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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

FC United and Joker FC take the lead in the SPSC Football Tournament
Top football teams are starting to take the lead as the San Pedro Sports Committee (SPSC) Football Tournament advances. After just four rounds of the tournament, rankings are being set among the 14 participating teams. It is crucial for each team to deliver at every game to ensure a winning spot in their grouping. Taking this to heart are teams FC United and Joker FC. Friday, February 28th saw two games. In the first game, Joker FC faced the Warriors, in a blowout game that ended in a 6-0 point game in favor of Joker FC. The second game was between FC United and the Veterans, which ended in a 4-0 crushing defeat for the Veterans. In Group A, Joker FC is leading with 10 points. Followed by Legends (2nd) with seven points, Island Pure (3rd) with seven points, Caye Caulker (4th) with seven points, UH Bombers (5th) with four points, Communicacion (6th) with no points and Warriors (7th) with no points. Jordy Craft of Joker FC is the leading scorer in Group A with seven goals.

Don Juan Carnaval
takes his last tour of town before being 'laid to rest'/cremated to mark the end of the Carnaval celebrations on La Isla Bonita. (4 photos)

Inaugural Meeting-Belize/Guatemala Administrative Commission
The inaugural meeting of the Belize-Guatemala Administrative Commission was convened last Friday 28th February, 2014 at the George Price Centre in Belmopan, between a high level delegation of trade and other officials representing the Government of Belize and an official delegation from the Republic of Guatemala. Mr. Michael Singh, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Trade, Investment Promotion, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection, welcomed the Guatemalan Delegation Headed by Vice Minister Maria Luisa Flores Villagran. CEO Singh reaffirmed the Government of Belize's strong interest and commitment to maintaining formal trade relations between Belize and Guatemala with Belize serving as an important conduit for trade with CARICOM. Vice Minister Flores Villagran recognized the importance of establishing the Administrative Commission and reiterated commitments from the Government of Guatemala.

Reina Del Carnaval brings fun and laughter to San Pedro Town
The Rafael A Nu�ez Auditorium was the place to be on Friday February 28th as it was the venue for the first ever Reina Del Carnaval Pageant. The pageant was the second fundraising event to be held by Flor Ancona's Carnaval Comparsas group. The show opened with a dynamic performance by the San Pedro Dance Academy who performed to a medley of upbeat song selections that set the atmosphere for the amazing show that would follow. As the night got underway Master of Ceremonies David Marin announced the lovely contestants that would be vying for the title: Sherlette Beslisle, Zeida Alamilla, Mel Spain, Shelly Huber, Edilma Aguilar Leal and Leonor Rosado. Tasked to judge the pageant were Lisa McCorkle Guerrerro, Melly Badillo and Einer Gomez who certainly had a tough decision at the end of the night. The packed auditorium was buzzing with the group of ladies guaranteed to deliver a spectacular show.

Ambergris Today

Carnaval 2014 Day Three Highlighted by Passport Scandal Parody
El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro has come to end, for this year that is! Carnaval painters and dancers hit the streets of San Pedro early to enjoy the last day of Carnaval on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The painting and dancing was at its max! Music and dancing by the comparsa groups livened up the streets of San Pedro and let us not forget the herd of Carnaval revelers running up and down the streets painting each other. Oh the fun of one of San Pedro's most loved tradition! It was the men's comparsa (Barbies of San Pedro) that parodied one of the country's biggest scandals - the sale of passports and visas by ministers Elvin Penner and Edmund Castro had everybody bursting in laughter as the Penner and Castro impersonators, complete with hundred dollar bills and passports and of course 'women' companions, hit the streets to entertain for the last day of San Pedro Carnaval 2014 celebrations.

Misc Belizean Sources

Sunny, hot weather continues across Belize
Warm and mostly dry conditions are dominating factors in our weather heading into the second half of the week. The general forecast for Belize and her coastal waters is for sunny skies this afternoon and tomorrow morning. Tonight will be cloudy at times. Winds over the open sea and along the coast will be easterly to southeasterly at five to fifteen knots. The sea state will be light chop to choppy. High temperatures this afternoon will be around 86 degrees Fahrenheit along the coast; 90 degrees Fahrenheit inland and a comfortable 74 degrees Fahrenheit up in the hills.

The winners of the Comparsas are as follows
Mayor Daniel Guerrero and the San Pedro Town Council would like to congratulate all the Comparsas Groups who participated in the 3 days of Comparsas during the Carnaval Festivities. We appreciate your enthusiasm & spirit in keeping the tradition of Carnaval alive through the Comparsas. GREAT JOB! We can't wait to see what you all come up for next year! The winners of the Comparsas are as follows: ADULT CATEGORY 1st Place - The San Pedro AIDS Commission 2nd Place - The Barbies 3rd Place - Mrs. Flora Ancona's Group JUNIOR CATEGORY Only Winner - Ambergris Caye Elementary School (ACES) PICTURES AND VIDEOS TO COME SOON!

War On Drugs Has Fundamental Problems
Like *Where is the compelling governmental interest? I look at a recent eye opener. The case of the one legged man receiving six months for 1/10 of a gram of cannabis. Yea I know he had committed similar violations of the law in the past and still owed money. Last I recall the courts had fined him $10,000 for a past similar violation. How does a one legged man pay such a fine? This is only one example of casualties in this war on the people. With all that said and understood, what are we looking at here. What is the cost in time and money in just this one case. I can't tell you that but I can tell you the cost of the cannabis involved. Let's see what 1/10 of a gram of cannabis is, in the material world. Pretty much $35.00 an ounce in most places in rural Belize.

PUPPIES, puppies, and more puppies...
They all need homes by March 20, They are well behaved, love bug mama. Call Lilly Morison at the Belmopan Humane Society 602-7947!

Commissioner of Police Must Resign
The judgement by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin forcibly ordering the Commissioner of Police to conduct a criminal investigation into the Won Hong Kim passport scandal and his statement that the Compol's refusal to conduct such an investigation was "irrational, unreasonable and unlawful" is a damning and most humiliating indictment of the performance of the Commissioner of Police in this said matter. Ever since the Elvin Penner Immigration Scandal broke, the VIP along with Civil Society Organizations and the Opposition have made repeated requests for the police department to conduct a criminal investigation into the scandal. These requests fell on deaf ears notwithstanding that the chief perpetrator of the scandal (junior minister of Immigration, Elvin Penner) had incriminated himself via an email letter that he had sent out to the media. As a further testament of his culpability, the said junior minister was fired from his Cabinet post and other house select committees which he attended, and later ordered to give in the government vehicle that had been provided to him.

Board of Directors of Social Investment Fund new Executive Director
The Board of Directors of Social Investment Fund is pleased to announce the appointment of the new Executive Director, Mr William Lamb, and Public Relations Officer, Mr Selwyn King with effect March, 2014. Mr. Lamb is an Engineer by profession with more than 25 years. He obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Engineering, with Honors in Structural Engineering from Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom in 1995, and a Diploma in Structural Engineering from the College of Art Science & Technology, Kingston, Jamaica, 1990. Mr Lamb served as Project Manager and Site Engineer for the expansion of the Philip Goldson International Airport Terminal Building and for the construction of the new San Ignacio Hospital as well as provided technical advice on all Engineering aspect of JEBCO's construction works. His last tenure was Project Manager for US$10.5M project at the Belize Water Services Ltd.

The Corozal Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) in conjunction with Corozal Town Council (CTC), Corozal Junior College (CJC) and the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) will be presenting a Maya Wedding Ceremony, depicting Prehispanic and Mestizo eras, at Santa Rita Archaeological Site on March 22nd, 2014 from 7:00PM - 9:00PM. Historically Santa Rita Archaeological Site is the only site where a marriage took place between a Spanish Conquistador and a Maya Princess. This presentation will showcase the unique historical and cultural potential of this site as the "Official Maya Wedding Garden" of Belize. The revival of this center as an official Maya Wedding Garden will honor our culture and heritage and will greatly benefit our present and future generations.

Leading business and government figures from Britain and Central America are in London today for a high level conference on trade and investment in the region.

Western Ballaz Host No Limit
The Western Ballaz, who are tied for first place, play the Belize City No Limit on Friday, at 9:00pm. The opening game will be between SHC and Benque. There will be plenty of food and entertainment, along with gate prizes and a $250 half court shot attempt. The after party will be at Meluchi's. Come out to the SHC auditorium for another great night of basketball. "If you thought the game against Dangria was great, then just wait until this Friday when Western Ballaz goes up against Belize City No Limit. It's going to be CRAAAAAZZZZYYYYYYY Fun!!!!!!"

Belize Film School
You could be in Belize making a Wildlife Documentary! See where life takes you!

Villagers of Boom Creek want garbage situation fixed
Residents of Boom Creek village in the Toledo district are complaining about uncontrollable dumping of garbage at the entrance to the community. Residents describe the situation as the conversion of the entrance to a dump site that is very unhealthy and unwelcoming to visitors. One of the residents of Boom Creek, Mr. Valentin Sanchez told Belize Media Group that the dumping of garbage in his village worrisome. "We have two tourist resorts that are near to the village and the tourists have to pass everyday and smell the bad odor of the garbage," said Sanchez. He noted that everything from dead animals to regular household debris are dumped at the entrance to the village. "It affects us a lot because we walk the road everyday and it is not good for our health and of course for our children," says Sanchez.

20,000 Strong Rally
The 20,000 Strong rally for Women's rights is today, and while it's not being held in Cayo, it certainly affects it. They are having transport from all major towns for the event. Happy Women's and Children's month! "BUS INFORMATION FOR BELMOPAN, SAN IGNACIO/SANTA ELENA AND BENQUE VIEJO!"

Benque HoC Celebrates Women's Month
The Benque House of Culture is celebrating Women's month with some fun activities. They've been posting tons of great pictures from their events lately. "Traditional papel picado workshop facilitated by Mrs. Elvira Duarte, empowering and celebrating womens month by sharing the traditional art for festive decore..."

Revival Fire Crusade
The Generation of Fire Youth Group is having their Revival Fire young adult crusade starting tomorrow, Thursday, March 6th, and ending on Saturday. It'll start at 6:30pm, and take place at the Octavia Waight Centre. "Calling all youth and young adults! We invite you to join us as we ignite the Fire of Revival in the hearts of the young people of Belize. We believe these services will be life-changing and you will never be the same! There will be dynamic praise and worship by the Impact Worship team from Impact International Ministries . Pastor Ryan LeStrange and other ministers from the USA will be bringing a Prophetic word that will challenge and change your life!"

La Ruta Maya Kick Off Party
The La Ruta Maya Kick Off Party is tonight at Meluchi's. The LRM Cultural Night is at the Cayo Welcome Center. Friday is the race. "We Gwen Da Blue!!! The Official Kick-off for La Ruta Maya River Challenge AT MELUCHI'S THURSDAY MARCH 6th ***FREE BAR TABS courtesy BELIKIN*** ***2 CELL PHONES + PHONE CARDS courtesy SMART*** Live Performances by:#1 BANDSWEET PAIN BANDMethod - Jobo - Junimar - Johnny P - Elroy...SKINNY DIP [we gwen da]...BAYAHU...JUST LIKE THAT [tuku tuku]...HOUSE HUSBAND...JOE GRINE...COME FI DI HUDUT...REMEDYand more"

BHS Blues Revue Fundraiser
The Belmopan Humane Society had their big Blues Revue fundraiser, and it was a huge success. 'Feed the Dog Band.' Great name. "Well over 180 people were rockin and dancing to tunes of the past and recordings never heard before. Thanks goes to Steve Hack our MC who kept us informed as to what was happening. Kerby Sutherland kept the sound and mixing perfect. I sincerely hope we can bring these great people together for a future event. A huge thank you to you all for your contribution."

Truck driver arrested for allegedly driving while intoxicated
A man who police say was driving while intoxicated has been arrested and charged. Felicito Sho, 40, was booked on a charge of driving a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit, following an incident late on Tuesday night. Police say that just before 9 o'clock on Tuesday night they received reports of a tow head truck heading towards Belize City that was swerving across the Phillip Goldson Highway. The swerving truck, according to the reports, nearly ran a passenger bus off the road. Police say that they then set up a vehicle checkpoint at the Burrel Boom junction, and sure enough around 9:30 pm, the tow head, hauling a trailer pulled up.

Julie with Howler Monkeys at Sanctuary in Belize

Archaeological Excavation in Belize Pawnce the Archaeologist

Belize Bonefish
One of numerous bones caught on my Sage 4wt fly rod during a recent trip to Belize.

Hawksbill sea turtle rehabilitation in Turneffe Atoll, Belize
This baby hawksbill sea turtle was rescued by a local resident and brought to our Blackbird Caye Field Station in Turneffe Atoll, Belize for rehabilitation. The turtle was extremely weak, could barely move, and was wounded on its rear flipper. It also had problems diving. Our staff began to care for the turtle, feeding it pieces of jellyfish and fresh fish and allowing it to rest. As its condition has improved, we have been bringing the turtle out into the ocean for supervised swimming every morning, as seen in the video. The turtle seems to be doing great, and we look forward to releasing it back into the wild very soon. Hawksbill turtles are Critically Endangered with extinction; every individual counts!

Channel 7

Bowen & Bowen Fires 13 Workers Who Were Complaining About Contracts
13 employees have been fired from Bowen and Bowen because they failed to show up to work. Public Relations Officer Christelle Wilson told 7News that at the end of the business today the company took the decision to terminate the employees for services no longer required. Apparently, the company concluded that they had abandoned their posts, and so they were replaced. Most were delivery-men. That's a real stunner because just yesterday the workers had been going around to labour unions and the media trying to get their story out. This morning, they went to the labour office. They were contesting the terms of a new work contract. Well, not anymore. One hour ago, when we called one of those terminated employees, he told us he knew nothing of it, and that all of them had their doctor's papers. He said the labour office told them to go into work tomorrow. But, now all that is very up in the air. Their complaints was that if they sign the new contracts, their commission and their overtime would be severely cut.

PM's Wife says Catholic Church Is Sexist For Not Endorsing Women's Rally
Tomorrow, the Prime Minister's wife, Kim Barrow is calling out all women to march twenty thousand strong in an empowerment rally. But, the Roman Catholic Church, now joined by the 7th Day Adventists have come out against the event. The Catholics say the National Women's Commission is behind it, and that office, quote, "promotes values that contradict Christian and moral teachings regarding respect for all human life, family marriage, and human sexuality� the well-being of women (cannot) be enhanced by advocacy which promotes abortions and so called pseudo rights of men and women and same sex relationships." That's the equivalent of a drop kick in karate, delivered just less than 48 hours before the rally. Today Special Envoy Kim Barrow reacted: Kim Simplis-Barrow - Special Envoy For Women And Children "Well, it's of course disappointing. It's something that I wasn't expecting. It's regrettable that I was not asked for an audience, that no clarification was requested from me as to what this is about. So, it's really bothersome, but we move on. We respect the church."

Faber Says Teachers Will Get Their Pay Docked If The Rally In 'Pan On Friday
Ministry of Education is allowing female teachers to attend tomorrow's women's rally - but warning all teachers that if they attend the Union's rally and demonstration on Friday in Belmopan - they'll have their pay docked. The call that a double standard. This evening at the ITVET Compound in Belize City, we caught Education Minister Patrick Faber who told us that indeed, the teachers who go to rally on Friday should expect a pay cut. He told us why: Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education "Also the fact that the teachers and public servants are now getting that 5% that they had clamoured for, and really, if their concern is about the other issues they're rallying for, then why is it that the children of our nation should suffer as a result of that. There are ways of giving that support for the causes that they claim without putting our children through all of this. You know, I take issue with the fact that they behave as if things are no moving to several of these issues that they've pointed out. There is activity happening, you might not agree with the level of it, but to say, the Government is sitting on it's hand. We're at that point where we have invoke industrial action which is clearly what that is, then we're not there. We're simply not there. The negotiations have not broken down. They will get a raise of up to 7 1/2% if you include the increment, the annual increment that is given. What is it that you have to protest, rally and to invoke industrial action about. And I am sorry. I don't see it, and so, as I've said, we've been lenient and patient, and I don't want anybody to get the impression that this ministry sits on its hands as it relates to enforcing the laws, the Education and Training Act and the accompanying rules. We're not sitting on our hands, and if the teachers have a right to demonstrate, rally and to invoke industrial action, there is power given to ministry as well, and we intend to use that power well."

Judge Says Corwin Didn't Kill Killa
Justice Adolph Lucas has ruled that 20 year-old Corwin Bennett did not kill 34 year-old Raymond "Killa" Gentle. And so, tonight, Bennett is a free man at home after 3 years on remand awaiting his trial. Bennett stood trial for murder without a jury before Justice Lucas and his case finished last week Tuesday. After deliberating for a week, Justice Lucas delivered his judgment today, explaining that Bennett gave written statements implicating himself. He rejected the dock statement in which Bennett claimed that he had been threatened into confessing. And so Justice Lucas accepted the confession statements as proper evidence, he said the prosecution did not test their contents in open court to ensure that they were factual. Because this was the main evidence that the prosecution relied on, Justice Lucas found Bennett not guilty, and he was able to walk out of court and go home.

SATIIM Accountant Charged, Finally
10 months ago, 7News told you how 250 thousand dollars plus was reportedly embezzled from the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management - that's Greg Choq's organization, known as SATIIM. Well, tonight we can confirm that SATIIM's former Finance Officer, David Duncan, has been charged for some of that money. PG Police have confirmed to us that with the directive of the Office of the DPP, Duncan was charged with 9 counts of theft because he was reportedly connected to 9 cheques for a total of just over 100 thousand dollars. He was arraigned in the Punta Gorda Magistrate's Court yesterday, where he pleaded not guilty and was granted bail of $10,000.

Silver Rodeo Was Behind City Shootings
Tonight, 2 men are hospitalized after they became victims of the latest city shootings which happened on Raccoon Street Extension. Police from Precinct 2 are noting a spike in random shootings in their area, so they have stepped up operations. Nevertheless there was another shooting in the area last night. 27 year-old Darrell Alvarez nearly became the victim of a well-planned hit. Police say that after 9:00 a silver rodeo pulled up and 2 men got out and fired shots at him. Here's what police know about that shooting incident: Corporal Jorge Lemus - Admin Section, Police Precinct 2 "At about 6:25 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, police responded to Holy Emmanuel Street in the Saint Martin De Porres area, where they met one Darrell Alvarez. He's a Belizean labourer of Holy Emmanuel Street, who reported that a silver in color 4-door SUV type Rodeo pulled up to his residents, and 2 gunmen fired 3 shots in his direction. He managed to escape without being harmed, and the male persons sped off in the said vehicle. No expended shells were recovered from the scene. No one was injured."

Immigration Officer Ady Pacheco Is Questioned by Police About Penner
Belmopan police are investigating Elvin Penner for criminal wrongdoing just as the court ordered them to, and today Immigration Officer from the nationality section Ady Pacheco was called in to give a statement. Pacheco who is the second in command in the section had possession of the Citizen Kim file and is seen as crucial in the entire process. She went to the police accompanied by her attorney Godfrey Smith who, we are told, sat with her throughout the questioning. We understand she put the responsibility for any wrongdoing squarely on Penner's shoulders saying that he directed the entire process, and was advised that the Citizen Kim file was incomplete. Still, she said, he requested that a certificate be prepared and said he would handle the deficiencies in the file with the Director. We understand that tomorrow her co-worker Gordon Wade will go in to give his statement.

Deon McCauley Is Now A Silverback
Last week Friday we told you about the difficulties Deon McCauley was having in getting a release to play professionally for the Atlanta Silverbacks in the USA. Well, tonight, can we say, all's well that ends well? It seems the Belmopan Bandits relented on their position that he was under contract until the end of May. And so, today, the international transfer certificate was finalized at 1:42 pm, making Deon McCauley officially an Atlanta Silverback. It was a free transfer, meaning the Bandits were not paid. He now joins the team for pre-season, in advance of the regular season which starts in April.

Two Years In, City Mayor Has a Lot To Boast About
The Belize City Council is celebrating the second anniversary of its being elected to office. This morning at City Hall, Mayor Darrell Bradley hosted a press conference where he discussed the Council's accomplishments in those two years - and he had a lot to boast about: Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council "When I became mayor, nobody really looked at the municipality with any kind of seriousness or credibility. They thought that city governance was a joke. 2 years later, nobody can do any project in Belize City without coming to us. Our audit also shows that the City Council rose from an organization with an expected income revenue of 17 million dollars to 23 million dollars. So, we're growing as an organization. Our audit also shows that in March of 2012, when the last audit period began, this City Council had in its accounts 37 thousand dollars. One year later, when that audit period closed, on March 2013, the council had 5.3 million dollars. We have a City Council which is in a much better financial health that we inherited. It is not where we want to be, but we are moving in the right direction. We are so comfortable that the City Council could have aborted the planned implementation of the 10-dollar residential garbage fee.

Mayor Commits To Transform City Slum
But serving himself a heaping dose of self-praise wasn't the only thing that the mayor did on his council's second anniversary. He went into an area that most professional politicians with any instinct for self-preservation stay far from - that's Conch Shell Bay, one of the poorest, most enduring slums of Belzie City. But the mayor went there, and he did so with a posse, including the heads of the Methodist and Anglican Churches, backed up by Hand in Hand Ministries, and the Lands Commissioner. That's a combo which should have the cure for any combination of spiritual, material and social ills. The mayor says he's determined to transform Conch Shell Bay: Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council "As a result of Councillor Willoughby's involvement, he managed to procure donations of material, so that today, you will be seeing that every single area is going to be filled. Ever lot in the area will be filled. Councillor Willoughby will be distributing plywood to residents and also zinc material. So, it's a think that we are trying to do what we can. These are often times band aid solutions because when we originally did our assessment, the need of people in this community is far greater than what we can handle with these kinds of interventions. So that, what we are trying to do also is Councilor Willoughby will be leading a partnership with the churches and with hands in hands to see if we can work with a more permanent solution. This morning, we had a meeting with the Commissioner of Lands to see if they could arrange and rectify all the title issues that are in this area."

Ag. Natural Resources CEO Speaks About Corruption In His Ministry
Probably the most curious face in the whole socio-political shindig this morning was Lands Commissioner Wilbert Vallejos. He's also the acting CEO in that ministry and while he had every valid reason to be there because it is a land labyrinth, he is not known for his public appearances. But, if we can connect the political dots, we see Willoughby airing a political advertisement and it features an endorsement from German Vega, the brother of the Natural Resources Minister Gaspar Vega. So, in that context them it's not too unusual to see Vallejos at this morning's event. The media also used the opportunity to ask him about reports of recent firings in the Ministry - and almost "by the way", he gave a candid commentary on corruption in the Lands Department: Wilbert Vallejos, Commissioner of Lands "There are changes happening in the Ministry of Lands, strategic changes, I say, where some people are being moved indeed, and others are being put into place. The National Estate Officer, Miss Darlene Padron, has been transferred to a different ministry - a ministry where she can be of much more assistance - taking into consideration that she has a degree in sustainable development so she has been transferred to the Ministry of Fisheries and Sustainable Development. The other officer who has gone through a change is the deputy commissioner who has tendered his resignation as deputy commissioner of lands and service."

Man For Manslaughter Wins Appeal
Today, the Court of Appeal granted the appeal of Edward Buller who was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 16 years in jail. His attorney, Anthony Sylvestre was able to succeed on the single ground that the trial judge failed to give the jury a proper direction to a technical aspect of the case. His 16-year sentence was set aside, and a retrial was ordered, with the reasons for the decision to be delivered at a later date. Buller was charged with the murder of Ella Mae Bennett who was found partially nude with wounds to head and face on June 20, 2009. Her body was discovered in an abandoned bungalow concrete building on Central American Boulevard. The Investigators found a bloody cement block next to her body.

Education Minister Explains Decision To Shut Down School
Last night we told you about the brewing controversy at the Hope Seventh Day Adventist Academy located in the village of Rhaburn Ridge. The newly opened school has been operating for the past 2 months without a valid license after they were refused by the Ministry of Education for a number of reasons. On Thursday the school received a letter from the Ministry of Education stating that it had to close down within 24 hours or else face police intervention. Today a handful of teachers, parents and the school principal WAITED FOR the Minister at the ITVET for answers. Before the Minister addressed the group, he gave us an interview on the situation.

Zabaneh Says He's Not A Kingpin!
Tonight we have the third part of our extended interview with business man and industrial farmer John Zabaneh. The United States Office of Foreign Asset Control has designated him as a Kingpin, and alleged that he is the head of a local drug organization that works for the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexican. Now, since the boss of the Sinaloa Cartel Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman has been arrested in Mexico, Zabaneh is begging US authorities to clear his name, by asking Guzman if he knows Zabaneh and if he plays any role in the Cartel. It's simplistic and far-fetched, but that's how far Zabaneh is willing to go. He's a desperate man, desperate to get out from under the Kingpin Designation, which has destroyed his business, and doesn't even permit him to have a bank or credit union account. On Monday, Zabaneh told us about the man he believes tried to entrap him. That is Kahari Nash - who Zabaneh first discussed inMonday night's interview. Since then we have also been trying to find out about Nash - but neither the US Embassy in Belize nor the Office of Foreign Assets Control in the Washington would comment. But, he's a compelling part of Zabaneh's story - here's how he explained it:

PUP: An Agenda For All Women
At the top of the news, 7News told you about the controversy surrounding the 20,000 Strong Women Empowerment Rally. Well, that is not the only event for Women's Month that is making the news tonight. The PUP today launched its 2014 Women's Agenda today under the theme, "Charting Greater Pathways for Belizean Women As Nation Builders" Independence Hall was filled with PUP women for the launch of the agenda, and 7News as there. Here's what the Opposition Leader had to say about it:

March Is For Child Stimulation too
At the top of the news, 7News told you about the controversy surrounding the 20,000 Strong Women Empowerment Rally. Well, that is not the only event for Women's Month that is making the news tonight. The PUP today launched its 2014 Women's Agenda today under the theme, "Charting Greater Pathways for Belizean Women As Nation Builders" Independence Hall was filled with PUP women for the launch of the agenda, and 7News as there. Here's what the Opposition Leader had to say about it:

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Channel 5

Kim Simplis Barrow says she's disappointed by church's position
Final preparations are being put to the Twenty Thousand Strong Women Empowerment Rally, organized by the Special Envoy for Women and Children, with logistical support from the National Women's Commission. [...]

Women's Commission says there's intense intimidation from the Catholic Church
The organizers are hoping that twenty thousand women and young girls will be marching in Belize City on Thursday as part of a women empowerment rally. Unfortunately, the planned empowerment [...]

Over $250,000 to be spent on rally
It is hoped that there will be a massive turnout of women at the rally, but aside from the Roman Catholic Church, the organizers have received another very surprising declaration [...]

B.N.T.U. says its teachers can go to the rally
The Belize National Teachers Union, despite permission being granted to its membership by the Ministry of Education to attend the rally, also finds itself in the middle of the standoff [...]

Lands Commissioner only god can clean up the corruption
Two weeks ago, reports surfaced that three highly-ranked officers in the Ministry of Natural Resources had received their walking papers, allegedly for reasons of corruption. The three were very close [...]

13 Bowen & Bowen employees terminated
Thirteen employees of Bowen and Bowen Limited have been terminated. That decision was taken by the management of the company after the group of employees comprising of drivers and their [...]

Employees discontent with new terms of employment and salaries with Bowen
Wilson says that the restructuring of the company was necessary to provide quality service to customers.   Christelle Wilson, Internal Legal Counsel & PR Officer, Bowen & Bowen "We have [...]

B.N.T.U. says the Ministry of Education has double standards
The Belize National Teachers Union is also hosting a massive demonstration on Independence Hill this Friday, where the House of Representatives will be convening to present the 2014 National Budget.� [...]

P.U.P. says it will support B.N.T.U. at its rally on Friday
The B.N.T.U. will also be getting some support from another source at its rally on Friday in Belmopan. Today, P.U.P. Leader Francis Fonseca confirmed that the party will be on [...]

P.U.P. women launch their Women's Agenda
As we told you earlier in our newscast, the P.U.P. women will not be at the twenty-thousand strong rally set for Thursday. The party has stated that it does not [...]

SATIIM's former finance officer charged for theft
In Punta Gorda, nine months after the theft of one hundred and ten thousand dollars was reported, an arrest has been made. Forty year old David Duncan has been charged [...]

City Hall to rehabilitate Conch Shell Bay
You could be forgiven for hearing the name Conch Shell Bay and picturing pristine beaches overlooking the picturesque waters of the Caribbean. But if you're a resident of Belize City, [...]

Busy artery converted into a one-way street has residents up in arms
Mayor Darrell Bradley and the Belize City Council are days away from celebrating two years in office. And for City Hall it will be a celebration, boasting one hundred and [...]

Mayor Bradley says that zoning was necessary for 6th Street
Bradley also alluded to one major problem which has caused the current hostilities on Sixth Street - zoning. That's why the previously residential street has a commercial feel�with large supermarkets, [...]

2 Belize City men fighting for their lives following late evening shooting
Two Belize City men are tonight fighting for their lives at the K.H.M.H. following late evening shootings in the Old Capital. The shootings occurred within ten minutes of each other [...]

Mayor Darrell Bradley celebrates two years in office with report card
Earlier we told you that the Mayor is celebrating his two years in office. To mark the occasion, surrounded by councilors, Mayor Darrell Bradley today presented the report card of [...]


U.S and Belize Armed Forces Join Hands For Training
An exercise, titled "Fused Response 2014" will be conducted by the Belize Defense Force, along with members of the U.S. Armed Forces from March 5th to the 14th. The training events are being conducted by the Government of Belize and the Government of the United States of America, in the Cayo District and in 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.

Orange Walkeno Nearly Stabbed To Death
Authorities in Orange Walk Town are investigating an aggravated assault upon a male person in this municipality. On Saturday at about 11:30p.m, police visited the Northern Regional Hospital where they met Juan Ramirez on a bed suffering from multiple cut wounds to his body. Initial investigation reveals that Ramirez and his brother, 26 year old Jose Rafael Ramirez Nationalized Belizean of East San Martin Street, were socializing at MI CASA cool spot when they were attacked by three male Hispanic persons with broken bottles. As a result Juan Ramirez sustained injuries, and his brother Jose Rafael Ramirez received a small cut wound to the back of the head. Police have since detained one man and are seeking two others as investigations continue.

Traffic Accident Claims Life Of Corozaleno
A traffic collision on the Philip Goldson Highway in the earlier part of the morning today, claimed the life of resident from Altamira Corozal. Lennox Garbutt decided to head out to Belize City in the wee hours of this morning after learning that his sister had passed away. Little did he know that death was also calling him. He took the wheel and upon reaching between mile 6 and 7 of the highway Garbuit became involved in a traffic accident. Tonight his family is having a double wake as Garbutt passed away this morning at the KHMH. Reporter Maria Novelo followed the story and filed the following report. Maria Novelo- Reporting This narrow stretch of meandering roads between the Haulover Bridge and the junction to Burrel Boom has seen a lot of traffic mishaps recently and that was compounded early this morning around 3:00am when another traffic mishap occurred, taking the life of an Alta Mira resident of Corozal Town. Reliable reports to our newsroom is that after hearing of his sisters passing last night, Lennox Garbutt took to the road to meet up with his grieving family in Belize City, little did he know, his life would be cut short. According to Assistant Superintendent of the Ladyville Police Station, Chris Noble, the collision occurred between mile 6 and 7 of the Philip Goldson highway involving a red Chrysler and a blue/grey Toyota Corolla.

The Special Envoy Response To The Catholic Chancery Press Release
Yesterday we told you about the fiery press release sent out to the masses by the Roman Catholic Chancery office on their stance to not support the "20,000 Strong Women Empowerment Rally' and promised to have a response from the Special Envoy for Women and Children today. Well, the office of the Special Envoy responded indeed but it was a subtle response to say the least. While many of us were anticipating a harsh counter reaction, the Special Envoy for Women and Children release says while the rally seeks to 'empower and inspire women to claim our rightful space as equal partners in the development of the country�. It is very disappointing that the Roman Catholic Church is attempting to ascribe extraneous motives to this event that is intended simply to honor and uplift women.'

Mexican Embassador Gave Reason As To The Belize/Mexican Border Problem
At the beginning of this year, the importation and exportation of goods at the Belize/Mexico Border was hindered when the license for the Agencia Aduanal "Servicios Aduaneros Integrados", which was the only broker agency for the importation and exportation of goods on the Mexican Side of the Border was suspended. The issue caused a huge negative impact here in the north especially in the construction area since steel and cement became scarce. To solve the problem a new agency opened at the border but the processing of cargo trucks and goods has been rather slow. Today in an interview with Love F.M, Mexican Ambassador Mario Velazquez gave reason as to why there is only one Agencia Aduanal at the border. He indicated that because the trade is minimal, the Association of Custom Brokers believes that there might not be enough business for more than one agency.

BJAT Results Finally Released To Principals
The Belize Junior Achievement Test (BJAT) is an examination intended for all students in sixth grade, or as we know it standard three. It is not offered simultaneously and is designed to inform bearing minimal negative consequences for the student. The 2013 results are in and the Ministry of Education has distributed these results to the schools. Principals are asked to conduct an analysis of the results. District Education Manager Jahmor Lopez says the exam can be very useful for schools. Jahmor Lopez - District Education Manager "We finally gotten the 2013 BJAT results and we've distributed those to our principals here in the Corozal District and what we are asking our principals to do along with their respective school communities is to do a detail analysis of the performance of their schools. The BJAT exam is normal sat by students who are in standard three and it sorts of like a barometer reading a litmus test if you wish to call it that way to see where the schools are at and to see where those students are performing because in the next three years they would be sitting the PSE which is the final exam, the BJAT in education terms is sort of like a formative evaluation where it is on-going and we can put interventions in places to see how we can how we can have students improve and the Primary School Examination which is done in standard six is punto final, that is the final and there isn't anything that we can do at that point because it is the school leaving exam.

Child Stimulation Month "Early Childhood Education, Where Our Future Begins"
March 3rd marked the opening of Child Stimulation Month across the country and this year it brought along a menu of activities. In the Corozal District the month also kicked off with a colorful display of banners which were on exhibited during Monday's parade which saw the participation of 37 pre-schools who marched down the principal streets of Corozal Town. This year's theme "Early Childhood Education, Where Our Future Begins", promotes the importance of toddlers attending pre-schools. It is also the aim of educators to bring to light the benefits of Child Stimulation Month.

SIF Appoints New Public Relations Officer
The Social Investment Fund (SIF) has announced the addition of new faces to its executive panel, on Tuesday. According to the release, the board of directors appointed William Lamb as Executive Director and Selwin King as Public Relations Officer. Lamb, who has an extensive history as an Engineer, has an excellent grasp in implementations of social infrastructure projects mainly in health, education, water and sanitation sectors in urban and rural areas. Selwin King, who has been known as the Public Relations for the University of Belize, has with him a wealth of knowledge in corporate communications. Their tenures became effective in March.

Ash Wednesday Is Conmemmorated
Today is considered to be the first day of lent leading to the Sunday of Resurrection commonly known as Easter Sunday. For many Christians today marks the beginning of the 40 day liturgical period of prayer and fasting and abstinence. Of the 46 days until Easter, six are Sundays. As the Christian designation of Sabbath, Sundays are not included in the fasting period and are instead "feast" days during Lent. It is traditional that each year at Masses and services of worship on this day, ashes are imposed on the foreheads of the faithful. The priest, minister, or in some cases officiating layperson, marks the forehead of each participant with black ashes in the sign of the cross, which the worshipper traditionally retains until it wears off.

Two Person Charged Of Robbing CFZ Business Man
And in an update to the Free Zone heist of Mexican businessman Ricardo Villasenor, who was robbed of 1.25 million pesos; the perpetrators have been caught, arrested and charged. They are 22 year-old Israel Rancharan and 21 year-old Benigno Loria who were charged with conspiracy to commit robbery; and 26 year-old Hector Kelly, and 18 year-old Zandon Myers, pictured on screen. These are the men who have been accused of robbing 48 year-old Ricardo Villasenor of $208,000 Belize dollars inside the Corozal Free Zone, a few weeks ago.

Lennox Garbutt Dies By Traumatic Shock Due To Multiple Trauma
Last night, CTV3 news told you about a traffic collision on the Philip Goldson Highway that claimed the life of 42 year old Lennox Garbutt, a resident of Corozal Town. Tonight, after a post mortem was conducted on his body, it was certified that his death was caused by 'Traumatic Shock due to multiple trauma' as a result of road traffic accident. As we've reported, 5 persons have 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; Lennox's passing was 6 in a span of weeks.


Task Force Conducts Interrogation Into Immigration Fiasco
A Task Force under the umbrella of the National Crimes Investigative Branch of the Belize Police Department has undertaken the investigation into the immigration scandal that brought much criticism after a South Korean national who was imprisoned overseas, acquired a Belizean passport during the time of his incarceration. Since the scandal began unfolding, Area Representative for Cayo Northeast, Elvin Penner has been stripped of his portfolio as a Minister of State, several immigration officers have faced the Public Services Commission while a number of transfers have taken place within the Immigration Department�And while some months have passed and many thought it would have blown over after some time, it seems that a natural death is nowhere in sight for this issue as just this week, the Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin has ruled in favour of the Opposition Party, the PUP, and a writ of Mandamus was granted, thus compelling the Commissioner of Police to pursue an investigation into the immigration debacle. It is an interesting turn of events, as in the past months, Love News Centre has reported on several entities and individuals who have submitted letters to the Commissioner appealing for an intense investigation into the matter. In the courtroom of the Chief Justice, it was learned that the Commissioner of Police took the decision to not pursue an investigation into the matter. Today, we spoke with Attorney Lisa Shoman on the matter.

Woman in House of Representatives Says Budget for Women’s Rally Is Exorbitant
It is an event that has been much publicized and that has thousands of women in Belize preparing to converge at the Marion Jones Stadium in Belize City for what has been dubbed, 20,000 Strong. Today we asked Dolores Balderamos Garcia, the only woman in Belize's House of Representatives, if she would be participating in tomorrow's event. HON. DOLORES BALDERAMOS GARCIA "I was personally invited; I don't believe any invitation came to the People's United Party as such but I did receive a personal invitation and I did speak with Ms Kim Simplis Barrow and respectfully, I declined to participate but I do want it to be known that I didn't lightly turn it down - it is a woman's event but when we consider carefully, not only the climate of the country but also the issues of women and how it would look if myself, as the only elected woman in the House would go and participate in what we call a rah rah rally when the woman who attend that rally will go home to the same reality and having gotten information about the kind of budget that is being expended out of public funds to fund that couple hours of event, we could not in good conscience and like I said, when I say 'we', I was personally invited but I don't take decisions on my own; I have to consult with the Party Leader, I have to consult with the leaders of the party and we had to take a decision to respectfully, not participate but mainly because we believe that it is not something that is real; it is not something that is going to change the lives of women in our country."

Shooting Incidents in Belize City Leave Two Hospitalized
Investigators at Precinct Two of the Belize Police Department are investigating two separate shooting incidents that occurred on the south side of Belize City on Tuesday night. Reports to Love News centre are that at around 6:25 last night a silver Rodeo SUV passed in front of the home of Darrel Alvarez on Holy Emmanuel Street in Belize City and one of the two men who were on board, fired three shots at Alvarez. Fearing for his life, Alvarez attempted to flee the area and the two men pursued him, firing several more shots at him but Alvarez managed to evade the assailants and was unharmed. But just about ten minutes later, a similar silver Rodeo SUV was on Racoon Street Extension where two men were shot. In that incident, 27-year-old, Leroy Richards, a construction worker of Antelope Street Extension and Jermaine Cattousse were socializing with a female near a public pipe on Racoon Street Extension when a silver SUV came from the direction of Neal's Pen Road and one of the passengers fired several shots in their direction, injuring Alvarez with two wounds to the left side of his neck while Cattousse received a gunshot wound to his abdomen. Police recovered 2 nine millimetre shells and a slug in the area and are currently seeking two suspects for these incidents.

Justice Lucas Acquits Bennett of Murder
Twenty year old Corwin Bennett, charged with the murder of 34 year old Raymond "Killa" Gentle, was acquitted of the charge today by Justice Adolph Lucas. It was a trial without jury. Justice Lucas will give his verdict in writing at a later date. Gentle, a notorious street personality was shot and killed on January 12, 2011. He was doing construction work on a house on Kraal Road when his assailant appeared and fired several shots at him. Bennett had given two oral and written statements that were admitted as evidence. In one statement he said he was the shooter and in the other statement he said he was with the shooter. Bennett also said in the statement that he was paid $5,000 to take the rap and that a gang leader had told him to take the rap because he cannot afford for the real killer to go to prison. Bennett gave a statement from the dock in which he said that at the time of the incident he was doing construction work at a house on Jane Usher Boulevard. The main witness for the prosecution was the deceased brother, Elvis Bevans. But Bevans in his testimony did not identify Bennett. Bennett was represented by attorneys Baja Shoman and Michelle Trapp-Zuniga. Crown Counsels Shanice Lovell and Portia Staine represented the prosecution.

Appeals Court Accepts Buller’s Case on Manslaughter
An appeal by 54 year old Edward Buller, who was convicted of manslaughter and was sentenced to 16 years, was allowed today by Belize Court of Appeal. Buller's conviction was quashed, his sentence was set aside and a retrial was ordered. The appeal succeeded on the ground that the learned trial judge failed to give the jury the mushtaq direction in relation to a caution statement Buller had given in which he said he was beaten. The respondent, represented by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lyn Vidal, conceded that Buller should get a retrial. Buller was charged with the murder of 41 year old Ella Mae Bennett, who was killed on June 20, 2009. Bennett's body was found two days later on the verandah of an abandoned bungalow concrete building on Central American Boulevard. She died from trauma caused by an injury to her head. A concrete block was found near to her body. In Buller's statement he said they had an argument and he pushed her and she fell. He said when he checked her she was not moving. But in his testimony Buller said that at the time of the incident he was at home watching television. Buller was represented at the appeal hearing by attorney Anthony Sylvestre.


BNTU Says Demonstration Set for Friday Despite Intimidation Tactics
The teachers are planning a demonstration in Belmopan on Friday March 7, during the reading of the national budget. A memo was written to the BNTU on March 4th from the Ministry of Education, expressing its concern that classes will be disrupted again and reminding the Union of Rule...

Lands Commissioner Reports on Land Situation in Lemonal
The village of Lemonal in the Belize River Valley is one of the oldest and most recognizable in the country. But it does not exist - at least, not according to the Ministry of Natural Resources, who says their maps do not plot it. That has caused some issue...

Belize City Council on the Ground in Conch Shell Bay
This morning, Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley and City Councilor Philip Willoughby were on a walk-through tour of the Conch Shell Bay area north and east of Vernon Street. It is one of the poorest areas of the City and there are several key concerns which Mayor Bradley says...

Investigation on the Way Into Passport Scandal
As instructed by the courts, it appears that investigations have once again begun into the Won Hong Kim passport scandal. Plusnews has been informed that since yesterday, Police Officers in Belmopan have been questioning relevant immigration officers, including those who were transferred from the Immigration Department in November. The...

VIP Calls for Compol's Resignation
In related news, Vision Inspired by the People is calling for the resignation of the Commissioner of Police, Allen Whyllie. In a press release issued today, the party says that "The judgement by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin forcibly ordering the Commissioner of Police to conduct a criminal investigation into...

Corwin Bennett Freed of the Charge of Murder
Supreme Court Justice Adolph Lucas today freed 20 year old Corwin Bennett from a charge of murder, after ruling that his guilt had not been proven by the Crown beyond a reasonable doubt. Bennett was tried for the murder of Raymond "Killa" Gentle, a former gang boss, in January of...

Mr. Edward Buller Retried for the Death of Ms. Ella Mae Bennett
52 year old Edward Buller will be retried for the death of Ella Mae Bennett in the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal struck down his conviction for manslaughter and 16-year prison sentence this morning. Buller was acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter in September of 2011...

Fatal Traffic Accident on Phillip Goldson Highway
There was a fatal traffic accident between miles 6 and 7 on the Phillip Goldson Highway yesterday. Corozal Resident, 42 year old Lennox Garbutt, perished in that accident. According to police reports, Garbutt was driving his black Toyota Corolla from the direction of Corozal to Belize City. With him...

Special Envoy for Women and Children Addresses Catholic Church's Boycott of Rally
Yesterday, the Roman Catholic chancery office issued a press release saying that it does not support the 20,000 women rally scheduled for Thursday March 6th. The release says that organizers, the National Women's Commission, promotes values that contradict Christian and moral teachings regarding the respect for all human life,...

Cancer Society Receives Donation from Women's Group
This evening at the Bull Frog Inn, the Belmopan International Women's Group (BIWG) hosted a special Handing Over Ceremony in which they donated BZ$500 to the Belize Cancer Society, Belmopan Branch. We spoke to the President of BIWG Michelle Rodriguez, who explained to us that this donation was very...


Belize, Part II (Placencia and Monkey River)
More from beautiful Belize! This post features lots of photos of foliage and animals taken on a tour of the Monkey River and during a romantic sunset cruise on the Placencia Lagoon. My upcoming Belize posts detail the second part of our honeymoon, when we traveled from the sandy sea beaches of Placencia to the rugged Maya Mountains rainforest. We certainly got the best of both worlds! Stay tuned. The highlight of the cruise came when a Mom and baby dolphin decided to hang out with us for a bit. They raced the boat and did twirls and basically made my wife and I clap and squeal with glee like a bunch of toddlers. It was truly special.

Would They, Should They�Kill Carnaval On Ambergris Caye?
Carnaval 2014 in San Pedro, Belize is coming to an end. I was there for the first day (Sunday) of painting and comparsas but missed Monday and Tuesday to fly with Tropic Air on the inaugural flight from Belize to Merida, Mexico. Carnaval is great fun. So unique to the island and messily beautiful� Kids being kids� And adults getting their party on. People drink. Alot. And paint gets everywhere�whether purposely or accidentally. Eggs are hurled. Belize Tourism Board posted this picture yesterday to celebrate San Pedro's Carnaval. Has the vandalism outweighed the fun? I'll say it again. It's Carnaval. It's not supposed to be neat and tidy. Here are some more photos of the celebrations - of Carnaval being Carnaval. Some are mine, some from my friend Finn from Rojo Lounge and some from Maya at Conch Creative.

Launch of FINPYME ExportPlus
With the opening conference in Belize City, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) launched its flagship export program, FINPYME ExportPlus, in Belize, in conjunction with the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), IIC's key partner in Belize. Apart from the launch, the one-week event will consist of a series of trainings on resources and tools to improve the export competitiveness and capacities of over 35 local exporters. The trainings will be in the export development areas of certification, operations, and management processes:

International Sources

World's Richest 85 People Now Worth Same Amount as Poorest 3.5 Billion
Global capitalism, we have a problem. We've long known that life isn't fair and that the world's wealth is unevenly distributed. But the latest factoid from Oxfam on global poverty and inequality is breathtaking. In a new report, the nonprofit reports that just 85 people-the richest of the world's rich-hold as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion. That's half the world's population. In other words, the top 0.00000001 percent are worth as much as the bottom 50 percent combined. The top 1 percent, meanwhile, control nearly half the world's wealth, or 65 times as much as the world's less-fortunate half.

Has Belize Been Spoiled?
Twenty-seven years ago, David Ewing Duncan wrote a magazine article about a secret tropical gem called Belize, inspiring a wave of adventure travelers that changed the tiny country forever. Braced for a few stabs of guilt, he went back with his son and found that paradise was different, but not completely lost. Mostly I remember the ocean's sharp blue phosphorescence. Looking like a patch of water that Jesus might walk on, it stretched with hardly a ripple from the beach out to a wall of frothing surf just off the coast. That's where one of the finest coral reefs in the world lay submerged below the surface, a diver's magic kingdom beckoning. This memory comes from my first trip to Ambergris Caye, in 1987, back when few outsiders knew about this idyll off the Belizean coast. Those who did stayed mainly in palm-thatched huts with few frills. The sole town, San Pedro, had a small airport, a few open-front bars, and two sandy, unpaved streets. There was at least one luxury hotel on the far north end of the skinny, 26-mile-long island, near the Mexican border, and a handful of American and British expats had erected bungalows near San Pedro. Mostly, though, Ambergris attracted hardcore divers ogling the reefs and fly-fishermen pulling in a profusion of tarpon and bonefish.

Belize Reports 6.1 Percent Increase in Tourist Arrivals
Tourist arrivals to Belize rose by 6.1 percent in 2013, according to preliminary data released by the Caribbean Tourism Organization. The country received a total of 294,176 tourist arrivals, up from 277,136 tourist arrivals in 2012, according to the CTO. The country's 2013 growth was among the largest improvements of any tourism destination in the Caribbean last year. It was buoyed by a very strong winter season that saw improvement of 10 percent, although the summer months actually saw a 3.6 percent decline in arrivals over the summer of 2012.

Lecturer talks processed foods, global consumption
Richard Wilk, director of the Food Studies Program at Indiana University, spoke about the complexities of the food movement and its roots in American history in Park Shops Wednesday evening. He pointed specifically to Belize, where he noted the "nutritional transition" of the Belizean diet. According to Wilk, diets that consisted of crops grown natively in Belize have transitioned into a diet made up of imported, processed foods. The transition toward processed food has resulted in a rise in obesity, Wilk said. Wilk said villagers native to Belize are moving away from subsistence farming and transitioning toward working with larger companies to provide money that goes toward cheaper food alternates.

Not yet up the creek without a paddle
Rain and thundery grey skies greeted us in Belize, a small Central American country half the size of Canterbury tucked in below Mexico and beside Guatemala. We had flown down to Belize in December (the middle of the northern hemisphere winter) as the first part of a month in Central America, particularly to explore the Belize barrier reef. This reef is second in size to the Australian Great Barrier Reef, and the largest of its kind in the northern and western hemispheres. Extending for more than 290km along the Caribbean coast of Belize, in 1942 Charles Darwin called this reef "the most remarkable reef in the West Indies". Marine reserves have been established over large areas to protect them from fishing and damage, so I was keen to see how these worked in protecting the marine life, and how engaged the locals were in this ecological wonder they live beside.

Latin America accounts for more than 30% of the world's homicides
Interview with a Latin American security expert, who recommends strengthening municipal governments and developing local partnerships to stem violence. Addresing Youth Violence Through Music in El Salvador From the formation of self-defense committees in Michoac�n, Mexico and to the murder of a former Miss Venezuela, to gangs in Central America and the murder of police officers in Argentina at the hands of criminals, the lack of citizen security continues to be a leading concern of Latin Americans. The United Nations has qualified crime and violence as an "epidemic" and considers the region to be the most insecure in the world. In 2012, one in three inhabitants in the region was a victim of a crime, mainly theft.

Feds to set aside land in Southwest for endangered jaguar
Some 764, 207 acres of critical habitat will be set aside to protect endangered jaguars in the borderlands of New Mexico and Arizona. The move was announced yesterday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Over the last several years, only one jaguar has been spotted in the area, which consists of Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties in Arizona, and Hidalgo County in New Mexico. But the newly protected mountain ranges used to feature more of the majestic predators, biologists say, and a healthy jaguar population has been documented across the border in Mexico.

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