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The latest Tia Chocolate column is ready for reading!!!
Peanut Brother & Jelly II - The Roast:
The black earth clings to each bundle of peanuts packed tightly in the crocus sacks that are piled high in our storeroom. It's been weeks of reaping, and we are finally home to take care of the last batch before they are all ready for sale. While we've been camping for weeks, my aunts and uncles have been busy at our house, washing and drying the stocks that arrived weekly, packing them in clean sacks. Our final batch arrived on our worn horses, pulling the last cartload of earthy produce. I often sat atop the sacks, burrowed down against my mother's lap as we jostled down the dirt roads and slopes on our way home.

The San Pedro Sun

Armed robbery attempt at W & W Convenience Store: gunfire exchanged
Gun fire was exchanged during an attempted armed robbery of W & W Convenience store located in the DFC area tonight, December 21st. Initial reports from police and from the owner of the store, state that two men wearing masks attempted to rob the store at approximately 8:15 PM. One of the men was wielding what appeared to be a revolver. The owner of the store fired his 9mm handgun at the assailants who allegedly returned fire. The robbers fled on foot leaving their two bicycles and coins they had stolen during their escape. Officers on the scene said they were reviewing video surveillance footage in an attempt to identify the culprits. At this time it is unknown if any of the assailants were injured during the gunfire. Police are requesting that anyone with information please call the station at 206-2022.

Two more jaguar hides confiscated by Belize Forestry Department in San Pedro
A joint operation between the Belize Forestry Department and San Pedro Police Department has led to the discovery of two illegal jaguar hides. The pelts were found inside a warehouse in the San Marcos area on Marina Drive in San Pedro Town on Tuesday December 17th. According to Victoria Cawich, Forestry and Wildlife Officer at the Belize Forestry Department, the operation was launched after authorities received a tip from a local resident on Monday December 16th. The operation was immediately put into place and with the help of San Pedro police, the warehouse was searched. Cawich explained that inside the building were two well preserved jaguar pelts which appeared to be of two fully mature adult jaguars, scientifically known as Panthera Onca. Investigations so far reveal that the jaguars were killed in the Toledo District. According to Cawich, the naturalized Belizean who had the pelts explained that he came in to possession of the jaguar hides in March from a friend living in Punta Gorda Town. That person was contacted by investigators and indicated that he shot and killed the animals after they were attacking and killing his livestock on his farm. The Punta Gorda Town resident said that he gave the jaguar hides to a friend since it was of no use to him.

Christmas Message from Officer in Charge, Luis Castellanos
I am pleased to report that since the start of the festive period, crime has been low. For this I am very grateful and hope that it continues on that trend. It is the best gift that can be afforded to this beautiful island. For the Yuletide season we will endeavor, through targeted EXTRA-PATROL, to ensure that the island of San Pedro continues to be a safe tourist destination, for visiting tourist and a safe haven for the local community. I also take this opportunity to inform the General Public, that we are cognizant that it is the season to be JOYFUL and MERRY, but that we must be responsible in our actions particularly to avoid, DRINKING AND DRIVING, DRUNK AND DISORDERLY BRAWLS, BOISTERIOUS AND DISORDERLY BEHAVIOURS, THROWING AND BREAKING BOTTLES ON THE PAVEMENT, RECKLESS AND BLATANT DISCHARGE OF FIRE CRACKERS. All in all let us celebrate in peace and respect for each other. I would like to thank law enforcement partners such as the Coast Guard, Immigration Department, Customs, Labor Department, Forestry Department, and the Mayor His Lordship Daniel Guerrero and his councilors for the continued support to ensure that San Pedro continues to be one of the safest place in the country of Belize. It is a great privilege for my staff and myself to serve this beautiful Town and I take this opportunity to wish each and every one a very Merry Christmas and a Peaceful and prosperous New Year.

San Pedro Dance Academy presents a Tropical Nutcracker Christmas Show
The San Pedro Dance Academy presented their final show of the year entitled The Tropical Nutcracker. The much anticipated annual Christmas show took place at the Rafael Angel Nu�ez Auditorium on Sunday December 15th. The annual Christmas program is the dance group's way of saying thanks to the community for their constant support. The program story was about a girl who wanted to take a Christmas trip away from the cold snow and travel to a tropical paradise of sun, beach and sea filled with fun. The dancers brought the stage to life with a tropical Christmas theme in a 45 minute non-stop presentation. A total of 46 dancers from beginners, beginners-advance, juniors and seniors combined the holiday theme with various tropical musical songs. From the traditional Belizean brukdown and punta to the Latin salsa and bachata, all the sections of the show were strategically choreographed and fussed the music selections into a Christmas theme. Combined with their outfits, The Tropical Nutcracker dance and music presentations captivated the attention of the audience who throughout the show cheered and clapped for the participants.

The Belize Fisheries Department Enforcing Gill Net Registration Policy
On Saturday, December 7th a fisherman was found using an unregistered gill net near the Bomba Village river/lagoon channel. The fisherman using the net was reported to Hol Chan Marine Reserve officers, who visited the area for inspection. Upon inspection, the net was found to be unregistered. The fisherman was warned and told to register his net at the Fisheries Department as per the new fishing regulations. While it is a law that all gill nets are to be registered, several fishermen are still unaware of this policy. On July 1, 2013 the Belize Fisheries Department enacted the policy requiring that all gill nets, whether used for profit or nonprofit, must be registered before it is used. The regulation was setup in accordance with the Statutory Instrument No. 78 of the Belize Fisheries Act. The purpose of the regulation was to ensure the sustainable management of commercial fisheries, as well as protection of various species of fish.

IDB announces new Country Strategy with Belize for 2013-2017
Education, tourism, transport and trade and tax policy will be the strategy's main focus The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) today approved a new Country Strategy with Belize, affirming its commitment to partner with the Government of Belize on the country's development. The strategy will support Belize in addressing its development challenges in four priority areas: education, tourism, transport, and trade and tax policy. "The IDB's new strategy with Belize will help the government address the country's needs by supporting greater efficiency in public spending and improving the conditions for sustainable, export-led growth through institutional strengthening and infrastructure investments in key sectors of the economy", said Anneke Jessen, IDB Representative in Belize.

Winners of the annual Caribbean Christmas Colors Contest shine bright in San Pedro
It was another joyful ride for The San Pedro Sun elves - er�staff - as they rode around San Pedro Town on Saturday, December 14th, for their 9th Annual Caribbean Christmas Colors Contest. Joining the merry ride and having the great honor to choose their favorite brightly lit homes were esteemed judges Jan Brown, Melanie Paz and Enrique de Leon. Children were surely happy to see the golf carts adorned with Christmas decorations driving past their streets, as the mini parade went along judging the festively decorated houses while handing out sweet treats in the spirit of holiday sharing. Santa Claus even joined the procession of carts for a moment while he was out checking to see who's been naughty or nice. Although the rain and challenging roads tried to damped their holiday spirit,the gang still managed to tour through town core, neighboring areas and even ventured over the Boca del Rio Bridge for a short distance. The procession then ventured south, all the way to Escalante. Unfortunately some areas were impossible to reach due to street conditions because of the rain. Despite it all, nothing could stop the fun, which was certainly the sight of the festive houses, each uniquely decorated. The three judges certainly had a difficult task, as all the decorated houses had their own special Christmas touch. The hardest part of the night was choosing the lucky winners. Houses were judged on which portrayed the different categories best: Judges Choice/Best Overall, Best Theme, Most Creative,Jan Jensen Memorial Award, Neighborhood Star, Honorable Mention, Mrs. Claus' Choice, Best Business, Business Honorable Mention and Editor's Choice. After a brief deliberation by the judges, decisions were made and the choices were unanimous.

The LeClairs bring Santa Claus to San Pedro
He was not on his trusty old sleigh, but rather on an equally fun golf cart, when Santa Claus arrived at San Pedro on Saturday, December 14th giving candy canes to all the nice children of San Pedro. Bob LeClair and his wife, Lou Ann were more than happy to play the role of Santa and Mrs. Claus and bring some Christmas joy to the children. The LeClairs, originally from San Jose, California, US, have been living on Ambergris Caye for about four years and when the opportunity came up for them to give back to the community, they quickly took the offer. According to the LeClairs, Bob was the man behind Saga's Santa in the 2012 Lighted Boat Parade, but since unfortunately there was not boat a parade this year, he decided to dress up and drive along the streets of San Pedro giving out candy to the boys and girls. "We love San Pedro and its people and wanted to give back to the community. And what better way than having Santa giving back! To see the smiles and happy faces on not just the young ones, but the older ones also, is such a good feeling," said Lou Ann.

Puma sighted in San Pedro Town
There is much concern amongst local residents on Ambergris Caye following reports that a puma was sighted on the morning of Thursday December 19th. So far, the Belize Forestry Department has been combing the area and is also warning residents to be extra vigilant. According to an eye witness report, sometime around 7:30 AM he sighted the tawny cat also referred to as a cougar (Puma concolor) near the San Telmo Area around Caribbean Villas. The wild cat was seen walking across the street in a dense area on Coconut Drive in San Pedro Town. He immediately reported the incident to local police, who contacted the Belize Forestry Department. According to Pantera Expert Bart Harmsen, pumas are usually "extremely slippery" and are known to move around very quickly and unnoticed. "What we know is that people have seen the wild cat and there are reports of rabbits and chickens gone missing," said Harmsen as he explained to authorities what has been established so far. Residents in the area are also reporting that they have been noticing less raccoons in the area recently. "The only way to catch this puma is if we know where it is," he added. So far, only tracks were noticed in the early part of the day, but due to the heavy downpour of rain, those tracks were washed away, making it difficult to further investigate the sighting.

Ambergris Today

Hunt Continues for Wild Puma in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
In our little town word about something exciting spreads faster than wildfire and that's exactly what happened on Thursday, December 19, 2013, as the news that a wildcat was seen crossing the street and running into the bushes in the south side of town quickly got residents panicking. Tonight, the Belize Forestry Department urges residents to be vigilant of such a wild animal. Mountain lions are also called cougars, panthers, catamounts, and in Belize pumas and that is what a resident spotted crossing the street on Coconut Drive early this morning. Residents in the area claim that their live stock such as chickens and rabbits have become prey for the mighty cougar. Local authorities including the San Pedro Town Council and the San Pedro Police Department were informed about the situation and personnel from the Belize Forestry Department and Belize Wildlife Referral Clinic came to the island to assist in capturing the wildcat.

Island Academy's Hollywood Christmas Spectacular
Lights, Camera, Christmas! Every year the students of the Island Academy never fail to impress their audience at their annual Christmas Pageant. This year the students produced a Hollywood themed variety show on Wednesday, December 18, 2013. With a production filled with Hollywood celebrity impersonations and movie set props, the upperclassmen of the Island Academy put on a first class presentation filled with song, dance and plenty of acting entertainment. Hollywood never looked so good; the play was all about celebrating making the perfect movie in honor of Santa Claus. The younger students opened the show with performances of Christmas songs. Below are highlights of the Christmas Pageant.

Consulate of Belize Delivers 200 Toys to the Children of St. Martin de Porres
Coral Gables, FL- The Consulate of Belize in Florida delivered 200 toys to the children of St. Marin de Porres Parish in Belize City on Friday, December 13th 2013. The presentation of gifts took place during a Christmas party held at the Saint Martin School. Each child received a toy for Christmas. Mrs. Janine Sylvestre Vega, Hon. Consul General for the Consulate of Belize in Florida, along with representatives of the Parish handed out the toys which were generously donated by the Belize Diaspora in Florida.

Chukka Belize Spreads Christmas Cheer with Toy Drive
On Saturday, December 14, 2013, Chukka tour guides once again visited five rural communities to spread some Christmas cheer. Over a decade ago, several local tour guides began raising funds to purchase toys for children in Belize at Christmas. Four years ago, the guides who provide tour guiding services for Chukka tours, approached Chukka with the initiative and ever since it has been a proud annual tradition at the company. From September of each year, the guides contribute a portion of the tips they receive to the annual toy drive fund. At the end of November, the company and staff matches the contributions raised by the guides. It is a voluntary effort for all who participate. Premier Charters, the company's bus transportation provider, also contributes with the use of a bus and driver.

Belize Fisheries Department Now Issuing Fisher Folk Licenses
The Fisheries Department hereby informs the PUBLIC that it will start the renewal of fisher folk licenses for 2014 on December 16, 2013. Applicants are advised that they must present the following documents when applying: 1.Fisherfolk License Requirements First Issue/Renewals Belizean (a) Applicant must be 18 years or older and (b) Present a valid Social Security Card or (c) Voters Identification Card along with a Birth Certificate or (d) Valid Passport

Misc Belizean Sources

Diaspora Conference in Belize
The Corozal Organization of East Indian Cultural Heritage, a nonprofit promoting East Indian culture, will hold its annual conference in Belize Aug. 5-11, 2014, on the theme "The Indian Diaspora in Belize and the Wider Caribbean." It is the first conference of its kind to be held in the English-speaking country and in Central America. There is no registration fee for the conference and organizers are "subsidizing" breakfast, lunch and ground transportation. Participants can chose their accommodations, but they should be at or near conference venues for security and convenience. Some possible themes for papers include history, migration, inter-ethnic marriages, culture loss, education, gender, etc. At least two-thirds of each paper must deal with Indians in Belize.

Ancient Maya Site Teeters on the Edge of Destruction
The Alacranes Bajo, a low-lying, highly fertile and productive stretch of land which extends across Belize's northwest corner and parts of Mexico and Guatemala, has been farmed intensively for centuries by the ancient Maya. Today is no different, with its modern inhabitants continuing to clear the land. One would think that this is a good thing. After all, agricultural development feeds people and can raise many a family out of the misery of poverty. But progress, particularly in Belize and its Central American neighboring countries, often comes at a steep price, as locations and resources that represent critical cultural heritage and undiscovered history are lost to the bulldozer and other human tools for development, not to mention looting and inadvertent destruction caused by casual visitors. This is the looming fate for many of the ancient settlements, known and unknown, that dot the Belizean landscape on the east side of the Alacranes Bajo.

Political Independence and Economic Development in the Caribbean
In 2003, Alvin G. Wint - former head of the Department of Management Studies at the University of West Indies, Mona Campus - noted in his book, "Competitiveness in Small Developing Economies: Insights from the Caribbean," that dependent territories in the Caribbean typically have the smallest economies but the highest per capita incomes. Early in the 1960s, when most Caribbean countries were either dependent or newly independent, territories which would later form the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) could be listed from the highest to lowest per capita income as: Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, the Leeward and Windward islands. Twenty years later, seven territories of the Leeward and Windward Islands formed a monetary union called the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Wint states that: while they "are politically independent, their monetary policy independence is constrained by their membership in this regional economic union".

Dangerous hole has formed on the bridge
Mayor Daniel Guerrero and the San Pedro Town Council advises everyone crossing the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge to do so with precaution since a dangerous hole has formed on the bridge. Only one side of the lanes is passable; therefore, we are asking all drivers to drive slow and to be on the lookout for incoming traffic from the opposite side of your direction. Repairs will start immediately. On site was engineer Lee Van from Medina's Construction and his crew assessing the damage. We apologize for any inconveniences caused and we appreciate your cooperation and understanding. HELP US SHARE THIS MESSAGE SO THAT EVERYONE DRIVES WITH SAFETY WHEN CROSSING THE BRIDGE!

The San Pedro Town Council gave out toys to children in San Mateo, San Pedrito and D.F.C. as part of their Christmas Toy Drive! The children were excited to be receiving these toys! Mayor Daniel Guerrero and the San Pedro would like to thank those who contributed toys for the Toy Drive and made it a success! THANK YOU!

On Thursday, December 19 The Management of Ramon's Village Resort held a banquet for the workers that were part of the project BEAUTY FROM ASHES which was the reconstruction of the resort after a section of the resort was burnt back in August. The workers were treated to refreshments, snacks, delicious turkey dinner and chocolate cake delight! After dinner, Mayor Daniel Guerrero gave the workers a few words of encouragement and appreciation. Mr. Richard Headricks gave a very emotional THANK YOU to everyone who made the project BEAUTY FROM ASHES possible. After all the speeches the workers were given prizes and recognitions for all their hard work! - at Ramon's Village Resort.

San Pedro Town Council Christmas Opening Hours

Rum Journal: A New Rum From Belize
BELIZE is one of the region's sugar production hubs. And yet, even for a land in love with the spirit as much as its neighbours in the Caribbean, Belizean rums are not well known outside of the country. Basil DeStefano is hoping to change that. A Belize resident and rum lover, DeStefano is looking to bring to the United States its first "premium" Belizean rum. the new Tiburon Rum, the product of a partnership with the famous Belize-based Travellers Liquors. The rum is aged and blended in a "variety of barrels," then sent for the "second maturation" into Kentucky Oak Bourbon barrels. Its a blend of four, six and eight-year-old rums, all done small-batch with the goal of producing about 12,000 bottles a year. Tiburon, which is the Spanish word for "shark," has a golden amber colour and an aroma of vanilla and caramel. Despite its lighter colour, this is a full-bodied rum, with a flavour profile of peppery spice, caramel, cappucino, dried fruits and molasses. The finish is spicy and ultimately quite smooth.

12 days of Christmas in Belize

Benque Viejo Posadas Continue
Benque is in the middle of their Posadas celebrations. They will continue through Christmas Eve. "Day 5 of the traditional Posadas Celebration in Benque Viejo this will lead into the Eve of the 24 of December, we have 4 more days to go along ... live the momentum of the Posadas Celebration in our dear Benque Viejo Del Carmen"

Flavors of Belize Christmas Special
The group at Flavors of Belize put out a Christmas special where Chef Sean Kuylen made Black Cake and Christmas Ham. "One of the most important items on the menu for a true Belizean Christmas. Chef Sean Kuylen tries his hand at baking, adding some flavor to this timeless recipe and almost burning off an eyebrow in the process! If you are looking for an authentic homegrown Belizean recipe (with a spin, of course) to try this Christmas - our Black Cake recipe is perfect."

Stonetree in the House
Stonetree in the House is the new documentary from Daniel Velazquez, filmed during the day that Stonetree Records spent the day recording at the Soul Project. In related news, the Soul Project is having Ridley Bent coming all the way from Canada to play on Friday, and Saturday is a Winter Solstice party. "A documentation of a very creative day with some of Belize international renowned artist, some great Trinidad artist too, it was a video shoot for The Garifuna Collective music and photo shoot for Stonetree records, documented direct cinema style."

Reengineering the Cultural Economy
Reengineering the Cultural Economy is an interesting, and informative essay from Alan Slusher, which he presented at the annual meeting of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. It's really worth a read. "The word 'economy' has to do with all aspects of production, exchange, consumption and investment activities through which a people generate value and share the material and social goods that are required first for survival, and then, after the basic survival requirements are satisfied, for recreation, enjoyment, and intellectual and spiritual reflection and exploration. These latter processes, of course, also lead to expansion in the production of goods and services, of income and wealth, and most importantly, they lead to changes in the patterns of behaviour and representations of those patterns, that, taken together, define the group's culture."

Know where your Cheese comes from
Contraband cheese found stuffed in a Corozal Free Zone garbage truck, and yes the garbage truck was full of garbage.This could be a potential health hazard for anyone who may be buying and consuming this contraband cheese. We have no idea how long it has been happening. For many in the hustle sector of the economy, Christmas is contraband time, and the hustle often starts at the two borders but particularly in the Corozal Free Zone where premium liquor and Mexican beer is cheap. And for those who can get past the customs checkpoints, it can mean making a killing on contraband. But, getting past those checkpoints has been tough lately, and we are told, even a few customs officers have been caught. And so that's why one group of smugglers found a novel way to get their contraband out of the zone: They hid it in a garbage truck! You heard right, a garbage truck.

Christmas Message from Superintendent Andrew Ramirez, Corozal Police Department
On behalf of the Corozal Police Formation, the officer commanding Supt. Andrew Ramirez wishes each and every Corozale�o and visitor alike a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year 2014. Some safety and precautionary tips offered by OC is to be on alert at all times. avoid walking yourselves or late at night. Report all suspicious persons or vehicles to the Corozal Police by calling either 402-0022 or 911. OC stated that his formation is not a perfect one as he continues to receive complaints of irregular behaviour from the Police but most of them are trying their best. The public should not leave their homes with lights or unattended and curtains pulled to the view of the public.

The rain continues to leave its mark on the roads.
As the Government moves forward to overhaul them, the weather keeps delaying all these efforts. Here is a photo of the road approaching the Chunox ferry. This morning, we headed to Sarteneja to see for ourselves how far we could drive to with our Ford Explorer, but could only get just a few hundred yards from the Chunox Ferry. Other larger vehicles could be seen driving to the ferry but we would not recommend vehicles our size or smaller than ours to take the risk. In the meantime, the Belize Coast Guard will be continuing to ferry villagers of Sarteneja and surrounding areas to Corozal Town from 6:00 a.m. to CZL and 6:00 p.m. returning to SRTA. This service is FREE and will continue from Thu Dec. 19th - Sat Dec 21st and Christmas week from Thu Dec 26th - Sun Dec 29. Hopefully our request to keep the coast guard running every day on Christmas week will take heed. Be safe!

Swapping Stress in L.A. for Freedom in Belize
Alfredo and Yvonne Villoria were just another fast-paced, career-minded couple in Los Angeles. But money-making wasn't enough. "We felt that something was missing," says Yvonne. "In 1976, we decided that 1980 was the cut-off year. In 1980, we would leave the United States. All we were doing was chasing the dollar. We wanted more. We thought there had to be more to life than just working and owning things. "We had the good life in L.A. I worked trading stocks and bonds and Alfredo was an aerospace scientist. We had professional work, we had the cars, a house in San Diego, and one in Los Angeles. But it wasn't making us happy. Alfredo and I both needed challenges in our lives. Every year I changed jobs because the old one got boring," says Yvonne.

Channel 7

Garbage Truck Contrabandists Sent To Jail
The Hall brothers from Corozal had an ingenious idea - they would use a garbage truck to smuggle a load of contraband out of the Corozal Free Zone. The garbage truck did its regula...

Gaza's Christmas Come Up Paid
Today was payday for the George Street residents who were brutalized by the GSU in august of 2011. As we reported last week, Government agreed to an out of court settlement in a sui...

Caye Caulker, Enter Sandman!
Last night we showed you the angry residents of Caye Caulker who say their precious white sand is being stolen from their Island and hauled to San Pedro. They believe that because the...

Belize Times Call Out Hon. Castro On Cheque
Paying for funerals - it's one of the most basic and frequent responsibilities of Area Representatives in Belize, so much so that it's a fixture in the political culture. But what about...

Corozal Man Stabbed To Death
There is a murder to report in Chan Chen - which is the northern most village in the country. It is the second this year in the small village near the Mexican border. 28 year-old ...

Mayor & BWC At It Again
Two weeks ago, we told you all about the ugly dispute between Belize Waste Control and the Belize City Council where the council owed 15 weeks of arrears for the city's garbage collection, a...

Michael Young Makes Remarkable Grades
One man who is keenly aware of the importance of proficiency in the written and spoken word is Michael Young. We've reported on him many times before: he's the brave young man who got int...

Hugo Casssanova's Big Connect In Jail
You may remember the name Hugo Cassanova from February of this year when the Corozal Resident was caught in Chetumal along with Orange Walk's Milin Vasquez in a major drug bust. Well, ...

Fireworks Crackdown In the West
For the past few nights, we've been telling you about the seizure of contraband liquor in the north. That comes out of the Corozal Free Zone, but in the West customs has to contend wi...

Demarco Is Ready
Jamaican Dancehall Artist, Demarco, is in Belize, and he's here as the headline performer at the Belize City Council's Christmas Concert, which started a short while ago. Today, at the in...

BELCARIBE: Spreading Christmas Cheer
This week, we've covered all kinds of gift hamper giveaways. But, today was different, it wasn't from a big organization, but one of our media partners, Bel Caribe Communications which prod...

Precinct 1 Delivers Their Food Hampers
And continuing with the Christmas hampers, On Wednesday, 7News showed you the final arrangements that the Police Precinct 1 was making to deliver their Food Hampers to needy residents in...

Rigo Did It Again Abroad
34 year old Rigo Vellos is Belize's best in bodybuilding and is no stranger to the international arena. Just in May Vellos took part in the 2013 Hercules Olympia contest in Colchester Lo...

Channel 5

George Street resident receive first half of settlement in GSU brutality case
A little over a hundred thousand dollars has been paid out to residents of George Street who were savagely attacked by members of the Gang Suppression Unit over two years [...]

Murder in Chan Chen; ex-convict killed one week after release from prison
The fifth murder for 2013, in the Corozal District, was recorded this morning in the village of Chan Chen. The lifeless remains of twenty-eight year old Darwin Salazar was found [...]

A fight in Cayo has gone viral
Facebook aficionados are probably old hands at checking out videos of street-fights posted from all over the world, and even from our own little piece of the world. In this [...]

Fire in Orange Walk Town guts a home
A cement bungalow located on Dr. George Street in Orange Walk Town was totally destroyed by fire on Thursday night. The Orange Walk Fire Department got the call shortly after [...]

Rhett Fuller goes before Attorney General yet again in the fight against his extradition
Rhett Fuller has been fighting extradition to the US for fifteen years. He is wanted there for his alleged involvement in a 1998 murder in North Miami Beach. On July [...]

Gregory Knox remanded for aggravated assault
A tearful Gregory Knox sobbed before the Senior Magistrate on Monday when he was accused of pulling a gun at a woman. But that did not spare him from being [...]

Belize City tour guide charged for handling stolen goods
Also in court, a Belize City Tour guide was today charged for handling stolen goods after police allege that they found him in possession of stolen items belonging to Raymond [...]

Acting ComPol Miguel Segura shares Christmas Message
Police officers have come under serious scrutiny recently after criminal allegations were made against them. This week, PC Dayton Sacasa was arraigned on charges of extortion. Days before three officers [...]

A Christmas Party for guests at the Resource Center
Some one hundred and ninety-two persons are registered to the Resource Center here in Belize City. They include those that are mentally ill, the homeless and others. On a daily [...]

Ham, ham, ham�..what's on your plate this Christmas?
Ham, like turkey, is an essential part of the Christmas cuisine. But there is little known about its preparation and curing. The following feature takes you to Southside Meats where [...]


David Aikerman Spreads The Christmas Cheer
Mexican Media is reporting that the Sipse Group of Chetumal welcomed the participation of Ambassador of Peace in Belize, David Aikerman in their Christmas 24x24 campaign geared towards needy children...

BTIA Orange Walk Elects New Committee
The Orange Walk chapter of the Belize Tourism industry Association (BTIA) held its annual general meeting on Wednesday December 11th and a new board of directors was elected. And while it...

One Man Being Sought For Crime Of Wounding
Police are looking for one man in relation to a report of wounding. According to police twenty nine year old Renan Crawford, resident of Concepcion Village reported that on Friday...

Copper Thieves Continue On The Lose
Copper theft continues as police investigate yet another report. Corozal Police report that sixty-two year old Noel Samodee, a retired Trinidadian and US Citizen of Four Miles Lagoon on the...

Honey Producers Affected By Flooding
In last night's newscast we presented you with the work being done to prepare for the arrival of a bug that may potentially close down the honey production industry in...

Sugar Industry Continues To Navigate In Turbulent Waters
"Disappointing and Disturbing" that's how the Belize Sugar Industries Limited describes the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association's response to their compromise to negotiate a payment for Bagasse an issue that...

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Highway Robbery in Southern Belize
A salesman was reportedly robbed while on a delivery on the Southern Highway. According to 24 year old Kirk Hower, a salesman for Beefmaster/Karbo Farm at Mile 12 Southern Highway, at around five on Monday evening while he and his driver were making a delivery at Tienda Saravia Shop at mile 15 on the Southern Highway, he noticed that the shop was closed and came out of the vehicle to inquire with the neighbors. That was when someone alerted him that someone was behind him and he turned around and noticed two men wearing masks and one bearing a gun and another with a knife had accosted the truck driver. The two culprits demanded money and Hower said that he handed over a black waist bag containing two thousand 575 dollars, which were the day's sales. Police have made no arrests.

Immigration Minister Says It May Not Be Airtight But It’s The Best in 31 Years
Following Wednesday's Senate Sitting in which the newly amended Belize National Bill was passed into law, Senator Godwin Hulse, who is the Minister of Immigration, discussed the Bill with reporters and said that while the new legislation is designed to stop immigration fraud in its tracks, nothing is airtight. SENATOR GODWIN HULSE "The new law says, Mister President that the minister has to submit to the committee before he puts his signature; it says the committee will publish and the official place government publish things is the Gazette. Yes, we omitted to put the Gazette but we can put it and yes, you don't see it but that is the official place and the media is there and the chamber is there and the unions are there and the churches are there to scrutinize the Gazette and put it in their local newspaper or broadcast it across the nation. It's not hidden anymore; the public is engaged in seeing who the new person we are welcoming into our family. Jack is applying, this is where he lives, etc; you have days to give your comment and when you're done, Jack has it but the law goes further. If you do it by fraud and all the rest we could rescind. The point is that it's made public which for 32 years was done in secret with all sorts of games surrounding it; so don't tell me we haven't moved anywhere forward. Yes, I admit it could be strengthened and yes it will be strengthened and if you give me honest, good, down-to-earth recommendations of how it can be down we will strengthen and continue to strengthen until we get it right but don't stand there and say it's rubbish, it's going nowhere; don't do that because you cannot show me, in 31 years, anything better."

Arthur Saldivar Questions Minister Castro’s Integrity
On Wednesday the Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse provided information into the current investigation of corruption at the department. He said that the Auditor General has methods at its disposal to do a thorough investigation something his Ministry is not able to do. Nonetheless Hulse defended that his ministry is doing its best. On the other hand whistleblower, attorney Arthur Saldivar told us there is nothing to be satisfied about the investigation. ARTHUR SALVIDAR "What's there to be satisfied about? The situation is such that there is now a universal understanding that this cover-up is official policy that the Government of the day lacks the moral compass to appreciate that when a wrong is done, a remedy must be administered. Certainly, we are having a reign of tyranny in our country that we must appreciate because if they can cover up such a blatant illegal act, they can cover up murders and the can cover up more heinous crimes. So, let us not be fooled and lulled into false sense of complacency here because at the end of the day we are all being victimized by what this government is doing. Where in the world could any minister of any country engage in seeking to circumvent international justice and not be punished? Where else in the world? Because when we look at this and see what is going on, the way the Police Department has been manipulated, the way the social sector partners have been manipulated; appreciate the fact that when you go on a plane to the United States of America and you're subjected to the disrespect and abuse by those officials there that Mr. Penner who sits snuggly in his home with all his money and the ninety thousand dollars they are going to give him over this Christmas to bribe voters in Cayo Northeast that he has not a care in the world because as long as he is still an Area Rep, he can still travel VIP; you cannot."

Assistant Compol Advises Officers to Live Within Their Means
Last Monday we told about three police officers that were caught with contraband goods on the Arenal Road. That matter has been settled out of court. But as of late there are reports that another illicit activity occurred, this time in the Corozal Free Zone. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Miguel Segura told us today that up to news time, it is all allegations. MIGUEL SEGURA "Actually yesterday I was informed of an incident but similarly what I always am guided by is with evidence. The leading agents in this case would be Customs and if they have the evidence like they did in Arenal, by all means, I am guided by the evidence. If there is the evidence they need to bring it forward and if it is internal then there is a process to go about it, the disciplinary, as I explained the last time. So, Customs is the lead agency they have the evidence to go and deal with the case but basically it's an allegation, in the absence of showing the evidence to me. I will ask you to direct these things to the right agency which is the Customs."

Hospital Wants Monies Owed by Christmas Day
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital has begun sending out letters through Credit Masters demanding that all past customers who have outstanding bills to pay up by Christmas day. The letter says that if the bill is not cleared by December 25, then legal department at the KHMH will take court action. The letter also states that any additional cost incurred in recovering the amount owed will be for the customer to pay as well. We note that everyone who has a bill at the KHMH of any amount is receiving the letters.

Mother of Robbery Victim Will Fight to the End
A mother has raised concern over charges that the police have filed against some of their own regarding an alleged incident involving the policemen. Kaila Morales, the mother of Tyrell Hyde, told Love News that the policemen were charged with theft instead of robbery. The charge follows the incident in question that occurred at an Atlantic Bank ATM when they allegedly used by force or intimidation, Tyrell Hyde's ATM card in his presence to withdraw funds from his account. Hyde, who came to the media a month after the incident to report that the police had not brought charges up to that point, said that the policemen met him in a car outside the bank and carried out an impromptu search on him and the vehicle, then accompanied him inside the ATM booth where the incident allegedly happened. Hyde is relying on the surveillance recording inside the booth to prove his case. But his mother, Kaila Morales, says the police levied the wrong charge against their colleagues.

Police Says John May Not Have Been Murdered
In police news, the body of 53-year-old John Tillett of San Ignacio was retrieved from the River in Santa Familia Village, Cayo at around five-30 on Wednesday evening. Tillett, a resident of Stanton Street, San Ignacio Town, had gone missing on Saturday. Police say that his had with it all of Tillett's personal belongings, including his cell phone. There were also no sign of violence on the body. It now awaits a post mortem examination.

New Year Brings New Rates
Electricity rates are expected to go down come the New Year. According to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the Belize Electricity Limited made a submission for amendments to the 2013 Annual Review Proceedings Final Decision for decreases in the Mean Electricity Rate and previously approved tariffs due to reduction in the actual cost of power. The proposal reduction is for an approximate decrease of 8.22 percent. Anyone interested to forward written comments in reference to the proposed reduction may do so before five o'clock on Friday, December 27, 2013. Written comments may be delivered to the offices of the PUC at 41 Gabourel Lane, Belize City, or by email at [email protected].

Office Assistant Convicted of Stealing From Union
Twenty-five year old Alex Reid, former office assistant of Christian Workers Union who was convicted of 10 counts of claiming upon a forged document, was fined 25 thousand dollars by Justice Adolph Lucas. Reid was ordered to pay five thousand dollars by tomorrow and the balance in installments of two thousand five hundred dollars every six months. If he defaults on payment he will serve one year imprisonment for each count. Before he decided on the sentence, Justice Lucas heard pleas for mitigation from Reid's boss, Nigel Matus. Matus said that Reid is hard working and dedicated and asked that he not given a custodial sentence. Reid said that he was sorry for what he did and he asked for another chance. During the months of May and June 2007, Reid cashed 10 forged cheques from the account of Christian Workers Union, which amounted to $6,500. It was alleged that he cashed 40 forged cheques, amounting to $18,000 but his indictment was for 10. Reid was represented by attorney Anthony Sylvestre. Crown Counsel Shanice Lovell, assisted by Crown Counsel Kaysha Grant, represented the prosecution.


George Street Residents Receive Payments from Goverment of Belize
Friday morning at the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin signed the final consent order allowing payment of a $175,000 settlement to 18 residents of George Street who were brutalized by members of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) in August of 2011. Government Counsel in the Solicitor General's office, ...

Waste Control to Sue City Council over Unpaid Arrears
Friday afternoon, general manager for Belize Waste Control George Lamb confirmed to PLUS News that the company has filed a claim with the courts seeking "timely and reasonable" payment of ten weeks of arrears by the Belize City Council for the sanitation contract. The Council has managed to reduce the ...

Belmopan Money Gram Robbed at Gunpoint
Earlier this morning, shortly after 11:00 am, Money Gram Agency of Belmopan was robbed at gun point. The incident took place in at Money Grams office at the Emporium building in Nimli Punit Street. Reports have it that two female clerks who were at the establishment when two men ...

On-Line High School to be Launched in Belize
Belize is to launch its first fully fledged online high school. This Friday morning at the Belize Comprehensive High School, Ethnalda Paulino, a retired teacher and founder of Belize's first online high school, Kaina, held a workshop with her prospective staff members. The purpose of the workshop is to ...

Senate Makes Criminal Code Bill Still Go Through More Tweaking
The Immigration, Belizean Nationality and Passport amendment bills have been the dominating highlights from this week's meeting of the Senate. However, one other important piece of legislation brought to Senate on Wednesday is the Criminal Code Amendment Bill (2). The bill, says Government, will provide equal protection for both...

The Guardian

Lake-I Christmas Party like no other
It was billed to be perhaps one of the largest Christmas parties in the country and Lake Independence Area Representative, Hon. Mark King ,did not disappoint. The program of events had to be changed due to the weather conditions in Belize City, pushing the event two hours earlier than scheduled. Nonetheless the program got off at 10 instead of 12 and what a program it was. The event went off without a hitch as a parade took off from Central American Boulevard and made its way through Mahogany Street. With participation of Jankunu Dancers, the Mahogany Street Precinct Youth Cadet Corp and the St. Luke's Marching Band, it was quite a spectacle. Impressively the Cadet corp marched in cadence, St. Luke's marched and the Jankunu Dancers paused the parade to display the Garifuna Culture at this time of year. Trailing at the rear was a massive trailer featuring Mickey, Minnie, Spongebob, Dora and Diego, even Mrs. Clause (Dianne Finnegan) was in action on the truck. Of course bringing it all in was Hon. Mark King who headed the parade along the route. On the sides, King's helpers issued sweets to anxiously awaiting throngs of children and adults.

River Valley first resident to be called to the bar!
Another young Belizean was called to the bar on Friday, December 13th, before the Chief Justice, Kenneth A. Benjamin. He is Leeroy Banner, a newly appointed crown counsel coming out of the DPP's office. Banner, who is the proud son of Belizean born parents, Ephraim and Olive Banner, was born and raised in the village of Lemonal in the River Valley area, Belize Rural District. Today, a very emotional Banner was proud to repeat the oath he pledges to keep and to serve his country with pride and dignity. The short but memorable ceremony took place after 9:00 a.m., before the Chief Justice, Kenneth A. Benjamin and in the presence of his family and friends. Calling the memory to motion were Mr. Derek Courtney, SC, along with Dr. Dean Lindo SC, and Mrs. Cheryl Lyn-Vidal of the DPP's office who wrote affidavits on Banner's behalf.

FORWARD: National Bank to Refinance Mortgage Loans from other Banks
The National Bank of Belize opened its doors on Monday, September 2nd, and is getting ready to expand its loan portfolio to include mortgage refinancing for individuals with loans at other commercial banks. Prime Minister made the announcement at the House of Representatives meeting on Thursday, December 12th. In just three months the bank has already disbursed over $2.6 million in mortgage loans to public officers and middle income earners for construction of their first home. According to PM Barrow there is also over $4 million set for disbursement to first time home owners. As promised at the opening when he said, "I suspect that the demand will be over the top and let me signal from now that I expect to come back to the National Assembly before Christmas with another motion to put some additional equity into the National Bank," PM Barrow announced at the House on Thursday that within the next couple weeks the bank expects to receive its first commercial deposit to the tune of $5 million from Belize Telemedia Limited for three years. Deposits may also be received from the Social Security Board and other corporate organizations.

Yellowman and AK not guilty
After all the noise and consternation that Philip (Fawda) Henry had made about Mace-Bearer, Brian Audinett, and UDP Stalwart, Allan Kelly, about them beating him, he was a no show in court on Friday December 13th. Can we say that Fawda made up the entire story because he must have been enticed to do so (we know the kind of character that Henry is.) by another political party? Back to the meat of matter. Henry had accused Audinett and Kelly of having assaulted him, punching him in the face and that led to them being charged with 1 count each of harm, wounding, using threatening words against Henry. For good measure even a police officer was thrown in the mix and they were also charged with assaulting a police officer and wounding in relation to PC#1366, Wilbert Chi.

UDP Christmas Cheer
The United Democratic Party's Christmas Cheer program has rolled out across the country and ten's of thousands of Belizeans are benefitting from it. According to the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, the idea is to bring the Christmas Spirit to as many Belizean families as possible. With that in mind, the government accessed $90 thousand for UDP Area Representatives and 50 thousand dollars to be split between PUP representatives and UDP caretakers for the distribution of Christmas goodies. Depending on the representative these goodies could be anything from toys for children to ham and turkey to bags filled with groceries. The PM notes however that for the sake of accountability, the goods will not be channel through cash rather through the offices of Human Development. Each representative or caretaker that will distribute the goods would have to account how the money will be spent presenting orders from various business houses to purchase whatever it is they intend on distributing in their constituency. Despite the howls of complaints by the PUP who have tried to make the Christmas a blue one by parading around a Santa dressed in Blue, the program has been extremely successful. Tens of thousands of Belizeans are benefitting and even the PUP have gotten their share of the Christmas Cheer. Last year they received 10 thousand per constituency and this year that figure was expanded to 25 thousand per constituency they represent.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Live Music at Iguana Reef Inn
by Terryl, "Man at work." Monday, December 23rd from 5pm - 8pm


No end seems to be in sight for the ongoing bagasse dispute between the local sugar cane farmers, represented by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), and the multinational sugar producers, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI)/American Sugar Refineries (ASR). In a reactive press release sent by BSI/ASR this afternoon, they stated that the latest position taken by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) is "irresponsible" and "unreasonable." ASR added that "Should the crop delay beyond difficulties caused by the rain, the loss to the farmers themselves would not only be substantial, but it would be irreversible." When the ca�eros met last Sunday, December 15, at an emergency conference at the Escuela Secondaria School in San Roman in the Corozal District, they decided that the new crop season would only start after a legally binding agreement is signed by BSI, BSCFA and the Government of Belize (GOB), stating that BSI will pay them for bagasse.

Early Tuesday morning, the icy Chicago River claimed the life of an Esperanza woman, Keisha Elissa Garnett, 30, who was living in Dallas, USA, but who had reportedly gone on a visit to Chicago. Doctors indicated that Keisha died due to the shock she experienced while struggling for her life in the freezing river - covered with huge blocks of ice. Garnett's brother, Jeremy Garnett, who described Keisha, his only sister, as a person with a big heart, told NBC News that the family had moved to the US from Belize when Keisha was a child. "It's tough. I am having a hard time coping with it. It's hard to believe that she is gone� I just can't believe that she is no longer here," he said.

Residents on the island of Caye Caulker are normally pleasant and easygoing, but Amandala understands that the current dredging of sand from areas around the island has caused vast discontentment among island residents, leading to a fiery protest today on the island. The dredging of the sand has infuriated a number of the island residents, and has even resulted in a degree of upheaval as this morning, the villagers protested at the area where the dredged material was being trucked onto a waiting barge to be taken to the nearby island of San Pedro. Approximately 50 residents reportedly blocked the road which the truck drivers were using to convey the loads of sand to a waiting barge. One of the concerned Caye Caulker residents who spoke to Amandala said that they are downright mad because they were not given any notice that something like that would take place, and to make it worse, they cannot get answers from any of the authorities on the island as to why the sand, which is being dredged from their island, is being taken for use on another island when there are many broken streets on the island, which the sand could be used to improve.

Within the last week, another can of worms has been opened with regards to the irregularities at the Immigration and Nationality Departments, as more evidence of apparent corruption in the issuance of nationality certificates has been unearthed. Today, however, the substantive Minister of Immigration, Hon. Senator Godwin Hulse, told the media that it is nothing to be alarmed about. Last Thursday, December 12, KREM News broke the story of a 24-year old Salvadoran national, Rafael Alexander Vasquez Medina, who was granted Belizean nationality under questionable circumstances, allegedly for a few hundred dollars. Vasquez Medina got his nationality (allegedly by descent) processed in one day through the use of a forged Salvadoran birth certificate, and the legitimate birth certificate of an unsuspecting Belizean woman from Guinea Grass Village, who was said, on the Salvadoran birth certificate, to be his Belizean mother.

An American man from the state of Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States, was found in an advanced state of decomposition in his apartment on Bradley Crescent in the Belama area of the city. The man was known as Jim, and he was a writer. Jim was found by the female caretaker of the apartments at about 10:00 this morning, Thursday. Jim was taken out of the house by police at about 4:00 this afternoon, put into the pan of a mobile unit and taken to an area on the Boom-Hattieville Road, where a post-mortem was to be carried out by Doctor Mario Estradabran, police coroner, to certify the cause of his death. Jim, we were told, will be buried at the scene of the autopsy as soon as it is concluded. Police said that there were no signs of violence on the body, and believe that he died of natural causes. Information to Amandala is that Jim had not been seen for about three weeks. The caretaker went to the house this morning to see what had happened, and that was when she found his decaying body in his bed.

The Belize economy has been growing only moderately for 2013, according to data just released today by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB). It reported that "�in July through September this year, the economy expanded by 0.3 percent when compared to the same period of 2012. This puts the cumulative economic growth for the first nine months of this year at 0.4 percent." Low performance in two important sectors-agriculture and oil-largely accounted for the near freeze in Belize's economic growth. "In the agriculture sector, banana production, in particular, fell by 6 percent, offsetting gains in livestock and poultry production. Oil production, meanwhile, fell to its lowest third quarter level since 2009, and it appears that it will continue to trend downwards for the foreseeable future," said the report.

The Senate on Wednesday passed a suite of amendments to Belize's Nationality, Passport and Immigration Acts, put forward by the Barrow administration after major cracks were exposed in the system for the issuance of Belizean passports and visas. Meanwhile, the Opposition People's United Party (PUP) continues to call for an independent Senate inquiry into the allegations of misconduct by ranking government officials-including ministers of Cabinet-who have been fingered as key facilitators to corrupt deals. For a second time, the PUP attempted to get the Senate to support a motion for such a Senate inquiry, but this time around, the motion didn't even reach the order papers.President of the Senate, Marco Pech, said that the PUP Senator who was proposing the second motion, was trying to reintroduce a motion that had already been voted down.

On Thursday, December 12, the Taiwan Embassy in Belize distributed sixty ASUS Vivo tablet computers to Belize's Ministry of Education at a ceremony held at the ITVET in Belize City. Thirty of the computers went to some outstanding teachers, while the other thirty were earmarked for the establishment of a Digital Learning Center at Edward P. Yorke High School. The generous contribution was made to enhance the relationship between Belize and Taiwan. It was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan), RESTORE Belize, and the Ministry of Education.

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has announced its proposal to put into effect reduced electricity rates at the start of 2014. In an earlier decision in May of this year, the PUC had said that whereas BEL had proposed a Mean Electricity Rate (MER) of $0.4793 per kilowatt-hour, along with specific adjustments to specific regulated values, and specific tariffs for various consumption bands for various customer classes, the PUC, after its review, had approved a slightly higher rate of $0.4865 per kilowatt-hour. The PUC is now proposing an approximate decrease of 8.22%, which would cause electricity rates to fall from 48.65� to 44.65� per kilowatt-hour.

Ambassador Paola Amadei, European Union (EU) Head of Delegation to Belize, was in the country this week on a mission to move the process forward in developing a new strategy for Belize to span 2014 to 2020. Ambassador Amadei said this year, 2013, Belize saw the largest ever disbursement of EU funds, and their data show that Belize has a very large program ongoing, with a total value of 116 million euros or BZ$314 million. She said that the EU is now preparing a new program for those seven years, and they have been in discussion with the Government of Belize, particularly the ministries responsible for economic development, finance, health and energy. They have also been meeting with civil society and private sector representatives, she said. The final strategy has to be submitted to the EU Parliament for approval, once it is completed, in 2014. Ambassador Paola Amadei said that the EU's allocation for Belize would more than double, when compared with allocations for the period 2008-2013. Based on data the Ambassador provided to our newspaper, the total disbursements since 2008 have totaled roughly BZ$150 million. The funds, provided through the European Development Fund (EDF) are grant funds; however, governments have the obligation of ensuring continuity of the investment schemes - such as the maintenance of roads built under the program.

The Belize District Chess Association is hosting an event titled "Chess Extravaganza 2013" this Sunday, December 22, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Belize Elementary School gymnasium on Princess Margaret Drive in Belize City. There will be competitions (Swiss System) in all age categories: Junior - 13 yrs. and under; Intermediate - 14 to 17 yrs.; and Seniors - 18 yrs. and over. Trophies will be awarded to the top 4 players in each category, as well as for the Top Female and Youngest Player. To register, text "register me" with your age and name to 621-9467 or 604-9520. The event is to benefit the Sister Cecelia Home.

Eight high school basketball teams, 4 female and 4 male, representing the 4 zones of the country, converged at the Sacred Heart College Multi-Purpose Building in San Ignacio on Friday and Saturday, December 13-14, to participate in the National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA) National Basketball Championships 2013-2014. Participating high schools were: NORTH - females of Orange Walk Technical High School (OWTH) and males of San Pedro High School (SPHS). CENTRAL - females of Wesley College (WES) and males of Anglican Cathedral College (ACC). WEST - females of Belmopan Comprehensive High School (BCS) and males of Sacred Heart College (SHC). SOUTH - females of Delille Academy (DA) and males of Julian Cho Technical High School (JCTH). The tournament followed a simple knockout format, with the 4 losers from Friday playing in the 3rd place games on Saturday, while Friday's winners met in the championship games on Saturday.

The Reporter

Boxing revives at Bird's Isle
The days of Fitzroy Guiseppe and Bowser are long gone, but the sport of boxing is experiencing a revival; as the Belize Boxing Federation organized a fight card of eight bouts in its "Road to Glory" competition at Bird's Isle on Sunday, as it grooms and selects [�]

GSK to stop paying doctors to make speeches
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is making major changes to its incentive schemes following a damaging corruption scandal in China. The pharmaceuticals firm will stop paying doctors to promote its products through speaking engagements. Members of its sales force will also no longer have individual sales targets. Earlier this year, Chinese police said [�]

Exam grades more nature than nurtur
Genetic influence explains almost 60% of the variation in GCSE exam results, twin studies suggest. Scientists studied academic performance in more than 11,000 identical and non-identical 16-year-old twins in the UK. The team from King's College London found that on average, genes explained 58% of differences between GCSE scores in [�]

Ca�eros to BSI: pay for bagasse by January, or else!
The members of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association have decided on their own set of demands to give American Sugar Refining at an emergency meeting held Sunday. The farmers agreed that the crop would start on an agreed-upon date, provided only that the farmers [�]

KHMH expands ICU & parking lot
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital is investing $740,763.50 to expand and renovate its adult Intensive Care Unit and to pave its parking lot, to offer better service to the public. Chairperson Chandra Cansino of the KHMH Board of Directors and KHMH Chief Executive Officer Dr. [�]

Christmas Message 2013
As we enter the holiday season, it is amazing to observe that another year is going by and we are once again in the heart of the Christmas Season. This is an appropriate time to urge all Belizeans to take stock of their lives and reflect on [�]

Since Norda Dobson's definitive work on the History of Belize in 1973 there has been little of real significance produced on the national front - that is to say, little of significance until Fred Hunter's The History of the Sovereignty of Belize by Occupation, Force or Arms, Treaties, printed in [�]

Customs said to be investigating police officers with Free Zone contraband
Belize Customs are investigating a police vehicle which evaded the Customs Checkpoint at the Corozal border and entered the country with a large quantity of contraband goods, including several cases of beers. A reliable source has confirmed that on Wednesday, a police vehicle belonging [�] A 3rd officer has been charged for Hyde's "shakedown".

Special Constable is third cop charged in the Thyrel Hyde shakedown
A police special constable has become the third officer to be charged criminally in connection with the September 8 shakedown of Belmopan businessman, Thyrel Hyde. Special Constable Joslyn Gill was arraigned in the Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart on a [�] Average Prices of selected Foods and Fuel

Cost of living gone up, says SIB
The cost of living in Belize has gone up 0.8 percent compared to last year this time, according to the latest Consumer Price Index of 102.8 for September, published by the Statistical Institute of Belize on Tuesday, December 17. That's because the cost of most [�]

The Belize Times

Hustling Cyaant Done!!! - Will Barrow Defend Castro Once Again
The BELIZE TIMES has obtained reliable information and is investigating what could be another huge scandal involving no other than the already scandal-ridden UDP representative Edmund Castro. In our possession are multiple copies of cheques which show that Castro has been collecting some serious money from a special account of the Belize Airport Authority. Castro, we must explain, is the Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport. The Airport and the managing body, the Airport Authority, both fall under his Ministry and, specifically, his portfolio. The cheques indicate that Minister Castro appears to be using the Airport Authority as his personal piggy bank. One cheque among many others, which appears on our front page, shows that Castro was paid $4,000 by the airport authority earlier this year. There are other cheques and we will be exposing the full scale of this scandal very early next year.

Revolution in RHYME - Francis supports young, radical Poets
If bass and rhythmic gymnastics with the force of clearly enunciated English is your flavour, then you would've been right at home at the Image Factory today as six young Belizean men (with a push from various local and international backers) launched a new poetry printed collection and DVD entitled, 'We Gat Sonting fu Seh'. Individually, their names - Kyraan Gabourel (better known as Kyo or D'Assassin), Raheem Phillips (Exodus), Micah Goodin (Mighty Mic), Elizardo Novelo (Z), Stephen Gabb, and Denzel Wade, might not ring recognition in certain ears. (That's less true of Messrs. Gabb and Wade, who exploded unto the Belizean consciousness through their stint as 'THE TRUTH' on Channel 5's Be the Next Superstar, or of Goodin, who's known for his activist efforts.) But together, under the tutelage of the Global Parish Project's local youth organization Youth Voices (Belize City), they are, quite simply, magic.

PUP Progresses despite UDP Problems
It has become clear that Prime Minister Dean Barrow has and will continue to put his party's interest over the interest of Belizeans and the country. His recent handling of the infrastructure projects in municipalities which ...

Think About It
2013 was a bad year for Belize and its long suffering people. Week after week, month after month, the newspaper carried pages of the sad and heartbroken experiences of families losing their homes and businesses as banks foreclosed on loans that could not be ...

The rise of Audrey Matura-Shepherd
The news that Audrey Matura-Shepherd was elected as President of the troubled Christian Worker's Union came as a surprise to many. Few saw it coming but probably even fewer has found it objectionable. This Union was down for the count and if anyone can put them back ...

Trick or Treat Christmas
Christmas is here. So is the cold, wet weather. Hopefully, the weather positively affects both the population census and the crime rate. Belizeans will bunker down under thick comforters and blankets, which smell like "camfia" balls. We will think ham, turkey, family, and liquor. Excess will be the limit, sharing will be ...

Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of the year. There is a certain spirit and energy in the air at Christmas time. Perhaps it's all the bright lights, the decorated show windows, the hustling and bustling in the streets, the red and green apples and ...

PUP Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca's New Year's Message
My fellow Belizeans, 2013 has been a year of SCANDAL, CORRUPTION AND GROWING POVERTY in Belize. Thousands more of our fellow Belizeans have fallen further into poverty and hopelessness. With little or no economic growth, thousands of eager young graduates joined the growing number of unemployed. In 2013, once again, the UDP Government offered ...


Unpredictable Belize Weather
Our weather has still been on the rainy side and very unpredictable, going from wet to dry, cold to warm and back again throughout the day. This has more than a few vacation planners asking "What is with all the rain?" I even had someone write me recently questioning if they should delay their trip due to the heavy rain forecast, in the end they decided to come and enjoy no matter what the weather. That is really all you can do, last night was a perfect example of that. An hour or so before the bar was to open at the annual Island Academy Christmas show, we had whole lot of rain going on. I was texting back and forth with Mary and we both agreed if it let up even a little we would make a break for it. When I got there the big tent was full of people who decided not to let rain showers spoil the party, thankfully Mary John and Madison had saved me a seat. The kids put on an excellent show and I loved teacher Lisa's props, afterward we enjoyed the delicious turkey dinner being served.

San Pedro Scoop: My Best of 2013 - Part One
2013 has been a very cool year. I completely changed my blog into full-blown website, business and an "Opinionated Guide to Belize". Who knew that was even possible? It's always humorous to watch peoples' faces when you tell them you are a "blogger". Pity�confusion�amusement�"ummm�yeah, right"�it's a range of emotion. And travelling all over the country of Belize kept me very busy. After some time in the States at the beginning of the year (some very cold time), I introduced my "new look" and my new theme at the beginning of March. In March, I also went to the 7th Annual Belmopan Band Festival (or as I now refer to it as "the hottest day of my life") to watch San Pedro compete.

Good Eats: A Guide to the Restaurants and Snacks of Orange Walk, Belize
Orange Walk District in the North West of Belize is known for its sugar and rum production, the amazing Maya Ruins of Lamanai and tacos, tacos, tacos. Visitors are generally a bit surprised by the local tacos - they aren't the cheese and sour cream stuffed fold overs that we are used to in the states. Rather, they are slim corn tortilla rolls schmeared with a bit of chicken and sauce.. 3 for $1bzd. The sauce is really what differentiates them. Here is what 50 cents US gets you. The tacos are also a morning food. Eating them is a MUST in Orange Walk. You'll quickly find your favorite. Here is some more of my favorite eating in Orange Walk. La Popular Bakery - You will smell this bakery before you even see it. Stop in for cheap and tasty snacks, breads and pastries through out the day. If you find tacos too expensive, you 1. are insanely cheap and shouldn't be travelling at all 2. can find delicious pastries in La Popular for 50 cents BZD! I mean�seriously? I could eat 50 cent sugary flaky puffy pastry squares all day. But then I guess that defeats the money saving purpose.

Kaina Fast Tracks to Full Scholarship at Texas A&M
In another first, a Belizean track athlete just signed a letter of intent for a full athletic scholarship at a major US university. Top sprinter Kaina Martinez has been snapped up by the major Texas university under a full scholarship agreement, beginning a whole new phase of an already exciting career. The 26 year old from the small coastal village of Seine Bight ran the 100 for Belize in the 2012 London Olympics and has previously medalled in the Central American Games and for some time has been the "athlete to watch" in Belize. And don't let the "Fast Tracks" in our headline fool you into thinking that her accomplishment isn't the result of hard work, many hours of training, and determination. Texas A&M is a big school in a populous, highly competitive nation and doesn't hand out scholarships easily.

Tips on Developing a Business Vision
Concentrated focus is needed to achieve excellent results. In business, having focus means establishing clear goals or visions for the business and then introducing a basic, clear strategy for achieving that goal. It's a simple principle yet not always easy to achieve. As business owners we have some natural tendencies that conspire to ensure focus is elusive. Business owners have creative minds. Necessity is the mother of all invention and as business owners we are aware that ingenuity is critical to success. The challenge arises when our creativity starts to distract us from our long-term path to success. What seems a good idea at the outset can take us on a journey that results in a lot of effort being expended for little gain.

"Waiting in Vain" in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
In yesterday's edition I promised(sounds very magnanimous of me doesn't it) that I would bring you all (anyone would think that I have an audience of thousands ) up-to-date with what's been going on for Rose and I. So, without further ado I will start to do just that. On Tuesday morning I caught the Belize Water Taxi 07.30 service to Belize City and on arrival at around 09.00 hours caught a taxi and went straight to the offices of Caribbean Shipping Service (this company acts as agent for Hyde Shipping, the company we used to bring our purchases over from Miami) to pay the invoice so that our container would be released. As an aside I must mention (well I don't have to really but it might be of interest to some of you) that if you are in Belize for any length of time and think that you might be using the Belize Water Taxi service quite a bit it could be worth your while joining the Rewards Program. It will cost you BZ$ 10 to join but thereafter you get discounts off the normal prices. For example a return ticket from San Pedro to Belize City normally costs BZ$ 50 but as a member of the Rewards Program it costs BZ$ 48. OK so it's only a BZ$ 2 saving but � it adds up over time. So am I a member? Keep meaning to fill in the form but haven't quite got around to it yet.

Serious Safety Issues With Chuka Tours Belize
It's been some time ago the group Fectab ( President Tom Greenwood) has been sounding the ALERT BELLS regarding Chuka Tours Belize. It seems the chickens are coming home to roost. CHUKA BELIZE has been operating their poor safety tours by sheer luck however the tale tale signs of a company with serious operating problems is now coming to light. Last two weeks ago they suffered an incident on their zip lining tour, two cruise ship guests were injured and also a guide. This week, imagine one of their carnival tour bus (premier charters) filled with cruise ship guests from Carnival had defaulted brakes and ran over a park ranger. Can anyone imagine how catastrophic it would have been if the brakes would have given in while on the George Price Highway? Could have been deadly. It is no secret that Chuka is paying sweat shop salaries to their guides (40bz per day) it is no secret that they have an IBC account where Carnival makes payments into these accounts and the foreign exchange that comes to Belize is pittance . Why? It's all designed to do tax evasion . At the end of the day it boils down to Profits,Profits,Profits, at the expense of the hard working Belizeans .

Why nothing may happen with the UDP Immigration Scandal
Wonder why the Penner/UDP Immigration Hustle is getting nowhere? Meet the team that is doing the Investigation: Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse - Godwin Hulse is a U.D.P. Senator and a Minister in the Barrow administration. He was sworn in on March fourteenth, 2012. He was not elected and serves no constituency. His portfolio was given to him by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, and it can be taken away by Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Appointed, not elected�he serves only at the whim of his boss, the Prime Minister. Godwin Hulse is the Minister of Immigration. He is heading the investigation into the Ministry of Immigration. CEO in the Ministry of Immigration Candelaria Saldivar - Candelaria Saldivar is the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Immigration. Four years ago she was a mid-level public officer in the Ministry of Natural Resources. Today, she is a high paid executive with the Barrow administration. Candelaria Saldivar is the sister of Minister of National Security John Saldivar. Her rise to fortune was tied to the success of the U.D.P. in elections in 2008. Her fortune now is tied to the success of the U.D.P.

Masters of Corruption
We got another email that we thought you'd like to read� Management Consultant, guys you have always been on the ball. This UDP crowd is the Masters of Corruption. The UDP has become blatant in their corruption practices same as the bald head that is the Prime Minister. He does his corrupt deals in the bright of day and claims that he has "NO APOLOGIES". So Penner and the other Ministers who will be exposed soon, are following that example. CHECK OUT SIF. They became so brave under Barrow that they accepted checks. IMAGINE, one can be such an ass. Now Cano, Gapi boy, is on TV bawling, bohoho� Stop BAWL and tell Belizeans how much the UDP Ministers COLLECT. TALK UP MY BOY. YOU are a disgrace� to be called a Belizean. PENNER MUST BE RECALLED. HE IS SUCH A DISGRACE. THE GRINGOS MUST HAVE BROUGHT SERIOUS PRESSURE FOR BALD HEAD TO SACK THE MENNONITE AND RUN THE RISK OF LOSING HIS MAJORITY BY the OTHERS SCANDAL THAT IS BREWING. THIS IS WORSE THAN THE STINKING DREAD, CASTRO, FIRING.

Crime and Public Policy : The Dilemma of Capital Punishment in Belize.
Crime and Public Policy : The Dilemma of Capital Punishment in Belize. Does it have a deterrent effect or is it simply state sponsored executed vengeance? By: Hubert Pipersburgh Rationality and Deterrence Should Belize resort to capital punishment as a means to deter violent heinous crime? This is a legitimate public policy question. Crime is a central problem confronting any society. The accompanying rational strategy is usually deterrence. The goal of deterrence is to make the cost of committing crime far greater than any benefits potential criminals might derive from their acts. Thus, the theory goes that with advance knowledge of these cost rational individuals should be deterred from committing crime. Capital punishment hinges on the notion of inspiring fear on the consequences of the action. Moreover, Deterrence is the assumption that criminals are rational. Criminals must truly believe that their actions will indeed result in an unbearable terminal cost. On closer examination, this assumption is badly flawed, because criminals are irrational beings who do not consider the potential cost of their actions to themselves to be deterred. Thus, deterrence is mostly psychological, it tries to prevent criminals from undertaking a particular heinous action by creating in their minds the fear of costly punishment. In light of the current climate most Belizeans are inclined to cling desperately to the hope that an execution or two would intimidate our young men. The only deterrent they argue for their nihilism is state sponsored execution. Some even resort to Biblical pronouncement, " an eye for an eye." Before we can assess the relative effectiveness of the deterrence model. We have to examine the nature and the extent of crime in Belize.

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