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The San Pedro Sun

Cutest little reef fish�ever!
Sometimes you just see the CUTEST things when snorkeling! I know, you are probably thinking, cute??? Really? Well, tell me if this little guy isn't adorable? He looked like a little windup toy spinning around the corals! This boxy little fish is a Spotted trunkfish, and they are shy but curious fish that swim slowly above reefs, often hovering under ledges or over small holes. Trunkfish are protected by a bony outer surface that acts as body armor and includes two sharp spines guarding their rear fins. The rigid outer structure helps protect spotted trunkfish from predators, but they are poor swimmers because of their rigidity and bulky shape. At maturity they average 6 to 12" in length. This guy was no more than 4" in size and one of the highlights of my snorkel trip yesterday just minutes from San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye.

Wolfe's Woofers: Seasick
A boat ride turns quite interesting when one of the passengers gets seasick.

San Pedro church leaders say, "The solution to crime is found at home"

Doctor Love: Unnecessarily Jealous
The thought of her partner cheating is driving a jealous girlfriend crazy, but is it all for naught?

Misc Belizean Sources

Queen's Baton Relay in Belize
The Queen's Baton Relay came to Belize, and it biked through Belmopan on its journey. The British High Commission got some good pictures, as did the Cycling Federation of Belize.

Which Belize Beach Town Will Win Out?
The attributes of a life of ease in Belize have been well documented: beautiful warm weather, friendly people who speak English, and lovely sand beaches with the Caribbean Sea lapping at the shoreline. Those are just some of the reasons my wife Char and I are considering Belize as our retirement destination. We've previously lived as expats in Thailand, and are seriously considering another expat adventure, but because we want to be in close proximity to our family and friends in the U.S., we're looking at Central American locations. Earlier this year I took my second trip to Belize-having previously scouted out Ambergris Caye two years ago-and had a hard look at what one could really expect if he/she lived in San Pedro on the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye or Placencia, a beach town in southern Belize.

The Reporter

Farmers of the Year recognized
The Farmers of the Year received a plethora of prizes in a ceremony at the National Agriculture and Trade show this morning. At the opening ceremony on Friday evening Minister of State for Agriculture Hugo Patt sashed the three farmers: senior farmer Felix Esquivel of the Corozal district, woman farmer Angelica Dubon, and junior farmer Dieni Jones of the Cayo district. Prosser Fertilizer gave each farmer $500, IICA gave each $150, OIRSA gave each $300; while others followed a formula of $500 for Senior, $300 for Female and $200 for Junior. These included the La Inmaculada Credit Union, Social Security Board, Citrus Products of Belize, Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and Westrac. Caribbean Chicken also gave each winning farmer 50 pounds of chicken and other businesses sponsored gift certificates.

CARICOM meets to discuss teenage pregnancy
Representatives from CARICOM member states met in St. Lucia this past week to discuss a strategy and plan of action to address the issue of teenage pregnancy in the region. The meeting is a consultation aimed at securing broad-based multi-stakeholder engagement and support before the framework is presented to CARICOM's Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD). According to Sheila Roseau, director of the UNFPA Sub-regional Office for the Caribbean, teenage pregnancy is one of the major challenges standing in the way of girls' education and their ability to achieve their full potential, especially when the necessary support systems are not in place. "We cannot talk about sustainable development without addressing in a serious way, the needs of young people who make up over 60 percent of the population of CARICOM," she said.

Uruguay to sell marijuana legally
Uruguay will begin to produce and sell marijuana legally but people will be restricted to how much they can access. Licensed pharmacies will sell the drug for less than $1 a gram, with consumers allowed 40g (1.4oz) a month. Under the new bill, each family will be allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants, and that marijuana may be consumed in the same spaces as tobacco, except at workplaces. Drivers caught "smoke-driving" will be subject to the same penalties as those under the influence of alcohol. One gramme of marijuana would cost between 20 and 22 pesos or little less than $1 US. The Uruguayan government estimates that the current marijuana demand at between 18 and 22 tonnes, which would equate to about 10 hectares of cannabis plantations.

Patrick Jones

Body of Ontario village youth retrieved from the Belize River
The body of 18 year old Justin Lamb has been recovered from the Belize River in Ontario village. Lamb and some friends had gone to the river to swim on Labour Day when he reportedly went under the water and did not resurface. His family was informed of the incident around 3:30 pm on Labour Day and despite a frantic search on Thursday and on Friday, it was not until early on Saturday morning that Lamb's body was found. According to reports, family members who had gone back out on the Belize River to search for him, found the body near Warrie Head, about a quarter of a mile away from where he was last seen by his friends.

Search continues for American man missing at sea
The search continues for an American national and former Army Ranger Wrangler Leesman, 29. Leesman has been missing at sea north of San Pedro town since Tuesday, April 29. Leesman and another man, identified as Bradley Evans Josker went kayaking around midday on Tuesday, but encountered rough seas near the Belize Barrier Reef. When they attempted to return to San Pedro town, their kayak capsized in the turbulent waves and the two men were thrown into the Caribbean Sea. While Josker was rescued some hours later, Leesman was not and remains listed as "missing" at sea.

Body of Guatemalan extracted from Chiquibul National Park
The decomposed body of a Guatemalan national has been retrieved from the Chiquibul National Park in the Cayo district. Police have not yet released an official report on the discovery of the body; but preliminary information received say the body had what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds, including to the head. The name of the man has not yet been ascertained and will be released as soon as it is confirmed. The body, according to the information received, was found in Belizean territory and was extracted from the Chiquibul on Saturday night.

The Belize Times

National Security Threat!!
The Pharmacists Association of Belize has heightened their resistance to the appointment of the daughter of UDP Minister Erwin Contreras to the newly created post of Director of the Ministry of Health's Drug Inspectorate, calling it a major threat to Belize's national security. If the appointment goes through, Contreras would oversee the entire pharmaceutical drugs sector. The Pharmacists Association says that is where the major security risk lies because Contreras does not have the adequate academic nor technical training to hold the key post. The result of any errors from her limited capability and judgment could be costly and disastrous to many lives. Contreras, a recent Bachelor's Degree graduate of a University in Guatemala, was awarded the high-level post without any knowledge of the Pharmacists Association on March 4th. The light bulb Minister of Health Pablo Marin has defended the appointment, claiming that Contreras is the most qualified person in Belize. The professionals in the sector strongly disagree with his conclusion.

Baiting Belize
Belizeans were informed on Monday that the Prime Minister was once again departing the country on personal leave. I swear this man spends more time abroad than he does in Belize. As is his custom, he met with members of the media and answered a few questions on Friday just before leaving. Those who follow his pattern knew that this was coming and expected that he would be gone by Monday. According to the notice sent from Belmopan, he "departed the country today, 28th April, 2014, to Houston, Texas on personal leave to accompany his wife, Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow, for a medical checkup". Mr. Barrow has milked his wife's illness for every drop of publicity, sympathy and political mileage that he can get. Whenever he needs a vacation or to get away from a hot button issue, the man grabs poor Kim and jumps on a plane. (Understanding that this is a figure of speech since "poor" is a far cry from anything Kim). Just last year, Kim Simplis was reportedly on verge of death with a weak heart and stage-three cancer. She had half the women in Belize shaving their heads in solidarity and preparing black dresses for funeral. Now, miraculously, just a few short months later, she is prancing and frolicking on the beach being chased by high priced photographers. Some are beginning to wonder if we haven't really been duped.

Taiwan $$$ bails out NICH
The BELIZE TIMES is investigating a report that the National Institute of Culture and History has run out of money to carry out programmes and has had to turn to the Barrow Administration's political friends, the Government of Taiwan, for an unofficial bail out. Officials at NICH had no comment and the BELIZE TIMES was not able to reach Director of Culture, Dianne Haylock. Sources have indicated that Taiwan has agreed to provide additional funding to the statutory board, but is requiring stricter financial control and spending and that a financial controller be attached to NICH to ensure better accounting of funds. If confirmed, this is surely a disgraceful state of affairs for one of the most critical arms of national development. NICH has fumbled and stumbled under the leadership of the UDP Government and specifically Dianne Haylock. The UDP have shown that they do not consider the development of art and culture as a priority in the country. Artists have been left abandoned and there are no programs or initiatives to spur a cultural awakening.

Water rates increased by 6.9%
Your next water bill will be much higher thanks to an increase in water rates announced by the Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday, April 29th. The PUC said it approved a 6.9% increase in water rates that became effective on April 1st. Belize Water Services, which is a Government-owned company, had requested a 16% increased when it applied to the PUC for its annual tariff review.

Mothers sue KHMH for killing their babies
Thirteen babies died in the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit when they contracted an infection due to the negligence of the hospital. This happened a little more than a year ago. Not only was no one held accountable, but the mothers of the dead infants were not even given an apology by Ministry of Health officials. Minister of Health Pablo Marin avoided talking to the media during the entire fiasco. His silence on the neo-natal deaths was deafening. Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who also holds the portfolio of Minister of Everything, tried to shift the focus from the failing health system to the results of the Village Council elections. Barrow showed little in the fact that infants were dying in the KHMH Neo-natal ward.

A Government of the MINORITY
The Dean Barrow Administration has become one of the most unpopular Governments in the history of our country. Over the six years which the UDP has been in office, the Prime Minister and Leader of Government, Dean Barrow, has offended so many individuals, organisations and groups that several have had to resort to the last option of taking the Government to Court. Check the stats! The indigenous Maya people of Belize and the Dean Barrow Government presently find themselves opposed philosophically, historically, politically, morally and even in the most basic of ways - in the interpretation of the common English language. In August 2010 at a UDP Convention in Orange Walk Town, the UDP proudly announced and endorsed a Policy Statement which distorted and offended Mayan heritage. This Policy approved by Barrow himself set the UDP's scornful tone towards the Maya people and first exposed the hatred with which the UDP were preparing to fight the Maya, even if it meant re-writing their history. In bare terms, the UDP rejected the historical fact that the Maya people were the first Belizeans, indigenous by right; and, therefore had communal rights to land in the Toledo District.

Police United bombs BDF 2-1
Police United FC, defending champs of the Premier League of Belize's 2013 closing season tournament, is leading the 2014 competition with 25 points from 8 wins and 1 draw. Their last win came bombing the Belize Defence Force at the Carl Ramos Stadium last Saturday night. Lennox "Criminal" Castillo scored the Police's 1st goal in the 40th minute, and in the 2nd half, Berneld Valdez added a 2nd goal in the 48th minute. The Police goofed up in the defense to give a penalty which Vallan Symns converted for the BDF's only consolation goal in the 77th minute. The Police enjoyed their 2nd victory in their midweek match against the Paradise Freedom Fighters at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium last Wednesday.

Ecumenical Junior College crowned ATLIB national champs
Centro Escolar Mexico men were 'bridesmaids' once again, as Stann Creek's Ecumenical Junior College men won 3-2 to be crowned as the Association of Tertiary Level Institutions of Belize (ATLIB) national football championships. Otis Smith scored EJC's 1st goal to lead 1-0 up to the half. In the 2nd half, CEM's Elkin Harris equalized 1-1, and CEM's Aldair Toledano came off the bench to score a 2nd goal to lead 2-1. Emery Bennett came off the EJC bench to equalize 2-2 and Otis Smith scored EJC's 3rd goal to clinch the championship.

UB girls win ATLIB football nationals
Defending champs, the University of Belize girls drilled the Independence Junior College girls to win the Association of Tertiary Level Institutions of Belize (ATLIB) national football championships hosted by Sacred Heart Junior College at the Norman Broaster Stadium over the weekend. UB's Zenda Avila executed a free kick that beat IJC goalie Marian Trujillo for UB's 1st goal in the 10th minute. Arlene Bennett came off the UB bench to score a 2nd goal in the 45th minute for the 2-0 win. The Belize Adventist Junior College girls from Calcutta Village, Corozal, won 1-0 over the Centro Escolar Mexico girls from San Roman, Corozal when Maira Acosta scored the winning goal in the 25th minute.

HOME ECONOMICS - Sweet Potato vs Irish Potato Production Industries
"Potato (Solanum tuberosum) originated some 8,000 years ago in high-altitude tropical areas of Peru, where a staggering 5,500 cultivated varieties have been developed by generations of farmers. Taken by the Spanish to Europe in the 16th century, the tuber quickly adapted to northern growing conditions and soon became a staple food at a time of rapid population growth. From Europe it spread further across the globe: today potatoes are grown on an estimated 180,000 sq km of farmland, ranging from China's Yunnan plateau and the subtropical lowlands of India, to Java's equatorial highlands and the steppes of the Ukraine. Potatoes are also crucial to the food security of hundreds of millions of people in the developing world, where annual consumption has risen from 9 kg/capita in 1961-63 to around 21kg today. While potato output has declined in Europe, growth is so strong in developing countries - notably China and India - that global production has nearly doubled over the last 20 years. Since the early 1960s, FAO says, the increase in the production area dedicated to potatoes in the developing world has outstripped that of all other food commodities, and by 2020 demand for potato is expected to be double that of 1993.

From 75 cents to $472.5 Million - HRCU Celebrates 70 Years
The Holy Redeemer Credit Union (HRCU) Annual General Meeting (AGM) has become almost a cultural event, a highlight of the April calendar for member-owners of all ages. Every year thousands pack the SJC Gym in West Landivar to listen to reports on the financial affairs of the "poor people's bank," to approve dividends and rebates, to meet and talk to the staff, and to appoint the directors and committee members, who continue to steer the vital financial institution in a positive direction. This past Saturday, April 26th it was no different, as it was standing-room only for HRCU's 70th AGM. Neither the heat nor the post-Easter fatigue could keep away Belizeans from all walks of life who came excited to hear about how their wealth had grown. For as Miss Jane reminded them in her report, "Together, HRCU member-owners are all multi-millionaires."

How high will the price of fuel go?
The BELIZE TIMES has launched a fuel price monitoring campaign on behalf of Belizeans, with the aim of keeping a close watch on the Government's barefaced gouging of commuters through petrol prices. It's as if the Barrow Administration has forgotten its promise of keeping the cost of living down "no matter what". But that's what we are here for�to defend the interest of Belizeans and keep the cruel UDP on check. The most recent fuel price hike occurred on the eve of the Holy Week, as prices jumped closer to the $12.00 mark. Fuel prices vary by district, and perhaps, on politics too as we know the UDP hates Southern Belize, and so fuel prices are the highest there. How high fuel prices will go under the UDP Government? Is it $12.00 or $15.00? Only Prime Minister Dean Barrow seems to have that answer, and we will be keeping a close watch.

PUP Corozal Southwest holds Executive Committee meeting
On Sunday 27, April 2014 a meeting was held at the PUP Corozal Southwest Office in San Narciso Village, with the Honorable Ramiro Ramirez and his Executive Committee to discuss some of the issues affecting the constituency such as unemployment, deteriorating infrastructure, the need for greater access to education and poor healthcare facilities. The residents of the communities in Corozal Southwest along with the Honorable Ramiro Ramirez and his executive committee are ready for the change. "Honorable Ramiro Ramirez working hand in hand with the people for a better Corozal South west".

Harper's Bazarr lies about Belize
A recent high-maintenance video "documentary" on Belize, along with a pictorial spread with the Prime Minister's wife, is far removed from reality television. The "documentary" promotes an officially endorsed myth about a non-existent "First Lady" and outright lies about her lifestyle and the way she travels around Belize being falsely enthusiastically greeted by crowds of school children and other "admirers". The photographic spread which features her as a model is false and in some instances totally unbecoming. It is obvious that this expensive public relations stunt has to do more with the fantasies of the Prime Minister's second wife who is certainly no "First Lady". There is no such provision in the Belize Constitution. It is a title designated to the wives of Presidents.

Chamber of Commerce elects new Executive Council
On April 24th, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza. At the AGM, an election was held to elect a new Executive Council for the Chamber. The persons elected to serve on this new Council from 2014-2016 are Mr. Arturo Vasquez, President; Ms. Kay Menzies, Past President; Mr. Allen Reimer, V.P. Industry; Mr. Reynaldo Magana, V.P. Services; Mr. Marcello Blake, V.P. Commerce; Mr. Claudette El Ters, Treasurer; and Mrs. Ashanti Arthurs Martin, Secretary. Elected Councilors are Mr. Daniel Gutierez, Manager of Marketing, Logistics and Corporate Communications at Belize Natural Energy; Mr. Nikita Usher, Chief Administration Manager and Group Sales Marketing Manager at Citrus Products Belize Limited; Mrs. Karen Ysaguirre-Lewis, Director of Retail Banking at Scotiabank (Belize) Ltd.; Ms. Linda Thornton, Owner of Cardelli Farms - Belize Shrimp Growers Association; and Ms. Sue Courtenay, Executive Director of Belize Coalition of Service Providers.

Murders in San Pedro, Punta Gorda
While the Police Department continues its investigations into a spate of murders that occurred in Belize City and northern Belize over the past weeks, there are two more that took place over the weekend. The killing of 43 year old Dennis Palacio has left residents of San Pedro shocked, as their once peaceful community has become more prone to violent activity. Palacio, who is better known as "Chingy", was ambushed just before midnight on Saturday April 26th by a blood-thirsty gunman. Palacio was hanging out on the Seaweed Street in the San Juan area of the island when he was approached by an unidentified person who shot him. Palacio tried to escape his attacker by running into a yard, but he was caught by the armed man, who fatally shot him three more time on the back.

REFLECTIONS ON THE PUBLIC SQUARE - Hon. Max Samuels - Respect to a Fallen Brother
This week our PUP family lost a true and loyal soldier of the peaceful, constructive Belizean Revolution with the passing of our dear friend and colleague Hon. Max Samuels. Hon. Max, as I called him, was a disciplined man who believed in order, honor, and loyalty. He lived a life of service to Belize and its people, first as a distinguished member of the Belize Police Department where he rose to the rank of Commissioner in 1980, and then as a Politician representing the PUP serving three terms as the Duly Elected Area Representative for Belize Rural North from 1989 to 2003. During that time, Max served as a Cabinet Minister under both Prime Minister's Price and Musa and served on the national Executive of our Party in various capacities including that of a Deputy leader. Even at age 74 and retire from active Politics, Hon. Max continued to be fully engaged in the work of our Party and at the time of his passing was a sitting member of the Order of Distinguished Services Committee (ODS) of the PUP.

Waffles Mayor - Darrel Bradley on "farewell tour"
Belize City Mayor Darrel Bradley confirmed on Monday that he is on a farewell tour as he prepares to demit office at City Hall. The Mayor has been his usual self, feisty, difficult and very quarrelsome, over the past few days as he argues with himself whether or not he will run for Mayor in the upcoming municipal elections slated for March next year. Bradley appeared absolutely confused when he went on the Krem WUB Morning Show on Monday morning. He complained that "people" have been throwing "curved balls" at him, referring to media reporters' questions about the upcoming elections. He told host Most Hyde that he likes to "clown around" when he faces the media. Hyde disagreed and told Bradley that his responses have been "diva-ish".

PUP Mourns Hon. Maxwell Samuels' Passing
The People's United Party wishes to record our profound sadness on the passing of our friend and colleague, Hon. Maxwell Samuels. Hon. Max was a true and loyal member of our PUP family who served as a PUP Area Representative for Belize Rural North from 1989 to 2003. He served as a Cabinet Minister in the administrations of both the Rt. Hon. George Price and the Rt. Hon. Said Musa and served on the National Executive of our Party for many years including in the capacity of Deputy Leader. At the time of his death, Hon. Maxwell Samuels was a serving Member of the Order of Distinguished Services Committee (ODS) of the PUP.

28 days to Penner's criminal trial
On Thursday May 29th, corrupt UDP representative Elvin Penner will return to the Belmopan Magistrate's Court to answer to the criminal charge of illegally issuing a Belizean nationality certificate and a passport to South Korean, Kim Won Hong, who had never been to Belize and was at a Taiwan prison at the time of getting the documents. The charge was brought about through a private criminal complaint lodged by grassroots organization Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and their attorney Kareem Musa. Penner was charged on March 27th, exactly 189 days after he had been stripped of his portfolio by the Prime Minister, who said he acted upon learning of the serious allegations against Penner. Since then the UDP Government has been playing a dangerous game, protecting and defending Penner and using state resources to block every effort to make him face justice for his treacherous actions.


Belize's Biggest Gathering: The 2014 National Agriculture & Trade Show - Part One
The Belmopan Agriculture fair is huge. And supposedly over 50,000 Belizeans roll into town for the two day event. Since I had attended once before (posts below), I knew I was going to make it only one day. It's so hot, so crowded, so fun but EXHAUSTING. So I got there early� I arrived at about 9:45am on Saturday, the first real day of the show. The line was long already and charter buses and cars were unloading all along the road into Belmopan.


Video: Belize Mural Project 2014, 19min.
Good morning. Take a look at what's been happening at the Stella Maris School in Belize City, the Carl Ramos Stadium and Why Not Island in Dangriga and the team behind it. Hannah Rose, Croz the artist and Ras JahSun Thynkfree speak about how and why they came together to create public art in Belize and how everyone can benefit from a little more creativity in their lives.

Video: Belize Agricultural Fair K9 demonstration 2, 2min.
K9 Labrador explosives discovery demo

Video: Belize Agricultural Fair K9 demonstration, 2min.
Belgian Malinois doing some basic obedience training with the handler.

Video: Belize Day 4&5, 6min.

Video: Friends of Retzer Nature Center - Slideshow of Belize Trip 2014, 19min.
Friends of Retzer Nature Center - photographic and chronologic slideshow of the 2014 Belize Trip

Video: Chicken Drop at the WAhoo lounge on the beach San Pedro Belize, 15min.
May 1 2014 W/ MJ and KJ

Video: Green Moray Eel - Lighthouse Reef - Belize, 3min.
We found this beautiful moray eel in Belize at Ruth's Place near Long Caye. She was really interested in the GoPro Hero3 Black i had on her.

Video: Davis Falls, Belize, 7min.
Davis Falls is a remote, 500-foot waterfall, accessible via a dirt track off the Hummingbird Highway at Alta Vista village in Stann Creek District.

Video: Belize 2014, 5min.
Trip to San Ignacio - Cahal Pech, Xunantunich, ATM cave, Tikal Trip to San Pedro - Hol Chon, Shark Ray Alley, Coral Forest Daniel Chao kendra Chao Stanley Lin Bernadine Lui Apr 25 - May 2, 2014