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The San Pedro Sun

Shooting victims hurt while trying to assist police in their investigation
Two teenagers who were the victims of a shooting incident on northern Ambergris Caye are upset and making allegations against the police department. The two making the allegations are 18-year-old Christian Espat and 20-year-old Brian Espat, both fishermen of San Pedro Town. The allegations follow injuries received while in handcuffs as they headed by boat to the area in which they were shot at on Sunday April 13th. While the injuries are one aspect that has the brothers upset, they are not happy with the treatment they received at the hands of the police. Once at the crime scene, Brian alleges that the police officers abused their power and used them as shields. “When we reached at the area of the incident, the police indicated for us (two brothers) to go to the front. The officers indicated that if anyone should get shot, we should be the ones. Then they had me looking for the bullets as if I was the one that did the shooting. Since when do the police have the victims looking for evidence?” claims Brian. He alleges that he can identify all the officers and claims that the contingency included Sergeant Raymond Berry and Inspector Reynaldo Pook.

ABC Preschool Star Show huge Success
It was night of fun and laughter as ABC Preschool held its annual extravaganza on Friday, April 11th. The Angel Nuñez Auditorium was packed as children of all ages and even adults came out to enjoy the live concert which started shortly after 7PM. The performance showcased artists from Merida, Yucatan, Mexico imitating some of the best known cartoon and teen series. Children got to enjoy performances from the all-time favorite Disney princesses Belle, Cinderella, Snow White and Aurora. Toddlers were treated to performances from Dora the Explorer and Caillou from Sprout TV. To end off the night, the children got to sing along to hit songs from the Disney Channel’s Austin and Ally imitators.

San Pedro PolyClinic receives three tuk-tuk emergency vehicles
Three of the vehicles were sent to the public health facilities on Ambergris Caye, while one is going to Caye Caulker. While it will not replace conventional ambulances on mainland Belize, on the two islands they will serve as such since none of the islands have an ambulance. Speaking to the press at the event, Heredia said the tuk-tuk ambulances are perfect for the island’s need. “After they were assembled, I can see that they are perfect for the needs that we have. They are not sophisticated, but it is something that can bring more comfort to tourists or our locals, up north or down south of San Pedro and including the area like San Pedrito, San Juan and downtown San Pedro. So I am much appreciative of the embassy, and also Minister Elrington who was instrumental in making sure they arrived over here properly,” stated Heredia. For his part, Marin said that the tuk-tuk ambulances are not a long term solution, but will help reduce the challenges in rural, hard-to-access areas. “This is a support vehicle; this is for areas where we want to do outreach work or like – San Pedro Town which is small. So we can leave one of these mobile units in different areas so it will be faster for them to reach the clinic… If Dubai is using these kinds of vehicles that means it’s very convenient, [but] they are not a long term solution.”

Misc Belizean Sources

Warm weather for the rest of the weekend
Temperatures are hovering in the mid to low 90’s across the country on this Good Friday. And the warm weather and some unstable conditions will prevail heading into next week. The general forecast for Belize and her coastal waters is for mostly sunny skies this afternoon. Tonight will be partly cloudy. Showers will be isolated but there is the chance of an isolated afternoon thunderstorm inland or in the north. The wind is easterly to northeasterly at 5 – 15 knots and the sea state is choppy. A low tide will occur at 6:44 this evening.

Belize Child Exploitation!
By Abdulmajeed K Nunez “The tourism industry is not to blame!” The CEO of the ministry of Belizean enslavement was quick to proclaim The taxi drivers and the tour operators are the one initiating it Who in their right mind believes that bullshit? Didn’t the PM say, “For God sake stop it!” You all think he was only talking about the visa shizzz? Hit them on the hip you all are condoning it You all see an opportunity so you are exploiting it Everyone is exploiting Belize’s children Even those sworn to protect them The PAHO ministry of health has been killing them Those they don’t kill with fake medicines they are disabling them The US security ministry Has been arresting, profiling, incarcerating, emasculating and criminalizing them Using their gang associates to assassinate them Whilst murderers, rapists and drug barons are finding Belize to be a safe haven The ministry of human enslavement and institutionalized dependency has been using, abusing and dehumanizing them

Fatal road traffic accident in Toledo district
A traffic accident on Thursday evening in the Toledo district has claimed the life of one man. The victim has been identified as Robert Gentle, a resident of Mafredi village. According to reports by our colleagues at Ak’kutan Community News Network (ACNN), Gentle was traveling in his tracker SUV when it overturned at Crique Troso near Mafredi village around 3 pm on Holy Thursday. ACNN reports that the vehicle was extensively damaged. Robert Gentle is originally from Esperanza village, Cayo, but because of work, lived in rural Toledo in the area of the Blue Creek quarry.

FREE entrance to all Archaeological Reserves for Belizeans over the holidays
NICH wishes everyone a safe and blessed Easter!. National Institute of Culture and History

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Wind power, anyone?
To Whom it May Concern; We have been working with the Belizean government on wind projects since January. We would be very interested in introducing private wind power generation for your island. We have the expertise to install, finance, and develop the utility lines for the entire community. If this is something that the community would want to research please feel free to get back to me. Regards Cliff Brooke Hydro Star Energy

The Reporter

Belizeans accuse Canadian McDonald’s of “slavery”
Belizean workers at McDonald’s in Canada are accusing the company of treating them like “slaves”. A report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC, states that the Belizeans say that McDonald’s is effectively forcing them to share an expensive apartment, then deducting almost half their take-home pay as rent. The Belizeans who migrated to Canada after an invitation by that country to apply for jobs over a year ago, said that when they arrived at the airport they were told that there was already an apartment for them. “At that point we already know we don’t have a choice of where to live,” said Jaime Montero, who traveled to Edmonton with four others to work at McDonald’s. “We had to live there. We were told this is what we are doing,” said another worker who didn’t want to be named because he still works for McDonald’s. “You work for us now, so we are your owners”, they claim they were told. The Belizeans said their dream of making good money in Canada to send to their families in Belize quickly shattered. Instead, they pocketed less than $800 per month, which they said is barely enough to live on. They worked at McDonald’s locations in south Edmonton and said it took them more than an hour to get to work by public transit.

Scotia Bank honors $60,000 commitment to school
This week Scotiabank donated $20,000 to Living Hope Preparatory School in support of its feeding program. The donation is the culmination of a $60,000 pledge made to the school, over the last three years. Patrick Andrews, Vice President and Managing Director of Scotiabank, said that Scotiabank honors its strong commitment to education and healthcare. “We believe in providing students with the tools and skills they need to reach their full potential within our communities.” Francis Calacayo, the school’s principal, accompanied by Reverend Natalee Bowen, the school’s manager, received the cheque on Wednesday at Scotiabanks’s Belize City branch. Calacayo told The Reporter today that the schools’ feeding program has been running for almost 10 years, catering to the needs of students of lower socio-economic backgrounds.

The accident scene on Mahogany Street shows motorcycle under car

Police operation yields over two pounds of weed
An anti-drug operation in the Pickstock area of Belize City has led to the discovery of over two pounds of marijuana. Police say that officers from the Quick Response Precinct Two Unit were on an anti-drug operation on Fitzgibbon Street at around 9:40 a.m. on Wednesday. They searched an abandoned lot in the Pickstock area of Belize City which led to the discovery of a black plastic bag containing suspected cannabis which amounted to 464 grams. During the operation a second find of a black plastic bag among garbage weighed 455 grams or just over a pound. Both finds were regarded as found property.

Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission concedes that anti-doping procedures in 2013 fell short of international standards
The Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) has conceded that some procedures carried out while collecting samples for testing last year were not consistent with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) International Standards. JADCO made its concession in a statement on Wednesday after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) blasted Jamaican anti-doping officials for the mishandling of a drug test by sprinter, Veronica Campbell-Brown. Three-time Olympic gold medallist, Campbell-Brown had a successful appeal to her two year ban on the grounds that international standards were violated during her sample collection.


Birthday trivia and a GREAT Friday
It’s Easter weekend in and one of the busiest times of the year. Hotels are booked to capacity and aside from out of country visitors, many Belizeans head for the coast to get some holiday beach time. The rush started yesterday as many people were arriving and running around town doing last minute errands. This was the day to get your shopping done and stock up on spirits as the Bars and stores do not sell alcohol on Good Friday. Today, Saturday and Sunday will be full out busy all around town and by Monday things will start winding down and get back to normal. Two tips for enjoying a good Easter Holiday in Belize: It is not unheard of for ATM’s to run dry on Easter weekend so stocking up on a little extra cash and keeping it in a safe secure place will ensure your holiday fun does not get cut short. Easter is one of our busiest times of year along with Christmas and New Years.

A Very Traditional Good Friday Morning in Very Traditional Benque Viejo, Belize
This morning everyone was up at the crack of dawn carefully laying down saw dust carpets on the streets for the mid-day procession. Here are some pictures and I have lots more to take. This is still going on… EVERYTHING is closed in the town. No one is working. I need to get out there and take about 15,000 more pictures so enjoy your Good Friday. The big parties start this weekend. I am here until the afternoon and then head to Belize City for the evening. Off to beg someone for a cup of coffee!

Every time I travel to Belmopan, Belize, I'm reminded of what going to church was like during my childhood. Growing up in northern Mexico, I remember my grandpa preaching at revivals every weekend. I recall going to church several times a week, sometimes twice a day. It's not because we were religious fanatics, but if our fulfillment is found in our Creator; what better way to satisfy that desire than by constantly being in His presence. Christianity is lived out differently in North America than it is internationally. The fast-paced culture we live in teaches us to focus on our own strengths and capabilities; forgetting that the root of our actions, desires, motivation and perseverance, all come directly from God. Our everyday culture requires us to be more intentional in slowing down and diligently seeking God. It can be done, but we have to be persistent and conscious about it. Serving in Belize is more than just taking part in a construction project; it is a reminder that EM's partners in Belize are a perfect reflection of how to live in constant relationship with God. Belize's local churches are dedicated to an intimate relationship with God, bringing forth strength and perseverance to those around them. The pastors' reliance is fully on God—no doubt about that—filling their body with prayer and scripture every day. There are several pastors who preach 6-7 times a week, not to gain personal praise, but wanting to make God's name known throughout the country.

Volunteer story: Learning about lionfish
As an interdisciplinary marine conservation organisation, Blue Ventures targets its efforts across many levels. In Belize, the main focus is tackling the lionfish invasion that is threatening to decimate juvenile fish populations in the local reefs, including supporting the Sarteneja Fishermen Association‘s “promoting lionfish as an alternative fisheries target species” project. One of the project’s activities was a competition in which primary school children designed and painted signs about lionfish, while the high school children developed banners using power point, to raise awareness about this invasive species within the local community. At Bacalar Chico Dive Camp, we saw first hand the impact that lionfish are having on native fish stocks. In particular, lionfish compete with lobster – a key local fishery – for habitat, and with other fish for food. They become sexually mature at well under a year old, can reproduce every four days, and live for up to 15 years. So we are talking about ONE HECK OF A LOT of lionfish! First seen in Belize in 2008 and lacking predators, lionfish have multiplied at an exponential rate. Needless to say, we saw them on every dive.

12 Things You Need to Know About the 2014 Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic
The “Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic” is the top sporting event in Belize that draws crowds in the thousands. This year, the Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic is scheduled to take place on April 19th 2014. The event is covered in “real time” (live coverage) throughout the country. The race begins in Belize City. The race is comprised of 144 miles. At 6:00 a.m., cyclists start the race at Leslie’s Imports (Mile 1 ½) on the George Price Highway. Cyclists are categorized into four groups, 18 Year Old , Under 23, Elite and Masters. The mood is always celebratory during the race due to the peaceful and happy nature of the Belizean people. The “Finish” line will be at the newly renovated, Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) Park.

International Sources

A chocoholic's guide to the Caribbean
Not many things trump an island getaway. Here's one that does: a chocolate-filled island getaway. And the Caribbean islands have much to offer when it comes to the beloved cacao bean. Here, you'll come across a storied history, chocolate factories and dedicated chocolatiers. In other words, it's not hard to find your sweet spot. Chocolate Festival of Belize: There's more to Toledo than dramatic waterfalls, Mayan temples and world-class fishing spots. It also has a longstanding cocoa-producing history, and it all culminates in May during the Chocolate Festival. Here you can sip specially brewed chocolate stout while listening to steel-pan music, get to know the chocolate producers themselves and sample chocolates flavored with organic orange peel and baalam nut. Also for sale are powdered cacao, baking chocolate, homemade cocoa-butter lip balm and cocoa-butter soaps. And don't forget to sample the dark chocolate mixed with bacon bits.

Boy’s wish comes true in Belize
A 12-year-old St. Charles boy saw Mayan ruins up close in Belize this year, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois. Connor Milmoe spent eight days in the Central American country of Belize starting on March 29. He traveled there with his family after his doctors referred him to Make-A-Wish. His adventure included visits to four different temple sites, cave tubing and zip-lining over a rainforest....

Belize Falling Under the Drug Cartel Influence
In 2011, Belize was added to the USA’s “blacklist” of nations considered to be major producers or transit routes for illegal drugs as it became further enmeshed in the cocaine pipeline from South America up to Mexico and the United States. Approximately 10 tons of cocaine (with a street value in excess of half a billion dollars) passes through Belize each year. The increasing presence and influence of the drug cartels in this Central American country continue to wreak havoc on government institutions and public safety. Between 2000 and 2011, the intentional homicide rate in Belize more than doubled up to a level four times that of Costa Rica (which is also suffering under the cartels), three times that of Nicaragua, twice the rate in Panama, and even higher than in Guatemala. Only El Salvador and Honduras had higher murder rates than Belize among the Central American group in 2011, but Belize’s rate was increasing far faster over the past decade. According to just released 2012 data, Belize’s homicide rate has now passed that of El Salvador to take possession of second place behind Honduras. The murder rates in Belize’s most populous cities are higher than all other Central American nations except Guatemala, and Belize is barely behind Guatemala’s homicide capitals.

Travel website name its Top 10 dive sites
Topping the list was Half Moon Caye in Belize, followed by the Blue Heron Bridge at Riviera Beach, Fla., the RMS Rhone in the British Virgin Islands, Gran Cenote on the Riviera Maya, Mexico and Point Lobos in Carmel, Calif. Rounding out the top 10 were the Florida Keys, Isla Mujeres in Cancun, Cocos Island in Costa Rica and Ray of Hope, Bahamas.

Foreign Employees Accuse McDonald's of 'Slavery
Last month, McDonald’s was slapped with seven class-action lawsuits in the US, accusing the company of stealing employee wages by, amongst other things, forcing them to work off the clock. Now in Canada, McDonald’s is being accused of “slavery” for forcing foreign-born employees to live in a corporate apartment by automatically deducting the exorbitant rent from their paychecks. The accusations come from McDonald’s employees from Belize, who came to Edmonton, Alberta to work at the restaurant. “When we arrived at the airport, they said, ‘We already have an apartment for you,’ so at that point we already know we don’t have a choice of where to live,” said Jaime Montero, a former McDonald’s employee who has been most vocal about the claims. Canada’s Minister of Employment and Social Development is looking into the case. The apartment was located in downtown Edmonton, but the employees worked at a McDonald’s on the southern outskirts of the city. It took them about an hour and a half to get to work via public transportation. Five people lived in the two-bedroom, 2,500 sq. ft. apartment, which rented for $2,143 per month. Records show that, twice a month, the company took $254 out of the employees' paychecks to pay the rent. (Yes, that adds up to more than $2,500 a month; McDonald's did not pay utilities, and McDonald's had no explanation for what happened to the extra money.)

Earth Day 2014: Find Out How Global Warming Is Hurting 20 Latin American Countries
Since the Industrial Revolution, human activity has destroyed the natural environment and is responsible for climate change. While not everyone blames mankind’s actions, a 2013 report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded with 95 percent certainty that people are to blame for at least half the climate change in the last half-century. "Climate change is a present and growing threat to economic development, and the goals of reduction of extreme poverty and the promotion of shared prosperity," said Erick Fernandes, the adviser for Agriculture and Rural Development in the Latin American and Caribbean region for World Bank, to Latin Times. "Unless the world takes bold action now, a warming planet threatens to put prosperity out of reach of millions, roll back decades of development gains and making it impossible to end extreme poverty by 2030." In Latin America, global warming has already made its mark with corals being bleached by warm temperatures, glaciers melting, cities becoming vulnerable to rising sea levels, and more. And it’s not just global warming that is threatening nature in Latin America: other forms of destruction (e.g. logging in the Amazon) is proving to be detrimental to biodiversity. In fact, according to The World Bank, Latin America is responsible for a small portion of global carbon emissions -- 12.5 percent, to be exact--but the region is the most affected by the temperature spike.

Community-based fishery management delivers individual and collective benefits in Belize
Recently, I traveled to Belize to see how TURF-reserves (territorial use rights for fishing co-located with no-take zones) are performing and learn about plans to expand them nationwide. The Mesoamerican Reef, the largest in the Atlantic Ocean, spans the Belizean coastline and is rich in biodiversity and a crucial source of income for thousands of fishers. Coastal fisheries, however, are at risk due to overfishing, and other pressures such as coastal development and climate change. In Belize, fishers have seen a decline in their catch, and the Belize Fisheries Department is using TURF-reserves to provide fishers the right incentives to become better stewards of their resources. As fishers take better care of their fishing area they will realize benefits and secure them for future generations. This approach to fisheries management is known as “Managed Access.” In 2008 the Belize Fisheries Department began working with EDF, Wildlife Conservation Society, the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE), and other Belizean institutions to deploy two Managed Access pilot projects.


Video: Belize Dive Clips, 7min.
Some Dive videos down in Belize

Video: President of the Belize Medial Tourism Association, Dr Marcello Coyi, 4min.
Interview with Dr Marcello Coyi, President - Belize Medical Tourism Association

Video: Belize and a couple of Finns, 4min.
Adventurers: Deebo Juero Deshi IDA & INA

Video: Female yellow-headed amazon parrot in nest in Belize, 3min.
This was taken by a video camera placed by TIDE rangers in an artificial nest in Payne's Creek National Park, Belize. She sits on her 3 eggs for a while, and then leaves.

Video: My Back Yaad: Corozal, 21min.
Corozal is not just the sleepy town bordering Mexico anymore. Come with us and lets see why Corozal is a unique getaway for tourists and Belizeans alike.

Video: Belikin Chocolate Stout (initial thoughts and review), 5min.
Belikin Chocolate Stout gets a ***** 5 Star rating

Video: Baking Belize Cashew Apple Crisp, 8min.
Cashew Apple Crisp. This has nothing to do with Apples. The Cashew Apple is the fruit of the Cashew tree that the Cashew Nut comes from. This is just one of the many ways to use the cashew apple, a delicious fruit that is popular in Belize. Here we show you step by step how to make a delicious crisp or crumble from the cashew apples and papaya, another Belizean fruit.

Video: Surface view of the Blue Hole, Belize, 1min.

Video: Scuba dive belize blue hole 17.04.2014, 6min.

Video: Sharks in Belize, 1min.
This videos is of a dive with sharks in Belize

Video: Mexico & Belize, 15min.
This video is about Mexico & Belize