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Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

National Agriculture and Trade Show 2014
The National Agriculture and Trade Show Committee of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture are pleased to announce the dates for the National Agriculture and Trade Show 2014. The dates will be from May 2nd- 4th at the National Agriculture and Trade Show Grounds in Belmopan. The Planning Committee will be publishing information on booth availability by the end of January. For further information please contact Ms. Delia Cunil at phone number 822-2241 (ext 121) or email [email protected] .

Roman Gonzalez saves a young girl from choking
Gonzalez, along with the family, escorted young Mirna to Ambergris Hope Clinic to receive further medical attention from Dr. Daniel Gonzalez. Along the way to the clinic, Gonzalez continued to give Mirna CPR. Dr. Gonzalez certified that the marble was no longer stuck to Mirna's trachea and that her life was no longer in danger, that her body would just expel the marble naturally. Thanks to Gonzalez' assistance, young Mirna was saved. Gonzalez has been employed for 12 years at Victoria House Resort and received his CPR training through the resort. Victoria House offers CPR and first-aid training to its employees three to four times a year. Red Cross gave both Gonzalez and Mirna a small gift as a token for their individual bravery. Red Cross also encouraged all businesses that are interested in having CRP and first-aid training for their staff to contact Laurie Norton at 600-0837

U Janal Aj Maya Cookbook released
Producciones de la Hamaca proudly announced the publication of U Janal Aj Maya: Traditional Maya Cuisine by Aurora Garcia Saqui with Amy Lichty of Maya Center in December of 2013, and ever since then, I've been itching to find out more. Especially since, the minute the email came across my screen, I realized that the cook behind the book is actually family! Aurora Garcia-Saqui is one of the famous Garcia Sisters who captured national and international attention in the late 1980's - early 1990's with their slate carvings and love of the Maya culture. She also happens to be my aunt and someone I remember from the early San Antonio Village, Cayo days. I have shared meals with her and the family, and even seen her cooking alongside my mother, grandmother and aunts. Thus, I was excited to reconnect with her and proceeded to find out more about Aurora Aureliana Garcia Saqui and U Janal Aj Maya (Uh-Hanala-Maya).

Ambergris Today

Victoria House Employee Saves Choking 11-Year-Old Girl
Many businesses on the island take the opportunity to have staff members trained in first aid for the safety of their customers and their staff. The Belize Red Cross San Pedro Branch and Victoria House expressed to Ambergris Today that they are very proud of Marlon Gonzalez who has been working at the resort for the past 12 years as bellboy/driver. Just having recently obtained trained in administering first aid he saved the life of an 11-year-old-girl over the Christmas vacation in the San Mateo Area. Marlon saved Mirna Pagoada's life on Tuesday, December 31, 2013. He heard the frantic screams of his neighbors and knew something was wrong. He explains that he did not think it twice to dash himself across the lagoon and swim to help the family in distress. Upon reaching the Pagoada's residence he found the girl unconscious in the ground and learnt that she had swallowed a marble; he immediately commenced CPR. "There was no electricity at the house so with my flashlight in my mouth I started pumping the girl's chest because she was all purple and not breathing," stated a proud Marlon. "I ordered her brother to get the dory ready and he took us across the lagoon till we reached Holy Cross. All this while I was giving CPR to Mirna. When we reached, I grabbed her and carried her over the bridge, put her in a taxi and continued chest compressions until we reached the doctor's office."

Misc Belizean Sources

Oldest Succotz resident
Carlos is 96 and still going. He once went about the village painting UDP colors all about and the village council issued a summons. Philip Goldson sent his personal attorney to have it dismissed.

Benque Photography Classes
They are having another round of photography classes at the Benque House of Culture. Contact them if you are interested. "1st Photography club meeting being held at this moment under the fantastic leadership of Mr.Subrata Basu. Interested?? Inbox us..."

Charlie's Third Ride-Along With The BZ Cops
& The Foiled Robbery Of Ray's House... So last Sunday I flew to Belize and after my sideman picked me up at the airport we went to Orange Walk to see my friends Melvi and Alejandra. Melvi is like my secretary in Belize and she is a good friend for over 11 years. Alejandra just had a baby (and no, it is not my baby). At any rate, we were having a pizza party over in Trial Farm and the car was parked right near by - in sight no less - with my luggage and stuff. We were watching that car like hawks but a tief stole my back-pack while we were bringing pizza from the car. We knew who it was and discovered it right away. It turns out the cops were already looking for this dude for something else. Several guys went looking for him and then some of us went to tell the cops at the station in OW. The police were very responsive and half the station piled out into several vehicles and started a manhunt. I got to ride in one of the police vehicles and watch them as they went about their search. We went to his family's house and another more remote hang-out. No warrants needed, they would just announce they were coming in. He did not turn up so we went back to file a report. When I finished we went back to Trial Farm and the culprit's sister was waiting with my small camera. As I approached her she exclaimed, "Oh no, it's Charlie!"

Latest Ya'axche Newsletter, December 2013
Mitigation methods to protect crops against pests and diseases The farmer training involved a hands-on practical- approach workshop. The workshop's aim was to develop the skills of the farmers in order to shift their agricultural techniques towards a more sustainable practice. This particular workshop, which took place in Silver Creek, focused on pests and disease control within corn farms. Soil expert, Flint Wagner, from the Department of Agriculture was contracted to conduct the workshop.

Matachica Resort & Spa introduces new enhancements and expansions
Matachica Resort & Spa, an award-winning beach resort located on Ambergris Caye, has announced the completion of a series of upgrades to the outdoor dining area and bar lounge including new Dedon furniture and Palapa weather protection. The outdoor dining area and bar-lounge have been expanded to reveal exquisite views of the sea. Now topped with soaring Palapa, a thatched roof made of dried palm trees, the outdoor dining area is naturally sheltered for year-round weather protection. The resort has also introduced brand new Dedon furniture located at the beach, pool, pier, and lounge. "We are thrilled to unveil these upgrades and expansions," says proprietor Daniel Lighter who also owns GA�A Riverlodge, a sister property in Belize. "These improvements were made with our guests in mind, to optimize their experience at Matachica Resort & Spa."

Plant killers protect rainforest diversity
Voracious pests may be foes of individual plants, but they can benefit forests. A study in the humid rainforests of Belize shows that plant-killing fungi can help preserve diversity in such ecosystems. The study, published today by Nature1, provides experimental support for a leading ecological hypothesis on why any given plant species does not take over in species-rich forests. That proposal - the 'Janzen-Connell hypothesis' - posits that as the population of a plant species grows, so does the rate at which specialized pests dine on it. Those pests then keep dominant plants in check, giving other species room to flourish. Owen Lewis, an ecologist at the University of Oxford, UK, and his colleagues decided to test the hypothesis experimentally. The team marked field plots in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve in southwestern Belize, where the ground is laced with thick, shallow roots and seeds fall from a thick canopy overhead. Some of the plots were treated with fungicides, and others with an insecticide. Control plots were sprayed with water.

Meet the rainforest 'diversity police'
A new study has revealed that fungi, often seen as pests, play a crucial role policing biodiversity in rainforests. The Oxford University-led research found that fungi regulate diversity in rainforests by making dominant species victims of their own success. Fungi spread quickly between closely-packed plants of the same species, preventing them from dominating and enabling a wider range of species to flourish. 'In the plant world, close relatives make bad neighbours,' said Dr Owen Lewis of Oxford University's Department of Zoology, who led the study. 'Seedlings growing near plants of the same species are more likely to die and we now know why. It has long been suspected that something in the soil is responsible, and we've now shown that fungi play a crucial role. It's astonishing to see microscopic fungi having such a profound effect on entire rainforests.

The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) continues the launching of its Youth Development Program
This week the program is in Orange Walk Town starting today Wednesday January 22 and runs until Saturday January 25 at 12 noon. We encourage parents to bring your child to the People's Stadium between the hours of 4 - 6 on Wednesday Grass roots ages 9-12, Thursday U-15, FridayU-17 and the grand festival on Saturday for all age group from 9:00am to midday. All district U-15 and U-17 male and female tournament is scheduled to commence on Saturday February 15, 2014. Managers of youth teams are ask to contact your local district association for details. The FFB President Cup is schedule to commence on March 1 and 2, 2014. Each district will select its top amateur selection to compete against each other. This tournament will be for eighteen (18) weeks.

Cruise on the BAY" Catamaran Party. 15th Feb, 2014
Get your tickets now for "Cruise on the BAY" Catamaran Party. 15th Feb, 2014. Leaves Old Belize marina at 6pm. Includes transportation from Belmopan at 4:30PM, Buffet, Complimentary Drink, Panerrifix Steelband, DJ Karizma, cash bar, prizes n surprises. Tickets $85 - Contact 602-4812 or 635-6995. Fundraiser for Belmopan Active Youths Non-Profit Organization.

Recipes: BEIGNET
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 envelope active dry yeast 2 eggs, slightly beaten 1 1/4 teaspoons salt 1 cup evaporated milk 7 cups bread flour 1/4 cup shortening Nonstick spray Oil, for deep-frying 3 cups confectioners' sugar Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the bread flour.

Notice to all talented and aspiring Literary Artists: The BELIZE BOOK INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION announces the BELIZE PRIZE FOR LITERATURE. Criteria: Original unpublished work of fiction; 2500 - 3500 words. Prizes: 1st - $1,000; 2nd - $500; 3rd - $300 Deadline: March 30, 2014. See flyer for additional information.

Close to 500 students to graduate at UB's Eighteenth Commencement
The University of Belize will honour an estimated 481 Graduands at its Eighteenth Commencement at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday 25th January at its Recreation and Events Centre at the Belmopan Central Campus. Guest Speaker for the ceremony, Ms. Kay Menzies, President of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will deliver the Keynote Address. Students will receive diplomas at the Associate, Bachelor and Certificate levels from the Faculty of Education and Arts, (FEA), totalling 197, the Faculty of Management & Social Sciences, (FMSS), with a total of 174, the Faculty of Science and Technology, (FST) with a total of 82, and the Faculty of Nursing, Allied Health & Social Work (FNAHSW) with a total of 28. Of the total number of graduates 307 are females and 174 are males representing 63.8 and 36.2 per cent respectively. During the ceremony, students who have distinguished themselves will receive the university's official honour chords. The tri-cable white honour chords recognise those graduating with Cum Laude; gold honour chords designate graduates with Magna Cum Laude (great honour); and purple honour chords are worn by graduates with Summa Cum Laude-the highest honour.

On Thursday, January 9, the election for the Central Board of the Belize Police Association was conducted where 7 members were elected and on Monday, January 13, the executive posts were appointed as follows: 1. Sergeant Ainsworth Perez SGT 2. Sergeant Natalie Castillo W/SGT 3. Corporal Eldon Arzu Cpl Chairman of the Central Board 4. Corporal Aliyson McLaughlin Secretary 5. Corporal Christine Jacobs Vice Chair 6. PC Enrique Iglesias Treasurer 7. PC Jason Jones

Flayva's Fresh Roast Coffee
Falyva's Fresh Roast Coffee is delicious, and can be found on Burns avenue, at Flayva's Restaurant. It's great to have such high quality coffee made locally. They sell it by the pound too. You can see the special machine they use to roast and grind it there too. "Flayva's Fresh Roast Coffee is Cayo's best coffee. The beans are roasted and ground here in Cayo, at Flayva's restaurant. The coffee beans come from the 'As Green As It Gets' farmer's cooperative in Antigua, Guatemala, ensuring they are top quality - Fancy grade, as it's called. If you'd like to order some, call Mark Mossiah at 662-4853, email [email protected], or stop by 22 Burns avenue."

SHC Championship Ceremony
Sacred Heart College had their first banner ceremony in their new auditorium. The males won the NSSSA championship, and the females won the CSSAC championship. They also got to celebrate Mr. Karim Juan's birthday at the same time. Happy birthdy, Karim, and congratulations, SHC! In related news, there won't be any classes on Friday due to the BNTU rally here in Cayo.

Cayo Highlights Travelers' Choice Awards
Cayo hotels and B&B's are all over this year's Travelers' Choice Awards, just like last year. Cayo hotels had half of the places on the Best Bed and Breakfast list, and half on the Best Bargain Hotel list. Congratulations to all the winners of this year's Trip Advisor awards. The Inn at Twin Palms Macaw Bank Jungle Lodge Moonracer Farm Table Rock Jungle Lodge Martz Farm Amber Sunset Jungle Resort Black Rock Lodge Rumors Hotel Calico Jack's Village Clarissa Falls Sleeping Giant Ka'ana Resort

Land dispute in Caribbean Shores is resolved
Caribbean Shores area representative Santino Castillo says that Giovanni Blease, who claimed half of the parcel of land on Seashore Drive known as Caribbean Shores Seashore Park, will be compensated, either with another piece of land or money, at the order of the Prime Minister. He spoke to reporters during a break in the House of Representatives' meeting on Wednesday in Belmopan. Castillo said he called Blease personally to give him the news and pointed out that the matter was bigger than one man.

Career Day at Sacred Heart College
Second form students attending the Sacred Heart College in San Ignacio town today took part in a Career Fair. It featured various presenters from different fields speaking with the students about what they do, in the hopes of helping them to prepare to choose a career course of studies. Marcia Aldana Lennen is a teacher at Sacred Heart College who organized today's fair.

Passenger bus for sale
A 1987 Bluebird Bus is being offered for sale. The owner is asking $25,000 or best offer. The bus has a diesel engine and comes with or without rack and has new batteries. If you are interested in this bus, please call telephone number: 665-4800.

Enabling legislation for Stake Bank cruise project goes to the House
The Honorable the Prime Minister, Mr. Dean Barrow has taken enabling legislation to the House of Representatives to facilitate the construction of the cruise docking facility at Stake Bank, Belize District. A Bill for an Act to provide for certain exemptions of taxes and duties to facilitate the implementation of the project was introduced to the House of Representatives this morning. The Prime Minister explained to the House that the project will see the establishment of the docking facility on the 16 acre island situated about 4 miles offshore Belize City. It will include the construction of a causeway linking the facility with mainland Belize City. The Bill which was referred to the relevant House Committee wil be brought back to the next House meeting for passage.

Minister says road improvements carried out nationwide
The Honorable the Minister of Public Works, Mr. Rene Montero has told the House of Representatives that the Toledo district is no longer the forgotten district. Minister Montero was making a statement to the House of Representatives during which he outlined several road maintenance work projects being carried out around the country, detailing how much money has been spent and is being spent to improve these critical roadways. Minister Montero told the House that Toledo is getting its fair share of the pie, noting that hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spend up road maintenance in the Toledo district.

Minister Patrick Faber makes statement in the House of Representative
The Honorable the Minister of Education Mr. Patrick Faber in making a statement to the House of Representatives appealed to teachers not to attend any more of the rallies being held by the Belize National Teachers Union, BNTU. Minister Faber stressed in the same statement that there would be no penalty is the teachers choose to attend. Minister Faber chastised the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) for coming out in support of a salary adjustment for the teachers saying they, the Chamber, should rally their members to increase the minimum wages.

Channel 5

Special Sitting of the House; Castro's Cheques from Airports Authority discussed
Today was the first sitting of the House of Representatives for 2014. And as has become practice rather than rule, sparks flew across from both sides of the aisle. Now, [...]

P.M. says Castro checks are distasteful, but not corruption
Distasteful and wrong, but not corrupt. That's a very fine line drawn by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who has been faced with all manner of accusations against his ministers and [...]

Elvin Penner goes back to the House for the 1st time since immigration scandal broke
After months of absence in the House, the disgraced former Minister of Immigration, Elvin Penner put in an appearance. Penner, as you all know, is at the centre at the [...]

PM Barrow says Penner has been punish and so should the public officers
While Castro ran for cover, Elvin Penner emerged from hiding and was in the House of Representatives this morning. As we said, he was seated all by himself in the [...]

Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, lashes out at teachers
On Friday, teachers in the Cayo District will rally under the banner of the Belize National Teachers Union and take to the streets. It is the third such industrial action [...]

Faber also took jabs at Chamber of Commerce for supporting the B.N.T.U.
After devoting much of his address to detailing all the things this administration has done for teachers, Faber then rounded on the Belize Chamber of Commerce. Faber was offended because [...]

NCL consultation attracts a large crowd
At this hour, the Environmental Impact Assessment into the Norwegian Cruise Lines project is taking place at the Independence High School Auditorium in the south. A News Five crew on [...]

Micah Williams succumbs twelve hours after he is shot to the head
A young man who was shot on the head at about eight-thirty on Tuesday morning died as he was about to undergo emergency surgery at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.� [...]

Police say there are no leads in the murder of Eaton Carr
Prior to the shooting turned murder of Williams on Raccoon Street Extension, the body of another man was discovered on Banak Street. Just before ten on Sunday night, thirty-six year [...]

Witness cooperation a setback in solving murder of Derrick Parham
The Williams and Carr murders are examples of an upsurge in urban gun violence since the beginning of the year. As it relates to another murder, that of Derrick Parham, [...]

Valley of Peace resident, Marlon Balona, died due to severe chest and abdominal injuries
But there is a fourth murder which is most recent and involved a man wanted by Belmopan Police. Marlon Balona's body was found under cohune leaves off a feeder road [...]

San Ignacio Police say breakthrough in investigation; wanted man remains hospitalized
Meanwhile, San Ignacio Police are saying that there is a breakthrough in the investigation of a string of robberies in the west. On Sunday afternoon, Kevin 'Midget' Manzanero was taken [...]

Justice for Jesus Bol; Tito Martinez found guilty for his attempted murder
A conviction has been secured for the attempted murder of Jesus Bol. The decision was handed down in the Supreme Court of Justice Denis Hanomansingh in the Southern Session of [...]

Camille Ferguson spared jail time for proof of her identity
After being unable for the third time to produce any proper identification to prove her true identity, Camille Ferguson was spared jail time today. When Ferguson appeared before Magistrate Stephanie [...]

Various bills tabled in House including the Occupational Safety and Health Bill
Now to the real business of the day in the House of Representatives. Various new bills were tabled for first reading and some came up for second reading. The Stake [...]

Union executives banned from 2 sitting of the House
As a consequence of that protest at the last sitting, union executives have been banned from participating in two sittings of the House. That may seem like a small price [...]

Difference of opinions on sugar roads in delay sugar cane crop season
The 2013/2014 sugar cane crop season is slated to begin at ten a.m. on Friday morning, after a delay of more than two months. At least, it is the hope [...]

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More News: Scroll up from here


Shot to The Head While Washing Vehicle
A 28-year-old man of Belize City is at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital receiving treatment for a gunshot wound to the head. Police reports say that Williams was approached by two persons last night at around 8:45 on Raccoon Street in Belize City, who were offering to sell him vehicle tire rims. It is uncertain as to what was said but the encounter ended with Williams being shot to the head. Williams' mother, Lelia Williams, told Love News that she has no idea who would want to hurt her son. LEILA WILLIAMS "They said that two gunmen rode up to him and asked him if he can purchase the two car rims that he is selling and he told them someone already came to see them and they are sold and then one of the gunmen just shot him in the head and the other just dispersed. He is on life support machine and he is critical. He was shot in the head and the bullet is lodged in the brain and the doctor says we need to wait until the swelling goes down in order for them to do a surgery. Right now, we are sending up prayers and the doctor says he is a 50/50 chance for life. He has no enemies but police has the names of the two suspects. He was washing his vehicle and my grandson offered to help him and as he turned his back to wash his tire, he saw his uncle fell to the ground; he had seen the two boys coming up the street but he doesn't recognize them. The two men had on hats, people saw them and they gave the police the information."


PM Is Disappointed in Castro But He Says, No Offense Was Committed
Area representative for Belize Rural North Edmund Castro has been on the hot seat for the past few months, first it was his alleged involvement in a visa hustle and lately his name has surfaced on a number of cheques issued by the Belize Airports Authority. Castro was notably absent from today's house meeting but that did not stop the accusations from flying. Opposition leader Francis Fonseca spoke on the issue on the adjournment. HON. FRANCIS FONSECA "I am stating the facts; it is for him or others who are responsible on the Government's side to say what these funds were used for, if they were not improperly used. For example, Mr. Speaker, there are cheques and they are here; apparently, the member was not satisfied that they were paying for things on his behalf. There are cheques here made out to him - cheque #004954 in the amount of nine hundred dollars to Edmond Castro - Belize Bank cheque - Airport Authority; cheque #004957 in the amount of four thousand dollars to Edmond Castro - Belize Bank - Belize Airport Authority; cheque #005066 in the amount of five thousand one hundred and fifty six dollars and fifty five cents made out to Edmond Castro. This is absolute nonsense and that is just a sampling; I have over sixty cheques here either made for the member's personal use for him to cash or for him to use for political purposes or to help family members. At a time when the Government is saying that they don't have money and I think that is what really rubs the teachers and other people out there the wrong way, when the Government is saying that they can't find money for them and there are legitimate reasons that the Government can put forward to say that they are trying to prioritize their spending. This is complete nonsense."

Stolen Firearm Recovered in Northern Belize
Orange Walk Police has recovered a fire arm that was reported as stolen. Last year on May 29, 63 year old Roman Garcia, Belizean, who resides in the USA, reported that someone burglarised his house on number one Asuncion Street in Orange Walk Town. Stolen from his residence was one point four-ten (410) double barrel shotgun. Also stolen were a point twenty two (22) rifle and an undisclosed amount of money as well as silver coins went missing. Police did its investigation and on Tuesday January 21, CIB personnel and Orange Walk Special Branch conducted a search at an unoccupied house on Smithsonia Street in Orange Walk Town. On the veranda of the building was a rusty zinc and underneath the sheet of zinc police found a point four-ten (410) double barrel shotgun believed to be the stolen one from Garcia. Nobody was in the area at the firearm was deposited as Found Property.

Two More Immigration Officers Under Scrutiny
The latter part of 2013 was filled with revelations and speculations coming out of the Immigration and Nationality Department following the issuance of a Belizean passport to a South Korean national, Kim Won Hong. Since then investigations were initiated and that had resulted in the suspension of three Immigration officers, namely, Sharon Neal-flowers, Omar Phillips and Erwin Robinson. These three officers are now being recommended for termination by the Director of Immigration, Maria Marin. But the internal investigations are evidently still ongoing as two more officers have recently come under scrutiny. The head of the Records division in the Nationality section, Gordon Wade along with his second in command, Ady Pacheco have been brought into the fold to answer specific questions of how certain files went missing from the office. We understand that Immigration Director, Maria Marin, has written to Wade and Pacheco asking about missing files. They have reportedly been given a deadline to respond to the Director's questions after which it will be determined what actions, if any, will be taken. Love News Centre has made several attempts to contact the Director of Immigration but at all times, we have been told that she is in a meeting.


Financial Implications of Occupation Safety and Health Bill
Who could forget the NTUCB's show of protest at the previous sitting of the House, for its discontent with Government's foot dragging on the long-sought after Occupational Safety and Health Bill. The Union disrupted the meeting, chanting their demands and were ushered out of the chambers by Police. They say...

NTUCB on the Tabling of the Occupational Safety and Health Bill
Outside the House, we caught up with President of the NTUCB, Dylan Reneau, to get the sentiment of the Union on today's presentation. Reporter:"Do you now feel sufficiently respected now that the unions have been listened to?" Dylan Reneau: "Yes, certainly the bill, as we know it has been...

Mr. Micah Williams Succumbs to Injuries
Police have confirmed the death of 28 year old Micah Williams of Belize City. As we reported yesterday, the Racoon Street Extension resident was shot in the temple around 8:45 Tuesday morning on the same street by one of two persons who it is alleged approached him to ask about purchasing vehicle...

Penner Appears at the House for the First Time Since Immigration Scandal
The House of Representatives met today at the National Assembly for their first and second readings of several bills, and to discuss issues of national importance. One of the highlight of today's sitting was none other than Hon. Elvin Penner, who made his first public appearance today since the passport...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Climbing Kili For The Caye
As we all have something in common that we love the unique island of Caye Caulker. This is our chance to give something back and support the local community and help secure a bright future for the children of the island. At Seaside Cabanas we have just begun a voluntary $1 a night per room collection that is totally voluntary and will be added to each guest's bill. Also I will be undertaking a sponsored climb this year of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Obviously just by coming to the island you are supporting the community and the above are both totally optional, but please help where you can as it will make a huge difference. Simon Morris, Seaside Cabanas

Caye Caulker Sailing Club
You may well remember that the Caye Caulker Sailing Club was formed back at the end of last year. The Club will be part of the bigger Belize Sailing Club which has full support from the Belize Tourism Board in the endeavor to bring this sport which has such roots in Belize's history and culture, back to life. It has been a slow start, you can blame the weather for this, but before the year finished, not only did our first two Optimist dingy boats arrive but you will note that the CCVC granted permission for the club to build the storage house for the sailboats on the beach by the Palapa Gardens - this area being the focus for the Sailing Club. We have to thank Enrique Alamina and Bob Greaves for all their hard work in erecting the building and not forgetting our President Neil Bradley for his contribution of the materials to build the structure - thank you!!! As mentioned, we currently have two boats, kindly donated by Caye Caulker Towers and the Caye Caulker Humane Society - thank you!! These boats are 'getting us on our feet' or so to speak - allowing us at this early stage to get a small number of the children to become competitive before our first competitive race in Corozal on 8th and 9th Feb 2014. We have ordered and will be expecting sometime in March a further 6 boats which have been sponsored by the following - BTB, Brian and Zaira (BZE Jade), Iguana Reef Inn, Raggamuffin Tours, Seaside Cabanas and the San Pedro Belize Express which will allow us to operate more fully as a club ie allowing for a wider age range of kids to get involved and for a more recreational purpose.

Annual Liquor Licensing Meeting
The Annual Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Meeting was held in Caye Caulker on January 22nd 2014 at 1:00 pm at the Community Center. There were 33 license granted including 5 businesses who were put on a three month probationary period due to complaints or health and fire hazards. The official meeting was opened at 1:30 pm by the Chairman of the Liquor Licensing Board Francis Staine. The newly elected liquor licensing board or board appointed Clerk was not announced. Present at the meeting were Chairman of the Liquor Licensing board Francis Staine, Chairman of the Caye Caulker Village Council Wayne Miller and a late arrival from member of the board Allison Usher. Also Present were The Police Inspector, Fire Official, and the Health Inspector. Mr. Staine began the meeting welcoming the villagers and went straight into issuing the approval of licenses to the business owners. Non issue establishments were given out prior to those who had complaints against them. It seemed to be a pleasant meeting until the issue of I & I Reggae Bar's license when members of the public shared their discontent for the one hour extension said business would receive daily. Chairperson Wayne Miller announced that they're were new laws amended which states that the holders of Publican Specials license can get an extension up to 3:00 am. This new information was a shock to members in the audience, who also requested a copy of the S.I. or amended law. Overall the meeting was pleasant and license holders were pleased with their approvals. There were a few business owners who were not present for the issuing of the license and will be given at a later date.


Texas Music Icon Jerry Jeff Walker Fills Fido's Courtyard with Avid Fans (and Converts a Country Newbie)
Every year, for over 15 years, famous singer/song writer, Jerry Jeff Walker comes to San Pedro, Belize to visit his vacation home and to bring a large crowd of his super fans�to something that is called "Camp Belize". He does two big shows per week, now at Fido's Courtyard (the most popular bar in town with visitors for sure)� And I've lived in this town for 7 years now and never ever seen any of it. Not the big shows. Not the "pickin' parties" all over town. Nothing. I may have mentioned it before. I was born and raised in New Jersey (America's "Garden State" - which many wrongly scoff at - NOT "America's Heartland") and moved to Belize from Manhattan, NYC. 7 years ago, there wasn't even a country music station in the biggest city in the US.

Belizean Stretch Mi Guts
Stretch Mi Guts is a hard candy made from coconut water. It can be made like a taffy or a hard candy. In this video, Joe and the children and I recorded while we tested the recipe for the 7th time. You will need a candy making gloves to make this candy.

BPO Working Session
The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service in collaboration with the Compete Caribbean, IDB, UK aid and Canada conducted the very first Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) working session; an effort to align and unite the key players in this booming industry. This session fostered dialogue between the Consultant Mr. Shaun Finnety and afforded BPO organization to voice their concerns whilst sharing their valuable experience. BPO association was developed on Tuesday, January 21st 2013, from 8:30 am- 12:30 pm at the ITVET Building in Belize City in the Dining Room area.

2013 International Trade Center SBDCGlobal Successes

Edmond Castro Swipes Over $30,000 from Belize Airports Authority
Minister of State Edmond 'Clear the Land' Castro seems to be in the middle of one scandal or the other. Just a couple years ago, Castro was fired by Prime Minister Barrow for his involvement in a land hustle. He did political penance and was welcomed back into the fold - and then was named in a diplomatic incident accused of making unwelcome advances to a Taiwanese chaperone while on an official visit to that country. Shortly after, he was accused of large scale and very lucrative visa facilitation by an individual who allegedly paid him two thousand dollars per visa. And in late 2013, documents surfaced showing that Castro was recommending visas for Chinese nationals on a weekly basis. Now Castro is under fire again, this time for checks paid out by the Belize Airports Authority. Mike Rudon has the story. Mike Rudon, Reporting The Belize Airports Authority operates under the Department of Civil Aviation, which is listed under the Ministry of Transport, run by Minister of State with responsibility for transport, Edmond Castro. When we checked the official website, the BAA is said to be responsible for managing aerodromes, or small airports, for public use. So why is the BAA writing checks to Edmond Castro? And why is the BAA writinig checks which a reliable source says are to pay debts incurred by Castro?

Belize's Most Romantic Islands
More than 200 offshore islands dot Belize's Caribbean coastline, ranging from uninhabited mangrove islets to at least 20 larger, idyllic plots with cozy cabanas, postcard-perfect beaches and utter seclusion. In "The Jewel" -- as Belizeans call their home -- island hopping isn't just for diving. To experience the best of Belize's striking Caribbean scenery and to live out that secluded island fantasy, consider visiting one or more of these 6 cayes. A mere 45-minute to 2-hour journey from the mainland will get you there, aboard a scenic Tropic Air puddle jumper flight, water taxi or chartered boat. There's a reason Ambergris Caye is the crown jewel of Belize's tourism. The most developed and largest in size, la isla bonita boasts top-notch hotels, Latin-inspired restaurants and a weekly nightlife calendar-although afternoon bar hopping is also the norm. Escape dizzying San Pedro Town, with its congested beachfront, and head to the south or north ends of the island where Ambergris' true beauty lies. It's difficult not to fall in love with an island standing behind the motto, "Go Slow." Belize's second most visited caye couldn't be more different than its neighboring big sister Ambergris. Five miles long, Caye Caulker's Caribbean pace is intoxicating. Daily life is enjoyed outdoors-islanders chat in the streets, fishermen clean their catch seaside and street food vendors chant as they make their rounds past colorful clapboard homes. The only sounds on la isla cari�osa are of birds chirping at sunrise and bicycles crushing the sandy streets-no cars or paved roads here.

Purchasing Belize Real Estate
Purchasing Belize real estate is very simple and extremely secure. The extensive documents that are common with a property purchase in the USA, Canada and/ or Europe are thankfully not part of the buying process here. There are no barriers to foreign investment and, as a member of the British Commonwealth, Belize has a legal system based on British law and is the only English speaking country in Central America. Understanding your documents will be much easier than in other countries in Central America. Title is fee simple absolute title so is extremely secure. Title insurance is available yet rarely utilized. Foreigners have the same property rights in Belize, as do local citizens. Foreigners can own beachfront property in Belize. In addition, Belize has no capital gains or inheritance taxes and a growing private offshore banking sector. Corporate income taxes are also quite low and can be as low as 1.75% of gross sales! Property taxes are extremely low (normally below $US 100 annually) so holding costs are very low.

Corozal House of Culture monetary artifacts
Corozal House of Culture invites everyone to view the monetary artifacts - one of a kind - courtesy of Ms. Jackie Levy. The collection includes an 1894 Queen Victoria 5 cent piece. Enjoy!

International Sources

Biotech giants sue Hawaiian island for passing legislation to restrict GMOs
The "big dogs" in chemical agriculture are on a witch hunt to reverse a bill passed by the Kauai County Council back in November that sets reasonable restrictions on the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on the Hawaiian island. According to the Huffington Post, an unholy trinity represented by DuPont, Syngenta and Agrigenetics Inc. (an affiliate of Dow AgroSciences) has filed a federal lawsuit arguing against Measure 2491, which is intended to set buffer zones between schools and fields sprayed with pesticide, for instance, and requires companies to disclose when and where they are spraying their poisonous concoctions, as well as report genetically modified crops. As it currently stands in Kauai, chemical companies have very few restrictions on where they are allowed to plant GM crops and how often they are allowed to spray undisclosed chemicals on fields. Because of this, many areas of the island have become toxic hotbeds, with local residents reporting allergies, neurological damage and other major afflictions stemming from exposure to GMOs and crop chemicals, one of the many issues that stands to be addressed by Measure 2491.

Family and friends honour Townsend's memory
During his time as a ministry director and missionary, Brian Townsend was able to reach and affect positive change in the lives of more than a thousand people. On Jan. 19, hundreds from across the country gathered at the College Heights Seventh-Day Adventist Church to remember the former Lacombe resident who was killed in Belize. "It was very well attended," said Ron Sydenham, senior pastor. "Due to family connections, we had guests come from Edmonton, Saskatchewan. I believe there was close to 700 people at the church. "Knowing the type of person Brian was, which was very much a people person, it still surprised me a bit with how many people were able to attend the service." In addition to the hundreds gathered at the church, hundreds more viewed the service via computer and many more sent their condolences.

World's Quirkiest Place To Retire
Quirkiest retirement haven in the world? That'd have to be Belize. Belize City's roadways are built around a system of roundabouts (thanks to her British colonizers), but shops alongside them sell rice, beans, and tortillas still ground by hand. Everyone you meet speaks English (it's the country's official language), but this belies the stories of their origins. The 350,000 people populating Belize today are descendants of migrants from Britain, yes, but also, more so, the surrounding Central American countries. You've got Mexicans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, and Nicaraguans mixing with current-day generations of the Maya who originally inhabited this land, the pirates who came later, the Mennonite farmers who began arriving on the scene in the 16th century, the British who ruled until 1981, and each other. Belize is a country of freedom-seekers. The pirates came to ply their pirate trading out of view. The Mennonites came from Germany and the Netherlands so they could be Mennonites without anyone bothering them. The British came so they could bank in private. And the folks from the surrounding countries who've sought out Belize over the past few decades typically have made their way across this country's borders in search of safety.

Quiet in the Caribbean
I wrapped my arms around Leonardo, our "moto" driver, as he pushed our overloaded Yamaha across the hot, potholed concrete. "Did you understand anything," he shouted over his shoulder, picking up speed and launching us into the thick night. I had not. I'd sat through a 10-minute roadside conversation between Leonardo and his shirtless, and apparently apologetic, friend. Insects had menaced my ankles, the motorcycle's scorching exhaust pipe had threatened my right calf and I had made out exactly one word: "Sorry." My husband, Tim, sat behind me, hugging my back, his feet crushed beneath my own. He hadn't understood either. "Some say we speak patois," Leonardo said. "But it's English - Creole English." It was Saturday night on "Old Providence," as the local, Afro-Caribbean Raizal people call the second-largest island in the remote Colombian territory of San Andr�s, Providencia and Santa Catalina. Tim and I had arrived a few days before, after taking a circuitous route: three flights in three days, each airplane smaller than the last, like so many Russian nesting dolls. When we finally touched down, our first sight was the prop-less, wheel-less wreckage of a less-fortunate flight; the second was my father, waving from the open-air greeting area of a two-room terminal. Even through the obligatory palms of a Caribbean airport, and with a video camera pressed to his eye, I could see he was beaming.

How DiCaprio is single-handedly wiping out clean air gains by Ford
Leonardo DiCaprio is part of the "green" green crowd. They're folks with boatloads of money lecturing the rest of us about our wanton destruction of Mother Earth through excessive carbon footprints. DiCaprio is on the National Resources Defense Council board. DiCaprio uses his platform as a celebrity to warn the world - particularly Americans - that we will trigger an environmental catastrophe unless we significantly shrink our carbon footprint. Consider his words when he gave his acceptance speech for receiving the Big Green Help Award at the Nickelodeon's Kids Choice Awards a few years back: "Right now, our mother - our mother - all of our mothers, Mother Earth is hurting. And she needs a generation of thoughtful, caring and active kids like all of you to protect her for the future. You can help us win the battle to clean up our air, or water, our land, to protect our forests, our oceans, and our wildlife."

New World Oil&Gas receives initial funds from Niel Petroleum
Oil exploration outfit New World Oil&Gas notified shareholders that Niel Petroleum had disbursed 4.8m US dollars as part of its agreement to subscribe a total of $25m in new shares to help the company finance the acquisition of near-term production or oil and gas projects already in production. Said funds were being held in escrow, with the amount outstanding falling due by the end of February. It is at that stage that the approximately 2.184m in new shares would be issued. The subscription shares were to be placed at a price of 0.735p, as per the agreement reached with the new shareholder. Niel Petroleum is set to provide New World Oil&Gas a separate $25m credit line alongside the above investment. The firm's chief, William Kelleher, reiterated his belief in the 'upside potential' of the firm's three projects in Belize and Denmark.

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The Hunt For Orchestrator's Of Monday Night's Kidnapping Continues
Tonight, 32 year old Eduardo Nah and his common law wife 25 year old Roxanie Cruz are back at home with family and friends. But there is no doubt that they are still recuperating from the frightful ordeal they experiment on Monday night when they were abducted by four armed masked men of Hispanic Decent. While the couple remains traumatized, police are still viewing the surveillance tape that captured the entire abduction which played out at the couple's home in the Village of Copper Bank in the Corozal District. The fact that the entire residence is surrounded by cameras did not deter the ruthless criminal's from carrying out their crime which apparently was well planned out. As we've reported, around 7:45 on Monday night the couple, along with Nah's brother, 24 year old Sabino Nah arrived at Eduardo's residence in the family's dark grey Toyota 4 Runner. While Roxanie Cruz was closing the front gate four masked men rushed in the yard. The first to be attacked was Sabido who was pistol-whipped on the head and handcuffed. He was then forced to lie on the ground. While one of the men stayed with Sabido, the other three escorted the couple inside their residence where it is believed that two of the rooms where ransacked. Outside the residence Sabino somehow managed to escape from his attacker and ran for assistance. But by the time Sabino and a group of villagers returned to the house, his brother, sister-in-law and the four criminals were long gone in the family's SUV.

Public Property In Orange Walk East Privatized, The Son Of Elodio Aragon Now Owns The Land
In last night's newscast we told you about the controversy that is brewing in Orange Walk East over the East Sports Centre. A group of sports enthusiasts, members and supporters of the Centre have been trying to get their hands on the document of the parcel of land where the Centre sits. The committee says that with support from Orlando Burns it has been attempting to apply for the lease to the land to help facilitate their applications for funding to keep rehabilitating the centre and host sporting events. But those papers have ben hard to come by. Up to news time we have not located those papers for ourselves as we have been unable to reach appropriate officials at the Lands Registry Department in the Ministry of Natural Resources. What we have got our hands on is an official registry document that clearly shows that the parcel of land adjacent the enclosed area of the centre has been privatised. That land as far as history shows should be public property. With the evidence in hand, CTV-3 News sought to find out what will be the next step for the East Sports Centre Committee. Dalila Ical - Reporting The proof is in black and white. The land was registered as a private property on October 17th, 2011 to Elodio Aragon of #8 Aurora Street, Orange Walk Town. It was transferred from the government of Belize. In June of 2012, the same parcel was transferred into the name of Adin Glen Aragon, Elodio Aragon's son and the land certificate for that parcel was issued. So what will the Orange Walk East Sports committee do now?

More Streets To Be Rehabilitated In Orange Walk
Road rehabilitation continues to be a priority for the Orange Walk Town Council. After several weeks of work on at least four junctions along Fonseca Street in Town, the council has identified key areas that will now see improvements. We spoke with Mayor Kevin Bernard on the projects that should get underway in the days ahead. Dalila Ical - Reporting Work on the four key points of Fonseca Street is nearing culmination. The area is well rehabilitated after concrete blocks were laid at the intersections along with necessary drainage system. Mayor Bernard says work now continues on other streets. Kevin Bernard - Mayor, OWT "I ask the patience for the residence of that area to bear with us but we are going to address those streets and especially in that lower Pasadita Area, Juventus and all those areas no. One of the major undertaking that we also be doing is that we are finally going to get on to finishing Mahogany and Zapodilla, immediately after this grader leaves from here we are going to start the ripping and scarifying and compacting of mahogany street and Zapodilla street because we want to pave that street by the end of March."

Taking A Closer Look At Dog Eradication Practices
The issue of dog poisoning is always a very sensitive topic when it comes to government officials using it as a form of controlling the stray dog population in the country. But it's one that needs to be practiced if we want to keep a healthy community. It has been a practice used in Belize for years, but in this day and age when there are various other techniques that can be used, people wonder why the poisoning of dogs with strychnine is still carried out. In light that the Orange Walk Town Council and the Health Department has launched its dog eradication campaign we decided to shed some light on the somewhat controversial topic and find out why dog eradication, although cruel as it may seem, is important health wise. Maria Novelo followed the story and filed the following report. Maria Novelo - Reporting It's a problem that all concerned agree could and should be handled better � but the practice of poisoning stray dogs has persisted for decades in Belize due to health purposes. And in this light, the dog eradication campaign has been launched here in Orange Walk. Public Health Inspector, Karel Heredia, says stray dogs are targeted based on community complaints.

Reading Campaign Launched IN San Estevan Village
As educators and mentors to our children, success in school and life starts with literacy. When children become good readers in their early education period, they are more likely to become better learners throughout their school years and beyond. And in this light, a reading campaign model has been initiated in the Village of San Estevan in the District of Orange Walk. School children from standard three and up are being engaged in a series of reading activities within their school and community. Jorge Gutierrez, brain child of the initiative, says the campaign has been very successful for the schools to promote reading within the student body, at the same time, teaching children about helping other children. Jorge Guttierez- Standard 4 teacher "After analyzing our results in PSE the performance of our students in school we realized that we have a big problem and that problem is reading comprehension although we have been performing well in standardized tests, I believe we have much more improvement that can be accomplish and I had the idea of creating a reading program in which we can help our students someone of those who has, this campaign that we are having today. We had a parade for children day that included or had to do with literacy and we had several other things; we had a reading festival plan for May and we have set up a body system reading that it has started today and all is in an effort to ensure that our students improve reading and now the purpose of today is to bring the parents onboard, help them or to make them realize that reading is important and that they play a very important part in that aspect to help their children read, so the children are out today ensuring that to spread out the message that they are important in this process, that they are important to help them to learn to read and to understand."

Burglars Hit Preschoool In Corozal Town
At the start of the New Year, there were two burglaries in the Corozal District that went under the radar as it did not make the police's situation report. One of the burglaries occurred 12 days ago at the Kiddy Kinder Garden, one of the first preschools that were formed in Corozal Town. According to the Director of the preschool, who preferred to remain anonymous, on the 10th of January upon arriving at the preschool she noticed that the rear door of the building was open. Upon making further checks she discovered that the room had been ransacked and a Laser jet printer was missing. To make matters worse the printer was not property of the school. But it seems that the culprits were not satisfied and targeted the school a second time over the weekend. This time several school supplies were stolen.

Youth Academy Now Active In O/W
The Orange Walk Football Association today launched its Youth Academy that will focus on training youth of all ages on the do's and don'ts of football and well, how to become one of the best professional football players in the country and quite possibly internationally. That's the dream, according to District Chairman Rafael Avila. Rafael Avila - District Chairman, OW Football Association "The children need to have a school where they can improve on their talents, it is very important that the children from a very young age they learn how to kick the ball, how to control the ball, how to put in the ball in the goal and everything so it is very important for children to develop their skills at this early age and then only as the time goes by improve and become professional athletes. One of the key factors in the school is to have discipline so by children having the right discipline they can eventually go to a higher levels and become the professional that is required from them." The Academy has been made possible with the assistance of FIFA which gave the Association funds to start the classes.

Celebration Of TVET Week Continues
This week the Institute of Technical and Vocational Education and Training Centers across the country are observing TVET week. The aim of the week is to create awareness of what ITVET is all about, what it offers and the benefits of joining the institution. In celebration of TVET Week a ITVET's country wide including Corozal, are carrying out a number of activities country wide. As part of the observation, students of ITVET Corozal took time out of their studying schedule and headed out to the Corozal Central Park to give it a complete facelift. Victor Castillo Reports. Victor Castillo - Reporting Approximately 50 trainees and their instructors invaded the center of Corozal Town this morning. Their aim was to beautify the Corozal Central Park by joining hands with the Corozal Town Council. Stacy Budna - Manager of Corozal ITVET "We work with the Town Board today and we are beautifying the entire Central Park, we did some landscaping, we picked up the garbage, we are now painting all the benches and so the ITVET trainees have been all day working really hard, am very proud of them and the work that they are doing and we are just doing some public awareness for the public to know that we are here ITVET is an option, it is not the last resort it is your first option, there is a need for a lot of trained skilled workers and we are here to offer the services."

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Channel 7

PM On Castro Cheques: "Ill-advised", "Wrong", "Not Corrupt"
There was a house meeting in Belmopan today, and it was full of news. The first big piece of news was that after missing three meetings, Elvin Penner showed up at the House Meeting, and sheepishly slunk to his position at the extreme far end of the UDP back bench, about 10 feet across from any other representative. That ends his streak of three missed meetings - six missed in succession would have disqualified him from the House. Later we'll talk to the Prime Minister about why he continues to receive public pay. Other news today from the house was that the police seemed to be preparing for a crowd, after the NTUCB applied for a permit to protest. They put up the rope barrier but it wasn't necessary because while the NTUCB did show up, it was only 11 of them, and they were there to hear the introduction of the Occupational Safety and Health Bill. Later on, you'll hear why the Speaker didn't want to let them into the House.

PM On Why Penner Still Drives A GOB Vehicle With Gas Allowance
There was a house meeting in Belmopan today, and it was full of news. The first big piece of news was that after missing three meetings, Elvin Penner showed up at the House Meeting, and sheepishly slunk to his position at the extreme far end of the UDP back bench, about 10 feet across from any other representative. That ends his streak of three missed meetings - six missed in succession would have disqualified him from the House. Later we'll talk to the Prime Minister about why he continues to receive public pay. Other news today from the house was that the police seemed to be preparing for a crowd, after the NTUCB applied for a permit to protest. They put up the rope barrier but it wasn't necessary because while the NTUCB did show up, it was only 11 of them, and they were there to hear the introduction of the Occupational Safety and Health Bill. Later on, you'll hear why the Speaker didn't want to let them into the House.

Faber Rebukes Teachers For Rally-Holidays; Challenges Chamber
The other issue that took center stage today was the statement on the Teacher's Rallies made by minister of Education Patrick Faber. He opened the meeting with a 40 minute statement explaining why the Teacher's should not cancel school for rallies: Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education "In Orange Walk, the rallies got started at around 9 with the parade and so on, and by midday, everything was locked down, you know, and teachers were all over doing business. And so, the entire afternoon was wasted, Mr. Speaker. In Corozal, the rally was held in the afternoon, and so, the entire morning was wasted, if anybody doubts that look at what happened in Belize City, where the rally got finished by 12 o'clock, and the entire afternoon was lost. What prevents them, Mr. Speaker, from having these rallies - there is one scheduled for this Friday, I am told, in Cayo - what prevents them from starting that rally at 2 o'clock, and dismissing school at 1 o'clock, if we are really concerned about the students. In Belize City, Belize District Mr. Speaker, where there are 1,700 teachers, they could have only mustered 400 or 500 to go to the rally? That means that 1,200 teachers, Mr. Speaker, did not go, and I don't want credit for all of them who didn't go. We'll take 500 out of that; 500 did not go because they knew the benefits that they have received under this administration.

Micah Williams Becomes City's Fourth Murder In Ten Days
Last night on the news we told you about Micah Williams - the 28 year old Belize City Resident who was shot in the head before 9:00 yesterday morning. Well, he died last night at 8:20 - from significant brain damage. Today his mother publicly grieved for him and lamented her great loss. Monica Bodden has the story: Monica Bodden Reporting Despite being shot in the head, 28 year old Micah Williams survived for 12 hours - before he expired at approximately 8:35 last night. Layla Williams - Mother of Decease "At around 6 o'clock, the doctor called me back to the hospital, and they asked me to come and sign a paper so that he could take an emergency surgery because he was in a critical condition. He went into the surgery, and as he got in after the surgery, he just passed away."

Palencia Owners Pay Fine, Gets Free
The Palencia is a free ship tonight, after being detained for 12 days by the government of Belize. Attorney for the Government Denys Barrow told us that he has asked the court to release the PALENCIA from arrest today because GOB and the insurers have settled the claims. The agreement is that the fine will be paid in to government in 14 days but it could be as early as this Friday. And while the nominal value of the fine was over 9 million dollars, the final figure agreed to was US$1.35 million dollars. All things considered, that's not too bad since government lost most of its leverage when the PARANGA was allowed to sail in July of 2012.

"Horse" And Others Close To Being Clear Of Charges
Today, the preliminary inquiry for 30 year-old Jermaine "Horse" Garnett, his 23 year-old step-son Cassian Bennett, and 35 year-old Kenneth Barrow was called up in the Magistrate's Court. The case went quite a distance to completion and at the next hearing, all 3 men could walk for the murder of 19 year-old Raheem Requena. Viewers may remember this case made headlines when allegations emerged that Garnett's wife, Pamela, and her son, 24 Mark Vernon tried to tamper with the main prosecution witness. That witness reported to police that Pam and her son tried to pay her off to withdraw her written statement which implicated all three men. When that didn't work, the pair allegedly threatened the witness. Pamela Garnett and her son got their day in court and because that witness had fled the country, the case was thrown out because of want of prosecution.

Copper Bank Kidnapping Still A Mystery
On last night's news we had excerpts of our very late interview with Superintendent Andrew Ramirez about the Kidnapping of the Copper Bank Family in Corozal which happened on Monday night. We've since had a bit more time to prepare it, and Daniel Ortiz revisits the elements of this very frightening but compelling incident. Here's his story: Daniel Ortiz Reporting 32 year-old Eduardo Nah, his common-law wife, 25 year-old Roxanie Cruz, and 24 year-old Sabino Nah, and the rest of the family were escorted from their Copperbank home to the Corozal Community Hospital today, to ensure that they were in good health. We're told they had a few minor injuries. Them being alive is a turn in good fortune. Supt. Andrew Ramirez - OC, Corozal Police District "I am glad to have these 2 individuals alive. The primary function of the police department is protection of life and property." Last night 4 armed hispanic men abducted the Nah brothers' and Eduardo's wife's at gunpoint.

Balona's Death Still Being Treated As Murder
Last night, 7News told you about the body that San Ignacio Police found in the La Gracia area on Sunday afternoon. Police said that he was 20 year-old Marlon Balona, but they've got in contact with Marlon's family from Valley of Peace, and they've found out that his correct name is Marlon Effrain Flores. The post-mortem conducted on him certified that he died of those injuries to the neck and chest, and at this time police can't say that if someone inflicted them on him, or if he received them from an accident. As such, the investigation into his death remains open and continues to be treated as a murder. As we told you, he was a suspect that Belmopan Police wanted to question in connection with the murder of Canadian Brian Townsend from the Valley of Peace.

Santi Made Sure San Cas Group Got Christmas Cheer
We also used the opportunity to speak with Castillo about the recent Christmas Cheer programme. As a UDP Area Representative, he got ninety thousand dollars to distribute amongst his constituents. But our reports say, he directed all that business right back into his family owned Supermarket Chain Save U and Bottom Dalla. Castillo is a member of the Castillo family, which is among the largest merchant houses in Belize. He told us that he makes no apologies for giving his family company the government business: Jules Vasquez "It puts you in a situation that you funnelled business from the Christmas cheer, or proceeds from the Christmas Cheer, money which you did not handle, but money which came from the Department of the Human Services, from the Christmas Cheer, into those retail outlets." Hon. Santino Castillo Jr. - Area Rep., Caribbean Shores "I have no apologies, Jules, I did it last year, and I did it this year. As a matter of fact, I stretched the dollar more due to the fact that it is our stores, I got the items at cost. So, I then, was able to take that $90,000 and stretch it even further, and give those gift certificates to more residents of Caribbean Shores. I mean, other people went to different stores. What is the difference that I go to my store that I own that I get at cost? I will let you know that many of the other area reps came to my store because I gave them an additional discount so that they can stretch their dollar."

How Row On Cane Roads
And keeping it in Belmopan, we turn now to the subject of the cane roads. They are still not fully ready and today the area representative for Orange Walk South - which is the second largest cane producing constituency - warned that significant volumes of cane stand to be lost: Hon. Jose Mai - Orange Walk South Representative. "The sugar industry cannot afford further delay, Mr. Speaker, and I will tell you why. Mister Speaker, we have a hundred and twenty day crop to deliver one point two million tonnes of sugar cane this year. Definitely, there will be cane left out this year. The estimation, Mr. Speaker, is that we are only going to 960 thousand tonnes; the mill only be able to absorb that, hence the urgency of the repairs. Mr. Speaker, you know what it is to be left with 240 thousand tonnes of cane ou there? Mr. Speaker, you are talking about 16 million dollars' worth remaining, in the field. So, Mr. Speaker, it is urgent that we really accelerate the rate of repairs." Hon. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister "The way this thing was programmed was with the directors of all the different sugar branches. I don't think that the representative from Orange Walk South expected that from this administration, but we are showing him that we are transparent and that all we want is the betterment of the industry. We take no sides for no one; we want a better industry.

Occupational Safety Bill Goes To House, PM Urges Deliberate Patience
We've told you a lot about today's house meeting so far in the news - but you haven't heard a whole lot about the legislative business of the meeting. And that's because of the eight pieces of legislation, 6 of them were all about meeting US standards for transparency in the banking system to discourage terrorism and money laundering. But one of them was just for the unions. The occupational safety and health bill of 2014 was introduced after the unions staged a disruptive walkout form last month's house sitting. So, it was introduced today - by a very wary Prime Minister: Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "This bill, when - or perhaps - if it is made law is going to come at a huge financial cost. It's not an unmixed blessing. I want to be very careful in what I say. It is laudable; it is perhaps timed and over time that this quantum leap forward, but nobody must be under any illusions. There will be a tremendous burden and financial cost, not only to Government - Government as well, but to the private sector, and to small individuals employers, even who have 1-person operations, to become compliant will cost a great deal of money."

Senior UB Staffer Asks Where's The President
Allison Crawford is a long-standing member of the teaching staff at the University of Belize, and in her capacity as the President of the UB Faculty and Staff Association, she has been one of the leading voices to speak out on different issues that the teachers have with the administration. Well, some of the members of faculty believe that she is being punished for standing up. Crawford who has been teaching 13 years at the UB, and 21 years at the Belize Technical College before it was amalgamated with the other schools to become UB, reached retirement age this year. As a Chemistry lecturer at the University, she was reportedly promised by her dean to be kept on staff fulltime for this current semester to ensure that her students would not be negatively affected. It is not a policy that the University has to keep retiring teachers on, but it is a practice that teachers who have reached retirement age during a semester are given contracts for short tenures so that there are no transitional tremors. Well even though Crawford's post has not been advertised, and there is likely not going to be any teacher available, she was only offered a part-time position.

Ceibo Chico Gold Diggers?
7News has come across a very strange press release on the internet which posted on Monday of this week. A Canadian Company, Erin Ventures Inc., which is based in Victoria British Colombia, announced that it has reclaimed its interest in the Ceibo Chico area of the Chiquibul. If that name sounds familiar, it should; it made the news several times last year as the location where the Friends for Conservation and Development busted illegal gold panners. Well, the release from this company claims that it has licenses it obtained for this "gold interest". It state's that for this Ceibo Chico interest, the property it has rights to has quote, "3 contiguous Exclusive Prospecting Licenses covering approximately 34 square kilometers (13 square miles), and a 160.25 hectare (396 acre) Mining License, in west/central Belize." End quote We've been trying to find out what this company and this gold interest is all about, but we've not been getting responses from the official government sources.

FCD Says More Help Needed To Keep Guatemalan Gold Diggers Out
And so, while that company reportedly has a legitimate licenses to mine in the area, the FCD recently encountered illegal gold panning in some very remote areas of the Ceibo Chico. On last week Wednesday, An FCD team went out with personnel from the Joint Forces Unit. Members of PACT and the National Protected Areas Secretariat also accompanied the part. The group went to the Ceibo Chico Conservation Post to assess the damages occurring at these remote areas. The area where they went was located on the highlands of the Chiquibul/Maya Mountains, and a survey around the entire area showed clear signs that Guatemalan gold panners were operating the area, some 5 kilometers from the Conservation Post; that represents about 6 hours of hiking, and the area that they are targeting is located some 12 kilometers away from the Western Border. Based on the investigations, the FCD found that the panners were opening trenches as deep as 10-12 feet in search of gold. They found other signs of human interaction such as garbage, bottles, cans, old clothes, batteries gloves, and plastic pans used for panning gold.

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