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The San Pedro Sun

Midtown Violets Release New Album "Don't Give Up"
The Midtown Violets are no strangers to San Pedro. Songstress Karen Waldup first brought her dynamic voice and charm to San Pedro in September 2012 when she performed benefit concerts for the Mama Vilma Family Home at both Wet Willy's and Grand Caribe. In May 2013 she returned to La Isla as a Midtown Violet with partner Ashlee K Thomas to again hold benefit concerts for the same cause. Islanders had a chance to listen to melodious songs from the pair of gifted musicians, becoming more than just fans but friends of the ladies as well. Now Midtown Violets enthusiasts can enjoy even more of their music on the newly released album "Don't Give Up" which came out on January 12th. This album is the first collaboration for the ladies since they began performing as a duo in 2011 and contains tracks by both Karen and Ashlee. In speaking with The San Pedro Sun the excited ladies shared with us quite a bit on their new album and on how the Midtown Violets came to be.

Mad Storme triumphs at 2014 Captain Morgan's Wahoo Challenge
On Saturday January 11th, fishing enthusiasts gathered at Captain Morgan's Retreat for a day filled with cold drinks and good food as they awaited their favorite contenders from the 2014 Wahoo Challenge. Of the 15 boats registered in this year's competition, only five were able to battle the waters and conquer the catches in time to make it back for the 5PM weigh- in time at Captain Morgan's. Those vessels were: Reel Challenge, Mad Storme, Another Princess, Fishing Unlimited, and Dos Locos. The day proved itself to be a fine one for fishing as spectators were surely impressed with the large catches brought in by each vessel. At the end of the competition the results were as follows:

Ambergris Today

7th Annual Boom to Manatee Lookout Canoe Race
The 2014 paddling season kicked off with the 7th Annual Boom to Manatee Lookout Race, sponsored by Bear Mountain Boats, Architectural Accents, Belize Global Travel Services, and Joseph and Taylor. The race was held on Saturday, 11th January, 2014. The river was high so teams time to complete the course was one of the fastest ever with the first place team NICH, Oscar Cordon, Efrian and Felix Cruz, completing the race in 1:14. Second place in the male category went to team BTL Cobb's Arm, Roy Cano, Erick Cano, and Andres Cabb. The Belize Bank Bulldogs Armin Lopez, Amado and Daniel Cruz, finished third. D & A Construction slipped into the fourth spot with Leon and Ray Gillett and Jeremy Sanchez paddling for their team. Hener and Ervin Cruz along with Jerry Cante brought their Westrac team into fifth place finishing just ahead of the Joseph and Taylor team made up of Francis Codd, Jerry Rhaburn and Chris Guydis, in the seventh position overall. Rounding up the male category was Watt A Ting from Sea Sports Belize made up of John Searle, Robert Bailey and Tyreek Thompson.

Video Pick: Ten Days Vacation in Belize
"I decided to take just a single GoPro, GoPole and head strap for this 10 day adventure. See what is possible with only these three things as we climb Mayan ruins, play with monkeys, swim with sharks and dive with all forms of sea creatures. Cars, taxis, boats, planes, kayaks, bikes, canoes - this is Belize." Davis Paul, of GoPro Media, took a vacation with his wife Somerlyn Wood Paul to Belize and with just one GoPro camera he took this amazing footage of his adventures. "Take a trip through the beautiful country of Belize with us!" he says.

San Pedro Junior Angler Receives International Award
Fishing is a way of life for many, just ask 11-year-old Jhoan Hernandez who says that fishing is his favorite past time here in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Jhoan has been fishing since the tender age of four and takes advantage of any opportunity he encounters to do what he loves the best, fishing of course! For his hard work and dedication Jhoan was awarded the Central American Junior Angler 2013 Award during assembly at the Holy Cross Anglican School which he attends on Ambergris Caye. This is the first time that a Belizean was nominated and has won such an award. Presenting Jhoan with a picture plaque with the signatures of the board members of Accurate Reel was Rudy Lewis of Fishing Strike Force Belize and Roberto "Robbie" Guerrero, President of the San Pedro Game Fishing Association.

Flashbacks: Drastic Changes at San Pedro Roman Catholic School Area
This little corner of old San Pedro village in the 1970's is totally different today. The children could enjoy first of all a large campus for sports as we see Lisa Forman and Miguel 'Sykes' Guerrero in the forefront. Children's sports days were very common and popular. No five a side court, no buildings for classrooms, not even a fence. Straight in the center at the back there is no sign of El Fogon Restaurant or Susan Eiley's residence. The green bush in the background has been replaced by several streets and an entire residential area. I wonder whose little white wooden house it is on the right? This is now the site of Island Galleria, a busy commercial building right downtown San Pedro. Is there at least one coconut tree remaining there? Look at the tiny three-seater airplanes at the extreme left. Those have been swapped by fourteen-seaters and their parking space has been substituted by a spanking Tropic Air terminal building. This is what we mean from a quiet laid back fishing village to a bustling little town in the tropics.

Saga Humane Society Cook Off - Appetizers
Saga Humane Society is pleased to announce the first Cook Off for 2014, Appetizers! Join us Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at Luna Loca to try all the excellent dishes. VIP Table- No waiting in line for food, food will be served to you! Seating for up to 6 person per table at a great price of $25 BZ per Person.

UNIBAM Denounces Hate Crime in Belize
UNIBAM joins other concerned and disheartened members of our community in decrying the vicious, senseless and inhumane killing of young Joseph Sanchez which took place on Sunday, January 12, 2014, in the early morning. The Board of Directors, staff and members of UNIBAM reach out to his parents and family members with condolence and empathy. Even though many members did not know him personally, the entire advocacy movement shares the family's confusion, anger, and grief. As the leading agency for rights defence of sexual minorities such as transgendered individuals UNIBAM denounces this vile act and calls for the most comprehensive investigation to send a clear message to the rest of society that in Belize we won't tolerate this kind of hate crime.

Misc Belizean Sources

Saga Humane Society Cook Off - Appetizers
Saga Humane Society is pleased to announce the first Cook Off for 2014, Appetizers! Join us Wednesday January 22 at Loca Luna to try all the excellent dishes. VIP Table- No waiting in line for food, food will be served to you! Seating for up to 6. Only is one table available at $25 BZ Per Person. To reserve call Katia at 610 - 0992 Bark Bark Meow!

Power interruption San Pedro today
Power interruption 9:00am to 12:00pm Wednesday, January 15 entire San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye. BEL to conduct urgent repairs to the San Pedro Substation transformer.

On Thursday, November 21, 2013, the Washington University of Health and Science: Belize Campus in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, held its White Coat Ceremony at the Paradise Theater where 28 of their medical students made the transition from their preclinical studies to that of clinical health sciences. Before the Ceremony, Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism & Culture along with managers of the Commercial banks, Principal of SPHS and representatives of the Ministry of Education were given a tour of the facility.

Road rehabilitation project for Tropical Wave Street and Crocodile Drive
Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Councilor Severo, Councilor Gabriel and Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism & Culture make assessments along with Medina's Construction for the road rehabilitation project for Tropical Wave Street and Crocodile Drive. Medina's team was on site to measure both streets. IT'S COMING! (6 photos)

Unprecedented in Belize
The elevation of 3 women Attorneys to the rank of Senior Counsel - Jacqueline Marshalleck, Magali Marin Young and Cheryl-Lynn Vidal.

Great Wall Wingle
A Belmopan teacher is the winner of a 2012 Great Wall Wingle courtesy of Courts. Today the standard three teacher of Garden City Primary School, Desmond Lewis was handed the keys to a brand new pickup truck valued at fifty thousand dollars.

Conch Fritters with Lighthouse Lager
Flavors of Belize and Chef Sean Kuylen make some delicious conch fritters, and the beer batter is made with Lighthouse beer. Check out those bite sized beauties. The sweet and sour sauce looks as good as the fritters too. In related news, they are having a photo competition to win a copy of the Flavors of Belize cookbook. Just make one of the dishes, and send in a picture. "A classic Belizean dish, perfect for an appetizer at dinner time or a quick snack. And as usual, Chef Sean puts his spin on things adding Belikin Lighthouse Beer to the batter while giving chefs at home good tips when preparing this simple dish."

Wanaragua Book Launch
The book launch for Wanaragua, written and illustrated by the Cayetano's, is tomorrow at the National Heritage Library, starting at 10:00am. "Book launch of Wanaragua: A unique story about a traditional mask dance, written by Ingrid and Ibo Cayetano, illustrated by Mali Cayetano."

Island Time at Cahal Pech
Cahal Pech is featured in the latest Caribbean Coolers commercial. Island Time's coolers are a great treat, especially on hot days, and now you can find them in most markets around Cayo. "Even when it's a little cool outside - one sip of of your Caribbean Cooler takes you right back to Island Time� sitting on a hammock on an island of your own�. RUM TO GO! Your own taste of Belize anytime�."

Rt. Hon George Price Memorial Mass
It's George Price's birthday today, and in his honor there will be a memorial mass in Belmopan, starting at 6:30am. "You are cordially invited to the annual memorial mass for the Father of the Nation Belize at Our Lady of Guadelupe Church in Belmopan"

Hanna Stables New Website
Hanna Stables has a great new website to go with their new high ranking on Trip Advisor. Check it out, and if you want a great ride to Xunantunich, they are the ones to call. "Hanna Stables is amongst the oldest horseback riding establishments in Belize, and it is part of a larger network that includes Nabitunich accommodations and the 400 acre San Lorenzo Farms. All of the properties have been in the Juan family for four generations. Santiago Juan is currently the head operator of the properties. We are happy to provide all guests to Belize with ample horseback riding tours of nearby Mayan ruins at Hanna Stables as well as comfortable overnight accommodations at Nabitunich cottages and educational opportunities at San Lorenzo Farms."

Don't miss the bike rally on Feb. 7th & 8th 2014 hosted by the Black Pearl Motorcycle. We are expecting 300 bikes from Central America and Mexico. Entry 18 years and over are welcomed to the evening's event at the Hour Bar grounds in Belize City. Live music will be performed by Belize No. 1 Rock 'n Roll band Ascenthium. Admission is $20 per person. This is going to be a big event.

Jan 5 - Jan 11 2014 Fishing Report
We expect storms from the north this time of year, but no one prepared us for all the rain we had this week! The good news is that today it is sunny, wind at about 5, and you can hear the tarpon rolling over on Savannah. I'm so hopeful for our anglers out there today. For our anglers that endured the rain, you get the highest praise. It's one thing to go out when it's perfect and make it happen, but when you go out and make it happen in tough conditions - that's flat out good sportsmanship. Some might call it ridiculous, but it is those that take these times and work with the conditions - you show the world around you about passion and fun. And today�. "Like ya read about." When it happens, embrace it! Thank you everyone for a nice cozy week after the holiday.

Joseph Sanchez is dead, but who am I? written by: Aria Lightfoot
Joseph Sanchez is dead but who am I? Who am I must be the one universal question we have all asked ourselves while staring at the reflection in the mirror staring back at us, mimicking our moves and sending back signals to our brains. We have tacitly accepted the reflected image is actually who we see. Some scientist believe that we would not be able to recognize ourselves if we could actually see ourselves outside of a mirror or picture. We see a face staring back at us and many times we are left with more questions than answers. Am I pretty? Am I fat? Why is that flaw so prominent? Who am I? Many of us depend on the mirror to help us project the image we consider acceptable or want to share with the world. Most of us would never leave the house without visiting the mirror for confirmation that we have portrayed the right image. We take care in what we wear to fit into certain cliques, or professional groups; we look to the mirror to determine our ratio of sexiness or decency; sometimes we want to ensure we are emulating our heroes by copying his or her dress, or hair or make up; we sometimes want to seem intimidating; regal; sometimes we want to look "fresh" or stand out; but most times we just want to fit in. The way we choose to dress many times gives a glimpse into who we want to be but not necessarily who we are. One thing for sure, we all inhibit some level of insecurity about the image staring back at us, maybe wishing we had the money, or DNA, or will power to change it.

Channel 7

Influenza Test Results Troubling
Last week we told you about the influenza samples that the Ministry of Health sent to CARPHA, the regional testing center in Trinidad. Well the results didn't come back as expected on Friday evening, nor did they come on Saturday, Sunday or Monday. But they did come back today, and best reports say they aren't good. How bad are they? We can't say yet, because the Ministry of Health wants to disseminate the information clearly and in context at a press briefing tomorrow morning. An official press invitation refers to the lab results and the management of the recent H1N1 Influenza cases across the country. As we reported, one person who died of acute respiratory distress at the KHMH in late December tested positive for influenza in a quick test - and other patients were showing similar symptoms. By tomorrow, those blanks in the story should be filled in, and we'll have the full story, telling you what it all means for your health.

Police Say Cross Dresser "Prince Joe" Was Robbed
The murder of 18 year-old Joseph "Prince Joe" Sanchez is not just another murder. It's a unique case, possibly the first we've reported on where police found the victim and thought it was a female because he wore a skirt, a sleeveless blouse women's underwear and had the physique, hair, makeup and jewelry of a woman. But it turns out Sanchez was a well known member of the LBGT Community - long recognized for his preference to dress in drag. Now, that LBGT community says that the 18 year old who identified with a transgender orientation was killed in a hate crime. But the police aren't so sure that he was killed because he dressed like a woman. Today, the deputy commanding officer of Police Precinct 2 told us that the evidence they have suggests that it was a robbery: ASP Calbert Flowers - Deputy OC, Police Precinct #2 "On Sunday morning January 12, 2014 sometime around 1:50 am police visited Elston Kerr Street where the apparent lifeless body of a person was seen lying face down on the pavement. Initially we thought it was a female. It was dressed in female clothing. However, we shortly discovered that it was a male, due to certain things that were recovered from the scene. The body was examined where officers observed what appeared at the time to be a single stab wound to the chest area."

War of The Red's Over Seashore Drive Park?
The City Council is locked in a battle with the Lands Department and private landowner, Giovanni Blease. We first reported on the story six weeks ago - where parcel 3820 in Caribbean Shores was under dispute. The council and area residents want to preserve the entire parcel as a park; Blease's attorney said they can have their park, but the other half of the parcel is for her client. It's being going back and forth since then - but now it seems that forces are aligning against the council. That was apparent after the Lands and Survey Department sent City Hall a cease and desist letter. But if you know Mayor Darrell Bradley, that kind of resistance is what gets him going - and he was on today when the media asked him about the land dispute:..

Cane Compromise Imperfect, But It'll work
Last night, the news was that after a protracted and bitter dispute, the cane farmers and BSI finally agreed to put aside their differences for the time being, and start the cane season. Like all compromises hatched in the hurly burly of an industrial dispute, the resolution to move forward is an imperfect one. It was signed at 6:00pm, so last night, we were only able to provide you with a rough outline of what's in the final deal. Tonight, Daniel Ortiz revisits the signing from yesterday, and tries to put it in context of entire bagasse standoff: Daniel Ortiz reporting The executives of both BSI and the cane farmers association arrived at the Staff Club about a half hour later than expected. That's after the meeting was pushed back another hour and a half. For a season that was already delayed for 2 months, what was another 2 hours, right?

Women Targeted In OW Home Invasion
3 men are under investigation tonight for a home invasion in Orange Walk town where the assailants terrorized 2 businesswomen. Maria Elisa Artiga and her daughter had just locked up their family store, Elisa's shop, and when they got home to their house on the Palmar Boundary Road, 4 masked men ambushed them with a toy gun, and held them hostage in their own home. Yesterday, one of the victims spoke with 7News, and she asked to appear off-camera while describing what happened. Voice of: Maria Elisa Artiga, home invasion victim "We were reaching at my house then my mom opened the gate. When she open the gate one of the guys came and pull her and then when I turned backwards I saw 3 more. They pull me from the car and they pushed me to the ground. One of them put their foot on my head. My mom was fighting with them and then one of them had a toy gun and my mom break it. Afterwards they forced us to go into the house to my mom's room and covered us with a sheet. They ask for all the money and we told them that all the money was in the purse. They said that they want more, but we told them that we didn't have any more."

Rainfall Was Way Up in 2013
No matter where you live in Belize, you know how rainy it was in 2013. And now, we have the numbers to say just how wet it really was. For all of 2013, Libertad in Corozal collected 39% more rainfall, and the figures were almost the same at the Tower Hill Collecting Station in Orange Walk. Moving to Belize City, St. John's College reported a 45% increase in rainfall, while the PGIA reported a 32% increase. In the west, Belmopan was 36% above average; Central Farm was about the same, while Baldy Beacon recorded the greatest increase at 43%. Increases in rainfall were less in the south, but still markedly above average.

City Residents Can Now Renew Licenses Online
Soon, Belize City residents won't have to worry about going into the Traffic Department to renew their driver's licenses. That's because, starting tomorrow, the council is offering online renewal of driver's licenses. With a web connection, and a credit card, in just a few clicks you'll be able to renew your driver's permit. At the launch today at City Hall, the Deputy Mayor explained that they expect about a third of license holders to use the service immediately. BQ Pitts Jr., Deputy Mayor - Belize City "For the 15,000 you would say at least we have about 5,000 - 7,000 would use the service and it's a matter of convenience really because most people want to get the service quick. You'd spend about 15 - 30 minutes in traffic and then to wait another 15 minutes to get it, but with this service now, you will cut that by half or even less."

Darrell Carter Taken To Family Court, Accused By Magistrate Wife of Breaching Protection Order
Darrell Carter is a well-known former politician and businessman in the furniture upholstery and repair business, but tonight he's making the news for being taken to family court yesterday. That section of the court is not open to the media because of the nature of the cases it deals with. Information is not forthcoming, but 7News understands that he was arrested for allegedly breaching a protection order, which was brought to the court by his wife Natalia Carter. If that name sounds familiar, it should; Natalia Carter is a sitting Magistrate, and the Acting Director, in the very same family court. He had been in police custody since Saturday, and he was escorted on the prison bus to the Magistrate's Court. He had to be escorted to court where he answered to the charge and pleaded not guilty. He was granted bail, which he was able to meet, and he must return to court on January 27.

Parandero Paul Nabor In PG Hospital Recovering From Pneumonia
Legendary Paranda singer and songwriter Paul Nabor is in the Punta Gorda Hospital recovering after falling ill with Pneumonia and some dehydration last week. We became aware of the story when, the 85 year old, who is a few weeks away from his 86th birthday was flown into Belize City via air ambulance from Punta Gorda yesterday. He was flown in for a CATSCAN because doctors in the south thought he might have had a stroke. According to Darius Avila, the well known PG-based cultural activist who is overseeing his care, the scan was negative for a stroke and Nabor was flown back to PG as was his wish. Avila says he spoke to Nabor today where the legend said he was feeling better. Avila says that they're hoping for a full recovery because they plan to throw a party for him on PG Day on February first.

Fire Burns 8 Year Old
An eight year old child is hospitalized tonight with second degree burns while his family is left homeless after their concrete house was destroyed by fire of Friday night. It happened on Giles Street in the Mahogany Extension area. The child was at home with his family when the fire started in the front bedroom of the house. Today Monica Bodden visited the area to find out more. Monica Bodden reporting The fire started just before 9 on Friday night at this home on Giles Street. It ignited in this front room of the house and it wasn't long before the entire concrete structure was engulfed in flames. Kimberly Michael - Fire Victim "The house burnt down Friday night about 8pm but I wasn't here, only my mom and my sister was here along with the kids." Monica Bodden "Do you know what happened?" Kimberly Michael - Fire Victim "Not really, but we got a phone call (I was at my older sister) and they said that my mom's house is on fire. By the time we got here the house was already on flames."

Verden Blease, Corrected
Last night, we told you about 51 year-old teacher Verden Blease who was charged with 2 counts of carnal knowledge and 5 counts of indecent assault. He remains behind bars, but tonight, we must make a correction to our story which we aired last night. We reported that he had sexual relations with a 14 year-old minor and allegedly impregnated her. That information was an error; he is actually charged in connection with a 12 year-old minor. This child reported that from the time she was 7 years-old until she became 11 years-old Blease sexually assaulted her. She accused him of abusing her at different times between 2008 and 2012. She has been examined by a doctor who certified that she was carnally known; her injuries were classified as grievous harm. Police have since investigated Blease and he was charged with 5 counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature, and 2 counts of carnal knowledge. He was arraigned and remanded yesterday.

Justice Delayed = Justice Denied, But What About Judgements Delayed?
We all know the old saying that justice delayed is justice denied. In fact, they were just talking about it yesterday at the Supreme Court opening yesterday. And that's in relation to all those accused persons who've been on remand for years. But what about judgments delayed? We know of quite a few very important ones that are pending for a over a year. Yesterday we asked the Attorney General - who has lamented such delays in the past - what can be done:.. Jules Vasquez "We haven't gotten the UNIBAM judgment yet. The court of appeal's ruling on the second acquisition that was promised to the CCJ in October of last year, they haven't been delivered yet. These are consequential judgments that the entire society is waiting on and the judiciary is just cloistered - it doesn't responds to anything. It doesn't account to anyone."

Channel 5

A look at the possible motive for Joseph Sanchez's murder
Police have reviewed video surveillance of the murder of eighteen year old cross dresser, Joseph Sanchez, but there are no arrests so far even though police believe the motive is [...]

Mother and daughter attacked by four armed men in a scary home invasion
Elizabeth Artiga and her mother, Maria Elisa Artiga, locked up their small grocery shop on the Palmar Boundary Road in Orange Walk Town and headed home on Friday night. It [...]

Belize City Mayor goes public over land dispute in Caribbean Shores
A storm has been brewing since last year over a parcel of prime seafront property in the Caribbean Shores Area. Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley says that the Council has [...]

Ministry of Health to hold press conference on results of suspected H1N1 cases
The Ministry of Health will be hosting a press briefing on Wednesday in which it will be releasing the results and the management of the recent H-one N-one Influenza cases [...]

Do you support action of teachers to march and rally for salary and national affairs?
And our question for tonight is: Do you support the actions of teachers to march and rally for salary and national affairs? Yes or No. Send your comments and responses [...]

Caneros prepare for cane delivery on Monday
The sugar-cane standoff is officially at an end. Late Monday evening representatives of both the B.S.C.F.A. and B.S.I. met in Orange Walk and signed a seven point interim agreement. That [...]

�But sugar roads impassable
The critical necessity of government's intervention where sugar roads are concerned cannot be understated at this point. Now that the signing is done, the cane-farmers need to get their product [...]

2 Indian nationals to be deported for illegal entry
Two brothers who claim they fled from their country, India, due to threats to their lives were caught illegally in Belize. They are thirty-one year old Kuldeep Singh, and his [...]

P.M. promises infrastructure developments in Cayo Northeast from PetroCaribe funds
In mid-October of last year, while encouraging voters of Cayo Northeast to abstain from signing the Penner recall petition, Prime Minister Dean Barrow promised residents that government would spend millions [...]

�But PetroCaribe agreement forbids use of funds for salary adjustments
On Monday, the prime minister called in to the media to explain the context in which he made the statement.� PM Barrow says that the terms of the PetroCaribe agreement [...]

Multiple oil spills in Trinidad trigger concerns of environmental organization
Over the past two weeks there have been as many as eleven reported oil spills off the coast of Trinidad.� While efforts are underway to clean up the discharge, residents [...]

Guatemalan Minister of the Interior confirms arrest of a Guatemalan drug lord in Belize
We reported on Monday, that Guatemalan authorities have arrested as many as thirty seven persons involved in a contraband ring which transported liquor, cigarettes, corn and lumber. An operation was [...]

Guatemalan Minister of the Interior confirms arrest of a drug lord in Belize
There is also further information on the reported arrest of alleged drug baron, Eribel Adolfo Rodriguez Barrientos. Rodriguez, according to the Guatemalan Minister of the Interior, was arrested in Belize [...]

City Council launches its online license services
Motorists whose drivers' licenses are in need of renewal are now able to do so electronically, thanks to the efforts of the Belize City Council to automate the application and [...]

Belmopan Teacher wins 2012 Great Wall Wingle from Courts
A teacher from Belmopan is the winner of a 2012 Great Wall Wingle courtesy of Courts Belize. The raffle was launched back on November eighth and ended on December thirty-first. [...]


Monies Missing From The Corozal Town Council
An investigation into the misappropriation of Corozal Town Council funds is currently underway and as a consequence, the council's Revenue Manager has been relief of his duties. While Mayor Campos agreed to give both CTV3 News and Channel Seven News and interview, he apparently changed his mind after Minister Pablo Marin arrived at the Town Council. While we were waiting for the interview we were informed that the Mayor will not grant CTV3 News an interview but will speak to our colleague from Seven News. Now, all we can say is that Mayor Campos decided not to speak to us after receiving orders from Pablo Marin. With that, we definitely know which of the two holds the bigger gun. As mentioned, he did give our colleague from Channel Seven news an interview. And we managed to get that interview after it was aired by the Belize City media house. Here is what Campos said about the alleged misappropriation of $80,000. Hilberto Campos- Mayor Corozal Town "We have been investigating the case. I think on Monday the local government will be here. In respect to the $80,000 that's a ridiculous amount, not even close to that figure. It's a couple thousand dollars and yes to a certain degree the revenue department is pretty much on hold, we have two employees that didn't return obviously, but we are doing the investigation. One was them was relief from his duties, the revenue manager. At this time it's not appropriate to accuse directly one individual. What I could assure you is upon finishing the investigation it will be brought up to light exactly what happened and exactly how much we are talking about."

Prime Minister Accompanies Wife To Fund Raising Event
The Prime Minister of Belize is tonight out of the country. Honorable Dean Barrow and his wife Kim Simplis Barrow left the country on Saturday June 22nd to London England where they will both be attending a Gala Dinner Fundraising to benefit the Children's Trust. The Prime Minister is scheduled to return to Belize on Wednesday July 3rd, 2013. In his absence, the acting PM is Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega.

DPM's Nephew Awarded Another Big Contract
On Tuesday we told you about the upgrading of streets that is being carried out in Corozal Town. But while we reported on the infrastructural works being carried out, we were unable to verify whether the project was being financed under the 10 million dollars earmarked for Corozal under the National Road Infrastructure Programme. And while we saw heavy machinery belonging to Imer Hernandez Development Company Limited, we were unable to verify whether that particular company, which is owned by the nephew of Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, is the one who got the contract. That question and more was going to be posed today to Mayor Campos, but since he refused to give us an interview, again under the orders of Pablo Marin, we had no other alternative but to get the interview after it was aired by our colleagues of Channel Seven News. After all we must keep Corozalenos informed. Here is what Campos had to say about the works presently being carried out and about the awarding of the contract to Imer Hernandez.

"Teechas Got Yu Back", Demonstrate Against GOB
Part one of a series of public rallies spearheaded by the Belize National Teacher's Union across municipalities in Belize, saw teachers take to the streets of Orange Walk and Corozal Districts today. They were out in full force under the banner theme "teechaz got yu back". Reporter Maria Novelo in collaboration with our Corozal correspondent, Victor Castillo filed the following report. Maria Novelo - Reporting United as one, the chants and shouts of over 400 teachers were heard and felt thru the principal streets of Orange Walk and Corozal municipalities. These actions are, hopefully, a transformation of public consciousness that will lead to a compromise between the teachers union and the Government of Belize. OTILIO MUNOZ - President, BNTU, OW "You can see the big numbers of all the teachers here and I am very happy and so glad that the message is being sent this morning and am very happy an no words to express how I feel at this moment with Orange Walk, they never left me bad and we are sending that message to the government and saying we mean business and we need that word to compromise, compromise with us and that is what we want, we are demanding that from them today."

Apart From Bagasse Issue, Other Factors Hinder The Commencement Of Crop
The sugar industry continues at a stalemate but there has been slow progress in the negotiations on revenue sharing of bagasse between BSI and BSCFA this week as discussions into an interim agreement were held on Wednesday. While both parties are aiming at reaching a favorable agreement in the matter, there are factors that continue to pose difficulties for this crop season. Dalila Ical has the story. Dalila Ical - Reporting The matter between BSI and BSCFA on payment of bagasse has placed an impasse on the start of the crop season that normally starts in November, latest mid-December. There have been small strides made in negotiations, but even if an agreement is signed soon, flooded cane fields and impassable sugar roads can continue to hinder the progress into the crop season. Alfredo Ortega says that while some work has begun on the Honey Camp Road, the weather has not made improvements easy to achieve.

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Renewal of Driver’s License Available Online
This morning that Belize City Council officially launched its online renewal driver license services. License holders now have the opportunity to go online and renew their driver license. Belize City Deputy Mayor, Bernard Pitts says it's an easy process to follow. Bernard Pitts, Deputy Mayor, Belize City "I must say that the online renewal system is something that we want to bring to the Belize City residents to assist in ease of time and process. The process is quite simple but it will serve to bring about the necessary change in the e-commerce market for the Belize City Council; it will form the base for us to do other services such as paying trade license and paying property taxes online but for now, this is our start with the renewal of driver's license and I must say it is renewal and not applying. To bring the service online, you will be able to pay via your credit card and shortly within a few months, we will introduce paying via your bank account and your debit card. A feature on this site is that you have the option of having the card delivered to you but only the holder of the card will be able to sign for it. So, both holder and delivery personnel from the Belize City Council will be responsible to ensure that the service is executed properly. We also want to mention that apart from delivering within city limits we will later feature a service to deliver internationally for Belizean Americans abroad; they will be able to apply online. However, we will facilitate this locally through the embassies and consular sections within the three major areas in the US, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Once the service is requested, we will deliver via those local embassies to the various Belizean Americans abroad."

Police News: Robbery, Contraband and Missing Girl Found
This past Sunday, Cayo Police were tipped off and responded to the Bullet Tree Road near Santa Familia Village in the Cayo District where they encountered a white International 4900 truck traveling on the road. The police intercepted the truck and conducted a search where two hundred and sixty sacks of black beans were found. The beans were suspected to be contraband items and therefore the truck along with the sacks was taken to the San Ignacio Police Station pending further investigations. As a result, a 23-year-old Guatemalan national, Francisco Corado along with 25-year-old Belizean, Antonio Ruiz of Billy White Village in the Cayo District were detained. A boledo vendor of the Trapeche area in Santa Elena Town in the Cayo District was a victim of robbery on Monday. According to 69-year-old, Godfrey Tillett at around 6:30pm, he was in Esperanza Village at the Trash Top Bar selling boledo tickets when he was approached by two men dressed in full black. Tillett says one of the men pointed a gun in his face while the other culprit searched him and robbed him of four hundred dollars. The robbers then proceeded to take away his bag of coins but not before attempting to steal his shoes as well. Tillett was then hit behind the head and lost consciousness. He was unable to identify the thieves who escaped in the nearby bushes. Cayo Police continue their investigations.

Orange Walk Police Faced with Intransit Criminals
While Orange Walk Police were searching for the four men in the armed hold up of Artiga, around 2am, they came across some suspicious individuals on the Phillip Goldson Highway in Orange Walk Town. The search led to the discovery of unlicensed firearm and ammunition. Once again Inspector Julius Cant�n explained. JULIUS CANTUN, Officer in Charge of Orange Walk Police "Nevertheless, during that exercise, the special patrol unit came across a black Rodeo SUV vehicle from Belize City. This caught the attention of the Special Patrol Unit as they had seen a man with dark complexion in a kneeling position behind the said vehicle that was faced towards the direction of Belize City but was parked on the side of the road and also one of the officers recognized as a member of the George Street gang from Belize. As a result, they approached the vehicle and they had detained the person kneeling behind the SUV; there were also two other occupants inside the black Rodeo. They were all asked to alight the vehicle and were subsequently detained." Military ammunition was obtained in the search.

Indian Nationals Plead Guilty to Illegal Entry into Belize
Two brothers of Indian nationality entered Belize via the banks of the Mopan River without passports and as a result, they were each fined $1,000 when they appeared today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. The duo, 30-year-old, Kuldeep Singh and 24-year-old, Manjindes Singh pled guilty to a charge of illegal entry and were ordered to pay the fine forthwith. In default of payment they will serve 6 months at the Belize Central Prison. Magistrate Cayetano informed them that a removal order will be made out for them to be deported to India either after they have paid the fine or served the time. In an effort to defend themselves, the two men told the magistrate that they came to Belize because their lives were in danger in India and that they were members of a political party and had left that party and joined another because of their religion and were subsequently attacked by members of their former party who threatened to kill them. The immigrants were busted on January 11 when police stopped a passenger bus on which they were travelling from Benque and heading to Orange Walk. They said they came from Nicaragua and traveled by bus to Guatemala.

Home Invasion in Orange Walk District
Two young men have been arrested for the home invasion that happened on Friday night in San Jos Palmar in the Orange Walk District. 21-year-old, Ronald Deon Bruhier of Boundary Road in San Jose Palmar area was charged for aggravated burglary and burglary when he appeared before magistrate Merlene Moody. Along with him a 17 year old minor of 96 River Side Street Orange Walk Town was charged for the same criminal offenses. Bail was offered to both of them. Until news time it is not known if the third minor presently in police custody will be charged. LOVE NEWS understands that another minor is being sought by police believed to be the fourth person who held up Maria Elisa Artiga and her 17 year old daughter Elizabeth Artiga when they arrived at their house in San Jose Palmar last week Friday. Artiga told police that around 10 on Friday night she and her daughter arrived home in her car when upon opening the gate to the yard they were both attacked by four masked men. One of the men had in his possession what appeared to be a hand gun. During a struggle with the men Maria Artiga received an injury to the right side of her mouth.

Mayor Bradley Opposes Land Transfer
The Belize City Council is opposing the transfer of Parcel Number 3820 situated in the Caribbean Shores area to one Giovanni Blease. According to Belize City's Mayor, Darrell Bradley, the Belize City Council has always maintained the entire section of the public reserve along Seashore Drive. In April 2013, the City Council was verbally informed that parcel #3820 would be issued to a private individual, namely, Giovanni Blease. Following that revelation, the Council immediately lodged a caution on the property in that same month. However, it didn't end there as in November of last year, the Belize City Council received a letter from the Commissioner of Lands, Wilbert Vallejos, notifying the Council that Blease is requesting a hearing to remove the caution on the land. This morning, Mayor Bradley further explained the situation to the media. HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING "Residents of Caribbean Shores are requesting the support of the Government of Belize and their Area Representative to preserve land parcel #3820 also known to them as the Seashore Drive Children's Park. Approximately, fifty residents of the area have signed a petition requesting that the parcel of land be kept as a public space�but keeping it as a public space may take more dialogue than was initially anticipated. Currently, a caution has been placed over the land by the Belize City Council after Mayor Darrell Bradley got wind that Caribbean Shores resident, Giovanni Blease was making moves to obtain a title for the land, which he says is his property but Mayor Bradley says that parcel 3820 is owned by the Government of Belize since no title has been issued for it. The valuable coastal piece of land is said to have been neglected by the City Council but Mayor Bradley says that is not the case. "


Backlash over Belize's meeting with Guatemalan Foreign Affairs Minister
Last week Thursday, the Belize Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Wilfred Elrington and the Guatemala Foreign Minister Fernando Carrera met in the old capital to dialogue on confident building measures and an amicable way forward for a simultaneous referendum on the ICJ to once and for all put an end...

"Belize is for Guatemala" in Facebook Page?
And we're on the matter of the territorial dispute, we came across a Facebook page titled "Belice es de Guatemala" translated in English is "Belize is for Guatemala." The amateur page, which currently has a following of about 89 persons, was created in July of last year is exhibiting...

Guatemalan Caught with Contraband in Belize, Amidst Crackdown in Melchor
Yesterday, we reported on the anti-contraband operation launched in neighbouring Melchor de Mencos that led to the arrest of 37 suspected smugglers. 12 are still believed to be at large and residents in Benque say that they fear that some of the fugitives may have crossed the border into...

City Council Refusing to Give Park Land to Private Owner
The Seashore Drive area of Belize City is home to many prominent Belizeans, including the Prime Minister. In the midst of many sprawling palatial homes, however, sits a humble parcel of land known as the Caribbean Shores Seashore Park, which is now engulfed in a back-and-forth between the Belize...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Who Said Flying Isn't Possible?
Zapata Racing started to develop the FLYBOARD during the spring of 2011. It was introduced at the World Championship in China. Since then the FLYBOARD has become the new extreme sport phenomenon. In November 2013, the FLYBOARD was introduced to Caye Caulker by Reef Watersports. Reef Watersports is the only water sport company to provide this exciting experience in the whole country of Belize. The flight experience is USD$130 per person or USD$180 for 2 people. On Saturday, January 18th 2014 Reef Watersports is having their first Island Flyboard Day starting at 10AM. Super Low Price for the first 20 persons to sign up. For more information on their Island Flyboard Day call 601-7658 or stop by Reef Watersports at the Split. They also offer other water activities. Visit their webpage at or their facebook page Reef Watersports.

La Isla Carinosa Academy?
PUBLIC MEETING- CAYE CAULKER COMMUNITY PRIVATE SCHOOL INITIATIVE La Isla Cari�osa Academy Venue: Caye Caulker Community Center Date: Thursday, January 30, 2014 Time: 7:00pm Facilitator: Dr. Alberto Luis August The general public is invited to attend an informational session to listen to a presentation for a private school initiative on Caye Caulker. Your participation and contribution of ideas towards this initiative is important and will be appreciated. Contact: 668-7512 or [email protected].

Anda de Wata Tours Offers New Tours & Also Gives Back to Community
Anda de Wata Tours has launched several new tours exclusively offered by them and in launching them, is also giving back to the community. They have pledged to donate 10% of any profits they make in January to the local high school. Several new tours being offered by Anda de Wata Tours are the Island Tubing Tour, which is a 90 minute slow tow along the Reef side of the island on inner tubes. The tubes are towed behind a boat. According to Art Marin, owner of Anda De Wata Tours, RUM PUNCH IS INCLUDED! The cost of this tour is BZ $60 . Another new tour being offered is the Bajo Sensation. The Bajo Sensation is 3 snorkel stops in front of Caye Chapel and Private Island BBQ lunch on Bajo Island. Lunch includes BBQ fish, grilled veggies, and their famous coconut rice! The cost of this tour is $145BZ pp. Trip departs at 11:00 a.m. and returns at 4:30pm.

"Amazing Belize" Launches New Website
A new start-up called Amazing Belize has launched it's new website. Amazing Belize is an online booking portal featuring over 190 Belize properties in one location. Travelers looking for accommodations in Belize no longer have to search all over the internet to check prices. They can do it in one location. One neat feature of the website is that they are offering the home page of their website as an advertising portal to local businesses free of charge. If you would like to submit a photo of your business or establishment just email it to [email protected]. The website hopes to feature a new Belize destination or location every week. You do not have to be a hotel or accommodations business in order to be on the home page. You just have to be interesting, and most importantly, the photo must be of a very high quality and a size of no smaller thann 2000 pixels wide.


Sugar cane farmers are desperately trying to chart a way forward in the ongoing bagasse dispute between themselves and the factory owners, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI), although some uncertainty still looms over Belize's sugar industry at this point in time. Last Wednesday, January 8, a "fruitful" meeting between BSI and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) created optimism for the industry's stakeholders, and yesterday, Sunday, January 12, the association and its executives met with well over a thousand resolute cane farmers and they heatedly discussed the Interim Agreement which was laid out between the BSCFA and BSI. At the meeting with BSI on Wednesday, the BSCFA had submitted an Interim Agreement to BSI by means of a proposal which the cane farmers put forward in hopes of reaching a compromise between the two parties. The first point on that agreement called for a commitment by BSI to pay for bagasse. BSI took that agreement, made some modifications, and on Friday, January 10, it was sent back to the BSCFA. But still, there was no commitment by BSI to pay for bagasse, which is really the crux of the matter. The BSCFA was not satisfied with those modifications; therefore, they made their own adjustments and sent it back to BSI.

In accordance with their pledge to increase their advocacy on the different burning social issues affecting Belizeans presently - and in particular their salary adjustment - the Belize National Teacher's Union (BNTU) held two rallies in the northern districts of Belize today. This morning, roughly 300 teachers from Orange Walk and surrounding areas came together to let their voices be heard as they sang and marched through the principal streets of that municipality agitating for an end to corruption in government and demanding certainty on the quantum of their projected salary adjustment from the Government of Belize (GOB). While they responded to the call from the BNTU and assembled at the Central Park in downtown Orange Walk, the teachers were soon joined by about 100 cane farmers and other supporters. The president of the BNTU, Luke Palacio, said that the teachers have been long-suffering and that GOB has underestimated them because they have been so patient. During his highly charged speech, he outlined the reason for the protest. Palacio said, "We want to make it absolutely clear that despite what Patrick Faber and his other minions on the radio are saying this morning that we are demonstrating or rallying against a salary adjustment - that is not the purpose of this rally. This rally was planned a long time ago because our council of management (decided) - based on what you as our members have said to us - we need to address a number of national issues."

Police say that at about 1:50 Sunday morning, CIB personnel went to Elston Kerr Street and on the sidewalk saw the body of a dark-skinned man - dressed in a white sleeveless blouse and a short green and black skirt - with a stab wound in the center of his chest. The body was later identified as that of Joseph "Prince Joe" Jetnel Sanchez, 18, a customer care representative who lived on Laura Dunn Street in Belize City. Police say that their initial investigations revealed that Sanchez was walking alone on Elston Kerr Street towards the First Stop Taxi Stand near Carter's Upholstery, going towards Cemetery Road, when opposite the Baptist Church he was approached by two men who tried to rob him. The robbers stabbed Sanchez with a butcher knife before fleeing, police said. Sanchez's body was transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead at 2:47 that morning.

Up until late this evening, the executives of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) were meeting at the BSI Staff Club in Orange Walk Town where we understand the two parties signed an Interim Agreement in connection with the bagasse issue. Following the session, BSI's CEO, Joey Montalvo, told the media that the crop season is scheduled to start sometime soon. Montalvo said that he is "particularly pleased" about the meeting today and that they are now going to focus on getting the crop season underway. He stated, "We must also focus on the negotiations that are coming as well - to finalize that - and also I want to say that this hasn't really slowed BSI/ASR's plan of action. We need to move the fields and the mills and we just need to focus on increasing productivity on both the farmers' side and the mill side, which brings hope and potential to increase cane production to about 2 million pounds and sugar production to around 200,000, because if we ought to stay in business, we must look forward and work together."

The Supreme Court of Belize opened proceedings for the calendar and legal year this morning with the traditional pomp and ceremony as well as what has become the annual sober review of the challenges facing the Judiciary. Holy Redeemer Cathedral hosted the traditional ecumenical service chaired by Roman Catholic Bishop Dorrick Wright, who was joined by his colleagues from the Belize Council of Churches. Following the service, the legal luminaries paraded to the Supreme Court building on Regent Street, where a mounted guard of honor was displayed and speeches were given by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, Attorney General Wilfred Elrington and Senior Counsel and president of the Bar Association of Belize, Eamon Courtenay. In his address the Chief Justice explained that there is a backlog of Supreme Court cases because there is a shortage in the number of Supreme Court judges. At this time, the court, which should be functioning with 9 Justices, only has 7, and will lose another this year, as Justice Rita Olivette will be departing.

Emerson McDonald, 38, of Arlington Drive, and Derrick Parham, 27, of Curassow Street, who were shot yesterday, Sunday, in different locations, have died of their injuries. Also, Joselene Maximo, 23, of Pelican Street, and Patrick Bevans, of Jane Usher Boulevard, are recovering from gunshot wounds at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH). McDonald was shot in the center of the back, while Parham was shot in the upper right side of the back; Maximo was shot in her foot and ankle, and Bevans was also shot in his foot and ankle. Maximo and McDonald were shot first. Police reports are that at about 5:30 yesterday evening, Sunday, McDonald was walking on Central American Boulevard from Pen Road towards Fabers Road when a gunman with dark pants and a black mask over his face rode up behind him on a bicycle and shot him in the back. McDonald had just left his home on Arlington Drive.

After a hectic few days of back matches and the final Week 14 regular season games yesterday, 4 teams are now gearing up for the start of the Premier League of Belize Belikin Cup Opening Season 2013-2014 home-and-away semifinal playoffs, which kick off this weekend. Two critical back matches With the race to the playoffs as tight as ever, two critical back matches were scheduled for last week Wednesday night, before the scheduled Week 14 regular season games to end the regular season on Saturday night. But again the weather had a hand in the occurrences, as only one back match (from Week 13) was played on Wednesday night, January 8, at the FFB Stadium, and it was a 0-0 draw between Belmopan Bandits FC and Belize Defence Force FC. The (Week 10) back match between Verdes FC and Police United FC was postponed to Thursday due to bad field conditions at the Marshalleck Stadium; but again on Thursday night, the field was declared unplayable, and many fans anticipated that the game would be played sometime in the following week. But in a strange turn of events on Friday, word got out that the League had determined that this back match had to be played before the final Week 14 games.

The Central Secondary Schools Sports Association's (CSSSA) high school football tournament is in full swing at the MCC Grounds since kick off last week Wednesday. Following are the results so far in both female (F) and male (M) games: In Wednesday's opener, (F) SCA and Gwen Liz High (GLH) played to a 0-0 draw; and then (M) Wesley (WES) bombarded Belize High School (BHS), 13-0, with goals from Kenyon Lewis (4), Kieron Young (4), Marquez Stamp (2), and Kieffer McKenzie, Tyrell Rowley and Shemar Moore with 1 apiece. On Thursday, January 9, (F) Wesley clipped Excelsior High (EHS), 3-1, with goals from Erica Milligan, Shanice Neal and Denneshia Thurton; while Bethany Gonguez scored for Excelsior. And (M) SJC dropped ACC, 2-0, with both goals coming from Sydney Bradley.

On Saturday afternoon, January 11, at the Toledo Union Field, Toledo's Mavericks dropped Roaring Creek United, 3-2, with 2 goals from Andre Logan (47' & 67') and the other from Leslie Williams (70'); while Roaring Creek goals were by Orin Reneau (46') and Norman Neal (90+'). On Sunday, January 12, at the Carl Ramos Stadium, it was visiting MnM Steelers from Independence with the 3-0 win over Hope Creek Pumas, with goals form Rollin Burgess (24'), Dion Burgess (59') and Devin Burgess (82'). Also on Sunday, the visitors were also victorious at the Norman Broaster Stadium, as home standing Penarol FC fell by a 4-0 score to Progresso FC, who had goals from Hugo Castillo (49'), Alexander Diaz (51'), Johnny Cardenas (79') and Rafael Novelo (90+'). But in the other Sunday quarterfinal at the Louisiana Field, it was the home squad, San Estevan FC coming away with the big 5-2 win over Ebony Lake FC from Belize City. San Estevan got goals from Otoniel Sandoval (23' & 65'), Irvin Osorio (47') and Edwani Munoz (70' & 75'); while Ebony Lake goals were by Carlos Lino (38') and David Robateau (90').

Colonialism in British Honduras for native schoolchildren meant that they sang "God save the Queen" twice a day. When citizens of this colony traveled abroad, their passports said, "British subjects." The tariff structure was such that we imported almost all our manufactured goods from the colonial motherland - Great Britain. Where infrastructure was concerned, such as roads and bridges, these were built for immediate utility. Because there were no plans for Belize's future, it being the case that all the colony existed for was to enrich the motherland, roads and bridges here were built as narrow as possible. Check Swing Bridge, Haulover, and Hawkesworth - all colonial productions. About the only areas where a kind of nationalist mentality developed were in sports and music. Even though two of the three main sports played in the colony, football and cricket, were British in their origins and their rules, Belizean heroes began to emerge. Basketball was introduced to Belize by the American Jesuits, and basketball began becoming nationalist in flavor when Hurricane Hattie destroyed the original Holy Redeemer Parish Hall in 1961, and the sport moved to the inner city St. Ignatius School basketball court around 1964. The most nationalist of sports here was cycling, where Belizeans "invented" the Holy Saturday Crosscountry race in 1928.

The Guatemalan Foreign Minister suddenly flew into Belize last Wednesday to visit with his Belizean Cabinet counterpart. The vibes were all friendly and cordial and cooperative. Conversation about the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was resumed. Everything was out of the blue, as we would say. This was just a few weeks after we saw Guatemalan President Otto P�rez Molina fly to Tel Aviv to confer with the Israeli President, Benjamin Netanyahu, at the exact same time that the rest of the world's leaders were in South Africa to mourn and pay their respects to the departed international icon - Madiba, Nelson Mandela. Guatemala and Israel paid no such respect. In these pages, we have said to you repeatedly that Israel and Guatemala were two of apartheid South Africa's most important allies. The point has not gained traction in Belize, the main reason being that hard-core Christians in Belize cannot separate the holy, struggling Israel of the Bible from the nuclear-powered Israel of the third millennium which threatens Arab nations of the Middle East, abuses the Palestinians, and endangers world peace. Many Christians in Belize support anything Israel does, because they believe that Jews are Almighty God's "chosen people" and that Israel is their "Promised Land." What the "chosen people" business makes the Palestinians and the Arabs, I'm not clear or sure, but fanatic Christian Belizeans do not care. In Belize, the more important question is what this makes Belizeans, and it is fairly clear to me that it makes us non grata in Guatemala City and Tel Aviv.

Financial Secretary Joe Waight told Amandala this morning that a preliminary financial review of Government's accounts, as of the third quarter just ended, indicates that year-to-date numbers are "looking positive"-although, he noted that the increase in revenue is not as high as the 10% increase required to pay teachers and public servants the 5% minimum salary adjustment they have been calling for, effective this year. "We are currently spending about $500 million on wages, wage related grants and on pensions. A back of the envelope calculation is that for every 1% increase granted would cost a further $5.0 million dollars. Therefore a 5% increase would require about $25 million in additional funds," Waight has informed our newspaper. Waight also told us that the assertion made by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow, in his New Year's Message, that the salary adjustment would be paid in August - not in July as had been previously stated - was a "slip of the tongue."

While celebrating the successes of several of their students today, the House of Shotokan Karate Club simultaneously inaugurated a ballet institute which is aimed at contributing to the personal development of young women in Belize. The karate club - which also celebrated four years of existence - held an award ceremony for some of its most promising students, who were recognized for their hard work and determination, and were each rewarded with a new karate belt. The students all got new belts signifying various levels of accomplishment based on the results of their qualifying exams. Sensei Master Ray Kelly - who is an 8th degree black belt karate instructor - has been coordinating karate classes at the House of Shotokan Karate School since its inception in 2010. The school started with 10 students and has since expanded to 150. Kelly emphasized that karate sharpens the mental and physical skills of individuals, and that the school teaches students to work together as a family.

Public Health authorities in Belize City informed us Friday that they intend to send out an inspector to the Michael Finnegan Market after we reported finding a flock of about 10 pigeons sitting on open bean sacks one morning while the stall's vendor was inside his booth talking on the phone. Anyone who frequents the market can tell you that beans, wangla seed, rice and other commodities sold by the pound are displayed uncovered at the stalls - which is why the pigeons were having their Friday morning feast while the vendor was not looking. Pigeons are infamous for defecating wherever they please. Internationally, several health authorities have sounded the alarm that pigeon droppings can have germs that make people sick-and in some cases, fatally sick. Medical News Today says that, "There are over 60 other diseases that birds and their droppings can carry. The problem is especially worrisome in residential areas, as many of them are airborne and can be transferred to humans just by being around droppings."

A post-mortem conducted on the body of Don Tillett, 45, of Supaul Street, a vehicle repairman who died after being brutally beaten by men to whom he had given a ride in his car, certified the cause of his death to be marked cerebral edema (1560g) due to broncho aspiration (right lung 900g) due to dilated cardiomyopathy (760g) as a result of (1) congestine hepato splenomegaly and (2) diffuse hemorrhagic gastritis. The autopsy was conducted at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) yesterday by Dr. Hugh Sanchez. The official police report is that Tillett, on New Year's Day, sometime after dark, went to check on a house off Central American Boulevard in Belize City in a silver Dodge Neon car, which belongs to his nephew, Roque Riverol. Tillett reportedly stopped on an unnamed street to give a ride to three men, one of East Indian descent and the other two of Creole descent.

Guatemalan officials are reporting that Eribel Adolfo Rodriguez Barrientos, wanted for extradition by the US on allegations that he is the heir to a drug lord serving a 31-year sentence in the USA, was detained by US Drug Enforcement Agency officials here in Belize - although no such official information has been released by Belizean authorities on the case. Insight Crime (online) said that Rodriguez's recent arrest demonstrates both the diehard nature of the region's "transportista" groups and the role of this often overlooked corner of Central America in the drug trade. Guatemalan authorities reported last week that they were proceeding with raids of at least 12 properties linked to Rodriguez Barrientos, to look for evidence of narco-trafficking. Rodriguez is described as "the heir to what was once one of Guatemala's premier drug trafficking organizations."

During the early hours of the morning of Boxing Day, December 26, 2013, a teenager was allegedly raped in San Ignacio, minutes after she exited the Princess Casino in that western town; however no charges have yet been levied against the supposed perpetrators, although the victim claimed that she was able to positively identify at least two of the three men. The young girl said that she was pulled into a car by three men; thereafter, she was held down by two of the individuals, while the third raped her. She reportedly told police that she went to a club in San Ignacio with the two men who held her down, both of whom she knew. However, the victim reported that it was another person, known only by the nickname "Doggy," who actually raped her. She mentioned to authorities that she was struggling and screaming during the ordeal, and that is when "Doggy" slapped her and she passed out.


A Weekend Walk Around Caye Caulker, Belize: Looking Good
I spent just 4 hour on Caye Caulker on Saturday afternoon. I left on a gorgeous day and as the hours went by, the grey moved in. But I covered lots of ground, ate plenty and the caye looked gorgeous. Clean, freshly painted, lots of new businesses�the islanders really got ready for the "busy season" this year. Caye Caulker is packed with happy bikinied barefooted tourists and there are quite a few new businesses including my new favorite donut shop. An old favorite, Celi's Gift Shop. The street signs. Needed I guess. At least 3 rasta guys told me to "Go Slow" during my visit. I'M NOT GOOD AT THAT!

"It Wasn't Me" in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Up earlier than lately yesterday shortly after 04.00 hours. I'd woken up around thirty minutes earlier and when I saw the time (I have an alarm clock now -not that I use the alarm feature!) I did try to go back to sleep again but to no avail. I was using more effort to try to resume sleep than the benefit I would have got had I achieved it! Only one thing to do. Get up. So by 04.15 hours I was comfortably seated on the first floor western veranda with a mug of black coffee and my iPad. I read The Times online for a while -mainly concentrating on the football section (The Game) to read the match reports for the Premiership games that took place over the weekend and the pre-match reviews for Arsenal's game against Aston Villa later in the day. I then switched to the Ambergris Forum where I found a thread entitled "Police Report". Why am I mentioning this a few of you are probably thinking. "We know he rambles but he has gone way off the track this time". I'm mentioning it because one of the reports was about a guy with my name -well not my name but my pseudonym - who was apprehended and charged for being in possession of controlled drugs. So? You're thinking. Well I know that a good few of you also visit Ambergris Caye. Com and I just wanted you to know that it wasn't me.

New Year Newsletter!!!
The tinsel is away, the christmas lights are down and 2 weeks into the new year most people have already broken their new years resolutions!!!! BUT NOT US AT REEFCI!!! We are reducing our use of plastics! We have stopped buying plastic water bottles and soda bottles!! All sodas are bought in recycled glass bottles! We are asking all guests to bring a re-usable water bottle that can be re-filled from our gallons of purified water. We have significantly reduced our usage of plastic carrier bags in favour of re-usable shopping bags and crates! We are also asking our guests to bring and leave re-usable bags.

International Sources

DIRECTV Drops The Weather Channel
As of today, The Weather Channel is no longer available on DIRECTV, which refused to come to an agreement on a market-based carriage deal. In a statement released by David Kenny, chairman and CEO of The Weather Company, he said: "This is unprecedented for The Weather Channel. In our 32 years, we have never had a significant disruption due to a failure to reach a carriage agreement. We offered DIRECTV the best rate for our programming, and I am shocked they have put corporate profits ahead of keeping a trusted channel that subscribers rely on every day. We are not looking for a large fee increase. We are simply looking for a fair deal that allows our company to continue to invest in the science and technology that enables us to keep people safe, deliver the world's best weather, and tell weather stories to help people be prepared and informed.

 "At a time when DIRECTV has increased customer rates by 4 percent, they are trading safety for increased profits and replacing the experience and expertise of The Weather Channel with a cheap startup that does weather forecasting on a three-hour taped loop, has no field coverage, no weather experts--certainly not any on par with The Weather Channel network's industry-recognized experts like tornado expert Dr. Greg Forbes and winter weather expert Tom Niziol--and no experience in severe weather emergencies. This is a dangerous gamble over one penny a month that puts DIRECTV customers at risk.

US and Cuba hold "successful" migration talks
The United States says it has held "successful" migration talks with Cuban officials, reflecting "longstanding US priorities on Cuba-US migration issues." US Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Friday that officials from Washington and Havana met in the Cuban capital the day before to discuss the implementation of the 1994 and 1995 US-Cuba Migration Accords. Psaki said the meeting marked the second time since January 2011 that the talks have been held. "Under the Accords, both governments pledge to promote safe, legal and orderly migration between Cuba and the United States," she said. The agenda for the talks also reflected cooperation on aviation security, search and rescue, and consular document fraud.

Girl from Belize receives heart surgery
On Sunday, KVUE shared the story of a little girl who traveled all the way to Austin from Belize to receive heart surgery. Doctors at Dell Children's Medical Center fixed a valve in two-year-old Courtney Adalina Castillo's heart on Tuesday. As of Tuesday evening, Courtney was recovering in the ICU. The Reese family in Round Rock is hosting Courtney and her mom, Trisha Lopez. "We kind of put ourselves in Trisha's shoes," said Reese Ryan. "If we lived in Belize, and we didn't have access to this surgery, and we knew this was a terminal illness for one of our children, that would be devastating." If all goes well, Courtney and her mother will return to Belize in about one month.

Gay man stabbed to death in Belize, family says it's a 'hate crime'
A gay man was stabbed to death and dumped on the side of a street in Belize City early Sunday morning, and family members are calling it a "hate crime." When police initially found the body with a chest wound around 1:50 a.m., they thought the victim was a woman, as he was dressed in a white sleeveless blouse and a short green and black skirt. Only later was the victim identified as 18-year-old Joseph Jatnel Sanchez, a gay man who was well known locally to dress in female attire. Police say their initial investigations revealed that Sanchez was walking alone when two men approached and tried to rob him.

EOMAP-5,000 Square Kilometers Of Marine Environment Captured (Imagery)
EOMAP was contracted by the Mexican National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) to deliver high resolution environmental information for the entire Maya coast. This coastline extends 600km south from the Yucatan Peninsula to the border of Belize. In total more than 5000 sq km of the marine environment, including ecosystems such as corals, seagrass and mangroves, were mapped in water depths down to 25m. "The fine-scale spatial information, derived for the entire coastline, will serve as the first baseline dataset of the Maya coast, and will help to understand and preserve the vulnerable ecosystems." Said Dr. Thomas Heege, CEO of EOMAP GmbH & Co.

The year in the world: Caricom in global affairs
In the course of 2013 there was periodic grumbling within the region as to whether our integration movement had been making progress towards increasing unification of effort in both the economic and political spheres. In this very space we have commented on the extent to which, while there is a harmony of words and sentiments, the practical movement towards economic integration in particular, has been slow. And indeed, at their meeting in July last year, the heads of government seemed to take cognizance of some degree of public antagonism to their decision to "pause" in respect of taking further steps towards implementation of the Single Market and Economy, while the laggards in the process came up to speed. So in effect, in the course of last year, there seemed to be some sentiment that a strengthening of the region's public face towards the world itself should reflect a collective approach in international affairs, even though in that sphere too, not all the passengers in the Caricom ship recognize the varieties of port in the world today.

What are the World's Longest and Shortest Flights? 2014 Edition
The shortest flight belongs to Scottish airline, Loganair. Its service from Westray to Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands spans a total of 1.7 miles and spends about 2 minutes in the air. If you're looking for second best on this, look no further than Maya Island Air in Belize. Their 2.4-mile island-hopper flight from Caye Chapel to Caye Caulker ferries paradise seekers from blue water to even bluer water in the Caribbean.

A look at U.S. Southern Command's 2014 Humanitarian Efforts in Belize, Guatemala and Dominican Republic
Construction of ten new classrooms and an addition to the Western Regional Hospital in the capital city of Belmopan are planned for 2014. Easing overcrowding and the opportunity to expand the school's curriculum are two of the driving forces behind these projects. At the Hattieville Government School, pre-school and kindergarten enrollment has increased and it has significantly impacted the capacity of the school to the point that the teacher's quarters have to be used as schoolrooms. This school is scheduled to receive two classrooms. In Belize City, the Edward P. Yorke School also suffers from overcrowding. When the school first opened in 1969, it started out as a pre-vocational technical school that would help the financially disadvantaged through vocational education. As Belize City continued to grow, so did the school's enrollment; this school plans to receive two new classrooms to accommodate the students. The Sadie Vernon High School and the Stella Maris Primary School in Belize City are also scheduled to receive three new classrooms each to support a curriculum designed to prepare students with marketable skills for work in academic, vocational, and technical areas. Finally for Belize, the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan is scheduled to receive a new acute mental health unit. This new facility will allow the Ministry of Health to effectively treat acute mental health patients with the end goal of rehabilitation and reintegration as productive members of the community.

Key-Whitman doctors head to Belize on medical mission trip
In February, a team of six individuals led by Key-Whitman doctors Faisal Haq and Kimberly Warren will travel on a medical mission trip to Belize City, Belize. The team will spend one week in the country performing eye surgery for patients in need. This trip will be a first for both Dr. Haq and Dr. Warren, who have performed more than 12,000 surgeries combined in the United States. They are looking forward to taking their expertise to Belize, where few people have access to eye care and surgery. Access to quality eye care is limited in that country due to a severe shortage of ophthalmologists. The Key-Whitman surgical team hopes to ease the strain by providing cataract surgery to as many patients as possible.

Crowning Victoria
Mercifully, the trail is full of dazzling distractions. Nargusta, ceiba, and barba jolote trees tower above a thick carpet of green, red, and gold leaves. The clear waters of gurgling creeks and streams offer relief at regular intervals. Fresh jaguar tracks in the soft sand signal we're not the only ones cooling off. Bird calls, like the "dog-bark hoots" of the Blue-Crowned Mot-Mot and the jarring cackling of the Montezuma Oropendola, fill the air. Our guide Israel Manzanero mimics a long whistle followed by two short blasts. "That's the Thrush-like Schiffornis saying, IIIIIIIIIIIIIIII love you." At a pit stop on a fallen log, a Crested Eagle swoops into the clearing, staying long enough to pose for pictures. Manzanero, all of twenty-three, has done this hike so often, he can find the trail in the dark. The birds keep bringing him back. "I could spend a week birding here - taking my time to the top." His reference to the top brings the task at hand into sharp focus, as does the view from the helipad near mile twelve. The imposing image of the range's jagged outline - five arduous miles away - is enough to make me swallow hard and engage in another round of self-questioning. It's crucial to spend as little time as possible on the trail to get back to camp before nightfall. But that's the last thing my sore muscles want to hear. Every step takes determined effort as the path continues skyward. As we climb pass the canopy, the lush green of Cockscomb Basin sprawls out in the valley below.

Adventures in Belize and Costa Rica
Here's our first GoPro video of traveling adventures: scuba diving, riding a water taxi, zip lining and whitewater rafting!

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