Today's Belize News: January 1, 2014
01/01/14 04:51 AM
01/01/14 04:51 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
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Specials and Events
Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
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The San Pedro Sun
Sea Cucumber fishing license delayed issued for 2014
2014 fishing licenses for Sea Cucumbers (Holothuroidea) will not be issued on January as scheduled. In a press release sent out on December 27, 2013, the Belize Fisheries Department stated that no Sea Cucumber fishing or export license will be issued since the Sea Cucumber fishery will remain closed until further notice. This is due to the need to assess the ecosystem of Sea Cucumbers in Belize in order to determine if the industry is sustainable to Belize’s marine life.
Sea Cucumber is a delicacy in both Asia and Central America, and buyers pay top dollar. The market for them is quickly growing, and the increasing demand for the product is causing overfishing in many countries. Asia alone consumes 95% of the world’s Sea Cucumber export.
United Nations rights expert urges Belize to “Protect the victims, punish the traffickers”
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, called on the Government of Belize to adopt a comprehensive protection and assistance program for victims of trafficking, and entrench a culture of zero tolerance for corruption and complicity of public officials with traffickers. “Belize should avoid repressive immigration policy that compounds the phenomenon of human trafficking and undermines efforts at combating and preventing trafficking in persons and providing holistic assistance to victims of trafficking,” Ms. Ezeilo said* at the end of her official visit to the country, the first ever by an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Right Council
Belize is a country of destination, transit and, to a limited degree, also of origin, where trafficking disproportionately affects women who are mainly trafficked for sexual exploitation; particularly women from the neighboring countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
Vote for Ambergris Caye for Best Island in Caribbean
10Best.com and USA TODAY Travel are asking its viewers to vote for the Best Caribbean Island and Ambergris Caye, Belize is on that list. So of course we ask our faithful readers and lovers of La Isla Bonita to vote and make Ambergris Caye #1.
With contenders at St. Lucia, Tobago, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico, Grenada, Cozumel and Curacao we know that Ambergris Caye has something unique to offer and is one of the top destinations in the Caribbean. Heck we were named #1 Island in the World by readers and reviewers of Trip Advisor’s 2013 Viewers Choice Awards. Why not top another Best List!
Please click on the link below and cast your vote for Ambergris Caye, Belize. You can vote once a day until January 6, 2014 at noon. Thank You!
Keeping your New Year’s Resolution
It is that time again - to break into a New Year and everyone is ready for a change in themselves and doing so with New Year’s resolutions. But most of these resolutions, or attempts at it, usually last only two to three months after ringing in the New Year. So how do you keep your resolutions? For me, I don’t really have any resolutions because I don’t really see any point to it. If I would like to change something in myself I would do it no matter what is the time.
But for those who challenge themselves with one at every turn of the New Year, well the answer is simple. All you have to do is keep pushing yourself to accomplish what you want. The problem comes when you start to get a little lazy and you are ready to give up, but don’t feel bad it’s not really your own fault it’s just human nature.
So how is it possible to overcome this?
Where to Celebrate New Year in Belize?
The holiday season and Christmas spirit continues to a weeklong celebration touching down to New Year, a perfect time to celebrate and make amazing memories with family and close friends. So if by chance this New Year’s you happen to be in Belize, you just got lucky!
This beautiful Caribbean destination in Central America is full of energy, zeal and smiles. Even though Belize has a very calming and relaxing image, and is definitely so at all times, except when its New Year, Belize is deeply engrossed in wild celebrations!
The night life in Belize comes to surface and you see bars, restaurants, outdoor places, malls, celebrating the arrival of New Year in Belize. So where can you celebrate New Year in Belize that you remember for a life time?! Here are some exciting places to celebrate your New Years at:
1. Ambergris Caye
Belize’s most popular caye, with natural beauty bursting from right, left and center, Ambergris Caye is alive on the New Year’s eve like no other evening in the year! And the celebrations run way into the following day, as people forgo their sleep so as to bring in the New Year with a bang. Around New Year, the Caye and other Cayes in Belize are packed with tourists and foreign visitor because of its beautiful beaches and wide assortment of outdoor activities.
Misc Belizean Sources
The Belize People’s Front New Year Message
Fireworks in Central Park, NYEve 2013
Waterfall Climbing Expedition, Belize
Feliz Ano Nuevo! Mensaje de ano nuevo del Primer Ministro.
Happy New Year, Belize! Listen to Prime Minister Dean Barrow's New Year's Message here.
Dec 22 - Dec 28, 2013 Fishing Report
We had a wonderful Christmas week here at El Pescador. Tons of great food and laughter made for a fun holiday with our guests and EP family. I had several calls to make sure Garth from Bozeman was all set for his fly fishing this week. His beautiful wife Cara, suggested they have a break in warm weather. Then she said it could also be a fishing vacation! Garth happens to be a busy surgeon, besides a passionate fly fisherman. What is important to my buddies in Bozeman is that he is their goaly for the hockey team. I’m thrilled Garth was able to land a permit, and hopefully tomorrow a tarpon! Tom, Carol and Kelsey – it was hard to say good bye! We really enjoyed you around here and look forward to when you can return. Thank you to all of our guests this week. It’s been great to see your fishing skills improve but most importantly, we all feel we have made new friends of El Pescador. Until next year! With a ton of fishing blessings from the fishing department!
PUP’s Penner Recall DOA at E&B: 75 Signatures Short!
In 2013, one of the biggest, most explosive names in news was former Minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration Elvin Penner. He’s been accused of facilitating an international fugitive in getting a Belize passport, cast aside by his own party, and harshly condemned by the opposition, media and civil society.
Body Found at Bze-Guat Border, Could It Be Missing Canadian?
All day today, authorities in Belize have been trying to negotiate with their Guatemalan counterparts to have Canadian Kory Townsend go over to that country to see if he can positively identify a body strongly believed to be that of Brian Townsend.
Plan To Pave City Streets Getting Back On Track
Today is the final day for 2013, and the deadline that Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley gave to the public when he promised to cement 100 of the city’s 500+ streets. But, some of the street works are still unfinished, and today Bradley called a press conference to update residents on their progress.
Police Sweep Park For Public Safety
It’s New Year’s Eve and tonight at the memorial park city residents will be taking in the fireworks at LOVE FM’s New Year’s countdown.
Crime Downturn Was One Of The Biggest Stories In 2013
With all the political scandals that got hours of coverage in the headlines, 2013 was a big year in news. And while scandals from Mark King at the Casino to the Social Investment Fund to Penner's passport and Castro's visa recommendations dominated the headlines, one thing we reported much less on was crime, especially murders. And that, in itself, is one of the biggest stories of the year!
The most recent crime statistics which take us up to December 17th show that murders dropped from 136 for the same period last year to 94 for this year. That's up to December 17th, but since then there have been five murders, bringing the unofficial total to 99 murders. If it stays that way, 2013 could be the first year since 2009 to record less than 100 murders. In 2009 there were 97 reported murders, and it's been on an upward trend since then. And last year, it peaked at 145 murders. Now, 99 or 100 murders are nothing to celebrate, not at all, but the drop is significant and would be the greatest single year downturn ever recorded. It would also bring Belize's murder rate per hundred thousand to just a shade under 30, specifically 29.91. That would also take Belize's murder rate out of the international top ten where it had been for some years. It also brings the murder rate under the civil war benchmark of 30.
BSI to Cane Farmers: “Let’s Talk”
The sugar industry standoff remains in effect - one month after the crop season was to have started. Yes, a lot of that is also due to weather, but it's also due to the fact that both sides still can't come to an agreement on bagasse.
Today the cane farmers put a statement in the Amandala saying quote, "it is BSI who is causing the stalling of the commencement of the sugar cane crop by first delaying negotiations and now by refusing to unconditionally make a payment for bagasse." End quote.
That statement is dated December 23rd, and a letter dated today from BSI to the cane farmers deals directly with the bagasse payment. The letter says, quote, "it is BSI/ASR's intent to negotiate and make payment for bagasse at a quantum to be determined through negotiations (if possible)." Whether that is the unconditional guatrnatee the farmers want is left to their interpretation.
Four Cruise Ships For New Year’s Day
3 cruise ships came sailing in on Christmas day in the morning, and tomorrow morning, on New Year’s Day, 4 cruise ships will make a call in Belize, and so while the rest of the country enjoys a holiday, the tour operators will “stay on it”.
PM Promises Sugar Plums And Free CXC’s For 2014
And that's the kind of lift that Prime Minister Dean Barrow is hoping for across all sectors in 2013. All in all, 2012, wasn't great for his party's political fortunes. Economic growth flatlined, and successive scandals rocked the government - the aftershocks of which can still be felt.
But, 2013 is a new year, and to start it out on the right foot, the Prime Minister unveiled some seriously sweet sugar-plums. Here are the three main offerings of the new year's message:..
That message, as well as a quite grim voiceover from the leader of the opposition are airing in tonight's news.
Mayor Says City is Paying BWC As Best It Can
All this year, we’ve been reporting on the dispute between the Belize City Council and Belize Waste Control where the sanitation company got a court order to collect over a million dollars in arrears.
Mayor On Sanitation Contracts: Errors were Made
But, as we showed you, the city council, after the go-slow from BWC, decreased their debt to the company from 15 weeks to 9 weeks in arrears for garbage collection. As you’ve heard many times on this newscast, since Bradley became mayor, he’s lamented that the City cannot continue to pay both BWC and Belize Maintenance Limited for sanitation because payment to these contracts sap up 45% of their annual revenue.
New BTL Park Project Slowed By Rains
And in our last item from the Mayor, he also gave an update on the progress of BTL Park. City residents were expecting to use the renovated park for the City Council’s Christmas Concert, which would have also served as its reopening ceremony.
He Came, He Saw, He’s Gone
Last night, 7News introduced you to the Spanish Navigator, Alvaro de Marichalar, who is in Belize as part of his navigation to Panama in commemoration of the 5th Centennial anniversaries of the European discoveries by Spanish Explorers Vasco Nunez de Balboa and Juan Ponce de Leon.
He's going for another long distance world record by traveling the route of these explorers using only his water scooter. He arrived in Belize on Sunday, and today he headed out to Honduras, after being delayed due to mechanical failures. Before his departure, he spoke to the media about his brief first trip to Belize:
As a part of his expedition, he's trying to raise awareness for the organization, End Polio Now.
A Race Of Rivalries, Personalities and Prestige
The second biggest race on the cycling calendar will roll out tomorrow. It's the KREM New Year's Day Cycling Classic in its twenty fourth running. Today, Race Promoter Kwame Scott told us about the rivalries, the personalities and the prestige on this 90 mile ride.
Rider Hanson Critical But Prognosis Encouraging
One rider who had hoped to be on that podium is 22 year-old Belmopan cyclist Geon Hanson. He was knocked down by a bus on the Western Highway on Christmas Eve between miles 36 and 37. He has endured major surgery at the KHMH to save his life and deal with the extensive injuries he sustained in that accident.
He remains in a critical condition at the KHMH, but his vital signs look promising. His family hopes that he will make a full recovery, and they thank the doctors and caregivers who have helped him to get to this point.
Vallejos Says Matura Shepherd Misrepresented
Last night, 7News told you about the Pickwood/Castillo land dispute which attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd said former CEO of the Natural Resources Ministry, Beverly Castillo, used her influence to take away a piece of land from Bernadette Pickwood and give it to her mother and son. Well, the Commissioner of Lands, Wilbert Vallejos, says that this is a gross misrepresentation of the facts.
Vallejos told us by phone tonight that the major charges that Matura-Shepherd brought are misguided. First, Beverly Castillo, as the CEO, does not have the power to cancel a lease or grant any lease to applicants; that was in relation to the allegation from Matura-Shepherd made saying that Castillo personally gave the directive to cancel the lease and transfer it to her family. Next, he said that Lands Department stands by their information that Bernadette Pickwood owes rent to the Government, and therefore breached her lease conditions. Next, he claims that the notice of intent to cancel the lease was sent out on October 1, 2013, and there was not need to Gazette this nor the actual cancellation of the Lease, which happened on November 1, because of the nature of the lease that Bernadette Pickwood had.
The Streets Indifferent About New Year’s
Tomorrow is New Year's Day and though it falls in the middle of the week, the day holds promise and symbolism for all of us. Whether you're the type that makes bold resolutions or just privately hopes to do better - the idea of a fresh start, a clean page, appeals to the optimist in all of us.
Today our colleague, the vox-pop king Geovanni Brackett took to the street to get a sampling of public opinion on the merits of new year's resolutions:..
2013, Looking Back
And, as we end the year on that up note, we close this new year's eve newscast as we have for the better part of two decades: with a musical look back at some of the images that made news in the year past. It is by no means comprehensive, after all we aired about 85 hours of edited content in 240 newscasts - which if you played them back end to end, they would last about 15 days.
It's been our pleasure and honour to do that for you, and we hope to do more and better in 2014, but right now it's time to say goodbye to 2013, the good, the bad, the tragic, the inspiring, and the unforgettable.
That piece was edited over long hours by James Ayala.
And while that's only a 4 minute flashback - to get a fuller picture, tune in tomorrow morning at 7:00 am or tomorrow evening at 5:00 pm, to see our pick of the 113 stories that made news in 2013.
News junkies can get an endless fix on that one tomorrow, but for now, Goodnight, and have a safe and enjoyable new year's, join Monica Bodden back here on Thursday for our first newscast of 2014.
Opposition gets bad news in its first attempt at a recall in Cayo Northeast
The People’s United Party has received some less than welcome news to bring in the New Year. The petition to recall former Minister of State Elvin Penner has been rejected [...]
Body is found in the Mopan River…is it Canadian Brian Townsend
Our last newscast of 2013 brings no good news to family and friends of Canadian national Brian Townsend, missing and believed murdered on Christmas Eve. Reports early this afternoon suggested [...]
Rape victim identifies two of three men, but no charges brought against them
In the early hours of the morning of Boxing Day, a teenager was raped in San Ignacio minutes after she exited the Princess Casino in that western town. The young [...]
Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association says B.S.I. is being duplicitous
For the first time in history, the year will end without the start of a sugar cane crop season. In fact, at this point there is still much uncertainty and [...]
Cane farmers desperate for resolution on bagasse issue
Now, eight days ago, the Belize Sugar Industries and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association came to the negotiating table for the first time since late September. As the fiery [...]
The impact of delayed start of sugar cane crop season
While BSCFA and B.S.I./ASR battle semantics, legalese and bagasse, the rains continue to pour down over the north of the country. Generally rain is a blessing where agriculture is concerned, [...]
B.S.I. responds to cane farmers in late evening release
Late this evening, News Five received a copy of a letter from B.S.I.’s Chief Executive Officer, Joey Montalvo, dispatched earlier today to BSCFA Committee of Management Chairman, Leonardo Cano on [...]
A taste of what Belizeans are committing to for 2014
New Year’s resolutions are annual vows taken after a sober look at one’s life over a twelve-month period. The pledge often precedes an approaching calendar and is usually honored well [...]
Spanish Adventurer, Álvaro de Marichalar, departs Belize to Honduras
Spanish Adventurer, Álvaro de Marichalar, has left the jewel. He left Florida on the twelfth of December en route to Panama and is expected to complete the journey on January [...]
1 year later, second man charged for attempted murder of Ellis Meighan Jr and Malik Dixon
It took police over a year to make a second arrest in a shooting that occurred in Belize City back in October tenth, 2012 when two men attempted to kill [...]
Eldon Hendy charged with manslaughter for fatal traffic accident
A senior citizen, seventy-five year old Gregory Lopez, was hit and killed on December fourth, 2013 on the Phillip Goldson Highway between miles six and seven. It has been twenty-seven [...]
Mayor Darrell Bradley gives an update on payments to Belize Waste Control
Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley hosted a press conference this morning during which he updated the media on three major projects that are being concluded for 2013. Those initiatives include [...]
…..And addresses a major headache; the streets
The streets have been a major headache for the Belize City Mayor. Mayor Bradley says that the concretization of streets, which is part of the Municipal Development Project, have been [...]
A flashback at 2013 and a vision for 2014
2013 is just a few hours away from being recorded as another eventful year in the chronicles of Belizean history. While we welcome a new year with the singing of [...]
The lucky winners of Western Union Treasure Chest Raffle
Today at the offices of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the lucky winners were chosen for the December 2013 Western Union Treasure Chest Raffle. The raffle is done [...]
Burning Of The Ano Viejo
Around the globe, countries have special or unusual New Year's customs. Some customs are shared; others vary from country to country. Some are amusing, such as the custom of throwing water on people; many are intended to bring good luck during the New Year ahead. Other such customs involve of eating 12 grapes as the clock chimes twelve midnight. Here in Belize especially in the northern part of the country the tradition also varies from eating of grapes to burning the old year man doll or ‘Juan Viejo’ which is a much anticipated event. Reporter Victor Castillo got in depth view of the tradition and filed the following report.
Burning "Mr. Old Year" or Juan Viejo is a New Year's tradition for many within the four corners of Belize. As families reunite to welcome the New Year, part of the entertainment and highlight for many would be the burning of the male figurine. It requires the participation of the entire family. It is a lot of fun; they fabricate a big stuffed male doll that is symbolic of the old year. Then they stuff the doll with different materials. Sometimes they put some little fire crackers in it to make it more exciting at the time they burn it. And the main purpose of it is to also put things inside that they don't want anymore, objects that can bring sadness or bad memories of the year past.
What Is Your New Years Resolution
New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It's a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. From more patience to losing weight to starting to savings account, Reporter Dalila Ical found out what the New Year Resolutions of the people are. Here is that report.
“Siempre entre luchas hay buenos tiempos y malos tiempos. En la iglesia siempre seguimos en las cosas de Dios cantando, alabando en las misas, cumple años, quince años de todo.”
“Hasta a horita me ha traído muchas buenas cosas, bendiciones, este me ha traído un poquito más de sabiduría porque he tratado de cambiar mi vida un poco y otras cosas, amor a la familia pero acido un buen año para mi hasta ahorita.”
Estamos a horas del ano Nuevo pero como estos amigos, muchos estan todavía recordándose de lo que trajo el 2013. And even the young have their favourite memories.
Chines Community In Corozal Up In Arms Over New Law
The Chinese Community in Corozal were in an uproar over the Christmas Day holiday as they claim they were cheated out on making sales on their alcoholic beverages stock specifically, beers.
In a release sent to the Corozal Liquor Licensing Board, the Chinese community made their discontent known citing that on the 25th of December the liquor licensing board and the police department informed them that they can only open after 6 PM and sell alcoholic beverages.
When 6:00pm arrived they opened their stores, only to find police forcing them to close down their businesses. They were told that this is a new law that was just being enforced on Christmas Day citing that all businesses should be closed all day, not only up until 6:00pm as before.
The release went on to say that the night of the 25th was also the night of a Christmas Day Event being held by the company who imports Kubuli into Belize “RC Imports”. The event at the Civic Center was allowed to go on and RC Imports was allowed to sell their beers all night long while all the businesses in the whole entire town were forced to close down.
San Andres Resident Charged For Robbery
A Belizean mechanic of Corozal Town, Ramiro Pineda, reported to police that on Thursday December 26th at about 8:30pm while he was walking on an unnamed street in San Andres Village, he was approached by two male persons who were riding individual bicycles of which he recognized as one Fernando of San Andres Village. Pineda reported that Fernando robbed him of his touch screen cell phone valued at $350.00.
Pineda says he managed to hold on to one of his attackers whilst he attempted to flee with the stolen item, a struggle ensued among them where Pineda’s assailant dropped the cell-phone causing the screen to break beyond repair. As a result, police arrested and charged 23 year old Fernando Olivares of San Andres Village, for the crimes of "Robbery" and "Damage to Property".
Immigration Officer Accused Of Extortion
An American- Belizean who visited his birth country Belize over the Christmas holidays is crying foul after he was allegedly extorted by an Immigration Officer at the Santa Elena Border.
Aladino Flores claims that on Christmas Eve, he, along with his girlfriend of Guatemalan Nationality, took a taxi in Corozal and asked the driver to be taken to the Corozal Commercial Free Zone.
Upon their arrival at the zone, Flores claims that they realized that they did not stop at the Corozal Border for a departure stamp on their passports. Upon returning to the border, the couple informed the immigration officer on duty of what happened earlier. While Flores was advised of the offence he had committed, he is alleging that the officer took advantage of the situation; here is what he told us via telephone this morning.
Re: Today's Belize News: January 1, 2014
01/01/14 04:51 AM
01/01/14 04:51 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
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New Year’s Resolutions and Greetings
A new year is upon us. In a matter of hours, 2013 will be but a thing of the past and that means those new year resolutions are all set to put into practice. But if you’re still pondering on what changes you’d like to see this coming year,...
Krem’s New Year’s Classic to Run on Wednesday
The KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic on January 1 is the traditional start of the cycling season for the last 23 years. But this year’s race carries numerous wrinkles. There are a total of 70 riders, 11 of whom are from outside Belize. Race promoter Kwame Scott shares...
CAHSU Looks Forward to Growth of Medical Education in 2014
The Central American Health Sciences University along the Burrell Boom Road is also known as the Belize Medical College. Over the course of 2013, much has been said about these types of medical universities in Belize. However, according to the Central American Health Sciences University’s director of special projects,...
Belama Family in Land Dispute with Former Lands CEO
There is news of a major land dispute involving former CEO in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture, Beverly Castillo, who has resigned to contest the seat of Belize Rural Central in a convention for the United Democratic Party (UDP). It is alleged, however, that before she left...
Caye Caulker Chronicles
Unhappy Caye Caulker Resident
I write to you today out of sheer frustration due to my inability to protect my family’s health and well being. I have spoken to all public officials and see that I am being disregarded and treated like a third class citizen. Let me set the stage. My family and I are being forced to face serious hazards where we now live like prisoners in our own home. We are suffocating in the strong odor of lighter fluid and smoke released from a barbeque grill that Roses restaurant has placed in front of my home where my ten month old baby girl sputters and chokes at night as she tries to sleep. When I chose to raise my family on a clean pollution free island this was definitely not my intention. Everyday from 4pm to 10pm my family and I are imprisoned in our own home, where we keep all windows closed. The smoke still manages to seep through every window with an acrid burning smell which has now become the veil of perfume that we wear on a daily basis. Despite the immediate discomfort we face, I know this will have some serious long term effects to my family where all of you are aware that smoke being inhaled regularly is a carcinogen which causes cancer. I ask all of you as responsible citizens and parents to join me in my stand to have the local authorities exercise their power to get this restaurant to relocate its grill to another location where he will continue to gain profits while my family and I continue to enjoy our right as citizens to healthy air and living conditions which are fit for human.
X-MAS DAY ABDUCTION?
Canadian man flies to Belize in search of missing father.
“On December 25 my father mysteriously went missing while at his residence in The Valley of Peace, Belize. Let’s hope he is found soon.”
“I am not sure exactly what we will find or even how much help we will be in Belize, I realize that. I realize that there are dangers involved. Those same dangers are surrounding my father right now. I must go.”
Kory Townsend, of Edmonton, Canada, traveled to Belize this weekend in an attempt to uncover the whereabouts of his father, Brian Townsend, a well-known missionary here for more than a decade who the son believes was abducted in Valley of Peace, Cayo, on Christmas Day.
“In my father’s sleeping area, there were signs of an aggressive struggle that carried out the door and across the lawn to where his truck [a Chevy Silverado] was parked. [The] truck is missing. Abduction,” Kory wrote in a Facebook post on Friday, December 27.
In his latest Facebook update, posted this evening, he said, “The Belize police are continuously working to find Brian. Canadian Foreign Affairs and Canadian Embassy have been working with local officials to aid in any way possible. An organization called BDaRRT (Belize Disaster and Rescue Response Team) had a team of 8 individuals out today helping search for Brian. I want to recognize all the local individuals that with their own time, money and energy have been searching for Brian.”
SIX TRAFFIC FATALITIES MAR CHRISTMAS
Three separate road traffic accidents over the Christmas week, between Saturday, December 21, and Thursday, December 27, claimed the lives of 6 people.
The most tragic of the accidents happened on the Philip Goldson Highway on Christmas Day, December 25, when four young people lost their lives after the vehicle they were traveling in careened into a tree.
Hector Daniel Gongora, 22, of Lake Gardens, Ladyville; Shamir Shakir Monima 23, of Daly Street, Belize City; Dulce Yanira Cobb, 17, also of Daly Street; and Henry Gaboural Reyes, 20, of Antelope Street Extension, all lost their lives in the accident near Ladyville.
The night before, on December 24, Armin Nair Rodriguez, 22, of Calcutta Village, Corozal, was knocked down and killed.
Two days earlier, on December 22, Victoria Bol, 42, a mother of 5 children and resident of Silk Grass Village, Stann Creek, succumbed to injuries she sustained when the vehicle she was in collided with a police van and overturned.
Court issues injunction in Belama land dispute involving family of former Lands CEO and political hopeful, Beverly Castillo.
Amid a controversial land dispute which has the family of a former CEO turned politician at the center, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has issued a 28-day injunction to stop construction works on the property over which the dispute has arisen, and to stop the Government of Belize from finalizing the forfeiture of the title from Bernadette Pickwood, a Belizean living in the USA.
Pickwood returned home for the holidays planning to lay the foundation for the dream home she intends to settle in upon her retirement – only to find out that her land had been taken away and given to another well-connected family.
Audrey Matura-Shepherd, her attorney, told the media today that the only reason they have decided to come public is because they have not gotten a satisfactory response from the Lands Department, which has told them that they would deal with the matter after New Year’s.
The problem is that someone else is today building on the land for which Pickwood has had a lease since the 1990s; and Matura-Shepherd said that although the law requires that a leaseholder be granted natural justice, and demands that the leaseholder is given notice of the intent to cancel the lease and a fair opportunity to defend his or her position – her client was denied her legal right.
AMANDALA UNVEILS WOMAN AND MEN OF THE YEAR 2013
Three outstanding Belizeans were the first to receive special year-end awards presented today by the Amandala newspaper, for their outstanding national contributions.
They are Woman of the Year: Audrey Matura-Shepherd, and Men of the Year: Ian “Yellow” Gaynair and Woodrow Wilson West.
Amandala has previously acknowledged persons for their nationalistic contributions by featuring them on the front page of the year-end issue. This time, the newspaper has decided to take things up a notch, by presenting rosewood awards to the recipients.
“I can’t even explain how I feel! The way I feel right now is like when I had scored that goal against America. Awesome feeling!” said Ian Gaynair, who plays right defense for Belmopan Bandits, and who scored Belize’s only goal in the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2013.
West said that receiving the award “feels good!”
“Every time I receive an award, I realize how grateful people are,” West told us.
West and Gaynair are being acknowledged by Amandala for turning down a match-fixing bribe in July this year, when a European who had befriended them in Guatemala incidentally showed up in Portland, Oregon, trying to get them to “sell out” the game.
ON NEW YEAR’S DAY AND ROME’S DOMINATION
Why April Fool’s Day? “… Those who continued to celebrate the end of New Year Week on April 1 were referred to as fools,” says Encyclopedia Britannica.
March was New Year’s in British territories
The Gregorian calendar is today’s internationally accepted civil calendar and is also known as the ‘Western calendar’ or ‘Christian calendar’. It was named after the man who first introduced it in February 1582: Pope Gregory XIII. (Source: http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/gregorian-calendar.html)
by Pope Gregory’s time, the Julian calendar was 10 days out of sync with the seasons; in 1582, to bring the vernal equinox (and thus Easter) back to its proper date, 10 days were dropped (October 5 became October 15). Most of Catholic Europe soon adopted the new calendar; Great Britain and its colonies (1752) and Russia (1918) followed much later. (Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/concise/gregorian%20calendar)
In Belize, New Year’s Day is usually welcomed with dancing and fireworks, and in New York City, by the highly anticipated Ball Drop at Times Square¯where perhaps the most grand spectacle is seen by millions. In fact, the 2014 version of the kaleidoscopic 12-foot wide ball, weighing almost 12,000 pounds and patterned with multicolored triangles, pentagons and hexagons, is ready for Tuesday night’s countdown.
YEAR IN REVIEW – 2013 HEADLINE HIGHLIGHTS
TOP 10 stories for 2013
1. The Penner Passport Scandal
2. KHMH cloacae calamity: 12 babies die under mysterious circumstances
3. Cañeros lock horns with BSI over bagasse payment: Cane season unable to start
4. Belize debt restructuring – new superbond sealed
5. Belize faces mounting LGBT challenges; 2013 Gender Policy sparks massive protests
6. Aborted Referendum on Belize-Guatemala issue
7. Murder rate drops
8. Felicia Chen faces charges for the murder of her three children
9. Four George Street gang leaders brutally executed
10. Noh Mul destruction
THE NEW YEAR BEGINS
2013 is fast winding down, and the New Year 2014 is almost here, and it begins with the full blown spectacle of the 2nd biggest cycling event in the 2014 calendar – as over a hundred cyclists, male and female, from Youth to Masters, local and foreign, first timers, veteran warriors and past champions are all getting ready to gear down for what has become a Belizean tradition now about to enter its 24th year – the Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic.
Coincidentally, the first KREM Cycling Classic, won by Michael “Big Wire” Lewis, took place on New Year’s Day of 1991, the same year that the first semi-pro football season kicked off in Belize. The Premier League is right now in the heat of perhaps its toughest and most exciting race to their playoffs. Playoff bound teams will likely not be finally decided until next weekend, although some teams might clinch a playoff spot from this coming Sunday. But cycling is a different story.
In this Wednesday’s KREM New Year’s Classic, it will all be decided once and for all on New Year’s Day, when fans will welcome the winners as they cross the finish line at the junction of Mahogany Street and Central American Boulevard. The “playoffs,” if there are any, are being decided with registration deadlines and the technical meeting tonight at the UWI campus on Princess Margaret Drive. And all vetted cyclists will get a chance to compete for the prestigious KREM Classic championship which comes along with what is certainly the most enticing package of prizes ever for this race. Where previously the race station prizes only included one of a thousand dollars, there are now four such prizes along the way to the finish, where there is an even bigger bag of prizes for the champion. And there are many other smaller station prizes along the way.
FFB INTER-DISTRICT SCHEDULE CHANGE
The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) announces that all Inter-District games postponed last weekend will be played this coming weekend.
The schedule is as follows:
Friday, January 3, 2014 (Back match)
7:30 p.m. – San Martin FC vs Hope Creek – Isidoro Beaton Stadium
Week 6 games:
Sunday, January 5
7:00 p.m. – MnM Steelers vs Police FC – Michael Ashcroft Stadium
4:00 p.m. – Mavericks vs GB United – Toledo Union Field
3:30 p.m. – Roaring Creek United vs Hope Creek Pumas – Isidoro Beaton Stadium
4:00 p.m. – Green Gold FC vs San Martin FC – Carl Ramos Stadium
CONTENT AND DELIVERY: POLITICS AND BUSINESS Editorial
At Kremandala, we never take the support of the Belizean people for granted. That is because, where classic business theory is concerned, we are not a sustainable proposition. Kremandala is not a sustainable proposition because we are always on the “wrong” side, in business terms, of major issues. We are on the wrong side of the bagasse issue; we are on the wrong side of the Harmonyville/BGYEA issue; we are on the wrong side of the cave tubing issue; we are on the wrong side of the offshore drilling issue; we are on the wrong side of the Sarstoon/Temash issue; we are on the wrong side of the marijuana issue; we are on the wrong side of the Guatemala border issue. Because we are almost always on the wrong side of issues, we take positions and make decisions which are not “sensible” business positions and decisions.
So then, the content of the material Zinc Fence delivers to the Belizean people is not a content designed to solicit support from the wealthy sectors of Belizean society. The Kremandala content is aimed at informing and educating the masses of the Belizean people so that the people can make sensible decisions, decisions which will benefit the people of Belize over the course of time.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
There was a week or two during the Heads of Agreement crisis in 1981 when I got the feeling that Belize had been totally cut off from the rest of the world, as if nobody out there knew what was happening to us. This is how it feels when the mighty powers of the planet, in Belize’s case these being the United States and Great Britain, are turning the screws on you and forcing you to submit to their decisions and instructions.
During the recent Amandala holiday, I was watching John Pilger’s documentary on the Diego Garcia story. Diego Garcia is one of the Chagos Islands, a range situated in the Indian Ocean between East Africa and Southwest Asia. A couple thousand people of African and Indian descent had been living on Diego Garcia for three or four generations when the said United States and Great Britain decided to get rid of them because they wanted the island for an American military base.
There was a point in the twentieth century when the black population of British Honduras appeared to be of the opinion that we held some value for the British Empire. I suppose this kind of thinking would have reached its peak in the years immediately after World War II. The British had been the leaders of the Allied war effort (1939-45) which stopped Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, and Belizeans had fought in that war on behalf of British “democracy.”
UEF OBSERVES KWANZAA JANUARY 1
The UBAD Educational Foundation will be holding its 2013 Kwanzaa Celebration at 5:00 p.m. on January 1, 2014, at the Library of African and Indian Studies on the Kremandala compound at 3304 Partridge Street. Iyanifa Omitade Adediran will be the guest speaker.
Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 to January 1 annually. It was founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor and Chair of Africana Studies, California State University-Long Beach; Executive Director, African American Cultural Center (Us); and author of Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture and Introduction to Black Studies, 4th Edition.
This year’s Kwanzaa theme is “Celebrating and Living Kwanzaa: Sowing and Harvesting Seeds of Good”.
Karenga said, in his address published last week by Los Angeles Sentinel, that “…the sowing of seeds of good, of necessity, turn here to principled practice, i.e., the practice of the Seven Principles, the Nguzo Saba, which are the cultural hub and hinge on which the holiday turns. Indeed, it is these principles practiced throughout the year that ensure that Kwanzaa is not only a season of celebration, but also a living and lived tradition.”
Karenga said that to practice the Seven Principles is to sow and harvest seeds of good.
“THE ALIGNMENT” FEATURES NELSON YOUNG ARTWORK
The Embassy of Mexico is hosting a free exhibition – “The Alignment” – featuring works by Belizean artist Nelson Young until Friday, January 17, 2014.
The works are presented at the gallery of the Institute of Mexico in Belize City. Among them are the most recent productions which Young had not previously made public.
Nelson Richard Young was born in Belize City on April 3, 1958. He lived in the City until age 4, after which he moved to Caye Caulker.
He had been painting with oil and acrylics since 1981, when he went away to Sweden for 5 years and continued painting and studying art.
On his return from Europe, he resettled in Caye Caulker, where he currently resides.
IAN MCNAB, 26, GETS 3 YEARS FOR FONDLING GIRL, 5
Ian McNab, 26, this morning pleaded guilty to fondling a 5-year-old girl when he appeared in Magistrate’s Court #4, and he was sentenced to 3 years in prison for the crime.
It is alleged that on the afternoon of Friday, December 20, the little girl was walking down the stairs of her home when McNab, known to her as “Baby,” pushed his right hand into the little girl’s pants and began to fondle her parts. The incident allegedly occurred in broad daylight – around 3:30 p.m.
The little girl went to tell her father and when he came out of the house, McNab ran away. The child’s father reported the matter to police later that day.
McNab was unrepresented when he appeared in court today.
KEITHTON ARANA, 19, REMANDED FOR DENTON FLOWERS SHOOTING
Keithton Arana, 19, a maintenance worker of 5863 Lavender Street, Belize City, was remanded to the Hattieville Prison after he was charged this morning with grievous harm and abetment to grievous harm.
Arana appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano unrepresented and pleaded not guilty to both charges.
According to police, on December 23, they visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where they saw Denton Flowers suffering from a gunshot to his right leg.
Flowers told the police that at 5:55 that evening, he was on Consuelo Street, near his home. When he was about to mount his bicycle, he was approached by two men who were riding one bicycle. He told police that one of the men took out a chrome handgun and fired a shot at him, injuring him
CHRISTMAS DAY STABBING IN ORANGE WALK
Two residents of Carmelita Village, Orange Walk, have been hospitalized for stab wounds sustained over the holidays.
Minor Jordon, 22, a Guatemalan laborer of Carmelita Village, received a large cut wound on his left arm and is recovering at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.
Meanwhile, Enrique Ocampo, 28, also of Carmelita Village, suffered two stab wounds to the left side of his back and is recovering at the Northern Regional Hospital.
Both Jordon and Ocampo are said to be in stable condition.
A police report on the incident states that at about 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 25, 2013, while Minor Jordan was socializing with some friends at the residence of Davis Fernandez, he was approached by Enrique Ocampo.
FELICIA RICHARDSON, 22, CHARGED WITH HANDLING STOLEN MOTORCYCLE
Felicia Richardson, 22, a resident of 39 Far West Street, Belize City, was charged with handling stolen goods when she appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano this morning.
According to police, Gregorio Gutierrez reported that between December 18 and 19, his Meilun motorcycle, valued at $1,749, had been stolen from in front of his house.
Police said that while they were on routine patrol, they saw Richardson riding a cycle without a helmet. They stopped her and asked where her helmet was, but upon doing so, they realized that there was no key in the ignition of the cycle. Police asked Richardson for the key but she could not produce any.
Police said that when they inspected the cycle, they found that it had the same VIN as the one reported stolen by Gutierrez.
Strong support from Ambergris Caye businesses
The San Pedro Branch of the Belize Red Cross is very fortunate to have strong local business support in their efforts to make a difference on Ambergris Caye. .
Crazy Canucks Beach Bar has been doing a wonderful Job with ongoing fundraising for the San Pedro Red Cross by designating the last Friday of their weekly trivia as Red Cross Night. Think and Drink Trivia has raised $500 since June, with $175 and the highest total to date from Last Friday’s fundraiser. Without a doubt, it is one of the busiest and most popular trivia nights on the island. The owner Rob has a great sense of humor which guarantees a super fun time while raising money for an important cause. We had the Red Crossers and the Cross Redders and Forrest wore his red shirt in support of the night. Thankfully Steve was our guy and he did the the two of three tie breaking drink challenges we were called up for. Congratulations goes to the Panty Rippas who took the win.
You can Play Think and Drink Trivia any Friday night at Crazy Canucks, indulge in reasonably priced food and drinks, plus you get to hang out with good friends or make some new ones.
The BEST Dessert in San Pedro, Belize (and The Entire Country)
2013 has been a good year and unofficially, it has been my year of desserts. After deciding not to worry about things like calories or vitamins, minerals or fiber content (for the time being!)…a big slice of pie or cake seems like the perfect lunch, a brownie, a very satisfying dinner. A stop at an ice cream place is a delicious night time snack.
But this has not just been about gluttony…I had a goal. To name the best single dessert in San Pedro, Belize. Drum roll please…
WAIT! First…let me hem and haw. Not because I don’t have a favorite…I do. But because there are so many delicious desserts. So here are some runner ups. (For all information on the restaurants, scroll to the bottom of the post. It’s all in my directory.)
Best Chocolate Desserts:
The Chocolate Boutique’s Chocolate Torte. This is also the winner in the “budget category”. Small but SO CHOCOLATE, great with a cup of their chocolate coffee.
Best Key Lime Pie:
Key Lime pie is a classic in Belize. And though it seems like a simple recipe, there are tweaks that can make it even more delicious to me. I have two favorites…depending on my mood.
Frozen Key Lime Pie at Elvi’s Kitchen. I can’t get enough of this. Tart with a dollop of frozen whipped cream (you have no idea what a difference that make) with a THICK DELICIOUS buttery, sugar ginger snap cookie crust. I’ve probably eaten 20 slices in the past 6 months.
Charity Event: Distribution of Toy to the Children in Belize
My mom and dad were able to make the trip to Belize to distribute the toys that were purchased from your donations. They hosted 2 events and distributed approximately 275 toys. You can see the joy on the kids' faces as they receive the gifts.
Dean on the PSU, Diaspora, Marijuana and other items
I find it funny as hell that he needs the opposition to change the constitution for the Diaspora but does as he pleases with everything else.
In our little corner of the world, Corruption is up and in your face. The politicians are not afraid to do it outright and say they are proud of what they do, some even say they deserve it because they are not Normal Belizeans, while others simply feel they are entitled for whatever reason.
Corruption in general undermines the stability of a business or group but when it comes to Political Corruption, you put the entire nation and it’s people at risk. It undermines the “democracy” of the nation and violates the basic principle of civic virtue.
So what is Political Corruption? Political corruption is the use of power by government officials for illegitimate private gain. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties, is done under color of law or involves trading in influence. Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. Corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking, though is not restricted to these activities. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by private persons or corporations not directly involved with the government.
Eating Tilapia is Worse Than Eating Bacon
We all have the notion that eating fish would be the better option over bacon when it comes to health. And the truth is, it really is! Fish is a low fat, high protein food that has a range of health benefits. However, given what we know of fish and its sources today, we may have to re-examine this statement.
Fish can either be one of the best foods for you or detrimental to your health depending on where it is sourced. There is a world of difference between fish that is caught in the wild, farm-bred or farm-raised fish. The most common farm-raised fish are: salmon, tilapia, sea bass, catfish, and cod.
So why would farm raised fish be toxic to our health? What are the dangers of eating farm-raised fish? We’ll answer all of those queries below!
Why Farm-Raised Fish is So Bad for You
Recent Studies have found that farm-raised Tilapia may cause more inflammation – Farm-raised tilapia has always been a popular source for fish, not only because it is widely available in the US, but it is also very inexpensive. However, before you stock up on Tilapia, you may want to know about its correlation to inflammation. Recent studies have concluded that eating Tilapia may worsen inflammation that can lead to heart disease, arthritis, asthma and a world of other serious health problems. People who resort to eating more fish as a way to get their dose of omega-3-fatty-acids and lessen their risk of heart attacks may want to hold off on the tilapia. In fact, scientists have found that the inflammatory potential of tilapia is far greater than that of a hamburger or pork bacon! 1
Farmed salmon may have at least 10 times the amount of cancer causing organic pollutants compared to the wild variety – This can most likely be attributed to the feeds that are used on farm raised fish.
Pass Over the Puffer: Dolphins Get High
Have you ever looked at your dorsal fin — I mean, really looked at it?
Dolphins, nature’s playful jokers, apparently have a little habit they’ve been keeping a secret: They get high.
A BBC film crew recently captured some unusual footage of dolphins passing a puffer fish between them. The fish then secretes a toxin — a defense mechanism — which the dolphins appear to enjoy — a lot.
As the dolphins nudged the puffer fish back and forth, they fell into a trancelike state, reports the Guardian.
“At one point the dolphins are seen floating just underneath the water’s surface, apparently mesmerized by their own reflections,” according to the Guardian.
Filmmaker John Downer cleverly disguised underwater cameras as squid, tuna and other dolphins to record the footage.
Edmonton man bracing for worst in search for missing father in Belize
An Edmonton man who travelled to Belize to search for his missing father says he is preparing for the worst.
Speaking from the Central American country Tuesday morning, Kory Townsend said searches have led to no sign of his father or his father’s missing grey pickup truck.
Kory said his 64-year-old father Brian Townsend, a missionary, moved there from Edmonton nine years ago. A cook arrived at Brian’s apartment in the Valley of Peace on Dec. 25 and found evidence of a struggle inside and outside the suite.
“We’re remaining optimistic, but the reality is it’s been six and a half days,” said Kory, 32. “At this point, we’re treating it as a body recovery.”
The ongoing search in Belize has shocked members of an Edmonton church closely connected to Brian’s work.
Best Places to Retire Abroad in 2014
If you could retire anywhere in the world, where would you go? As we find ourselves at the beginning of a brand new year, that's a question worth asking. The very good news is that we are living in a time when it's not only possible, but easier than ever to launch the retirement adventure of your fondest day dreams almost anywhere on earth that appeals to you. Specifically, here are the best, most comfortable, affordable, convenient and rewarding spots worldwide for retirement in 2014. Which one is calling your name?
Ambergris Caye, Belize
Monthly budget: $2,000
Monthly rent: $800
Warm, welcoming, independent and private. These four perhaps seemingly contradictory adjectives best describe both Belizeans and their country. Belize is also one of the safest countries in the world, despite what you may read about it. Belize was a colony of Britain until 1981, meaning the people here speak English. They also value their freedom, as it's relatively new.
In the nearly 30 years that I've been spending time in this country, I've joked that "the good news from Belize is no news from Belize." This is a sleepy Caribbean nation with but 350,000 people and three highways. On the other hand, little Belize offers a whole lot of what many retirees are looking for: A chance to start over on sandy, sunny shores. Prices for a bit of sand on Ambergris, the most developed of Belize's islands, are not cheap, but it is cheaper than elsewhere in the Caribbean. And it is this island, home to the country's biggest expat community, that has the services to cater to retirees. I would recommend Ambergris to any retiree dreaming of retirement on the Caribbean Sea this new year.
10 Best Places to Ring in 2014
What better way to kick off 2014 than swaying in the hammock on a tropical beach?
Here are the top 10 most affordable tropical destinations, the best places on earth to escape the cold right now.
Belize: Clear turquoise waters lapping gently against soft white sand. Palm trees rustling in the warm breeze. Fishing boats bobbing on the horizon. Birdsong and island tunes all around...
Ambergris Caye, Belize, is unadulterated, unpretentious Caribbean, the sea, sand and sunshine of the Caymans or the Virgin Islands without the price tag. San Pedro town, a former fishing village, is the center of activity and home to a growing expatriate community of North Americans and Europeans catered to now by dozens of restaurants, shops, art galleries and community organizations. You could settle in here quickly and easily, as the language (like everywhere in Belize) is English.
The big challenge—teen pregnancy
THE INTER-AMERICAN Development Bank reminded us this past week in its latest report what is widely known and has been experienced by citizens across the Caribbean/Latin America region—namely that 2013 was not a good year for economic performance.
And additionally, that the forecast for 2014 is an estimated less than three per cent growth in gross domestic product (GDP).
Within Caricom, despite an overall fall in total fertility rates, adolescent birth rates remain relatively high. As pointed out by the Caricom Secretariat, among girls aged 15-19 years old, the birth rate ranges from 26 to 97 per one thousand adolescents.
Guyana, Belize, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda and Suriname are reported to have the highest teen pregnancy rates in the region.
2013 Caribbean year in review
Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart won the political battle but loss the economic war in 2013.
His Trinidad and Tobago counterpart, Kamla Persad Biissessar set a record by losing four political battles in a year, while Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell set another record by leading his New National Party (NNP) to a clean sweep of all 15 seats in the February general elections. This was the second occasion he had achieved the feat within a decade.
St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas defied calls to debate a motion of no confidence in his administration for a year even though the matter reached the courts and in Nevis, the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) defeated the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) to take control of the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) after a year of wrangling in the courts over the validity of the last elections.
In Suriname, President Desi Bouterse dismissed calls to step down following the arrest of his son by United State law enforcement officials on drug trafficking and terrorist related charges.
But during the year, President Bouterse fired his Finance Minister, Adelien Wijnerman, because of the slow progress achieved in clearing government’s payment arrears. Since coming to office in 2010, Bouterse has replaced 10 ministers.
We ignore the disastrous storms in the Caribbean at our peril
As tens of thousands people suffered through a flooded and powerless Christmas in Britain, 5,000 miles away unexpected weather was also unleashing havoc on the Caribbean.
Torrential rains on Christmas Eve, with 15in falling in 24 hours, led to dramatic floods and landslides that washed through St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia and Dominica. So far eight people in St Vincent and five in St Lucia have died, water and electricity are down and thousands of properties have been damaged. The clean-up bill is expected to be in the millions.
The crisis cut short the holiday of the prime minister of St Vincent, Ralph Gonsalves, who happened to be in storm-hit London, after a trip to see the pope in Rome. Gonsalves – whose cousin was killed in a landslide during the rains – said it was "a disaster of a proportion the likes of which we have not seen in living memory". The secretary general of the Organisation of American States, José Miguel Insulza, also noted the "unreasonable nature" of the rains, and said "the flooding raises once again the impact of climate change in the Caribbean region".
Belize: Beautiful by Land and by Sea
It's my first time in a tiny 12–seater plane and despite being a little bit nerve–racking, the view below is breathtaking. Bright, lightning streaks of red-clay roads cut through hundreds of miles of trees and muddied rivers. This is the first leg of my surf and turf tour of Belize and my fourth flight of the day. I started out from Mexico City, then puddle–jumped to San Salvador, San Jose, and finally Belize City, where I and the group I'm with loaded into a Maya Island Air charter flight headed to Chaa Creek Resort, a 30–minute ride into the interior of Belize.
The airport in Cayo, where we land, feels like an isolated outpost straight from "Out of Africa." We are escorted to Chaa Creek as dusk falls and are greeted with chilled towels and jamaica water. I can already feel the humidity melting my achey muscles and the night is starting to come alive with crickets and tree frogs. Chaa Creek is a 365–acre resort in western Belize established by Mick and Lucy Fleming in the early eighties when they came down to carve out their own little piece of paradise. They started with a few simple cabins for visiting friends and the place has grown to include 23 palm–thatched villas, a nature center, a medicinal trail through the rainforest, a butterfly house, an infinity swimming pool, an organic farm, horse stables, and a wood–working shop.
Into the Jungle of Belize
On our first morning the guide for the day, David, leads us on a medicinal plants hike. The property where we are walking used to belong to Dr. Rosita Arvigo, who worked with one of the last Maya shamen, Don Elijio Panti, up until his death in 1993 to catalog local herbs and trees used in traditional Maya medicine. Any cure you need can be found in the forest — along with some of the ailments. David points out which palms are used for thatching roofs, what vines hold water if you happen to be lost in the jungle, and explains how generations of rubber tappers have worked the forest.
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