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The San Pedro Sun

Editorial - Up in smoke: fireworks or potholes?
We all marveled at the evening performance of pyrotechnics and passionately praised the perfect end to 2013 while ushering in 2014. It sure was a fun night, but as I waded through the ankle-deep mud pool in front of my gate for the umpteenth time in the last six months I weighed the question�what is more important, extravagant fireworks or filling potholes�the scale drastically tipped towards potholes. Call me a kill-joy, aside from a handful of small children and dogs who find them terrifying, who DOESN'T love fireworks? On the other hand, who loves crappy roads? Troubled with this question I unofficially surveyed my friends and colleagues who were all under the impression that the fireworks were donated each year to San Pedro Town by our Mexican neighbors, but after a quick call to Town Council the Mayor confirmed that indeed it was the tax payers who footed the bill for the fireworks extravaganza. I then unofficially surveyed the Internet and concluded that the average 30-minute firework show costs from $20,000 to $50,000US. Although I don't know the actual cost of our New Year's Extravaganza, I still have to wonder, was it fiscally responsible, when our roads go neglected to literally burn our money elsewhere? What will our guests to the island remember longer, the fireworks or the challenges of traveling from one side of town to the next? Will their interest in returning to La Isla go up in smoke?

Beatriz Marroquin injured by underage female
On Thursday, January 2nd, San Pedro Police responded to a stabbing incident in the Boca del Rio area. According to police, 19-year-old Beatriz Marroquin reported that while walking home along with her husband, 20-year-old Jose Luis Marroquin, at around 6:40PM she was verbally attacked by an under-aged female she knew. The underage female was accompanied by her boyfriend 'Melvin', last name unknown, and a crowd of people that Beatriz did not recognize. Beatriz ignored the verbal attacks and continued walking. The crowd drew closer to the Marroquins, and the female threw a stone at Beatriz, which she dodged. As a result the stone hit Jose Luis to the left side of his face, causing injures and bleeding. The couple retreated to Beatriz's mother's home for first aid treatment. Beatriz's mother advised them to report the incident to a police officer working at a store near the Boca del Rio Bridge. On her way back from reporting the incident to the officer, she was once again approached by the same crowd. Melvin restrained Beatriz while the underage female stabbed her several times in the head and back, after which the crowd fled the scene. Beatriz consulted a doctor and was issued a medical report indicating that she had received seven stab wounds.

Leptospirosis claims one life in Belize City
Over the past few weeks one case of leptospirosis has been confirmed in Belize City and has claimed the life of a man on New Year's Day. According to the family of the deceased Michael Lewis, he was not the first person being treated for the disease over recent weeks, and they believe there are four more suspected deaths. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects both humans and animals which is transmitted by rodents such as raccoons and rats. In an interview with Channel 5 News, Noellee Swift-McField indicated that her brother-in-law had to be admitted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) after he became ill. Initially he was erroneously diagnosed and given the wrong medication. After several medical tests were conducted, it was confirmed that he had a severe case of leptospirosis which eventually claimed his life. Swift-McField went on to explain that doctors at KHMH told them that Lewis' case was not the first, as others have been admitted with similar symptoms.

Art Show to Benefit "Women in Need" this weekend. (7 photos)
Held this weekend (January 11 & 12) at Xanadu Resort from noon till 5PM, this annual art show is hosted by a group of women artisans who donate the proceeds from the arts sales to women in need on the island. From beautiful water colors, to glass jewelry, hand painted cushion covers, greeting cards and more, the selection is gorgeous. You can even buy raffle tickets to win darling oversized dolls hand knitted by Judy Sheinbaum. So don't miss out this weekend on the opportunity to purchase lovely artwork while supporting a community program.

Misc Belizean Sources

Poles for San Mateo Electrification Project arrive
Mayor Daniel Guerrero and the San Pedro Town Council along with Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism & Culture and the Belize Electricity Limited are pleased to announce that the poles that will be used for the San Mateo Electrification Project have arrived! Hurrah! for San Mateo!

UB Signs Agreement with Mexican Tech University
The University of Belize signed an agreement with a Mexican Technical University so they could expedite the creation of innovating projects. "The Agreement will facilitate joint participation in developing innovation projects and international institutional cooperation projects. The partnerts will oganize academic encounters, courses, conferences, symposiums, student exchanges, and scholarships for students from both institutions. Signing the Academic Cooperation Agreement was the President of the University of Belize Dr Cary Fraser and Rector of Universidad Tecnologica de Camargo Prof. Fidel Alonso Gonz�lez Gonz�lez. President Fraser said, 'The Agreement between the two universities will contribute to the development of both institutions and improvement of the quality of life of Belizeans and Mexicans.'"

International Sources

Hong Kong triads supply meth ingredients to Mexican drug cartels
Two Hong Kong triads have linked up with one of Latin America's largest and most notorious drug cartels to supply the burgeoning global market for methamphetamine, the Sunday Morning Post has learned. Members of the 14K and Sun Yee On triads are supplying Mexico's Sinaloa cartel with the raw materials needed to produce methamphetamine, or "crystal meth", as demand skyrockets. The Sinaloa cartel is one of Mexico's most powerful organised crime groups and has played a deadly role in the country's drug wars, which have claimed 60,000 lives since 2006. The connection emerged a week after one of the biggest drug busts in recent years saw a massive methamphetamine production racket closed down in the eastern Guangdong city of Lufeng. China is one of the world's biggest producers of methamphetamine, also known as Ice, and of its precursor chemicals. Hong Kong triads have long been significant players in the regional narcotics trade, but recent developments suggest they are seeking to build networks further afield.

The Top 10 Family Travel Destinations for 2014
Because parents, grandparents and kids rarely agree on destinations, let alone hotels and activities, family vacations can be among the most difficult types of trip to book. To please everyone, consider the places on Lonely Planet's list of the "Best Family Travel Destinations for 2014": 8. Belize Lonely Planet calls Belize "an affordable Caribbean trip that is a boon for families" since it's "compact, cheap and nearly everyone speaks English."

Surprising History in Yucat�n " The Rich Island of Yucat�n - or Carolina? "
None of the invaders from the Old World knew what lay west of Cuba between Honduras and Florida, even though Europeans had actually sighted Yucat�n. In 1508, Vicente Y��ez Pinz�n and Juan D�az de Sol�s, sailing north from Honduras, where Columbus had landed six years earlier, were searching for the expected passage through to the Southern Sea and the Spice Islands of Asia. They coasted the peninsula, failed to identify a strait, and their discoveries received little notice. The governor of Cuba obtained a royal license for an expedition of discovery, motivated chiefly by the need to find new sources of Indian slaves to work the farms and mines of the Greater Antilles. Three ships commanded by Francisco Hern�ndez de C�rdoba set out in 1517, and after six days' sailing, they sighted a flat island - Isla Mujeres - and went on to what they perceived to be a larger island nearby. Here they made the first contact with Maya people. The Castilians were well received, gifts were exchanged, and Hern�ndez claimed the land for seventeen-year-old King Carlos I and his co-regent mother, Juana the Mad.

Belize Please!
I woke up in Chetumal with almost a full day to kill before my water taxi to Belize. Unfortunately the weather was still rubbish. I went for a walk downtown and found people. Everywhere. Lots of people! Potential friends. Hooray! It was a Monday morning and Chetumal had come to life. It is strange for me that on a Sunday afternoon the town was deserted but it was busy on a Monday. Doesn't anyone go to to work? I spent a while walking about the high street. I joined a Pharmacy Fiesta. Mexico is the only place I have ever visited where there is a party in the pharmacy every day. In Chetumal one of the pharmacies had a party sponsored by Coca Cola with free cans, another had a big cartoon pharmacist handing out balloons. I can't imagine a least appropriate place to have loud music and frivolity Congratulations, you have gonorrhea!!!

52 Places to Go in 2014 - Belize listed at #50
"From No. 1 Cape Town all the way to No. 52 Niagara Falls, N.Y., explore the vibrant cities and spectacular coastlines, unexpected spots and new attractions that made our list this year. Belize - Twenty years ago, when Francis Ford Coppola opened Blancaneaux Lodge in western Belize, relatively few travelers had ventured into this small Central American country. Slowly they arrived, many of them curious to witness the scenery that had captivated the film director, which he described in an email as "completely remote, with a beautiful pristine river you could drink the water out of and the most star-studded night sky I had ever seen." Since then, upscale rustic hotels have cropped up all over Belize..."