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Today's Belize News: March 5, 2014 #487438
03/05/14 05:25 AM
03/05/14 05:25 AM
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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

Carnaval 2014 kicks off with music, dance and color
Carnaval 2014 kicked off on Saturday, March 1st with the annual Street Block Party at the Central Park. The event was organized by the San Pedro Cultural Committee in collaboration with the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) and the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH). This year’s celebrations are being held under the theme “Alegría y Color, La Máscara de la Tradición”. The main on-stage event included dance performances by the some of the best young artists of San Pedro Town. Master of Ceremonies, Eiden Salazar emulated the carnival spirit as he introduced the performances which included routines from Little Angel Pre-school, Miss Chiquitita 2013 Zillah Flota, San Pedro High School, San Pedro Roman Catholic Primary School, San Pedro Revolution Dancers and the San Pedro Dance Academy.

Belize Defence Force and U.S. Military training exercise
The Government of Belize and the Government of the United States of America have approved a joint Belize Defence Force and U.S. Military training exercise to take place here from March 5 to 14. The exercise, titled “Fused Response 2014” will be conducted by the Belize Defence Force, along with members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The training events will be held in the Cayo District and in the San Pedro,Ambergris Caye.

Steven Bowen Jr. injured in Shooting Incident
On Saturday, March 1st, the San Pedro Police responded to a shooting incident that occurred around 7:40PM in the San Mateo Area of San Pedro Town. The victim of the incident was identified as 26-years old-tour guide, Steven Bowen Jr. He was transported the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro PolyClinic II where officers observed him suffering from apparent multiple gunshot wounds across his body. An official medical report revealed that Bowen had gunshot wounds to his left leg, right leg, right elbow, left shoulder and back. Further investigations by police revealed that the shooting occurred while Bowen was walking to his home in the San Mateo Area, along with some friends. Two male persons approached them from some nearby bushes armed with handguns and fired several shots in Bowen’s direction. As a result, Bowen fell to the ground for cover, at which point one of the assailants approached Bowen and fired several shots at him, causing the injuries.

20,000 Strong National Women’s Empowerment Rally
Women from the districts and surrounding villages will journey by buses and boats while Belize City women will march from Central American Boulevard to the Marion Jones Stadium where all women will descend for a rally featuring dynamic speakers with women’s rights messages. On March 6th, we are asking all women to wear something orange. This vibrant colour brings together every woman under the banner of the UNITE Campaign to end violence against women and girls. Our empowerment efforts will continue from that event into various nationwide activities, all designed to motivate and empower our women. It is against this backdrop that we are asking you to support our effort to show women their limitless potential and signal your own commitment to women’s empowerment by allowing your female employees to come out to the rally on March 6th.

¡Que viva el Carnaval!
Carnaval dates back to 150 years and is centered on a Mestizo character called Juan Carnaval. The celebration of Juan Carnaval was brought to Northern Belize and San Pedro by the Mestizos who migrated from Southern Mexico. In San Pedro, Carnaval is three days of celebration including comparsas (groups) that choreograph original dances and songs that they perform through the town streets. The groups wear vibrant costumes that depict all forms of livelihood. By standers are painted and all enjoy the three day festivities. So if you are ever in San Pedro on the three days prior to Ash Wednesday join in the festivities as we celebrate Carnaval!

Carnaval 2014 (64 photos)
Comparsas dancing and much painting - a colorful tradition of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye!

San Pedro Carnaval Paint Party Video
Every February on the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize, islanders and visitors celebrate Carnaval. There is much dancing and partying in a unique way. By unique I mean, going out on the town and painting one another. Painting at Carnaval is spread into three days. The first and second day is for the children and lastly is a mixture of children and adults. On the third day at approximately five-thirty in the evening is when everybody heads to the central park to get their paint on. This year I set a goal to get the best footage of our unique Carnaval for all of you to enjoy.

Ambergris Today

Belize Defence Force/U.S. Military To Conduct Training Exercise in San Pedro
The Government of Belize and the Government of the United States of America have approved a joint Belize Defence Force/U.S. Military training exercise to take place here from March 5 to 14. The exercise, titled “Fused Response 2014” will be conducted by the Belize Defence Force, along with members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The training events will be held in the Cayo District and in the San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. The joint training exercise, in which approximately 500 military personnel from both countries will participate, is aimed at improving the interoperability of the participating forces and increasing their capacity to confront common threats, such as organized crime and illicit trafficking. The Belize Defence Force, U.S. Southern Command and Special Operations Command South conduct military activities every year, which keep them updated on the advances in the areas of military operations, readiness, and the mutual interaction between both militaries. Observers to the exercises will include military personnel from Canada and Brazil. During the conduct of the exercise, the public is asked not to be alarmed at the sounds of simulated explosives, gunfire, and low-flying aircraft. Training activities will be conducted with strict adherence to security procedures that will prevent harm or injury to any member of the public.

Leonor Rosado is San Pedro’s First Mrs. Reina del Carnaval
It’s that time of the year when our beautiful island comes alive and colorful with all the street dancing and painting during Carnaval. To add more fun to this year’s celebration Mrs. Flora Ancona’s Comparsa Group decided to hold the first ever Mrs. Reina del Carnaval Pageant where older women challenged the stage as the pageant was not for the ‘Miss’. The contestants proved that beauty comes in all ages. The Angel Nuñez Auditorium was a full house on Friday, February 28, 2014, as spectators gathered to enjoy an evening with the six beautiful contestants who had promised an evening of much entertainment. The crowd went wild as the lovely contestants Shelly Huber, Sherlette Belisle, Leonor Rosado, Edilma Leal, Mel Spain and Zeida Alamilla came out in their opening presentation in colorful costumes and proudly introduced themselves to everyone in attendance.

VIDEO: San Pedro, Belize Carnaval Comparsas Day 1
The painting and street dancing (comparsas) were in full swing on the first day of Carnaval in San Pedro, Belize as the traditional celebrations commenced on Sunday, March 2, 2014. Carnaval revelers took to the streets of downtown to enjoy in the painting while other residents came out to see the fun and entertaining comparsas (street dancers).

Carnaval 2014 Day 2: El Chapo Guzman Comes to San Pedro!
Day two of El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro was full of laughter, color and fun! Children and adults hit the street in bright colors painting and having much fun. The comparsas did not fail to impress this year once more as four comparsa groups hit the streets of San Pedro and danced the night away. Coming out with Comparsa groups on Monday, March 3, 2014, were: * The San Pedro AIDS Commission: with a rendition of The World Cup dressed in soccer uniforms * Doña Flora's Group: that dressed up as the Belizean Creole and celebrated their culture with authentic dresses, headbands and accessories * The Barbies: always entertaining with a tribute to El Chapo Guzman *Ambergris Caye Elementary School: (ACES) stepped out with a comparsa dancing the May Pole a typical and traditional Mestizo Dance

Carnaval 2014 Day 2: El Chapo Guzman Comes to San Pedro!
Day two of El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro was full of laughter, color and fun! Children and adults hit the street in bright colors painting and having much fun. The comparsas did not fail to impress this year once more as four comparsa groups hit the streets of San Pedro and danced the night away.

Misc Belizean Sources

Final preparations for the Belikin Ruta Maya Challenge

Rescue operation saves drifting vessel off the coast of southern Belize

Trip to Belize to shoot a Teak Tree Plantation

Video: Esmerelda, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Nurse sharks, morays and a little bit of chum.

The Egg, Blue Hole, Belize, Feb. 2013
The effects of pressure on an egg at 130 feet.

Visiting Snakeman in Belize
This Fellow earns his living by putting on show like this for tourists.

Weekly Mill Report - week 5
Belize Sugar, A review of the milling performance in Week 5.

Accident claims the life of Lennox Garbutt
Traffic accident between mile 9 1/2 on Northern Highway around 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning claims the life of Lennox Garbutt of Corozal. More on this accident as we get the official report.

Corozal Preschoolers Parade for Child Stimulation Month
For the past twenty-seven years, preschoolers have marked the beginning of March with a parade through the streets, promoting early childhood education. Yesterday, that tradition continued countrywide, as the activities for Child Stimulation Month got underway. The events planned for the next thirty days are tailored to encourage parents, not only to enroll their children in pre-school, but to actively support them in that important period of development. The Ministry of Education wants to create awareness in the general public so people can know the importance of sending their pre-school aged children to pre-school. It is very important that at a very young age our children be stimulated since that is the time in the child’s life when the brain is rapidly developing. The Corozal Daily congratulates all the efforts made by our teachers to educate our children of Corozal. Power to the teachers in the struggle.

World Wildlife Day
World Wildlife Day was yesterday, and in celebration of the event, they had a fair and MOU signing in Belmopan. The BWRC was there to sign and capture the historic event in pictures. "Congratulations to Victoria Chi for setting up an awesome first ever World Wildlife Day today, with our fabulous Honorable Minister Lisel Alamilla, a historic signing of MOUs for 4 organizations and several school classes visiting lovely information booths of Belize Forest Department, Fisheries partners. Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic was honored to be within the signing organizations together with Wildtracks, Belize Bird Rescue and ACES."

Bandits Visit Corozal Heats
The Belmopan Bandits travelled to Corozal to play the Corozal Heats. They didn't win, but the Bandits are 2 and 2 and are ranked in 3rd place.

Spanish Lookout Expo
The Spanish Lookout Expo was this weekend, and the students from Cayo Christian Academy went to the event to have some fun and food. In related news, CCA is having their Science Expo on the 21st of March. "The Spanish Lookout Business Chamber hosted its annual Spanish Lookout Commercial/Industrial Expo on Friday and Saturday, February 28 and March 1, 2014 from 9:00a.m. - 5:00 p.m. ... at the Country Side Park in the Spanish Lookout Community. CCA Students visit. Come see CCA's Science Expo on 21 March!"

San Pedro Town Council
Out staff went to the schools to educate the kids on the rules and regulations of Carnaval in order to have a safe Carnaval

San Pedro Town Council
We would like to inform everyone that ANYONE caught covering their faces with bandanas, rags, t-shirts, etc., throwing eggs or caught in a mischievous behavior, they will be arrested and taken to the police station. We would like to wish everyone a HAPPY and SAFE Carnaval 2014! We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.

Video: Belize in America in Belize
Belize in America is currently traveling all over the Jewel (Belize), producing videos ranging from the stories of prominent Belizean figures to major sights, eateries, recreational spots and resorts. This mission, we believe, will inspire, encourage and empower Belizeans at home and in the diaspora. If you would like to be featured (business or individual), feel free to email us at [email protected]

BDARRT Leadership Training
The Belize Disaster and Rescue Response Team conducted some leadership training over the weekend. Just in time for La Ruta Maya this weekend. "A training was conducted over the weekend which introduced six participants from NEMO into our unit leadership program. This will enhance their leadership skills and ensure that they have the necessary skills to conduct and mean a small search and rescue operations."

Belize Raptor Research Institute Bird-a-thon
The Belize Raptor Research Institute is having their 2nd annual Bird-a-thon. Interesting and unique idea. It lasts just over a week, from March 14th to the 23rd, and is open to all lodges. It's basically a bird count. La Milpa Ecolodge won last year. Who'll win this time. "The Belize Raptor Research Institute announces the 2nd Annual Lodge Bird-a-thon from March 14-23, 2014. Any and all Lodges, Inns, Hotels, Resorts in Belize can participate. Last year there were 3 competing lodges, which included Hidden Valley Inn, Belcampo Lodge and La Milpa Ecolodge. With 171 species, La Milpa Ecolodge took home the H. Lee Jones Cup. Our goal is to have 10 participating lodges this year. Register your team, form your team, choose your date, find sponsors and compete to win prizes! Does your lodge have what it takes to take home the cup this year, which will be showcased at your lodge? register your team by sending us an email [email protected]"

Video: Sylvia Martinez Death
The death is announced of Sylvia Louise Martinez, affectionately known as Ma Lou.

Court of Appeal strikes out money laundering convictions

The Court of Appeal this afternoon allowed the appeals of Belize City businesswoman Melonie Coye, her late father Michael, employees Atlee Matute and Dietrich Kingston and the family company, Money Exchange International Limited, and quashed their convictions and set aside their sentences from the August 2012 retrial before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. […]

Legally Speaking: The Cover-Up
“The Cover-Up!” By Anthony Sylvestre, Jr. On Thursday the 19th September, 2013, when most Belizeans were getting ready and making preparations for the celebration of our 32nd anniversary of Independence, the Office of the Prime Minister sent out a shocking press release that caught all of us unawares. It decreed that henceforth, Hon. Elvin Penner, […]

Heroes and Benefactors exhibit opens in Orange Walk
The annual Heroes and Benefactors Exhibit is underway at the Banquitas House of Culture in Orange Walk town. Organizers say the event is designed to provide educational insight into the rich history of Belize, particularly as it relates to our founding fathers and ancestors. Primary and Secondary Schools from the Orange […]

Belize Court of Appeals quashes money laundering convictions
The Belize Court of Appeal has ordered the government of Belize to return BZ$1.5 million that was forfeited from Money Exchange International after its principals Melonie and Michael Coye and employees Atlee Matute and Dietrich Kingston were convicted of the crime of money laundering. The quashing of the convictions, bring to an […]

Vanzie Lamb awaits jury decision following delay
The fate of 44 year old Vanzie Lamb of a Tambran Street address in Belize City is delayed until Friday, after Justice Troadio Gonzalez postponed the summing up of his trial for rape. A male member of the nine-member jury was not present in court today and sent a medical form indicating […]

Self esteem training for Orange Walk women
Women from the rural areas of Orange Walk today participated in a self esteem booster training as part of activities for Women’s Month. The month of activities, organized by the Women’s Department, got underway on Saturday. Chief facilitator at today’s training session which focused on communication was community activist Myrna Manzanares. […]

Ministry of Education closes Biscayne school
Residents of the village of Biscayne on the Philip Goldson Highway want to know why the Ministry of Education has closed the newly constructed Biscayne Seventh Day Adventist School which opened its doors this year. A number of students have transferred there from the local Government School. One parent, Dasia Robinson, says […]

Early morning traffic accident claims one life
Another fatal road traffic accident has been reported on the Phillip Goldson Highway. It happened around 2 o’clock this morning and claimed the life of Lennox Garbutt. Reports are that upon hearing of his sister’s passing last night, Garbutt set out from Altamira, Corozal enroute to Belize City to meet up […]

BFLA has special offer for women
Throughout the month of March the Ministry of Human Development is encouraging women of Belize to get their breast exam and to do a regular pap smear. Belize Family Life Association ( BFLA), has a special offer for the month of March only where it is offering PAP Smear, Breast Exam, Pelvic […]

Here is the Team Police - La Ruta Maya 2014 TVC

Channel 7

Coye Conviction Overturned
The Court of Appeal has ruled that Melonie Coye, and her late father, Michael Coye, are not money launderers, and that they should have never been convicted. That's the bombshell that the Judges of the Court handed down today after they heard the appeal of Belize's first ever money laundering conviction. After fighting this case for 5 years, being incarcerated, their fortunes reduced to the point that they couldn't properly bury Michael Coye, whose illness worsened during the course of this case, the Coye family are finally getting things to turn around. And it's a giant shift - 1.557 million dollars' worth - that's because the Appeal Court has also ruled that all that money police confiscated back in January 2009, must be returned to them within 60 days. It's a seismic judgment, and 7News was there when it was delivered. Daniel Ortiz reports: Daniel Ortiz reporting Melonie Coye and her family walked out of court free of a 5 year-old ordeal. They were cleared today of all charges, when the court reversed the decision of the Supreme Court. It's a complete reversal and quash of all crimes and inferences of criminal behavior.

Catholic Church Pulls The Religious Rug From Under Women's Empowerment Rally
By now, you've surely heard about the "20,000 Strong Women Empowerment Rally." It's set for Thursday March sixth - and organizers from the Women's Commission and the office of the Special Envoy For Women and Children are planning for it to be huge. But today they took a serious hit when no less than the Roman Catholic Church came out saying it does not endorse the rally. A quite remarkable release issued this afternoon says quote, "the invitation does not speak to the complementary role between men and women as taught to use by Christ through Her Church." And if that wasn't direct enough, the next sentence makes it clear. It says, quote, "the National Women's Commission promotes values that contradict Christian and moral teachings regarding respect for all human life, family marriage, and human sexuality…we do not believe that the well being of women can be enhanced by advocacy which promotes abortions and so called pseudo rights of men and women and same sex relationships." That's a heavy dose of criticism and the church says it won't be persuaded to support any group which quote, "advocates violence against the unborn or any disordered sexual activity." End quote.

Supt. Vidal And GSU Part Ways
Today, surprising news filtered out of the police department saying that Superintendent Marco Vidal has been removed as head of the GSU, which is the unit he created. Vidal confirmed that the command has already changed. Reports say Superintendent Linden Flowers who is presently at the training school will now assume command. Since its inception in early 2011, the GSU and its hard charging, uncompromising tactics have been synonymous with Vidal's no nonsense command. Even through the thickest of controversies when leading politicians from the ruling party were questioning the unit's tactics, Vidal held on. But, now, quite suddenly, a new commander has been installed and Vidal is left as the head of Special Branch - which is a very senior post in its own right. Still, it's not the feared and respected GSU - and so why was he transferred? Well, Minister of National Security John Saldivar told us via text message, quote, "the head of Special Branch and the GSU have always been two separate persons. But when Vidal's expertise was required at Special Branch, we did not feel it prudent at the time to remove Vidal from the GSU given the difficulties we were experiencing with gang warfare." Saldivar adds, quote, "gang warfare has reduced significantly over the past year and we believe we can now transition to new leadership at the GSU and retain Vidal with the singular focus of inteliigence gathering."

Sixth March Death From Fatal Accidents
Last night, 7News told you about the 5 persons who died in traffic accidents over the past 3 weeks around the country. 3 of them were on the Northern Highway in the jurisdiction of Ladyville Police, where there were 5 accidents. Tonight, we tell you of a sixth accident which happened last night. It happened on the stretch of road just after the Haulover Bridge, and it claimed the life of Lennox Garbutt, a Corozal resident. Today, the Officer Commanding Ladyville Police told us about the frightening spike in accidents in his area: ASP Chris Noble - Rural Executive Officer "Police responded to the call of a traffic accident in the area between mile 6 and 7 on the Phillip Goldson Highway where we met teo vehicles out there and persons out there that had been injured. They were transported to the Karl Heusner Hospital early part of the morning. One of the occupants of on of the vehicle passed. We are presently dealing with an autopsy for that person. Pretty young is our information so far, but we have established that vehicles were traveling in opposite direction; that is, one was traveling to the City and the other to the Ladyville area."

Bowen and Bowen Employees “Bex ‘Bout” New Contracts
For the past few days, we've been hearing whisperings of a group of employees who work for Bowen & Bowen, and who have been unsatisfied with a change in their terms of employment. The problem they're having is that the administrations wants them to sign on to new contracts that they say are unfair to them. It involves their eligibility for holiday pay, commission earned when they sell Coca Cola Products, and the benefits that they currently enjoy. A group of these workers are saying that if they don't sign, their jobs are on the line. Well, it seems that a small group didn't go into work today, and they went to a labor union to see what protection they can get because they refuse to sign the new contract.

The Feinstein Group Takes Over Fresh Catch
The Fresh Catch Tilapia Farm in La Democracia will be going back into operation and the man at the helm will be developer Mike Feinstein. Feinstein told 7News that the deal was finalized last Friday and his group will bring everything back into operation and expects to be harvesting in about a year. That's a dramatic change for the company that's been in receivership after the First Caribbean Bank foreclosed on it in 2010. That was under the Mena group. The Mena's had financing difficulty but still they were doing 4.3 million pounds of fish at their peak in 2008 - and Feinstein told us he is confident he can bring it back. Feinstein says he will be rehabilitating the farm and within three to four weeks he will be importing fish and putting them back into the ponds. And so what's the price? Well, Feinstein is sure to be getting it on the cheap at a distress price. At its inception, before expansion the farm was valued at 36 million Belize dollars and in 2011, the Mena's tried to bring it back with a 15 million dollar buyout form the bank, which was said to be a price of 38 cents on the dollar. That attempt failed.

Johnny Zabs Takes On Tough Questions Says He Wants His Life Back
Like him or loathe him, one thing we can say about Johnny Zabaneh, is that he's got "ganas." Not only did he do an interview in front of the US Embassy in Belmopan, he also spoke out against the feared Sinaloa drug cartel, in which the Americans said he was a Kingpin. So, in a sense he was daring both the Embassy and the Cartel to dispute or disprove his claim that he has never been a part of the cartel. Zabaneh told us his truth, and Jules Vasquez put the tough questions to him. Here's how that went. Johnny Zabaneh, Refutes Kingpin Status "I'm here, for the naked truth. And I hope, at the end of the day, my truthfulness is evaluated by the members of this press and abroad, the US Embassy, Washington and all concerned." Jules Vasquez "However, sir, let's speak plainly and I don't do it to insult you but it is a perceptual fact in Belize, that doesn't mean it's a fact, but it's how people perceive - I grew up hearing that "you da di drug man down south, da you run di drugs down south" and that has morph into a perceptual fact that it's widely accepted Johnny Zab as you are called "you da di king pin down south, you da di boss down south.""

Alleged Free Zone Robbers Offered Big Bail
Last night, 7News told you about the 4 men who police charged for the robbery at the Corozal Free Zone. We'll tonight we can provide you with photographs of 2 of them 26 year-old Hector Kelly, and 18 year-old Zandon Myers. Kelly and Myers were charged robbery, while 22 year-old Israel Rancharan was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, and all 3 were arraigned yesterday in the Magistrate's Court. They pleaded not guilty and were granted bail of $20,000. Last week, 21 year-old Benigno Loria was arraigned for conspiracy to commit robbery in relation to this robbery. These men are accused of robbing 48 year-old Ricardo Villasenor of 208,000 dollars inside the Corozal Free Zone, a facility with tough security protocols.

Ministry Moves To Close SDA School In Biscayne, Rhaburn Ridge Community Cries Out
There's a controversy brewing in the village of Rhaburn Ridge which is in the extreme north of the Belize District. And that's because the HOPE Seventh Day Adventist Academy was closed down. It had no valid license to operate and the Ministry stepped in for a number of reasons. Today Monica Bodden went to the school to find out more:.. Monica Bodden reporting The school first opened its doors on January 6th - but on Thursday they received a letter from the Ministry of Education stating that it had to close down within 24 hours or else face police intervention. Parents of the 25 students who attend Hope SDA Christian Academy - located in the village of Rhaburn Ridge in the Belize District - were informed by the school principal in a meeting yesterday. The school had half day classes on Monday and today when we visited, all doors were closed on the compound. Lorena Vasquez - Villager "On Friday the Ministry of Education came here to the school and say the school have to be shut down by Friday evening and then the principal came and alert all the parents and villagers that they have to be present for a meeting on Monday morning because they will come and shut down the school, so the parents agreed and went to the school. Meanwhile they were waiting for the Ministry of Education they were having a meeting and at the same time they (Ministry of Education) reach and they came in and they didn't even say morning to the parents and the principal told them that the parents have questions for them. They just came and they say that they won't answer any questions."

US & Belize Military Learning about "Interoperability" in "Fused Response"
Starting tomorrow, if you live in the Cayo District or San Pedro, don't be too startled if you hear explosives, gunfire or low flying aircraft. Don't worry, it's not a cartel takeover, it's only a test. Actually, an exercise between the Belize and US Military called Fused Response in which some 500 military personnel from both countries will participate. A release says it's aimed at "improving the interoperability of the participating forces and increasing their capacity to confront common threats, such as organized crime and illicit trafficking." There will be observers from Canada and Brazil. And if you're still worried about those simulated explosives, gunfire, and low-flying aircraft, the release says quote, "Training activities will be conducted with strict adherence to security procedures that will prevent harm or injury to any member of the public."

Channel 5

Move over Marco Vidal…there is a new head of the GSU
Tonight, News Five has confirmed that Officer Commanding Special Branch, Marco Vidal, who has been at the helm of the Gang Suppression Unit since its formation in 2010, has been [...]

Melonie Coye exonerated; Court of Appeal orders the return of money
A five-year ordeal is finally over for the Coye family of Belize City. This afternoon, the Court of Appeal overturned Melonie Coye’s conviction for money laundering and ordered the Financial [...]

Attorney speaks on writ of mandamus
On Monday, People’s United Party leader Francis Fonseca won a significant victory in the court of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. With commendable dispatch, the CJ issued a directive to Commissioner [...]

Police begins rounding up immigration officers
Today, News Five tried to contact Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Minister of Immigration and Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie. Those attempts were unsuccessful. We actually wanted to ask just one [...]

2 immigration officers reprimanded by Services Commission
On February nineteenth, three public officers appeared before the Services Commission after Director of Immigration, Maria Marin, recommended their termination. The officers – Sharon Neal, Omar Phillips and Erwin Robinson, [...]

Should the ComPol step down following Supreme Court ruling
Do you think the Commissioner of Police should step down given Monday’s Supreme Court ruling? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote [...]

The Church versus the National Women’s Commission
This afternoon, the Roman Catholic Church sent out an unprecedented release signed by no less than the Bishop of Belize City and Belmopan Dorick Wright. The Catholic Church is taking [...]

Attorney says Belize’s nationality cheapened by immigration scandal
On Tuesday’s newscast, News Five showed you three nationality certificates signed by former Minister of State Elvin Penner. We have been able to confirm that these documents were under scrutiny [...]

A further look at the Burrell Boom shooting
The shooting of a Belize City resident in Burrell Boom is drawing criticism in the village. Giovanni Berry was shot by a group of villagers who were reportedly accompanied by [...]

2014 International Report lists Belize as a money laundering country
The following is not good news for the jewel despite a raft of legislation passed in February that includes the Financial Intelligence Unit Amendment Act and the Money Laundering and [...]

Fatal traffic accident on the Philip Goldson Highway
The sixth traffic fatality since the beginning of March, but the fourth fatality for Rural Belize in less than two days was recorded this morning following yet another traffic mishap [...]

20,000 strong women’s empowerment rally
Earlier we told you that the church is not endorsing the twenty thousand strong women’s rally organized by the National Women’s Commission. All indications are that the rally will proceed [...]

Cop stabbed eighteen times remains hospitalized
Twenty-five year old police constable Abimael Romero remains hospitalized after being stabbed multiple times in Orange Walk on Sunday morning.  The officer was reportedly in town visiting with his in-laws [...]

Rescue operation saves drifting vessel off the coast of southern Belize
A daring rescue operation on Sunday night, conducted by rangers attached to the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE), resulted in the successful retrieval of a fishing vessel and [...]

Belize Territorial Volunteers plant trees along Belize/Guatemala border
Also in the south….Over the weekend, the Belize Territorial Volunteers organized yet another trip along the Belize/Guatemala border in the south. Residents in the southern communities led by activist and [...]

Final preparations for the Belikin Ruta Maya Challenge
The yearly coming together of paddlers in San Ignacio for the Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge is often a spectacle of colors and athletic abilities and with the [...]

Rural Executive Officer of Police say safety in full effect for canoe race
Aside from the marketing aspect of the Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge, there is the issue of citizens’ safety over the extended weekend. The finishing touches of the canoe [...]


Roman Catholic Chancery Is Not In Support Of The Women's Rally
On Thursday it is expected that Belize City will be invaded by women as the 20,000 Strong National Women’s Empowerment Rally takes place. It is an activity organized by the Special Envoy Office, in collaboration with the National Women’s Commission in celebration of Women’s Month. But all indications are that the news of the rally did not sit too well with the Roman Catholic Church of Belize. And the church makes its sentiments known in a lengthy release issued today by the Bishop of Belize, Dorrick Wright. The release cites that the Roman Catholic Chancery is not in support of the rally since and we quote “The invitation speaks to the complementarily role of men and women as taught to us by Christ through HER church. Furthermore, the national commission, promotes values that contradict Christian and moral teachings regarding respect for all human life, family, marriage and human sexuality as ordered by God.” End quote.

Self Booster Training To Kick Off Women's' Month
Women’s Month officially kicked off on Saturday, March 1st and the organization spearheading the month’s slew of activities is the Women’s Department in Belize City. It is set aside as a time for society to celebrate and showcase the achievements of women across the country. There is no doubt that in the many years since the first Women’s Week was celebrated, women’s development in Belize has come a long way and progressively women are working their way towards gender equity and equality within society. As part of the menu of activities set aside for the women in our societies, today women of rural areas of Orange Walk got a much needed self-booster thanks to the uplifting training sessions by Educator and Counselor, Myrna Manzanares. When we caught up with the ladies, training today was based on ‘communication’, Manzanares told us more on the empowerment camps.

Mayor Kevin Bernard Clarifies That He Will conitnue To Serve The People Of Orange Walk
March 7th will mark two years since the Orange Walk Town Council was elected into office by residents of Orange Walk Town. This means that the council has one year remaining in office before the next Municipal Elections. Of course, the council’s record speaks for itself. Without GOB’s assistance Mayor Kevin Bernard and his team of councilors have been able to carry out their mandate for these last two years including the paving and cementing of streets across town. But the council has much more work ahead as their vision for Orange Walk surpasses financial constraints. Projects for 2014 include the rehabilitation of Central Park; continue the upgrading of the remaining of Santa Familia Street under the Belize Municipal Development Project. While the council will have to dig deep into their pockets they are committed to see the upgrading of Mahogany Street, Sapodilla Street, Westby Alley and the remainder of Tangerine Street. The council also plans to see through the double coating of Belize Street, Muffles Street, Staines Alley and portions of San Pedro Street and Barbados Street. The continuous upliftment of low lying areas also forms part of the councils to do list.

MOE Says Hope SDA Christian Academy Needs To Close Down
We have been following the story of Hope SDA Christian Academy in Rhaburn Ridge Village in the Belize District closely. In fact, we can safely say that we were the first to bring the issue to light The school was opened on January sixth this year without a valid license and classes have been held with twenty-five students from infant one to standard four for the past two months. The Ministry of Education has warned the school’s administration to cease all classes but the school continues open. Today the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports issued a press release on the matter. In the release, the Ministry says that the school management of the Belize Union of Seventh Day Adventists submitted an application for a license to operate the school in July 2012. This was referred to the Belize District Education Council for review and recommendations. In august of 2013 however, the license was denied. The reasons include that Rhaburn Ridge is only about 10 miles from Biscayne Government School, which services all communities within a ten mile radius. Second: is that the Ministry of Education provided school transportation for the small number of students from Rhaburn Ridge to the Biscayne Government School.

Heroes And Benefactors Exhibit Opens At BHOC
The annual Heroes & Benefactors Exhibit was launched today at the Banquitas House of Culture. Primary and Secondary Schools from the Orange Walk District joined in on the educational tour which saw guest speaker Fred Hunter share the rich history and culture of our forefathers and ancestors. But while the students got a lesson on Belize’s much cherished roots, inside the Banquitas House of Culture, was an exhibition with a wealth of knowledge. Director of the National Institute of Culture and History in Belize, Nigel Encalada, says two national heroes were added in this year’s exhibit; Trade Unionist Clifford Betson and Pioneer, Lee Richardson. He explained to us their significance and impact to the jewel. Nigel Encalada– Director, NICH Belize “Lee Richardson was one of the original leaders who founded if you want to use that word the movement toward greater constitutional reform and advancement rather and eventually Independence. His early role is perhaps under, he is an unsound hero, his role is understated but he is one of the coeditors of the Belize Billboard and during that period I think the newspaper would have been at least twice a week and the featured regular articles condemning the colonial structure at the time as a matter of fact along with Phillip Goldson, Lee Richardson they were sentenced eighteen months imprisonment with hard labor and I think they ended up serving about twelve and along with Goldson they were the only two nationalist leaders to observe the prison time eventually they split Richardson, Goldson and Jex from the People United Party and in some sense it set in motion events that would lead the merchants of Belize’s democracy eventually left for the US and not much since that time not much had been said about his early contributions in that critical period where the Nationalist Movement took root. Clifford Betson on the other hand he was knows as a Unionist and by his occupation as a shipwright Clifford Betson is what you would consider the guy who was able to galvanize and strengthen the general workers Union in particular during the 1940’s managing to lobby and negotiate wage increases for forestry and water front workers I think one estimate suggest that the strength of the Union had reached at its peak and about 10,000 members during 1940’s of course by that time he was already would have been in his early 50’s more or less and what he did given the strength of the Union he then handed over the Union to the nationalist leaders; Pollard, Price, Goldson who then form partnerships with the BWU and then eventually use Union support to move the constitutional agenda forward.”

Winners For The Grand Fuel Promotion Held At Shell One Stop Service Station
Six winners have been selected in the grand end of the year fuel promotion held at Shell One Stop Service Station. The promotion was kicked off on December 23rd last year and closed on February 7th this year. For every thirty dollar worth of Shell V Power or Shell Diesel purchased at any shell gas station countrywide, customers received a coupon to fill out. The promotion was held last year and due to the response from consumers, the company decided to repeat it. Sangeev - Retail sales and marketing “The highlight of it was of course our flag ship fuel, the V-power so for every $30 of fuel that was purchase for the Shell diesel or the Shell V-power you were able to get a coupon to enter into our raffle where you be able to win fuel for one year, fuel for six months and fuel for three months. It was a single winner for the first prize, two winners for three months and three winners for the three months.”

BTB Holds Training With Artisans On How To Market Their Products Surrounding Archaeological Sites
The Belize Tourism Board launched the Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites project in March 2013. Yesterday, under that BTB concluded a three day training with artisans in the Orange Walk District on how to place added value to the products that are marketed at surrounding archaeological sites. Geraldo Flowers, Policy Coordinator, told us more about the project’s objectives. Geraldo Flowers – Policy Coordinator “The project in totality aims to improve economic conditions through tourism for people who live around archaeological sites in Belize. We have around 333,000 tourist that visits Belize every year and millions of dollars are spent by these tourist in the industry and we want to make sure that communities surrounding Lamanai, communities surrounding the Xunantunich in Cayo, communities surrounding Nim Li Punit and Lubantun in Toledo also benefit from the largest of these tourism dollars that are coming to Belize.”

Nahil Mayab Contributes To Assist Feeding Program At Saint Peters School
There are several socially conscious business establishments in the Orange Walk District that have made their contributions within the community. Today one of these business establishments made a significant contribution towards one of the noblest work being done with children at the Saint Peter’s Anglican School. The school is currently running a feeding program that has been benefiting fifty-five children. Proprietor of Nahil Mayab, Osmany Salas, and his team of employees, joined forces with the school’s administration and held a salpicon sale that was one hundred percent success. Salas says the gesture in helping the community, is something they as an establishment, try to do once a year.

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Trio Rescued from Sea in Southern Belize
Three men who were stranded at sea off coast Toledo were rescued and returned safely to Punta Gorda yesterday. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports. PAUL MAHUNG “The rescue operation was undertaken by a team of Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE’s) Port Honduras Marine Reserve Rangers as explained by Captain of the operation Edwin Cabrera” EDWIN CABRERA “Last night at around seven thirty, we received a phone call from Ms Celia stating that there was a sailboat drifting outside of Punta Negra. The last time the vessel was seen was in front of Punta Negra at about five o’clock yesterday evening. When we received the call, we told Ms Celia about the sea state as it was very choppy and so, her advice was to wait until the weather condition was better so that we can make a search around the Punta Icacos area just below Punta Negra area but while in the abalone we went to the left tower and we saw the light outside on the direction of the Snake Cayes and that was when we decided to see if that was the vessel that was drifting. We went; I was the captain and we went with two rangers, Henry and Narciso Martinez and one of our captains that was out with the research crew, Mikael and not far from our base, we encountered the vessel.”

Ministry Closes School Leaving Students Displaced in Rhaburn Ridge
An estimated twenty five students have been displaced following the closing down of a private primary school in Rhaburn Ridge Village of the Belize District. The Ministry of Education issued a release today to notify the media that the Hope Seventh Day Adventist Christian Academy had been operating illegally as the Ministry did not grant them a license to open the facility. According to the release, in July 2012, the School Management Unit of the Belize Union of Seventh Day Adventist had submitted an application for a license to operate the school but by August 2013, that application was denied but by this time, the land had already been obtained through the assistance of the Area Representative, Edmond Castro and the construction of the school was near completion. Now, we tell you that the license was not granted and while the ministry is saying that this was made known to the local board, the school still went ahead and opened its doors in September 2013. And that is how the twenty five students ended up outside the classroom as the school was required to close down by the ministry, which is what they did, according to Pastor Leslie Gillett of the Seventh Day Adventist Union.

Five Years Later – Appeals Court Frees Coye Family of Money Laundering Charge
Melonie Coye and her father Michael Coye were sentenced to three years in jail after they were found guilty of money laundering. After years of fighting to prove their innocence, last year Michael Coye passed away a few days after being granted bail. Today Melonie Coye was freed of all charges in the appeal court. On August 8th the father and daughter were found guilty in the court of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. Their accounts were also frozen. As a result of today’s ruling Melonie Coye is a free woman. MELONIE COYE “I feel good and I know my dad is smiling from heaven and I just want to say, ‘Thank you, Lord.’” ARTHUR SALDIVAR, Attorney “On the ground that forgery was proved, it really and truly wasn’t. Forgery, by virtue of the law, requires that an intent to defraud to be established and as that intent was absent there couldn’t have judged the appellants as being guilty of that offense.

Roman Catholic Church Does Not Support Women’s Rally
The National Women’s Commission along with the office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children has organized a rally for this Thursday. Dubbed 20,000 strong the rally will take place at the Marion Jones Stadium in Belize City and is expected to see the participation of women from across the country. Organizers have said one of the objectives is to imagine our world without women. Today the Roman Catholic Church issued a release in which it states it does not support the initiative. The release says the Church has withheld its support because the invitation does not speak to the complementary role between men and women as taught by Christ. It goes on to say quote “The Women’s Commission promotes values that contradict Christian and moral teachings regarding respect for all human life, family, marriage and human sexuality as ordered by God. We do not believe that the well-being of women can be enhanced by advocacy which promotes abortion and so called pseudo rights of men and women and same sex relationships.” End quote.


Roman Catholic Church Does Not Support National Women’s Commission’s Rally
This month is observed as women’s month. There are many activities scheduled to take place all over the country in observance and one major event is the Women’s Empowerment rally, 20,000 strong scheduled for this Thursday. The initiative is being spearheaded by the Special Envoy for women and children...

Belize Lands on International Narcotics and Money Laundering Lists
Belize has landed on two lists published in the newly released “2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report” released by the US State Department. The report declares 65 countries as having been listed as jurisdictions of Major concern regarding money laundering. 22 countries have been named as major drug-transit countries....

New Favored Position in Ministry of Health Causes Problems
There was no announcement from the Ministry of Health but PlusNews has been reliably informed that Belize now has a Director of Drug Inspectorate in the Ministry of Health. It is a new, but controversial post. The new post and the official to fill the post appeared only over...

Mr. Vanzie Lamb’s Rape Verdict Delayed Until Friday
The fate of 44 year old Mr. Vanzie Lamb of a Tambran Street address in Belize City is delayed until Friday, after Justice Troadio Gonzalez postponed the summing up of his trial for rape. A male member of the nine-member jury was not present in court today and sent...

Footballer Deon McCauley Released to the Atlanta Silverbacks
On Saturday, March 1st, the Belmopan Bandits released a statement in their official Facebook page in which it announced that Deon McCauley has been officially released to the Atlanta Silverbacks at no return cost. The release stated that they had “…originally requested a small transfer fee of US$ 4,000...

Men’s Rally Held in Belmopan
There was a men’s rally held on Friday of last week at the steps of the national assembly. The rally was organized to raise awareness of issues affecting men including father absenteeism, serving the family by leading under Christ’s guidance, and stepping out to minister outside the church. The...

Spanish Lookout Hosts Commercial-Industrial Expo’
On Saturday March 1st, the Spanish Lookout community hosted a commercial and industrial expo where many businesses showcased their goods , services, animals, or equipment. The event was held at Countryside park in Spanish Lookout and was well attended. Many of the businesses at the Spanish Lookout expo have...

Fruitful Promises for the Humble on the Way
Our Verse for this week is taken from Psalm chapter 29:9- He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.


Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin today ordered the Commissioner of Police to “accelerate and conclude” the police’s criminal investigation of the former Minister of State Elvin Penner and all others who had a role in the illegal issuance of a Belize passport and nationality certificate to the South Korean Won Hong Kim. Opposition Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca had filed for a judicial review seeking the court’s intervention to issue a writ of mandamus to Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie for him to investigate, and if possible, charge Elvin Penner criminally for violations of the Belize Passport Act and Belize Nationality Act. Belize’s Deputy Solicitor General, Nigel Hawke, is expected to today tell his client, Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie, that Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has ordered that he accelerate and conclude investigations into the role of Penner in the issuance of the Belize passport to Won Hong Kim, a man who had never set foot in Belize, and who was, furthermore, imprisoned in a Taiwan jail at the time he was supposedly in Belize, being taken to the Nationality and Immigration offices by the Hon. Penner to process his nationality papers.

A family from the Buttercup area in rural Belize is struggling to cope with the death of 13-year old Earl Ismael Flores, Jr., who was struck down in a suspected hit-and-run accident that occurred around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, February, 23, 2014. Just after having dinner with his family, Flores was reportedly riding past the Samuels Saw Mill on the Burrell Boom Road when, his family believes, he was knocked down by an unknown individual who fled the scene after the accident. After being found a short while later by residents who alerted his parents, Flores was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he remained in a critical condition after being placed in an induced coma. Last Wednesday, after fruitlessly searching for answers, the family turned to the media to make a desperate plea to the person who fled the scene to just come forward and speak with them.

Last Wednesday morning, at about 7:30, a J and J commuter bus – which was reportedly overloaded – pulled the curve at Mile 12 on the Philip Goldson Highway and Jose Elmer Villanueva, 63, slid off the engine cover on which he was sitting near the front door, flew through the open bus door, and subsequently sustained life-threatening injuries which left him in a coma at the Intensive Care ward at the KHMH. Police reported that the bus driver, Modesto Lizarraga, 48, told them that he was on his regular run to Chetumal with about 54 passengers when Villanueva fell out of the bus and suffered injuries to his right ankle and head. The Officer in Charge of the Belize Rural area, ASP Chris Noble, today updated us on the incident. “With regards to the bus incident, we did manage to get our relevant information from that scene. The driver was very cooperative. We did get all our statements; we are asking that persons who were in the bus, that may have seen what transpired, to come forward. They can go to any police station and say that they were on that bus and we can arrange for the recording of a statement to assist us in the investigation”, stated Noble.

Relatives and friends solemnly gathered at the residence of John Wade, 53, today – all stunned at the shocking loss of the well-known villager after the news of his sudden death had spread throughout the rural community of Bermudian Landing. Wade was travelling on an ATV between the villages of Double Head Cabbage and Bermudian Landing at around 11:00 p.m. on Sunday night when, upon reaching a curve, he reportedly lost control of the ATV and overturned, suffering fatal head and body injuries. His body was not discovered until after 5:00 the next morning when a bus loaded with commuters, headed for Burrell Boom, came across the scene at the right hand side of the road. Today, Officer in Charge of the Belize Rural area, ASP Chris Noble, briefed the media on the incident. He said, “This morning, the police were called out to an area in Bermudian Landing near a curve. We then met somebody who had some injuries. An ATV was also in the immediate area. The gentleman was identified and taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead and we’re looking into the circumstances that may have caused it. Our preliminaries are that he may have been by himself and may have lost control. We are looking into whether or not that is so.”

Nightmare again for Parham family of Curassow Street
The Parham family of Curassow Street, who have not yet recovered from the death of their son, Derrick, who was killed at about 11:30 Saturday night on January 11, 2014, by a gunman who shot him in the back through the window of a vehicle that drove up behind him, have been further traumatized by the attempted murder of their other son, a daughter and a friend. At about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 1, a gunman rode up to the alley of their yard and opened fire on them while they were socializing at their home on Curassow Street. Their daughter, Arleen Cole, 42, was hit in her knee and toe; their son, Devin Parham, 17, was hit in his right heel and foot, and their friend, Marlon Samuels, also 17, was hit in the leg.

Four men from Corozal who police accuse of being the thieves who robbed Mexican national, Ricardo Villasenior, 48, a businessman of Las Flores Manzana, Calle Alcatraz, Quintana Roo, Mexico, in the Corozal Free Zone on Tuesday, February 25, and got away with the sum of $1,250,000.00 pesos in different denominations, equivalent to BZ$208,000, have all been arrested and charged. They are Benigno Loria, 21, of San Andres, Corozal, who was a former employee of the North American Store where Villasenior was robbed; Israel Rancharan, 22, a laborer of Venezuelan Site, Corozal Town; Hector Kelly, 26, a laborer of Halls Layout, Corozal Town, and Zandon Myers, 18, a laborer of 4th Avenue, Corozal Town.

EDITORIAL: Of souls and lives
When this newspaper began as the organ of a black-conscious organization with revolutionary impulses, we were informed by those who were more knowledgeable about revolutionary change that where there existed democratic mechanisms for change, such as elections, there could not be revolution. Our early teachers also said that attempts to alleviate the conditions in a corrupt system constituted reform. Our teachers considered reform as amounting to a propping up of a corrupt system, they believed that reform delayed the necessary revolution, and so reform, in the ultimate scheme of things, was an evil rather than a good. In the search for the betterment of our people, we experimented for ourselves. The rhetoric in Belize 45 years ago was confusing. On the one hand, there was a ruling party in government which said that it was carrying out a “peaceful, constructive revolution.” The phrase was clearly oxymoronic, but the majority of voting Belizeans supported the ruling party. On the other hand, there were the experts in revolution who were saying that a revolution in Belize was not possible, because democratic elections were being regularly held. But, they were also saying that reformist measures were not good, because they encouraged corruption and delayed revolution.

My column last weekend, after spending a few weeks discussing the Hon. Philip Goldson and the Thirteen/Seventeen Proposals, drifted into the Southside City politics of the People’s United Party (PUP), with a focus on their Mesopotamia area representative, C. L. B. Rogers. Mr. Rogers, who won the Mesop constituency in the 1961, 1965, 1969 and 1974 general elections, became PUP Deputy Leader and Deputy Premier in the latter part of the 1960s. Perhaps the first real inkling that the PUP was having Southside credibility problems, came in the 1979 general elections, when the PUP won 13 out of 18 seats nationwide, but lost two of the three Southside Belize City seats – Albert and Mesopotamia. After winning all three Southside City seats in the 1961 general election, the PUP won two out of three Southside seats in each of the three general elections between 1965 and 1974. But the PUP margins in the Collet constituency were always very close, whereas the NIP’s Philip Goldson was winning Albert by healthy margins, so that insofar as the total Southside vote was concerned, the NIP (NIPDM in 1969 and UDP in 1974) was polling more votes than the PUP, beginning in 1965.

A San Pablo mother is mourning the death of her son, Ernesto Alonzo Salabia, 4, who drowned in the village river at about 2:30 Sunday afternoon while swimming with her. Doctor Mario Estrada Bran, who conducted the post-mortem on the boy, certified the cause of death to be asphyxia due to drowning. Serlin Diaz, 25, a Honduran domestic, told police that she and Ernesto went to the river to swim. While swimming, her son suddenly disappeared from her side. She immediately searched for him, and later found him in a deep area under the water. He was already dead.

UBAD Education Foundation (UEF) steps up to impact the public through reading and reasoning
The United Black Association for Development (UBAD) Educational Foundation (UEF), in an effort to positively impact the community, conducts through its educational arm the Read and Reason Talk Show, hosted by Perry “Stickz” Smith and YaYa Marin-Coleman, on KREM Radio on Monday nights from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. True to the name of the program, the hosts, guests, and callers read and reason about a variety of topics with the hope of stimulating independent thinkers, and fostering healthy debates. Beginning Saturday, March 1, Read and Reason will be taken to the streets through the hosting of reading and reasoning discussion circles at Battlefield Park from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning. The first chapter of the book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, by John Perkins, will be read by a facilitator and then participants will reason about that chapter. The interaction between community members will determine the pace of the reading content, and length of time spent on discussions.

BNTU marches on!
The Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) held a Council of Management meeting this weekend, and while our newspaper had been unable to get official word from national president Luke Palacio on the outcome of that meeting, due to a family emergency, Amandala has been reliably informed that the BNTU members and executive officers intend to gather at Independence Hill when the budget is read this Friday. The BNTU has said that “when [the] budget is read, we will be going to Belmopan…” However, at the time of this report, we were unable to get an estimate of how many members from the various branches they expect to be present at the budget reading. As we reported to you in our last mid-week edition, Friday, March 7 is slated for the reading of the 2014-2015 budget, and teachers and public officers are looking forward to an announcement that included in that budget is the 5% salary adjustment which they have been asking for, to help offset cost of living pressures.

This weekend, a young female, in her teens, from rural Belize, reported to police that she was raped while being given a ride home from work. Today, ASP Chris Noble, O.C. Rural Police, told us about the incident and said that they have suspects that they are seeking. Noble said, “A female teenager who was working at an [unspecified] area apparently accepted to be escorted to her residence. The information to us at this stage is that persons did ‘take advantage’ of her. Right now, we have persons that we are looking for, and we are looking into locating those persons to assist us with our investigation.”

Boy, 13, and girl, 15, missing
Two minors, a boy, 13, and a girl, 15, have been reported missing by their respective families in Belmopan and Hattieville. Micah Balthazar, 13, of Hattieville, was reported missing on Friday, February 21, and Jennifer Canti, 15, of Maya Mopan, Belmopan, was reported missing on Monday, February 24. Florentina Balthazar, Micah’s mother, told police that although her son had gone home after school on Friday evening, when she returned from a visit to her neighbor, where she had gone between 3:00 and 5:00 that Friday evening, she found that Micah was not at home. She began a search for him, but he was nowhere to be found. However, she saw that some of his clothes and a backpack were missing.

Fire destroys house in Cayo
A couple from San Ignacio is devastated and homeless after their house and possessions were completely destroyed by fire. The calamity occurred about 7:30 last night. The house was a 2-flat building. The upper flat was made of lumber and the lower flat was of concrete, and it was owned by Angelina Gordon and her common-law husband Police who responded to the fire reported that on their arrival they saw the house engulfed in flames and burning furiously. The San Ignacio Fire Service responded and put out the fire. Gordon reported that she was not at home at the time. She left the house at about 6:00 that evening, leaving her common-law husband in the house.

Abuses by security forces highlighted in new US Human Rights Report
Time and again, there are citizen complaints of abuses by security officers whose duty it is to uphold the rule of law and to protect citizens from threats to their personal safety. However, a report released this week by the US Government highlights concerns over abuses committed by Belize security forces—and points out that, “Authorities failed at times to maintain effective control over the security forces.” “Investigations continued into three deaths in police custody, in which police allegedly used deadly force under questionable circumstances,” said the report, released by US Secretary of State, John Kerry. The Office of the Ombudsman regularly receives such reports, and as Amandala has previously reported, they are at the top of the list of complaints lodged by the public.

Brian Rusk, 42, an auto mechanic from Indiana, U.S.A. arrived in the Belize harbour on board the cruise ship Carnival Glory, but when the ship sailed last Thursday, February 20, Rusk remained behind, because he wanted to see more of Belize, he said. But in doing so, he violated Belize’s immigration laws. Rusk pleaded guilty to one count of illegally disembarking a vessel without the consent of an immigration officer yesterday, when he was arraigned on the charge before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton, who fined him $1,000, which he was ordered to pay forthwith, or face imprisonment for six months. Rusk paid the fine and was taken into immigration custody until he can be put on board a ship to make his way back to the U.S., since he has no legal status to remain in Belize after spending five days without the requisite visitor’s visa.

Cody Safadago, 42, an American auto mechanic from Seattle, Washington, who is wanted in the U.S. for violating his parole, was arraigned in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court, where he was declared a prohibited immigrant and a removal order was granted to Immigration officers for his expulsion. After his appearance in court, Safadago was handed over to police to await the arrival of a U.S. Marshall who will take him back to the United States. He appeared before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton on the allegation that on Friday, February 27, 2014, he entered Belize and failed to present himself to an Immigration officer at the point of entry. But he pleaded not guilty after he was told he is being deemed a prohibited immigrant.

LETTERS: Calls for systemic balance …
Dear Sir, I read and watch the world news in amazement and grief at the rivalry between rightists and leftists, capitalism and socialism. There is a saying in Spanish, “Las cosas en exceso hacen danio” (No tilde on my keyboard, so use an i). “Things in excess harm you”. It is the same with these political systems. Taking care of money matters only is bad and focusing only on social justice will not work either. There has to be a balance, and Rt. Honorable George Price had the answer with his middle-of-the-road policy, until his party members split along the same lines we are talking about. “Not that the rich shall have less but that the poor shall have more.” If these philosophies were followed by strong leaders a lot of the world’s problems would be solved.

The Belize National Cricket Association had its third week of games this past weekend in the 2014 Harrison Parks National Cricket Competition, and we just received a few results from Mr. Peter Young for the games played the previous week on February 22 and 23, which we share below: On Saturday, February 22, Easy Does It won 235- 120 over Brave 11. Aaron Muslar scored 127 runs and Kenroy Reynolds took 7 wickets for Easy Does It; while Derick McFadzean scored 32 runs and Dorian Gabb took 3 wickets for Brave 11. Western Eagles were 162 for 9, while Excelsior only made 44 runs. Tristan Pook top scored (? runs) and took 4 wickets for Western Eagles, while Brian Casasola top scored (? runs) and took 3 wickets for Excelsior.

Premier League Closing Season
The Premier League of Belize, under the guidance of a “Caretaker Committee” appointed by the FFB, is set to kick off the first round of its 2013-2014 Closing Season with 3 games scheduled for this coming weekend. The complete schedule, consisting of a double round-robin, has been released, and it includes 6 groups of mid-week games, as well as games on Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, all in an effort to complete the regular season by April 30, with semifinals and finals being finished by May 18. The same 7 clubs from the Opening Season are participating in the Closing Season, with a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League as the main prize to be claimed by the aggregate points leader between the champions of the two tournaments.

Softball sisters
We have to apologize for not keeping you fully abreast of the developments in Belize District high school softball, which began their playoffs this evening at Rogers Stadium. At the end of the regular season on Friday last, Nazarene High was undefeated for both the female and male teams. For the males, SJC won 5 and suffered only 1 defeat, that to Nazarene; while in the female category, Ladyville Tech also won 5 games and lost 1, to Nazarene High. We are admittedly biased toward female softball, as we look forward to the day when our young men play baseball. SJC and Nazarene seem to have a rivalry going in the male division; but it is in the female category that the situation is absolutely intriguing.

A woman has been released from custody on a bail of $4,000 and ordered to return to court on Monday, May 12, after she was taken to the Corozal Magistrate’s Court on charges of drug trafficking on Friday. Police reports are that about 11:30 Wednesday at the northern border, while Customs officers were conducting routine checks, they noticed a Hispanic woman identified as Kenisha Yvonne Esquivel Cau, 25, of Alta Mira Area, Corozal Town, with a box of Choco Zucaritas Cornflakes in her hands. They also noticed that there was a transparent plastic tape under the box, and the box was too heavy to be cornflakes. They immediately opened the box, and found two parcels of cannabis inside.

San Pedro boat captain ambushed and shot
Steven Bowen, Jr., 26, of San Mateo, San Pedro, is presently at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) receiving treatment for multiple gunshot injuries suffered after he was ambushed by gunmen at close range at about 8:00 Saturday night in the San Mateo area in San Pedro. Bowen, a boat captain and tour guide operator, told police that he and two friends were walking home when two gunmen ran out of the bush and opened fire at them when they reached a dark area on the road. In his attempt to escape the murderous gunfire, he fell down, and one of the gunmen closed in on him and shot him at close range in the left leg, right leg, right elbow, left ear, left shoulder and back. The gunman then escaped. Bowen’s two friends escaped unhurt.

Andre Hutchinson, former minister’s son, remanded for psychiatric evaluation
Andre Hutchinson, the son of the former UDP Minister of State Michael Hutchinson, appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith on a charge of aggravated assault of an indecent nature. Hutchinson’s fidgety behavior during his arraignment, however, led the Chief Magistrate to remand him to prison for a psychiatric evaluation. He is scheduled to return to court on March 24, by which time a psychiatric report on his state of mind would have been prepared and presented to the court. The allegation against Hutchinson is that on Tuesday, February 25, in Ladyville, he committed indecent assault upon a 35-year-old woman.

Plainclothes cop stabbed 18 times in robbery attempt
A plainclothes policeman of the police anti-drug unit was stabbed about 18 times in various parts of his body by four men who attacked him while he was walking on Ascension Street in Orange Walk Town at about 1:30 yesterday morning. Constable Abimael Perez was stabbed in his chest, back, head, arms and hands. The vicious attackers then ran away, leaving him bleeding on the ground. Police who were alerted about the attack on their fellow officer rushed to Ascension Street. Perez was rushed to the Orange Walk Town Northern Regional Hospital, where he was admitted in a critical but stable condition.

Burrell Boom resident shot in the face during burglary
Over the past weekend, there was a shooting incident in Burrell Boom which resulted in one person being shot in the face. According to police reports, a resident of Burrell Boom was shot in the face, allegedly by armed residents of the area, during a burglary which occurred sometime between Saturday and Sunday in the close-knit rural community. Today, ASP Chris Noble, who is the Rural Executive Officer, told the media what the police know about the incident so far. Noble stated, “We had an incident in Burrell Boom whereby the police were called out early in [Sunday] morning. There were residents of the area who were affected by a burglary, and other residents who had assisted.


Tropic Air’s First Flight from Belize City to Merida, Mexico, The White City
Merida, Mexico is one amazing city. And now, the trip from Belize City to Merida, Mexico is fast, direct and easy. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be on board the very first commercial flight to Merida with Tropic Air. And I have the certificate (and the gorgeous photos) to prove it. Super exciting. The view is amazing. This is just north of Belize City. Up to 8000 feet. A few towns scattered about but most of the Yucatan is unpopulated. A very smooth hour and a half later we started our descent into Merida. The airport is JUST on the outskirts of the city. It’s a pretty quick ride right to the Centro.

Invest Belize Magazine 2014

Here is Your Chance to Grow Your Business
Second Call, Regional Entrepreneurship Training Program

Our Failed Attempt to Interview the Mennonites in Belize
We were leaving the Caribbean coast of Belize and heading inland, making our way slowly up to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. Ever since first entering Belize a few weeks before we kept bumping into this oddly placed sub-culture that was arousing our curiosity; the Mennonites. The Mennonites are an agricultural Christian community originating from Northern Europe in the 16th Century. They moved around throughout the centuries to avoid persecution and eventually a bunch of them settled in Belize in the 1950s. To this day they still live with a lot of their 16th Century traditions, choosing to reject modern technologies. The Mennonite communities of Belize live under varying degrees of radicalism, but across the board many possess similar features. They speak an old Germanic language that dates back to their roots; they’re mostly fair skinned, they shun modern technology and they kind of dress like pilgrims. I wasn’t sure how we were going to approach them, so I decided to just throw myself in there. I climbed onto one of their buses, as a row of heads turned in my direction, and asked a Mennonite couple in English where the bus was going. Nothing but blank looks. Ok, so I tried in Spanish, and the looks were even blanker. Umm what to do now. I jumped off the bus and looked at Christine puzzled. We tracked down another Mennonite kid in the street selling peanuts, who just stared at us behind his glasses, blinking. We then tried a woman selling apples, but she just grunted and frowned.

International Sources

U.S. State Dept.’s 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
The 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) is an annual report by the Department of State to Congress prepared in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act. It describes the efforts of key countries to attack all aspects of the international drug trade in Calendar Year 2013. Volume I covers drug and chemical control activities. Volume II covers money laundering and financial crimes.

U.S. Names Caribbean Countries in 2014 Money Laundering Report
The United States has named several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries as major money laundering states whose financial institutions engage in currency transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from international narcotics trafficking. In its just released "2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report,' the US State Department listed Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize and Haiti as among major money laundering countries and jurisdictions around the world. In addition to these CARICOM countries, the other Caribbean islands named are the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. The report also notes that countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Brazil, Russia, France, Canada as well as the Dominican Republic, Germany, Greece and the Netherlands had been designated major money laundering countries.

19 Images You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped
It's time again for another installment of our popular feature wherein we show you photographs that are 100 percent real, despite the fact that they all look 100 percent fake.

2014 Travel Awards: Best Beach
There are hundreds of beautiful cayes along Belize’s Caribbean coast. Our pick is South ­Water Caye, east of Dangriga—a 15-acre island inside the country’s largest marine reserve. You can paddle the shoreline, snorkel at night, and, if you’re lucky, dive with whale sharks off a nearby atoll. The Pelican Beach Resort is one of just three on the island and has eight sandy cottages, four ­kayaks, and a sister property on the mainland—which makes transfers easy (from $369;

Worlds Scariest Tourist Attractions: Great Blue Hole – Belize
One of the scariest dive sites in the world lies around 2 hours from San Pedro, near Belize. Formed during the last ice age this 300 meters wide, 124 meters deep sinkhole is for the advanced diver only. Made up of karst limestone formations, which over the years, have evolved into ledges that slip away into the darkness. Submerged caves, multi-coloured stalactites and dark shadows accompany giant groupers, nurse sharks and Caribbean reef sharks, in this glorious, yet frightful natural wonder.

New World Oil And Gas Has Not Yet Received Niel Petroleum Payment
New World Oil and Gas PLC Tuesday said it has yet to receive USD20.2 million in subscription payments from Niel Petroleum SA. The oil and gas exploration and development company, with operations on Belize and Denmark, said that the balance of agreed subscription funds, related to a deal from September 2013, was expected to have been paid by Niel at the end of February and at that stage a total of 2.18 billion subscription shares would have been issued in accordance with the subscription. The company said Niel has paid USD250,000 out of the funds in consideration of an extension for the completion of the subscription until no later than March 31.

Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. to Present at 26th Annual Roth Conference on Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: CWCO), which develops and operates seawater desalination plants and water distribution systems in areas of the world where naturally occurring supplies of potable water are scarce or nonexistent, today announced that it will be presenting at the 26th Annual ROTH Conference on Tuesday, March 11, 2014. The conference will be held at the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point, California. The Company's presentation, by Chief Executive Officer Rick McTaggart, is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time in Salon 3 (Track 3). Mr. McTaggart and Chief Financial Officer David Sasnett will be available for meetings during the conference. Investors interested in arranging a meeting with management should contact their ROTH representative. Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. develops and operates seawater desalination plants and water distribution systems in areas of the world where naturally occurring supplies of potable water are scarce or nonexistent. The Company operates water production and/or distribution facilities in the Cayman Islands, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and Bali, Indonesia.

Video: Belize Mission Trip Feb 2014
Our amazing family mission trip with DCI Missions in Belize from Feb 14 - 19, 2014. We were touched by all we met -- Spanish and Mayan groups, Belizean people, Mennonite youth from Spanish Lookout and area in Cayo District, Belize. Our experiences have changed our lives. Thanks tremendously to Pastor Bill Craver for his dedication, passion to reach people and tireless energy! The fact that all of our 7 children were there with us made it all the more special -- we are so proud of every one of them!

Travel Guide - Belize
A helpful travel guide for anyone planning on visiting the beautiful and historical country of Belize.

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