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

The San Pedro Sun

Red Cross asks for assistance for the Eastern Caribbean Islands
The Belize Red Cross today announces the launching of an appeal for financial donations only to assist victims of disasters that affected the Eastern Caribbean Islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica and St. Lucia. This appeal is being launched in solidarity with the University of the West Indies Open Campus in Belize. During the Christmas holidays the islands were affected by heavy winds and torrential rains which caused mudslides and tsunami type floods resulting in several deaths, destruction of homes and millions of dollars lost in agricultural crops. The Belize Red Cross and the UWI call on all Belizeans to assist thousands of our Caribbean brothers and sisters affected by this disaster. Former students of Mona, Cave Hill and St. Augustine Campuses of the University of the West Indies are being urged to support this appeal.

Be Kind Belize provides resources for free online
Be Kind Belize is an education program developed in 2007 promote humane education in Belize. The Be Kind Belize education program quickly grew, receiving much support from animal lovers across the country. The program provided free resources for schools, educators and community organizations to promote humane treatment towards animals. 2014 has now seen the launch of an education resource website to facilitate these resources to educators via At many times, people are unaware of the great responsibility that comes with having pets and when they cannot cope with the animal they simply release it into the streets or ill-treat the animal, not giving it the proper attention and care it needs. Animals that have been abandoned by their owners either starve to death or create havoc in the area (tearing garbage, defecating on the streets, spreading disease, over breeding, and even biting humans). Pets do not know life without human interaction and will not run to the forest if abandoned; they will simply stay around the area they know as home. Be Kind Belize was created to educate the public, especially young children, on the value and importance of taking proper care for the animals they have and taking responsibility for it.

Ambergris Today

Janelle Chanona Becomes Oceana's New Leader in Belize
Oceana, the world's largest international ocean conservation group, announced today that Janelle Chanona has joined Oceana as its new leader for Belize. The former Belize newscaster and Belmopan native will lead Oceana's efforts to protect Belize's barrier reef. "We are very lucky to have Janelle join Oceana," noted Oceana CEO Andrew F. Sharpless. "She has the right combination of skills and passion to be an excellent leader and to help Oceana win policy victories that protect Belize's amazing barrier reef and its marine resources."

Meet San Pedro's New Year Baby 2014 - It's a Girl!
It is always an honor to be first - first in your class, first in a competition or race, first in arriving to some goal. But it's also cool and extra special being the first born in new years! For the past eight years Ambergris Today has celebrated the first baby to be born on New Year and businesses around town are always generous in showering the lucky baby with gifts. The newest and youngest baby in San Pedro is a lovely bouncing baby girl, Alexandra Alexia, born to Yolanda Ramirez and Oscar Iboy. This proud Sanpedrana was born on Sunday, January 5, 2014, weighing 6 pounds 8 ounces and receives the generous prizes offered by Ambergris Today through its generous sponsors.

Old Timer or Modern Sanpedrano? Num. 20
You know you are a modern day Sanpedrano because when you purchase chewing gum you have a lot of brands to choose from. Another thing is that you might be asking for sugar free gum and be prepared to pay over one dollar for a pack of gum. YOU KNOW YOU ARE AN OLD TIMER SANPEDRANO because you only had two kinds to choose from and they were Novo gum or PK gun. These were the ultimate gums and considered expensive because they sold for five cents for a small pack of four tablets. The most popular customers for these minty gums were young boys going to visit their fianc�es at their homes. A pack of Novo was a customary daily gift to a young lady.

Misc Belizean Sources

11 yr old Trent Hardwick is the New National Champ in Youth Sailing
Trent Hardwick of the Belize Sea Scouts (BSS) emerges as Belize Sailing Association's National Champion in the Optimist Class after 2 days of tough sailing over the weekend. With variable weather that saw mostly north westerly winds between 15 and 3 knots in front Birds's Isle, sailors used mostly light wind techniques and risky strategies. The smaller sailors had an obvious advantage but experienced sailors still topped the races with better technique. Here are the other top finishers: Antonio Ricardez, Jr. of the Belize City Sailing Club (BCSC) took 2nd place, silver and Christopher Young of Corozal Bay Sailing Club (CBSC) took the 3rd place bronze. The other Top 10 finishers were: 4th, Nashira Ricardez of BCSC; 5th, Isaac Ritchie of Placencia Sailing Club (PSC); 6th,Tyler Garbutt of PSC; 7th, Carlos Villatoro of PSC; 8th, Wilson Rivera of PSC; 9th, Jazmin Campos of CBSC, and 10th, Carla Lopez of PSC.

Try out the new full motion Cessna Caravan Simulator at Tropic Air
No experience needed�though you DO need reservations!

End Result of San Pedrito Streets after applying hard core material.
2 photos

By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez After reading the UNICEF 2013 study on special needs and disabilities I am left with many queries Do insurance companies insure people with disabilities? Are they entitled to special polices? It seems to me they give out currencies based on Loss of part of anatomies and life expectancies Maim, and loss of extremities Insurance after all does offer remedies When people suffer casualties Insurance in layman terms means, "When stuff happens" We need to re-examine the premise upon which their policies are written It seems to me they are capitalist driven What about social security Since there has been talk about disqualifying some elderly Because they are believed to have support from their family Hell, man, I served my country in various capacity Then to top it off SSB has been giving loans to Zabaneh Are they taking me for a ride because of my disability? I have already worked for my pension and gratuity

A Family Affair in Unitedville
A Family Affair was at Mount Hope in Unitedville on Saturday. Drums Not Guns was there to promote peace and music. "Drums Not Guns- Belize City was invited to 'A Family Affair' on Saturday January 4th. The event was hosted by The Afrikan Advancement Association of Belize (AAAB) and The United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in honor of our ancestors. We are truly grateful to have been a part of this."

Sowela and SHJC Students Start Playgrounds
Feelgood news of the day. Arms of Love primary school in Kontiki got a swingset and slide today. Sowela students are on their service learning trip, and they teamed up with Sacred Heart Junior College's Hands for Life club to make the playground a reality. The kids loved their new playground. Future plans are to add on tire playgrounds. Thanks, Sowela and SHJC! "Sowela Technical Community College has a service learning student group visiting, and they worked with some of SHJC's Hands for Life students today, and started a playground at Arms of Love primary in Kontiki."

U.S. Embassy Education and Culture Meet and Greet
U.S. Embassy hosted a reception for the Education and Cultural sectors in Belize, and Panerrifix performed at the event. In related news, they are doing their 'Screen on the Green' on January 30th, and will be showing the movie 'The Great Debaters.' "Last night the steel drum band, The Panerrifix, performed at the U.S. Embassy's Education and Culture meet and greet. They were AWESOME!!!!"

Important Tourism Industry Presentation in Corozal by Belize Tourism Board
Corozal will be an important Tourism venue on Wednesday January 15th for the 13th Annual Industry Presentation sponsored by the Belize Tourism Board. All stakeholders in the industry are urged and welcome to attend. Venue will be Tony's Inn Jan 15th at 9:00 a.m.

Channel 7

Family Says Hospital To Blame For Man's Death; They Released Him Too Early
On New Year's morning 45 year old Belize City resident Don Tillett was found on the shoulder of the Northern Highway; he had been severely beaten and left for dead. How he got there is a mystery. All he can remember is giving three men a ride in the city - and one of them clubbing him over the head. Since then, he had recovered consciousness and been showing encouraging signs of recovery - and when we checked yesterday, we learned that he had been discharged from the hospital and was at home. But, last night things took a sudden turn for the worse, and by 8:30 he was dead. Today we found his family trying to put together the pieces of what has been a disastrous, puzzling start to a new year:... Daniel Ortiz reporting 45 year-old Don Tillett passed away last night, 6 days after he was abducted, beaten, dumped out of his stolen car, and left to survive on his own on the banks of the Belize River in an area of the Northern Highway just after the Haulover Bridge.

Supal Street Shooting Grazed "Soup"
On the news, we talk a lot about the remarkable downturn in murders in Belize City in 2013 - but gun violence is still very prevalent, and too often, the sound of gunshots shatters the silence of the southside at night. That's what happened last night on Supal streets when almost two dozen gunshots rang out, leaving the surrounding neighborhoods terrorized and frozen. Everyone wanted to know who got shot, or who got killed? No one did, very luckily, but one man was grazed, and an innocent elderly couple was caught in the crossfire. Daniel Ortiz has the story:... Daniel Ortiz reporting Terror erupted last night on Supal Street after 20 gunshots were fired, in what seems to be a botched gang attack. Innocent residents were placed in danger after a gunman opened fire on Jason "Soup" Williams.

City Man Died After Leptospirosis Diagnosis
A Belize City man died after testing positive for Leptospirosis - and some public health concerns have been raised because of it. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease spread through the urine of rats and other infected animals. Humans get it mostly by exposure to contaminated water, or when drinking water is contaminated - which often occurs during floods. That's what Michael Lewis was diagnosed with the day before he died. Lewis, who worked for years as a traffic warden - died on New Year's Day after he was ill for almost two weeks. Lewis lived alone in the city on Castle Street in this wooden shed in a clean, high yard - he had no kitchen, stove or refrigerator in his shed. His neighbors who were like family to him told us that he was first diagnosed on December 21st. by a private doctor with a respiratory type illness, and then on Boxing Day, the 26th. they had to rush him to the hospital when he appeared gravely ill. Doctors came upon a few ailments with his liver and lungs, but they couldn't figure out exactly what was making him deathly ill. On New Year's Eve, a test at a private lab confirmed that he had Leptospirosis - and on New Year's Day, the 47 year old died.

Auditor General Balks At Press Conference, Chief Elections Officer Invites It
For weeks, the media has been trying to get useful information on any of the ongoing investigations into irregularities at the Immigration Department - and yesterday, one of our colleagues at the Amandala Press gave us a burst of hope. He said that Auditor General Dorothy Bradley had agreed to host the media at a press briefing regarding her investigation into the passport scandal. It was scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, and like kids at Christmas we wanted today to just fly by, so we could get to Wednesday. But, to our dismay we learned today that the Auditor General is only willing to meet with media who have made previous requests of her office, and is only willing to discuss in general terms how investigations are carried out. But, as we understand it, she will not discuss the specifics of her current investigation at the Immigration Department. Bradley told KREM News today that she will not entertain holding a press conference when she has not yet completed her report nor touched base with the relevant authorities.

Haitian Busted With Fake Visa
Yesterday, 37 year Haitian auto mechanic Sanon Vertus arrived in Belize via the PGIA with the intention that he was going to find work and make more money than what he was getting in Haiti. But instead, he is an inmate Belize Central Prison tonight. When he arrived at the immigration section of the airport, Officer Eldon August detected that the Belizean visa that Vertus had in his Haitian passport was false. He was immediately detained, and later charged with attempting to use a visa permit not issued by lawful authority. Vertus was fined $1,000 today by Magistrate Clive Lino and ordered to pay forthwith, in default 6 months after he pleaded guilty to the charge. Vertus was unable to pay the fine, so he was taken to prison. He broke down in tears while he was in the dock. He asked Magistrate Lino not to send him back to Haiti, but Magistrate Lino told him that he has no choice in the matter. The Immigration Department has indicated that they will apply for a removal order for him to be deported to Haiti after he has either served the 6 months or paid the fine.

Man Charged For Boom Shooting
Last night, 7News told you about 28 year-old Adrian Myvette who was shot at the horse track in Burrell Boom. Well, the man who police believe was the gunman is 24 year-old Ryan Gillett, who is at the Belize Central Prison tonight. Gillett, a resident of Burrell Boom, was arraigned this afternoon for charges of attempted murder, dangerous harm, and use of deadly means of harm before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer. Due to the nature of the offences, he couldn't be granted bail, and he was remanded until February 9. As we told you, Myvette was riding his bike on Saturday night when a man sped past him on motorcycle and shot him in the chest and abdomen. The gunman escaped, but fortunately, Myvette was rushed to the KHMH, and he continues to receive medical treatment.

Hard Knocks At Honey Bees?
28 year-old businessman Ming Pei Chen, the owner of Honey Bees Supermarket in Ladyville, is making the news once more, this time for allegedly assaulting one of his employees. Deon Usher reported to police that Saturday, he had a misunderstanding with Chen which escalated when chen slapped him in the face. Police arrested and charged him with common assault, and he was arraigned before Magistrate Hettie May Stewart where he pleaded not guilty. He was released on bail of $1,000, and his case has been adjourned until March 17. According to our records, this is Chen's third criminal charge; he was busted by the Gang Suppression Unit on March 19, 2012 for allegedly being in possession of 6 unlicensed bullets. The next day, he was charged with employing an illegal immigrant.

Man Upset With Uneven Application Of Gun Laws
On Friday we told you about Reynaldo Verde - the Sales Tax collector who was detained by police after an unlicensed firearm was found in his house. But, he was never charged because senior police concluded that someone was trying to set up Verde to get remanded on a gun charge. They concluded that the gun had been planted in Verde's washroom - and then police were fed information to go look for it. So Verde beat the odds and was released without being charged. That worked out for him, but one city resident is not too happy about it. Russell Robert said he seen too many regular people sent to jail on strict gun laws, while the law isn't evenly applied. He explained:... Russell Robert "Mr. Verde - you could see it plain that he got charge two times for attempted murder. He was getting charge for a gun and he got off again - everything he gets off from. I guess these are the unusual Belizeans that Mr. Deputy Leader says that they are - only they can get away from things. Only they are immune to things. If it's only them then better this law doesn't be around for any of us because only they are getting off. The poor people are suffering. Like I said Mr. Verde shot his last victim in San Pedro in the presence of his child. They ask for his license to be revoked, but he still has a license and still he ended up with another gun problem and still got off from that again. So, tell me what is the problem with this law?"

A Modern Mess Over Cigarette Supremacy
Modern Cigarettes, it's a top Chinese brand and a major seller in the Corozal Free Zone where the agent is a well-connected Chinese businessman. But now, another company, is muscling in on his territory, and circumstances suggest that's what led police to stop a forty foot container which was on its way to the Benque Viejo border Friday. The container from Hong Kong with one thousand cartons had already cleared customs in Belize City and was escorted by a customs guard. Police say they got information that the cigarettes are fake, or that the container may have undeclared items. That's usually a matter for customs, but the Police Mobile Interdiction Team was sent to intercept the container. That's a major turf issue for customs, but both sides agreed to store the container at the secure Customs compound at the Benque Viejo Border until it could be re-checked. That happened today when customs and police went into the container to verify its contents. As expected, nothing untoward was found and the container was released to the importer, Beta Benque Duty Free, which we have learned is not actually in the Benque Viejo Free Zone, but in an adjoining area.

Hattieville Police Need A Ride
On Friday we told you about Robert Robinson, the senior restaurant owner in Hattieville who turned away robbers - even after one of them chopped him. The suspects are believed to be form the area, but no one has been detained by Hattieville police. Yesterday we asked the officer in charge of Belize Rural is the lag in arrests has anything to do with a shortage of transport for police:.. Supt. Chris Noble, O/C Ladyville "It was an attempt and they did injured him. The person is known to him and we will continue to look into the information and see we make an arrest." Jules Vasquez "Is it true that the Hattieville Police Station has no vehicle right now?" Supt. Chris Noble, O/C Ladyville "We are transport deficient in all aspects when it comes to our organization and we definitely have transport to move back and forth when it comes to any area when it comes to policing."

You Can Help Flood Victims In Eastern Caribbean
After the Christmas holiday, 7News told you about the catastrophic floods which affected the Eastern Caribbean island of St Lucia, St. Vincent and Dominica. As we've told you at least a dozen lives have been lost, more are injured and many continue to be displaced from their homes. Well, the Belize Red Cross, which is a part of the regional Red Cross organization, has started a fund raising event to assist the victims. Today, the public relations officer explained the situation on the ground in those countries, and why you should help: Rodell Beltran-Perrera, PR officer - Belize Red Cross "It been referred to as a holiday storm; it's something unexpected that happened in the southern part of the Caribbean region and it affected St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines as well as the island of Dominica. This sudden storm has affected communities in those 3 islands, it caused a lot of damage to crops, highway and of course destroyed even we lost some lives on those islands."

Channel 5

Well known body-works man dies, is it murder?
A well known Belize City body-works man died on Monday night. Don Tillett took his last breath in an ambulance as he was being rushed to the K.H.M.H. after he [...]

Family thinks KHMH is responsible for the death of Tillett
The post-mortem examination may reveal that Tillett died as a result of the head wound he suffered on New Year's Day�or as a consequence of his heart condition, related or [...]

Home of an elderly couple riddled with buletts
Tonight there are very reliable indicators of a possible resurgence of the bloody gang warfare which marked Belize City as a danger zone. Things had cooled off noticeably since the [...]

And our question for tonight is…
And our question for tonight is: Do you think that the rejection of the recall of Elvin Penner is legitimate? Yes or No? Send your comments and responses using your [...]

Five people die from Leptospirosis, is the Ministry of Health launching an investigation?
Tonight there are unconfirmed reports that the Ministry of Health has launched an investigation into five deaths, allegedly caused by an infectious bacterial disease known as leptospirosis. Lepto occurs in [...]

BNTU not happy with the PM’s back and forth with dates for salary adjustment
On Monday, the Belize National Teachers Union indicated that in 2014 it will be upping its profile in a slew of national issues. And during a fiery press conference, the [...]

Palacio says unions are still in negotiations with the P.M.
According to the B.N.T.U. president Luke Palacio, they, along with the Association Public Service Senior Officers and the Public Service Union, remain in negotiation with the Government of Belize and [...]

Cane Farmers hoping to sign an agreement with B.S.I. tomorrow
The BSCFA and BSI will go back to the negotiating table in Orange Walk on Wednesday afternoon. With one week to go before the imposed deadline of January fifteenth, time [...]

Haitian busted with Fake Visa
The findings of the immigration scandal have still not been revealed but tonight we can report that a Haitian national was busted on Monday with a fake visa issued as [...]

Adrian Myvette charged with attempted murder of Boom resident
A man from Burrell Boom has been charged for the shooting of another Boom resident. Adrian Myvette was shot at the entrance of the horse track in Burrell Boom over [...]

Belizean citizen asks to revisit Gun Law
Official statistics on violent crimes in Belize have yet to be released, but at least where murders are concerned, there has been a dramatic decrease. Police attribute a large part [...]

MCC Grounds closed for much needed repairs
There is unease tonight in the football community over the closure of the M.C.C. Ground. The field was abruptly closed for renovation at an inopportune time for the Premier League [...]

Dismantlement of City Center 75% complete
The dismantlement of the Belize City Center is nearing completion, after three months of diligent work by the company assigned to take down the structure.� The project commenced at the [...]

The Red Cross launches appeal for assistance for affected flood victims in the Caribbean
Relief efforts, in the form of cash donations, are underway locally to assist victims of deadly rains and floods that washed over several islands within the Eastern Caribbean on Christmas [...]


2014 Records Its First Two Heinous Murders
We are merely six days into the New Year and not one, but two murders for 2014 have been recorded, both of them in the South. The first incident played out on the 3rd of January when the body of 25 year old Rene Arturo Perez was found with multiple chop wounds on Felix Paz Gevara farm located five miles east of Trio Junction with the Southern Highway in the Toledo District. Perez's body was observed with chop wounds to the upper right side, lower right side and left side of the neck, right shoulder blade and right hand. Reports are that on the 2nd of January about 8:00pm last person Perez was seen was with one Donaldo (AKA) "Tatero". Both men were hanging out at the residence of Felix Paz when they decided to leave together. Perez's dead body was discovered the following morning, art around 7:00am, by Felix Paz as he was on his way to work. Paz alerted the police who then visited and processed the scene. The following step was to search Tatero's residence but he was nowhere to be found. The body of Rene Arturo Perez, Guatemalan laborer of Finca San Jose Carrizal Gualan, Guatemala, was transported to the Southern Regional Hospital Morgue. It currently awaits a post mortem examination. Police investigation continues.

Belizean Woman Accused Of Running Red Light In Chetumal
A woman of Belizean Nationality is in big trouble with the Mexican Law after she crashed her vehicle into a residence upon running a red light. According to Mexican Newspapers yesterday at afternoon at around 2:30, Yara Oliva, of Belizean Nationality, was driving her Isuzu Rodeo on Primo de Verdad Street under high velocity and upon reaching the traffic light located on Independence Street she ran the red light. As a result, allegations are that Oliva crashed into another vehicle which was crossing the green light. The driver of the vehicle, who sustained minor injuries, was later identified as 32 year old Edgar Manuel Medina Flores. Due to the impact Olvia's vehicle rammed against the wall of the garage of a house located nearby.

New Year, New Aims For The Education Sector
The holidays are over and by now most children have worn out the batteries in their new Christmas toys. So maybe it's just as well that they're back at school. Today over 3,000 students from the Corozal District got up early and got ready for their first day of classes. Without a doubt it's going to be a long haul but luck for the students they have the support of their teachers who are more than willing to go the extra mile in order for them to receive quality education. And since today marked the first day of class, Corozal's District Education Manager, Jahmor Lopez took the opportunity to welcome back students and teachers. educationJahmor Lopez - District Education Manager "I want to take this opportunity to welcome all of our stakeholders, our principals, teachers, our students and also our parents for the first day of school. Our plan as the Corozal DC is for us to be more vigilant in terms of supervision, we will be utilizing a number of instruments going into the schools and ensuring that there is greater accountability on the part of our school leaders so we will be working closely with our school principals to ensure that they are doing what they are mandated to doing by law, ensuring that they are supervising and supporting and mentoring their teachers and that teachers are delivering the curriculum to the students so we will be looking at a lot of baseline data that we get from the schools in terms of looking at their enrolment, their dropout rate, their pass rate etcetera and then we go into those instrument's to see how it is that we are performing and then we provide the school community our observation and make certain recommendations and this is all in alignment with what is required by the school inspector so we kind of doing like what we would say a formatted evaluation, like a midpoint kind of things and in the vent that the inspector comes to that school to do their overall assessment."

Knowing The Traffic Safety Rules
School Zone safety is everyone's responsibility; and since tragedies occur when drivers and pedestrians don't know how to follow the rules of the road, Reporter Victor Castillo decided to pay a visit to Corozal's Municipal Transport Manager Richard Quan, who told him about the DO's and DON'Ts of school zone traffic safety. Here's that report. traffic_rulesVictor Castillo - Reporting Reviewing the "rules of the road" for the Corozal Town can help save lives and Keep children safe in designated school zones are top priorities for everyone. As a driver, the most important thing you can do to protect children in school zones is to slow down. Parents, teachers and drivers not only have the responsibility of safely sharing the road with other motorists, school buses, pedestrians and cyclists, but they also have the added duty of teaching children about traffic safety. Well today we took time to learn a bit more about road safety especially as it pertains to school zones.

Oceana Belize Has A New Leader
Oceana, the world's largest international ocean conservation group, has a new leader for Belize. The announcement, that former Belize newscaster and Belmopan native Janelle Chanona will lead Oceana's efforts to protect Belize's barrier reef was made today. Chanona replaces Attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd who vacated her position on August 22nd, 2013. "We are very lucky to have Janelle join Oceana," noted Oceana CEO Andrew F. Sharpless. "She has the right combination of skills and passion to be an excellent leader and to help Oceana win policy victories that protect Belize's amazing barrier reef and its marine resources." Chanona, a former reporter and anchor with News 5 in Belize, most recently ran her own media and production company. She has produced documentaries for several environmental groups in Belize. She is a graduate of St. Johns College in Belize, of Loyola College in Baltimore in the United States and received a Masters degree with distinction from Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom. As a passionate diver, she is a frequent visitor to Belize's barrier reef.

Case Of Howler Monkey Goes Back To Court
Ten months after news broke on the savage, heartless beating of an adult black howler monkey which made headlines both at home and aboard, the alleged perpetrators appeared in the Orange Walk Magistrate's Court today. The culprits, four students, two of them minors, and teacher Angel Carillo, who are currently out on bail, appeared before Magistrate Marlene Moody who recorded the statement of several witnesses including Forest Officers Daniel Chi and Wilbur Sabido. While the session went on for close to two hours, it was adjourned for continuation on Tuesday afternoon. The media was not allowed to listen in on the case since minors are involved. Viewers might recall that at the time of the incident, on March fifth, the black howler monkey was captured and savagely beaten allegedly at the hands of four third form students of the Belize High School of Agriculture located in southern Orange Walk. But despite immediate rehabilitation at Wildtracks located in Sarteneja Corozal, the endangered primate did not survive the attack and perished exactly one week later, on March twelfth. Video circulated showed that in an act of animal cruelty, the primate was tied up and harassed. An investigation was launched by the Forest Department which led to charges being levied against five persons-the teacher, Angel Carillo and four students. Each of the accused was charged with Unlawful Hunting. The Primate Rehabilitation Centre has now been hosted by Wildtracks for three years, in close partnership with the Belize Forest Department. The goal has been the successful implementation of a zero-tolerance policy towards the illegal trade in and keeping of primates in Belize. Hunting, according to the laws regarding wildlife, is defined as the act of killing, molesting, taking or attempting to kill, take and/or molest any species of wildlife by any method. The maximum penalty is one thousand dollars or six months imprisonment.

Tate And Lyle questions Belize's Commitment to Produce Fair Trade Sugar
And while the BSI/BSCFA saga continues, our news center got wind of a letter sent to the Chairman of the BSCFA, Committee of Management Leonardo Cano by Tate and Lyle Sugars, the largest purchaser of fair-trade certified sugars. The letter, dated December 18th, 2013 states that the company is gravely concerned with the current impasse between the miller and the producer something which can threaten the industry if a meaningful compromise is not met. According to Tate & Lyle, since they are the ones responsible for the sugar supply chain between Belize and customers in the European Union, it is important for them to know that not only for 2013/2014 but for future years that sufficient supplies of Fair Trade sugar will always be reliably and securely available from Belize. The release goes on to state that if this commitment cannot be met, Tate and Lyle will deem it necessary to make alternate arrangements to meet the contractual commitments to their customers by purchasing Fair Trade sugar from other certified suppliers. As mentioned, we got wind of the letter and as such it has not made it media rounds. It is important to note though that Tater and Lyle forms part of ASR.

BSI Calls BSCFA To the Negotiating Table
On Friday we told you about the latest move coming out of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association on requesting of the Prime Minister to sign a Memorandum of understanding between the Association, BSI/ASR and the Government of Belize. According to the Association, BSI wants to negotiate with the farmers on a payment for bagasse, but the farmers want them to put it in writing that a payment will be made before any meaningful negotiations can begin. And while Ortega said that the MOU was drafted by the Associations Lawyer, that document was sent to the Prime Minister for review and approval. The BSFCA says it is beneficial to all parties but tonight, there is still no word coming out of the PM's Office about an agreement to sign. In previous interviews with Vice Chair Fred Ortega, he stated that on the two separate occasions that they met with the PM, he said that whenever they are unable to reach to a dialogue with BSI that he (PM) will be ready to jump into the picture and have something clear where they can both agree upon. Up to news time, no update was given, indicating that the Association is still waiting to hear from the leader of Belize. Meanwhile another point of contention is the start of the crop season which all parties hoped would start on January 15th.


Business Man Dies Days After Being Hijacked
45-year-old, Don Tillett, a resident of Belama area in Belize City is dead after being hijacked on New Year's Day. Reports from the family and the Police indicate that Tillett was attacked by three men who he was giving a ride to in the City but that good deed turned detrimental as it was the beginning of the end for Tillett. Love News Reporter, Hipolito Novelo and cameraman, Myles Gillett went looking for answers today. NORMA TILLETT "He told us that they found him on the highway apparently crawling out of the bushes trying to get help. They started questioning him and he was going in and out of consciousness and they asked him what happened to him and who did this to him and all he could say was that it was three men; a Spanish guy with long hair in ponytail and two black men, they attacked him."

Shot While Riding Bicycle in Rural Belize
Twenty-four year old Ryan Gillett, a caterer and wine maker of Burrell Boom, became an inmate of Belize Central Prison today when he was arraigned on a charge of attempted murder. Gillett was also charged with dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm. Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser explained to him that the court cannot offer him bail because of the nature of the offences. She remanded him into custody until February 19. The incident occurred around11:40 p.m. on January 4. Police reports are that 28 year old Adrian Myvette, a construction worker of Burrell Boom was riding his bicycle on Mosul Creek Road when a man riding a motorcycle came from behind and shot him the right side of his abdomen and the left side of his chest. Myvette was admitted to ward at KHMH where his condition is reported to be critical but stable.

Haitian Imprisoned After Entering Belize With Fake Visa
Thirty-seven year old Haitian auto mechanic Sanon Vertus, who arrived in Belize yesterday with a fake visa, became an inmate of Belize Central Prison today when he appeared before Magistrate Clive Lino and pled guilty to a charge of attempting to use a visa permit which was not issued by lawful authority. Vertus was ordered to pay a fine of one thousand dollars forthwith, in default six months imprisonment. He was unable to pay, so he was taken to prison. It was immigration officer Eldon August who detected that the visa was false when Vertus arrived at Phillip Goldson International he checked Vertus Haitian passport. August handed over Vertus to immigration officer Gusman who checked with the Belmopan office and verified that the visa was not genuine and as a result, Vertus was charged. The false visa for which Vertus said he paid 150 US dollars, was issued on December11, 2013 and it was to expire on March 11, 2014. He said he did not go to the embassy to get the visa and someone brought it for him. While he was in court Vertus broke down in tears at the prospect of being deported to Haiti. He said that he was going to make much more money plying his trade in Belize and asked Magistrate Lino not to send him back home. But there was nothing Magistrate Lino could do because the Immigration Department will apply for a removal order for him to be deported to Haiti either after he has paid the fine or served the time.

Government Enters Initial Phase of Road Safety Strategy
The Government of Belize through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, awarded contracts to TEICHROEB & Sons Ltd for Lot 2, Road Safety furniture and delineation, and to M&R Construction Ltd for Lot 3 Resealing. The Belize Road Safety Demonstration Corridor Project is a first step in developing a comprehensive and long-term road safety strategy. The project was officially launched on 14th March 2013 and is being implemented through a fourteen million dollar loan from the Caribbean Development bank, and GOB counterpart contribution of three point one million dollars. CEO in the Ministry of Economic Development, Yvonne Hyde, says that the contracts are for a 12-month period and are staggered to undertake the various road upgrade to complete the resealing and road safety furniture and delineation along an 80 km corridor of the George Price Highway, between Belize City and Belmopan.

Teachers are Prepared for Battle Against Government of Belize
Before the start of the New Year, Prime Minister Dean Barrow sent out a New Year's televised message that should have made Belizeans happy especially those who have ongoing issues to overcome with the Government of Belize. In his message, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, stated that teachers would get their salary adjustment in August restrictive April 1st, 2014. That didn't sit well with the Belize National Teachers Union who had already agreed with the PM that the salary adjustment would come in effect in July. Today the Union called a press conference to make their stand clear. BNTU wants Prime Minister Barrow to put things into perspective and do so in writing. Luke Palacio is the President of the BNTU. LUKE PALACIO "So we do take great umbrage and we are very much concerned that the Prime Minister will use his New Year's message to give us what we consider to be a wrong signal. The reasons being that the three unions: BNTU, APSLL and the Public Service Union have been negotiating in good faith. In fact, we have been very patient in trying to ensure that our members keep their calm, that our members try to understand what is going on and how negotiations work. But when it appears that the Prime Minister wants to move the goal post, we feel very much offended and our membership wants us to demonstrate this in no uncertain terms that we are not satisfied. We have been clamoring against the disrespect that has been shown to the unions in these negotiations and we are very much concerned that that practice continues. So, we are taking our stand that this salary adjustment becomes effective July 1. The other matter we want to clear up as it relates to the Prime Minister's New Year message is, he is saying that in addition to the 2% increment, that this increase will be substantial.

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Castillo-Williams Land Dispute Weighed in Favour of the Pickwoods
On December 30th of last year, an emergency injunction was ordered by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to halt works on Parcel 2127 located in Belama Phase 1, at the corner of Albert Hoy Avenue and Chetumal Boulevard. The injunction was granted in favor of Bernadette Pickwood, and against Maude...

Motorcycle rear-ends Parked Bus killing cyclist
There was a second road accident on the Southern Highway later that night, which claimed the life of a Dangriga resident. Police investigation has revealed that 49 year old Charles Norales was travelling on his motorbike, when he rear-ended into a parked bus. Correspondent Harry Arzu has the details...

Contract to Upgrade George Price Highway Signed; slated to Finish 2015
Major road upgrades are to take place along the Demonstration Corridor, namely, the George Price Highway. This will be done through the Belize Road Safety Demonstration Corridor Project which was first launched in May of 2013 and is being implemented through a $14,495,000 Belize dollar loan from the CDB,...

Ryan Gillet Charged with Attempted Murder of Adrian Myvette
In relation to the shooting which occurred on Saturday and injured 28 year old Adrian Myvette, a Boom resident was today slapped with three charges. 24-year-old Ryan Gillett, a wine maker and caterer of the Burrell Boom area was charged arraigned this evening for one count of attempted murder,...

Construction at Belmopan Junction has City Council dodging Casino Questions
PlusNews has received information from very reliable sources of the construction of a hotel and casino on the outskirts of the capital city. The site, which is located on the George Price Highway, a few yards from the Belmopan junction, but well within city limits, is still under early...

Two Robberies in Same Hours in Belmopan got Cops Investigating
Last night we told you of a robbery at the Belize Post and Mail Services in Belmopan sometime before noon. Well just few hours later, there was another robbery in the city, targeting a Belmopan resident. At about 7.35p.m., the 26 year old male was making his way down...

PUC Approved Decrease Electricity Rate Effective from 1st January-June 30th
On December 10, 201, the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) applied for a reduction in electricity rates as a result of an increase in hydroelectricity production in Belize and Mexico and subsequent reduction in the cost of power. On the 2nd of this month, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued...

Haitian Caught With Fake Visa
A Haitian national caught with a fake visa, plead guilty today in the courtroom of Magistrate Clive Lino. He is 37-year-old Mechanic Sanon Vertus. Reports reaching PlusNews are that yesterday, upon Vertus' arrival into Belize via the PGIA, he was escorted to the Immigration office for a private interrogation....

Two Fatal Road Accidents on the Southern Highway
An elderly man was knocked and killed early yesterday morning on the Southern Highway. At about 6:10, 61 year old Juan Oh, was riding his bicycle from the direction of Santa Rosa Village toward Mayan King, when near Mile 23, he was hit by a motorcycle being driven at...

Robbers Target BPMS Postal Service in Belmopan
This afternoon, PlusNews received reports of a robbery at the Belize Package and Mail Services in Belmopan. Details are still forthcoming at this time, as Police are still in the early stage of investigating. Speaking with Assistant Superintendent in Belmopan, Sinquest Martinez, this evening, he was able to confirm...

International Acting Promoted in Belize
An emerging faucet in the Belizean society is theatre production. Not only is it an unrestrained outlet for creative expression, but it is a means for keeping the cultures of Belize alive through storytelling. And with this form of art growing increasingly popular among the youth, the need for...

Oceana's New Leader Janelle Chanona Clarifies Floyd Neal's Dismissal.
Oceana axed its Administrative Director Floyd Neal after 3 years of service. In August of 2013, Floyd Neal, temporarily took charge of Oceana's office in Belize as the acting Vice President. At the same time, Alex Munoz, Vice President for Oceana in South America, took responsibility for Oceana in...

"Teechaz Gat Yu Back," declares BNTU in Rebrand
Perhaps because they have been fighting for it for so long, the Belize National Teachers' Union (BNTU) and its partners the Public Service Union (PSU) and Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM) have increasingly become identified with obtaining a salary adjustment for teachers and public officers - and...

Restaurant Owner Attacked in Hattieville
Last Tuesday owner of Rob's Cool Spot outside of Hattieville, Belize District, Robert Robinson, was targeted by two armed robbers demanding money. At six on New Year's Eve, Robinson, 61, was accosted by men carrying a gun and machete. When they tried and failed to get money from him,...

Shooting Reported in Burrell Boom
Violence has been reported in the usually peacefully village of Burrell Boom in the River Valley. According to police, 28 year old Adrian Myvette of the Butter Cup hamlet next to Burrell Boom was riding a purple ladies' model bicycle on the Burrell Boom Road near the entrance to...

DPP's Office not Consulted on Gun Investigation
On Friday we told you about serious allegations that senior officials in the Police Department intervened and stopped charges from proceeding against a Belize City resident who is no stranger to the law. Following a search at a Rio Bravo Crescent residence in Belize City on Friday morning the...


Health authorities are investigating reports that four people may have died in recent weeks due to a bacterial infection known as leptospirosis - carried by cattle, pigs, horses, dogs, and wild animals, but most notably by rats, particularly in light of concerns that flood conditions may result in an outbreak of the potentially fatal disease. Several cases of leptospirosis were reported in Belize City in 2000, after Hurricane Keith. In 2006, businessman Ramon "Moncho" Galvez contracted leptospirosis after eating from a loaf of bread bought at a Chinese store. He did not realize, until after having eaten some of it, that rats had bitten through the pack of bread. Last week, on New Year's Day 2014, a former traffic officer succumbed to the disease. "Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. In humans, it can cause a wide range of symptoms, some of which may be mistaken for other diseases. Some infected persons, however, may have no symptoms at all.

The New Year has just begun, and already, two persons have been murdered over the weekend in the Independence area, in the Stann Creek District, in two separate chopping incidents. Jealousy may have been the motive for the vicious chopping that caused the death of a woman of Benque Viejo, known as Ufareila, 41, who was found in a hacked-up state at the Green Gold Banana Farm 16, in the Independence area, while Rene Arturo Perez, 25, a Guatemalan laborer of Finca San Jose Carrizal Gualan, Guatemala, was chopped up during a drinking spree in the Trio Village area. Ufareila was found at about 1:00 this morning, Monday, about 90 feet off the main road leading to Sagitun Farm, in some grass. She had been chopped on the right elbow; both wrists were chopped, with one hand almost being severed; there were three large chop wounds in the right back side of her head and a chop wound in the back of her head leading to the right side of her face.

The Belize Water Services (BWS)-the Government-owned utility company which supplies roughly 150 million US gallons of potable water each month to roughly 44,000 customers-has asked the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to grant a "16.25% increase in tariffs, fees and other charges in order to provide the increase in revenues required to finance the vitally necessary capital investments." The company has written to the PUC, saying that, "BWS has strived to keep water rates as affordable as possible, but the company is faced with increasing costs and the need to expand and improve its assets to enhance the development of the country." In a financial report supplied to the PUC which details the tariff history of the company, BWS said that Cascal, the former owner of BWS, had requested a 31% tariff increase to take effect in 2005, but a 17.2% increase was approved for the period April 2004 to March 2009. Then, a 12.1% increase was granted for the full tariff review period spanning April 2010 to March 2015, lower than the 25% tariff increase requested by the company. The first decrease was implemented in 2012, when the PUC ordered a 7.2% decrease in tariffs. However, the Belize Water Services now says that, "This reduction in rates, which was effective April 2012, is of particular concern, especially given the need for increased pipeline replacement works as well as expansion."

Penner recall petition short by 79 votes, Elections and Boundaries rules, but CEO Tamai refuses comment. "If she claims that so many signatures are not genuine signatures of electors, then she can implement section 9 (a) of the Recall Act-if indeed some persons are forging signatures-so why does she not investigate and take these persons to Court, as the Act provides for? - Landy Espat, PUP member of the Elections and Boundaries Commission Landy Habet, the Opposition member who still has ambitions of becoming the area representative for Cayo North East, told Amandala today that the Opposition People's United Party should be given an opportunity to resubmit the election petition to remove Elvin Penner-the current United Democratic Party representative who Prime Minister Dean Barrow has asked to resign from his party over an immigration scandal which broke last September 2013. Earlier this week, the Office of the Governor-General informed the PUP that its recall petition, submitted on November 28, 2013, had failed because it had "not been duly signed by the requisite number of electors" - that is, 1,744 of the 5,815 registered voters. The PUP had submitted 2,002 names on the petition and the Government rejected 337 of them, meaning that those which were validated amounted to 1,665. The PUP was, then, short of 79 valid signatures, according to the ruling.

General's press conference Wednesday on Penner Passport Scandal It has been almost three months since the "carefully guarded" investigations into the most recent passport scandal were launched in late September due to rampant allegations of corruption and irregularities within the Immigration and Nationality Departments. Since then, details and updates in regard to the substance of the investigations have not been forthcoming - at least not as they were expected by certain members of the public. Today, Amandala sought to find out what is the current status of the investigations and how those investigations have been progressing since the Penner passport scandal rocked the nation to its core in the latter part of 2013. Of all the investigating bodies that are involved in the investigations - namely the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the Auditor General's Office, the Police Department and the Ministry (of Immigration and Nationality) itself - only one was able to provide us with any substantial information regarding the ongoing investigations into the circumstances surrounding the scandal, whose principal figure is a South Korean fugitive by the name of Won Hong Kim, incarcerated in a Taiwan jail.

Despite wasteful fishing practices, EU praises fishing deal with Morocco. Even as Belize has been slapped with sanctions by the European Union (EU) on allegations of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing by high seas fishing vessels using the country's flag for convenience to fish in the world's oceans, environmentalists and activists from the African continent and abroad have expressed outrage at what they described to be wasteful fishing operations by a Moroccan fishing vessel - Adrar - a pelagic trawler which carries the Belizean flag. However, they are furthermore outraged by the EU's move to formalize a fishing accord with Morocco, despite these environmentally unsound practices. The agency Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) released a story last November in which it published a series of photos and a video, showing how tens of tons of dead fish were being discarded in a single day off the Western Sahara, where the Moroccan fishers exploit the fisheries resources in the face of military occupation of that African territory. When we checked the location of the vessel this evening, via, it indicated that it was near Dahkla - a city in Western Sahara under Moroccan control.

The MCC was a muddy mess, for players as well as for game and team officials on the edge of the sidelines and on team benches; but the Premier League Belikin Cup Week 13 game was played with intensity and emotion yesterday afternoon at the football Mecca of Belize City, where the home squad FC Belize fell 2-0 to a highly motivated and talent laden Police United team, in a game that was considered a "do or die" for both clubs, but especially so for Police, in their efforts to secure 1 of 4 spots in the semifinal playoffs. The game was fierce and physical for the full ninety, and referee Victor Williams came close to losing control of the hostilities when he allowed a Police break-away attack to continue despite it coming off an apparent "stomp block" that saw nearby linesman Gilroy Swaso wave his flag; moments later, the play resulted in the first, and what would prove to be the game winning goal for Police, as their hottest striker Clifton West scored his first of two goals at the 37th minute off a rebound from a save by FC Belize goalkeeper Glenford Chimilio.

We reported last week that FC Belize management had been informed by Sports Council officials that the MCC Grounds would be closed "for renovations" beginning today, Monday. But there has been no announcement as to when the Marion Jones Sports Complex, which has been closed to the public for almost three years now, will be opened. If FC Belize does not make the PLB Belikin Cup Opening Season 2013-2014 playoffs, it will not be the end of football in Belize City. Until the next PLB season, there are a number of initiatives that will require the use of the MCC or some adequate facility to keep our football youth busy. And FC Belize, the only active "semi-pro" team in Belize City right now, will have to prepare for the PLB Closing Season which follows shortly. The overall winner of the two seasons, the Opening and Closing seasons 2013-2014, get to represent Belize in the next CONCACAF Champions League tournament.

There are branches of some Mestizo families who were fixtures in Belize City for decades and generations. These were families like the Perdomos, the Aguilars, the Cuellars, the Castillos, the Matuses, the Bautistas, the Alamillas, the Zetinas, and so on. But, by and large, Belize City was known as a Creole city. The masses of city residents were descended from African slaves brought here to cut logwood and mahogany in the forests in Belize, and a few of these families featured European DNA derived from relationships between white "Baymen" and black/brown women. The Creoles were roughly three centuries old in the settlement, and the Mestizos, who had taken refuge here after the Caste War began in the Yucat�n in 1847, were roughly a third of that age here. In 1862, the Baymen in Belize had opted, under some financial duress, to become a British colony, Great Britain being at that time arguably the most powerful nation in the world. So then, before the nationalist revolution began in 1950, the British ran the government departments, the police, the military, the judiciary, the school system, and so on. The center of their operations was Belize City, the capital of the colony called British Honduras. The majority Creole population in the city enjoyed some advantages from the fact that they lived in the administrative center of the colony. As time went on, the Creoles took those advantages for granted, and a section of the Creole people, especially the civil servants, identified with the British administration of the colony.

There are stories I have yet to tell, and one reason they have not been told is that these stories probably belong in fiction instead of in a newspaper column. Over the years I have spent much time thinking about what was happening to me and what had happened to me, and the most important thing, I submit, is not to feel sorry for yourself, and the second most important thing is not to nurse any feelings of bitterness. Ours is a small community, and a small society, and this presents a problem for Belizean writers: it's hard not to step on toes. I remember some years ago I wrote of a barber from my childhood who was a drunk. He was not an abusive or criminal drunk: more a quiet and pleasant drunk, I would say. I did not think my reference was hostile, but a family member of his took it that way, and proceeded to make personal attacks on me and my family. This is an example of how tricky it is to write in a small community, small society. Even though you are supposed to reduce the danger of your offending people when you write in fiction, people can still say, well, that character must be so-and-so. I've done that myself. In Zee Edgell's second novel, In Times Like These, I felt sure that one of her characters was basically Odinga Lumumba. Very few readers would have known Lumumba as well as I did, so they would not have speculated as I did. I'm just saying that even a professional writer like myself can experience the tendency, in a small community/society, to look for familiar faces and familiar places. This tendency makes the job of the writer from a small community/society more difficult.

Teachers only have six months' waiting tolerance, says BNTU VP, Kathleen Flowers. The Belize National Teachers' Union (BNTU) declared today that it takes "great umbrage" with what it said was a unilateral announcement by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow, indicating that Government would push back the date for the payment of a long overdue salary adjustment to teachers and public officers, from July 2014 to August 2014. The BNTU made its stance known at a press briefing held at its Belize City headquarters on Monday morning, January 6, 2014. The BNTU also expressed concern that the negotiations have been dragging on for far too long. BNTU's national president, Luke Palacio, said that their last negotiations, which began with their first face-to-face meeting with Government reps in 2009, were held in July 2013 and they will now push for talks to be concluded by mid-year, 2014. "If we have to get to industrial action, well, let's roll it out�" said Kathleen Flowers, the BNTU's 2nd national vice president and chair of the BNTU's PR committee.

A family of five from rural Belize is requesting the public's assistance after a blazing inferno charred their home and belongings last night at around 7:00 p.m. The McKay family - who have been living in Ladyville village for the past 25 years - are now homeless after a raging fire completely gutted their 3-bedroom house, which was situated on Cusco Street in the Mitchell Estate area of Ladyville. Fortunately, no one was at home at the time of the blaze. The cause of the fire is believed to be a lit candle which was left unattended inside the home. Jenna McKay, 22, who was one of the occupants of the house, told Amandala that she went across the street to her mother's house sometime after 7:00 p.m. on Thursday night to get something for her children to eat. While there, she said that her mother noticed that flames were coming out of one of the rooms of her (Jenna's) house; and upon making further checks, they saw that the bungalow structure was ablaze.

He hit 2 vehicles, damaged a garage and caused over BZ$20,000 in damage. A Belizean driver got himself into trouble in neighboring Chetumal, Mexico, after he ran a red light and slammed into a parked vehicle and damaged the side of a garage. The estimated cost of the damages he caused is over $100,000 Mexican pesos, or about $20,000 Belize. The driver of another vehicle was also injured by the crash. The incident occurred about 2:30 Saturday evening on the Primo Truth Street in Chetumal. Authorities have said that the Belizean driver, in an Isuzu Rodeo, was distracted and speeding when he ran the red light on Independence Street and collided with a pickup being driven by Chetumal resident Edgar Manuel Medina Flores, 32, who was driving across the street after his traffic light turned green.

Boris Vostry, who is declared to be wanted by INTERPOL on charges of fraud, and who in his absence was handed a jail sentence of 9 years by the Prague High Court in October 2012, contacted our newspaper today and reported that he is not wanted by the Belize authorities, and he is presently living in Belize. Vostry was exonerated by a Cayman Court judgment in 2007, and based on this judgment, he was also cleared by the Belize Supreme Court, and is living here free after he was cleared by the court. He said that he has appealed the 9-year jail sentence handed down to him by the Prague High Court, and will travel to Europe to clear his name. According to an online Bloomberg article dated October 17, 2012, the Appeals High Court in Prague, on October 16 upheld a 10-year prison sentence for former Harvard Funds president Viktor Kozeny, convicted in absentia of fraudulent trading in securities that caused damage worth billions of crowns to Harvardsky Prumyslovy Holding (HPH) in the 1990s. The court lowered the sentence by one year, to 9 years in jail for Kozeny's colleague, Boris Vostry, who, too, has been prosecuted as a fugitive.

There are allegations coming from the north of extortion of money from Mexican nationals by Belizean police officers at the new northern border crossing known as Chactemal. Two Mexicans reported to the Mexican authorities that on New Year's night they were forced to pay 500 pesos, or BZ$100, and 150 pesos, or BZ$30, respectively to be released by Belize police officers who were operating a checkpoint near the Belize-Mexico border that night. Assistant Superintendent of Police, Andrew Ramirez, told Amandala that they have no report of the incident and strongly urge the Mexicans to come forward and make an official report. Ramirez also said that police officers from other units operate in the area without consulting him. Information to us is that one of the Mexicans told their officials that at about 2:00 New Year's morning he approached the checkpoint on his return trip to Chetumal from the Corozal Free Zone. He was asked for his driver's license, and he told the officers that he did not have it at the time. The police officers then reportedly requested 500 pesos for the offense, after threatening to take him to jail.

Jihadul Gill, 19, a resident of #8379 Diego Street, was charged with drug trafficking when he appeared before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart this afternoon. According to police, on January 2, 2014, members of the Gang Suppression Unit were on patrol on Jones Street when they saw Gill. When Gill saw the officers, he turned to walk into a yard and was observed pushing something into his pocket. The officers then approached Gill and after being told that they had seen what he had done, he told them that it was only a little bit of weed that he had in his possession. But when officers searched his pocket, they found a black plastic bag that seemed bulky to them, and when they opened it, they found it to contain suspected cannabis.

Kenrick Longsworth, 21, was charged with robbery when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser this morning. According to police, on January 1, Mariani Westby, 19, was walking on Douglas Jones Street toward New Road when she was robbed of a tablet valued at $300 and $50 cash. Westby immediately reported the matter to police and while at the station, police brought in Longsworth, who was positively identified as the person who robbed her. Longsworth pleaded not guilty to the charge and was offered bail of $1,000 with one surety of the same amount. He is scheduled to appear back in court on March 3, 2014.

Perez had a bandage over his right eye and a blood stain in his right ear and told the court that he was beaten up in the cell block at the "[#%!] house." Jorge Perez, 21, a resident of #5903 Western Avenue, was charged with aggravated assault of an indecent nature when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser this morning. Amandala couldn't obtain any information on the incident, but what we know is that the incident occurred on New Year's Day, January 1, 2014, and the assault was committed against a 15-year-old female. When Perez appeared in court today, he had a bandage over his right eye and blood stains on his shirt and in his right ear. When the Senior Magistrate queried the blood stains on his shirt and the bandage, Perez told the court that he was beaten up in the cell block at the "[#%!] house".


"Polar vortex" hits San Pedro Belize
I have not checked the temp, temp but sitting here with cold hands n feet and I am wearing socks. It feels crazy cold today, there is a strong wind that has been howling off and on all morning. In addition to a hoodie and long pants, I have a bandana on and airline blanket while working at my desk. I also pulled out our comforter for later and we switched our evening plans and invited Matt to watch basketball at our house instead of going to Lola's and watching it on their League Pass. I am far too cold to leave the house today and Paul just wanted to come home after work and relax. Before long in our back and forth in fb messenger about tonight, Matt and I got talking about the weather. He linked me to what he was reading - U.S. Midwest, Northeast hit by bitter cold temperatures and What is a polar vortex? Both good articles. The second one has easy to understand graphics and a short write up about the cold snap that is gripping North America as cold Arctic air moves south. He is probably right in his assumption about it causing our frosty weather, it sure feels like the "Polar vortex" has hit San Pedro Belize.

The Polar Vortex Moves into Belize And It's Kinda Beautiful
Ha. I'm not even sure what a polar vortex is�but the US News stations are ALL ABOUT IT right now. Temperatures at ridiculous levels like -65F. The Weather Channel asks: How cold can it get? Brrrrr-meggedon 2014. Late afternoon yesterday, the storm system moved from the north across Belize and it made for a dramatic sunset after what had been a gorgeous afternoon in San Pedro. The day at about 2pm�high 70s and warm sun. As I walked/ran to town yesterday a big orange cloud crept southward�and boats raced back to town to beat it.

"Needles and Pins" in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
What's this? Two editions in one day. Has amnesia set in and he can't remember what he's done you are probably thinking. No. The memory might not be as good as it once was (and it was very, very good once) but it's not bad. I'm blaming it on the weather. Why? Well there was stuff I was going to do outside but it was too cold - the memory is still OK but there's no argument that my blood has thinned - so I decided to let you know (who cares I sense you thinking) what yesterday held for me today, rather than making you wait until tomorrow. Showing you the caring and sensitive side of me, aren't I. Right, so what about yesterday. Well it was chilly when I got on to the veranda with a mug of coffee and the iPad shortly after 05.00 hours. Given the weather of the last few mornings I assumed that it would be chilly and dressed accordingly ie I put a sweat top on. The extra attire and the hot mug of coffee were all I needed to enjoy my 'me time'. And I did until Rubio arrived at 06.45 hours to resume work on the fence. By the time he had got the tools out of the store room/ garage Moses, Mike and Pablo had arrived and then the action began with Moses and Pablo concentrating on the fence on the southern side and Rubio and Mike working on the northern side.

My good frien Lucille frum Dayton, Virginny, sent me a cookbook frum thar communitee fer Christmus. I wuz eggcited ta receif' it as I luv a'lookin through cookbooks gittin new idees fer recipes. Try thishere recipe un one o'these cold wint'r days! CHEDDAR CHOWDER 2 cups wat'r 2 cups dicet potatoes 1 /2 cup dicet carrots 1 /2 cup dicet celery 1 /4 cup choppet onion 1 teespoon salt 1 /4 teespoon black pepp'r Direckshuns: Combine all ingredyints n' a large kettle. Bawl 10 ta 12 minnuts. Meenwhile make white sauce. Stir sauce into undrunet vegetabull mixture. Heat throughout.

A year later and still no answers. Written by: Aria Lightfoot.
It was reportedly a stormy late night January 7th or early morning January 8th, 2013, when several people (likely men), entered into the apartments of Keino Quallo; Anthony Perez, Albert Fuentes and Leonard Myers and brutally, savagely and gruesomely murdered them. Although the houses in that neighborhood practically sit on top of each other, no one heard or saw anything. It may be a coincidence that the police visited the house the same night and broke a lock the assailants came through; and it is plausible that the police surveillance camera was not working that night; Belize get equipment donated without technical support. What was unimaginable were the the heinous crimes splattered all over the media; showcased by the police; and hurriedly theorized by media as gang affiliated murders. Evident were the unprofessionalism and incompetence on proud display. The murder scene quickly turned into a public spectacle filled with reporters, onlookers and police officers; treating the crime scene as a blood filled sideshow; trampling through an unpreserved crime scene; with no regard for family and friends who looked on in horror. It was a very disrespectful and unethical event behaving as if the lives taken meant nothing.

International Sources

Fitch Withdraws Belize Sovereign Investments III (Cayman) Limited's 'A+' Rating
Fitch Ratings has withdrawn the 'A+'/Stable rating assigned to the $85.7 million notes issued by Belize Sovereign Investments III (Cayman) Limited (BSI). The rating withdrawal follows Fitch's recent withdrawal of the 'AA-' Insurer Financial Strength (IFS) rating assigned to Steadfast Insurance Company (Steadfast). The rating of the notes was based on credit support from two insurance policies underwritten by Steadfast, and therefore linked to the IFS assigned to Steadfast. The BSI notes are backed by two restructured government of Belize (GOB) sovereign obligations from the country's 2007 debt restructuring and benefit from the aforementioned insurance policies, which cover non-payment by the GOB. Since 2012, Steadfast has made three payments to BSI under the policies related to partial payments by the GOB, enabling timely payment of interest on the notes.

Austerity offers impetus to band Caribbean islands together
The West Indies Federation, an ambitious political union of British colonies and protectorates in the Caribbean, collapsed more than half a century ago amid intense bickering. Yet an economic crisis of unprecedented proportions may force the former members to band together once more. The scale of the problems varies. Trinidad and Tobago, for example, is prosperous thanks to natural gas exports. But many of the anglophone Caribbean countries have foundered in recent years, dragged down by a tourism decline, withering banana and sugar industries and debt incurred by government overspending. Many economists, international officials and even local politicians concede that part of the solution lies in closer union and that this will inevitably involve some loss of sovereignty, a touchy subject in states that were not so long ago under the colonial yoke.

John McAfee: I'm glad Intel is dropping my name
John McAfee, the flamboyant millionaire who founded the eponymous anti-virus software pioneer that Intel Corp bought for $7.7 billion, says he is glad that the chipmaker plans to drop his name from the product. Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich announced the decision to abandon the McAfee name late on Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, saying the company plans to transition those products to the "Intel Security" brand. "I've been begging them to drop the brand or fix the product," McAfee said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. He did not speculate on a reason for the move, which was not completely unexpected. Last June, McAfee appeared in a profanity-laced video attacking the quality of the software produced by the company he founded in the late 1980s. He said he frequently gets emails from customers who complain that it degrades the performance of their computers and is difficult to remove.

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