island Magic...

VIP Pushes Anti-corruption Platform
Today is International Anti-Corruption Day and the Vision Inspired by the People (VIP), the political movement that has been attempting to sanitize Belizean politics from corrupt influence for the last decade or so, hosted a press conference to update the nation on their strategy to promote and enforce anti-corruption....

Three Nations Open Joint Operations Centre
Belize, the United States and Canada are cooperating to establish a Joint Operations Centre on the compound of the Belize Defense Force (BDF) at Price Barracks, Ladyville, and it was opened in grand style today. Belize's chief enforcement agencies - BDF, Coast Guard, Police, Customs and Immigration - will...

Honduran National Shot Twice by Police Officers in Toledo
Over the weekend, Wilmer Antonio Nunez, Resident of Bella Vista Village in Toledo, was shot by police officers twice when all other methods of subduing him failed. Our Dangriga Correspondent Harrry Arzu has the story. Mr. Harry Arzu- Plus TV News Correspondent "A resident of Bella Vista is hospitalized...

CAHSU/AGUSM Cold War Continues
Earlier this year PLUS News profiled medical schools in Belize and highlighted one that some suggested was not what it appeared to be. American Global University School of Medicine (AGUSM), which has its main campus in Ladyville on the Airport Road, responded with a media blitz of its own,...

CAHSU Comments on Sudden Massive Indian Arrivals
Last week local media reported that multiple Indian nationals had arrived in Belize through the Philip Goldson International Airport in Ladyville. But they were not, apparently, the latest beneficiaries of Ministerial largesse in granting nationalities and passports. In fact, they were prospective students at the Central American Health Sciences...

Eastern Division Commander Asks for More Support on Crime
The news that crime has dropped in the last few months is welcomed news, but the fight is not over yet. We caught up with Eastern Division Commander and Acting Commissioner of Police ACP Miguel Segura today and invited his thoughts. Mr. Miguel Segura- Acting Commissioner of Police "The...

Police Still Looking at Charges for Tyson Rodriguez's Murderers
While three officers are being investigated into the customs knot, a police sergeant in the Placencia formation has been charged with the murder of Tyson Rodriguez, a suspect in a car burglary ring and home invasion. Rodriquez was found dead after it was claimed he escaped from police custody...


2 trucks out of 9 operating; CITCO struggling to make outstanding payments. The challenges that have arisen in the carrying out of garbage collection in Belize City have been an ongoing dilemma which has been somewhat of an albatross around the necks of successive Belize City Council administrations, and the current City Council is no different. Up until last Friday, December 6, 2013, the Belize City Council owed the Belize Waste Control (BWC) - one of Belize City's premier garbage collection agents - over three-quarters of a million dollars in outstanding arrears. Like the garbage which had piled up alongside the city streets last week, the debt owed to Belize Waste Control has continued to accumulate over the years. This mounting series of outstanding payments has led to a standoff between the City Council and the BWC, and has resulted in the garbage collector claiming that they are now unable to maintain their operations due to financial constraints.

Marylyn Pate, a female police officer attached to the Orange Walk Domestic Family Unit of the Orange Walk police, escaped death after she was chopped three times in the head and two times on the hands by a man she had gone to detain at his home in Trial Farm Village on reports of child molestation made by the Human Services Department. Oscar Hernandez, whom WPC Pate, along with other officers and personnel of the Human Services Department, had gone to arrest, told her that he would come with her to the station, but that he first had to go into the house to get dressed. Hernandez indeed went into the house, but not to get dressed; he came out with a machete, charged at WPC Pate and chopped her several times on the head and hands. Hernandez then ran out of the yard. The incident occurred about 2:30 Thursday on a street that extends off East San Martin Street in Trial Farm Village.

Tens of thousands of people, including 91 heads of states, are converging on Johannesburg, South Africa, today, to bid farewell to South Africa's first democratically elected president, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, 95, the internationally renowned freedom fighter who gave his life to fighting against apartheid and racism. Mandela spent 27 years in prison, as a consequence of his unwavering commitment to the struggle, and on April 27, 1994, Mandela participated in the first democratic elections in his country. On his release, Mandela greeted his people with the expression "Amandla" - meaning "power" - and the outstretched fist, the sign of black power. Nelson Mandela passed away peacefully on Thursday, December 5, 2013, in his home country after battling ill health for a year. Makaziwe Mandela said that her father had made a "wonderful transition�" surrounded by close relatives, who were given an opportunity to be with him until his last breath.

A woman, 22, told police that she was sexually assaulted by four men who offered her a ride to her workplace at about 11:00 Saturday night in Belmopan. The woman said that she was walking to her place of work when a white van in which there were four men stopped beside her and offered her a ride. She accepted the offer and entered the van, and they drove away. According to the woman, as they neared her workplace, she alerted the driver, but he only accelerated, and told her that she would have to do what they wanted, or they would kill her. Fearing for her life, the woman cooperated. She was taken to a dark, isolated location, where she was ordered to perform oral sex on two of the men. After that ordeal was over, at least three of the men took turns raping her.

The body of a man in an advanced state of decomposition was found floating in the sea near Colson Caye in the Stann Creek District at about 2:00 this afternoon by the Coast Guard and the Belize Port Authority. The body, which exhibited chop wounds to the head and hand, was brought to Belize City and handed over to the police. Deputy Commandant of the Coast Guard, Elton Bennett, told Amandala that they, along with the Port Authority, went to the Colson Caye area about 2:00 this afternoon, and found the floating body. Nothing much is known of the man at this time. The body was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital morgue, where it awaits a post-mortem. Rafael Martinez, Police Press Officer, said that depending on the level of decomposition of the corpse, a photograph of the man will be taken to be distributed in an effort to identify the corpse.

The Belize National Library Service and Information System (BNLSIS) this morning awarded over $700 in cash prizes to 10 primary school students at the end of a story reading contest which they plan to take nationwide next year. Following eliminations in the northern and southern zones of Belize City, top contenders from St. Luke Methodist, Queen's Square Anglican, Grace Primary, Belize Elementary, Holy Redeemer and Wesley Lower School read from a mix of foreign and local stories. (Ephesus SDA School was selected to participate but did not attend.) The judges, Carmen Barrow, Norman Rodriguez and Joseph "Stamp" Romero, picked winners from three categories of entries after each student made their presentations at the Leo Bradley Library this morning. In category 1 (the standard 1 students), Maddox Heusner of Belize Elementary School (BES) walked off with the top prize of $100. Second place in that category was captured by Devaughn Abraham of Grace Primary, who won $75, and third place by Ryan Rodriguez of Wesley Lower School, who won $50.

The Belize Cycling Association (BCA) announced on Friday that its new office, located on the second floor of the Commercial Center on Regent Street in Belize City, will be open effective today, Monday, December 9, with office hours from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. The office assistant is Ms. Keren Gabourel. And, with the countdown already on for the biggest race, next to Cross Country, in the annual cycling calendar, the KREM New Year's Day Cycling Classic, the BCA release advised members to begin processing their membership registration at the office this week, "as the deadline for those who will be participating in the KREM Classic� will be on Friday, December 13�"

The 2nd Annual SMART 13 & Under Football Tournament had its semifinal games on Saturday, December 7, and then its All Star game on Sunday at the MCC Grounds. The finals will be this coming Saturday. In the first semifinal on Saturday, #1 seed Brown Bombers bombed #4 seed Rising Stars, 4-0, with a goal each from Tyreek Muschamp, Sherwin Requena, Dion Cacho and Naheem Gentle. And in the other semifinal, Hattieville United did to City Boys what they had done to Brown Bombers in the finals last year, dealt them their only defeat of the season, by a 1-nil score. City Boys dominated possesion for most of the game, but it was a big "contra golpe" kick upfield from Hattieville defender Shemar Waight that created a foot race toward the City Boys goal, where Hattieville striker Mario Rivera managed to score what turned out to be the game winner at the 9th minute of first half. They played 30 minute halves in the semifinals; while it was 20-20 during the regular season. The stage is now set for the 3rd place match and the championship final, which take place this coming Saturday, December 14, at the MCC, starting at 1:00 p.m.

Three high schools in southern Belize participated in the TIDE Freshwater Cup (FWC) Marathon on Saturday, December 7, at the Toledo Union Field. They all had to do an environmental project in order to participate. Participating high schools were George Town, Julian Cho & Toledo Community College (TCC). Independence High School did not show; neither did TCC Girls. Results: After a long day of battle, Julian Cho High School boys and girls, as well as George Town boys and girls went on to the finals. All games ended in a draw and therefore went to penalties, where George Town boys won, 5-4, over Julian Cho boys; and George Town girls also won, 3-1, over Julian Cho girls. NOTE: An award ceremony followed at 4:30 p.m. at the Toledo Union Field, where Mr. Ruperto Vicente, President of FFB, was invited to give his remarks during the ceremonies, and also was asked to present the trophies and medals to both the female and male high school winners.

A former British High Commissioner to Belize, Peter Thomson, writing in his book Belize: A Concise History, published by Macmillan in 2004, refers to Amandala on page 180 as a "radical newspaper." One is tempted to ask the question, if Amandala is a radical newspaper and had been the leading newspaper in Belize for 23 years at the time Mr. Thomson wrote his book, what does this say about Belize? No one can describe the national party politics of Belize as in any way radical. The country experimented with a "mixed economy" under Rt. Hon. George Price in the 1970s, but has been moving to the right wing ever since. The second term UDP government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow has experimented, under duress, with some social welfare programs, while the Opposition PUP appeared about to welcome the former Lake Independence representative Cordel Hyde, a roots voice, back into their fold last week, but both the two major political parties remain right of center. The issues on the national stage presently include the cane farmers of the Northern Districts fighting the transnational American Sugar Refining (ASR) for a slice of bagasse revenues, and the FECTAB group of Belizean tour guides fighting for their market share from cruise tourism against the transnational Chukkah group. The fight of the Toledo Maya for customary land rights and their SATIIM national park against the American oil company, U.S. Capital Energy, and the fight of Belizean environmentalists to prevent offshore drilling for petroleum near Belize's Barrier Reef, are fights which have been going on for years.

A LETTER FROM STEVE BIKO Some of you, my people, you weep and you mourn. "Poor Steve Biko," you say, "he beaten and was died, so young, so strong." It's true, I beaten and was died because I dare to speak for black and brown, but poor? No, a thousand times NO! I stand and fight. Yes, also I was destroyed, but not defeated. For my sweat waters the soil; my body and my blood add richness to the earth. And from the earth and soil a thousand children spring. They cry across the hills and over the smoky rivers of wherever rest my bones: Steve, Steve Biko, they cry, Steve Biko die, that we may live. (by Evan X Hyde, 1977) In the British and French Caribbean, the slave societies were different from the slave society in the United States of America, in that there were discernible and distinct mulatto classes in the British and French Caribbean. In the U.S., there are mulatto families in places like New Orleans and parts of South Carolina who have a history going back generations which features some sort of privilege, or difference from American slave society, but overall, there is no discernible and distinct mulatto class in America. Black was black, across the board. If you had a single drop of African blood in America, that made you black, and therefore eligible, by Supreme Court decision, to be a slave.

While the Belize Police Department - which has recently been in the public spotlight for various allegations of wrongdoing - wrestles to maintain its integrity, three police officers from the Cayo District are among the most recent law enforcement personnel to bring the department into disrepute after they were found with contraband goods this past weekend. Amandala understands that about 4:20 p.m. on Sunday evening, acting on information received, Customs officials went to the Arenal Road near the Benque border, where they saw two vehicles. The vehicles were reportedly ordered to stop, but one of the vehicles sped off, after which Customs officials set chase. When they caught up with the vehicle, they discovered that it was being driven by a police officer who appeared to be intoxicated. He was reportedly accompanied by other individuals, including another police officer. Customs officials then reportedly found seven and a half cases of contraband beer, and three cases of soft drinks along with fireworks and cigarettes in the vehicle.

As we draw nearer to December 15, which the experts have deemed as the latest possible date to get the sugar cane crop season underway without the stakeholders suffering major losses, Belize's Prime Minister - turned mediator - Hon. Dean Barrow, is earnestly trying get both the sugar company, BSI/ASR, and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) that represents over 5,000 local sugar cane farmers back to the negotiating table so they can hammer out an agreement on the bagasse issue and get the crop season underway. As we reported earlier, the sugar cane farmers are demanding to be paid a percentage of the income that BSI/ASR makes from the bagasse, which is used to produce electricity that is sold to BEL. The farmers are saying that unless there is an agreement for them to be paid for the bagasse they will not deliver cane to the factory. The cane farmers insist that the bagasse is a by-product of the cane, a by-product that is used to produce electricity that is then sold to BEL for millions of dollars. Meanwhile, the sugar company has refused to comply with the farmers' demands, saying that they (BSI/ASR) have the right to do whatever they wish with the sugar cane that they buy from the cane farmers. BSI/ASR insists that the bagasse is a waste product, and they say that if the farmers want to be paid for the bagasse then they should take the matter to court.

This morning, members of all the major sectors of Belize's law enforcement agencies were out in full swing in Belize City as they participated in the 2nd Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run. The Law Enforcement Torch Run is held annually to raise both funds and awareness for disabled children across the country. The 5-day torch run was originally started by the Belize Police Department, however all law enforcement partners, including the Customs and Immigration Departments, joined in the effort to bring the torch from all the way down south in Punta Gorda to Belize City. As part of the last leg of the run, elements of the Belize Police Department (mainly recruits), the Belize Defence Force, and the Belize Coast Guard ran untiringly while chanting different slogans through the principal streets of Belize City in the wee hours of dawn today. This morning, they actually started in Ladyville, which is about 10 miles from Belize City, and came into the city with different bearers leading the run and carrying the torch at specified intervals.

Lincoln Miguel, 40, a taxicab driver, visited Amandala's offices this afternoon and presented a letter from the Magistrate's Court, which stated that he was found not guilty of unlawful imprisonment and common assault on July 8, 2013. He asked us to inform the public of the results of the case. On March 25, 2012, Miguel was charged with unlawful imprisonment and common assault, two separate charges, when he appeared in court. According to the police, the alleged victim of the assault, a 23-year-old woman, chartered Miguel's taxicab to take her to her workplace in the early morning hours of March 20, 2012. The woman told police that on the way to her workplace, Miguel asked her what her day's pay was, and offered to pay her that amount of money if she would spend the day with him. The woman, who became fearful for her life, managed to jump out of the moving vehicle and ran into her place of work as the car was passing by.


A Day Trip to Mexico: Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve on Ambergris Caye
Yesterday I took a day tour to one of the more remote areas of our island, the national park & reserve and part of the world heritage site, Bacalar Chico. Here is the map. Small and fuzzy in the first place but then, to ATTEMPT to clarify things, I've spray painted orange blobs on the points of interest. The first blob (or "southern blob") is San Pedro town�I live about 1.5 miles south of town and that's where I started. I jumped aboard the 8:30am Coastal Express water taxi to meet up with a friend at Xtan Ha Resort (a gorgeous place I visited a few months ago too.) The resort is 7 miles north of town (spray paint point #2) and with all the drop offs, it took about half an hour. A few heavy morning clouds were moving out and it was shaping up to be a perfect day. I met my guides Kevin and Mario, admired their new pink shirts and set off for the day.

Belize Tourism and Caribbean Climate Change Concerns
The Lodge at Chaa Creek, which has been an active member of the Belize Tourism industry Association (BTIA) since its inception 28 years ago, reports that that this year's recent Annual General Meeting had climate change as a major topic of discussion. Lucy Fleming, co-founder and GM of Chaa Creek, and a past president of the BTIA, said it was heartening to hear industry colleagues vocalise their concerns about the effect climate change is having on the tourism industry of small, low lying nations such as Belize. "It is important that Belize joins other nations in raising our voices about this issue, since it seems that only concerted action will sway the world's more developed nations and largest polluters to first, identify the problem, and secondly, do something about it. "Here at Chaa Creek, and especially through our Belize Natural History Centre we've been taking a grass roots approach towards educating our guests and the general public about climate change. Other eco resorts are also participating, and I think it's important that as an industry, especially in an eco-tourism based economy, we put our voices and resources together to continue raising the alarm, not in preaching to people, but in raising awareness," Ms Fleming said. This year's guest speaker at the BTIA AGM was Dr Kenrick Leslie, executive director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center, and in his address he emphasised the accelerating nature of climate change. Claiming that data from weather stations in Belize show that the Caribbean is exceeding the global average in rising temperatures, Belize News 5 quoted Dr Leslie as saying that; "Low-lying countries like Belize will face the onset in the shift of the climatic norm and the impact of the rising sea level and coastal areas and beaches within the next two decades."

Notice: Job Vacancies at CROSQ, Barbados
Please view the attached documents for the post of 1. Technical Officer for Communication and Information Ad - TechnicalOfficerCommunicationInformationFINAL 2. Project Coordinator Ad- ProjectCoordinatorFINAL These post are available at the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality in Barbados. Deadline for submission of application is Wednesday 18th December 2013.

International Sources

Uruguay legalizes marijuana
Uruguay passed a pioneering law letting people grow, buy and smoke marijuana, and the country's leftist president, Jose Mujica, said he would sign the measure. Under the law -- inspired by U.S. initiatives in Colorado and Washington state and approved by the Uruguayan Senate 16-13 late Tuesday -- the country will create a state-run Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis to oversee the planting, harvesting and sale of marijuana by private companies and residents 18 or older. Households will be allowed to grow up to six plants each and harvest up to 480 grams, or a little more than 1 pound, of pot a year. Cooperatives, known as "growers clubs," may grow up to 99 plants together, Uruguayan newspaper La Republica said. Residents may also buy up to 40 grams of marijuana at $1 a gram from licensed pharmacies a month, the equivalent of about 60 cigarettes.

Crikey! A photographer's close call with a crocodile, and pics to prove it
Octavio Aburto is a Mexican photographer and marine biologist, based at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, and is a fellow with The International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). During a recent expedition, he had an up-close and personal interaction with an unexpected model. Here's Aburto's story in his own words: In May 2013 I had an expedition to Banco Chinchorro, an unique and fragile atoll located 35 km offshore in the Mexican Caribbean Sea, near the border between Mexico and Belize. The atoll has three main islands, with an aggregate land area of 6.7 square kilometers, and the natural vegetation of the islands is largely mangrove near the shore shading into open woodland more than 20-30 m from the shore. More importantly, this atoll has, genetically speaking, the purest population of American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) - meaning that the population has not hybridized with other crocodile subspecies. It has been shown that it is the purest population remaining in the Meso-American reef region, with more than 250 individuals leaving in this atoll.

Central America Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Report Q1 2014
Despite the delicate macroeconomic situation in Central America, the pharmaceutical market -consisting of the seven markets of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Belize - is set to grow. Local authorities' emphasis on healthcare investment should translate into higher consumption of medicines. However, the region's low per capita pharmaceutical spending and generic drugs' high market share has limited multinationals' growth potential in the region. Headline Expenditure Projections - Pharmaceuticals: US$3.5bn in 2012 to US$3.7bn in 2013; +4.9%. Our forecast has been revised slightly upwards since Q413 due to more optimistic macroeconomic data. - Healthcare: US$15.4bn in 2012 to US$16.6bn in 2013; +8.1 %. Our forecast has been revised upwards since Q413 due to more optimistic macroeconomic data.

Thumbing Through Belize: Tips For Hitchhiking Safely
We stood on the side of the long dusty road, a puddle of sweat soaking into the back of our t-shirts. We had successfully hitched 141 kilometers that day, but it seemed our luck had run out. The final stretch to the coastal town of Hopkins was the six mile dirt road that connected to the highway and we hadn't even made it a mile in. Few cars passed and the ones that did sped right past our outstretched thumbs and kicked up a cloud of dust that enveloped us in dirt before settling. Hitchhiking as a backpacker has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of catching a ride. We've found that while some locals jump at the chance to give a ride to a foreigner, others are more likely to pick up other locals, especially in smaller towns.

Jacqueline Patterson - How Marijuana Helps Her Cerebral Palsy
A touching video of how Medical Marijuana helped this woman who was born with Cerebral Palsy. Jacqueline Patterson was born with cerebral palsy, a congenital disorder that affects her motor functions. As a result of her condition, she suffers from a severe stutter and major pain and weakness on her right side. This video showcases the amazing effect of cannabis on her condition. After Jacqueline was reported for cannabis possession in Iowa, she moved to California and won a court case arguing that her consumption of marijuana was strictly for medicinal purposes. Hit up Jacqueline on Twitter @medicalmaryjane.

Things to do in Belize - Check out the top tours to do in San Ignacio Cayo
Belize offers something for everyone! Maya temple cities, white sandy beaches, best snorkeling in the region, spectacular scuba diving in the second largest barrier reef in the world, horseback riding through jungle trails, kayaking on pristine rivers, jungle hiking, adventurous zip lining, and unique caving exploration are just a few of a plethora of tours that you can do in Belize. If you are vacationing in the San Ignacio, Cayo District area, here are 10 popular tours that you might want to consider: Xunantunich Maya Temples, Cahal Pech, Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave, ATM Cave Tour Highlights, Barton Creek Cave, Tikal, Cahal Pech Village Resort - Tikal Tour, Cave Tubing and Zip Lining Adventures in Belize, Mountain Pine Ridge, Caracol, Horseback Riding, Canoeing, Canoeing The Belize River

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