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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Love FM third Annual Christmas parade lights up the streets of San Pedro

Jaguar hide recovered off San Pedro Town streets
The jaguar, scientifically known as Panthera Onca, is an endangered species and is protected in Belize. So when a volunteer for a wildlife conservation organization on mainland Belize spotted a man attempting to sell a jaguar hide on the morning of December 8th, they quickly snapped a couple photos. The photos were then posted on the Belize Wildlife Conservation Network Facebook page, which put the wheels in motion for island residents to notify the San Pedro Town police. An investigation led to the recovery of the jaguar hide on Tuesday December 10th, sometime around 7:30PM. According to San Pedro police, several reports accompanied by photographs, were made of a Creole male selling the hide on Sunday December 8th on the beachside. The recovered jaguar hide is believed to be that of an adult and measured over four feet in size from the collar bone area to the hip bone (near upper tail area). Police Constable John Arana said that they received the report on Sunday and immediately began an investigation to recover the hide as well as the person selling it. PC Arana said that after receiving several leads, they visited an empty lot where they found the hide carefully hidden. No one was in the area, but police are looking for the man who had been photographed as he attempted to sell the skin on the beach.

BTB shares the beauty of Belize with resident media houses
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB), as part of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Belize, aims to promote Belize and traveling in the country through partnerships between government and the private sector. This year, in an effort to continue the promotion of local tourism in Belize, BTB organized two local press trips, inviting various media houses to explore destinations throughout the country. The first took place from July 18th to the 21st, and comprised of a three- day tour of southern Belize. Media personnel partook in some of the best the south had to offer which included traditional drumming, snorkeling and dining to name a few. These local press trips are held in an effort to further publicize tourism in Belize by tapping into each of the local media houses following.

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Pays Tribute to Virgin of Guadalupe
The Virgin of Guadalupe must be smiling on her throne as a result of a spectacular tribute rendered by the town of San Pedro on the eve of December 12, 2013. The expectation of the church organizing committee was to provide non-stop presentations that would lead until midnight to sing 'Las Ma�anitas' to the Virgin of Guadalupe as is done in thousands of churches through Mexico. A church fair commenced from 5 p.m. with the sale of food and refreshments at Friendship Park. At 8 p.m. the priest offered a prayer which was then followed by the entertainment and homage to the Virgin Saint. Scores of families presented floral arrangements at the foot of the La Guadalupana's altar, making their silent petition, and 'thank you's'.

Belizean Football Player Deon McCaulay Scouted to Play Professionally in Greece
Belize's Top Striker Deon McCaulay left for Athens Greece on Wednesday, December 11, 2013, for tryout with Club AEL KALLONI FC. Deon, who made history at the FIFA World Cup qualifiers 2014, also made our country proud by taking Belize to the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The football sensation has scored the most goals for Belize (as many as 13) is trying out for the Ael Kalloni Football Club. If all goes according to plan, McCauley is expected to sign on to a contract with the Greek club, which has won a number of championships in the Greek Super league.

Embassy of the Republic of China, Taiwan Donates 60 Tablet Computers
On Thursday, December 12, 2013, 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 program 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 30 ASUS tablets. This program 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.

Misc Belizean Sources

Jonathan Mullen
On Saturday December 14th, at 4pm, on the beach in front of Saul Nunez' apts, we will be having a celebration of the life of Jonathan Mullen, who recently passed away. His death was sudden, unexpected and of natural causes. Kyle of Sagebrush will lead us in prayer and anyone who wishes to share a few words may do so. Soft drinks will be provided and donations of finger foods or snacks will be gratefully received.

By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez The Suba workers were the spirit of Dangriga They woke up all of Dangriga with Their jovial disposition and laughter Singing as they boarded truck to ferry them to Pomona Some were fruit canners, others banana hand washers, Wrappers and some of them were domestic workers Thomasa affectionately known as Aunti Thama The daughter of Red and Cessaria My mother grew up in Ugada A settlement a couple of miles from Dangriga First settled by Ugandans from Africa Who came to live in Central America She grew up a next door to Theodore Aranda Later she and her mother moved to Dangriga And when she left school she became a Suba Worker.

On December 3rd, Mayor Daniel Guerrero met with Hotel/Resort owners from Las Terrazas and Captain Morgan's to seek a possible solution to repair the roads on the northern part of the island. The roads are in terrible conditions due to the rains we have been receiving making it difficult for tourists to access their establishment. Also, these roads have become a dangerous for both pedestrians and people traveling on bicycle, motor bikes or other vehicles. On Wednesday, December 11, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Deputy Mayor Guillermo Paz and Councilors Gabriel Nu�ez, Kenrick Brackett, Carlos Barrientos met with a few Hoteliers from North Ambergris Caye as well as a few home owners to discuss on a viable solution for the repairs of the roads since they are affected by it. Present at the meeting were: Glenn Schwendinger- Rendezvous Restaurant Nick Scavone - Sandy Point Resort Byron Rodriguez - El Pescador Ernest Olmstead - Captain Morgan's Retreat Artemio Torres - Captain Morgan's Retreat Justin Romsa - Mata Grande Grocery Mitch Marqui - Home Owner David Hesse - Las Terrazas Resort Ovel Leonardo - Las Terrazas Resort Scott Hornish - Palapa Bar & NA.C.N.W. Daniel Martin - Remax Southwinds Jay Jex - Grand Caribe Belize Doug Penland - Chain of Resorts in North Ambergris Caye Peter Sorensen - Home Owner Also present at the meeting was Engineer Lee Van from Medina's Construction where he gave technical advice and suggestions. Locations in order of appearance: Las Terrazas Resort Captain Morgan's Retreat Cocoblanca Restaurant at Coco Beach Resort.

Emmeth Young and the Talla Walla Vibrations
Emmeth Young and the Talla Walla Vibrations made for an amazing night at the Soul Project. They'll be playing again at the Chaya Garden Ashram in Cristo Rey on Boxing Day.

Several archaeological sites in Belize will be CLOSED until further notice.
The Institute of Archaeology, NICH, has advised all tour operators, tour guides, and the general public that the following sites are CLOSED for visitation until further notice: Xunantunich Barton Creek Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Nohoch Che'en (Caves Branch) They say they are monitoring the situation and will be issuing periodic updates.

The righteous and the hardworking are rewarded
Since the sugar cane farmers began their claim for the payment of "bagasse" by-product, the Corozal Daily has been in full support of the cane farmer's claim. The American Sugar Refinery/Belize Sugar Industry (ASR/BSI) and representative of the cane farmers, Belize Sugar Cane Famers Association (BSCFA) have been at odds since the claim from the cane farmers started. ASR/BSI have been collecting millions of dollars in revenues generated from the use of bagasse, a by-product of the cane farmers, but had refused to honor an agreement to pay the cane farmers for the use of bagasse for energy generation. Belize Sugar Industries Limited has controlling interest from ASR and has been in negotiations with the 6,000 plus member Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association that wants ASR to agree to pay a percentage of the income that the ASR/BSI conglomerate makes from bagasse, which is used to produce electricity that is sold to government-owned (BEL) Belize Electricity Limited. The cane farmers have resolved that they will not start delivering sugar cane unless an agreement is reached to give them a share of their claim which their partner has so far refused to do, claiming it is a waste product. The impasse has threatened to delay the start of the 2013-2014 sugar crop, which usually starts on December 15.

Corozal area roads
As we set on our way this morning to see the progress of the road works in these areas, the sky broke out so we decided to take minimal risks and drove back to town as the road was turning a bit slippery with the mud. We understand that the road from the Pueblo Nuevo ferry to Cooper Bank has been repaired but that the remainder from Cooper Bank to Chunox/Sarteneja are still impassable. The recent rains over the past few days will certainly put a wrench in and delay this current road works�.. Power to the norte�os and the cane farmers in their struggle for a better life!!

Rain causes localized flooding in Georgeville
The continous rain all day on Wednesday caused localized flooding in several spots along the George Price Highway in the Cayo district. The area near the cemetery in Georgeville was nearly impassable around 4:30 pm as swiftly flowing water a couple of inches deep flowed across the road. About two hours later, much of the water had run off. A number of other area between Georgeville and San Ignacio town were also affected and many drains were on the brink of spilling over.

Channel 7

Unions Take A Stand At Final House Meeting Of The Year
Today was the last House Meeting for the parliamentary year, and usually it's an easy day, all sweetness and light, as niceties and Christmas wishes are exchanged across the floor, a rare touch of grace in an often venomous setting. But today there was no lightness at the house meeting. The National Trade Union Congress of Belize set the tone early with a planned disruption. It happened half hour into the meeting when a group of about a dozen unionists, stood up in the gallery and started chanting, "Introduce the Occupational Safety and Health bill now!" They were quickly shut down and shown out, but it was a rare rush of action in the otherwise staid proceedings:... Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House "Remove those people." Unions Chanting; "Introduce the Occupational Safety and Health Bill." Jules Vasquez "Mr. President of the NTUCB, what was that about?" Dylan Reneau, President, N.T.U.C.B. "We have had the Occupational Safety and Health Bill in front of Cabinet for some time now. In fact the Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour has promised the NTUCB and we have it on tape; they've promise to introduce that bill and pass the Occupational Safety and Health Bill and we've seen bills come after our bill and get pass through the House and so we had to make a very strong statement. This is just the first step because as we said for our Annual General Meeting the year 2014 will be the year of the workers and the year of action."

PUP Cayo South Member Suspended; Opposition Walks Out
And while the unions made their statement early, and left right after, the PUP member for Cayo South, Julius Espat made his at the every end of the meeting. Espat rose to speak on the adjournment which has to be a matter of public interest. He chose the very general subject of social justice, and the speaker Michael Peyrefitte tried to pin him down to one subject - as is required by the standing orders. Still, Espat proceeded with a wide elliptical statement, and the speaker kept trying to bring him back to a single point. Eventually, things came to a head - and that ended with a brief suspension and a PUP walkout. Here's how it all started:...

Hon. Finnegan Scolds Hon. Espat
And the UDP Party Whip Michael Finnegan, a senior parliamentarian was quick to scold Espat. Now, you might rightly say Finnegan should be the last to scold anyone about house behaviour; recently he had to apologize to house members for an off colour remark made to the only female member of the house. But, still, he took the high road today:...

Soldier Killed In Early Morning BDF Truck Turnover
Staff Sergeant Abimael Carrillo, a BDF Soldier with 18 years of service in the military died this morning in a traffic accident a short distance away from the BDF Price Barracks compound.

Garbage Truck Crashes Head On Into Bus
And, we've have another accident to report on tonight, but fortunately, they were no fatalities - though it did create a monster rush hour traffic jam on the Northern Highway. It happened at around 4 o'clock this afternoon when a garbage truck for the Belize Waste Control slammed head on into a Haylock Bus on the foot of the Haulover Bridge.

Advocate. Activist. Unionist? Audrey For Head OF CWU
Audrey Matura-Shepherd, the former Vice-President of Oceana in Belize, and a practicing attorney at law, is poised to become the next President of the Christian Workers Union. Current Executive Members Antonio Gonzalez and James McFoy will step aside and allow a new executive to be elected, which will include Matura-Shepherd at the helm.

"Rape Bill" Passes House
The Rape Bill, also known as Amendment 2 to the Criminal Code was brought back to the House of Representatives today. The bill was first introduced in September, but ran into a firestorm of protest when Christian activists alleged that the hidden agenda was to de-criminalise sodomy. So the bill went through a rigorous round of consultations - and today it was brought back to the house for second and third readings, and final passage.

New tighter Immigration Laws Pass House
Three new pieces of Immigration legislation were also passed today. They are the Immigration Amendment Bill, the Belizean Nationality Amendment Bill and the Passport Amendment Bill. These new laws seek to tighten up immigration regulations, improve oversight of the issuance of passports and visas and dramatically increase fines for those who violate the laws. All in all, it's an attempt to put an end to the passport and visa racket, which has been ongoing in one way or another for at least two decades.

FECTAB Puts Chukka Under Pressure
Last night we told you about the 58 year old female cruise tourist who died in a snorkeling incident. She was on a Chukka tour, and the incident has caused FECTAB to stir. As is well known, FECTAB has been on a scorched earth campaign against their competitor Chukka and the group is now seizing on this opportunity to pressure and embarrass the tour operator. A FECTAB release refers to says a number of guest incidents in just a week, quote, "questions the quality and safety of tours being carried out by Chukka Belize for Carnival booked tours." End quote. FECTAB says price wars with local operators has resulted in Chukka choosing QUANTITY over QUALITY. FECTAB laments that the recent incidents have given the tourism industry in Belize an international black eye. AT newstime, Chukka had promised but not released a statement.

Thyrel Hyde Comments On Cops Being Charged For Shaking Him Down
Last night, 7News told you about the officers who have been criminally charged for brazenly shaking down Thyrel Hyde at an ATM, an incident which was caught on camera. 42 year-old Police Corporal Reymundo Requena and 30 year-old Police Constable Edgar Teul, who are officers attached to the Belmopan Police Station, were arraigned before Magistrate Clive Lino yesterday. Police are looking for 2 more officers who will also be charged, but for Hyde, this new development adds more credibility to his story, and today, when we caught up with him in Belmopan, and he said, it about time: Both officers have met bail of $4,000, and they must return to court on February 11, 2014.

Taiwanese Distribute ASUS Tablets
Today, 30 teachers chosen from around the country, and the Edward P. Yorke High School got a Christmas gift from the Taiwanese Embassy in Belize, which is seeking to enrich the lives of Belize with an ICT powered education. That gift came in the form of 60 ASUS Tablet Computers which were distributed to the deserving teachers with the help of Restore Belize and the Ministry of Education, who hand-picked them. Today, the tablets were handed over at the ITVET, and 7News attended. Here's what the Ambassador told us about the significance: The other 30 tablet computers which were donated to the E.P. Yorke High School will be used to establish a Digital Learning Center.

Belize City Can Be A Charming Place, For Tourists
As we told you on Tuesday, the tourism board took the media on a familiarization trip over last weekend. It's an opportunity often afforded to international travel writers, to let them tell the story of Belize to the wider world. But BTB also wants to do it locally, to encourage you to - as the saying goes - be a tourist in your own country. I participated and was surprised by how charming my own city can look to a visitor. Here's my tour:..

Profile Of Poets
Tonight's I am Belize profile is the last one for the year and it is a little different. It features six young poets and their voices, their art provides a compelling voice for the young Belizean male. You'll want to hear what they have to say:.. As we said that is the last profile for 2013, and in 2014, the profile will feature e teachers who have inspired their students to learn in innovative ways.

Lyn Young New Prison Boss
Lynn Young, former CEO of Belize Electricity Limited, will replace Chairman John Woods at the head of the Board of Directors of the Kolbe Foundation, the organization which runs the Belize Central Prison. Woods formally resigned as Chairman after ten years in the job, but in a special resolution passed by the board on Tuesday, he remains on the board as Member Emeritus. Young currently holds the office the office of President and CEO of BECOL, and he is also current President of the Rotary Club of Belize. He is better known, however, as the former President and CEO of the country's electricity company. He held those positions before the Barrow Administration nationalized the company and took over management from Fortis.

Channel 5

Final House Sitting for 2013: Opposition walks out
The House of Representatives met in its last session for 2013 today. On the agenda were two important bills and some minor house-cleaning issues. Now traditionally, this last meeting before [...]

While the N.T.U.C.B. is removed from the House
While the walkout by Opposition members ended the day, it wasn't the first of the day. For weeks the N.T.U.C.B. has been agitating for the introduction of the Occupational Safety [...]

National Bank of Belize to offer commercial banking services
With the walkouts out of the way, we turn to some of the important matters which came out in today's House sitting. First�the National Bank of Belize. It opened its [...]

Christmas Cheer Program�Barrow says no cash to be handed out
The Government of Belize's Christmas Cheer Program has been the subject of much scrutiny of late, and some criticism, though that is directed more at the stated allocations and less [...]

P.M. lashes out at Opposition for criticizing allocations of Christmas Cheer
And with the nuts and bolts of the program out the way, the PM lashed out at the Opposition for daring to criticize the allocations of Christmas cheer. The People's [...]

B.D.F. Staff Sergeant dies in traffic accident
The Belize Defense Force is mourning the death of one of its own following a traffic incident on the Phillip Goldson Highway in the wee hours of this morning. Forty [...]

Late evening traffic accident leaves several persons injured
A head-on collision between a Belize Waste Control garbage truck and a passenger bus near the Haulover Bridge this evening has resulted in the hospitalization of at least nine persons.� [...]

Jose Alpuche resigns as C.E.O. of the Ministry of Natural Resources
Jose Alpuche was back into the government service in March 2012 following the last general elections. Alpuche was named Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture [...]

Controversial amendment to the criminal code passed in the House
Today the bill to amend the Criminal Code of Belize, after a long and torturous journey, was read a second and third time and passed through the House of Representatives. [...]

3 immigration bills to deal with corruption in the department
And then it was on to the bills for amendments to the Immigration Act. The amendments are the results of the ongoing immigration scandal, measures proposed by Minister of Immigration [...]

Where in the world is Elvin Penner?
Where in Belize is former Minister of State Elvin Penner? Nobody's sure, because the man who was in the center of the passport scandal has gone to ground. We know [...]

Cops get charged for shaking down Tyrell Hyde
On September eighth, Belmopan resident Tyrell Hyde was allegedly shaken down by Police officers who stopped and searched his vehicle. Hyde claimed that money was stolen from him, and then [...]

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, the new President of the CWU
The embattled Christian Workers Union, booted from the fold of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize in late October for failing to convene a meeting to elect executives, has [...]

Special CWU convention to be held to elect new officers
Outgoing president Antonio Gonzalez says he's pleased that the membership of the union has chosen Matura-Shepherd, whom he believes will help to return the CWU to its glory days.� Similarly, [...]

Police arrest and charge one of its own for the aggravated assault of a minor
A police officer attached to the San Ignacio Police is tonight in big trouble following a report by a minor that he assaulted her. A fourteen year old student in [...]

More rains expected over the weekend and Belize City streets remain under water
It has been raining consistently for several weeks; in fact, it has been an above average rainy season with the measure of rainfall doubling in some areas. In the city, [...]

60 tablet computers for outstanding teachers and Digital Learning Center
On Wednesday, the government of Taiwan handed over three projects to the Ministry of Natural Resources; today it was the Ministry of Education that benefitted from Taiwan's generosity. It received [...]

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and its indicators
Recent studies indicate that one in every ten children has been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in the United States.� This means that the children have difficulty executing tasks that require [...]


Corozal Resident Charged For Drug Trafficking
A Corozal resident has been arrested and charged for Drug Trafficking. According to authorities on Tuesday December 10 at around 9am they conducted a search in a knapsack that was being carried at the time by a male person heading to Corozal Town on the Consejo Road between miles 1 and 2. The search led to the discovery of a plastic bag that contained green leafy substance believed to be cannabis. 52 year old Manuel Carlos Acosta was then informed of the offence, cautioned and placed under arrest where he was escorted to the Corozal Police station where the substance was weighed which amounted to 400 grams of Cannabis.

Customs Department Spreads The Christmas Cheer
The Belize Customs and Excise Department is identified as the country's largest source of revenue. It is responsible for providing around 53 percent of the total recurrent revenue and is also one of the nation's major border enforcement agency. It is also responsible for enforcing some thirty (30) Agency duties for other departments, which laws deal with a wide range of issues from moral to financial, and even protecting the environment. But today custom officers were out in full force in the Finca Solana Area in the Corozal District spreading holiday smiles. Victor Castillo was in the area and filed the following. Corozal Custom officials were out in full force today but it wasn't for their routine duties but one that provided much holiday cheer to over a hundred deserving kids at the Dreams Establishment located in the Finca Solana Area. Customs officer Raquel Waight told us more.

The Manhunt For Oscar Hernandez Continues
Woman Police Constable Marylin Pate attached to the Domestic Violence Unit of the Orange Walk Police Formation is recovering. All indications are that WPC Pate is on her way to...

Azael Perez Sought By Mexican Authorities Is Freed By Orange Walk Police
Woman Police Constable Marylin Pate attached to the Domestic Violence Unit of the Orange Walk Police Formation is recovering. All indications are that WPC Pate is on her way to a slow recovery while still remaining on close watch. Inspector Julius Cantun commented on her current state. Inspector Julius Cantun - Deputy Commander, OWPD "WPC Pate has been discharge from the hospital and she is presently recovering and the doctors are still observing her and she still goes to the hospital every day for dressing and check-ups and indeed the Catscan was done where the doctors found certain fractures and that it be treated with caution but so far she is being stable and she is recuperating at this point in time and hopefully everything goes well. Yesterday we had the open day part of the 16 days of activism and the conclusion form the police we thought it would fit that we can have a tamales sale and that was yesterday and I am pleased to say that everything was sold but I haven't gotten the figures as far."

Second In Command Talks About Alleged Police Brutality
Every so often we come across allegations of police brutality and today another such report surfaced. A San Pablo resident and his outraged family visited our studios to share their tale. Reporter Maria Novelo has that story. Maria Novelo - Reporting An outraged Arcurio Family of San Pablo Village came to our studios pleading justice for what they allege was unnecessary force used on Walter Arcurio by two officers of the Corozal Police Formation. Walter is an employee of an establishment in the Corozal Free Zone and was there at the time of the incident. WALTER ARCURIO - Alleges Police Brutality "In the Free Zone they alleged that I touched a lady and so they took me to the Free Zone booth and then the lady came to give her statement and then she arrange it with me that I had to pay her five hundred pesos and everybody arrived there, the police arrived and they told me that right now you will be going because the lady stayed in arrangement with you and so she had called the police to come and to get me but they told the guys over there that everything is all rightand that I am going and then the two police men that came and get me they said that I had to still go to Corozal."

Police Investigate Deadly Freak Accident
Police investigations continue into the unfortunate mishap that claimed the life of fifty four year old Magdalena Castellanos of San Lazaro Village. Castellanos was sitting on a chair outside on her veranda when she was hit and crushed against the wall of her home by a blue Mazda pickup truck. One young man who came to her aid after hearing the commotion told CTV-3 News that Castellanos had a pulse but she soon succumbed to her injuries while she was being transported to the Northern Regional Hospital. Today the police spoke more on what their initial investigation has revealed. Dalila Ical - Reporting Fifty-four year old Magdalena Castellanos died in the arms of one of the young men who ran to her aid after hearing a loud crash and screams. Police report that they observed one broken arm on the deceased but no other physical injury was visible.

PM Says Baggasse Negotiation Looks Promising - BSCFA Says Show Me In Black And White
This morning, the Prime Minister concluded a second, and wrap-up, meeting with the principals of American Sugar Refining (ASR) on the sugar industry impasse between Belize Sugar Industry and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association over the issue of payment to farmers for bagasse. And while the Prime Minister describes this morning's meeting as successful, Vice Chairman of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, Fred Ortega says they are looking forward to finalizing negotiations with the Belize Sugar industries next week. Here are reactions from PM Barrow and Ortega after the meeting in interviews courtesy our colleagues at Channel 7. FRED ORTEGA - VICE CHAIR, BSCFA "Well, in principle it looks very good what he have presented to us what ASR sent to him in their letter, that they compromised for the payment to the cane farmers and based on what he has mentioned to us we will be calling a meeting with our famers on Sunday to report to them what we have garnered from the Prime Minister on this meeting."


PM Announces Financial Benefits for Belizeans
As we reported earlier, the last sitting of the House of Representatives took place today. Aside from the two instances when the Speaker called on the police to keep order, there were issues such as the Government's Christmas cheer to the electorate, which is an allocation of over two million dollars to be apportioned to elected representatives and political officers, and an update on the National Bank, which Prime Minister Dean Barrow started off with. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW "Within the next couple weeks the bank expects to receive its first commercial deposit. The Board of the Bank and the Chairman of Belize Telemedia Limited have agreed that BTL will invest by way of a cash deposit for three years, a total of five million dollars with the National Bank. This will be deposited in two tranches of two point five million dollars each at a rate not to exceed three percent per annum and as you know liquidity is such and the commercial banks are being so conservative, to put it mildly, that there is some difficulty with respect to huge depositors such as BTL in being even to place their excess funds and so, this is good for BTL and it is also good for the National Bank. We are also looking at attracting deposits from the Social Security Board but that is longer term and so I only want to signal that it is in train at this point."

New Leader to Be Endorsed for Christian Workers Union
Audrey Matura-Shepherd- she is an attorney with several cases on her desk, she is an advocate and has become a public figure. Matura-Shepherd is also the former Vice President of Oceana Belize and today it was announced that she will become the next president of the Christian Workers Union. As we have reported many members of the CWU, were unhappy of the union executive's performance and today a step was taken to remove the entire executive. Audrey Matura-Shepherd told us about the process. AUDREY MATURA SHEPHERD "What happened is that there is process that has to be followed in the constitution. The membership, the Executive had to put out to the members and on a whole, nominations for all the posts because every member of the executive is being moved and there is a whole new executive coming on board. So, even the existing ones, if they want to be reelected they have to be re-nominated. So, when they put out the call for nominations for the presidency, there were no other nominations; of course, they also informed the membership that one of the persons that they had been looking at was myself; it took a long while for me to answer that but because there is absolutely no challenge to the office, it will be an endorsement on Saturday. However the posts for trustees, there are 3 posts for trustees and that's going to be an election because there are four people contesting that office. I've always said I'm an advocate at heart; I am not a lawyer; lawyering is what I do, I use lawyering to advance advocacy. So, it is not different than anything I have done in terms of being an advocate.

Belize Defense Force Prepares to Bury Soldier
A Belize Defense Soldier lost his life in the wee hours of the morning in a traffic accident. It happened at about 1:30 this morning, Ladyville Police visited mile 8 � corner of Phillip Goldson Highway and Old AirPort Road (Price Barracks). Upon arrival at the scene Ladyville Police saw a Grey in color Toyota Pickup overturned with its four wheels up submerged in the water. The vehicle was pulled out of the water where two persons were seen inside the vehicle who were taken out by some people and place on the side of the road, the first person they took out appeared to be well but the second person was in an unconscious state. The pickup was then towed to the BDF Camp along with the injured persons. Inside the vehicle was BDF soldier Staff Sergeant Abimael Carrillo who lost his life an hour and a half after at the BDF Force Medical Hospital. Major Thomas Cal of the force told us more. MAJOR THOMAS CAL "On behalf of the Commandant and members of the force itself, we hereby express our condolences to the family of Abimael Carillo who died this morning." HIPOLITO NOVELO "Can you tell us what happened and what might have gone wrong?" MAJOR THOMAS CAL "From what I heard, they were on their way back to base. I think they were either coming from either Belize City or Ladyville and on their way going, the vehicle that was driven by also a member of the BDF accidentally ran into the drain just at the junction of the Philip Goldson Highway and Price Barracks Junction."

NTUCB Says They Will Be Ready for Civil Disobedience
The House of Representatives met for the last time for 2013 at the National Assembly in Belmopan. And there were a few important matters to that were dealt with and Bills that were passed, but there were also some fireworks. During the course of the day's proceedings, the National Executive of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, NTUCB, who were seated in the gallery, disrupted the proceedings just after the Prime Minister had made his introductory remarks. The NTUCB's gripe had to do what they feel is the Government's slow manner in introducing and passing the Occupational Safety and Health Bill, and today, their Executive members were not silent about it. It required the Speaker of the House to engage the police assigned at the House to remove the members from the gallery. This was how it transpired. Following their removal from the House, reporters met the members outside. Led by their President, Dylan Reneau and Vice President, Marvin Mora, they said that there are a number of reasons why they had to do what they did today. They maintain that the work has been done and the social partners have agreed to the passage of the Bill but yet there have been no strides to introduce it and to pass it as law. The NTUCB executive members went as far as saying that they intend to make 2014 a year of action over concerns that they feel are being deliberately ignored.

Drugs and Weapon Found During Police Search
On Wednesday December 11 at about 6:30am while on an anti-drug operation, police conducted a house search at the residence of 30 year old Jeovanni Egbert Bood of Antelope St. Extension, Belize City. As a result of the search, police found a black plastic bag containing a transparent plastic bag with 42 parcels of transparent plastic bags which was found to contain suspected cannabis. Bood was formally arrested and charged for the offence of possession of a controlled drug towith 41.1 grams of cannabis. Also on that day while on Anti Drug Operation on Neal's Penn Road police conducted a search inside an open lot which led to the discovery of a black plastic bag with green leafy substance suspected to be cannabis which amounted to 142.2 grams. The suspected Cannabis was labeled as Found Property. In addition, police found drugs in an abandon lot on Wednesday. Police say that acting upon information received they conducted a search in an abandoned lot located on the south end of the Chula vista area, Corozal Town where under some dry grass a transparent plastic bag was found which contained some green leafy substance suspected to be cannabis. The suspected cannabis was retrieved and weighed amounting to 95.75 grams which was then sealed and labeled as found property. During the same operation in Corozal Town police say they found five FC 66 Brand .45 rounds of Ammunition in an abandon lot in the South End Area, Corozal Town. No one was found in the area and the items were labeled as found property.

Polanco Found Guilty of Damaging Courtroom
Twenty-six year old Nuri Polanco, one of four persons arraigned yesterday on a charge of kept ammunition without a gun license, was brought back to court today for another offence. The charge this time was damage to property for punching a hole in the wall of the corridor yesterday when he was being escorted from the court to the holding cell. Polanco pled guilty to damage to Government property and the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith, fined him 500 dollars and ordered him to pay forthwith. Polanco was unable to pay, so he will serve six months. Apparently, Polanco became angry yesterday while he and the others were arraigned before magistrate Clive Lino. The others were 20 year old Kenroy Willoughby, his brother, 24 year old Julian Willoughby and a 14 year old boy. When Magistrate Lino asked Polanco what was his plea, Polanco said that he would like to plead guilty providing that he will get a fine and given time to pay. Magistrate Lino explained to him that the penalty for the offence is a mandatory prison sentence of not less than five years. Polanco then said that he was not guilty. He and the Willoughby brothers were remanded to prison until January 22, 2014, while the boy was remanded to the Youth Hostel. The four were charged on December 10 when police went to a house on Antelope Street Extension and reported that they found three live nine millimeter caliber ammunition for which none of them had a license.

Garbage Truck and Passenger Bus Collide
A traffic accident occurred late this afternoon near the Haulover Bridge on the Phillip Goldson Highway. The accident occurred when a Belize Waste Control truck heading toward Belize City collided head on with a Haylock's Bus travelling in the opposite direction. Love News understands that at least five people were taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital by ambulance for medical attention.

Kolbe Foundation Has New Chairman
Kolbe Foundation, the managing non-profit organization for the Belize Central Prison, today officially announced that John Woods, the chairman for the Kolbe Board of Management since 2002 has resigned. Taking Woods position is Lynn Young who was the former president and CEO of the Belize Electricity Limited for more than a decade is now the President and CEO of BECOL, and is current President of the Rotary Club of Belize. Young has served on several boards in Canada, the Caribbean, and Belize and is said to bring significant managerial and governance expertise to Kolbe. In a special resolution passed by the Board on its December 10, 2013 Board of Management meeting, Woods was unanimously voted to remain on the Board as Member Emeritus.

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Prime Minister Barrow Responds to Dangriga Mayor's Protest over Infrastructure Money
In last night's newscast, we brought you the protest of Dangriga Mayor, Gilbert Swazo, who was up in arms over Government's alleged distribution of infrastructure money. In relation to the street works in the Stann Creek District and particularly in Dangriga, of which some $500,000 has been allocated, Mayor...

NTUCB members Encounter Mishap in the Sitting of the House
A special sitting of the House of Representatives convened today in the nation's capital. There was the introduction and passing of a number of legislations and we'll review those bills a little later on in the newscast. But first, to a bold move by the National Trade Union Congress...

Hon. Julius Espat Suspended from the Sitting over Verbal Dispute
Every House sitting is not without its fair share of drama; and today we report another set of circumstances which prompted the PUP delegation to walk out of the House yet again. On the adjournment, PUP Deputy Leader Julius Espat, and the Speaker of the House Michael Peyrefitte had a...

GOB Speaks on Bill to Protect Children in Sitting of the House
After close to two months of examination and re-drafting, the Criminal Code Amendment Bill (2) was passed today before the House of Representatives. Since its first reading, the bill has attained resistance from various corners of society. However, throughout the growing concern, Government maintained that the bill's chief purpose...

Your Heart Can be Jesus Christ's Manger
In the Gospel of Luke 1:35 the Bible says " The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.

The Guardian

Greedy PUPs fighting for Money
The howls of protest rang hollow once again at Independence hall as the People's United Party once again held a complain session masqueraded as a press conference on Tuesday, December 11th. As is now the norm, the PUP took time out to whine and bicker about what is the most current issue. This time around it was the government's decision to assist people across the country, spreading the Christmas Cheer and the way the Central Government has opted to ensure that work is done in municipalities with PUP councils. Francis Fonseca was first to bite up about the amount of money that is being given to the PUP representatives for the Christmas program. He said that the twenty five thousand dollars allotted to them is not equitable. He completely forgot that equity is a word which does not exist in the PUP's vocabulary. When they were distributing the Venezuela grant money in the run up to the 2008 General Election, equity was the least of their concerns. They gave it all away to their cronies, some of them got thousands of dollars twice! Anyone wanting to verify this can check the Auditor General's report on the Venezuelan Grant distribution. Francis also forgot that the second 20 million dollars was used to pay off the Universal Health Services private debt when the money was supposed to have been used to build houses for needy persons in the country. It seems that equity was not a consideration then. He also forgot that even after this money was recovered by the UDP administration the PUP representatives got their fair share for them to assist their supporters.

One Dead, four Missing at Sea
The body of 49-year-old fisherman, Thomas Levi Young was discovered on Tuesday, December 10th, at sea; he had been chopped and shot to death. The body was found floating about a mile east of Colson Caye. The gruesome discovery has sent the family members of his 4 fishing companions reeling in panic because they left on a fishing trip together on Saturday, December 7th, and since then, the men have not been seen or heard from. Young left on Thursday of last week with 26 year-old Derwind Gentle, 34 year-old Sergio Flores, 26 year-old Kenrick Chi, and 24 year-old Elgin Graham, and they made it to their fishing camp near Southern Long Caye. They contacted their family members on, and they were expected to return on Friday evening, or Saturday morning at the latest. The families collectively got concerned on Sunday when no one returned, and all calls to their cellular phones went unanswered.

PM Brokers Bagasse Breakthrough
Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, has been able to broker a deal between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and American Sugar Refineries/Belize Sugar Industry limited. The agreement as it stands on Wednesday, December 11th, had the PM present a letter to the BSCFA in which ASR commits to pay the cane farmers for bagasse. The price that will be paid is yet to be determined. Alfredo Ortega Chairman of the BSCFA explained that the proposal by ASR will be taken to a general meeting on Sunday December 15th during which they will be getting directives from the farmers on how to proceed. It is a major step forward for the industry which over the past few months had been bogged down in a standoff situation where cane farmers were requesting payment for bagasse as a bi-product of sugar cane and BSIL maintaining that it was really waste product. Prime Minister Barrow explained that negotiations between ASR and BSIL are expected after the Sunday general meeting of cane farmers and tentatively the first meeting is set for Thursday, December 19th. While that first step is encouraging, Ortega explained that for now they need to get a mandate from the farmers on how to move forward. Tentatively it is expected that BSIL and BSCFA will sign a commercial agreement in which they agree that payment on bagasse will be made and a four month period is taken during which a price is set on the bagasse.

The Crique Sarco Bridge - DP Pledged to Complete since 2008!!!!!
Crique Sarco Village is Toledo District's oldest Kechi village and was only accessed by sea and the Temash River. One had to paddle the river until the late 60's when outboard motors became available to the Canelo family. In 1998 or there about the road to Crique Sarco was bushed and shaped to the Northern banks of the Temash River. It took another year to get across because the dry season had to be waited on to cross the river. Around 2003 election time the parts of the now unfinished bridge was transported to the riverside by lowboy and then left there. Trees grew between the braces and parts of the bridge. The bridge was again given attention in 2008 just around election time when it was piled and assembled to its present stage. Another campaign strategy by PUP to win the hearts of the people in the Crique Sarco village. In the months after election a section was decked, wooden stairways were placed on both sides only for pedestrians to cross over. A far cry from the vehicles this structure should have been transferring to the village. During the period 2008 to 2012, the then Toledo East area representative Peter Eden Martinez lobbied for the completion of the Crique Sarco Bridge. Just prior to the General Elections, a meeting was held with personel of US Capital Energy, Ministry of Works officials, the then Alcalde and Chairman where it was agreed that US Capital and GOB would collaborate to the bridges completion.

More Streets repaired in Belmopan
As the Prime Minister had promised, every municipality across the country will be receiving finances to do rehabilitative work on streets after the rains damaged them over the past two months. One of the first of those municipalities which has already begun the work is Belmopan. On Monday, December 9th heavy equipment moved in on the junction of Brodies Road and Halfmoon avenue where the entire stretch of road was ripped up to make preparations for concrete to be placed. Being a heavy trafficked area, concrete was chosen as the surface of choice at this intersection. According to area representative, Hon. John Saldivar, work should be completed on this portion by Christmas. Work is also being done on George Price Road which is in the process of being paved as well as five streets in the Judges Area in Belmopan. A lot more work will be put into Belmopan in January.

Getting to Zero
The focus of HIV related activities remains that of getting to zero. This simple phrase encompasses three goals to be reached by 2015 - Zero new HIV infections; Zero AIDS related deaths; and Zero discrimination. The spotlight for World AIDS Day 2013 was on achieving Zero Discrimination and in many ways this is the technically most reachable, but socially most difficult to negotiate. To reach zero discrimination, not only against those infected and affected by HIV, but also those persons perceived as most at risk for infection, needs no new medical breakthrough, no costly medications and no physical infrastructure. However, it does need to break down the barriers in our hearts and minds that feed stigma and discrimination in all its forms. These barriers can only be broken down by examining and neutralising the building blocks of discrimination. Misdirected fear is the cement that holds these building blocks together. Fear is a natural human response but many factors can divert it from being a life-saving reaction to real threats into mindless actions that divide us into tribes of various types. It is natural to fear infection and sensible to take steps to avoid it, but excluding, punishing and discriminating against anyone who might be infected is not only an affront to human dignity but it is a particularly ineffective method, especially when we have no reliable way to know who is infected.

ATM Cops Charged
Police Corporal Reymundo Requena,42, and 30 year-old Constable Edgar Teul, officers attached to the Belama Police Station, have been charged for the shakedown of Thyrel Hyde, whose entire ordeal was caught on camera. Corporal Requena, who resides in Benque Viejo, was charged with theft of $70 from Hyde, and harm which he allegedly committed against him. Requena and Teul, who is a resident of Belmopan, were jointly charged along with another theft of $260 from Hyde. They were arraigned on Wednesday before Magistrate Clive Lino where they pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail of $4,000, which they were able to meet. They must return to court on February 11, 2014. Hyde alleges that a group of police officers, including those charged, shook him down for money with the threat of detaining him on September 8. He says that he was hanging out with a group of friends when a police mobile stopped and officers decided to search his vehicle. He says that they stole an envelope from his glove compartment which contained more than $1,500, and they told him to hand over all the money he had or else he would be locked down for the night.

8 years for Attempted Murder
On Tuesday, December 10th, 34-year-old Leslie Frazer was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of attempting to kill his ex-common-law wife's new lover. While he was sentenced to 8 years, Justice Adolph Lucas, who heard the case in a trial without jury, informed him that he will only have to serve 5 years since the victim was the one who provoked the incident. During the 5 day trial the victim, Faron Waight, and Frazer's Ex, Dona Mortis, testified as witnesses to the attempted murder. In court, Frazer testified that on May 29th, 2011, Waight was chopped once after which he fell to the ground and Frazer then went over him and chopped him several more times.

Convicted of attempted Murder
On Monday, December 9th, 35-year-old Lawrence Cholom was convicted of attempted murder in the Dangriga Supreme court. Cholom had appeared before Justice Denis S. Hanomansingh in the Southern Session of the Supreme Court in Dangriga in a trial by judge. After hearing the evidence against Cholom in late November, Justice Hanomansing ruled that he was guilty of the attempted murder of 26-year-old Moses Williams, who was stabbed once on August 29, 2010 in Big Falls Village, Punta Gorda. At around 2:30p.m. on that day whilst at the junction of Rice Hill Road in Big Falls Village, Cholom who was armed with a machete chopped Moses Williams once in the abdominal area. Williams later had to undergo surgery at the KHMH for his injury.

Charged for Attempted Murder of his Uncle
On Monday, December 9th, 2013, 37-year-old, Oliver Peters, an Electrician of #7173 Arlington Drive in Belize City appeared in Magistrate's Court where he was charged with attempted murder. Peters appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith who did not take any plea from him as he was charged with attempted murder, dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm upon his 44 year old uncle, Thomas Ferguson. After reading out the charges Peters was remanded to custody until January 21, 2014. Police report that on Saturday, December 7, at about 12:23 a.m., they responded to a stabbing incident at #7173 Arlington Drive in Belize City where they saw 44-year-old Thomas Ferguson, suffering from a single stab wound to the center of his chest. Ferguson was rushed to the KHMH where he was treated and is listed in a critical condition. Police say that their initial investigation into the stabbing incident has revealed that at about 12:20 a.m., Ferguson got into an altercation with his nephew, Oliver Peters, who took out a kitchen knife and stabbed him once in the chest area.

Senior Citizen killed in traffic accident
A senior citizen was killed in an accident on the Phillip Goldson Highway between Mile 6 and 7 on Wednesday, December 11th, sometime around 6:00 p.m. Ladyville police found the body of 75 year-old Gregory Leon Lopez on the side of the road with his bicycle, and the driver of a white Dodge Ram, Eldon Daniel Hendy, who knocked him down. According to investigators, Lopez was riding his bike heading toward Belize City, when he was hit from behind by Hendy's truck. He suffered major injuries to which he succumbed. The truck has been impounded and Hendy has been served with a notice of intended prosecution. Lopez's family told the media that they didn't realize that he chose to ride at that time of the day on the road, but they did know that he used to ride from family member to family member to visit them. They are also waiting on police to determine if Hendy was negligent when he knocked down Lopez.

Charged for killing three-year-old Boy
Hubert Anthony Martinez, 36 year-old, a civilian driver for the BDF residing in Ladyville, has been remanded to prison after he knocked down and killed a pre-schooler, 3 year-old Jahston Terry, and hurting his older brother, 9 year-old Jaheem. On Wednesday, December 4th, at around 5 o'clock, the brothers were waiting for a bus on Cemetery Road. They were both standing on the sidewalk when a white van, which was being driven by Martinez, sped down Cemetery Road, and ended up on the sidewalk. Both boys were surprised by the sudden appearance of the vehicle, and even though they tried to get out of the way, they were hit. Jahston suffered severe head and body injuries, and died on the spot. His brother suffered a broken ankle. The public outrage which flared up immediately after the incident was directed only at Martinez. That's because there were beer bottles inside the beverage tray of the van. Even Martinez looked on in disbelief of what happened when police were processing the scene and preparing to detain him.

Another Belize Adventure
In July of this year the Belize Tourism Board took journalists from the local press on a familiarization trip to Southern Belize in an effort to promote domestic tourism. From Thursday, December 5th, to Sunday, December 8th, BTB hosted a second familiarization trip for the local press to visit destinations in Cayo, Belize City and Ambergris Caye. The expedition was launched at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday as journalists from Belize City and Ambergris Caye boarded a Belize Transit Services bus at the BTB headquarters on Regent Street. The team, led by BTB's Media Relations Manager, Andrea Polanco, headed west to San Ignacio, Cayo. The first stop on the tour was the Black Rock Lodge which is about four and a half miles west of San Ignacio Town. On the right hand side of the George Price Highway (heading towards Benque) there is a "Block Rock River Lodge" sign at the entrance to a dirt road. The recent rains have put a pounding on the seven mile stretch of dirt road and the short drive is a scary one. The bus swerved cross and cross the muddy road and huge rocks crashed viciously between the wheels. As the driver battled to maneuver the bus through the treacherous terrain the ladies on the trip fought to hold in their screams. There were a couple interruptions in the screaming competition when the bus passed a couple impromptu waterfalls cascading down the hills at the side of the road, no doubt formed as a result of the record breaking rainfall in the last two months. The scary travel through the off road climaxed at the end where a steep fall led to the edge of a cliff. At this point even the men were screaming. Everyone soon learnt however that the trip was worth it as the Lodge proved to be all it was hyped up to be. The Black Rock Lodge rests within the majestic Maya Mountains and overlooks the pristine Macal River. According to Giovanni Fernandez, Tour Manager of Black Rock Lodge, it is possible to sight over 200 species of birds from the 250 acre property. Canoeing, river tubing, bird watching, guided hikes and mountain biking are only a few of the many activities offered at the Lodge. Black Rock Lodge's management takes pride in it being an "eco-lodge". The electricity for the cabins is produced at the site using a micro-hydro and solar power system. The water is supplied by a nearby mountain spring. Wastewater is processed through a system using plants and aerobic activity to recycle and return to the river. Belizeans can get a room for as low as $70 a night at the Black Rock River Lodge. After touring the property the group had lunch before departing for Windy Hills Resort where we would stay the night.

Belize's Education Sector Strategy
The Government and people of Belize contribute 26% of its budget towards Education and so it has become necessary to occasionally do a diagnosis via an Education Sector Strategy (ESS). Such a sector diagnosis to provide empirical data on the Educational System was done in 2011 and consultations were held with the relevant stakeholders from April to June 2012. It has been improved on so extensively that it has to date become the lighthouse for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. A guiding force towards an ESS within Belize has always been a social and economic challenge but it is needed to improve both individual and collective lives. One of the views that have been expressed at a recent educational forum is that investments in education were about doing things differently and not about just investing more. Such a view point has been shared by David Leacock, the Chief Executive Officer within the Ministry of Education in "�how do we make better use of the available resources." In the Report entitled, 'Improving access, quality and governance of education in Belize' and contained in the Education Sector Strategy 2011 to 2016, it was revealed by Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, that we had 100,000 students enrolled in schools at all levels, twice that of 1990. According to Minister Faber, there were 5,000 teachers, more than twice of 1990; 541 schools, twice of 1990 and 190 Million was being spent in education, five times more than from within that same period.

GMO discussions commence at National Conference on Agro-Biotechnology and Biosafety in Belmopan
A diverse number of persons interested in both Agro-biotechnology and Biosafety attended a one day conference on the issues at the George Price Center for Peace and Development in Belmopan on Tuesday of this week. The National Conference, which brought together experts in the field as well as farmers and industry leaders, was organized by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture (MNRA) in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA). In a statement made by the Food and Agriculture Organization in Tokyo in 2000, biotechnology was deemed to provide powerful tools for the sustainable development of agriculture, fisheries and forestry, as well as the food industry. Biotechnology involves a range of technologies such as gene manipulation, gene transfer, Deoxirobonucleic Acid typing and cloning of plants and animals.

GSU's actions cost GOB $175,000
On Wednesday, December 11th, the case of George Street residents versus the Gang Suppression Unit which was initiated in 2012 was to have started in court but after negotiations the matter was settled out of court. At the end of the matter government, through the actions of the GSU, admitted liability to the tune of $175,000 thousand dollars. A total of 18 claimants from the George Street area had filed the action against the GSU and depending on whether they were physically abused they will receive 12 thousand dollars or 5 thousand dollars if they were wrongfully imprisoned. Another individual who was also beaten during the a raid by the GSU on George Street after the funeral of Charles Woodeye on August 15th, 2011 is Zane Galvez who sustained a broken arm. His case was also settled out of court. He will be receiving 30 thousand dollars out of which he has to pay legal fees.

New Joint Operation Center for Better Law Enforcement
On Monday,December 9, Belize's Law Enforcement Agencies opened a chapter of unprecedented interdepartmental cooperation with the official opening of the Joint Operation Center. The JOC is an initiative started 2 years ago under the BDF Command of Retiring Brigadier General Dario Tapia. It also represents the close ties that Belize shares with Canada and the United States Government. The JOC is a military facility which is housed on the BDF's Price Barrack Compound, but the officers who make up the staff come from the Belize Defence Force, the Belize Police Department, the Belize Coast Guard, Customs and Immigration. This operation, while it draws on the resources and man-power of the 5 law enforcement agencies, will be completely autonomous of them. The main purpose is to take an integrated and collaborative approach to security and battling crime. Theoretically, the JOC will be able to pool all intelligence from the 5 agencies, plan missions of high priority, and execute using a team of the elite officers from the entire security ministry. Each agency will have a corresponding liaison officer, who will be able to contact the different commanders to get clearance to use whatever resource is necessary.

Belize on Target with most Millennium Development
This United Democratic Party Administration has introduced numerous social programs in an effort to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and the latest report card shows that its initiatives are working. The Millennium Development Goals Report and Post 2015 Agenda was released on Monday, December 9th. The report measures the country's efforts and effectiveness in meeting the eight Millennium Development Goals. Those goals are (MDG#1) eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by halving the number of people living below the indigence line; (MDG#2) achieve universal primary education; (MDG#3) promote gender equality and women empowerment by eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education; (MDG#4) reduce child mortality rate by two-thirds; (MDG#5) improve maternal healthcare by reducing maternal mortality by three-fourths and ensuring universal access to reproductive health; (MDG#6) combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; (MDG#7) ensure environmental sustainability and (MDG#8) develop a global partnership for development. The Research Department of the University of Belize collected and processed the data for the report. Dr. Phillip Castillo is the Lead Researcher of the team. He was responsible specifically for MDG#1, eradication of poverty and extreme hunger. This was the most difficult to report on because the report is based on progress from 2010 to 2012 and the last comprehensive poverty analysis was completed in 2009. Castillo says while there is no data to accurately grade Belize's performance on MDG#1 from 2010 to 2012 "it must be mentioned that the social safety net and the pro poor programmes of Government have drawn substantial commendation from the World Bank."

Fight Poverty, Not The Poor
"Ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for" goes an ancient saying that exemplifies the need to be bold and yes to take calculated risk with resolute conviction. A potential game changer within the political arena that recently quoted that proverb is Councillor Roger Espejo. He maintains that without taking risk we are unlikely to reap reward and that the Fort George Constituency now needs someone to 'grab the bull by the horn'. Uncomfortable with the way things are in his constituency as well as the lack of leadership by the area representative the two-time Councillor is already making in-roads in the battle against apathy that plagues certain pockets within the area that he already does and intends to serve as representative. Starting with the things that matter Roger Espejo is motivating residents in the areas of sanitation and civic pride. Clearly the work in this area is cut out for any 'area rep' but work is what makes this young leader tick. Believing in health and general well being as the foundation of stability to fight poverty, Councillor Espejo recently organized a massive cleanup campaign in the 'Pickstock Hutment' - an inner city village where the current 'area rep' has failed to lead and/or lobby for the installment of basic management such as garbage collection. While littering is a challenge that plagues this area, residents do lack the proper waste facilities like many others of marginalized pockets throughout the area. It's no wonder, then, that for years residents have dumped household garbage beside a playground where on a weekly basis an abhorrent 'hotspot' was created until now. Having installed a receptacle system that can be discharged easily by paid sanitation workers, change is happening. Already residents are using the system, which shows that a little idea followed with conviction can have major effect.

Willoughby assists City Resident
Two time Belize City Councillor, Phillip Willoughby has time and again proven himself to be a go-to guy when people are in need of assistance. He's proven that most visibly during time of emergencies in Belize City as he plunges himself into ensuring the safety of others. This is not all he is able to assist with however, last week Willoughby was able to assist three residents of the Old Capital with gas tanks. One of the tanks was delivered to a resident of the Conch Shell Bay Area while another to someone living on Magazine Road and the third was delivered to someone living in the Jump Street area. Willoughby explained that he saw the need to assist the ladies especially in this time of year when there is great need for cooking to take place. "It is not much, but I try to assist city residents whenever I can," he told the Guardian.

Tony Zabaneh Drop Bukut on Independence Residents (Doubles Garbage Tax)
Residents of Independence Village are suffering from buyers' remorse (or sellers' remorse) after the Village Council recently decided to raise their garbage collection tax by 100%. Residents previously paid $7 for garbage collection fee. This was already a topic of controversy because the garbage trucks are old and the garbage is carried in an opened back bed. Residents say this is hazardous to their health because garbage and liquid waste always falls from the truck as it goes through the community. No attempt has been made to improve the garbage collection system or buy new trucks yet the Village Council has informed residents that residential fees will increase from $7 to $14 effective immediately. Village Council Chairman, Tony Zabaneh, is including the fee in residents' water bill from the village's Water Board. According to a concerned resident of Independence Village, they have been threatened that if they fail to pay the fee their water will be disconnected. Attaching municipal fees to utility bills has been proposed before and rejected by the Ministry of Local Government. Residents of Independence Village should take their complaints to the Ministry. Tony Zabaneh must realize that not everyone in Independence Village is a millionaire. A 100% tax increase for garbage collection is a terrible Christmas gift, Grinch.

San Pedro Roman Catholic is the Belize District primary schools Football champions
The 2013-2014 Belize District Primary Schools Football Championship came to an end on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at the MCC Grounds with the District Finals. In the girls' championship game, San Pedro Roman Catholic edged Holy Redeemer School by the score of 3-2 in penalty kick to capture the title. The goal scorers for San Pedro Roman Catholic School were Princess Bailey, Keanna Cabanas, and Ester Galliano. Meanwhile, the goal scorers for Holy Redeemer School were Katrina Aguilar and Kelsey Rodriguez. In the first girls' game of the day, San Pedro Roman Catholic School defeated Belize Elementary School by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Lesbia Guity. In game two, Holy Redeemer School defeated Pancotto from Sandhill by the score of 3-1 in penalty kick. The goals for Holy Redeemer School were scored by Kelsie Moss (2) and Aaliyah Crawford, while the goal for Pancotto was scored by Cassie Augustine.

Paradise/Freedom Fighters and Belmopan Bandits at top of Belikin Cup Tournament
The 2013 Premier League of Belize Belikin Cup Tournament continued over the weekend with three games across the country. On Saturday, December 7, out at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the host team Belmopan Bandits clipped the wings of the suddenly high flying Verdes FC by the score of 2-1. The visiting Verdes FC was able to get onto the scoreboard first when Rodney Pacheco scored his team's only goal of the game in the 10th minute of play to give them a 1-0 lead. The Belmopan Bandits finally got onto the scoreboard when Deon McCauley scored the equalising goal in the 29th minute of play to tie the score at 1-1. The first half of the game ended 1-1. However, in the 2nd half of the game, the offence of the Belmopan Bandits turned up the heat on the Verdes FC's defence and was able to penetrate the goal line when Denmark Casey scored the winning goal in the 64th minute of play. At the end of the long whistle it was indeed a 2-1 victory for the Belmopan Bandits and a share in the lead at the top of the standings.

Byron Pope captures 1st Alpheus Williams Criterium
The Belize Cycling Association sponsored its first Annual Alphesus Williams Criterium on Sunday, December 8, 2013 in the down town area of Belize City. In the Youth/Junior category, 1st place went to Delawn Abraham of Benny's Megabytes who completed the course in a time of 43:11; 2nd place went to Tarique Flowers also of Benny's Megabytes who completed the course in a time of 44:11; while third place went to Darrien Anderson unattached who completed the course in a time of 45:53. In the Masters Category4/5, 1st place went to Barney Brown of Scotiabank who completed the event in a time of59:10, 2nd place went to Dean Belisle unattached, 3rd place went to Kenny Gladden of Scotiabank, 4th place went to Daniel Cano unattached, 5th place went to Windell Williams and 6th place went to George Abraham of Truckers Posse who completed the event in a time of 59:15.

Inter-District Football competition continues
The 2013 Inter-District Football Competition continued over the last week of play with games played across the country in 4 different zones. On Saturday Dec 7, in Zone 1 game played at the Toledo Union Field, MnM Steelers edged Mavericks by the score of 2-1. The goals of MnM Steelers were scored by Tyron Parham in the 39th minute of play and Dion Burgess in the 63rd minute of play. Meanwhile, the only goal of the game for Mavericks was scored by Andre Logan in the 6th minute of play. In Zone 2 competition played out at the Carl Ramos Stadium, Hope Creek United and San Martin FC played to a 1-1 draw. The goal for San Martin FC was scored by Melvin Barrientos in the 18th minute of play, while the goal for Octavio Ramirez was scored in the 7th minute of play. In zone 3 action at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, Ebony Lake edged Georgeville Strikers by the score of 3-2. The scorers for Ebony Lake were Carlos Lino in the 23rd minute of play and David Robateau in the 72nd minute of play. For Georgeville Strikers, the goals were scored by Kurt Cardenas in the 43rd minute of play (own goal), and Brandon Jones in the 51st and 63rd minutes of play.

Guardian Bombers a win away from senior male softball title
The 2013 Belize City Senior Men's Softball Competition which is being sponsored by Smart is one game away from crowning a champion. The male championship series is being played between Guardian Bombers and Oceana Strikers and is utilising the best of five format. On Wednesday, December 4, Guardian Bombers out-lasted the Oceana Strikers in a slug fest when it tallied 17 times to beat it by the score of 17-11. Milton Flores, who did had his anxious moments on the mound, walked a number of batters, also hit a number of batters ,unleashed his array of wild pitches was the winning pitcher.

Kephawn Pawn Shop Belize City Mayor's Cup Champions
The 2013 Belize City Mayor's Cup competition came to an end on Sunday, December 8, at the MCC Grounds. In the first of two games that were on the schedule, Caye Caulker defeated Hattieville United by the score of 4-1. The goals for Caye Caulker were scored by Brian Martinez (2), Melvin Gamez and Ernest Flores, while the goal for Hattieville United was scored by Brandon Rushford. In the second game, West Lake won over Ladyville via the default route.

Hon. Rene Montero Christmas 9- Ball Tournament
The Hon. Rene Montero Christmas 9-ball tournament took a break last weekend due to the first ever international friendly match with Belize and Guatemala players where David Fernandez represented Cayo, but we get back to rack 'em up this week as the tournament counts down at LINK-UP bar in Santa Elena, Cayo. The Standing to date are as follows: Link Up Team - 28 pts, Shooters - 22 pts, Old School - 18 pts; three teams namely: Dibo's, Di Rebels, and Champions have 14 pts each;. Snipers - 4 pts. Schedule for this week: Wed, Dec. 11, Old School vs Champions at 6:30 p.m.; and on Thursday, Dec. 12, 6:30 p.m., Snipers vs. Di Rebels. This will conclude the regular season and on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m., it will be the semi-finals with the top four teams going up against each other. From our analysis, we can say that Link-up and Shooters have already clinched playoffs spots with Link-up being the number one seeded team, but the third and fourth spots are anybody's guess.

2nd Annual Smart 13 and Under Championship this weekend
The Semi-final Round of the 2nd Annual Smart 13 & U Football competition was played on Saturday, December 7, at the MCC Grounds. In the first semi-final game, Brown Bombers eliminated Rising Stars by the score of 4-0. The goals for the Brown Bombers team were scored by Tyreek Muschamp, Sherwin Requena, Dion Cacho and Naheem Gentle. In the second semi-final game, Hattieville United eliminated City Boys by the score of 1-0. The lone goal of the game was scored by Mario Rivera. The championship game will be played this coming Saturday, December 14, at the MCC Grounds. In the third place game scheduled for 1:00 p.m., Rising Stars will see action against City Boys; while in the championship game at 2:00 p.m. Brown Bombers will square off against the Hattieville United team.

Fight Poverty, Not The Poor
"Ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for" goes an ancient saying that exemplifies the need to be bold and yes to take calculated risk with resolute conviction. A potential game changer within the political arena that recently quoted that proverb is Councillor Roger Espejo. He maintains that without taking risk we are unlikely to reap reward and that the Fort George Constituency now needs someone to 'grab the bull by the horn'. Uncomfortable with the way things are in his constituency as well as the lack of leadership by the area representative the two-time Councillor is already making in-roads in the battle against apathy that plagues certain pockets within the area that he already does and intends to serve as representative. Starting with the things that matter Roger Espejo is motivating residents in the areas of sanitation and civic pride. Clearly the work in this area is cut out for any 'area rep' but work is what makes this young leader tick.

Merry Time at Toys for Tots Christmas Party
Fifty children from primary schools in the Southside of Belize City were treated to food, toys and a whole lot of laughter at the Toys for Tots Christmas Party on Tuesday, December 10th, at the House of Culture. The Toys for Tots program is a regional initiative started by Continental Airlines over a decade ago. Since the merger with United Airlines three years ago, the Belize staff is one of few that have maintained the program. Indira Craig, Country Manager for United Airlines, says it was important for them to keep the program because "it has been one of the most rewarding community programs for us". She says, "There is nothing like having a child walking home with a toy for Christmas. Their faces are all lit up and it is one of the best feelings in the world to witness such pure joy." The Toys for Tots team from United started their fundraising drive in September at the Expo. Staff members and travel agents sold raffle tickets for a round trip ticket to anywhere United Airlines flies in the United States. The Christmas party was made possible with the proceeds from the raffle along with donation from corporate sponsors such as Smart, Bowen and Bowen and Grace Kennedy Belize Limited.

Gifts from Armenians to Armenia Village
On Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 the children of Armenia Government School were visited with tidings of good cheer and tokens of generosity courtesy of a group representing the Termendjian family of Los Angeles, California and the Paradise Shrimp Farm near Hope Creek in the Stann Creek district. This small gesture is what these kind folks hope is only the start of a beautiful relationship with the people and Village of Armenia. While visiting Belize on an investment scouting trip they passed through the village on the way to what would eventually become the location of the Paradise Shrimp Farm and immediately felt an affinity to the quiet community bearing the name of their ancestral home of Armenia in Eurasia. Almost immediately, they decided that they would take the village under their altruistic wings. In coordination with their friends in Belize, they arranged to have toys delivered to each and every child at the Primary School.

Major road works in Corozal Town
Roadwork equipment has been activated in Corozal Town where 7 streets are in the process of being rebuilt. According to Corozal Mayor Hilberto Campos, work will be done on 1st Avenue, 2nd Street North, 7th Avenue Extension, 3rd Street North, 6th Street South which is better known as the San Andres Road, the Alta Mira Road and the road at the boundary between San Andres and Corozal Town. The works were scheduled for some months now, however, rains prevented any work from being done. Now that the rains have let up, work has begun and mayor Campos explained that he is anticipating that at least 4 of the 7 streets will be completed in time for Christmas.

$500,000 in Repairs for Dangriga
On Monday December 9th CISCO construction began work to repair streets in Dangriga including Church and Isla Street and streets in the Benguche area. Coming in at a cost of $500,000, the works come as part of Central Government's commitment to alleviate bad road conditions in all municipalities. The work became necessary after months of heavy rains caused extensive damage to the roads across the country. The works to be carried out will include reconstruction of the streets with concrete and asphalt. CISCO, according to the government, was selected as the contractor because of its established record of providing high quality and good value for road construction and repair as well as the use of labor intensive methods to do the work. This allows for creation of employment opportunities in the areas where work is done. Work has already commenced and it is expected to last for 4 to 5 weeks.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

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.

Belize marina development excites US investors
Off-plan condos at the new Ara Macao Resort & Marina development is causing great excitement among American investors, says its agent An American agent says there is excitement around a new luxury marina development in Belize. Coldwell Banker Premier Properties in St Augustine, Florida, is marketing off-plan condos and land plots at the new luxury Ara Macao Resort & Marina development. The Ara Macao Resort & Marina, a master planned, residential resort community and marina, is at Placencia Peninsula, on Belize's south coast.

Neighbourhood Watch Meeting
Monday, Dec. 16th at the Community Center


Our wet dry combo was delicious and Roadkill Bar bake sale update
Last night we went to AJ's with Sue and Steve to try their wings and check out jam night. It was great to catch up with them and a few other people we have not seen in a while, Pam, Jerry, Jack, Jean and Bruce. I was also glad to see Nancy there as it gave us time to talk shop and go over a few bake sale details, she is helping us recruit bakers. Pam also a great baker counted herself in for a donation, I cant wait so sample all the yummy treats that turn up. Jam night was on the quiet side but it was perfect for my low key mood. As I listened to Jack playing a acoustic version summertime, I was immediately transported to a porch somewhere on a hot summer day drinking lemonade - just what I needed. Tacoboy and I decided to go for a wet dry combo with garlic parm and honey barbecue wings and both were yummy. Sue and Steve went for classic salt and pepper, I was considering that for the dry part of our order but the Parmesan and garlic combo won me over.

Ladies' and Puppies' Luncheon Raises over $5000 For the San Pedro PolyClinic
Yesterday, an amazing group of women held an open Holiday Lunch - LADIES ONLY- and raised over $5000bzd for the public medical center in town. This didn't happen all at once. Two women donated tons of time, resources and probably a bit of blood to make these insanely adorable "Poly Puppies". 73 of them. Each different and special. Ti Southwell and Amy Oldham made them all! Each doll was on sale for $30bzd. Marilyn, on the right, embraced the cuteness and the cause and BOUGHT 11. For Xmas gifts for kids and grandkids. All of the money goes directly to a specific list of medical supplies for the polyclinic. Here is Krista with some of the pups.

Belizeans are Happy With Continued Crime Downturn in Belize
Recent news of a continued, dramatic downturn in crime is one more sign that the relatively new nation of Belize is maturing into a sophisticated travel destination with a high quality of life for its citizens and greater security for visitors, according to the owners of The Lodge at Chaa Creek. And Lucy Fleming, who founded the popular resort in 1981 with her husband Mick, the same year Belize achieved independence from Great Britain, said that the burgeoning eco-tourism industry has contributed to the reduction in crime. "Eco tourism is providing employment and opportunities for an ever growing number of Belizeans, and we're seeing more young people entering the hospitality industry or furthering their education in order to take advantage of the growing number of jobs. "This all adds up to hope, employment and better prospects for the future; all deterrents to crime. It's all very encouraging," she said. Ms Fleming said that while crime was never a major problem in the Cayo district, where Chaa Creek is located, Belize City once had a reputation for criminality, mostly between gang members but also in general. However, according to a December 10, 2013 report on 7 News Belize, the murder rate in Belize City has been halved since this time December of last year, and other crimes are down as well. The report quotes ACP Miguel Segura as emphasising that the crime reduction is the result of a multifaceted approach. "The contribution of crime (reduction) is not only from the police aspect, the contribution comes from everyone� when you look at job employment, media houses, parents, NGOs - everybody putting in their piece," he said.

Belizean Mini Tarts
Coconut Tarts are such a divine confection. Using the fresh flakes of a young coconut and sweetened condensed milk, you can make a sweet treat that is sure satisfy.

Caribbean Export Hosts the Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Financial Services
The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) in collaboration with The Government of Barbados convened a meeting on the Financial Services sector in CARIFORUM at the Radisson Hotel, Barbados on December 9, 2013. The meeting of Ministers with responsibility for financial services and key industry professionals was assembled to develop the strategic direction relating to the continued development of the industry, to develop recommendations relating to the governance structure of the regional initiative, and to determine the strategic engagement of the Overseas Countries and Territories in the overall process.

Call for Proposal from Caribbean Export Development Agency

International Sources

Student Filmmakers Show Off Belize Documentaries
A group of NMSU students in the Creative Media Institute spent 3 days in Belize producing documentaries on the lives of people there. "There's palm trees all over the place�definitely different from New Mexico." It was a long way from home for CMI student, Bridges Gijsbers. "You know they're all excited to be there�I'm thinking of Bucket Man right now." Matthew Valdovinos worked alongside Bridges to make their film called 'Iguana Project.' "Their names were great�Lenny Gentle�everybody has a story." As happens when you are filming a documentary, not everything goes as planned. Scott Saiz found that out filming a main character in his piece called 'Modern Mayan.' "Sandro's eldest son was cleaning their trash pit�found this big old tarantula�then he goes over there and he kills it and I'm like, 'oh, I didn't want it killed.'"

UN probes Belize human-trafficking report
The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights says Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, will visit Belize from Dec. 12-16 "to examine the situation of trafficking of women, men and children." It will be the first time that an independent expert of the U.N. Human Rights Council is visiting the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)-member state. "During my visit to the Belize, I will study the situation in order to make recommendations to prevent and fight trafficking, and protect its victims," Ezeilo said. The U.N. Human Rights Office said Ezeilo, who visits Belize at the invitation of the government, 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."

12 Days of ZooLights: Toucan
Today's Animal of the Day: Keel-billed Toucan Why We Love The Display: The naturally bright color-scheme of the toucan is perfect to put you in the holiday spirit. Habitat: These birds can be found from southern Mexico, to Venezuela and Colombia. At the zoo: The toucans have made their home in the Amazonia Exhibit of the zoo, which is also home to hundreds of other species of plants and animals. Bet you didn't know... The Keel-billed Toucan is the national bird of Belize. About ZooLights: In this yearly display, more than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland. Check out the new garden scene light sculpture.

Dr. Abdulai Conteh Endorses PV Editorial
Dr. Abdulai Osman Conteh is a former Attorney General, Foreign Minister and Vice President of Sierra Leone.He was Chief Justice of Belize and currently Justice of Appeal in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and Cayman Islands. In the following short piece he endorses a recent editorial by PV Publisher and CEO Gibril Gbanabome Koroma on the African Court for Human and Peoples' Rights in Arusha, Tanzania: I wholeheartedly support Sierra Leone acceding to the Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights. The record will show that Sierra Leone played its part in the adoption of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1981, when I had the privilege of seconding the resolution for its adoption, in my capacity as Sa. Leone's head of the delegation and Foreign Minister.

Belize, the tiny Central American country, wedged between Guatemala and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, is blessed with virgin beauty. Vast, white-sand beaches host translucent, azure waters bearing the largest barrier reef in the world, after Australia. Two hours inland, dense rainforests and remote rivers shelter endangered species, many indigenous and unique to Belize, and conceal rich, historical Mayan sights. From the astonishing array of marine life to its dazzling display of jungle life, the Caribbean way of life completes the allure. A plethora of uber-luxury properties is peppered throughout, offering serious R&R in thatched-roof finery. None finer than the two, multiple award-winning, ultra-luxury retreats of Hollywood film director, Francis Ford Coppola: Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn. Coppola is the Godfather of hoteliers in Belize. With ambitious vision and determination to match, decades ago he converted his private 70-acre home in the forest into an enchanted fairytale retreat, which consistently tops travel polls. He cleverly uses the subtlety and drama of nature to play on surrealism, stimulating the subconscious mind whilst pandering to every conscious desire.

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