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Today's Belize News: February 21, 2014 #486468
02/21/14 04:59 AM
02/21/14 04:59 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 81,108
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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Tigersharks contest game results against Toledo Diplomats and take on the Corozal Heats at home
The San Pedro Tigersharks basketball team has launched a formal complaint regarding the results of the game played against the Toledo Diplomats on Saturday February 15th in Punta Gorda Town. Despite the game going unfinished, the National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) organizers, mainly the Belize Basketball Federation, gave the win to the Diplomats with an 89 to 87 final score. Chaos erupted on the basketball court at the last two seconds of the game when the Tigersharks, down by two points, were awarded two free throws following a foul. Due to the chaos on the court the free-throw shots never happened. Results for other games played are as follows. Friday February 14th Corozal Heats 75 Vs Belize City Smart No Limit 78 Dangriga Warriors 57 Vs Belmopan Point Bandits 56 Sunday February 16th OW Running Rebels 70 Vs Cayo Western Ballaz 80. Tigersharks will play at the San Pedro High School Auditorium and according to the management, four Tigersharks basketball jerseys will be tossed into the crowd at every quarter. Fans are encouraged to hold on to their tickets as two lucky ticket holders will be selected to take a $100 CASH SHOT from the three-point line. Game time is set for 8PM on Saturday. General admission is $5 for adults and $3 kids.

Oceana Announces $3 Million Grant from Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
Oceana, the largest international advocacy group to work on behalf of the world’s oceans, announced a $3 million grant today from the Leonardo DiCaprio foundation aimed at protecting threatened ocean habitat and keystone marine species such as sharks. The foundation’s grant will also support Oceana’s work to advocate for responsible fishing measures, including the effort to ban California drift gillnets. “The foundation and Leo’s support for campaigns like our efforts to ban the drift gillnets in California will help Oceana win more protections for countless sharks and other marine animals and for ocean habitats in the Pacific and Arctic – which include some of the most productive ocean places in the world,” said Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless. “The net impact will be a much more abundant and biodiverse ocean that has many millions more sharks and critical and amazing marine animals, wilder and more pristine ocean habitats and oceans that can feed over a billion people – many of them hungry – a healthy seafood meal each day.” “Protecting our planet’s oceans and the marine species that call it home is one of the most pressing sustainability crises facing humanity today and a moral imperative that we must acknowledge,” DiCaprio said. “It’s my hope that this grant will help Oceana continue the tremendous work that they do daily on behalf of our oceans.”

Public Consultation Meeting on Climate Change
On Thursday February 13th, several organizations teamed up to host a public meeting consultation for members of the tourism sector held at the Lions Den. Those organizations included the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Belize Coastal Zone Management, Caribsave, University of Belize (Environmental Research Institute), The Government of Belize (GoB) and the Belize Tourism Board (BTB).These organizations are jointly involved in a ‘Climate-Compatible’ tourism project for Belize. The project encompasses three main objectives. The first entails identifying coastal tourism areas in Belize vulnerable to climate change that should be prioritized for adaption actions; the second includes identifying areas of existing Belizean policies that can support climate-compatible tourism development in Belize, while the third objective includes identifying and prioritizing adaption integration into policy.

BTB responds to Horse and Buggy Incident
On Tuesday, February 18th, the Belize Tourism Board was notified that a vehicle collided with a horse from Gabourel & Sons – a horse and buggy operation that operates out of the Fort George Tourism Zone. Upon being informed, BTB personnel immediately collaborated with other relevant authorities to ensure the safety of the general public including the tourists involved in the shore excursion as well as to secure proper attention to the injured horse. BTB immediately contacted the Animal Medical Centre to examine the injured horse. Following the examination of the horse’s injury and upon the advice of the veterinary experts, the horse, named Jack, was relocated to a peaceful area and humanely sedated and euthanized. The BTB is grateful that no one was hurt but also saddened by this tragic and unfortunate incident involving the loss of a horse. The BTB remains resolute in raising the standards of the micro-industry: i.e., to train the guides, and operators, in safety management as well as in providing the best care for these horses. The police department is investigating the accident and can be contacted for details revolving around cause & liability in the accident.

Ambergris Today

Ground Breaking for Infrastructure Improvements at Archaeological Sites
The Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites (MTBCAAS) project is being implemented by the Belize Tourism Board and the National Institute of Culture and History. The objectives of the project are: *To improve economic opportunities in rural communities and contribute to the reduction of poverty; *To enhance the tourism experience through improvements in tourism infrastructure and services at selected sites. The project intends to achieve three main sets of results: *Results One: Improve the monitoring systems at archaeological sites; *Results Two: Improve health and safety provisions and infrastructure at archaeological sites; *Results Three: Enhance the diversification of community based tourism products and services offered at archaeological sites in Belize. The MTBCAAS Project targets communities adjacent to the following nine archaeological sites: Xunantunich, Nohoch Che’en (Caves’ Branch), Nim Li Punit, Barton Creek, Altun Ha, Lubaantun, Actun Tunichil Muknal, Lamanai, Blue Creek.The MTBCAAS Project was launched in March 2013 and is made possible with grant funding of BZ$2.75m from the European Union and BZ$1.25 contribution from the Belize Tourism Board and the National Institute of Culture and History for a total estimated cost of BZ$4 million. It is being implemented over 24 month period and scheduled to be completed in November 2014.

Misc Belizean Sources

Churros with Chocolate Sauce
In a medium saucepan, combine butter and water and bring to a boil. When mixture is boiling, add in flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Continue to stir and cook the dough for about 1 minute. Transfer to a large mixing bowl or to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Turn the mixer on medium-high. Beat in the eggs one at a time, waiting until each has been well incorporated before adding the next. Batter may look wet before it comes together, but keep mixing and a smooth dough will form. Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a medium or large star tip. Pour about 2-inches of oil into a deep saucepan. Bring the oil to about 365F. Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate sauce. Whisk together the cornstarch and milk. Add mixture, along with chocolate and sugar, to a small saucepan. Bring just to boil, whisking occasionally, and cook until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat.

Mexico offers Postgraduate scholarships to Belizeans
he Embassy of Mexico informs that the El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF) in Mexico, has opened its 2014 scholarship call for applications for postgraduate programs. There are seven scholarships available for Belizean Nationals to carry out Master degree programs and one for Doctorate degree program. These postgraduate programs are registered in the national program of quality postgraduate studies of Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT).

BNE Refurbishes Two Schools
The Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust has spent almost 80,000 to renovate the school buildings belonging Maya Mopan Pre-School and the Richard Quinn R.C. School. This donation from the Trust has positively affected over 20 students and 2 teachers from the pre-school and 200 students from the primary school. The buildings for both schools were renovated after grants of 33 thousand dollars and 45 thousand dollars, which were disbursed last year, and after the work was completed, it was handed over today.

Prisoner on the loose
A man accused of murder and other crimes escaped from police custody this morning while being transported to San Ignacio for a court appearance. Jarod Arthurs Lamb, also known as “Steel Bob” managed to somehow get out of the police van that was transporting him as the vehicle passed through Teakettle village.

Spelling Bee Zone Eliminations in Benque Viejo del Carmen
Fourteen students from 7 Primary Schools in the Cayo district are today taking part in the Zone Eliminations of the National Coca Cola Spelling Bee. The Elimination contest for Zone 1 is taking place at the Cancha Marshalleck in Benque Viejo del Carmen in a sunny and warm Thursday morning. Schools participating are from Benque Viejo del Carmen, Arenal village, San Jose Succotz and Calla Creek village. The winner and runner up from today’s contest will go up against winners from the other zones in the district finals next month.

The Prime Minister, at a press conference on Monday of this week, made a good political gambit but it will be short-lived. His announcement that the government will bail-out the Citrus Growers Association from their bad debts with two local banks prompted knee-jerk reactions, some from unexpected quarters. The CGA still owes the Social Security Board $17 millions of dollars. The move by the PM will simply exacerbate that debt. It appears that the Association has reached a point of no return in its debt obligations.This could likely mean that they will have forfeit their shares in CPBL. This overture has already been made by the Chairman of the SSB investment arm. It is very likely then, that CPBL could become a State-controlled company taking over the 51 percent shares owned by CGA. It is not far-fetched then that the company could be nationalized. This would be consistent with what appears to be this government’s policy.

Channel 7

"Soup" Charged For Shooting At Police
Tonight, Jason Soup Williams is at the Hattieville Prison after he was arraigned in court today on multiple counts of aggravated assault. As we told you last night, Williams is the main suspect in a shooting where a gunman opened fire on two men who were sitting on the stairs of a residence at the corner of King Street and West Canal. That is considered George Street territory - and Williams is the leading figure from Supal Street. Police say that led to the following morning's retaliatory murder of Tariq Cadle who is from Supal Street is and Soup Williams's nephew and neighbor. But though he was tied to Supal, 25 year old Cadle was known to hang out with the George Street crew. He was doing that yesterday morning when he was killed as a direct retaliation for the suspected Soup Williams attack on King Street.

"Steel Bob" Busts Out Of Police Custody
They call him "Steel Bob" and today Jarod Lamb proved his nickname when he busted out of police custody. It happened this morning when police were transporting Lamb and 6 other prisoners in a police van from the Hattieville prison to san Ignacio for a court date. Near Ontario village the police hard a bang in the back of the van. When they got out to check, they found that Lamb had crashed the door open and escaped. A wanted poster says he is dangerous, and right that it should. From 2009, he has been in the news for robberies, burglaries and running away from police. Most recently, he was charged for the Aggravated Burglary of a Cayo Resort. In that case, he was on the run for 6 weeks before police caught him in Teakettle. Anyone seeing him is advised to call the nearest police station.

Is May Bush Guilty of Murder?
54 year old Cayo resident May Bush is now awaiting the decision of temporary Supreme Court Justice Antoinette Moore to see if she is guilty of murder. Bush has been on trial without jury in Belmopan since Monday. Today Bush, who was represented by attorney Arthur Saldivar, gave a statement from the dock saying that in June 2011, she never did stab 29 year-old David Guerra, who's murder she had been charged for. Bush told the court that she heard Guerra insulting her daughter and her common-law husband. Bush said that she went there because she was informed that a man was assaulting her daughter. Bush told the court that Guerra issued death threats at them, and that he struck her common-law husband with a pint bottle to the face which broke and cut him on the elbow. She said that she picked up a knife and hid it in preparation if Guerra ever attacked her because she feared for her life. She claims that though she had the knife in her pocket, she never did use it because Guerra didn't approach her. She told the court categorically that she didn't stab Guerra, and that she didn't know who did it.

BWSL Doesn't Agree With 6% Water Rate Increase, Says PUC Got It Wrong
On February third, we told you that the Public Utilities Commission had rejected the proposed 16% increase from Belize Water Services Limited. The PUC instead gave the water company a 6% increase. But that was only an initial decision, anyone who didn't like it had two weeks to object. And BWSL did. In time for the deadline on Monday February 17th, BWSL filed an objection on the grounds that the PUC made an error in calculating its Regulated Asset Values. That means the PUC now has to appoint an Independent Expert to review it all and that has to be done before March 5, 2014. That expert will submit a report with his recommendations on the Initial Decision within thirty (30) days of his appointment. After that, the PUC has 15 days to issue its final decision, and only then will you now what you new water rate will be.

H1N1 Test Results Show Low Incidence
In mid-January, there was a legitimate h1n1 scare in Belize after a 29 year old female died from what appears to have been a particularly virulent strain of the influenza virus. But since then, we haven't heard much on the other samples which were sent for testing. Well, first off, no one else has died from influenza type illness. But, after more than a month, the test results are back. The ministry of health reports that 168 persons have been swabbed for h1n1 samples countrywide; only 17 of those have come back positive for H1N1 from different parts of the country with no specific geographic pattern. That's a positive reporting rate of 19%.

Accountant Got 12k Ripped From Credit Card
A Belize City accountant lost thousands of dollars from his First Caribbean Bank Account after someone got hold of his Credit Card. Police haven't given out his name, but the 58 year old from Albert Hoy Avenue, reported that in the three weeks between the second day of January 2014 and the 24th of January, 2014, someone withdrew $12,978 dollars from his First Caribbean Bank account using his First Caribbean Credit Card. They used the ATM machine at the San Cas Plaza to do it. But, while that is the plight of that accountant, today, a representative of the First Caribbean Bank spoke with 7News about the dos and don'ts that credit and debit card holders should know to protect their money. Here's what she told us about how the bank treats fraud and their customers who have been the victims of these crimes:

Port Remains Closed Until Tuesday
Repairs at the Port of Belize are on schedule, and the port will remain closed until next week Tuesday. CEO Arturo "Tux" Vasquez tells us that the contractor is demolishing the three existing beams that were damaged when the Krystal Tortuga barge ended up underneath the main pier. That's hundreds of feet away from where it should have been on its course to the low-berthing facility. We understand the barge operator is blaming it on a mechanical failure. Three new beams are scheduled to be put in this weekend and work should be finished by Monday. In the interim, the arrival of three ships into port have been re-scheduled creating some shipping delays. The damages and delays are expected to cost close to half a million dollars.

Sea Cucumber Queenpin Awaits Another Court Date
She's supposedly the Queenpin of the black market trade in sea cucumber and tonight 49 year old Guatemalan Georgina Maribel Mendez Aldana along with her two Guatemalan employees remains in police custody pending a court hearing. She's already pleaded guilty and paid a two thousand dollar fine for employing Guatemalans. Tomorrow she will appear in court for other offences engaging in commercial fishing whilst not being the holder of a valid Fisherman's License; attempting to export fisheries without a valid exporter's license and engaging in the fishing of Sea cucumbers without a special license. This is after she was caught with 3075 pounds, or 7033 individual sea cucumbers in the back of a borrowed pickup. On Tuesday, we learned from the Fisheries Department that she had apparently forged her 2014 Sea Cucumber license: Hampton Gamboa - Fisheries Supervisor, Conservation Compliance Unit "She had in her possession at the time a contractual agreement signed by a local lawyer for last year with this said person who have an export license. But in our laws its clearly stated under the sea cucumber these license are not transferrable and they are not issued to any company and she had the documentation for this year. We also had to call in the police to look at forgery and things like that. We hope that we can deal with this individual strongly so that it sends a message to the rest of

Stiff Sanctions For Football Melee
By now, we've all seen the ugly scene that played out in the Belize Premier League's semifinal match between FC Belize and FC Verdes. It happened on 26th January at the Marshalleck Stadium in Benque Viejo and yesterday the Disciplinary Committee announced penalties resulting from that event. First off, Norman Nunez Pipersburgh - seen here advancing threateningly on the game referee - has been suspended for (6) months. According to the referee Verdes player Gilroy Thurton actually hit him and he has been suspended for two years. Orland Lyons, the Verdes player who went to the opposing team's bench and emptied out their bags in the mud is suspended for (6) months and so is Gilroy Thurton and Julian Maldonado - who were also verbally abusive to the referee. The decision was also made that the Marshalleck Stadium should not be used until improvements are made.

Sol Gen Hawke Answers Attorney For Immig Officers
Ady Pacheco and Gordon Wade are the two Immigration officers from the Department's Nationality Section who have gotten a lawyer to answer their Director on what happened to the Citizen Kim file - which famously disappeared. In a document obtained by 7News which we showed you yesterday, Godfrey Smith wrote to the Acting Director Maria Marin on January 30th. He told her that his clients don't have to answer for any breech of procedure in handling of the Kim or any other files because they were never provided with an outline of their duties and the Department has no established procedures. And as it relates to Kim, Smith writes that was conceived and engineered by Minister of State Elvin Penner acting either personally or through instructions directed at public officers. Smith tells Director Marin that his clients will not be scapegoats for quote, Minister Penner's disgraceful actions" and they will, quote, "vigorously defend against any disciplinary proceedings before the Public Services Commission and the courts of law," end quote.

The Palm Grove Blues
Palm Grove Estate is a small residential area outside of Belize City, located at mile 4 and a half on the Northern Highway. The residents who live there consider it private property, and so when a decision was made to build an apartment complex in the location, they opposed it. They've been trying to get the Belize City Council to see things their way by showing that it would be detrimental to the community, but they claim that Mayor Darrell Bradley isn't hearing them. According to the Palm Grove Residents, Bradley has pressed forward for the developer to the put the apartment in the community without properly considering their concerns. After weeks of back and forth City Hall in trying to resolve the matter by the use of stop orders, which they say have been ignored, they called 7News out to the area to see the development first hand. Stephen Heusner explained more about their struggle with City Hall: Stephen Heusner, resident "It started out that we found out that they were building this building and we notified the City Council and they said that they have absolutely no knowledge of this building and they check their records and there was nothing there. Anyway, they started building and we got the City Council and they came up and they issued a stop order. When they did their investigations, nothing has been approved by City Council, by the LBA, the CBA, there were no seals on the plans, so they were acting from day one illegally."

Venezuela's Troubles Could Be Belizean Trouble
The Barrow Administration has come under heavy and sustained criticism for corruption in the ranks of its ministers, but no one can argue that right now the Government is spending major money on infrastructure. And most of that is coming from the Venezuelan fund. Through the Petrocaribe initiative, governments all across the Caribbean buy fuel on credit from Venezuela, paying half, and taking the other half as a long term, low-interest loan. Presently, no official figure has been published, but conservative estimates say that the government of Belize has more than 50 million US dollars in its Venezuelan fund - and every time there is a shipment of oil coming into the country, that figure goes up. And that's why what's happening right now in Venezuela is worth watching closely. Hugo Chavez's successor, President Nicolas Maduro is facing a fierce round of anti-government protests. In three weeks of sustained protest, five are dead, dozens injured and the opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was arrested on Tuesday.

Searching For Closure
Today makes exactly 6 years since 17 year-old Anthony Yoshua Roches went missing, and today his family is still looking for closure. No, they don't think that he is still alive, but they want information from whoever has it about where his body can be found so that they could give him a proper burial. Today, his brother spoke with us about what they've had to endure: Joseph Nunez, Brother of Anthony Yoshua Roches "At this time the family is just seeking closure. It's not like we are sitting around thinking that one day he will be coming home today or tomorrow or the day after because we know for a fact that will never happen. It was brought to my attention or doing my investigation I found out that he went on some kind of mischievous act with some of his friends, but they came back but he didn't. And when we approach them they just turn us around, after which we seek help from the police, but to no avail with

BTB Laments Horse and Buggy Accident
It's the cruise tourism high season and almost everyday in the city, there's a crush of tour buses, vans, taxis and horses and carriages jostling alongside regular traffic. On Tuesday in the city, that resulted in a sand truck crashing into a loaded horse and carriage at the corner of Craig and Daly Streets. The truck's back wheel ran over the horse's leg and broke it - right in front of the three tourists on the buggy. The horse named Jack had to be taken away and put down. It's a sad accident, but the kind that's sort of inevitable with so much traffic on the streets. Today the BTB issued a statement saying, quote, "The BTB is grateful that no one was hurt but also saddened by this tragic and unfortunate incident involving the loss of a horse." End quote. The BTB provides training to guides and operators in safety management.

Belize's Maya Treasures Now In Denver
In December we told you all about the show called "Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed" that ran for 6 months at the Science Museum of Minnesota. The show is the most comprehensive view of the maya ever assembled for a North American show - and it features over 200 pieces from Belize. Now, the show has started a five city US tour and it opened up in Denver at the Museum of Nature and Science last week. This is the first show in the new wing of the Museum which costs 70 million dollars to construct. The Maya show fills 20,000 square feet of space and continues through Aug. 24.

Art From the People
On Saturday, Downtown Belize City will be transformed once again into a creative village for arts and craft in the 4th Annual Street Art Festival. The event is fast becoming a tradition where musicians, artists and creators are given a showcase to display their art, and today, the organizers told us that it's getting bigger. Here's what you can expect at this year's Festival: Karen Vernon, organizer "This year as the previous years we have the food court vendors. Vendors will be displaying and selling jewelry, sculptures - what they have to offer. We have a kids zone, we have a youth section; a youth stage. New to this year we will have a side walk chair competition and a carnival section and of course entertainment." Kim Vasquez, organizer "My section is called the kids zone and it is located on Bishop Street, that's the section that runs right beside the Scotia Bank parking lot and that section is filled with activities for children, some of them are just for fun, there is the trampoline, there is face painting and we and we are going to have a magician this year and ICA also has a booth in there that is called the "kids art world" - that's our "pickey" corner as we called it.

High Schoolers Played Well
And finally, tonight we have a story we've been meaning to air since Monday, but just haven't had the time. That doesn't mean it isn't important, we just had to make sure we did it right. It's about the National High Schools football championships which were played at the Carl Ramos Stadium in Dangriga over the weekend. The Delille Academy girls from Dangriga and the boys of Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico from San Roman, Corozal district, won - and the girls game ended in a dramatic shootout. Here's how that went:... The championships are organized by the National Secondary Schools Sports Association and sponsored by Bowen & Bowen Ltd and Crystal Water.

Channel 5

Supal Street Boss, Soup Williams, arraigned for shooting
Thirty-five-year-old Jason ‘Soup’ Williams, the reputed leader of the Supal Street gang, believed to be involved in a near-fatal shooting incident on Tuesday, during which a pair of Belize City [...]

…Meanwhile his nephew’s killer remains at large
Unfortunately, the events of Tuesday night would subsequently trigger a deadly reprisal by members of the George Street gang, resulting in the callous murder of twenty-five-year-old Tarique Cadle.  While Jason [...]

Almost $13,000 stolen from accountant’s FCIB account
Belize City police are tonight investigating the theft of almost thirteen thousand dollars from the bank account of a well-known accountant.  According to the fifty-eight-year-old resident of Albert Hoy Avenue, [...]

Global Fantasies…is it more than just the sale of sex?
Sun, sand, sea and SEX…lots of sex with exotic women lining up to fulfill your every desire…a different woman every twenty-four hours. Sounds incredible, right? Well, it’s not. In fact, [...]

Redundant CitCo security workers transition to private security firm
There is concord between the Christian Workers Union and City Hall, in the wake of pointed, verbal sparring between both parties over the past two weeks. In fact, it’s a [...]

George Dakers sentenced to 3 years for the indecent assault of a minor
  A man who made the mistake of patting a child on her buttocks back in February of last year was sentence to three years in prison after being found [...]

Repeat firearm offender sentenced to 20 years in prison
  Thirty-two-year-old Jevon Levi Slusher, a repeat offender of firearm and ammunition violations, has been sentenced to twenty years after being found guilty of the offenses of kept firearm and [...]

Accused murderer, Jarod Arthurs Lamb, escapes
A second prisoner has escaped from custody while en route to a court hearing. Earlier this month, on February fourth, twenty-nine year old Edwin Paula, an inmate at the Belize [...]

Mayor Bradley says Belize Waste Control to drop court action
When we last spoke to Mayor Darrell Bradley, he had just come out of court after a litigation hearing brought by sanitation company, Belize Waste Control. BWC is suing City [...]

Verdes FC and FC Belize sanctioned for unsportsmanlike altercation
An unsportsmanlike altercation between members of Verdes FC and FC Belize at the Marshalleck Stadium in Benque Viejo Town on January twenty-sixth has resulted in sanctions being brought against both [...]

BWS objects to PUC’s decision on water rates
The Belize Water Services Ltd., following a request to the Public Utilities Commission to increase water rates by sixteen and a quarter percent, objects to the PUC’s initial decision which [...]

Newlywed couple surprised with dream honeymoon despite terminal illness
A recently married Belize City couple today received a pleasant surprise from the Belize Tourism Board, following a request made by the colleagues of the husband to have them enjoy [...]

Horse euthanized after accident
On Tuesday, there was an accident in Belize City which resulted in a horse having to be euthanized. It went somewhat under the media radar, but on the social media [...]

Dog is mutilated by children in Belize City
There is a very disturbing case to report tonight, and it was no accident. In fact, its senseless nature practically defies comprehension. News Five has confirmed reports that on Saturday, [...]

Healthy Living looks at tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, or TB, as it is commonly known, is a fatal infectious disease that attacks the lungs.  It is an airborne disease when people who have an active TB infection [...]


Garbage Drums Are Being Stolen And Sold As Scrap Metal
Garbage woes will always be an issue for any governing body with the responsibility for sanitation. And while garbage collection for the Orange Walk Town Council has been a constant struggle, another one problem has reared its ugly head. According to the Town Councils sanitation department, in the wee hours of the night, garbage dwellers are stealing the drums that are strategically placed in neighborhoods to collect the trash. This has been an ongoing problem and according to Sanitation Foreman at the Town Council, Antonio Baeza it has got to stop. ANTONIO BAEZA – Sanitation Foreman, Town Council “On Monday I personally witness at 4:00am in the morning, two guys on three cycles taking drums, they were taking an old fridge and then Town Board gets the blame for it, and it cause a problem to Town Board or to us because the people have nowhere to dispose of the garbage, they would throw it on the street side and we have a problem with dogs and when we get there, it is all on the street side, is full with garbage and it causes a problem.

Journey To Retain The Crown Of La Diosa Maya International Pageant
Four Central American beauties including a candidate from Orange Walk are in Mexico tonight making last preparations for the La Diosa Maya Internacional Pageant being hosted in Merida, Yucatan tomorrow night. Cecilia Menjivar is representing El Salvador, Eidy Josselyn Bueso is the delegate from Honduras, Luz Estefanía Cobos Rivera is Mexico’s candidate, and Dalina Reyes is this year’s La Diosa Maya Belize. On Tuesday the women presented and posed in their national costume. Dalina Reyes’s costume was designed by designer and choreographer Gabriel Garcia from Orange Walk Town. Garcia was also responsible for designing the costume worn last year by outgoing La Diosa Maya Internacional Griselle Carballo.

COLEF Accepting Belizean Students Through Scholarship Programs From Mexican Embassy
The Embassy of Mexico has announced that applications from interested students are being accepted as seven scholarships are made available for Belizean nationals. The scholarships are for interested students interested in completing a masters and one doctorate degree. The scholarships are for El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF) in Mexico. Press Officer at the Embassy of Mexico Marcelino Miranda tells us more about the scholarships. Marcelino Miranda “The programs that are available are different programs for Master’s Degree and for Doctorate’s Degree. The subjects for Master’s Degree goes from Management to social Science and Engineering an in the case of the Doctorate Degree is in Social Science. Students of Belize who are interested in these programs they can contact the Embassy Mexico at the Institute of Mexico in Belize City and they can do it by phone at 223-1408 or the can come and they can visit us at Belize City. The most important to emphasize in these applications is that this institutions is one of the most prestigious and the programs are registered as the Institute of Mexico for Science and Technology therefore these programs are of high quality and interested students would have the guaranteed that they are going to take one of the most important and recognize programs in Mexico.”

Corozal Taxi Union Share Concerns With The Municipal Transport Department
The movement of taxis across Corozal Town was slow this afternoon and that is because over a hundred taxi drivers pertaining to various taxi unions in the Corozal District were attending a very important meeting with the National and Municipal Transport Department from the Corozal District and the Corozal Town Council. We can tell you off the bat that the meeting turned out to be quite heated as several issues affecting the taxi industry were laid on the table. Reporter Victor Castillo has more on the story. Victor Castillo - Reporting The Andres Campos Civic Center was the center stage, for a meeting between Corozal taxi drivers, officials of the Corozal Transport Department and Corozal Town Council. With the taxi industry being the bread winner for hundreds of families it was important that all stakeholders attend the meeting where a number of issues affecting the industry were discussed.


Leonardo DiCaprio Gives Three Million to Oceana
Oceana, the largest international advocacy group to work on behalf of the world’s oceans, announced a $3 million grant today from the Leonardo DiCaprio foundation aimed at protecting threatened ocean habitat and keystone marine species such as sharks. The foundation’s grant will also support Oceana’s work to advocate for responsible fishing measures, including the effort to ban California drift gillnets. Spread over a three-year period, the $3 million from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is the first marine conservation grant made following the foundation’s 11th Hour Charity Auction hosted at Christie’s last year. The grant to Oceana will support the organization’s work, from the south of Chile to the north of Alaska, to preserve ecologically important ocean areas and Oceana’s campaigns, including the campaign to ban drift gillnets off California, in order to protect dolphins, whales, turtles and other marine animals from being caught and killed as “bycatch.”

Health Training for Community Workers in Southern Belize
Twenty community health workers will receive training in various areas following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Punta Gorda Hospital/Health Education and the Community Participation Bureau of HECOPAB and Medic Force. The goal of the training is to improve health promotion and health education at the community level in the Toledo District. The MOU was signed yesterday with the understanding that training will be given in women’s health focusing on cervical cancer and the importance of pap smears with a session on taking and recording vital signs. The second area of training will focus on the basic introduction in health training which will have the participation of newly selected community health workers from five villages while the third area will be a hands-on project with the construction of eleven latrines in a community. The sessions will be carried out for the period, February 21 through to the 28th. The sessions are carried out and certified by the Ministry of Health through the health-promoting arm of the ministry, HECOPAB.

Huang and Gibson Go Viral on the WWW
Lord Neil Benjamin Gibson – chances are you have probably heard his name before as in July 2013, a local television station reported him to be a fraud that was using, quote, “fantasy ideas to develop a website with videos and articles to fool potential investors into swindling their money.” Unquote. And, even more recently, if you are on any of the social media such as Facebook – you probably have been reading the various links of him announcing his support and backing of the now elected, Cayo South standard bearer for the United Democratic Party, Ralph Huang. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t have been what we call newsworthy, except that the idea of having an aspiring politician be affiliated or being financed by someone who has been labelled or referred to as a fraud does raise some eyebrows. Initially, we thought perhaps the videos shown on Facebook and YouTube were all a hoax as Gibson has listed several projects that he has going in Belize that seem to be nothing but phantom works. So then, we thought, why not ask Ralph Huang, himself and, that is exactly what we did. Huang confirmed for us via telephone today that Gibson is a personal friend of his.

City Council’s Finances Shaping Up; Court Matter Settled with Belize Waste Control
Last week the Belize City Council was taken to court by Belize Waste Control once again but on this occasion it resulted in a different manner. As a matter of fact, Belize City Mayor, Darrell Bradley can now breathe a sigh of relief because they are now inching their way closer in being debt free with the garbage collecting agency. Bradley says that the matter has been settled out of court and he explained why. MAYOR DARRELL BRADLEY “I thought it was unusual and, I would say, in bad faith when you took us to court when we have been paying you. I made it clear in December that we were going to pay them down and we are at the precipice of bringing this thing within what we are legally allowed to be in arrears with them in accordance with the contract which is at four weeks.

Residents Approach Mayor on Unwelcomed Construction
Residents of Palm Grove Estate in Belize City are up in arms against the construction of a massive five floor building in that community. Residents say that the building plan was not approved by the city council and the building will negatively impact the residents. However, Mayor Darrell Bradley welcomes the three point five million dollars investment. MAYOR DARRELL BRADLEY “I will respond to the concerns in two ways; the first is this, the city is actively coating investments within Belize City. When you look at the development trends, Belize City, as a city is failing, the population is going down; the only thing that will allow us to reverse that situation is if we can attract investment in the city. One of the ways that we are seeking to attract investment is to enhance the waterfront area and the area along the northern highway; so, any development that is going to go along there is going to receive support from the city; that support does not mean that we are going to violate any processes or we are going to by-pass any processes.

Three Years for Touching Minor’s Rear
Forty- eight year old George Dakers, a construction worker charged with aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon a 12 year old girl, was sentenced to three years today by the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith after he was found guilty of the charge. The complainant, a primary school student, testified in camera that at around 2 p.m. on May 11, 2013, she went to Dakers’ house and asked him for a nail. She said Dakers told her he did not have any and when she was leaving the house Dakers squeezed her buttocks. The girl’s mother testified that her daughter told her what had happened and she called 911 and contacted the police. The police arrived promptly and took Dakers into custody. Dakers was charged after the girl gave the police a statement in the presence of her mother. Dakers testified and denied that he committed the offence. He claimed that the girl’s testimony was untrue. But Chief magistrate believed the girl’s story and she found Dakers guilty.

Gang Leader Opens Fire on Police
Jason “Soup” Williams, the person who allegedly fired shots at two police officers, was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and discharging a firearm in public when he appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Williams pled not guilty to the charges. He was remanded into custody until March 20. Police constables Jason Augustine and Elvin Nah reported that on Monday Night, February 18, they were on patrol on Orange Street when they heard what sounded like gunshots. They said when they arrived at the corner of Bishop Street and West Canal Street they saw Williams and he opened fire on them but they were not injured. The shooting is believed to be related to a shooting earlier in which two persons were shot.

Mercy Killing Conducted on Horse
On Tuesday of this week, a vehicle collided with a horse from Gabourel and Sons on Craig Street. The collision resulted in the horse breaking its front left leg. The Belize tourism Board was notified of the incident and in a release issued out today, BTB says that immediately contacted the Animal Medical Centre to examine the injured horse. Following the examination of the horse’s injury and upon the advice of the veterinary experts, the horse, named Jack, was relocated to a peaceful area and humanely sedated & euthanized. Following the event, there has been public outcry on behalf of the horse which was named Jack. BTB says that it is grateful that no one was hurt but also saddened by this tragic and unfortunate incident involving the loss of a horse. The Police Department is investigating the incident. Those who know of the incident hav launched an online petition on to enforce the proper care for the horses under the Cruelty to Animals Act, Chapter 115.

Re: Today's Belize News: February 21, 2014 [Re: Marty] #486469
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2nd Prisoner in One Month Escapes from Moving Police Vehicle
Jarod Arthurs Lamb, also known as “Steel Bob”, somehow managed to free himself from a police van while he was being transported this morning. The accused murderer was on his way to the San Ignacio Court for his scheduled appearance. According to reports, Lamb escaped from the van while...

Allegations of Terminations, Suspensions and Resignations from the Lands Department
Over the last two days, media reports have been about the unconfirmed dismissal of 3 very senior public officers from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture. The three officers were all reportedly appointed by the Minister of Natural Resources Gaspar Vega to fill very senior posts in the...

Land Scammer Remanded to Kolbe
And in another land related story; a resident of Belmopan says he was swindled out of almost twelve thousand dollars by an individual he knows goes by the name Cesar Mesh. The victim, who wished to remain unidentified, told us that Mesh took him to a property in...

Police Apologize for Unresponsiveness to Bad Dog Situation
The issue, as it relates to stray dogs attacking residents of the Capital has raised many public concerns as it has also brought to light that neither the City Council or the Police Department seem to be responsible for dealing with the matter. On Tuesday, February 18th, one resident...

Suspected Gang Leader Charged in Tuesday Night Shooting
In the #1 Magistrate’s Court today Jason “Soup” Williams, an alleged gang leader and the man police suspect was behind Tuesday night’s shooting of Kariq Tzul and Andrew Tate on West Canal near King Street, was charged for two counts of aggravated assault and discharging a firearm in public....

Man Squeezes Girl’s Buttocks, Gets 3 Years In Prison
48 year old George Dakers, a construction worker of Belize City, began a three-year prison term today after being found guilty of aggravated assault of an indecent nature for an incident that took place last May. Mr. Dakers was accused of squeezing the buttocks of a 12-year-old primary school...

15 Year Sentence for Unlicensed Gun
A Belize City youth who was convicted late this evening is serving his first night of a 15 year sentence behind bars after he was found guilty of three firearm related offenses. He is 21-year-old Lindbergh Alexander Clarke. This evening, before Magistrate Hettie Mae-Stewart, Clarke was found guilty...

Police Officers Investigated for Extortion
Plus news has received credible information that three police officers attached to the Patrol Branch of the San Ignacio police are under investigation for alleged extortion. No charges have been filed as yet but we understand that the allegation of extortion is connected to a traffic offense.

Female Scams Friend’s Boyfriend Via Western Union
San Pedro police are looking for a woman after she reportedly scammed a man out of $1900.00, while using his girlfriend’s name to do so. 18 year old Kendra Mejia made the report to police saying that her female friend received two separate money transfers via Western Union. Those...

Thief Uses Man’s ATM Card To Steal Over $12,000
A 58-year-old Belizean accountant reported that sometime between Thursday, January 2 and Friday, January 24, someone withdrew a total of $12,978.00 from his First Caribbean Bank account using his First Caribbean Credit Card at the First Caribbean Bank ATM machine located at the San Cas Plaza in Belize City...

BWS Objects to PUC Decision on Water Rates
Director of Water Services for the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), Rudolph Williams, confirmed to PLUS News this afternoon that the PUC’s initial decision on the Annual Review Proceeding (ARP) for Belize Water Services Limited (BWS) has not been finalized as the water provider has objected. On January 30, 2014,...

The Guardian

Another Industry Saved by the UDP
"History must record when it is read that at this time of crisis and at this juncture in the saga of this crisis that it was the government of the Honorable Prime Minister and a UDP government that stepped in and put us on a footing forward…” – Citrus Grower and Former PUP Belmopan Mayor Anthony Chanona Telecommunications, water and sewer services, electricity, sugar, aquaculture, tourism, construction, banking… These are only some of the industries that Prime Minister Barrow and the United Democratic Party Government have saved in less than six years in office. The most recent industry to have been rescued from the brink of collapse is the citrus industry. Late last week the management of the Citrus Products of Belize Limited reached out to Prime Minister Barrow because it was experiencing difficulty generating enough working capital to keep the factory open. That would have signaled the painful death of the entire citrus industry. Prime Minister Barrow was already planning to mediate negotiations between the key stakeholders in the industry in an effort to dissolve long standing disputes between parties. However, after learning that the industry was clinging to the edge, Prime Minister Barrow said, “The pace of the negotiations I have been seeking to conduct with the various parties naturally quicken, became absolutely urgent.”

Immigration Officers present their defence
Sharon Neal-Flowers, Erwin Robinson, and Omar Phillips, all immigration officers from the Passports Section of the Immigration Department have had their opportunity to defend themselves and their reputations as public officers before a tribunal of the Public Service Commission, which was held on Wednesday, February 19, in Belmopan. These 3 officers were the same officers who were suspended at the initial stages when the “Citizen Kim” Passport scandal was exposed by Prime Minister Dean Barrow when he took action against former Minister of State, Elvin Penner. These officers’ name became synonymous with the irregular Belizean passport issued to international fugitive Won Hong Kim, where it was suggested that they may have had a hand in the production of that fraudulent document. They finally got their opportunity to present their defence and have the tribunal give it whatever weight they saw fit. That hearing took place behind closed doors where the Director of Immigration Maria Marin presented evidence against all 3 of them, to show exactly what role they supposedly had to play in the passport scandal.

The PUP picked the absolute worst of the worst to be the errand boy to deliver an application for Judicial Review against the commissioner of police. Surely enough, the PUP know that the motion that they are seeking will really not get off the ground, so they decided to go to the one PUP attorney who is really not afraid to take a loss. Shortly before 4p.m. on Wednesday Anthony Sylvester took the walk from across the river at Musa and Balderamos and made his way to the Supreme Court Registry to lodge their application. After coming out from the errand, he waxed to the media. "Blah Blah Blah, Blah Blah, Blah," he stated and even responded to the Prime Minister's challenge that "the PUP, the opposition, is able to mount a private prosecution, if they feel so strongly that there is evidence to justify a prosecution; launch a private prosecution. That's perfectly in order it's their entitlement." In his response Sylvester proclaimed that only persons who have lawful custody of the documents can make a complaint to the police. When pressed that at one point the PUP, Arthur Saldivar from the PUP in particular, had possession of the documents, he stated that Saldivar is not the PUP. He almost went as far as to say that he is not a representative of the PUP. Asked if Saldivar was illegally in possession of the documents, Sylvester skirted around the issue. Simply put, he could not answer the question. This is typical of an attorney who makes a living off cut and pasting information to present in court and when pressed, cannot answer direct questions, especially if his mentor, Said Musa is not by his side.

One positive case of Bovine Tuberculosis has been identified from Belize
After repeated tests in the Central Regional Laboratory in Merida on January 27, 2014, a sample from one cattle farm in Belize, has tested positive for the Mycobaterium bovis; a bacterium in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex of the family Mycobacteriacea known to cause Bovine Tuberculosis. This particular type of bacteria has the ability of crossing the animal to human species barrier. This single case can have both trade and public health implications for Belize. Given the zoonotic nature of Bovine Tuberculosis, meaning it affects both humans and animals, several entities within Belize are now involved; such as the Ministry of Health (Public Health Department) and the Food Safety and Animal Health Departments within the Belize Agricultural Health Authority BAHA. Bovine Tuberculosis on rare occasions can be contracted by humans from infected cattle via the inhalation of aerosols or the ingestion of unpasteurized milk or by eating unpasteurized cheese. The disease can affect the lungs, lymph nodes and other parts of the human body.

Praises where it is Due!!!
Former PUP Mayor of Belmopan, Anthony Chanona, articulated what hundreds of citrus farmers hold in their hearts: "History must record when it is read that at this time of crisis and at this juncture in the saga of this crisis that it was the government of the Honorable Prime Minister and a UDP government that stepped in and put us on a footing forward.” The caneros of Northern Belize would like to share ownership of Chanona’s words as well. When that industry was at the brink of collapse and the company was having trouble meeting its debt obligation the UDP Government bailed them out with millions of dollars. Government then scouted for a strategic investor to ensure the long term viability of the industry and now the farmers are receiving more than they ever have for their sugarcane as the industry is expanding. Even some of the caneros who are die hard P.U.P. would like to wrap themselves in Chanona’s now famous words.

Preserving Wildlife Connectivity & Enhancing Human Development:
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish and protect Belize’s biological corridors and core areas that function as habitat for jaguars and their prey will be signed at 10 a.m. on Friday February 21, at the Black Orchid Resort, Burrell Boom Village, Belize District. Signatories to the MOU will include the Government of Belize, through the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries, and Sustainable Development, the University of Belize through its Environmental Research Institute (ERI), and Panthera. The ERI, is dedicated to the science and conservation of natural resources and the development of Belizean human capacity. Panthera is a global non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of wild cat species and their habitats, with a long history of jaguar conservation efforts in Belize and the Mesoamerican region. The jaguar, because of its mobility and sensitivity to human presence, along with its ecological function and its role in human culture, can provide an effective focus for monitoring the integrity of core areas and for corridor identification and conservation.

One positive case of Bovine Tuberculosis has been identified from Belize
After repeated tests in the Central Regional Laboratory in Merida on January 27, 2014, a sample from one cattle farm in Belize, has tested positive for the Mycobaterium bovis; a bacterium in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex of the family Mycobacteriacea known to cause Bovine Tuberculosis. This particular type of bacteria has the ability of crossing the animal to human species barrier. This single case can have both trade and public health implications for Belize. Given the zoonotic nature of Bovine Tuberculosis, meaning it affects both humans and animals, several entities within Belize are now involved; such as the Ministry of Health (Public Health Department) and the Food Safety and Animal Health Departments within the Belize Agricultural Health Authority BAHA. Bovine Tuberculosis on rare occasions can be contracted by humans from infected cattle via the inhalation of aerosols or the ingestion of unpasteurized milk or by eating unpasteurized cheese. The disease can affect the lungs, lymph nodes and other parts of the human body. While precautions are being urged, the experts say that healthy humans with a strong immune system will be able to deal with the Mycobacterium bovis naturally. (The human genome has in its record contacts with microbiological pathogens over the millions of years of evolution.)

Teenage Girl in Jail for Lying about Being Raped
Myesha Williams, 18, of #39 Neal’s Pen Road is in the Belize Central Prison because she lied about being raped over the weekend. According to police, Williams visited the Raccoon Street Police Station at about 4 a.m. on Saturday, February 15th. There she reported to WPC #953 Marroquin that she was sexually assaulted by a man. Police have not revealed the man’s name. Williams then took police to her Neal’s Pen Road home where she showed them a damaged door lock at the front door and then the bedroom where the alleged rape took place. Scenes of crime technicians processed the area and took photos. Williams was then taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for examination. However, Dr. Jose Guerra’s examination led him to a professional opinion that there was no sign of abuse upon Williams. She was then taken back to the police station where she was further interrogated by the WPC. It was during the interrogation that Williams came clean saying, “I meh only want they deal with the man. I am sorry I made up the report.” She was then charged with committing a mischievous act.

Big Tom Fined for Indecent Words to Police Officers
The notorious “Big Tom” was arrested by police again on Sunday, February 16th. Some years ago Big Tom, whose real name is Kenneth Flowers, was thought to be dead after reports surfaced that he was shot and killed while in the United States. That proved not to be true when Flowers was recently deported to Belize. Since his arrival in Belize he has had several encounters with police and, though he claims to be a changed man, Flowers has faced charges of associating with a criminal gang. His most recent charge came from an encounter he had with police on Sunday. According to police officer Alyson Revers, sometime around 8:55 a.m. on Sunday he and other officers were on mobile patrol on Mahogany Street when his attention was drawn to a bronze coloured Honda four door car that was travelling without a license plate. The officers stopped the vehicle and the occupants started to curse him out. Revers claims that Flowers was one of four occupants who used indecent words towards him while he was executing his duty. According to Revers, Flowers used indecent words to him three times while challenging the officers’ decision to stop and search the vehicle. As a result, he was arrested and charged for using indecent words toward PC #1411 Alyson Revers.

Tarique Cadle’s Murder a Retaliation for Earlier Shooting
Tarique “Paulie” Cadle, 25, was shot in the head at about 9:31 a.m. on Wednesday, February 19th, at #376 Plues Street in Belize City. He later succumbed to the injury caused by the bullet, becoming the latest youngster to die from gun violence in the old capital. Cadle lives in the Supal Street area and for his neighbours there is no doubt as to what the motive for his murder was. Everyone in the area believes that Cadle was killed in retaliation to a shooting which occurred just over ten hours earlier. According to police report, sometime after 11 p.m. on Tuesday, February 18th, George Street Gang affiliates Andrew Tate and Kariq Tzul were sitting on a step inside a yard at the corner of West Canal and King Street when a lone gunman came walking from the direction of George Street and opened fire as he got close.

Found dead in a Vat
After being missing for more than a week, police finally found the body of 61 year-old Lester Yorke Rowland, also known as “Doggy” or “Tin Man” on Monday, February 17. The post-mortem will have to confirm, but investigators believe that he was killed and then dumped inside his cement water vat, where his body had been decomposing. 2 hours before his body was discovered inside the vat, officers found his white Ford taxi car abandoned in a drain at the corner of Faber’s and Crewman Roads. The persons driving it ran it in the drain and left it there with the key in the ignition. That was the first ominous sign that Rowland may have been killed. The suspicions were confirmed when residents of Guerrero street started smelling the odour of decay and they noticed scavenger birds circling Rowland’s house. Investigation by persons in the area revealed that a body, strongly suspected to be Lester Rowland, was found inside the cement vat, which is in the yard, right next to his house.

Gold thief caught in Belize
Raonel Valdez, a 33 year-old Cuban refuge, wanted by the US for a 2.8 million dollar gold heist in Florida has been captured by Belizean authorities, and it is expected that he will be handed over to the US authorities. Valdez was caught in the bushes just outside of Benque Viejo, where the Immigration authorities believe that he entered after crossing the Belizean Guatemalan border illegally. He had a Cuban passport, but no stamp which showed that he entered the country legally. He was charged with illegal entry, and he was arraigned and fined $2,000, which he was able to pay, but because he entered the country through the Guatemlan border, he couldn’t be deported to that country because he didn’t have a stamp for that country either. Faced with the immigration issue, he was sent to jail for 6 months, and that’s when the immigration authorities started looking into his credentials.

Body found in Guinea Grass
Orange Walk Police have confirmed that a body they discovered just outside of Guinea Grass Village, on February 18, is that of 23 year-old Luis Moreno, an Orange Walk resident who went missing for about 10 days prior. The body was found on the Rancho Lalo Farm, located 2 and a half miles on the Guinea Grass Road. Moreno’s skeletal remains were found about 400 meters off the road, under a group of cohune trees. The body, which was initially suspected to be that of a male, was also strongly suspected to be Moreno long before it was confirmed. His mother, Marcela Moreno, had been worried about him the entire time, and she believed that she had found her son dead. She confirmed on February 19 that it was Luis Moreno when Orange Walk Police took her to the discovery site. She recognized him from a pair of boxers and a sweater he was wearing.

Honduran in Jail for Immigration Offense
Honduran Johnny Patricio Martinez,42, is in jail after he was unable to pay a fine for failure to comply with a visitor’s permit. Martinez was born in Honduras and got naturalized as an Italian. He arrived in Belize on July 28th of 2004 and was given a month to stay in the country. On Tuesday, February 11th, immigration officials were conducting a routine search of immigrants in the Jane Usher Boulevard area and picked up Martinez. He could not provide any document to show that he is legally living in Belize and immigration officials launched a quick investigation into his immigration status. Records show that after his one month stay was completed in 2004 he received an extension for an additional month which ended on October 2nd, 2004. Almost nine and a half years later, he has not applied for an extension of that stay.

Darrington Lauriano charged with Attempted Rape
A 22-year-old woman from Hattieville Village says that Darrington Lauriano attempted to rape her. Lauriano, who is no stranger to police, was arrested and taken to the Belize City Magistrates Court on Friday, February 14th, to answer to a charge of attempted rape. The complainant told police that she was at a house with her friend in Hattieville when they heard a knock at the door. They went to see who it was but no one was there. According to the woman, minutes later a strong breeze blew the door opened and that was when they saw Lauriano. He walked into the door and stood there watching them. Lauriano then walked into the living room and sat in a chair where they were. She said he sat there not saying anything and when she got up to go to the bathroom he followed her. The woman claims that was when Lauriano started to tell her how he had been in love with her for a while but didn’t know how to tell her. When she tried to walk out of the bathroom Lauriano attacked her and pulled her into a bedroom where he jumped on top of her and tried to rape her. The woman fought him off and escaped.

Mexican skips Bail
Zurisaday Villasenor Mendez, the Mexican national who was allegedly caught by Corozal police with a small stash of weapons and drugs, has been out on bail Since February 10, because he didn’t attend his court hearing on February 18, the authorities strongly suspect that he has absconded. Mendez was granted bail of $75,000, and he needed to show up to court on Tuesday, February 18 for a routine adjournment before Magistrate Narda Morgan. His case can’t progress because a constitutional challenge launched in the Supreme Court has delayed it, but he was supposed to attend the Wednesday hearing, which he skipped out on.

Yhony Rosado in Trouble Again!
Yhony Rosado, owner of a popular cave tubing operation, is in trouble with the law again. Rosado appeared in the Belize City Magistrates Court on Friday, February 14th, to face a charge for fighting in the Fort Street Tourism Zone. Vitalino Reyes Sr. reported to police that he was attacked by Rosado on Boxing Day, December 26th, 2013 while on Fort Street in Belize City. Reyes is the father of Vitalino Reyes Jr. who accused Rosado of pulling a gun at him in the same area two years ago. Rosado was exonerated from that charge after the witness testimonies proved to be inconsistent. Rosado also claims to be innocent of this latest charge. He appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith being represented by Kareem Musa. Rosado pleaded not guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct and was offered bail in the sum of $500 plus one surety of the same amount. He was ordered to stay away from the virtual complainant, Vitalino Reyes Sr. Rosado will reappear in court to face the charge on March 25th of this year.

BTL Park reborn
Friday February 14th was Valentine's day and a more appropriate day could not have been chosen for the official launch of the BTL Park on Newtown Barracks. As the billing had anticipated it would have been an event that would have attracted hundreds to the newly completed park. More than hundreds however, thousands of Belizeans flocked to the new facilities to enjoy time with friends family and loved ones as well as to soak in the newest recreational complex in Belize City. The day’s event started with a children's section where they were entertained by the favorite cartoon characters brought to life on stage. Everyone was there like Spongebob, Mickey Mouse, Dora, Diego and many others. These characters entertained the young ones while adults either walked around checking out the mechanical rides, the food kiosks and other forms of entertainment in the park.

BTB and EU Break Ground on Infrastructure Projects for Archaeological Sites
Minister of Tourism Culture and Civil Aviation, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., European Union’s Ambassador to Belize, H.E. Paola Amadei, and Area Representative for Belize Rural North, Hon. Edmund Castro, broke ground on infrastructural works at the Altun Ha archaeological reserve on Wednesday, February 12th. Altun Ha is one of nine archaeological reserves that will benefit from a European Union funded project entitled “Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites (MTBCAAS)”. The Belize Tourism Board is the implementing agency of the $4 million project supported by the European Union in which nine archaeological sites will be renovated over the next year. The project falls under phase 2 of the European Union’s Belize Rural Development Program. Ambassador Paola Amadei from the Delegation of the European Union to Jamaica, Belize, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands and the Cayman Islands said, “Tourism is an effective way to target rural development.” At the groundbreaking ceremony she said, “It is a symbolic event as this EU funded project aims on one side to improve the experience of tourists visiting the archaeological sites AND as well promotes employment and better opportunities in the communities in the proximity of the archaeological site. This project has the component of promoting community development.”

No Cabinet Shuffle
Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, smiled at rumors that have been running fast and wild over the social media and on the lips of PUP political vultures that there was going to be a Cabinet shuffle shortly. PM barrow explained that, "I don't know where it came from. That is absolutely without no foundation at all." With that he dispensed with the rumors and those who are trying to create mischief for the current UDP government. And while there will be no shuffle, PM Barrow explained that his time when he returns from the U.S. on Friday of this week, will be consumed with the budged exercise which will be the best budget presented ever.

Cayo South Standard Bearer Convention
The United Democratic Party Secretariat presided over the 5th electoral convention on Sunday February 16th to elect a Standard Bearer for the party in the Cayo South Constituency. So far there have been 4 other constituencies that have selected Standard Bearers by elections and two that have gone the route of endorsement. Sunday's convention saw Ralph Huang, Michael Hulse and Ernest Patnett go into elections at the Our Lady of Fatima RC School in Roaring Creek. Like all conventions that the UDP holds, polling started at 10 in the morning and was complete at 5. After an hour of counting 2,194 ballots, Ralph Huang emerged victorious with 1,306 votes; Ernest Patnett received 778 while Michael Hulse received 86. There were 24 rejected ballots.

Collett’s Dilema
Collett Montejo must feel like a ragdoll after he decided to endorse Luke Espat as the hopeful for the Cayo Central constituency for the PUP. He must be feeling like this after he gave up his loyalty to the other PUP hopeful in that constituency, Dan Silva. But the loyalty, as we understand it, to Silva has some financial background to it since Dan had assisted Montejo in the last general elections to the tune of thousands of dollars and now, because of his shift in loyalty it is being called on.

Education Minister on National Tour
Minister of Education Hon. Patrick Faber has once again engaged on a national tour of schools across the country. More than just doing the rounds at the schools, he has undertaken to meet with all stakeholders in the education system and more importantly with the parents. According to Minister Faber, the tour is designed so that he is able to get a first hand look at the education system in every corner of the country. He says that in his visits to the schools he takes time out to explain to the teachers and the students the ministry's works and vision and also to get the concerns that are out there. So far he has visited schools in urban and rural areas of the Orange Walk and Toledo District and the minister says it has been a pleasure to do so. He explained that he was impressed by an agricultural program that is being run by a teacher, Mr. Chi, in Santa Cruz (Botes) in the Orange Walk District. It is a novel program and one that encourages students to alternatives to the academic side of education he stated.

Denny Endorsed
The sounds of "Eye of the Tiger" the thunderclap of fireworks and balloon drops filled the People's Stadium in Orange Walk as Denny Grijalva made his entrance to be was officially endorsed as the UDP's Standard Bearer for the Orange Walk Central constituency on Saturday February 15th. With UDP officials including the Deputy Party Leader, Hon. Gaspar Vega, Party Chairman, Alberto August, and Secretary General Pearl Stuart present; there was a thunderous applause and cheering as Grijalva made his entrance. Other invited guests at the endorsement included Orange Walk East Standard Bearer, Elodio Aragon Jr.; Orange Walk South Standard Bearer, Juan de Dios Moguel; and Orange Walk Central supporters who resoundingly endorsed Grijalva as the new Standard Bearer.

Integrity Commission not yet empanelled
The Integrity Commission cannot be empanelled as yet as two members did not accept the appointment. That announcement was made on February 10th. The office of the Prime Minister issued a release on that day announcing that the two members refused the appointment because they would be deemed Politically Exposed Persons (PEPS) and as such would have to adhere to new legislation which would have them declare all their assets and even their friends and acquaintances would have to do likewise. | Speaking to the media on Monday February 10th, PM Barrow explained that he has not yet been able to identify replacements and he is uncertain that those who remain will be taking up the positions given the requirements. He said that checks will have to also be made with the Leader of the Opposition as well to see if the persons he recommended will want to serve given the requirements.

#1 Island In The World - Again!
For a second year in a row, Ambergris Caye is the ‘#1 Island in the World,’ according to Trip Advisor’s 2014 Travellers’ Choice Islands. Ambergris Caye beat out destinations such as Providenciales in Turks and Caicos, Bora Bora in the Society Islands, and even Marco Island in Florida, for the coveted title. According to Trip Advisor, “The beautiful Belize island offers the perfect blend of modern development and laid-back tranquility.” Recognizing the natural resources and beauty of Ambergris Caye and its surroundings, Trip Advisor cites the Blue Hole as a part of what makes this destination so appealing, “Reef divers drool over the Belize Barrier Reef and the Blue Hole, a 400-feet deep circle of limestone that teems with angelfish, elkhorn coral, cleaner shrimp and stalactites.”

PUP’s negligence injures two in Ladyville
Because of poor planning, 2 Ladyville residents got shot at a family event planned by the PUP on Sunday February 19. About 200 residents attended a family day where the neighbourhood kids participated in basketball and football competitions for most of the day without incident. The football section of the event finished, and all that was left was for the trophies and prizes to be given out. In the evening, the basketball competition was still ongoing, and so everyone crowded into the Ladyville Basketball Court waiting for the event to finish completely. Reportedly, while one of the basketball games was ongoing, there was a misunderstanding between individuals known to police, and one of them left after he felt that he was disrespected. He then went home and returned with a shotgun. That man then snuck back onto the basketball court compound, hid from whoever he intended to attack, and while everyone was enjoying themselves, he took aim at a group of people on top of the bleachers.

Resource Center in Cayo opened
A renovated library and new resource center, The Santa Elena Resource Center, was inaugurated on Monday morning of this week in Santa Elena Town, Cayo District. It fulfills a long formed dream from the residents of Santa Elena Town, when 17 years ago a library was built at the same location, with funds from the Baron Bliss Trust Fund. But this time the complete finishing of the Santa Elena Public Library and new computer room was built with funds from an Inter American Development Bank Loan Two Program, which had been obtained by the Government of Belize. Present for Monday’s opening were students from the Saint Ignatius Roman Catholic and Eden Seventh Day Adventist High Schools as well as representatives of the Eden Seventh Day Adventist Primary School, who are now the main beneficiaries of a freshly painted library and fully equipped and air conditioned computer room.

University of Belize partners with European Union in Masters and PhD Scholarships Opportunities for Belizeans
The opportunity for Belizeans to pursue a Masters or a PhD degree is available once again through a program offered by the nation’s tertiary institution, the University of Belize. The European Union project has provided funding for the scholarships through “The Caribbean-Pacific Islands Mobility Scheme (CARPIMS). CARPIMS III is funded by the Education, Audio-Visual and Culture Agency (EACEA) of the European Union, and is designed to facilitate the movement of Masters and PhD students and staff among a consortium of Universities from the Caribbean and Pacific regions. The program aims at building capacity and encouraging socioeconomic development in each country and each region.

Toledo Diplomats upsets the San Pedro Tigersharks
The 2014 National Elite Basketball League continued over the last weekend with a number of games across the country. On Friday night at the Andres Campos Stadium in Corozal Town, the visiting Belize City “No Limit” defeated the Corozal Heats by the score of 78 – 75. In Dangriga Town at the Y-NOT Island, the Dangriga Warriors edged out the Belmopan Bandits by the score of 57-56. The top scorers for the Dangriga Warriors were Trevaughan Usher who scored 16 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal and Jamir Flores who contributed 10 points towards the win. Flores also had 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. For the Belmopan Bandits, the top scorers were Jamal Harris with 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals, and Kyle Pascascio with 11 points, 2 rebounds and 8 steals.

Delille girls and Escuela Mexico boys are High Schools National Football Champs
The 2013-2014 National Secondary Schools Football Championship came to an end on Friday and Saturday February 14 and 15, 2014 respectively, at the Carl Ramos Stadium in Dangriga Town. In the female championship game Delille Academy representing the Southern Region defeated Orange Walk Technical High School representing the Northern Region in penalty by the score of 4-3 to capture the national title. At the end of regulation time the game had ended 1-1. In over time the game also ended 1-1 and it was in the penalty that Delille Academy prevailed. The penalties for Delille Academy were scored by Shayama Caliz (2), Naomi Gamboa and Orel Gillett while the goals for Orange Walk Technical were scored by Gisel Baeza and Noriely Terry. In the consolation game played earlier in the morning, St. Ignatius High School representing the Western Region defeated Gwen Lizarraga High School representing the Central Region by the score of 2-1 in overtime. At the end of regulation time, the game ended 1-1and in overtime St. Ignatius High School prevailed. The goals for St. Ignatius High School were scored by Jinelle Smith while the goal for Gwen Lizarraga High School was scored by Vivica Young.

Primary schools softball competition rolls on at the Rogers Stadium
The 2013-2014 Belize City Primary Schools Softball Competition continues at the Rogers Stadium on a daily basis. On Tuesday February 18, in the girls game played, St. John Vianney School defeated Trinity Methodist by the score of 15-0. The winning pitcher was Camyrn Hinds and the losing pitcher was Davena Perera. In the boys’ game played, Unity Presbyterian School edged Trinity Methodist by the score of 4-2. The winning pitcher was Shemmar Bowen and the losing pitcher was Wilson Lalin. On Monday February 17, in the girls’ game, Holy Redeemer School defeated St. John’s Primary School by the score of 23-3. The winning pitcher was Leeza Russel and the losing pitcher was Kayja Gordon.

Nazarene High School maintains lead in high school softball
The Central Region Secondary Schools Softball Competition continues at Rogers Stadium in Belize City. On Tuesday February 18, in female competition, Nazarene High School continued on its winning path when it defeated Anglican Cathedral College by the score of 15-2. The winning pitcher was Elma Wade and the losing pitcher was Ashley Alarcon. In the male competition, Nazarene High also upended Ladyville Technical High School by the score of 11-1. The winning pitcher was Jerome Carr and the losing pitcher was Isaac Dominguez. On Monday February 17, in the female game, St. Catherine Academy defeated Pallotti High School by the score of 24-9. The winning pitcher was Jacqueline Alas and the losing pitcher was Jinelle Flowers.

Angel Tzib captures 19th Annual Digicell Valentine’s Cycling Classic
The Cycling Federation of Belize in partnership with Belize Telemedia Ltd. and Digicell sponsored the 19th Annual Digicell Valentine’s Cycling Classic that was held on Sunday February 16, 2014. The Elite/Open and Master riders all commence their 90 miles journey at 8:00 am from in front of Leslie’s Imports on the George Price Highway and travelled all the way to mile 46 in front of the Belmopan Airstrip and then back to Leslie’s Imports for the finish. At the conclusion of the 3:55:49 event Angel Tzib who is unattached was the first rider to cross the finish line to capture his first national title. He received $800.00, a Net book and a trophy. The second rider to cross the finish line was Giovanni Lovell of BTL Cycling Team and he received $600.00 and a trophy, third place went to Darnell Barrow of Smart and he received $400.00 and a trophy, fourth place went to Byron Pope of Benny’s Megabytes and he received $200.00 and a medal, while fifth place went to Ron Vasquez of Western Spirit and he received $100.00 and a medal to round off the top five finishers in the race.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Belize Fishermen Hosting Workshop On Caye Caulker
Saturday Feb. 22. 9am


Going to My Dentist on Ambergris Caye: Beach Pics
So let me show you what it’s like to travel to a dentist appointment in the great place on earth. My dentist is located about 4 miles north of town, just south of Las Terrazas Resort, so I need to hop on the Coastal Express Water Taxi. My boat dropped me off at my dentist’s residence/rental home Blue Dolphin to continue on north. And then to the side and towards the back, my dentist. Joan and Mark are from Minnesota but have owned property (including the Conch Shell Inn) and have been coming to San Pedro forever. I’ve been going to Dr. Mark since I first arrived in San Pedro – introduced by some friends of mine. There are actually quite a few dentists in San Pedro to choose from…but this is about pictures not useful information!

Cricel and Rigo Represent Belize
Cricel Castillo(Figure B Class) and Rigo Vellos(Light Heavyweight Bodybuilding) are going to the Arnold Sports Festival to represent Belize. The festival has been going since 1989, and is one of the world's largest multi-sport fitness events. About 175,000 sports fans are expected to see 18,000 athletes compete in a variety of more than 45 sports and events. It's in Columbus, Ohio, and it starts on the 27th. Best of luck, Cricel and Rigo! Last November, Rigo, kept his Mr. Belize title, and Cricel won Ms. Body Fitness.

Belikin La Ruta Maya Promo
Belikin has released an epic La Ruta Maya promo. You might want to watch this one more than once. The Cultural Night is 2 weeks from tonight, and the race starts on Friday, March 7th. "Get ready for the biggest race of the year, the Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge. See you at the race and along the stops. Belikin will be there, making it a party as always."

Belriv Ecotourism Expo
The Community Baboon Sanctuary Women's Conservation Group has their Belize River Valley Ecotourism Expo tomorrow, Friday, February 21st, and Saturday, in Bermudian Landing. They'll have an open market, information booths, tons of food, local wines, and a country music sing-off too. They'll end the nights with a dance. Email [email protected] for more information.

Cayo is for Birding
Jeremy and I said goodbye to Phil, Katherine, and Kitty at the Belize airport, and then headed straight to the zoo. We had just finished a wonderful week of birding and working with Belize Audubon on the official Forsyth Audubon trip. Phil and I wrote a series of posts about the trip on the Forsyth Audubon blog. I wanted to stay longer than eight days, so I was very happy that Forsyth Audubon President and fellow Belize traveler, Jeremy Reiskind, also wanted a few more days in Belize. The Belize Zoo calls itself “The best little zoo in the world” and we agree. It was clean, interesting, and the animals appeared to be cared for very well. An added bonus was the many wild birds seen at the zoo. Many enjoy sharing fruit served to the zoo animals. One of our favorite birds was a Common Tody-Flycatcher who flitted about just a few feet from the platform by the Howler Monkeys. We appreciated the Rufous-browed Peppershrike, too, a life bird for both of us. We could have stayed all day, but we wanted to reach duPlooy’s before dark.

Reliable but unconfirmed information is that the infamous Denny Grijalva is under pressure from Prime Minister and UDP Party Leader, Dean Barrow to step down. Grijalva became notoriously infamous after equipment from his company mauled down the Noh Mul Mayan monument in the Orange Walk District in May of 2013. In spite of national and international outrage over the egregious act, the UDP welcomed Grijalva back into the fold and last Sunday, February 15 he was endorsed as standard bearer for the Orange Walk Central division. He would face off with the formidable former Leader of the PUP, John Briceño who is undefeated in that division. The chagrin by UDPs, PUPs and visitors alike who love Belize resurrected again following the audacious act by the UDP. This time it may have prompted PM Barrow to act. Word out the UDP Orange Walk camp is that Barrow and his Deputy Gaspar Vega are not seeing eye to eye over this one, a second blow to Vega’s camp by Barrow in less than a week since he forced Vega to fire three senior persons from his Ministry. Best word is that there may be a growing rift between Barrow and Vega.

International Sources

Top 5 Attractions in Belize
Belize is probably not the number one location on your list of countries you must visit. It should be. Sitting just on the Central American east coast, Belize benefits from Caribbean temperatures and beaches on the Caribbean Sea. More than that it offers a wide range of stunning attractions which tap into the ancient history of the region as well as being immensely enjoyable. A private villa in Belize will give you the luxury you deserve for your holiday as you explore our top five attractions. Ambergris Caye is the largest of the islands that belong to Belize and sit in its northern waters. It’s the top tourist destination of the country due to its relaxing, laid back atmosphere and Caribbean feel. No high rise hotels and big city traffic mean you can totally chill out and most people get around the isle by walking, cycling or renting golf carts. One of the many reasons to travel somewhere exotic is to enjoy things you can’t enjoy at home and see things you’ve never seen before. Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Part is one of Belize’s largest protected areas. It’s existed since 1990 and was originally protected as the world’s first wilderness sanctuary for the jaguar. There are a large number of jaguars living in the sanctuary, although they are rarely seen. Instead you will see many exotic birds and plant types.

The Best 'Off The Beaten Path' Destinations in Cayo
'Travel Like the Locals' host Darley Newman recently visited Cayo. The video from her visit, entitled 'The Best Off the Beaten Path Destinations in Western Belize,' was just released on While nothing she covered is in any way off the beaten path, they are some of Cayo's greatest sites. Xunantunich, Big Rock Falls, and Rio Frio Cave are shown in all their spectacular beauty. While she doesn't mention them by name, she did horse back riding with Mountain Equestrian Trails. "Darley's top picks, adventures that shouldn't be missed in Western Belize."

Refurbished playground on its way to Belize
Camrose Rotarian Ron Grue, and a team of workers from the Rotary Club of Camrose, made their way back to Otoxha Feb. 20th. Last March a team of Rotarians built a new three-classroom school in the community. Now they’re going back with plans to install a playground and programmable streetlight. “When we go there we try to spread ourselves around the community and pay them for our meals,” Grue said. “It gives them a little bit of income and it gives us a chance to actually get out into the community instead of us being [segregated].” The playground was taken out of Ecole Sifton School and then sent to The Emmanuel Foundation to be refurbished. The companies popular “Pay it Forward” initiative has facilitated the installation of over 40 playgrounds in 16 different countries around the world. “They take these playgrounds from different parts of Canada and restore them and then ship them to different third-world countries,” Grue said. “They have arranged for the shipping to Belize in the container and then we’ve arranged for the container to be sent to Otoxha.”

Airmen, Soldiers to provide medical care to thousands of Belizeans during New Horizons 2014
Airmen and Soldiers from Air Forces Southern, the 355th Medical Group and the 349th Combat Support Hospital here readied medical personnel, packed supplies and shipped medical equipment that will be used in treating thousands of patients in support of their upcoming deployment to Belize for New Horizons 2014. "We are so incredibly grateful to the Belizean government for all of the exceptional support they provided in the planning of this exercise and we look forward to once again joining forces on the ground in a few short weeks," said Lt. Col. James Smith, the 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH) deputy command surgeon. During last year's exercise in Belize, Air Force and Army medical teams worked side-by-side with Canadian doctors, the Ministry of Health in Belize, as well as Belizean doctors and medical personnel to provide care for more than 14,828 Belizeans during the medical readiness training exercises, or MEDRETES. A group of highly-skilled professional medical personnel will soon come together once again to provide routine and essential medical treatment to more than 15,000 Belizeans.

'CCJ has proven its worth'
Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretary General Irwin La Rocque says he is looking forward to the day when all 15 members of the regional grouping will join the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Appeal (CCJ). La Rocque, addressing a special sitting of the CCJ on Wednesday to honour retiring Madam Justice Desiree Bernard, said the court -- which replaces the London-based Privy Council as the region's highest court -- "in both its jurisdictions represents the essence of our independence and sovereignty and is essential to the progress of the integration movement. "It is an institution that has proven its worth and I look forward to the day when all our member states accede to both its jurisdictions," he said. The CCJ, established in 2001, has both an original and appellate jurisdiction. But while most regional countries are signatories to the original jurisdiction, only Guyana, Barbados and Belize are members of the appellate jurisdiction of the court that also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional grouping.

Petro Caribe: Are Caribbean Countries Prepared for the Worst?
Caribbean governments that are members of the Petro Caribe Agreement with Venezuela would be prudent by beginning to adjust their budgets to take account of the loss of benefits now derived from the oil arrangement. This is especially important for the countries of the Eastern Caribbean that appear to have made little provision for the possibility that the arrangements with Venezuela could end abruptly. Two events are playing-out in Venezuela to which vigilant officials in Ministries of Finance in Caribbean countries should be alert. The first is the problematic state of the Venezuelan government’s finances and the other is the increasing confrontation between dissenting groups and the government that has spurred violence in the streets. Venezuela’s economic conditions make it tough for President Nicolás Maduro to continue the largesse of Petro Caribe started by his predecessor Hugo Chávez.

Leonardo DiCaprio's Foundation Grants $3 Million to Ocean Conservation
Leonardo DiCaprio is getting behind ocean advocacy. Environmental protection organization Oceana announced Thursday a $3 million grant from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation aimed at protecting threatened ocean habitat and marine species. Spread over a three-year period, the $3 million marks the foundation's first marine conservation grant. A longtime environmental activist, DiCaprio -- who has worked to protect elephants and tigers -- pulled together an art benefit, the 11th Hour Charity Auction at Christie's last year, which raised $38.8 for endangered species protection.

Video Reveals Belize’s Lesser Known Caribbean Island (Very Affordable)
You’ve probably heard a lot about the stunning, tiny Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye (pronounced “Key”), Belize. But if you’re looking for a quieter, even more laid-back slice of the Caribbean, you’ll want to check out Ambergris Caye’s little sister, Caye Caulker. The motto of this island is “Go Slow”… Spend any time with the easy-going locals and expats who live here, and you’ll discover it’s a motto they take very seriously. IL Editor Glynna Prentice got to experience the charms of Caye Caulker for herself…and she told a group of IL readers all about it in person. She told them more about what this tiny island has to offer…as well as all about the cost of living and typical real estate prices they could find there (including a condo for just $125,000).

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