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The San Pedro Sun

Pelican Beach Resort on South Water Caye honored by OUTSIDE Travel Awards 2014
OUTSIDE, America's leading active lifestyle brand, has selected Pelican Beach Resort on South Water Caye as an honoree of their annual Travel Awards, which celebrate the top destinations, companies, products, and travel providers-in the U.S. and around the world-that inspire people to participate in an active lifestyle. Pelican Beach's beach was honored as The Best Beach in the World. The entire list of honorees appear in OUTSIDE's April issue (on newsstands March 18), and online at This year, OUTSIDE tapped its global network of correspondents, who traveled across America, to Belize, Switzerland, Italy, and beyond, identifying the best new adventures, stunning lakes, gorgeous new lodges and hotels, family vacations, secret getaways, high-tech airports, and foodie hotspots. The result is more than 50 spectacular trips, plus the best travel apps, tour guides, gear, tips for traveling green, and advice for traveling solo. "Whether you're looking to go big for an expedition, splurge on a luxurious paradise, or plan an epic family trip, OUTSIDE has unearthed fifty travel gems that will inspire you to renew that passport," said OUTSIDE Editor Chris Keyes.

Presentation of Credentials to the Governor General of Belize
Four ambassadors presented their credentials to the Governor General of Belize His Excellency Sir Colville Young on Monday, March 17, 2014 at the Belize House in the City of Belmopan. H.E. Yasser Mohamed Ahmed Shaban of Egypt, H.E. Alessandro Busacca of Italy, H.E. Hans-Christian Kint of Belgium, and H.E. Eva Hager of Austria all expressed their pleasure and gratitude to be representing their countries in Belize. Each ambassador expressed in their speech to the Governor General their country's interest in strengthening relations with Belize. The Governor General graciously and warmly received the credentials and welcomed the ambassadors to Belize

Two multi-million dollar projects inaugurated on Ambergris Caye
Two multi-million dollar projects were inaugurated on Ambergris Caye on Friday March 14th as part of the Sustainable Tourism Project (STP) under the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation. The first inauguration ceremony took place for the Bacalar Chico Ecological and Education Center at San Juan Archeological Site in the Baclar Chico Marine Reserve. The second event was for the inauguration of the $5.6 million San Pedro Sunset Boardwalk and Water Taxi Terminal in the docking/embarcadero area of San Pedro Town.

Victim of shooting incident charged by Belize City Police Officers
On Monday, March 17th at around 8:40AM, Belize City Quick Response Team (QRT) along with Special Branch Personnel (Precinct 3) conducted a search on 21-year-old Darrington Lauriano. According to police, Lauriano was standing next to a pickup truck at the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) parking lot. He was seen carrying a brown and black knapsack and a large black and grey suitcase; believe to be en route to San Pedro Town. Upon searching Lauriano, police discovered a 9mm Ruger Pistol and a magazine containing eight live rounds. Also found was 196 grams of suspected marijuana. Lauriano was detained and is pending charges for "Kept Firearm and Ammunition without a Gun License" and "Drug Trafficking".

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Boasts New Sunset Board Walk and Water Taxi Terminal
Acting Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Belize Tourism Board, Mr. Einer Gomez delivered the opening remarks for the grandiose occasion followed by the welcome address by Mayor Daniel Guerrero. It was in his speech that Mayor Guerrero proudly announced the name of the newly renovated football field which will now be known as the "Hon. Louis 'Cuz' Sylvestre Sports Field". Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation delivered the keynote speech and Mrs. Anneke Jessen delivered some remarks on behalf of the Inter-American Development Bank. Mrs. Celi McCorkle gave the closing thoughts "the way it was"; it was a special speech as she reminisced on how the island was before the Sunset Board Walk, how the football field was used, how the "embarcadero" looked like and what its purpose was. Delivering the vote of thanks was Mrs. Tracy Taegar-Panton, CEO Minitry of Tourism. The unveiling of the plaque and ribbon cutting of the Sunset Board Walk Project and Rehabilitation of the Old Football Field was carried out by Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Christy Mastry - Project Director of the STP and CEO Ministry of Tourism Mrs. Tracy Taegar-Panton. Invited guests included Hon. Herman Longsworth - Minister of Sports, Ambassador of The Republic of China (Taiwan) Mr. David Wu, Capitan de Puerto de Chetumal - Mr. Alvaro Flores Parra and Chairman of Caye Caulker Mr. Wayne Miller and councilors to name a few.

25 Years Ago: A Salute to Louis "Cuz" Sylvestre
Just at about the same time in the mid 1960's, Cuz had the vision of the need of 24-hour electricity for the island as the fishing industry grew, and the tourism industry began to feather. Soon Cuz had his government provide a large generator which provided 24-hour electricity to the delight and well-being of all Sanpedranos. This was to be followed shortly by Cuz's efforts to bring a full-fledged telephone system to San Pedro. But Cuz did not like to rest for too long. It seemed that action was his middle name. Such was his love for San Pedro. In 1971 something tremendous happened. Cuz persuaded the government of George Price to acquire all of the village of San Pedro which was at the time property of Mr. Jim Blake. The land was acquired and every Sanpedrano who occupied land had the privilege of purchasing that same property for a minimal price. He made Sanpedranos owners of their village. This land distribution worked so beautifully that Cuz followed up with the acquisition of the land from the cemetery all the way to Boca del Rio for more distribution of land which was to become San Juan and Boca Del Rio Subdivisions.

Enjoy A Family Style Dinner at El Fogon Restaurant
El Fogon Restaurant in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, is very well know for serving up rich local food that is packed with flavors typical of homemade Belizean food. The best part is the authentic smoky flavor of the fire hearth that is infused in most of the dishes they prepare. Cooking on an outside fire hearth (fogon) is what makes the restaurant stand out amongst the rest on the island. It's one of the best places to enjoy local food unique to Belize and also the island of Ambergris Caye. Lunch consists of a diverse selection of dishes that represent the diversity of the Belizean culture. Just recently the restaurant underwent some renovation that included the expansion of the restaurant's dining area, a new bar and a caf�. Now El Fogon offers breakfast specials that complement the addition of its caf� that offers really great coffee, flavored tea (iced or hot), cappuccinos, frappuccinos, and fruit shakes to your heart's delight. It is a great addition to the restaurant for coffee lovers and those looking for some great fresh smoothies to start off their day. How does hash fish with refried beans and fry jacks sound to you in the morning? Yes! You can get that plus other delectable breakfast specials along with your morning java.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize Education Excellence Society
I. INTRODUCTION Belize has made great strides in increasing access to primary and secondary education, and in subsidizing the cost of same to families. Many millions have been spent on increasing options for vocational training for those who are not inclined to traditional academic courses. However, there is growing perception that not sufficient is being [�]

Gary Seawell back in court for extradition case
AARON HUMES Reporting: Accused drug trafficker Gary Gordon Seawell had his day in court today. He is accused of masterminding a large-scale cocaine moving operation between Belize and the U.S. state of Ohio from 1994 to 1997. But American authorities waited more than nine years to begin the process of extraditing him. They won the [�]

Article says Belize is 1 of 10 happiest countries of the world
PATRICK E. JONES Reporting: Belize is one of the 10 happiest countries in the world. That is according to the Wall Street Cheat Sheet, listed as one of the largest financial media companies in the United States. In an online article published today the company's website uses the role people's environment plays on their overall [�]

Gardening as a way of life in San Marcos village
JUAN CAAL Reporting: Meet Jenny Chuc. She is a resident of San Marcos village in the Toledo district and an avid gardener. Her hard work and dedication to her hobby are what caught our attention and so we decided to have a talk with her. She approaches what she does with an air of excitement [�]

The importance of early childhood education
ORANGE WALK BUREAU Reporting: The activities for Child Stimulation Month continue around the country. The month of activities is designed to highlight the importance of early childhood education. Preschools have been in operation for many years in Belize, but many don't fully understand the purpose of this facility in a child's education. Many see it [�]

Commentary: The Garifuna people are building nationhood beyond borders
From the time the British Crown forcefully removed the Garifuna people from their native homeland "Yurumei", now known as St Vincent and the Grenadines, in 1796, life has not been the same for them in all the countries where they live. Today in St Vincent, the few that are left have lost most of their culture due to the decrees passed and enforced by the British, which prohibited them from practicing their culture. They were removed from their fertile land and then forced to live in about 150 acres of non- fertile land. About 2,500 acres of their fertile land was given to the British officers and their elite families for winning the wars against them. Nothing significant has been done by the past governments of St Vincent to improve our people's living conditions or to help them retrieve their cultural values.

All People Matter
The University of Belize joins with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) this March and proclaim that "All People Matter". The NASW was formed in 1955 in the United States and is perhaps the single largest organization of professional social workers in the world. The month of March has been declared as the month of the social worker and this year's theme is "All People Matter". The University of Belize through the Faculty of Nursing, Allied Health, and Social Work recognizes the contribution of social workers in Belize and shares in the proclamation laid out by the NASW, further inviting all social workers to reflect in their practice and in the progressive strides of the profession in Belize.

World Tuberculosis Day 2014
In an effort to promote awareness, the Ministry of Health will once again join the international community to partner in the campaign for World Tuberculosis Day 2014 on Monday, March 24th. Tuberculosis (TB) is an infection caused by a bacterium that affects the lungs and is characterized by coughing, sneezing and spitting. The Ministry of Health continues to control the prevalence of TB in Belize. In 2013, Belize recorded 129 new cases of Tuberculosis, of these 5 were extra-pulmonary TB (not occurring in the lungs), 26 were co-infections with TB/HIV. The greater number of individuals affected were those between the ages of 20-59, following the same trend as seen in previous years. There were 17 deaths from TB for 2013. The number of facilities with laboratory to screen patients for TB in Belize has been extended to regions across the country.

2 black lab mix, 2 chocolate lab mix, 3 males and 1 female. 3 months old, have 3 sets vaccinations, dewormed, will be spayed and neutered in April by Belmopan Humane Society. Adoption fee $50. Potential owners must have safe, secure fenced area. Other dogs on the property should be spayed or neutered as well. If not we can assist. Please help us find homes for these pups, or in a pinch a temporary foster home from March 25 onward. Call Lilly Morison at 602-7947

How Belikin Beer Is Made
Belikin has a cool animated video out that shows the stages of beer making. They really did a great job explaining the process, and the shape of it all really fits. Well done, Belikin, well done. "Take an animated trip on how the beer of Belize, Belikin, is made. Belikin is the only beer sold in Belize that uses 100% Barley Malt and no fillers thereby producing a higher quality of beer. Belikin, the beer of Belize."

Easter Fair Coming Soon
This year's Easter Fair will be at Galvez stadium on April 19th and 20th. Everyone is invited to take part in the festivities, and there will be plenty of food and fun for everyone. If you're interested in setting up a booth, call 669-0462 for more information.

Cayo Variety Show
Sacred Heart College, Eden High School, and CET are teaming up to bring a variety show and dinner to the SHC auditorium this Saturday night. Come out and see some talent as the students sing, dance, read poetry, and perform some entertaining skits. Call 622-6861 for more information.

Challenge Gobie Bike Ride
Feelgood news of the day. The Challenge Gobie bike ride fundraiser was a huge success. They rode from PG to Belmopan, and had a fun time doing it. They are raising money for a children's intensive care unit. The dog suit was a great touch. "Good morning! We are still recovering after yesterday's bike ride. Just wanted to say a quick thanks to EVERYONE that supported in any way. Very proud of all the riders, service team and the organisers at the Finale at Caribbean Tires. Will send out special thank you's to everyone soon and we'll post pictures tomorrow. Congratulations to ALL the riders!"

SI United vs Verdes
The San Ignacio United take on the Verdes tonight at the Broaster Stadium. Who's the best of the west? Find out tomorrow at 7:30pm. "San Ignacio United host Verdes FC this wednesday at the Broaster Stadium. El Cl�sico kicks off at 7:30pm, this one is for bragging rights to see who is the best of the west. See you there!! "

Caribbean Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Road Show
The Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities (MESTPU) in collaboration with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), is pleased to announce that Belize will be hosting the Caribbean Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Road Show on Friday March 28th, 2014 at the Corozal Community College, Corozal Town commencing at 9:00 a.m. The ICT Road Show is a joint initiative of the MESTPU and CTU and is a part of a regional effort to foster innovative use of ICT in Caribbean countries for national and regional development. It is specifically designed to raise awareness within the public and private sectors, civil society and academia of the innovative approaches required for the effective application of ICT in government, business and social development geared at enhancing Belize's global competitiveness. Under the theme, "Harnessing the Power of Innovation - the Engine for ICT enabled Caribbean Development", the ICT Road show will feature sessions dedicated to practical uses of ICT in education, business, and government and will address issues of such as internet security and broadband development.

Corozal Police Report
Mar 18 - Corozal Police Report - Attempted highway robbery with shot guns and two students robbed at knife point on 1st Avenue. ATTEMPTED ROBBERY: Raul Patt, Belizean reported that on March 17th, 2014 at about 3:00 p.m., he was riding his motor cycle on the Buena Vista Road, heading to the direction of Caledonia Village to pick up some money owed to him. Upon reaching half way, he saw 3 male persons standing on the road with what appeared to be shot guns and masks over their faces. As a result, he sped off making good his escape but after doing so, he heard two loud bangs which sounded like gun shots. He never stopped and continued his way through another road, which took him out at Libertad Village. Thereafter he made his way to the Corozal Police Station where he lodged his report. Extensive searched were conducted in the area by the Corozal Police but no one has been located. Investigation continues.

Video: Gabby and huge Nurse shark in Belize

Video: Hummingbird Guest Lodge & Hostel - Good Living Camp - Belize
Hummingbird Guest Lodge & Hostel is located on a pristine creek in Belmopan, just 16 km from the famous Blue Hole National Park. It's perfect for swimming and offers guests free Wi-Fi. The property offers rooms and dorms with a shared kitchen and shared bathroom facilities and showers. The house features a kitchen and a private bathroom. Hummingbird Guest Lodge & Hostel offers a variety of on-site activities, including swimming in the creek, nature hikes and tours of the organic garden. Other facilities include free parking, luggage storage and a laundry. Philip Goldson International Airport is 61 km away. The property offers free parking.

Video: Xanadu Island Resort Belize

Video: The Placencia Resort Belize

Video: Night Zipline, Mayflower Bocawina Nat. Park, Belize, Central America
I take a night time zipline through the Mayflower Bocawina National Forest in Belize. The run I take is 2,300 feet (700 mtr) long, the longest in Belize.

Video: GoPro: Belize Vacation
My buddy Brian and I travel to some of the coolest places and see the most amazing things. This video is from our trip to Belize. Hand fishing, cave tubing, sailing, jungle hikes, caye caulker, belize. Its beautiful, go there!

Video: Belize Vacation Caye Caulker
Part 2 of our Belize Vacation. Boat trip to Caye Caulker with the Durans and friends for some family time.

Video: MASSIVE Bonefish School: Thousands of Fish
This is a huge bonefish school in a deeper pocket of water in Belize. During low tide, some of the bones head off the flats and congregate in massive schools such as this one. The fish in this school varied in sizes, but primarily ranged from 1-3 pounds.

Video: Zipline in Belize

Channel 7

Aracely's Trial Begins In Earnest
21 year-old Aracely Cahueque, who is believed to have been the mastermind behind the October 2010 murder of Raylene Dyer, will have to stand a full trial before Justice Denis Hanomansingh where a jury will decide her fate. As we told you yesterday, there was a trial within her trial in which her attorney was challenging a piece of evidence that the crown counsels from the DPP's Office was trying to get admitted against her. Though Justice Hanomansingh has ruled in her favour that this piece of evidence cannot be presented to the jury, Crown Counsels Cecil Ramirez and Kayshia Grant are determined that the jury should be the one to ultimately decide her innocence or guilt. They are attempting to do that by depending on Brandon Budna, who was tried and acquitted of the murder of Raylene Dyer last week. After some initial difficulty, the prosecution was able to track down Budna who took the stand in front of the jury and gave evidence. He must return to court tomorrow to finish up with his testimony, which is being relied on heavily to secure Cahueque's conviction.

American Paedophile Contacted Belizean Minors
American Social Studies Teacher and Pedophile David Wendel Thompson remains in Federal custody in Miami after authorities say he set up dates with two Belizean minors, aged 13 and 15 via Facebook. He was arrested on Friday in that city after he was denied entry to Belize. Interestingly, the 48 year old Thompson who travelled to Belize nine times since 2011 has a Belizean flag draped on his house in Seffno, Florida. News reports form the US cite transcripts of chat messages on Facebook where he tells one the 13 year old girl, "I will make sure u always have money.... and I want to always be special to u so let me b your first." He told the other girl, aged 15 "I just want to be ur first that's my present so I can b special to u."

The Riff Between The Esquivels & The UDP's Grows
A letter is being sent from Prime Minister Dean Barrow to former Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel. That is what we are told this evening by Sir Manuel, but he says it is on its way from Belmopan, and he hasn't received it yet. What will the letter say? Will it be an attempt at reconciliation between Barrow and his former Party Leader? Well, at this point we don't know, but it is a response to Sir Manuel's letter, which he sent last week announcing his resignation as Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister. But, the vibe we are getting out of Cabinet this evening is that it will be respectful, but it may not be conciliatory. We are told Cabinet discussed the subject today at its regular Tuesday meeting and the concensus sentiment was that nothing special would be done to try and patch things up.

Precinct 2 Retrieves A Gun
Today police from the Precinct two Quick Response team moved swiftly to apprehend two suspicious men on Cemetery Road. At 3:30 police responded to reports of and searched the Mortars alley area, where a man wearing was seen brandishing a firearm. Police ordered him to put the weapon down where and he immediately threw the firearm intro a fenced yard situated at the corner of Mortars Alley and Cemetery Road. Corporal Jorge Lemus explains:.. Corporal Jorge Lemus - Admin Section, Police Precinct 2 "At 3:27pm the police communication center received information of 2 suspicious male persons being spotted on Cemetery Road. As a result the precinct 2 QRT members responded to the area and whilst conducting patrols in the area they sighted a dark complexion male person brandishing a weapon in his hands. This male person was wearing a blue pants and green shirt and immediately upon seeing the police he threw the said weapon in a fence yard at the corner Mortar's Alley and Cemetery Road. Police then detained this male person where they took him to said yard and retrieve the weapon. The weapon is a 9mm pistol of a high powered industrial Argentina brand. It contained a magazine with 3 live 9mm rounds. This person was subsequently detained and brought to the Raccoon Street police station."

Rashida Sedacy Taken To Court
24 Year-old Rashida Sedacy, who is accused of stealing from her former place of employment, Traveller's liquors, is out on bail tonight, after she was taken back to Magistrate's Court. Last night, 7News told you that we've received reports that she is facing 130 counts of theft. Well tonight, the police press office has confirmed that she is charged with 124 counts, and the amount she is accused of stealing is $83,669 between January and August 2013. She was arraigned today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, where she pleaded not guilty to all charges, and she was granted bail of $15,000, which she was able to meet. She will return to court on May 19, her next court date.

Gary Seawell Fights On In Supreme Court
Five months ago, The Chief Magistrate said that Gary Sewell had a case to answer and that he should be extradited. But today his attorney Arthur Saldivar was back in the Supreme Court fighting the case - challenging the validity of the depositions from the US. He says the Chief Magistrate did not look at the whole picture. He renewed his argument that the documents supplied by the U.S. government were insufficient. And if the documents were not admissible, then they did not count and there was no case to answer. He explained outside court: Arthur Saldivar, Attorney "What was argued before the Chief Magistrate essentially is the same at what is being argued here that sections 14 and 15 of the extradition act of the UK 1870, speaks only to depositions or statements on oath and where depositions can be properly so-called it can only be done so where there is on the face of the record in the document itself the wording that shows that the maker understand their obligation to tell the truth and appreciates that they would be liable to the penalty of perjury if they should tell a lie. Where that is not there then the document cannot be called a deposition or a statement on oath. In this particular case we are not seeking bail, we are seeking habeas corpus - we are seeking his freedom because we are saying that the detention is unlawful."

Our next story gets a little complicated. There are three elements to it - each progressively worse: a broken windshield, a burnt down house, and a man with a stab wound to the chest. But it all starts with the broken windshield. On Friday night at 6:00, the owner of Kim's 2 - a Chinese store on Iguana Street found the windshield on his vehicle broken. It turned out that a boy from the neighborhood was flying a kite; it got stuck on a lamp-post, he tried to stone it down with a stick, the stick crashed into the windshield and broke it. The nine year old was taken to the police station - and released shortly after. But the boy's detention got his relatives upset. That led to a confrontation with Anthony Leslie - who works for the owner of Kim's store.

The Unions Support Terminated Bowen Employees
"Boycott Bowen" - that's what the NTUCB wants you to do because of the 13 employees who were fired two weeks ago. Today the NTUCB released a fiery, but not quite timely press release urging the public to, quote, "join us in demonstrating our discontent with the firings, by boycotting purchase of ALL Bowen products on Friday, March 21, 2014." As we told you, the former Bowen employees balked at signing a new contract which had terms and conditions that they didn't like, and they staged a sick-out. Bowen and Bowen said that they self-terminated when they abandoned their posts for 2 days straight. Well, the Belize Communications Workers' Union, the Association of Public Service Senior Managers, and the National Trade Union Congress of Belize released statements today backing the former employees and calling for their reinstatement, saying, quote, "the circumstances around which these employees were driven to take action (employment status alteration), feeling compelled to come out publicly with their plight, is indeed a travesty accelerated by a total breakdown of industrial relations." End quote. Additionally, the Belize Communication workers urges the employees of Bowen & Bowen to form a union amongst themselves.

SATIIM Goes To Court To Stop US Capital
SATIIM has applied to the Supreme Court for an injunction to stop US Capital Energy from commencing drilling operations. SATIIM says it would have expected US Capital to await the outcome of a pending case in the Supreme Court, but a statement today says the company has engaged in pre-drilling activities. In light of what it calls"increased pre-drilling activities by US Capital Energy," SATIIM applied to the Supreme Court last week for an injunction.

Biscayne Gov't School Burgled... Again
Tonight, the management and staff of Biscayne Government School, is trying to figure out how they will be able to replace 7,000 dollars in electronic equipment which was stolen from them. The school was locked up tight last night, but when the teachers reported for work this morning, they found that one of the classrooms had been broken into, and 4 of their laptop computers were stolen along with other important pieces of equipment. 7News spoke with one of the teachers about what they found this morning: Eugene Contreras, teacher - Biscayne Government School "While the bus was passing, I saw the door and I immediately I said oh they broke into my classroom and that was really bad feeling because I know I had lots of stuff in there and right away I thought computers missing. First of all I saw the stereo set was missing, the projector that we used almost was missing. When I checked around I found out that 4 of our laptops are missing; 3 Dell laptops and one Lenovo. One of them recently has important information that we worked on Friday. Definitely some of the teachers are going to be impacted as well as the children because we make use of the projector first of all for a lot of our lessons and then for expressive arts we have a dance group that is working very hard for festival of arts for this year and they stole the stereo, so that group will definitely be impacted."

Civil Aviation investigators still haven't confirmed what made a single engine Lancair 320 crash at the Punta Gorda Airstrip last week Friday - injuring a female and leaving the male captain unharmed. So far Civil Aviation has only confirmed that the plane made a hard touchdown and bounced when it landed, which caused it to veer into a Met Department weather tower quite a distance away from the runway. That tower clipped the plane's wing and sent it careening across the airfield. So far the accident investigation team does not have a probable cause at this point and say they don't know what caused the hard touchdown.

Progresso Women's Group Vs. Luke Espat
The most compelling convention of the PUP convention season has been the one in Cayo Central where Dan Silva and Luke Espat are vying for the seat. Intense campaigning has been going on for months now - all coming down to a May showdown. Today it got slightly ugly when functionaries of the Espat camp circulated a newspaper foreclosure notice for a properties in Cayo owned by company affiliated with Dan Silva. We're not sure how that evens things out in a race where the other candidate, Luke Espat is presently appealing a judgement against him for 29 million dollars. But Espat also has other, smaller worries. A few weeks ago two members of the El Progresso women's group from Cayo Central came to us saying that Espat, in trying to help out their group had in fact hijacked it:..

Light The Night For Kids
On Friday night we showed you a brief snippet of the "Light The Night for Kids" - a mesmerizing march across the city in support of the Inspiration Center. The walk with glow sticks and glow bracelets like these ones, and glow in the dark shirts was a fundraiser where 500 registrants paid a 35 dollar registration for adults or 20 dollars for children. The street lights in the downtown area were actually turned off by BEL to make the glow show. Jim Scott explained the idea behind the novel fundraiser: Jim Scott, Organizer - "Light The Night" "But it was kind of a mix of the way we use to jump up in the days before carnival and so forth but we really had a true family focus and we just threw in a little creative twist with the glow in the dark t-shirts, the glow sticks and some of the other light up paraphernalia that we had out there and of course the paradigm was having an event like that at night."

Channel 5

Visually impaired man testifies in the murder trial of Aracely Cahueque
Today, the full trial of twenty-one year old Aracely Caheque continued in the court of Justice Denis Hanomansingh, following a ruling on legal arguments presented. The media is not allowed [...]

Staggering 117 counts of theft against former cashier at Travellers
A former cashier with Traveller's Liquors Limited was arraigned today for a staggering one hundred and seventeen counts of theft. Twenty-four year old Los Lagos Resident, Rashida Kira Sedacy, who [...]

Biscayne school is robbed of laptops
Travellers Liquors is not the only organization that has experienced theft. An overnight break-in at Biscayne Government School, which resulted in the theft of a number of laptops and audiovisual [...]

SATIIM takes U.S. Capital to court to stop pre-drilling activities in national park
The Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management, SATIIM, is heading back to court, despite a pending decision on an ongoing suit against the Government of Belize.� Last Wednesday, SATIIM filed [...]

Do you think that the resignations of the Esquivels will hurt the U.D.P.?
And our question for tonight is: Do you think that the resignations of the Esquivels will hurt the U.D.P.? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 [...]

Cabinet discuss resignation of the Esquivels
As we reported last night, the U.D.P. is rocking from the resignation from the two time former prime minister and party leader of the United Democratic Party, Manuel Esquivel. His [...]

50 sacks of contraband sugar; 3 Guatemalans charged for immigration offenses
A trio of Guatemalan nationals has been charged for immigration offenses after being nabbed by authorities in Toledo attempting to contraband fifty sacks of sugar.� Over the weekend, the men [...]

Students in Bermudian Landing without potable water for 3 long weeks
In Bermudian Landing, a community in the Belize River Valley, the only government managed primary school, was about to close today because of a three-week old water crisis. The Belize [...]

Gary Seawell's extradition case is heard before the Chief Magistrate
Accused drug trafficker, Gary Gordon Seawell, finally had his day in court today after his case saw a number of adjournments. He is accused of masterminding a large-scale cocaine moving [...]

Darrington Lauriano Jr. arraigned in court
Darrington Lauriano Junior was busted at the parking lot of the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital on Monday morning by alert police who found marijuana and a firearm in a suitcase [...]

Andrew Augustine survived shot to the neck by gang member
On February twenty-third, twenty-one year old Andrew Augustine was leaving his aunt's house en route to his home on Balan Street, also in the Lake Independence area. But when he [...]

Belize City youth claims police assisted his attacker
On February twenty-fifth, twenty-three year old Stephan Anderson was charged for the Attempted Murder, Use of Deadly Means of Harm, and Dangerous Harm against Augustine. But are the Police responsible, [...]

Malcom X's daughter on tour in Belize
Since 2002, Ambassador at Large for Belize, Ambassador Shabazz, has been promoting Belize. It's been two years since her last visit to the jewel, but her work continues in the [...]

Unions call for a boycott of Bowen products
The Belize Communications Workers' Union, the Association of Public Service Senior Managers and the National Trade Union Congress of Belize have joined to issue a fiery release aimed at local [...]

Former Guatemalan President to plead guilty to money laundering in New York
Former President of Guatemala Alfonso Portillo has agreed to plead guilty to money laundering charges in a New York court. Portillo, president from 2000 to 2004, transferred two point five [...]

Japan Day celebrated in Belize
Japan is located several continents away from Belize, but this Saturday, that Asian country brought its culture to the Jewel. An all-day event was held at the Princess Hotel, where [...]

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Couple Robbed In Corozal
A young couple was robbed of their belongings on Saturday night in Corozal Town. Seventeen year old Marieana Gilharry and twenty year old Adolfo Medina were walking on Second Street North Corozal Town around 8:30 in the night, when two men of dark complexion approached them. The men were on bicycles, had on warm caps and were dressed in black shirt and pants. One of the men produced a knife and told the couple to hand over their belongings while the second pulled Gilharry's gold chain from around her neck. Gilharry then handed over three gold rings, a bracelet, a red watch, and her brown purse that contained a ten dollar bill and her cellular phone. The total value of all items stolen stands at $547.00. The men also relieved Medina of his cellular phone.

Corozal Police Discover Traffic Accident On Philip Goldson Highway

Free Clinic Provided To Residents Of The North
For over five years Bethel University from Minnesota USA and the Iglesias Bautista Manuel in the Village of Xaibe have partnered on bringing Medical Brigade Teams which are comprised of medical students to visit the different areas so as to render their medical expertise to villagers, free of cost. Today reporter Victor Castillo caught up with the medical team at the Xaibe Community Centre as they offered their services to patients. Denny- Team leader "We are in Xaibe doing a medical clinic. Like I said these students are medical students. A lot of them will be going into nursing; some of them will be going into pre-med or medical schools to further their studies and become doctors of all sorts including surgeons. This is a great experience for them and I hope for the community too. The students are testing blood pressure, sugar and temperature and they are also getting a medical history." The team reports that the most common illness among those they have seen is Type 2 Diabetes and common flu. With the assistance of Doctor Oscar Rodas, patients are provided with necessary medications.

Big Play foundation Donates Books To Sandy Hunter Library
We have heard politicians use them and we've seen them very often on social media but no matter how clich� they are, there is much truth to quotes like "Today a reader, tomorrow a leader", "reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body", or "reading is dreaming with eyes open". And on Saturday, children proved this all to be true as they were part of a very short ceremony in which the library received a donation of much need books. Dalila Ical- Reporting A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies; the man who never reads lives only once", goes a quote and from the look on the faces of these eager young ones, there must be much truth to this. It was quite a sight to behold at the Sandy Hunter Library's front lawn as they dug into a pile of new books donated by Belizeans living in the USA. Representative of the Play Big Foundation in Orange Walk Fernando Sanchez says the donation came about from prior communication with the library officials who expressed a need to expand the resources at the library.

Retrial Of Felix Brothers Commences At Corozal Supreme Court
Today the Corozal Magistrate Court was converted to the Supreme Court as the platform was set for the fifth hearing on the case of the Felix Brothers. Viewers may recall that on April 10th 2006, Mitchum Heredia was ambushed and killed near a car outside his T Street home in Belize City. He had just arrived home when two men held him up and shot him multiple times to the head and body killing him on the spot. A year later, brothers Maurice and Emory Felix, were jointly found guilty of Heredia's murder by 12-member Jury. They were sentenced to life imprisonment. Upon appeal, on June 20th, 2008, a retrial was ordered. The retrial was granted after the judge of the Court of Appeal ruled that the men never got a fair trial when no identification parade was held in the case against them. Apparently, the trial judge, Justice Adolph Lucas, told the jury that holding an identification parade would have been a waste of time because the prosecution's main witness had named the Felix brothers as the shooter that day.

The Importance Of Early Childhood Education
Early childhood is a crucial stage of life in terms of a child's physical, intellectual, emotional and social development. Growth of mental and physical abilities progress at an astounding rate and a very high proportion of learning take place from birth to age 5. It is a time when children particularly need high quality personal care and learning experiences. In this light and in lieu of Child Stimulation Month being observed in learning institutions across Belize, Reporter Maria Novelo and Videographer Jesus Melgar take a deeper look into the benefits of early childhood education. Maria Novelo - Reporting "We all know that from birth to 7 years that is the critical time for a child and that is where all the learning, if what they didn't learn then don't expect them to reach 10 years and they didn't get it, it is going to be difficult for them to enter primary school."

Fairtrade To Increase Sugar Cane Quota, Says BACFA Chairman
The 2013/2014 crop season got off to a late start due to the halt of negotiations between the Belize Sugar Industries Limited and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association over revenue sharing of Bagasse. But that impasse now forms part of the past and the crop season is on the right track. So much so, that tonight word is that Belize will be exporting more sugar starting this crop season. According to Vice Chairman of the BSCFA Comittee of Management, Alfredo Ortega, Fair Trade has increased its quota from fifty thousand tonnes. The BSCFA received the letter for the new demand in the month of February. Alfredo Ortega - Vice Chair "Nos mandaron una carta de que lo van a auge mentar a 60,000 por Tate & Lyle a la Union Europea y tambi�n vinieron unas personas de los Estados Unidos de que se comprometieron de que van a comprar 5,000 toneladas pero eso es bajo USA Fair-Trade as� es de ah� propuesta para 65,000 toneladas este ano que se van a vender bajo el comercio justo."

SATIM Files An Injunction Against US Capital Energy
The Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) has applied for an injunction at the Supreme Court for what they say is the increased pre-drilling activities by US Capital Energy. SATIIM has provided images they say prove their claim. The Court documents were filed on March 12th, 2013. SATIIM today issued a press release under the heading "US Capital Energy and Government of Belize Taunt Supreme Court". According to the release since Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana reserved judgment on the case between both parties on October 23rd, US Capital has not suspended its pre-drilling activities. SATIIM states quote, "US Capital Energy, most likely with the blessing of the Government of Belize, has been working around the clock engaging in pre-drilling activities, which are part-and-parcel of exploratory drilling operations. These activities, from our view, continue to violate the National Parks System Act and the Rights of the Indigenous Communities," end quote.

Police Continue To Investigate Broad Day Light Robbery
Yesterday we reported on the brazen daylight robbery at Joshwell's Fashion located on Queen Victoria Avenue which netted thieves over $2,000 worth in electronics, cash and merchandise. While investigations continue, tonight police are in the process of obtaining a technician who will review a surveillance tape that captured inside SP Store. It is believed that the men who robbed Joshwell's Fashion were inside the store prior to the assault carried out upon Blanca Lopez, proprietor of the clothing store. Second in Command of the Orange Walk Police Department, Inspector Selvin Tillett, says they want to look at the footage closely so that they can be certain who the perpetrators are before making an arrest.

Santa Familia Project Halted For Two Weeks
Yesterday we told about the 'hold' on the works on Santa Familia Street, which falls under the Belize Municipal Development Project being carried out by the Social investment Fund. Up to Wednesday of last week the project was running smoothly, but things changed when residents began expressing discontent on the way the drains were being built. Several calls were made to the Orange Walk Town Council, who after investigations, found out that the layout of the drains being built will pose flooding problems in the long run. Based on the complaints lodged, Mayor Kevin Bernard requested that the construction of the drains be ceased in order for an analysis to be made. Tonight, we can report, that after a meeting with representatives of the council, SIF and the contractor, in this case Demar's Stone Company, it was decided to that all operational works in the area will be halted for two weeks.

Repercusions On The Resignation Of Director Of Tourism
Following the abrupt resignation of Laura Frampton Esquivel, Director of Tourism at the BTB last week Wednesday, Manuel Esquivel and his wife Kathy have also resigned from all their held government posts and appointments. Reports indicate that this move is in protest of their eldest daughter being pushed out of the BTB. According to 7News, respected past UDP leader Manuel Esquivel resigned as Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister in a letter sent to him last Thursday March 13th. While he did not comment on reasons for his resignations, it is of note that he confirmed to stepping down as government appointed director on the BTL and BSI boards. On the same date Esquivel submitted his resignation to the PM, his wife reportedly did the same and resigned as Chairman of the National Aids Commission. She has held this post since 2002 and told our colleagues at 7News that she was resigning for personal reasons.


Union Calls for Boycott of Bowen Products
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize has called for the boycott of products from Bowen and Bowen Limited on Friday. The Unions say they view with disquiet and concern the recent release of nineteen employees from the company under the pretext that their employment status has become redundant. According to the Union the circumstances leading to the employees feeling compelled to step out publicly with their plight is a travesty accelerated by a total breakdown of industrial relations. The Union has called for the reinstatement of the workers. To drive its point home, the union is calling on its membership and the public at large to join in the boycott. The NTUCB also expresses solidarity with the Pharmacists Association of Belize. Last week the Pharmacists Association of Belize registered its discontent with the appointment of the director of drug directorate. The Association questioned the way the person was hired as well as the lack of qualification to fill the post. The NTUCB says it cannot stand idly by and allow such an important area in our health services to be ruined by faulty and questionable employment procedures resulting in the employment of unqualified individuals. It calls for an immediate resolution to the matter.

Trial Resumes for Raylene’s Murder
The trial of Aracely Cahueque continued today in the Belmopan Court before Justice Denis Hanomasingh. Cahueque is on trial for child stealing and is believed to have been the mastermind behind the 2010 murder of Raylene Dyer. Today, the jury returned to the court room following the culmination of a trial within a trial regarding Cahueque's caution statement. Taking the stand, in a surprising turn of events was Brandon Budna. Budna was one of the three men acquitted last week for Dyer's murder. He took the stand before the jury and testified and is expected to resume his testimony in court on Wednesday. A conviction in the case of the Crown Counsels, Cecil Ramirez and Kayshia Grant rests heavily on Budna's testimony. Cahueque's attorney, Richard 'Dickie' Bradley addressed the media following day-one of the trial. RICHARD BRADLEY "Well what has been happening is that someday last week, a jury was, in fact selected in the trial of Aracely Cahueque following shortly after the murder trial of three persons accused of actually killing Raylene Dyer in Roaring Creek on the eighth day of October 2010.

Biscayne School Suffers Fourth Burglary For School Year
Biscayne Government School is located on mile 26 on the Phillip Goldson Highway and when night falls, the school becomes the focus of thieves as it was last night. The burglars broke into the Standard Six class room of teacher Eugene Contreras. The thieves made their way into the class room through the front door. EUGENE CONTRERAS "I saw the door and immediately I said, they broke into my classroom. It was a really bad feeling because I know I have a lot of stuff in there and right away, I thought, computer's missing. Definitely, a crow bar was used to break one of the bars from the door and then they pried open the rest of the door. Then they went into the store room inside the classroom that had most of the IT devices; most of our stuff is in there and they broke a hole in that door; probably a small person went through that hole to be able to get inside." HIPOLITO NOVELO NARRATING "Stolen were several pieces of IT equipment all to a total value of more seven thousand dollars." EUGENE CONTRERAS "First of all, I saw that the stereo set was missing; the projector that we use almost every day; when I checked around I found that four of our laptops were missing; three Dell and one Lenova - one of them have very recently important information that we worked on last Friday. Each Dell laptop is like twelve hundred dollars, the Lenova is like fourteen hundred dollars, the stereo that we just bought is three hundred and fifty dollars and the projector is about five hundred and fifty dollars. The two copiers, the three desktops and the television are still there. "

Investigation Into Crooked Tree Accident Still Ongoing
Forty six days ago, two separate investigations were launched by both the Belize Police Department and the Belize Port Authority after two boats collided on the Crooked Tree Lagoon causing one young man's death and injuries to several students and commuters. To date, the investigations remain open as Robert Garcia of the Belize Port Authority told Love News Centre that the investigation is on the heels of being wrapped up and that a comprehensive report should be produced within an approximate two weeks. Meanwhile, we tried contacting the Officer in Charge of that area but to no avail. While these investigations are ongoing, the Belize Coast Guard did say that measures were put in place internally ensuring more supervision, standard requirements on board are adhered to, among others. The incident occurred on the lagoon waters in Crooked Tree Village, Belize District on January 31, when a confiscated skiff in the Coast Guard's possession collided with another vessel that was transporting villagers to the mainland. According to Elton Bennett, the Vice Commandant mentioned, the preliminary investigation did hint to some mechanical failure but that would have to be verified and confirmed by the final report, which, once again, is expected to be released within the next two weeks. In the incident, 20-year-old, Benjamin Gentle lost his life.

SATIIM Seeks Injunction Against GOB and US Capital Energy
The Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management, SATIIM has filed for an injunction against Government of Belize and US Capital Energy. According to SATIIM despite assurances from the oil company that they would not drill in the area until Justice Michelle Arana delivers her judgement, activities have resumed. SATIIM says after the arguments ended before Justice Arana last October, one would expect that a law abiding and socially responsible company would suspend its activities out of respect for the Belizean justice system until a judgment was delivered. The organization says US Capital has been working around the clock engaging in pre drilling activities which are part and parcel of exploratory operations. As a result of this SATIIM says it filed court papers last week seeking an injunction.

GG Welcomes New Ambassadors to Belize
Four ambassadors presented their credentials to the Governor General of Belize His Excellency Sir Colville Young on Monday at the Belize House in Belmopan. His Excellency Yasser Mohamed Ahmed Shaban of Egypt, His Excellency Alessandro Busacca of Italy, His Excellency Hans-Christian Kint of Belgium, and Her Excellency Eva Hager of Austria all expressed their pleasure and gratitude to be representing their countries in Belize. Each ambassador expressed in their speech to the Governor General their country's interest in strengthening relations with Belize. Governor General received the credentials and welcomed the ambassadors to Belize.


Top Associations Make Public Outcry to Boycott Bowen and Bowen Products
The Association of Public Service Senior Managers, the Belize Communications workers Union and the National Trade Union Congress of Belize say they are calling on all their members and the wider public to boycott all Bowen and Bowen products on Friday, March 21, 2014. This is to further display...

Alleged Kidnapper Aracely Cajeque Case Gets Deeper in Court
Ms. Aracely Cahueque is still before the courts answering to her possible involvement in the gruesome murder of a young mother and the kidnapping of that mother's 3 month old baby. So far, the judge has thrown out the affidavit from the police inspector since he had written it...

Another Belize City Youth Gets Shot
Francine Pitts, the mother of little Eyannie Nu�ez who was shot and killed in 2010, has had to face another traumatic experience as another son has been shot. She told our colleagues at Krem news that all day on Sunday, she felt a sense of foreboding. When she received a...

Accused of Robbery and Stabbing Assault is out on Bail
19-year-old Damian Leslie is out on bail and is due back in Court on May 6th. Leslie is accused of robbing a female of her bike and stabbing another in one day. This morning, he was unrepresented before Magistrate Hettie Mae-Stewart where he was charged with one count of...

Ms. Rashida Kira Sedacy Meets Bail in Court
Yesterday, we told you about the former cashier at Travellers' Liquors Limited, Rashida Sedacy, who had over 100 counts of theft charged against her. There were so many counts, that her case could not be processed by the end of the day yesterday and so she had to go...

Accused Drug Trafficker Mr. Gary Seawell Faces Another Trial for Extradition
Accused drug trafficker Gary Gordon Seawell had his day in court today. He is accused of masterminding a large-scale cocaine moving operation between Belize and the U.S. state of Ohio from 1994 to 1997. But American authorities waited more than nine years to begin the process of extraditing him....

Former Prime Minister and his Spouse Resign from Their Posts
Ex Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel and his wife Kathy Esquivel, have both resigned their posts in what is believed to be a protest of their daughter being squeezed out of the Belize Tourism Board as director. The two-term former UDP prime minister has resigned from several boards that he...

Belize City Family in Urgent Need After Their House Got Burnt Down
A Belize City man needs help picking up the pieces after his house burned down on Friday night. Iguana Street Extension resident Anthony Leslie told us today that he learned his house was on fire after going to police to report being beaten up by relatives of a young boy accused...


Longtime United Democratic Party (UDP) official and now political aspirant, Delroy Cuthkelvin, has voiced his anger at the way the UDP Stann Creek West convention to select a standard-bearer was conducted. Cuthkelvin has publicly blamed UDP chairman Alberto August and former minister Melvin "Flippin" Hulse, for colluding to illegally manipulate the voters' list to ensure that he, Cuthkelvin, did not stand a chance in the convention. Cuthkelvin made a decision to boycott the convention hours before it was supposed to be held due to what he classified as a "fraudulent" voters list that he could not stomach. In a press release dated Saturday, March 15, Cuthkelvin's committee stated that at an emergency meeting which took place the day before, on Friday, March 14, Alberto August insisted on using a "block-out" voters list of just under 900 electors which, according to the committee, was fraudulently compiled in collusion with him, August, and Hulse.

Sir Manuel Esquivel, KCMG, PC-the ex-Prime Minister who led the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) to its first general elections victory in 1984 and the current finance advisor to Prime Minister Dean Barrow-has confirmed to Amandala that he has resigned from all his government appointments, and his wife, Mrs. Kathy Esquivel, has separately confirmed that she, too, has resigned from her prominent appointment as head of the National AIDS Commission-this on the heels of the abrupt departure of their daughter, Laura Esquivel-Frampton, from her position as head of the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), following a letter by 7 BTB managers to Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia, Jr., expressing a "vote of no confidence" in Esquivel-Frampton's leadership. On Thursday, March 13, the day after the BTB announced Esquivel-Frampton's resignation, her mother resigned from the National AIDS Commission in Belize with immediate effect.

Vincent Crawford, 32, and Dean Joseph, 35, of the San Mateo area of San Pedro, have been reported missing since they left home on Saturday, March 1. Tessa Ochaeta, Dean Joseph's common-law wife, reported that Joseph left home that Saturday with a man known to her as "Chuku." They were going to work as security guards at a construction site in the Robles Point area of northern San Pedro. Since then, however, the men have not been seen or heard from. Police report that two security guards in the northern Ambergris Caye area saw Crawford and Joseph and five other men at about 10:30 that Saturday morning, March 1. The men were walking along the beach in a northerly direction. The guards reported that Joseph and Crawford said that they were going to camp at a base in the Bacalar Chico area in northern San Pedro, and the men then left. The guards say that that was the last time they saw them.

A disturbing premonition a mother had all day Friday, March 14, that something bad was going to happen, proved true when her son was shot four times later that night. Dezhaun Humes, 19, was reportedly returning from buying food for his girlfriend when an unknown assailant/s fired several shots in his direction near his home on Jane Usher Boulevard. Humes - who is a student at Wesley College Evening Division - was shot in his mid and lower body and yesterday, his mother, Francine Pitts, told us that for some bizarre reason, ill feelings had been brewing inside her prior to the incident until she received a frantic call from her son's girlfriend around 11:00 p.m. on Friday night. Pitts said, "My son was returning from buying food for his girlfriend, and upon his arrival back home, he encountered the person who shot him between 10:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. I got the call at 11:00 p.m., but to be honest, I felt a pain in my stomach for the entire day, and I can't tell what that pain was about, but I also had a constant feeling that something would go wrong."

52 years ago a nuclear war almost broke out just north of us. In Belize, we would have looked up into the sky and thought that God had decided to end the world. But in October of 1962, it would have been mortal men, in the form of Americans and Russians, who had so decided. The people of Crimea have just voted to secede from the Ukraine, where the people recently overthrew a democratically-elected president and set up a new government. Ukraine's democratically-elected president had been pro-Russian, whereas Ukraine's new government is pro-European Union (EU). The EU nations are military allies of the United States in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) treaty. U.S. President Barack Obama, under pressure from Arizona's Republican Senator, John McCain, who was the Republican Party's candidate in the 2008 presidential election and recently accused Obama of having the U.S. look "soft" in the Ukraine/Crimea matter, has loudly declared that America will not accept the secession vote in Crimea.

Before his assassination in 1961, Rafael Trujillo, the absolute dictator of the Dominican Republic, had been in a quarrel with the Roman Catholic Church. At one point in his historical novel, The Feast of the Goat, Mario Vargas Llosa, a Nobel Literature Prize Laureate from Peru, has one of Trujillo's top aides quietly point out to him thusly, with respect to the Church: "They have not been beaten in two thousand years." The Roman Catholic Bishop in Belize, the Very Rev. Dorick Wright, has gone on the offensive recently against militant women's movements and non-governmental organizations which are pushing birth control, abortion, condom use, and radical gender policies. My sources feel that the Bishop, who is a diabetic and experiencing serious vision problems, is being "wound up" by a couple aggressive and prominent members of the Catholic laity. But the Bishop has been coming on strong for some while, which is to say that his press releases the last few weeks are not out of character. We have to believe the Bishop knows fully and exactly well what he is doing.

The Office of the Ombudsman was established 14 years ago, in 1999, as an independent entity to investigate complaints made by any person against the Government of Belize, including ministries, public authorities, town councils, the Police Department and any company owned by the Government. Lionel Arzu became the third to assume that post on January 1, 2013, and he notes, in his first annual report, that of the 211 complaints received over the course of 2013, public authorities have not responded in nearly 7 in 10 of the cases. Arzu said that, "Of the 211 cases, the largest number of complaints was against the Police Department and consisted primarily of allegations of the use of excessive force and police brutality. These make up almost 1/3 of all of the complaints received by our office." Likewise, his queries have also not been addressed by the Police Department.

The largest international organization devoted solely to ocean conservation - Oceana - is working in Belize to protect the Barrier Reef from the potentially damaging effects of offshore oil drilling, and as part of that effort, Oceana in Belize has dedicated this week to highlighting one of our greatest natural wonders, The Belize Barrier Reef. Although the 186-mile reef system is a spectacular sight and home to many rare species of aquatic creatures, it is increasingly threatened by overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and climate change, and since 2009, Oceana in Belize has been helping to protect and preserve the second largest coral reef system in the world which stretches from the northeast tip of Mexico's Yucat�n Peninsula to Amatique Bay, Guatemala. Today, Amandala spoke to Oceana in Belize's Vice President, Janelle Chanona, and she explained that the 2nd Annual Reef Week is a chance for all Belizeans to acknowledge the value of our reef, while supporting efforts to protect and preserve its existence.

The battered state of most of the sugar road networks in the Corozal and Orange Walk districts - which contributed to the delayed start of the 2013/2014 sugar cane season - were the subject of much discussion recently, and at the Government of Belize (GOB)'s annual budget presentation last Friday, March 7, the Minister of Works, Hon. Rene Montero, announced that those roads - which once stood in deplorable, even impassable conditions mainly due to excessive rains - are now receiving much-needed attention by way of contracts which were signed by GOB to conduct remedial works on those vital passageways. In response to a question raised by Orange Walk Central area representative, Hon. John Brice�o, Montero replied that over 100 sugar roads have been repaired in the northern districts. Government had allocated funds totaling $2.7 million for sugar road works in late 2013, and Montero said, "In the Corozal division, there are 9 branches [of cane farmers associations]. $1,150,000 was allocated [for that division]. $8,998,256 has been spent and $243,850 is remaining. Funds to be allocated are $7,894.00."

A recent World Bank report has classified Belize among a handful of Latin American and Caribbean countries which account for more than 30% of the world's homicides. The World Bank's Citizen Security Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean, Rodrigo Serrano-Berthet, has revealed in a recent report by the World Bank - published on March 5 - that even though the Latin American and Caribbean states only possess 9% of the world's population, almost one of every three murders globally are committed there. In fact, the United Nations (UN) has qualified crime and violence in these areas as an "epidemic" and considers the region to be the most insecure in the world. According to the World Bank's report, 30% of the world's homicides occur in these two regions, and the report adds that of the 50 cities around the world that have the highest homicide rates, 42 of those cities are in Latin America, including the top 16.

A 2012 report from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) - a US-based national public health institute - revealed that Belizean authorities need to find ways to better respond to emergencies, and today the Police Department was one of the first to react by hosting a disaster preparedness workshop for members of the Eastern Police Division Communication Center, 911 operators and other members of the division. It took place at the Queen Street Police Station conference room, and Mr. Eaton Williams, the Police Department's acting communications manager and coordinator of the event, gave us an overview of what the workshop entailed. He said, "It was a joint workshop where Mr. Wayne Usher from CEMO did a presentation for us along with representatives of the Belize Red Cross, the Meteorological Office as well as a psychiatric nurse from the Ministry of Health who all came in and spoke about disaster preparedness and management especially as it relates to the work that the 911 dispatchers do."

Victor Cassanova 18, of Altamira, Corozal, a student of the Corozal Community College, is recovering at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after he was knocked down at about 8:00 Thursday night while walking with his bicycle through the Rainbow Town Park in the Altamira area, Corozal Town. He was slammed from behind by a vehicle which did not stop; the impact hurled him into the air and he landed on the pavement. As a result, Cassanova suffered injuries to his head and right knee, and complained of pain in the left side of his body. He was taken to the Corozal Hospital, after which he was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for further treatment.

Woman found decomposing in house in Dangriga
Geraldine Lewis, a resident of Dangriga, was found dead and in an advanced stage of decomposition in her house on Sunday. A forced entry in the house was made, because she had bolted the doors from inside. The body was taken to the Dangriga Town cemetery, where it was buried immediately. Information to Amandala is that Lewis, who had recently returned home after living and working in the United States for decades, had not been seen or heard from for about a week. She normally would be heard singing from her house, and every Sunday she would go to church. On Thursday, an odor began to disturb people, but it was not distinct. On Sunday, however, the neighbors became alarmed because the smell had begun aggravating them. Houseflies were seen outside Lewis' window, and buzzards were seen in the area.

Vehicle collision in San Ignacio
Four vehicles collided on Buena Vista Road in San Ignacio, but no one was hurt. One of the vehicles lurched into a nearby drain. The incident occurred about 2:30 this afternoon. According to reports, a pickup truck was travelling on Buena Vista Road when the driver lost control and slammed into a vehicle that was parked on the roadside; that vehicle slammed into another vehicle that slammed into another vehicle, and the fourth vehicle was sent into the nearby drain. Police have launched an investigation. The driver of the pickup truck reported that the brakes of his vehicle failed.

One of the headlines in the March 14th edition of the Amandala - "BISHOP WRIGHT FLOGS BFLA, UNIBAM, NAC AND THE RED CROSS" (even the Red Cross?) - left me saddened and a bit bewildered, the way I usually feel when encountering ignorance and superstition. As he exhorts the reader to "be vigilant" against the manifold threats loose in the land, threatening Belize's moral foundations and family values, the good Bishop neglects to mention what is the greatest threat of them all to the well being of Belizeans - A CORRUPT POLITICAL SYSTEM! Instead, he weighs in with quirky observations - distractions, really - such as viewing AIDS workers with suspicion, as though they had some kind of hidden agenda; vaccinations for children are maybe better off left alone, he says. Planned Parenthood also cannot escape the Bishop's moral certitude as he equates making condoms available for the asking (goes a long way in preventing AIDS, for one) with proselytizing for promiscuous sex. Oh, I almost forgot, homosexuals come in for their usual thrashing too: is it true there's one behind every tree?

The mind reels! Unbelievable! Yet another sad example of "let them eat cake!" The corruption in Belize knows no restraints at all, and if this were Eastern Europe, say, in the forties and early fifties, people would be swinging from lampposts�.How craven! Like a sick joke.

Veteran Belizean boxer, Henry "Boxer" Gill, who returned home to live a couple years ago, and is passionate about getting the sport of boxing off the ground for our at risk youth, said he wants his friends to know that he is fully recovered from a recent ordeal, caused by some issues with prescription medications that he needs that were in short supply. Boxer dropped by the sports desk last Thursday to say that everything is okay now, and he wants his fans and friends to know that he is back in action, "bobbing and weaving."

From 'baller to balladeer, football great Gene Guild visits
Last Thursday night, Eugene "Japanese Bomber" Guild, on a short visit from New York, stopped by the sports desk on his way to a guest appearance on Tony Wright's Thursday night show on KREM Radio, Belize Musicians Past and Present. Gene was accompanied by his older brother Emerson, still resident in Belize, who was also a member of the famous Berger 404 champion team of the mid-1970's. Another footballer turned musician, Emerson is known in the Jewel for his "Singers and Players of Instruments" promotions. We did an in depth interview with Gene on a previous visit back in October of 2012, where he explained that, after he had retired from playing competitive football in New York due to an injury in 1984, he eventually stumbled into a new career in music, singing to be specific.

Young Mexican rider
Twenty-year-old Mexican national Ignacio Prado, riding for the Benny's Megabytes cycling team, rode away from his nearest competitor, Smart cycling team's Herman "Hijo" Requena, around Mile 4, and made the final circuit around the NAPA and Smart roundabouts to cross the finish line in front of Smart all alone, to claim 1st place in the 33rd running of the Belmopan Cycling Classic, sponsored this year by SMART. Hopes were high for the only Belizean rider in contention as the lead duo neared the City to complete the 100-mile ride; but the Mexican "just walked away" around Mile 4, and there was nothing Hijo could do to stop him. Reportedly, Prado was recently a winner in one of the legs on a tour race in Mexico City. After the race, we asked the young champion if he will be returning to make a try at the Holy Saturday Cross Country. "Si me invitan," (If they invite me), he replied. Benny's Megabytes team manager Perry Gibson was all smiles when we posed the question to him, and also did not discount the possibility that he might also be bringing another foreigner along for the Cross Country. The Belmopan Classic champion is considered a marked man in the Country, being the last major race before the historic Holy Saturday race; and so far, only 3 Belmopan Classic winners have gone on to claim the garland in the Cross Country.

Leith Bermudez, 18, an employee of Cisco Construction, was remanded to the Belize Central Prison after he was arraigned before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer on charges of attempted murder and dangerous harm against Tarique "Hell Boy" Gillett, 17. Frazer told Bermudez, "because of the sections under which you have been charged, it means that I cannot offer you bail until three months have passed. But your family can apply to the Supreme Court for bail." After explaining the process, she remanded Bermudez into custody until his next adjourned court date on May 5.

A businesswoman of Orange Walk Town was robbed in her store, and the two thieves escaped with her gold chain. The incident occurred at about 9:00 this morning at the Palma's Grocery Store, located on San Andres Street. She told police that two men entered the store and bought cigarettes. One man then returned and ordered some other items, and when the woman reached over the counter to hand these to him, he suddenly grabbed her thick gold chain, pulled hard until it broke, and ran through the door with it. The woman saw the two thieves riding away on bicycles, and screamed for help.

The Court of Appeal has squashed the murder conviction and sentence of Viola Pook, 56, and ordered a new trial. Pook was serving a lifetime sentence after a jury found her guilty of the murder of her common-law husband in July 2011. The decision of the Appeal justices centered on a remark that Pook made when she was initially questioned by police on December 31, 2008, the day police found her common-law husband, Orlando Vasquez, suffering burns to most of his body inside their Rancho Dolores home. Pook, according to the testimony of Corporal Zuniga at her trial, told him that "da me catch him fire." Zuniga, however, had failed to caution Pook about her right not to say anything incriminating before consulting a lawyer and used the statement against her, which was the only evidence that linked her to the assault of the burn victim, Vasquez, who succumbed to his injuries two days later.

3 shot in North Creek Road attack
Three persons from the North Creek area escaped a vicious gunfire attack by two gunmen that almost took their lives while they were looking at a basketball game at a court on North Creek Road at about 8:30 last night, Sunday. Justin Orellano, 24, of North Creek Road, was shot twice in his lower back, while Kenyon Moss, a laborer of North Creek, was shot in the right thigh. An 18-year-old girl of Dolphin Street, a 4th form student of Gwen Liz High School, was shot in the right knee. They were all rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where they were admitted, treated and later released. Wilfred Peters, Jr., 49, who lives right next to the basketball court, said that many people were on the basketball court looking at the game, including some children from the area. Suddenly, gunshots erupted, and everyone scrambled for cover.

Simon "Pancho" Paulino dies in his sleep
Former Deputy Mayor and present councilor of Punta Gorda, Simon Martin "Pancho "Paulino, 59, of Far West Street, Punta Gorda, was found dead on his bed at about 7:30 yesterday morning, and no foul play is suspected. Paulino's girlfriend told police that she went to his house at about 8:00 Saturday night and did not get a response when she called for him. She looked through the window into his bedroom and saw him lying on his back on the bed, and she believed that he was asleep, and so she went home, she said. At 7:30 yesterday morning, Sunday, she again visited his residence and saw him in the same position. She immediately contacted a family member, who went to the house to see what was happening, and found him dead on his bed.


Security Hired for This Weekend's "Deal With the Devil" Wing Eating Competition at Lazy Croc's BBQ: The Rules
This morning I was innocently strolling to Crossfit when I passed this flyer and stopped in my tracks� While asleep the devil visited Mr. Tropicante in a dream and whispered the SECRET recipe for the world's hottest pepper sauce. Now, Mr. Tropicante is offering To beat the deal with the devil, to any one mortal. Should any human be able to consume 6 Chicken Wings, in 6 Minutes, on the 6th night of the week they will win $1,000.00 BZD. Contest rules apply. Details at Lazy Croc BBQ. I posted the flyer on MY facebook page and have received multiple emails, a few phone calls and lots of excitement. What EXACTLY are the rules for this contest? SO�being the crack reporter that I am, I called Christiano from Lazy Croc's to get the deets. And I'm not sure who is more giddy about this. Me or him. HERE are the details that I was given: The Deal With the Devil Wing Eating contest starts this Saturday, March 22nd at 6pm. The restaurant's hours will be extended from 6pm to MIDNIGHT Saturdays and you can enter during that time period. Travellers is helping sponsor the event and the bar is open. A plate of the 6 wings will cost $6bzd or $10bzd. The price is still being determined when Christiano meets with one of the devil's minions later this week. 90% of the meat must be cleaned from the bones. Christiano or other Lazy Croc management will be the judge. These wings will be DANGEROUSLY hot and a legal waiver must be signed by all participants. During the six minutes, you can not consume any beverages or ice cubes. Three San Pedro policemen will be on site monitoring the contest and the devilish crowd to maintain order. You can not be under the influence or intoxicated during the signing of the waiver or during the contest. Once you win the contest and the money, you can never EVER enter again. If you eat the wings, you get $1000BZD! ONE. THOUSAND. DOLLARS!

Making Small Business Happen
The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) is working along with the Small Business Development Centre (SBDCBelize), a unit of BELTRAIDE, to create economic opportunities, promote social progress, and strengthen communities and civil society. The program has three main objectives: � Develop employability and entrepreneurial skills among youths by completing a 12-week training program on small business development as well as through work readiness and life skills methodologies � Create opportunities for self-employment through modest seed funding in the form of matching grants for entrepreneurship initiatives � Increase youth employability through hiring events and other services to match trained youth with employers in sector such as business outsourcing processes and tourism and hospitality

"I fell in love with San Pedro," sings Madonna in her '80s hit "La Isla Bonita" - probably the first claim to fame of the town of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, that pretty island on Belize's north coast that's the song's namesake and the country's busiest tourist destination. While Ambergris is no longer off the beaten path - Madonna might be surprised at the number of golf carts whizzing up and down the roads of the island - it's still a fun and relatively low-key destination that's popular with expats and short-term visitors alike. Here are five highlights to add to your must-do list. While you can take a ferry from Belize City (and its international airport) to Ambergris Caye, you'll be missing out if you don't experience the country's internal air travel at least once. Upon landing at the international airport from Houston, we picked up our bags, then turned around and checked in again for our flight on Tropic Air. Along with our boarding passes, we were handed an in-flight magazine and a snack - not just any old nuts, but organic, Belize-grown peanuts.

Howler Monkeys, Alligators and more in Belize
One of the ports of calls on our Western Caribbean Cruise was Belize. We decided to take the Altun Ha Ruins and River Cruise Shore Excursion. It was a day filled with Howler monkeys, Alligators, and so much more! The Altun Ha ruins are amazing. We were there in the middle of a torrential downpour and it was still really cool. We ended up getting drenched but it was warm so it felt refreshing or so I told myself.

International Sources

Watch as 1000 years of European borders change
Fascinating look at border changes!

Health services administrator deploys to Belize to facilitate medical treatment
A field grade officer from Air Forces Southern has deployed to Belize in support of the U.S. Southern Command-sponsored New Horizons exercise. Lt. Col. James Smith, a 16-year Air Force veteran, from Junction, Texas, is in Belize serving as the liaison officer between the Department of Defense and the Belizean Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education. Planning for this exercise, which began in August, has been an all-encompassing mission for the colonel and his planning team. "As with any exercise, even the best planning requires on-the-spot adjustments and decisions once execution begins," Smith said. "In my position, I have been given the latitude and scope of responsibility to make tough decisions that have wide effects."

AFSOUTH NCO leads contracting team for New Horizons Belize
A technical sergeant from Air Forces Southern has deployed to Belize in support of the annual U.S. Southern Command-sponsored New Horizons exercise. Tech. Sgt. Ryan Schnepf, an Indianapolis, Ind., native who has been in the Air Force for 12 years, is here leading a three-person contracting/finance team. His role in the exercise is to provide contracting logistical support to New Horizons task personnel and to establish contractual agreements with local businesses to purchase supplies, services and materials. Schnepf, who has previously deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Oman, El Salvador, Canada, and Qatar, is deployed to Belize for the second year in a row. "The best thing about this deployment is building relationships between the U.S. and Belize," Schnepf said.

Bishop wants pro-condom, pro-choice groups out of schools
A prominent bishop in the central American nation of Belize has urged Catholic schools there to ban groups that oppose church teaching on sexual ethics. Bishop Dorick Wright of Belize City and Belmopan named a Red Cross programme "Together We Can" and the National Aids Commission, which condone condom use; the gay rights United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) and the Belize Family Life Association (BFLA). He said these groups "foster programmes that ultimately undermine our Catholic values". He said these organisations' activities and positions "are actively opposed to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church" the twice-weekly paper Amandala reported. The letter, dated 3 March, warned against Belize Family Life Association (BFLA) - the Belize arm of pro-choice group Planned Parenthood - which it said proposed an "agenda of sodomy, abortion, and sexual gender redefinition is seeking to radically change Belize's Christian character."

Caribbean's Biggest Water Provider Reports Drop in 2013 Profit
Consolidated Water Co. (CWCO), the largest publicly traded water provider in the Caribbean, reported a 7.7 percent drop in profit last year as retail sales declined at its Cayman Islands base. Net income for 2013 was $8.6 million compared with $9.3 million a year earlier as earnings and profit-sharing from its British Virgin Islands affiliate OC-BVI also fell, the Georgetown-based company said in a statement. Total revenue slipped 2.5 percent to $63.8 million while services income climbed 80 percent to $843,000 as management fees increased. Consolidated Water also operates water production and distribution facilities in the Bahamas and Belize and expanded beyond the Caribbean with a seawater reverse-osmosis facility on Indonesia's Bali island and a water-purifying desalination pilot plant in Rosarito in northern Baja California, Mexico.

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