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

The San Pedro Sun

PUP Councilor Wally Nu�ez submits Declaration of Financial Affairs to Integrity Commission
The only elected People's United Party (PUP) San Pedro Town Councilor, Gualberto "Wally" Nu�ez has submitted his declaration of financial affairs to the Office of the Integrity Commission. The annual declaration is a requirement for anyone in public life, including politicians, under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Under the act, anyone who becomes "a person in public life" is required to submit a sworn declaration of their assets, income and liabilities for the year prior to being elected, every year for the entire period they are elected and a final declaration for the year after serving as person of public life. According to Nu�ez, it is his hopes that other members of the council and other people in public life follow through with the requirements as mandated by the law in Belize. "By me coming to the media, I am hoping to create some level of awareness about what people in public life are required to do to ensure that we do not foster corruption. I am also hoping that I am not the only one doing it. I also want to challenge every person in public life, even if it is from my same party, to do what is required by law. We need to be clear with the community we serve, open and transparent with our lives," said Nu�ez.

Shooting in San Juan Area leaves more questions than answers
Shortly after 9PM on Thursday April 24th, San Juan residents ran for cover as gunshots rang through the neighborhood. The sound of gunfire is sadly not uncommon for the area, and residents are understandably upset. A few witnesses who asked to rename anonymous for safety reasons told The San Pedro Sun that sometime around 9PM, six gunmen, dressed in full black and wearing bandanas [on their faces]came from a mangrove area along the lagoon side. One witness stated that the men pulled out several guns and aimed them towards a group of men sitting on two separate golf carts in front of the Campos residence situated on Caniste Street. The barrage of bullets (some residents claim hearing as many as 16 shots) sent the group of men running for cover, while scared neighbors, including children, ran inside their homes. The gunmen then jumped inside a waiting vessel and fled the area.

Overcrowding causes a pier to collapse into the sea on Caye Caulker
A large crowd of visitors to Caye Caulker got the scare of their lives when a portion of a docking facility on the island plunged into the sea. The incident occurred around 4:45PM on Saturday April 19th at the San Pedro Belize Express (SPBE) water taxi pier. Luckily no one was seriously hurt. However, many people who fell into the water, damaged and lost their personal items, including electronics. "SPBE water taxi takes this opportunity to express our sincerest apologies. SPBE truly values its passengers and is making every effort to fortify its ports and implement additional safety features to ensure this incident is not repeated," ended the release. The visitors who landed in the water, including a large number of children, were pulled out of the water with the assistance of people in the general area as well as other law enforcement agencies. The Commissioner of Ports, Merlene Bailey Martinez is quoted as indicating that the Belize Port Authority is reviewing the incident, but at this time has no sanctions planned against the company. This is not the first time that a portion of a dock has collapsed due to overcrowding. Last year, a similar incident occurred when a portion of a bar establishment collapsed over open waters in San Pedro Town.

Belizean beaten, then shot and killed in a hotel in Melchor, Guatemala
A young Belizean from western Belize was shot and killed in Guatemala over the Easter weekend. He is 22-year-old Edwin Javier Chan, a resident of Benque Viejo del Carmen Town in the Cayo District. According to multiple media reports from Guatemala, the employee of Tropic Air was killed sometime between Friday April 18th and Saturday April 19th in the bordering municipality of Melchor de Mencos, Guatemala. Melchor de Mencos is known to be very dangerous, and gun violence is common. It is not the first time that a Belizean has been killed in the bordering municipality. In October of 2012, 23-year-old Miguel Gonzalez, also a resident of Benque Viejo del Carmen Town, was killed in Melchor. No one was ever arrested for his death.

Ambergris Today

Easter Monday Cycling Race held in San Pedro
The San Pedro Cycling Club is a very active group made up of very young and enthusiastic members who are always practicing and ready for any race. The Club held its 3rd Annual Easter Monday Cycling Race on Monday, April 21, 2014, which consisted of two races. The two divisions included Juvenile Category (cyclist 13 years and under) and Junior/Senior Category. All top three winners received trophies while other participants received medals for their participation and great efforts. Thanks go out to all cyclists and everyone who came out to support the island's cyclists. Congratulations to all the winners and participants.

Tropic Air Announces Addition Of King Air Aircraft To Its Fleet
Tropic Air announced on Thursday, April 24, 2014 the arrival of its Beechcraft King Air A100 aircraft to Belize. The King Air is a pressurized, air-conditioned, high-speed, twin-engine, jet prop aircraft. Its pressurized cabin is designed for high altitude and high-speed (250 mph) flights. "Its two abreast seating in a 12 passenger configuration will also allow for the higher level of executive seating that our passengers are asking for" said John Greif III, President of Tropic Air. "We were pleased to introduce the modern glass cockpit Cessna Caravan to Belize, and now we are pleased to once again raise the bar of air comfort for our passengers with the King Air" After a period of crew and support service familiarization, the King Air will be used on routes to Roatan, Merida and daily flights to Cancun. It will also appear on other international routes, such as San Pedro Sula and Flores, Peten from time to time.

Misc Belizean Sources

Cayo Film Festival Weekend
The Cayo Film Festival is today and Sunday at the Cayo Welcome Center. They've been uploading stills from the interviews that took place last Summer from the Belize Documentary Field Film Course, where most of the documentaries came from. Albums include: Mr. Canto Maya Shaman, San Antonio Women's Coop, Maria Garcia.

Mom's Holy Saturday 9 Ball Tournament
Mom's Backyard had another 9 ball tournament. It was on Holy Saturday, and to celebrate, they had their delicious wings for only $1.

SAGA and Watson College of Education- International Studies Program
( 6 photos) Saga Humane Society was thrilled to have interns from UNC Wilmington helping out at Saga Humane Society this week. These wonderful volunteers are here on the island for 5 weeks student teaching in our local schools. While schools are on Easter Break, they have been walking dogs and painting fences at the clinic and kennels at Fort Dog. This program has been bringing students to Ambergris for the past six years . We are honored to be on their itinerary and hope to work with them in the future on humane education during their visits. Thank you interns, Dr. Catapono and Dr. Kabasko for helping in our community. Bark Bark Meow for the UNC Wilmington Seahawks!

George Price Hwy between Mile 12 and 13 repair
The Ministry of Works and Transport hereby informs the General Public that the George Price Highway between Mile 12 and 13 will be undergoing urgent culvert replacement from Tuesday April 29 to Saturday May 3, 2014. Traffic will be limited to one lane at a time and therefore motorists are advised to exercise extreme caution when approaching the work area. The Ministry of Works and Transport apologizes for any inconvenience caused.

Businessman charged for the crime of rape
Police in San Ignacio town say they have charged a Belize City busnessman in connection with a rape report. 31 year old Garth Longsworth who works as a sales and marketing manager from Belize City, had been formally arrested and charged for the crime of rape. The charge follows a report from a 16 year old girl that she was raped early last month.

Terrorists allegedly target Orange Walk family
The owners of a business establishment in Orange Walk town have allegedly been the target of an extortion scheme. According to reports, two weeks ago, the Cabanas family which owns one of the largest wholesale and retail outlets in Orange Walk, was send a video threat demanding a million dollars. The threat of death if the money is not handed over, was taken seriously by the family and they have turned the matter over to the police department. The police department is tight-lipped about the investigation or the contents of the video threat. But sources say that masked men are shown in the video directly addressing the Cabanas family in Spanish and making the million dollar demand or in default, members of the family would be killed.

Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley can't run again
He has single-handedly restored Belize City residents' confidence in municipal affairs and been a credit to his party, the UDP. But because of one missed deadline, the door has slammed shut on Mayor Darrell Bradley opportunity to run for a second term - at least, not under the UDP. Today, his party's leader and Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, ended all speculation, saying that the race would not be reopened except in the very unlikely scenario that the current candidates dropped out. How much of a loss is this for the UDP, going into an election cycle which is considered tough for the ruling party?

Prime Minister reassures community after spike in murders
Seven killings in ten days is enough to strike fear in any community, but the beleaguered Belize City Southside has seen more than its fair share. Earlier this week Police established a semi-permanent command post in the Jane Usher Boulevard area, nexus of the last three murders in the City. Today, the Prime Minister announced a purchase of more weapons for Police. But in addition to those, there is dialogue. The Prime Minister says principals of the area met this afternoon with authorities to find a way out of the violence.

Constable jailed for unlicensed gun and ammo
Former Special Constable Jose Haylock, 36, charged with three counts of firearm offenses: keeping an unlicensed firearm (one count) and keeping unlicensed ammunition (two counts), was sentenced this evening to five years on each count by Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith after changing his plea from not guilty, to guilty. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently, so Haylock will only be jailed for five years. Haylock changed his plea after seeing videotapes of the search at his house, which were introduced at the trial. The search occurred on February 11, 2012 at Haylock's residence on Louise Bevans Street and was carried out by members of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU).

Transportation Master Plan looks at key issues
The Government of Belize has engaged technical experts from the Republic of Korea to investigate Belize's transportation issues in air and on land and sea and prepare a plan to establish key priorities for the nation as it looks ahead to coming developments. Senator Joy Grant, Minister of Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities, under whose Ministry the plan is being developed, notes that a lot of factors go into the decision-making on plans to possibly upgrade the road to the Altun Ha Maya ruin; re-activate the Commerce Bight port, and pave the Coastal Road. She cites development of tourism and a need for more options for business and tourist interests to access the South as examples.

New Petrocaribe office opens
The Petrocaribe agreement is the cornerstone of diplomatic relations of Belize and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Since the program was restarted in 2012, some $190 million in sold petroleum at concessionary terms has been loaned to Belize, of which about 40% is paid back upfront. The remainder is treated as a long-term loan payable at 1% interest over 25 years, and must be used for projects that target poverty alleviation and human and social development. The office of Alba Petrocaribe Energy Belize Limited, which is overseeing the working relations of the agreement, was opened in Belize City today, and executive of PDV Caribe, one of the partners in the agreement, Ricardo Garcia, says Venezuela is pleased to continue to program with the Caribbean and Central American states.

New directors appointed to the Board of BTB
A new Board of Directors for the Belize Tourism Board has been named. A statement from the Ministry of Tourism announced today that the new board, whose mandate is effective Wednesday, April 23 and ending in 2016, is headed by Acting Chairman Einer Gomez, who is the General Manager of Ramon's Village Resort. The substantive Chairman designate is Dr. Carla Barnett; but her appointment, according to the official announcement "will not take effect until later this year when she has completed her current assignment at the Caribbean Development Bank." The other members of the new BTB board are: Herbert Haylock, Belize Tourism Industry Association Representative; Doug Thompson, Belize Hotel Association Representative; Gaspar Guerrero, Local Airline Sector Representative; Neil Bradley, Cayes & Outer Islands Representative; Glen Eiley, Southern Region Representative; Rosendo Urbina Sr., Northern Region Representative; Gamayel Babb, Legal Expertise; Christy Mastry, Project Management and Planning and Tracy Panton, CEO, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation.

Rhode Island native learns new trades in Belize
A U.S. Air Force pavements and construction equipment operator from the 820th RED HORSE Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., is learning new construction trades while deployed in support of New Horizons Belize 2014. Less than three years ago, Gonzalez realized he needed to find a good path to follow, he said, and that's what led him to the Air Force and the RED HORSE unit. "I grew up poor and didn't feel like I could afford college. I joined the military, and now I can get my degree with tuition assistance and travel around the world," said Senior Airman Justin Gonzalez. "I'm working on my (Community College of the Air Force) degree in Construction Technology, and Belize has been my first opportunity to travel." Gonzalez is stationed at Nellis AFB with his wife, Stephanie, both natives of Rhode Island. He is looking for overseas opportunities, he said, and his wife is very supportive.

Jaguar Paw the Perfect Retreat for Local Youth
Chukka played host to a group of 28 deserving youths from the Youth Cadet Service Corp and their staff at their Jaguar Paw Location. The group had a blast flying down a series of Ziplines that range up to 500 feet long, and exploring the caves of Belize on our unique Cave Tubing adventure. The Corp is funded by the Ministry of Education, Department of Youth Services and caters to boys in need of a place to guide them on the right path, underprivileged or seeking behaviour modification.

BAY Basketball Playoffs
Las night was the start of the BAY basketball tournament playoffs. They really have some great team names. Next weekend is the finals. "The Belmopan Active Youths started their basketball playoffs last. They continue tonight, and conclude next weekend."

The Queen's Baton Relay Ceremony (30 photos)
The Queen's Baton Relay made its stop in Belize this week. Here a few photos from the Belmopan ceremony held on Wednesday, April 23rd.

Men at Work
Sections of streets in Corozal Town that had been prepared for months now and awaiting paving, have commenced today to the relief of the Corozal residents.

Caye Caulker Water Taxi Daily Schedule

Channel 7

First Citizen Swearing-In Since April 2013
Today, the Immigration Department swore in new citizens and officially granted them Belizean nationalities. The last swearing in happened on April 26, 2013, making the gap between the two ceremonies one day short of an entire year. That's unusually long, but the delay was caused by the Citizen Kim passport scandal. But the department is now trying to put that episode behind them, and proceed in an orderly fashion with their regular duties. But Daniel Ortiz found that ghosts of Penner were still around:... Daniel Ortiz reporting 103 new Belizeans were sworn in by the Immigration Department this afternoon. It's the first swearing in since April of last year - a year in which the Elvin Penner Immigration Scandal emerged. Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Immigration "As you know when we pass the law which came into effect on January 6th this year, the new immigration law - we had to build in a clause people who had been in the process before, so many of the people who were sworn in today were people who had their certificates signed by previous ministers but they were never sworn in. So we had to do that and also basically today was dealing with a lot of the back log of people whose files had been there for a long time and they were saying when will we swear.

Ministry of Local Gov't Gets Ready To Take Over PG Town Council Money Affairs
While we had the opportunity, we spoke with Hulse in his capacity as the Minister of Local Government about the situation at the Punta Gorda Town Council. We've been informed that the Town Council is having a cash flow crisis, so much so that the Ministry of Local Government is making an intervention. Here's how Hulse explained it: Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Local Government "All governing town councils give the minister of local government the responsibility to oversee these town councils as well as village councils - and gives the authority to appoint a financial controller if there is anything that is not in accordance with what the regulations called for. We have been doing some checks on all the councils and PG has some difficulties. I cannot comment because the process is not yet complete and so we have not reach that point yet where we've decided what we are going to do. We are working with them, the administrator, the mayor and members of the council to see how we can help. Appointing an administrator is a kind of final step, but we are not fully there yet."

Lawman Sent To Prison
In February of 2012, it made major news when Special Constable Jose Haylock became the second lawman busted by the Gang Suppression Unit with an illegal firearm. Unlike Corporal Gino Peck who famously managed to beat his case in court, Haylock is spending his first night of a 5 year sentence after he was convicted before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith. As we reported, on February 11, 2012, members of the GSU raided his house at # 3716 Louise Bevans Street in Belize City with the strength of a search warrant. The officers found a .22 LARGO Brand revolver loaded with 10 live rounds of .22 ammunition, and 11 live rounds 9mm ammunition in 2 separate sections of the house. As a result, Haylock and Martinez were arrested and charged jointly with one count of keeping an unlicensed firearm, and 2 counts of keeping unlicensed ammunition.

GOB Waives Expiration On US Capital Exploration License
Hostilities remain high in the Toledo District between SATIIM and US Capital Energy. That's because government has informed SATIIM that it will waive the expiration date on the oil company's exploration permit. That was supposed to expire on April 30th, but now it has been rolled over with no fixed date of expiry. SATIIM says that's in defiance of the judgment of the Supreme Court - but government is sticking by its interpretation, that the judgment only affects future permits, not the existing one issued to US Capital. The Prime Minister explained today:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "The Attorney General's advice that Madam Justice Arana's refusal to actually strike down the permits means that the activities can continue. So that is the stance of the government. Now I understand that a new application has been filed, is it Satiim, is it Maya Leader Alliance - with the claimants to try and get an injunction to stop the continuation of the activities. Unless that application succeeds, those activities will continue."

Ceasefire Agreed Between Warring Gangs
And while the Prime Minister is monitoring that situation in southern Belize, he's also watching the situation on the city's southside - where violence has spiked in the last month - mainly in the area of Jane Usher Boulevard. That's where rival groups are jostling for control - and it has resulted in the death of three young men in three weeks. But, today police called in all rival crews to a meeting. The Prime Minister explained:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "There is a meeting place this afternoon between some of the principals from the Jane Usher Boulevard area and from other areas so that the carrot and stick approach or the effort to go at this thing from several different directions might be employed as a way of dealing with the situation. So even as the police are stepping up their enforcement actions in the area an effort is being made to talk through the situation with the gang leaders/the principals to see if some kind of cease fire might be mediated." That meeting was held at Old Belize and according to reports, it finished around 4:30. It included the main players from Supal Street, George Street, PIV, Jane Usher, Louise Bevans Crips and Victoria Street. It was led by the senior Superintendent Edward Broaster formerly of the CYDP, now deputy commander of Eastern division. He tells us that the groups who attended agreed on a ceasefire.

New President At Galen U
Galen University has a new president. It's not Doug Singh as has been erroneously reported on some media; instead, it is the school's co-founder and former president, Andreas Charalambous. A release from Galen University says that President since 2009, Dr. Louis Zabaneh, is stepping down so that Charalambous can quote, "plan the development of a school of veterinary medicine." End quote. But, our information says, it's not quite that simple. It's a decision by the board of directors - where Zabaneh formerly held a seat as a 6% shareholder but defaulted on his loan two years ago, and in July 2012 the majority owner and co-founder Kostas Karanikis took control of the Board of Directors. The board kept on Zabaneh as President, until this transition. Doug Singh is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees - and is managing Zabaneh's departure.

In the Shadow of Chavez, Barrow: "Que Viva Venezuela"
The Petrocaribe fund, it's the ultimate political war chest, paying for everything from your paved street, to the seed capital at the National Bank, to new sports facilities�.and someday, it may even be used to buy back some of the Superbond debt. With all that, the Barrow Administration is eternally indebted to the Venezuelans. Hugo Chavez himself first put the agreement on the table in 2005 - but it was never fully operationalized. But since September of 2012, it has been maximized under a new arrangement worked out by the Barrow administration. So that every drop of premium, diesel, or regular fuel that comes into the country is from Venezuela, and every time you buy gas, whether you know it or not, you contribute to the fund. For sure, Petrocaribe is big, over 150 million in the consolidated revenue fund attests to that - and today Government celebrated its dip0lomatic history with the Venezuelans by opening a local office. 7News was there:...

Who Paid For Mrs. Barrow's Harper's Spread?
And while we had the Prime Minister today, we had to ask him about the magazine spread his wife, Kim Barrow did for the May/June issue of Harpers Bazaar Interiors. We are told it will be a 15 page spread which promotes Belize tourism destination, with Mrs. Barrow as the cultural totem. Previews of the lavish photo shoot were splashed over youtube a month ago - and today we asked the Prime Minister who's paying:.. Jules Vasquez "We keep hearing repeatedly that it was a matter for the BTB and there was some confusion at the BTB over whether the BTB could pay because the expenses have to be defrayed. The BTB was unable to pay and it fell to then director Laura Esquivel and perhaps her being unable or them being in the financial crisis made the BTB unable to defray the expenses. Are you aware of it and did the Office of the Prime Minister have to get involved?"

Burglar Knocked Unconscious Says He Was Chasing 'Guana
43 year-old Reuben Cox, a resident of Biscayne Village, is spending his second night of a 7 year prison sentence after he was convicted in Magistrate Court of burglarizing the compound at Croc Land at mile 25 on the Northern Highway. The burglary happened on April 3, 2013, and the prosecution's witnesses say that he climbed up on a beam and was attempting steal electric wires to harvest the copper. He had a stroke of misfortune and was caught in the act because he fell from the beam and became unconscious. He was found by personnel at Croc Land, and he was rushed to the KHMH, where police found him and charged him for entering the compound as a trespasser.

Consulting With Koreans For Transportation Plan
Today, the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology, and Public Utilities hosted the launch of a National Transportation Master Plan. It's a multi-million dollar initiative in the planning stage that the different ministries are working with the Korean Government start to roll out. Representatives from all the different ministries were present and 7News attended to find out what it is. Here's how Minister Joy Grant explained it: Hon. Joy Grant - Minister of Energy, Science and Technology, Public Utilities "If you say you are going to upgrade a road then we need to know what will be the demand. Will people move there? Will there be additional production? All those things come into place. That's why a plan is so very important."

Barrow: buh-bye Bradley
Darrell Bradley has turned indecision into an art with his flip flopping on whether he'll run for mayor again. But, the deadline has long passed - 4 weeks ago, actually, and though Bradley would be considered a prohibitive favourite to be re-elected as mayor, the PM said today, that ship has sailed: Jules Vasquez "Has the ship sailed as regards Mayor Bradley running again for mayor? Has the party now moved on?" Prime Minister Dean Barrow "In my view absolutely. The deadline has passed and there will be no reopening of the deadline�that's out of the question. The only possibility that I can see in which that Mayor could run again is if those that put in their names within the deadline for some reason decided to withdraw their names and then that would throw the thing wide open."

Belize Bank Takes Arbitration Case To DC
Today, a news outlet from Cayman posted news saying that the Belize Bank has filed a petition at federal court in Washington, D.C. to enforce an arbitration award totaling approximately US$18 million against the Government of Belize. That's the Universal Health Services debt which the Musa Administration secretly guaranteed in December, 2004. It was awarded to the Belize Bank by the London Court of International Arbitration in January 2013. The Bank is seeking enforcement locally and now internationally. Prime Minister Barrow discussed it today:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "I am not sure how that will play out in terms whether they are allowed to engage in these or this multiplicity of proceedings, the lawyers will have to advise us."

Turning To Trini For Help With Difficult Oil
And finally with the PM tonight, the media asked him today about theta oil find in the Gallon Jug area of northern Belize. It's proving difficult to extract because it is trapped under rock formations and the oil is very thick. PM Barrow says he has turned to his counterpart in Trinidad for assistance:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "I've asked the Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago if she would send a mission from PetroTrin. I think they do a lot of the heavy oil extraction and I thought that perhaps their experts might be able to advise us, give us a better handle on what exactly it would take to get at the oil which as I said is extra thick crude and lodged in rock formations that are not very porous or are impermeable. I spoke to her on the phone, I sent her an email. I have not yet had a response but hopefully that mission can materialize and that would help. That's where we are." Trinidad's first oil find was over 150 years ago.

Earth Day 2014 Is Coloured Mahogany
The Belize Audubon Society celebrated Earth Day 2014 earlier this week. This year the emphasis was on planting trees, specifically Mahogany Trees. Dirk Francisco told us more:.. You can get you mahogany tree at the Audubon office at 16 North Park Street, Belize City.

Aziatic Still Hype
Punta Rock performer AZIATIC is touring Belize. He's been on the road since Easter with Little June promoting his rollicking dance tune "Till It Turns Over." Aziatic, who's been release albums for almost two decades told us why he's jumping behind his next release:.. The album will be released in late May or June.

Channel 5

Mayor Darrell Bradley no longer eligible for municipal elections
Mayor Darrell Bradley will be leaving municipal office in March 2015. We didn't exactly hear it from the horse's mouth, but we heard it from his political boss, Prime Minister [...]

SATIIM versus G.O.B. and US Capital; P.M. says extension to drill will be waived
Despite a ruling handed down by Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana on April third, US Capital Energy's pre-drilling activities in the Sarstoon Temash National Park will continue unabated. That's because [...]

Meeting held with gang members to address spiking criminal activities
In 2012, Belize was considered one of the top ten most dangerous countries in the world, with murders at an unprecedented high. In 2013, that turned around somewhat, with murders [...]

Police Officer gets 15-year sentence for firearm conviction
Special Constable Jose Haylock, who was charged jointly with his girlfriend, Corrine Diane Martinez, was convicted late this evening before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith for firearm and ammunition offences.� [...]

New Board of Directors appointed for B.T.B.
Vice President of the Caribbean Development Bank Dr. Carla Barnett has been selected as the Chair Designate of the Belize Tourism Board.� The announcement follows the appointment of a new [...]

A National Transportation Master Plan is unveiled
A collaborative effort between the Government of Belize and South Korea has resulted in the unveiling of a National Transportation Master Plan.� Through a Knowledge Sharing Program established by both [...]

Ministry of Local Government to address financial issues in PG Town Council
In recent weeks, there have been persistent reports of financial problems at the Punta Gorda Town Council. Now financial difficulties in municipal administrations are legion - revenues are notoriously scarce [...]

G.O.B. seeking CARICOM assistance in Maranco oil find
In March 2014, Maranco Energy Belize Limited announced a significant oil find at its South Canal Bank number three - a preliminary reserve estimate of fifty-million barrels. But it was [...]

PM Barrow gives update on appeal in case of Penner
Seven months and counting - that's how much time has passed since former Minister of State Elvin Penner was fingered in a serious immigration fraud. The public has remained committed [...]

Shooting in San Pedro
San Pedro Police are at a standstill, following a shooting incident on Thursday night. Reports are that sometime around nine p.m. six gunmen fired several shots at the Campos family [...]

Honduran national found illegally living in Belize
On Tuesday, twenty-two-year-old Melvin Antonio Avilez Cruz, a Honduran national was found living in Belize illegally.� Cruz, who was unrepresented, appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser where he was read [...]

PetroCaribe doing big things in Belize
The Petrocaribe initiative took its first baby steps in Belize in 2005, but fizzled out in 2009. It was reloaded in Belize in 2012, and to say that the Jewel [...]

Crucifixion of Jesus Christ re-enacted in Benque Viejo Del Carmen
The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ has been retold countlessly through biblical literature.� During Holy Week, movies reenacting his death on Calvary are aired across the local and international media.� On [...]

San Pedro Tiger Sharks versus Cayo Western Ballaz in NEBL Tournament
The National Elite Basketball League is heading into its eleventh week of regular season play and this weekend the number one seed San Pedro Tiger Sharks is set to take [...]


Barrow Speaks on SATIIM
At the beginning of the month, Justice Michelle Arana, ruled in favor of SATIIM in a case brought against US Capital Energy Limited. While a declaration was handed down, US Capital's permit was not squashed and so they have until the month's end to continue carrying out works in the area. The Maya Leaders want to be consulted in the event that the permit in renewed or extended. On April 14th the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management, SATIIM, and the indigenous communities' legal team filed an application for a Post-Judgment Injunction to restrain the Government of Belize from renewing, extending and/or issuing an extension of US Capital Energy's Permit. Executive Director of SATIIM, says that the decision to file for an application was made after they were told that on April 8th, Cabinet decided to issue an 'extension' to US Capital's Energy Belize Ltd Permit, which expires on April 30th of this year. Prime Minister Dean Barrow confirmed to the media today that US Capital's permit will be waving the expiration date of the permit.

Carrot and Stick Approach Employed for Cease Fire in Old Capital
The Belize Police Department has reinforced police presence in the Jane Usher Boulevard Area after a spike in crime, specifically murders and shooting incidents. Prime Minister Dean Barrow says that he too is concern about the increase of crime and a meeting was held this afternoon with the elements contributing to the increase of crime in that area. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW "There is, in fact, something being done; there is a mobile unit that is being posted there, sort of semi-permanently so that change overs can occur with some ease. There is an increase in the policing strength in the area. We have just bought additional equipment for the police, additional weapons and additional radios as part of the extra effort to try to tamp down that situation. There is a meeting taking place this afternoon between some of the principals from the Jane Usher Boulevard areas and from other areas so that the carrot and stick approach or the effort to go at this thing from several different directions might be employed as a way of dealing with the situation.

The UDP Has Moved on From Elvin Penner
Back in March Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin granted a Writ of Mandamus against Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie, brought by the People's United Party in regards to the Passport Scandal. The PUP was concern that the investigation into the scandal did not include the man in the middle of the controversy, Former Minister of State and Cayo North East Area Representative Elvin Penner. CJ Benjamin says that it was unreasonable for the ComPol not to investigate Penner and so he was ordered to do so. However, it was earlier learnt that Compol Whylie intended to appeal the order. On the other, COLA managed to get Penner criminally charges for two offences. Prime Minister Dean Barrow today addressed the matter of the Writ of Mandamus.

Barrow on Bradley: PM Says He Will Yield to No Man
Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley has been a hundred percent clear that he intends to run for office once again. But what is clear is that Bradley missed the deadline and did not submit his name. Party Leader, Dean Barrow, says that as far as he is concern, the party has moved on while acknowledging that Bradley was an excellent Mayor. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW "The deadline has passed. There will be no re-opening of the deadline; that is out of the question. The only possibility that I can see in which that Mayor could run again is if those that put in their names within the deadline, for some reason, decide to withdraw their names and that would throw the whole thing wide open. My sense is that neither of the two candidates that put in their names is prepared to withdraw; if that continues to be the position, that's the end of it."

Ashcroft Resurfaces with Requests for Enforcement
Michael Aschroft's the Belize Bank Limited has filed a petition at federal court in Washington, D.C. to enforce an arbitration award totaling approximately US$18 million against the Government of Belize. In the petition, which was brought on April 18, 2014, Belize Bank claims that the Belize Government "did not respond" to a demand that it satisfy a "final award" issued by arbitrators sitting at the London Court of International Arbitration, on January 15, 2013. The award comprised BZ$36.9 million, plus annual compounded interest of 17% from September 8, 2012 until the date of the payment, regarding unpaid loans and over five hundred thousand pounds in arbitration and legal costs. When asked about it, this is what Prime Minister Dean Barrow had to say:

Dr. Zab Steps Down From Galen
Over the last five years, Dr. Louis Zabaneh has been playing a pivotal role in the education sector, not only as the Chairman and then the President of Galen University but also a passionate advocate for sustainable development. But tonight, we have confirmed that Dr. Zabaneh's term on the board of Galen University has come to an abrupt end after the majority shareholders got together at a meeting in Cyprus and decided to shift the focus of the university from national development to veterinary medicine. It has indeed come as a surprise to many including the faculty and students at the institution as Dr. Zabaneh is well respected for having made great strides in the education sector particularly at that institution. Love News spoke to Dr. Zabaneh earlier today to get the gist of what has occurred.


Is There Hustling Happening in the GST Department?
Is there hustling happening in the GST department? Credible sources tell Plusnews that there is an internal investigation at the GST after reports were made that GST field officers, a minister's son included, tried to extort thousands of dollars from a Belize City business, Crystal Auto Rentals. Senior Income...

Lawyer Says CITCO Acted Outside Authority to Remove Wooden Structure
Yesterday we introduced you to the Valladarez family from Belmopan who have worked for almost a year on putting together their small business, a boutique at the corner of MountainView Boulevard and Hummingbird Avenue. According to Proprietor Abner Valladares, it was months of frustrating negotiations with Belmopan City Council...

Escaped Belizean Convict Recaptured in Guatemala
On Tuesday we reported to you that Joseph Budna, a Belizean National and former free lance journalist, escaped from the watch of two police officers while he was being treated in a local hospital at Peten, Guatemala. As we had reported, Budna, was serving a lengthy time of 25...

New Petrocaribe Office Opens
The Petrocaribe agreement has been the paramount arrangement in the diplomatic relations of Belize and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Since the program was restarted in 2012, some $190 million in sold petroleum at concessionary terms has been loaned to Belize, of which about 40% is paid back upfront....

16 Year Old Raped, San Ignacio Man Charged
31 year old Garth Longsworth was arrested and charged by San Ignacio police for rape. A 16 year old female of San Ignacio Town reported that on March 7th of this year, at 10:00pm, she was walking on Bullet Tree Road heading home from Maxim's Restaurant. When reached the...

Hail of Bullets on San Pedro Residence
A home in San Pedro came under a hail of bullets after six gunmen opened fire on the residence. Sometime around nine o'clock last night, is the San Juan Area of the island, 6 gunmen fired several shots at the Campos's residence. The the shooting subsided, there was a...

First Set of New Belizeans to be Published in Government Gazzette
More than a hundred people were lined up at the foot of the Immigration Department in Belmopan from as early as 7 o' clock this morning. That's because more than a hundred immigrants, who have been living in Belize for a period of time, went in to get their...

BDF Norman Rodriquez Declared Medically Unfit
BDF soldier Norman Rodriguez has been in a fight for his life and now says he is also in a fight for his job and pay. Rodriguez broke protocol and reported to the media that the BDF which he has served for many years, has refused to help him...

Organization Confronting Hot Button Issues
United Christian Women's Alliance, known as WALL Belize, is a Belizean organization which claims that it stands in solidarity with the church as it pertains to Godly family values . We spoke to one of WALL Belize's executive member, Shalwa Leslie, who gave us more details of the organization....

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Five die over Easter 2014
Easter 2014 did not bring peace and joy to five separate families from different parts of the Jewel, who are instead mourning the death of their loved ones. On Good Friday morning, Myra Evadney Miller, 68, of Boston Village, was found beaten in the head and lying on the floor in her bedroom. She was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where she died on Easter Sunday. Villagers who went into her house said that her house had been ransacked and her belongings had been scattered in her room. They believe that a thief or thieves went into her house and attacked her, beating her in the head with a stick, and then left her to die. The neighbors said that they became concerned after not seeing Miller on Holy Thursday, and on Friday went to her house to find out what was happening; that was when they found that her house had been broken into through a window at the rear of the house. Reports are that Miller, a diabetic, was found badly hurt and barely conscious. She was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where doctors worked to help her, but on Easter Sunday, she died due to the injuries.

On crutches, Patrick Bevans, 22, executed
Today, the United Democratic Party's (UDP) party organ, The Guardian newspaper, boldly headlined an article which suggested that the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Citrus Products of Belize Limited (CPBL), Dr. Henry Canton, has been fired from his position. Amandala, however, was told by the new Chairman of CPBL's Board of Directors, Doug Singh, that no such thing happened, and that, as a matter of fact, Canton is still CPBL's CEO until further notice, because no decision has yet been taken in regards to Dr. Canton's 12-year tenure. Singh made it clear that while the fate of the CEO is being contemplated, he has not been fired and indicated that the public will be notified via a press release if there is any change in Canton's status. "Mr. Canton has not been terminated from his position because he is still presently the CEO of CPBL," Singh told us.

Deon McCaulay in 2014 FIFA World Cup video game
Belizean footballer superstar, striker Deon McCaulay, has been making waves on the international scene since being hired to play for a US soccer team known as the Atlanta Silverbacks, and his latest engagement involves being featured on a new FIFA World Cup video game titled "2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil." McCaulay, 26, who is the all-time leading scorer for the Belize National Team, went to the U.S. to play in the North American Soccer League in March 2014, after being one of only three players in the entire world to score 11 goals during the qualifying rounds for the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament. According to the Atlanta Silverbacks' social media page, forward Deon McCaulay from Belize and goalkeeper Derby Carrillo from El Salvador are among the players that can be utilized in the new 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil video game. The football simulation game - which was developed by EA (Canada) and published by Electronics Arts - was released on April 15, 2014, in North America, in Europe and Australia on April 17, and will be released today, April 24, in Brazil and Japan.

Guardian says Dr. Henry Canton sacked; CPBL's chair, Doug Singh, says no
A recent spike in gun violence and suspected gang activity in the Jane Usher Boulevard area of Belize City has led to the death of another youth - this time it was a 22-year-old resident of Louise Bevans Street who was reportedly only able to walk properly by means of crutches, but who was nevertheless executed in cold blood near the basketball court in the Jane Usher Boulevard area. Shortly after daybreak, at about 7:00 a.m., Patrick "Pata" Bevans was reportedly returning from taking a trip to a nearby shop on MS Street when his assailant/s pounced on the handicapped Louise Bevans Street resident and riddled his body with a barrage of shots which shattered the early morning silence and ultimately took the life of the young street figure. Bevans had been shot in the leg by a member of the Belize Special Assignment Group (BSAG) earlier this year when he was allegedly trying to evade police. Bevans was found Wednesday morning lying face-down with multiple gunshot wounds to the head and body.

Chikungunya will come, says DHS
Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne, viral disease new to the Caribbean but which has infected millions of people in Africa and Asia since it was first recorded in 1952, and although health officials who began their first sensitization session with medical professionals here today say that the disease rarely ends in death, they stress that its morbidity is high, as it can cause a painful and debilitating illness for as many as 6 months. The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) says the "symptoms can be severe and disabling." While there is no reported case of Chikungunya yet in Belize, Director of Health Services Dr. Michael Pitts said at today's session that, "We don't think we can prevent the disease from coming here, but we can mitigate the impact." Pitts said that there is no cure, no vaccine - but a person can only get it once. There are also fears that the spread of the disease-carried mainly by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same insect which transmits dengue-could have severe adverse impacts on tourism-dependent economies such as Belize. Pitts said that they have looked at the tourist trade and ports of call for ships which come to Belize in planning their response strategy.

Collapsed pier leads to ruckus in Caye Caulker
A melee involving civilians and police officers erupted in Caye Caulker this past Saturday in the wake of an incident in which a group of passengers who were returning home from the island took an unexpected dip in the Caribbean Sea after a crowded pier on which they were standing collapsed and the vacationers and their luggage found themselves in water, over which, just a few seconds before, they had stood. Scores of travelers - which included tourists and Belizeans visiting from the Diaspora - were waiting to board the last scheduled San Pedro Belize Express water taxi around 5:00 p.m. when disaster struck. Fortunately, the water beneath the pier was shallow, and there were no reports of any major injuries in the aftermath of the unforeseen incident which, according to the pier's owners, San Pedro Belize Express (SPBE) Water Taxi, was caused by "overwhelming crowding."

EDITORIAL: Guilt by birth
If one decided to be brutally frank, one could describe these editorials we write as constituting self-stimulation. These editorials do not affect the status quo in Belize, because the landlords in South Stann Creek, the oligarchs in the Pomona Valley enclave, the industrialists and agro-industrialists in Spanish Lookout and Blue Creek, and the wealthy immigrant merchants in Belize City and the Corozal Free Zone continue on their merry way with hardly a blink or a stutter. It is that Belizean status quo which last week moved to incarcerate George McKenzie, Jr. indefinitely on a murder charge without proper investigation. Yes, it is the Police Department which gets the blame here. It is something they have been doing over and over again, for as long as a quarter century. To begin with, there are young men who are treated as congenitally and permanently "guilty," because of the poverty-stricken Belize City neighborhoods into which they are born. The Police Department is overwhelmed by the epidemic of crime and violence in the old capital. These police officers are under pressure from the ruling politicians to "solve" crimes: the most they can do in most cases is pick one or two of those who are guilty by birth and charge them. The unfortunate youth who are charged can spend years in jail on remand before they are cleared in court.

From The Publisher
As we look around Belize City, especially on the Southside, it is difficult not to come to the conclusion that we have a great human problem with respect to our large number of untrained, unskilled young Belizean people. In Marxist-Leninist terminology, the unemployed, unemployable section of a population is referred to as the lumpenproletariat. The Belize City lumpenproletariat no doubt constituted the core of UBAD's support during the years from 1969 to 1973. Belize's working classes, or proletariat, as organized in trade unions, generally supported the ruling People's United Party (PUP), while a specialized section of the work force, the civil servants, by and large supported the Opposition National Independence Party (NIP), which was absorbed into the new United Democratic Party (UDP) in 1973. In her recent book on black power in the Caribbean, Kate Quinn quotes something I wrote back in 1970, that at its formation in 1969, UBAD had one executive but three different directions. Because of the diversity in personnel and thinking at UBAD's leadership level, the presidency of UBAD always presented something of a balancing act. In retrospect, I realize more than ever how politically disinterested and immature I was, and I must confess that I spent too much time congratulating myself on holding the group together.

Toddler, 2, knocked down by unlicensed 14-year-old driver
A toddler, 2, was seriously hurt when she was knocked down and run over by an F-150 Ford pickup truck that was being driven by a boy, 14, at about 12:30 Holy Thursday afternoon at the corner of Sapodilla and East Guadalupe Streets in Trial Farm, Orange Walk District. The toddler, who miraculously survived, is presently in intensive care at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, and her condition has been declared as critical but stable. She suffered internal injuries and her damaged spleen was removed during surgery at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. According to police, the toddler, Rachel Chan, was crossing the road when she was knocked down and run over by the pickup. She suffered a large cut wound on the forehead, in the temple area, among other injuries, said police.

Caribbean leaders meet in M�rida next week
Belize Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred "Sedi" Elrington is due to lead a delegation of country officials which will attend a series of meetings being convened by the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) in Mexico next week. Mexico's president Enrique Pe�a Nieto will open the VI Summit of Heads of State and/or Governments of the Association of Caribbean States, slated for Wednesday, April 30, 2014, at the Convention Centre in M�rida. Alexis Rosado, Chief Executive Officer in the Belize Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Amandala that the event will be attended by representatives from Caribbean and Central American countries, as well as representatives from Columbia and Venezuela. The summit will feature a presentation of the new initiatives for the benefit of the Caribbean, offered by the Government of Mexico. There will also be a dialogue on the said initiatives.

Chief Magistrate orders complainant out of her courtroom
"You are one foolish woman. Get out of my courtroom!" Belize Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith, told a woman whose complaint to the Police Domestic Violence Unit resulted in her boyfriend being charged for committing common assault upon her. Smith made the remark after sentencing Arthur Flowers, a car washer, to pay $150 plus $5 cost of court forthwith, after he pleaded guilty yesterday, Tuesday, to one count of common assault upon his girlfriend, Nicole Avilez. After he had pleaded guilty to the common assault when Smith asked him if he had anything to say before she passed sentence upon him, Flowers explained that he did not really hit his girlfriend, as the police report had alleged. Holding out both his hands, he demonstrated to the court how he hit Avilez with his open hands that he clasped together on her face.

US forensic expert to aid in investigation into death of Guat national
When Guatemalan national Tomas Desdicho Ramirez, 26, was shot and killed at the hands of Belize Defense Force (BDF) soldiers inside Belizean territory on March 29, it prompted an intensive investigation by both Belizean officials and their Guatemalan counterparts, and this past Monday, Guatemalan online newspaper Prensa Libre announced that the US-based Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) had been called in to assist in the investigation into the killing of Ramirez. Amandala understands that actually, it is not the FBI, but a senior official of the International Forensics Laboratory and Training Center, which works with the American government, who is being asked to participate in the investigation into Ramirez's death, which occurred during a shootout with members of a joint BDF and Police Patrol 3.4 kilometers deep, within Belizean territory in the Chiquibul near an area called Cebada Camp. According to Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Wilfred Elrington, the United States government has identified Dr. James Edward Hamby, Ph.D., a firearms expert who is also the Director of the US International Forensic Science Laboratory and Training Center, as the individual who will work with the Belize government during the investigation.

BTIA to challenge NCL's EIA in court
Since exhausting a number of other avenues, the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) - which has vigorously opposed the construction of the proposed Norwegian Cruise Line's (NCL) cruise tourism port at Harvest Caye - is scheduled to file an application for judicial review. The scheduled application follows an unsatisfactory response from the Attorney General's Ministry to a letter that was written by the association to Chief Environmental Officer, Martin Alegria, detailing BTIA's concerns regarding the project and warning of court action if the National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) did not rescind their approval of the Harvest Caye Cruise Port. At the end of last month, BTIA's attorney, Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith, addressed the NEAC, requesting that they address a number of concerns pertaining to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) granted to Norwegian Cruise Line for the Harvest Caye tourism development project, and asserting that NEAC had failed to follow procedure in approving the EIA.

Ideas and Opinions - What is your life worth?
You have to consider this question from different points of view. First, the citizens of a nation which affirms the supremacy of God think that we are made in the image and likeness of the Most High. Your life is His gift brought into existence by the miracle of procreation. Therefore, your life is priceless. Secondly, let us be specific. A man who was head of an establishment that offered electrical services was murdered in his 35th year of life. He would have had a reasonable expectation of at least 35 more years of earnings. Let's say he earned $70 thousand a year. In thirty five more years he would have earned about 2 � million dollars. So this amount represents what would have been his loss of earnings for himself and his family. But that would not be the sum total of the value of his life. Let us consider the question from a different angle. Your life may be worth the price another may assign to it. You are a resident of Belize City, one of the top 3 murder capitals of the world. Is not the answer to the question of your worth what someone is willing to pay for you to be killed?

The poor versus Penner
I pray many had a blessed Easter weekend and that in the midst of fun and relaxation that people kept in mind the reason for the season. It's amazing for me how things have changed and that one of the most holy and reverent celebrations has been turned into a bramming and jamming session. Ironically many no longer want to keep the faith and believe that Jesus was born, crucified and rose again, yet they enjoy the holiday provided by law by said belief. I say if we are going to become pagan, then remove the holiday and let it be a regular work week � After all, Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday is not about Easter bunnies and eggs. Interestingly, while our Christian nation seems to be transgressing into depravity, Cuba, for the first time, has declared Good Friday, an official public and bank holiday, thus allowing the religious freedom which had been curtailed after Fidel Castro's revolution in 1959. Imagine it was not until during Pope John Paul II's visit to Cuba in 1998, that then president Fidel Castro was persuaded to reinstate Christmas as a holiday� things we in Belize take for granted. Ironically, we have so much freedom, but forget our responsibilities� Then we want to defend all our choices under the pretense of freedom and rights� Forgetting our responsibility to others and the society we live in. We have gotten so depraved that our everyday bedroom business has become national talk� no respect for decency and privacy� There is a time and place for things of this nature. We bombard our children with our sexual immorality and lewdness and call for it to be under the banner of "freedom"!

Joseph Budna escapes Guat custody - two prison guards arrested
As we go to press today, Joseph Budna, the Belizean who has been serving a 25-year prison sentence in Guatemala following a conviction for kidnapping and extortion, remains at large. Our checks on Interpol indicated that Budna is not on the list of wanted persons, and Belize's Ambassador in Guatemala, H.E. Alfredo Martinez, said that they have so far only received a formal notification of Budna's escape, but no request for assistance in locating him. Guatemalan authorities on Monday morning reported that Budna, 33, had escaped custody. They told Belize's Embassy in Guatemala that Budna had escaped around 5:30 that morning, and the two prison guards who had escorted him to the Zacapa Regional Hospital were arrested as part of a probe into possible negligence or collusion. In their quest to recapture Budna, officers of Polic�a Nacional Civil searched buses along the Atlantic Highway. Emisoras Unidas in Guatemala had said that Budna, 33, was recaptured aboard an autobus; however, the Embassy told us that the person who Guatemalan authorities had apprehended was not Budna. The police had the wrong man.

LETTERS: British citizen argues against decriminalizing homosexuality
Since coming to Belize six weeks ago, I have learned about the campaign against Sec. 53 of the Belize Criminal Code and about the Gender Policy. The latter contains much that I, a woman who graduated (1972) in a man's world, medicine, can agree with. However, I urge the government and people of Belize to reject the decriminalization of homosexual acts. The UK, where I am from, decriminalized homosexual acts "between consenting adults in private" in 1969. Since then, an increasingly aggressive and vociferous homosexual rights lobby has pushed their cause. There are regular lewd "Gay Pride" festivals and now legal equality (The Civil Partnerships Act 2004.)

LETTERS: Respect, Hurricane Carter, rest in peace
On Easter Sunday morning, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, one of the best and most feared middleweight prize fighters of the 1960's, died of prostate cancer; he was 76. He was on the threshold of fighting for the title when wrongfully convicted of murder and imprisoned for 19 years before his conviction was finally overturned in the 1980's, when the high courts determined that racism and the crooked police of that era in New Jersey were responsible for stealing away this innocent man's life. He didn't pray his way out of prison: he fought his way out; educating himself in the law and in many other intellectual disciplines, filing writ after writ, frequently having to "take a knee" as his importuning went nowhere, until finally-after all those years-the judge's decision awarded him what he had always been entitled to�FREEDOM !

PLB Closing Season racing to playoffs next week
With consecutive mid-week fixtures and games played through the Easter weekend, the regular season is fast drawing to a close in the 2014 Premier League of Belize (PLB) Closing Season 2013-2014. The top 4 regular season finishers go on to the semifinal playoffs. Here are the updates on Week 10 and Week 11 games played on Wednesday, April 16, and Saturday, April 19, respectively; and Week 12 games played last night, April 23. One Week 12 game, FC Belize hosting Verdes FC, takes place tonight at the MCC, and it is a must-win for FC Belize, if they are to keep their very slim playoff hopes alive. Week 10: All games were on Wednesday night, April 16. At the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, Police United dropped Belmopan Bandits, 2-1, with goals from Clifton West (35') and Harrison "Cafu" Roches (83'); while Denmark Casey, Jr. (55') scored for the Bandits.

Belmopan City Council
Mundialito Kids & Female Cup The Belmopan Football Association (BFA) held Week 5 games in the Belmopan City Council Mundialito Kids & Female Cup 2014 on Saturday and Sunday, April 12 & 13, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium. Mundialito Youth Cup The Belmopan Football Association resumes the Belmopan City Council Mundialito 2014 Tournament with Mundialito Youth Cup games at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium.

Sunrise is red hot
Sunrise Cricket Team is based in Lords Bank off the Philip Goldson (Northern) Highway around Mile nine or ten. The team years ago was named Pine Crest, and was managed by the Parks family. The team then used to play games somewhere in the vicinity of Ladyville off the old Northern Highway. Over the years, Lords Bank started to develop. The Parks family, along with other villagers of the same Lords Bank, continued to play cricket, and have won many trophies and awards on the new cricket field. At this moment, Sunrise team is made up of players from around the rural area. There is only one player on the team that is named Parks. That person is Edison Parks. I knew him as a person who plays a vital role on his team.

BBSF congratulates champs
The Belize Billiards Sports Federation (BBSF) President, Mr. Isaias Lima, and its executive congratulate the top four teams that participated in the 2nd annual Ben Bounahra 9-Ball Tournament, held in Belmopan last week, namely: Elements team of Belize City (champs), Toledo United (sub-champs), Route 88 of Orange Walk (3rd place), and Special Effects of Belmopan (4th place), and recognize the MVP, Mr. Larry Lisbey of Elements. Additionally, sincerest thanks extended to the main sponsor of the tournament, Mirab and Company. The federation is also grateful to Bowen and Bowen for assisting with the prizes, and to Mike's Cue Club for hosting the tournament. Much thanks also to all teams that participated from all districts except Stann Creek. We look forward to another spectacular tournament, as we will keep everyone posted.

Foreigners reign in Cross Country
After two consecutive years of Belizeans, Geovanni Choto in 2012 and Darnell Barrow in 2013, winning the Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic; and with reports of over twenty foreign riders descending on the Jewel for the 86th running of our Cross Country; cycling fans were more or less quietly acclimating ourselves to the reality that, after all, a Belizean three-peat was not likely in 2014. But, hope springs eternal, and for a while there on Holy Saturday morning, Belizean cycling fans thought we were in the race. A 5-man early breakaway group included 3 Belizeans - Geovanni Choto and Rafael Choto of C-Ray Road Addikz, and David Henderson of Benny's Megabytes; they were accompanied by two Mexicans riding for Belizean teams - Juan Pablo Magallanes of Benny's Megabytes and Florencio Ramos Torres of Predators.

Gracie Rock man went on credit card swiping spree
A resident of Gracie Rock pleaded not guilty to eight counts of theft when he was arraigned before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer on Thursday. Sherman Hemmans, 27, who is being represented by attorney Anthony Sylvestre, was released on $6,000 bail plus one surety in the same amount after he pleaded not guilty to the charges. His case has been adjourned to June 3. Allegations are that between March 20 and April 1, 2014, he purchased grocery items totaling over $5,000 in value from Everyday Supermarket, located in Hattieville, using a credit card that is the property of Joseph Fusy. Police investigators later linked the card and the purchases to him.

Accused drug trafficking prison officer busted with cannabis in his buttocks
An apparently desperate prison officer was caught last Thursday evening trying to smuggle marijuana into his workplace, by wedging it between his buttocks, highlighting the extent to which individuals would go to smuggle drugs into the prison. Ryan Rowland, 27, appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith on Tuesday, and pleaded not guilty to one count of possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply to another for the purpose of drug trafficking. He was released on bail of $1,000 plus one surety in the same amount, and is scheduled to return to court on June 26. The allegations are that on April 17, 2014, last Thursday, the prison officer was busted at work trying to smuggle 55 grams of cannabis into the Kolbe-managed Belize Central Prison.

Ladyville resident stabbed 16 times
Sometime before daybreak today, a young man from Ladyville was stabbed multiple times, and although the complete details of what occurred are not available at this time, Amandala understands that the victim is currently in critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH). Police say they do not have much information about the incident at this time, and although they are currently in the midst of their investigations, so far we have ascertained that Parish Copious, 19, was allegedly attacked and stabbed a total of sixteen times near his home sometime between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. last night. This morning, Amandala visited Copious' home in Ladyville, but it was deserted; however, we found out from neighbors that police had been there processing the scene earlier today.

2 thieves arrested for separate robberies in Corozal and Orange Walk
Police on special operations in Corozal captured one of two robbers who held up the Bargain Center Store, located on Main Street, in Orange Walk Town, on Wednesday, April 16. The thieves had gotten away with over $7,000 in cash and merchandise. Police said that about 10:00 Wednesday morning, two men went into the Bargain Center Store in Orange Walk and held up the cashier. While she was held hostage by one of the robbers, the other thief stole about 17 cell phones, ranging in prices from $199 to $1,000, amounting to a total value of $7,000, and $250 in cash from the cash drawer, and they then ran out of the store. The owner of the store, Hugh O'Brien, told reporters that the total loss to the store was $7,250.

Belizean pilot mysteriously killed in Melchor
A Belizean pilot and resident of Benque Viejo Del Carmen was killed for unknown reasons in neighboring Melchor de Mencos, Guatemala, sometime either late last Friday night or early Holy Saturday morning. Edwin Chan - who worked with Tropic Air at their San Ignacio branch - was reportedly found by Guatemalan police who were alerted by residents Saturday morning around 8:00 a.m. after he had been found badly beaten, lying face-down in what was described as a remote area near the Auto Hotel in the Barrio Campito area of Melchor with apparent gunshot wounds to the left side of his head. Since they cannot enter that jurisdiction to investigate, Benque police have been forced to rely on their Guatemalan counterparts for relevant information, but so far, they do not believe the intent behind the murder was robbery, because at the time Chan's body was discovered, his personal belongings - with the exception of his cellular phone - were all intact.

Easter Sunday shooting in Cayo leaves 1 hospitalized
A 23-year old man was seriously injured after he was shot twice in San Ignacio, Cayo, in the wee hours of Easter Sunday while heading home with a female friend. San Ignacio police reported that on Sunday, April 20, they visited 2nd Street in San Ignacio Town at 3:10 a.m., where they saw a man known to them as Trevor Lamb, 23, suffering from two apparent gunshot wounds to the left side of his body - one in the rib cage area and one in the left upper arm. An initial investigation into the matter revealed that on Sunday at 3:00 a.m., Lamb was walking along with a female friend when they were approached by a man who fired at him and then ran away.

Two guns found, 5 arrested
Police on an anti-drug operation in the city, on Easter Monday and yesterday, seized two pistols and detained five persons. At about 5:00 p.m. Easter Monday evening, the police went to Majestic Alley, where they conducted searches on a residence in an effort to confiscate drugs, guns or ammunition. Present at the time of the search was a man, 20, who witnessed the search in the house. The search led to the discovery of a pistol loaded with 5 live rounds, and the man was immediately taken into custody as a result. He will be charged with kept unlicensed firearm and ammunition at the conclusion of the investigation.

Robbery reported at Chinese Store in Corozal
The Easter holidays were not happy and holy for the owner of Chinese Shop located on 6th Avenue in Corozal Town after he was held up at gunpoint by one of three thieves who robbed his cash drawer of about $400 and escaped. The incident occurred Holy Thursday night on 6th Avenue in Corozal Town. Chinese businessman Wei Shi Lui, 51, the owner of Chinese Shop, told police that at about 9:00 p.m. Holy Thursday night, he and his sister were at his store and he was about to close his business when three armed men suddenly entered the store, and one of them, who had a shotgun, ordered him and his sister to lie on the floor. The other two men were armed with machetes. Fearing for their lives, the businessman and his sister complied.

Man shot in Dangriga; 14 shots fired
Hansel Garcia of the Wagierale area of Dangriga is being treated at the Dangriga Hospital for multiple gunshot wounds to the body, which were reportedly inflicted on him by a lone gunman. Police reports are that Hansel Garcia, also known as "Mission," was walking on Castillo Alley towards Ecumenical Drive in Dangriga at about 8:10 last night when a man approached and fired at him. The gunman then escaped. Neighbors quickly called police, who found Garcia lying on the road. He was rushed to the Dangriga Hospital, where doctors worked to save his life.

Mechanic gets bail for abetment to carrying a firearm
Following a fatal shooting in the Jane Usher Boulevard this morning, police were on patrol in the area and chased a young man who they are alleging, handed a firearm to a mechanic. Police arrested and charged both men; in the process, they learned that the mechanic was the licensed owner of the gun in question. Edward Westby, 53, a mechanic of 49 Fabers Road, appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith with his attorney, Senior Counsel Simeon Sampson, to answer to a charge of "abetment to carry a firearm." Police are alleging that Westby facilitated Malik Stuart in carrying his licensed firearm. Stuart, 19, a resident of Antelope Street, was unrepresented and appeared along with Westby to be arraigned on separate charges.

The Reporter

Belize braces for CHIKV virus
Representatives from all over the Ministry of Health met this week for a sensitization session on Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne disease that is on the rise in the Caribbean and the Americas. The session, which brought together medical professionals such as clinicians, laboratory technicians and vector control personnel, was held at the Belize Institute of Management Training Room in Belize City. The ministry reviewed the "Preparedness and Response Plan for Chikungunya Virus (CHIKV) Introduction in the Caribbean sub-region," a document compiled by some 22 experts from throughout the Caribbean. The report discussed four major ways CHIKV's arrival to Belize would be managed: clinical management, epidemiological surveillance, laboratory surveillance, and vector control. Director of Health Services Doctor Michael Pitts explained that the disease does not have a high fatality rate, but sensitization is still important because of the inevitability of CHIKV reaching Belize.

BCCI wants public sector audit Auditor General says it is possible!
The business community has requested a Human Resource audit of the government to ensure greater public service efficiency, and the Auditor General has indicated her willingness to conduct such an audit. President of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Kay Menzies told The Reporter that the BCCI supports a complete HR audit of the public sector and would like to see results following the reports of such an audit. Menzies said that the BCCI does not wish to encourage lay-offs or retrenchment, but she explained that it is imperative that the Belizean public gets the best value for their dollar. The Auditor General Dorothy Bradley said that she would be more than willing to undertake such an audit.

OAS Commission meets with civil society Prevalent Corruption and absence of Integrity Commission Discussed
The OAS Mechanism for Follow-up on the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (MESICIC) visited Belize this week and met with the private sector. Kay Menzies, president of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), confirmed to The Reporter that members from Belizean civil society, including Menzies herself, met with the commission at the Radisson on Wednesday morning. According to Menzies the overall sentiment that civil shared with the MESICIC commission was that corruption in Belize is prevalent and it needs to be addressed because it is hindering economic development and growth. The OAS commission, during its visit, is also scheduled to meet with Belizean oversight bodies and civil society during a visit coordinated by the Ministry of the Attorney General.

Fired or not? Decision made but not yet delivered
The prolonged battle between Citrus Products of Belize Limited (CPBL)'s major shareholders over whether or not to keep Dr. Henry Canton as the company's chief executive officer may soon end. CPBL's new board has reportedly decided to replace him. Chairman of the board, Doug Singh, said that while the board was "in the process of working on it [the reported termination], Canton remains in office. Singh was reserved in his comments, saying that he will remain responsible until everything is finalized. The details of Canton's retirement package have not been released, but The Reporter has learned from a well-positioned source within the industry that Canton's post will likely be advertised before the month of April is over. Canton was named by Banks Holdings Limited, one of the company's two major shareholders in the CPBL, as a Director on the new Board.

Who would have thought that military events occurring half-way around the world would have a profound impact on the future territorial security of Belize! It seems far-fetched, but Russia's seizure of the Crimea, and her threatening moves against the Ukraine have unified world condemnation of armed aggression and produced such [�]

Study shows how junk food diets prompt laziness
Though most of us have experienced that lazy feeling after eating a large meal, researchers from California say their new study indicates that consistently eating processed foods and being overweight makes people tired and inactive, contrary to some beliefs maintaining laziness leads to obesity. The researchers, from the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), will publish their results in the journal Physiology and Behavior. They conducted their study in rats, whose physiological systems are very similar to those of humans. Placing them in two groups, the team then fed the 32 female rats one of two diets for a period of 6 months. The first group ate a normal rat's diet of unprocessed foods - such as ground corn and fish meal - whereas the second group was fed a lower-quality, processed diet with much more sugar. This diet served as a proxy for a junk food diet, the team says.

Attracting investments and growing the economy
"Even though the Statistical Institute of Belize issued a press release in February correctly cautioning that GDP growth has no direct correlation with unemployment rate, we still need to ask where new jobs will come from when the economy is growing very little or not at all. "Keeping in mind that the September Labour Force Survey gave an official unemployment figure of 14.2% or approximately 21,000 people, how can an economy growing at only 0.7% create jobs for that many unemployed? "Bear in mind that the Government of Belize already hires almost 15,000 people at a total annual wage bill -footed by taxpayers- of just over $332 million, so it cannot create 21,000 more jobs within its own ranks. This leaves the private sector to do the needful, but how best to do it? One quick way to create sustainable jobs is to encourage foreign investors to bring new money and business activity into the economy."- (Kay Menzies, president of Belize Chamber of Commerce).

Fabio Carballo wins Don Omario Cup U-19 table tennis championship
Fabio Carballo of St. John's College successfully defended his title as National Table Tennis Champion for players under 19 last week, when the Belize Table Tennis Association held the second annual Don Omario Cup Table Tennis U-19 Championship. Carballo, one of the top table tennis players in the country, triumphed 3-1 over second-place winner Joshua Gegg of Corozal Community College in the championship finals. Gian Lisbey of St. Johns College ranked third after Gegg eliminated him in the semifinals, and John DelCid of St. Joseph Primary School took fourth place. Carballo entered the tournament as the third-ranked seed, but he won through to the finals by victories over Maurice Alvarez, Mario Galindo, Amiri Hoare, Joshua Gegg and Gian Lisbey.

Police United & Bandits win in Belikin football
The Police United football club continues to lead the 2014 Belikin Cup tournament organized by the Premier League of Belize with 22 pts from seven wins and a draw, while the Belmopan Bandits moved into second place with 16pts from four wins and four draws. Bandits enjoyed their fourth win in a 4-0 rout of FC Belize at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan on Saturday, April 19. Denmark Casey opened scoreboard for the Bandits with the first goal and Elroy Kuylen soon added a second to lead 2-0 at intermission. Kuylen scored a third goal after the break, and Jerome "Jaro" James came off the bench to score a fourth goal to seal the victory.

Creating Jobs and Growth
GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, is the total value of goods produced and services provided in a country during one year. In other words, GDP is a measurement of the economy's growth. Last year, Belize had GDP growth of 0.7%. The accompanying analysis spoke to the factors of performance that led to this low growth: increased shrimp exports, increased overnight tourism, increased construction, decreases in citrus, sugar, bananas and oil production, and so on. When we look at the GDP report however, we should ask a few more questions regarding what that growth means and how it can improve. For example, even though the Statistical Institute of Belize issued a press release in February correctly cautioning that GDP growth has no direct correlation with unemployment rate, we still need to ask where new jobs will come from when the economy is growing very little or not at all.

Opposition leader says economy needs reform
People's United Party (PUP) leader Francis Fonseca said that Belize's economy is stagnant and economic reform in necessary for Belize to move forward. Fonseca told The Reporter that the basis of his economic reform is about transforming the Belizean economy by fuelling private sector growth. "It's very important for us to understand that if we're going to grow the economy in Belize it has to be led by the private sector," said Fonseca. "The government can't replace the private sector and you can't try to do that because it's unsustainable," Fonseca said. He advised that government should partner with the private sector by creating an environment of investment in an effort to revive the economy and encourage Belize's exports.

PUC reviews expert report on water rate increase
The Public Utilities Commission is currently reviewing the independent expert's report on Belize Water Service Limited's proposed water rate increase. According to Rudolf Williams, director of water and waste water at the PUC, the final report was submitted on April 17. Williams explained that the determination on what percentage the rates would increase by was scheduled to be made this week, but was delayed because of issues with the expert's report. "I will not comment on whether or not the rates will increase, " Williams said, "that is still under the consideration of the commission." The report, prepared by consultants of the firm Baker Tilly Hulse, was designed to review the methodology used by BWSL and the PUC in calculating what percentage the rates should increase by.

Benque�os re-enact passion and death of Jesus in vivid detail
For the last 22 years the people of Benque Viejo have been re-enacting the Good Friday passion and death of Jesus, bringing to life the envy and malice which spurred Jewish leaders to insist on the execution of Jesus by crucifixion. "Crucify him!" they roared at the Roman Governor, until Pilate relented, and gave in to their demand. The trial, at 10 o'clock in the morning, began at the Governor's House, a stately building facing the Benque Viejo Boulevard, where a large crowd had assembled. On the verandah, facing the street, stood Pilate, the Roman Governor, and Jesus, his hands shackled, beside him. The trial was held to determine the fate of Jesus. Pilate defended Jesus because he could see that malice was the cause of all the resentment. But when the High Priest and elders stood up to him, it was Pilate who backed down.

Bevans, 23, gunned down, police set up command centre
The Belize Police Department has installed a command centre in Jane Usher Boulevard following the slaying of Patrick Bevans, 23, a known gang affiliate who lives on Louise Bevans Street in the same area. The police explained that the initiative is to deter any form of retaliation to Bevan's murder. Corporal Jorge Lemus, of the Administrative Section at Precinct Two Police Unit, told reporters that the command centre's operations over the next few weeks will involve strategic foot, bicycle and mobile patrols. The unit will also set up a checkpoint to deter major crimes in the surrounding areas. Beyond its preventative function in respect to any gang-related response to the Bevan's killing, Lemus explained that the initiative is also designed to dismantle any criminal effort to "claim" the Jane Usher Boulevard area.

Convicted Belizean on the lam in Guatemala
Convicted kidnapper, Joseph Ryan Budna, 33, a Belizean man who was serving a 25-year prison sentence in Guatemala, is reportedly on the run after he escaped from law enforcement authorities on Monday. Budna, who was accused last year for leading a regional kidnapping ring and later found guilty of kidnapping an American boy, was under guard at the Regional Hospital of Zacapa, a town on the eastern part of Guatemala. It is not certain how Budna managed to escape two police guards, but the Prensa Libre of Guatemala is reporting that those officers are now under investigation.

Body found in Corozal still unidentified
The body of a woman found in Corozal still remains unidentified and police say they have very little leads to go on. Superintendent Andrew Ramirez, O.C. Corozal Police told The Reporter on Thursday that no-one has come forward to claim the victim as family and that no-one in the Corozal district has been reported as missing. Ramirez explained that there are cases of missing persons in other disctrics and police from those jurisdictions are working to determine is the body could be one of the missing persons. On Tuesday a resident of the area discovered the body of a dark complexion woman nude and partially decomposed. Police visited the area about a mile out of Chan Chen village heading towards Patchakan around 2:35 p.m. on Tuesday. According to Ramirez, the woman was found with no hair and several wounds to the hair and face.

Minor and adult to be charged for hit and run
A 14-year-old boy, responsible for knocking down a toddler in Orange Walk, and the adult who provided him with the key to the truck he was driving will both be charged next week. According to Roger Briceno, O.C. Orange Walk Police, the minor as well as the owner of the Ford F-150, Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega's driver, Christopher Hendricks will be arraigned in court next Tuesday. Briceno said that they have both been summoned already and the minor was charged with driving without due care and attention, negligent grievous harm, driving a motor vehicle without a driver's license and failing to report an accident.

Tourism sector comments on canadian travel advisory
The government of Canada's high caution advisory to Canadians traveling to Belize is still in effect; however the Belize Tourism Board maintains that isolated incidents of crime should not mar the image of the country. The Reporter spoke this week with Alyssa Carnegie, marketing director of the Belize Tourism Board, who explained that while the advisory carries some negative comments, tourists are not being told to avoid Belize. "The advisory is more or less a caution to travelers, not discouraging them from coming to Belize, not saying that its an unsafe place to be, but to exercise some degree of caution and we feel that's practical advice for anyone going anywhere." Carnegie also explained the advisory is not expected to have a largely negative impact on the tourist arrivals for this year, however because visitors general plan their trips three to six months in advance the effects will not be determined until later this year.

No leads into murder of Tropic Air employee in Guatemala
Benque Viejo police have no leads in the Good Friday shooting murder of Belizean, Edwin Javier Chan, 22, a resident of Succotz Village, Cayo, and an employee of Tropic Air who was murdered in Melchor de Mencos, Guatemala over the Easter Holidays and laid to rest on Easter Monday in his home village. Chan, The Reporter has been able to confirm, left Belize to go socializing in Melchor de Mencos on Good Friday afternoon. They were at a riverside party in a remote area of Melchor and his friends reported to police that they left him around 9 p.m. and returned to Benque. The Reporter has been able to establish that when Melchor police discovered Chan around 8 a.m on Saturday, he was near a bar and a hotel in the same general location. He was beaten, apparently with a "blunt object" about the face and shot in the left side of the head, but interestingly, his wallet, jewelry and passport were all on him. So far Guatemalan police have no leads into this murder.

Child killed in motorcycle accident
Five year-old Akeela Wade, an infant one student of Holy Redeemer Primary School, lost her life on Holy Saturday when a motorcycle on which she was riding crashed into the back wheel of a moving bus. The incident happened around 5 p.m. at the Douglas Jones/North Front Street intersection near the Belchina Bridge in Belize City. The driver of the passenger bus, Eyeon Bermudez, 44, told police that he was driving the shuttle bus on North Front Street from the direction of Mapp Street towards Victoria Street and that when he passed the intersection with Douglas Jones Street, a red Honda scooter came out of Douglas Jones Street into North Front Street and slammed into the left rear wheel of the bus.

Sales manager charged with rape of minor
Police have arrested a Belize City Sales Marketing Manager and charged him with the rape of a minor. The accused is Garth Longsworth, 31, a resident of Cran Street. The charge against Longsworth is in connection with a police report that a 16 year-old girl of San Ignacio Town gave to police in March.

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The Belize Times

Lowering the Bar at UB
The Prime Minister and Minister of Education seem to have thumbed their noses at the academic professionals at the University of Belize and Belizean intellectuals at home and abroad with the appointment of an academically-challenged individual to the post of interim President. Allan Slusher has been appointed interim UB President according to the President of the UB Board of Trustees Harrison Pilgrim. Slusher, who has been an old and loyal UDP scout, has been tapped on the shoulder to replace Dr. Cary Fraser who is currently on administrative leave as instructed by the Board, pending a final settlement on his departure. But all is not well with Slusher's appointment. There is major controversy brewing within the University Faculty because Slusher is the holder of a Bachelor's degree. The University of Belize requires its lecturers to have a Master's degree. All previous Presidents, and Acting President, have held Doctorate degrees - from Dr. Angel Cal, Dr. Corinth-Morter Lewis and Dr. Santos Mahung. The announcement has been seen by many as a mockery to the institution which seeks to impart higher learning on Belizeans. How can Slusher lead the University when there are about 20 other members of the faculty who hold a Doctorate and are more academically qualified than him?

14 yr. old knocks down 2 yr. old in Orange Walk - Vehicle belongs to DPM's driver
A vehicle belonging to the driver of Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, but recklessly driven at the time by a 14 year old minor, almost killed a two year old child in Orange Walk Town on Holy Thursday. The toddler, Rachel Chan, was standing on Sapodilla Street in Trial Farm when she was hit by the pickup which was driven by the 14 year old. Baby Rachel was rushed to the Northern Regional Hospital and then transferred to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital because of her severe condition. Hospital authorities report that Baby Rachel suffered a large wound on her forehead and three broken ribs. She had to undergo a major surgery which resulted in the removal of her spleen which had been damaged.

Canada, US issue travel advisories against Belize
The international reactions to the high levels of crime and violence that currently exist in Belize and the Barrow Administration's failure to properly safeguard citizens and even visitors have come hard and strong, with travel advisories issued against Belize by the powerful United States and Canada. The Government of Canada issued a travel warning a week ago, on April 17th 2014, to Canadians who may be interested in visiting Belize, cautioning about the levels of violence in our country. According to the Canadian government's warning, "criminal activity, including armed robbery, mugging and sexual assault, is a significant problem throughout Belize. Robberies and assaults have been reported in resort areas. There has been a noted increase in violent crime targeting tourists since the end of 2013." The latest travel advisory indicates that Canadians "should exercise a high degree of caution due to a high rate of violent crime throughout the country". This advisory has been in effect up to today, April 24, 2014.

US forensics probes shooting of illegal Guatemalan in Chiquibul
In a show of utmost disrespect to Belize's law enforcement officers, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has acceded to Guatemala's demands for a third party to investigate the fatal shooting of an Guatemalan who illegally inside Belize's border. Minister of Foreign Affairs Sedi Elrington has conceded that the Barrow Administration caved into the demands, and a U.S. forensics official identified as Dr. James Hamdi was brought into Belize by Guatemala to carry out a parallel investigation. This is after the Belize Defense Force submitted a detailed report. Also, after the Belize Police Department carried out its investigation which corroborated the BDF's account of the March 28th incident. There is, after multiple investigations, no doubt that Guatemalan 26 year old Tomas Ramirez was well within Belize when he was shot, in self-defense, by Belize's BDF soldiers.

Editorial: How Commercials Stop Violent Murders
In Belize there is a direct connection between the health of the Belizean economy and the safety and security of our citizens. There is an undeniable connection between jobs and crime. There is a direct negative correlation between the capitalist business community and the jackals of gangland. No matter how mischief-makers and media leeches spin it, a healthy and vibrant economy is the best home remedy to the crime virus. The greater observation is that to the BELIZE TIMES, there is a choking hypocrisy and a flamboyant insult to claim that major crime is "down" by 32%. There are a few things that need to be said about the expensive, seemingly Jules Vasquez-endorsed commercial saying that crime is down. The first point is that this ad proves that there is a daily Channel 7 marketing campaign for the UDP. We are reminded of the casual assessment of Jules Vasquez, which says "Jules is the most independent news personality until it counts". This always holds true to form.

Mexican Juan Pablo Magallanes wins Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic
Team Benny's Megabytes' Mexican import Juan Pablo Magallanes won the 86th Holy Saturday Cross Country cycling Classic, clocking 5:45:03 on his 140-mile ride from the BTL Park in Belize City to the Columbus Park in San Ignacio and back on Saturday, April 19. Magallanes had to take 2nd place to Darnell barrow last year, but this time he took the $6,000 1st prize, the winner's garland of roses presented by and 3-time Cross Country champ Kenrick Halliday, plus 8 trophies, as well as a $400 shopping spree at Mirage, a return ticket to the USA from United Airlines, a return ticket from Maya Island Air, a bull from Cuello's Distillery, a 2-night stay at Barrier Reef Lodge in San Pedro and a weekend's stay for two at Captain Morgan's Retreat in San Pedro, $250 from LC Distributors and an MP4 player from Go Wireless. He had also cleaned up over $6,850 in station prizes when he and Mexican rider Florencio Ramos of the Predators team broke away from the lead breakaway of 5 riders in Camalote, running all the way to San Ignacio, where Magallanes won the halfway prizes, and back to the city until they were caught by Hector Jugo Rangel at mile 36.

Police United defeats Verdes with 8-man squad
Police United FC toppled Verdes FC 1-0 to cement their lead in the 2014 Belikin Cup closing season football competition. Danny Jimenez struck the winning goal in the 37th minute against Verdes at "La Cancha" Marshalleck Stadium in Benque Viejo last Saturday night. The plays were fast and furious with the referee having to send off Verdes' defender Everald Trapp and 3 Police players, the visitors were down to 8 men by the end of the game, but held off Verdes' attacks to secure the 1-0 win.

Mo Cal & Rigo Vellos win Placencia Easter Fest
Placencia drew a large crowd to the annual Tipsy Tuna's 14th Annual Easter Fest which featured the Clean & Classy Swimsuit Competition and male Fitness Contest as one of its highlights on Sunday, April 20, 2013. This year's competition saw the entrance of new fitness athletes. It also saw Mr. Belize, Rigo Vellos, defending the title for another year. Vellos, has had a three-year winning streak in Placencia, and he did not disappoint his fans after putting off a show that convinced the judges that he was still #1. Second place in male Fitness went to Placencia's very own Edgar Rogers while Belize City's Edward Burns won 3rd.

Fabio Carballo is U-19 Table Tennis Champ
SJC's defending under-19 table tennis champ Fabio Carballo won the 2nd annual Don Omario Cup table tennis U-19 tournament to become the back-to-back champ in a tournament organized by the Belize Table Tennis Association at the "home of table tennis" the Belize Elementary School auditorium on Saturday, April 12. The final rankings were: 2nd- Joshua Gegg - Corozal Community College, 3rd - Gian Lisbey - St. Johns College and 4th - John Delcid - St. Joseph Primary School. The top 32 best Under-19 junior players started out in a double elimination format event with the top seed, and Carballo remained undefeated. He ranked No.3 entering this tournament, and he defeated Maurice Alvarez, Mario Galindo, Amiri Hoare, Joshua Gegg and Gian Lisbey to make it to the finals.

Race for the Garland
The 86th running of the annual Cross Country Classic is history and after two years of home town dominance, the garland has once again gone abroad. As per usual, there is the sentiment of what almost borders xenophobia as the organizers and sponsors again face criticism for bringing in foreigner riders. Since 1971 when Mexican Pablo Calderon became the first foreign rider to win the classic, the fear is always that some foreign rider might come in and leave us heartbroken. Since being allowed to participate, foreign riders have done so 18 out of the 28 times they have participated. This year there was the usual influx of foreign riders and once again, much to the chagrin of many locals, top honors went to one of the invaders. Mexican Juan Pablo Magallanes, riding for the Benny's Megabytes Team, crossed the line first and sent Belizeans to finish the rest of the Easter holidays disappointed. But really, should we be? Isn't it high time that Belizeans started viewing this race in the same light that the French view the Tour de France? That we stop clamoring for a local rider to win and start looking at this race instead, from the perspective of quality and economic benefits. The Tour de France is the world's most prominent and popular cycling race and has lengthened its reach to extend around the globe. Riders from as many as 33 countries compete and the last Frenchman to win the tour was Bernard Hinault way back in 1985. Yet, one would not hear the French expressing the type of indignation that Belizeans do and it might be because of the realization that the Tour pumps millions into the France's economy each year.

Gilroy Usher, Sr. writes "Boots" Martinez, lobbies for streetlights in Port Loyola
The residents of Port Loyola behind the Jane Usher basketball court, on Pen Road extension, and to the west of Arlington Drive would like to know when will you take the necessary steps to address their cries for streetlights in the division? This is a concern that was brought to your attention more than eleven years ago when you were first elected as their Area Representative. The service is justifiable and long overdue as an average of fifty to seventy-five homes are within close proximity in each of the affected areas; the poles of Belize Electricity Limited (B.E.L.) on which the streetlights can be fixed have been in place for over a decade, and by paying their electricity bill dutifully every month, the residents contribute to the millions of dollars in yearly profit for the company. With absolutely no streetlights in place the three areas mentioned are jet-black from 6:30 p.m. and very conducive to all types of criminal activities which make them very dangerous to travel at night. Due to the lack of streetlights in these sections of the division robberies, burglaries, and murders are only some of the crimes the residents of these areas have had to endure.

Stewart Krohn's tough questions for NCL's Colin Murphy
I viewed with interest the hosting of a press tour by Norwegian Cruise Line and the explanation by NCL executive Colin Murphy of why the establishment of a cruise port at Harvest Caye would be such a wonderful blessing for Belize. What particularly prompts me to write is his astonishingly candid - and frightening - statement that "Really, what we are doing is locking ourselves into Belize". Remember that word, "locked". Although no longer a member of the Belizean media I could not help but think of a few questions for Mr. Murphy had I been present. Specifically could he explain: -why Belizean taxpayers should pay NCL over a hundred million Belize dollars in direct cash subsidy over the course of its exclusive concession, thus allowing NCL to recoup its entire capital investment at Harvest Caye? -why Belizeans should be thrilled with the creation of 200 low paying part-time seasonal jobs? -why NCL needs to reserve 25% of the jobs on Harvest Caye (no doubt the best paying jobs) for foreigners?

The UN Report and Why Are We Ignoring Structural Violence?
Before I get to my main point I take this opportunity to denote how our psychological wiring and thought process often times have us inaccurately prioritizing issues that affect our lives: The Availability Heuristic says that we will react to what is most available to us and easy for us to mentally process/digest. In this case, I am speaking about the fact that Belize has been branded by the United Nations as the third most 'dangerous' country in the world due to our murder rate per 100,000 people, and how we reacted to it. We must also take into consideration our Arbitrary Coherence, which says that once we get something established in our minds, that 'something' will shape how we react and mentally process it today and in the future. Buzz words such as murder, dangerous, violence make the UN report, Coherent, it sends us in a frenzy, we get emotional, we get mad, we feel ashamed of the accolade�and the media feeds this frenzy, since often times the media naturally gravitate towards stories due to their Availability Heuristics.

GOB increases fuel prices on eve of Holy Week
Just when thousands of Belizeans prepared to go on their Easter travelling plans, the mean Dean Barrow Administration sneaked in higher fuel prices. On April 16th, just a day before Holy Thursday, the cost of Diesel and Regular fuel increased by 30 cents cumulatively. Diesel fuel increased by two cents from $10.39 to $10.41 per gallon, while Regular fuel went from $11.28 to $11.56 per gallon, an increase of twenty eight cents. Fortunately, Premium fuel was not affected by the price increase and continued at $11.67 per gallon. Higher in other districts The new prices mentioned above are for Belize City only. In other parts of the country, the prices are much higher. For example, in Orange Walk the price of Regular fuel per gallon is $11.64, Diesel is $10.49, and Premium is $11.75.

OW Police seek identity of armed robbers
Orange Walk Police have not been able to determine the identity of two men who robbed a thrift store on one of Orange Walk town's busiest shopping areas, despite having captured the entire robbery on surveillance security camera. The men, one of dark complexion and the other of Hispanic descent, entered the Orange Walk Bargain Center located on Main Street around 9:45 in the morning and held up the cashier on duty. They stole money and cell phones valuing a total of $7,250.

Hope is a renewable option
What is hope? Hope is something that we all feel at some point in our lives. Today's hurried lifestyle may leave us weary or burned out. At times, we search for hope through life's adversities as we look for a sense of purpose and understanding to engage in all our challenges. In moments of despair, we question the meaning of living. Daily living provides us with multiple dilemmas, but how we embrace life's changes, whether good or bad, is what inspires us when we feel like every step forward takes us two steps back. Journeying through moments of despondency teaches us to look within ourselves to find the strength to search for guidance from a higher power when we feel like there is no way to go on. Have you ever wondered why some people are born into wealth and others into poverty? Do you question why some on this planet suffer or experience disappointment after disappointment? Do you ever question why a healthy person suddenly becomes ill? Do you know how to pull yourself together during life's emergencies? Life offers many strategies for daily living, and yet many of us do not believe strongly enough in ourselves to persevere when we encounter difficult situations. Think of moments of uncertainty as a welcome gift, for they may encourage us do things for ourselves or others when a lack of action would cause later regret.

HOME ECONOMICS - The Dynamics of Domestic Easter Tourism
Domestic Easter tourism expenditures is the biggest for Belizeans of all levels of income. This year Belizeans spent an estimated $60 million on domestic and foreign travel�to vacation spots, to visit families/friends in a different part of the country, to meet new people in a new place, or for parties with family and friends at home. Most of the foreign travel is to Mexico's Riviera Maya beaches�where Belizeans who can afford it perceive better value for money�wider variety of entertainment choices, newness, difference�more safety�.better and more reliable services. Domestic travel is mainly to the islands, principally San Pedro and Caye Caulker, with Placencia and Hopkins catching up fast. San Ignacio, a scenic inland town, has traditionally attracted large numbers as well, but it seems to be in decline. The sun, sea and sand gives natural advantage to the coastal areas during these summer days, with the very pleasant weather resulting from the north-easterly winds and Easter full-moon effects�so the inland destinations wanting to grow their share of this pie have to work much harder to make their offers more attractive for vacation planners.

Cold UDP Government - Will Belize demand investigation of Belizean killed in Melchor?
The case of another Belizean brutally murdered in the neighboring Guatemalan village of Melchor de Mencos might just turn into another unsolved homicide, as the Belize Government has refused to apply any pressure on Guatemalan authorities to provide conclusive answers to the killing of 22 year old Edwin Javier Chan over the Easter holidays. On Saturday morning, Chan was found dead inside Auto Hotel in the Barrio Campito area of Melchor. He had a gunshot wound to the left side of his head. Chan had travelled to Melchor on Friday April 18th afternoon with several friends. They returned to the Belize side, while Chan remained.

A few weeks ago a BBC Correspondent named Serena Field emailed me to ask if she could interview me by telephone or Skype. She was, she said, doing a series of interviews with persons from the Commonwealth about the music they liked, asking them to send a piece of music that represented their respective countries. This is in connection with the upcoming Twentieth Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow, Scotland this year in July and August. Immediately I thought that I would like to share, and to talk about in the interview, the music of the Lord Rhaburn Combo, particularly two selections from the early 1960's Lord Rhaburn album "Tropico y Ritmo," which on the CD release is titled "Tropical Rhythm." Serena had asked me to choose one piece, but when I listened again to the album, I felt that the songs are so short that perhaps she would let me choose two. I picked "Bud Bank Wedding" and "Suddenly It Happens."


Something Different & Sooo Delicious Plus A Proper Coffee: San Pedro's Mesa Cafe
The Mesa Cafe has been in San Pedro, open for breakfast and lunch, for quite a few years. Always HIGHLY ranked on Tripadvisor - the site that strikes dread and fear into the hearts of many a business owner, I just never went there much. And I can't really explain why� SO�I was very pleased when I found out the new owners of Mesa Cafe, two LOVELY young energetic fun Australians, were my neighbors. Meet Jo and Sheldon� Mesa has both serious coffee menus and a food menu. Lots of vegetarian options. They've also got beautiful Air conditioning. Perfect on those really hot days. And with this menu? Kind of perfect anytime. My eye went straight to breakfast. Why eat burgers and tacos when you can eat real food masquerading as dessert? Look at these choices�

"Outside" in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Early evening we took him with us when we went to Carlo & Ernie's Runway Bar & Grill where he very quickly became a source of attention. He's a good looking 'boy' and very well behaved and it wasn't long before people were coming over to pet and stoke him. He lapped it up and, if I'm honest, so did we. Two of the people that came over to make a fuss of him we had never seen before but within seconds it was obvious that they came from London, our part of the world. They were Jill and Jim a retired couple originally living only miles from where we used to reside that now live in Spain. In fact Jim was a senior officer at our local police station. Pleased though that I never had the 'pleasure' of meeting him when he was in this line of work! Jill and Jim have been away from their home since the beginning of the year on an extended holiday that before reaching Ambergris Caye has seen them visit Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Singapore. They plane on travelling extensively through Central America but don't know when they will start this because Jill immediately fell in love with Ambergris Caye. We know the feeling Jill.

My most expensive Belize cocktails and Zen Goats
Recently I had 4 of the most expensive Belize cocktails ever, at $157.22 a piece for a grand total of 628.89. I wish I could say I enjoyed them more but it was the solution I needed to get my abdominal CT scan done. Radiologist Julio Diaz was really nice as were all the staff Belize health Care Partners. I can honestly say I feel pretty good about the medical care I have gotten in Belize to help me get sorted out and back to normal what ever that is ha ha. Since a few people have been asking about my health, I figured it was time for an update. I am doing much better about 65% back to normal. Still watching what I eat and starting to fall off the wagon more food wise because I am rarely experiencing pain. I can tell though if I go too far the wrong way I will regret it, caramelized onions today were a reminder of that.

International Sources

The Maya Perspective On The Material World Has Parallels With Today's Online Culture
We take it for granted that our lives, and our beliefs, are intrinsically different from cultures of the past. They built pyramids and temples, we play on Facebook and build virtual lives. A new study from the University of Cincinnati, however, shows that the ancient Maya might just have been big fans of Facebook. They believed that material objects, like a courtier's mirror or a sculptor's carving tool, could be imbued with part of the owner's identity. They considered such objects to be alive, naming them, talking to them, and taking them to special events. UC's assistant professor Sarah Jackson claims that such behavior isn't much different than today's selfie-snapping culture where a Facebook profile can become as important to a person's identity as his or her real-world interactions. Jackson presented her findings on the interesting parallels between ancient Maya and modern-day views on materiality at the Society for American Archaeology's (SAA) annual meeting on Friday.

A look at the claws, teeth, and venom of Mother Nature
'The jungle can kill you in a thousand ways," hissed Jon Voight in Anaconda. Dan Riskin is keeping count (and the count includes anacondas). The personable Discovery Channel host and accomplished evolutionary biologist - the PhD after his name comes straight out of Cornell - has devoted an entire book to inventorying the various lethal weapons - including claws, teeth, venom and straight-up viciousness - being packed by all creatures great and small. If the end results aren't comprehensive, it's not for lack of trying: you'd have to go back to the adventures of Hannibal Lecter to find a book with so many entertainingly gory anecdotes (even if most of the victims in this case reside further down the food chain). Lest this seem like an overly heavy concept for a book that's clearly been written for a mainstream readership, Riskin leavens the proceedings and his own academic background with plenty of gently self-deprecating humor - the first section, which describes his battle with a botfly that burrowed into the back of his head somewhere in Belize, is disarmingly and charmingly gross - and also a rich dollop of sentimentality. "I thought getting a maggot lodged in my head was life-changing, but it turns out that's nothing compared to having a baby," Riskin observes in his introduction, slyly setting up a dynamic that carries through the rest of the book: the author's slavish, unshakeable love for his baby son Sam balanced against his scholarly suspicions that it's all just biological hard wiring. "I know that when Sam kisses me and smiles at me, it's because his DNA is ensuring its own survival," he writes. "We're just a pair of meat robots."

Foreign worker program abuse won't be tolerated, Jason Kenney warns
The government's decision to impose a moratorium on the fast-food industry's access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will send employers "a very clear message" that abuse will not be tolerated, says Employment Minister Jason Kenney. Kenney's comments came during a news conference in Vancouver on Friday, a day after CBC released an audio recording of the CEO of McDonald's Canada speaking to franchise owners during a private conference call earlier in the week. "This has been an attack on our brand. This has been an attack on our system. This is an attack on our people. It's bullshit OK! I used those words when I described my conversation with the minister last week. He gets it," McDonald's Canada CEO John Betts is heard saying.

The Ancient Maya and virtual worlds: Different perspectives on material meanings
If Facebook were around 1,400 years ago, the ancient Maya might have been big fans of the virtual self. The Maya believed that part of your identity could inhabit material objects, like a courtier's mirror or sculptor's carving tool. Maya might even name these objects, talk to them or take them to special events. They considered these items to be alive. The practice of sharing your identity with material possessions might seem unusual in a modern context. But is it that different from today's selfie-snapping, candy-crushing online culture, where social media profiles can be as important to a person's identity as his or her real-world interactions? Even money is virtual now, as digital currency such as Bitcoin gains popularity.

Tropical fruits see strong demand
Tropical fruit is gaining in popularity, shippers report. "Retailers are seeing increased consumer interest in carrying these items because they're being asked for them," said Eddie Caram, general manager of the Princeton, Fla.-based New Limeco LLC. The Homestead, Fla.-based Brooks Tropicals LLC harvests Belize papaya. Abnormally high rainfall cut production during the second half of 2013, said Bill Brindle, Brooks' vice president of sales management. "Overall demand is strong and consistent," he said. "Retailers are realizing ripe and ready-to-eat is very important. They're also realizing they need to put a reasonable amount of product on the shelves. Two or three papaya and starfruit won't get you any sales. They have to have decent-sized displays to attract customers."

"Ritmos" es una sesión en directo de Belize. "En el invierno de 2013 pedimos a Santi G.Barros y a varios amigos que nos acompa�aran al invernadero de Montreal Studios, en Subiza". As� explica el tr�o espa�ol, oriundo de Pamplona, este material que esta presentando, este nuevo clip que ya podes ver en

Tiny Dude, Giant Wave
Some of the world's scariest waves explode off the coast of Portugal, and North Shore gunslinger Garrett McNamara won't stop until he's tamed an elusive wave he calls Big Mama. At five in the morning, there's water in the streets of Nazar�. Dark and swirled with sand, it comes racing across the wide beach and into the town square, wetting the shoes of late-night revelers and lapping against the monument to the mulhers, the long-suffering women of this ancient Portuguese fishing village. You can't see the waves yet, but the surf roars like a 747, echoing off the cliffs to the north. Big Mama is here.


Video: Acuario en Long Caye, Belize, 9min.
Asi comienza el tercero y ultimo buceo del dia en el trip del Blue Hole!!

Video: Bols Museum Cave, Cayo Belize, 20min.
Bol's Museum Cave is amazing, artifacts litter the cave like chamber, not the easiest place to find your way to, bus so worth it. Mr Bol guides you to this treasure trove of Mayan artifacts. You can't do this on a whim, a lot of planning went into this .. I have put links to a couple of people below that can at least see if its possible for you to visit as we did. The meeting the man himself that discovered it, and hearing some of the stories surrounding this incredible find.. this is not like anything we have

Video: The view from the summit of Victoria Peak, Belize, 4min.
Guide Benedicto Choc explains what you can see from the top of Victoria Peak, the second highest point in Belize.

Video: Spring Break in Belize 2014 Theiss, 12min.
Ambergris Caye and Lamanai

Video: Kate Upton | Beach Bunny Swimwear Shoot | Sanctuary Belize, 2min.
Sanctuary Belize was proud to host the shooting of Beach Bunny Swimwear's 2012 Bikini Line. Kate Upton was featured modeling on Sanctuary Caye, our very own .

Video: Ramona & Wayne, Diving in Belize!, 4min.
Congratulations to Ramona and Wayne who recently completed their Open Water Certification with us here at Belize Pro Dive Center. Enjoy!

Video: Belize 2014, 11min.
Andy and Lisa in Belize

Video: Zoo Documentary (Belize), 10min.
Today....the zoo had 3 fun visitors ;D

Video: Calm Day at Half Moon Caye Lighthouse Reef Belize, 2min.

Video: BELIZE DIVE TRIP, VIDEO 3, MARCH 2014, 6min.
Dives 3-6-14, 3-7-14, Snorkeling 3-9-14

Video: Belize Cave Tubing April 2014, 4min.
We went on a Western Caribbean cuise on the Carnival Conquest. There was a cave tubing excursion that could be booked on the ship. We talked to some people in the port and ended up going with a company that was licensed with the Belize tourism board. We got it for a lot less and spent more time on the river. Our driver was Rupert that stopped so we could buy beers on the way. Our guide was "King David"... awesome guy. The excursion took about 4 hours. Enjoy!

Video: Summer 2013/14, 11min.
Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama

Video: FSADB Speech by Brian Patnett, 13min.
from FSADB Belize

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