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Today's Belize News: June 12, 2014 #492173
06/12/14 05:49 AM
06/12/14 05:49 AM
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Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
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The San Pedro Sun

“Our World” brings plays to SPHS
Out of the estimated 7.055 billion people worldwide, almost half, an estimated 3.523 billion are women. But do all women have equal rights as men? That was the central theme for one of two plays presented at the San Pedro High School (SPHS) as part of the “Our World” project. The project, a brain child of Larry and Debbie Heimgartner, seeks to highlight social issues through plays in various parts of the world, including Ambergris Caye, Belize. Over the past week, the Heimgartners presented the two plays to the students at the high school on various days. The selected plays included a musical conducted by Jenny Morrison, a ballet dancer from the London Ballet Company, in which she highlighted the source of inspiration that led to her dancing career. The second play was performed by Sara MacKenzie, an actress and presenter from Glasgow, Scotland. It brought to light the role of women in society, and their struggle for equal rights.

Get ready for the Caye Caulker 2014 Miss Lobster Fest Pageant!
On Friday June 27th five young ladies will vie for the title of Miss Caye Caulker Lobster Fest 2014-2015. Over the years, the pageant has become one of the highlights of the Caye Caulker lobster festival, drawing quite the crowd who come to see the ladies compete in the traditional event. Let us introduce this year’s contestants: Britany Ysagurirre, Jessica Tzalam, Jolene Williams, Veida Gomez and Gleselie Chan.

Garifuna Collective to bring culture onstage!
Also adding to the exciting Costa Maya lineup this year is the highly anticipated performance by Belize’s pride: The Garifuna Collective! The Collective will be bringing wonderful Garifuna drumming, lilting vocals and mesmerizing performances onstage for cultural night on Friday, August 8th. The evening is being planned to showcase an eclectic mix of performances, but surely the highlight will be the vibrant sounds of the Garifuna Collective. The committee extends a big ‘thank you’ to the sponsors who have lined up to promote and support this annual event. Those sponsors include Tropic Air, Matachica Resort, Victoria House, Heineken, Minister of Tourism, Cultural & Civil Aviation, Ramon’s Village Resort, Flowers Salazar & Associates, The San Pedro Sun, Ambergris Today, Fido’s, Jose Luis Photography/Designing Solutions, Reef Radio, Radio Love, Love FM/Estereo Amor, Great Belize Productions/Channel 5, San Pedro Belize Express, and The San Pedro Town Council.The committee would also like to take this opportunity to remind the general public that the International Costa Maya Festival® is a registered entity, and as such, asks businesses to refrain from using the name for their own purposes and promotions. To obtain permission to use the Costa Maya® name, kindly contact the festival committee at [email protected]

Ambergris Today

Mexican Trade Mission To Belize
ProMéxico (the Trade and Investment Mexican Agency) and the Embassy of Mexico are organizing a trade mission on June 18th at the Embassy in Belmopan and on June 19th at the Institute of Mexico in Belize City. The objective of the mission is to strengthen trade relations between Mexico and Belize, identifying potential buyers and suppliers of a variety of products and/or services, as well as to find investment opportunities. Products include: chilli pepper sauces, achiote marinade, ketchup, vinegars, vanilla, jam concentrates, sausages, wines, liquors, chemical products for water treatment, water pumps and environmental sanitizers, paints, waterproofing pastes, protective coatings (paint, lumber and metals), industrial solvents, demoisturizing compounds, cleaning & drain openers, stainless steel polish & cleaner, non-chlorinated degreasers, CRM Software and GPS.

New Sport To Offer New Hope For Youth
The disconnect between youth and society at large is a real problem throughout Belize, particularly in densely populated areas where there is little opportunity for employment, and community facilities and services are stretched to breaking point. With unused reserves of energy and a need to be doing something, many young people end up taking the wrong path contributing to high rates of street and gang crime. But a new sports project aims to change all that. *The fastest growing sport in the world today is coming to Belize – Rugby Union is making its first appearance with the Hattieville United Youth Sports Club *Belize is the last in the region to join the worldwide rugby family, as plans revealed to launch the sport nationwide under the Belize Rugby Board

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Mexican Trade Mission To Belize
ProMéxico (the Trade and Investment Mexican Agency) and the Embassy of Mexico are organizing a trade mission on June 18th at the Embassy in Belmopan and on June 19th at the Institute of Mexico in Belize City. The objective of the mission is to strengthen trade relations between Mexico and Belize, identifying potential buyers and suppliers of a variety of products and/or services, as well as to find investment opportunities. Products include: chilli pepper sauces, achiote marinade, ketchup, vinegars, vanilla, jam concentrates, sausages, wines, liquors, chemical products for water treatment, water pumps and environmental sanitizers, paints, waterproofing pastes, protective coatings (paint, lumber and metals), industrial solvents, demoisturizing compounds, cleaning & drain openers, stainless steel polish & cleaner, non-chlorinated degreasers, CRM Software and GPS.

New Sport To Offer New Hope For Youth
The disconnect between youth and society at large is a real problem throughout Belize, particularly in densely populated areas where there is little opportunity for employment, and community facilities and services are stretched to breaking point. With unused reserves of energy and a need to be doing something, many young people end up taking the wrong path contributing to high rates of street and gang crime. But a new sports project aims to change all that. *The fastest growing sport in the world today is coming to Belize – Rugby Union is making its first appearance with the Hattieville United Youth Sports Club *Belize is the last in the region to join the worldwide rugby family, as plans revealed to launch the sport nationwide under the Belize Rugby Board *Campaign to sign up players for Belize’s first national rugby union and rugby sevens teams – looking ahead to the 2016 Olympics and 2018 Commonwealth Games Under the catchy logo of ‘Community & Country’, Rugby Belize, a community-based sports project is being launched nationwide this summer aimed at offering rugby union as an alternative sport for energetic youth looking for something a little more challenging than soccer and basketball.

Signing of the Health and Safety Standards for Archaeological Reserves and Parks
The Bureau of Standards, with responsibility to engage relevant stakeholders to develop standards and technical regulations, established a Technical Committee (TC) for Tourism Services to develop prioritized standards in Belize’s tourism sector. The process for standards development must be demand driven to address a particular issue with respect to quality, safety, environment, health or any other legitimate objective. Therefore, the Tourism Services TC gave priority to the development of a standard for health and safety of archaeological parks and reserves as part of a project being executed by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and the National Institute of Culture and History’s (NICH) “Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites (MTBCAAS)”. The project seeks to achieve the integration of rural communities into the tourism sector through improved infrastructure, improved health and safety standards at the archaeological reserves and parks with improved products and services being offered, particularly targeting products and services being offered by residents of communities.

CARSI-funded Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) program
On Monday over 140 volunteers from the U.S. Embassy, the Dangriga Town Council, Dangriga Community Police, TIDE, students from QSI, Belmopan Community Police, Youth Cadets, and students enrolled in the CARSI-funded Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) program joined forces at Y-Not Island, Dangriga, Belize to clean up the beach in honor or World Oceans Day. Volunteers collected rubbish and separated plastics for recycling. A TIDE representative provided a presentation on the importance of preserving coral reefs and recycling.

National Police Training Academy to administer recruit entrance exam
The Police Department is changing the way it accepts new members to the rank and file. Starting with the next set of recruits intake, the entrance exam will be changed in order to evaluate the potential recruit’s “knowledge, skills and abilities.” The police recruit intake exam will now be administered in four areas: Math, Reading and Comprehension, Language and Writing skills. "In order to identify the best applicants who demonstrate that they have what it takes to become an effective police officer capable of policing a modern society, the National Police Training Academy will now prepare and administer the recruit entrance exam, designed to evaluate the applicant’s knowledge, skills and abilities to be a successful Police Officer. For example applicants must be able to read and comprehend material relating to policing and its procedure. Therefore, part of the written exam will contains a section on reading comprehension similar to what the applicants will read on the job. In other words the entrance exam will be relevant to skills, knowledge and ability that are needed to be an effective police officer, no prior law enforcement experience required. In light of the above in order to assist applicants in preparing for the upcoming police entrance exam, which is tentatively set for 26th July 2014, the Academy will now issue applicants with a study guide with sample questions and will be offering tutorial starting this Saturday 14th June 2014 to explain to the applicants what will be tested on the exam."

Corozal Police Report
ROBBERY and HARM: Delwyn Tun of San Joaquin Village, Corozal District, reported that on Saturday June 7th, 2014 about 10:00 p.m, he went to a bar situated behind the BTL tower in San Joaquin Village where he drank three beers before it closed at mid-night. About 12:30 a.m. on June 8th, 2014 after the bar had closed, he jumped on his bike and was riding home and going towards the BTL tower towards the Philip Goldson Highway and upon reaching by the corner of the BTL compound, he was attacked by two young men who were inside the same bar drinking previously. He recognized one of them to be a 17 year old minor and the other one, known to him as Alex Sutherland.

EXERCISE CAUTION on 7th Avenue, Corozal
The Corozal Daily warns commuters and pedestrians traveling on 7th Avenue (Philip Goldson Highway) especially approaching the entrance to Corozal from the Orange Walk side that sections of 7th Avenue have been converted to one lane. Kindly exercise extreme caution since the Belize Water Services Ltd (BWSL) and its workmen are carrying out special works in this area and deep drains have been dug in the area.

Macho Burger Challenge
Elvi's Kitchen - Who can finish this Macho Burger Challenge? It's coming back in September!!!! Contestants Get Ready!!

Seaborne debris in PG
Seaborne debris have started to wash up on the coastline of Punta Gorda town.

One step closer to drilling oil in the Sarstoon Temash National Park
US Capital Energy Belize is one step closer to drilling oil in the Sarstoon Temash National Park in Toledo. The company has confirmed completion of the drill pad and now awaits the arrival and installation of the rig that will drill for oil. All this while SATIIM and the Maya buffer communities continue to oppose the exercise because they say proper consultation was not carried out. SATIIM has vowed to block the rig from reaching the drill pad.

Travel around the world with your DigiCell PrePaid phone for less!
As of Friday, June 13, 2014, DigiCell PrePaid customers can enjoy the freedom of using DigiCell’s Voice Roaming service in over 30 countries around the world. BTL is thrilled to introduce lowered voice roaming rates which will be enjoyed by both postpaid and prepaid customers. So talk it up when you travel and stay in touch! International Roaming lets you stay in touch with friends, family and business associates when traveling abroad using your DigiCell phone. Our PostPaid customers have been enjoying this service since 2003 to over 200 countries worldwide. Prepaid customers can now join the roaming family by being able to make and receive calls and text messages in North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe to name a few, at the lowest roaming rates. Expansion to other parts of the world will be rolled out soon.

World Blood Donors Day 2014
Every year, on June 14, Belize joins the global community in celebrating World Blood Donor’s day by honoring its voluntary blood donors. The event raises awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood. This year, the theme is "Safe Blood for Saving Mothers". This theme is relevant for Belize since pregnancy and childbirth services have received much priority by the Ministry of Health. Severe bleeding during delivery and after childbirth is a major cause of mortality, morbidity and long-term disability. The goal of the global campaign is to increase awareness about why timely access to safe blood and blood products is essential as part of a comprehensive approach to prevent maternal deaths.

$4.4 million for Corozal roads
Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow announces in his ongoing press conference this afternoon in Belize City, that the Government of Belize has allocated $4.4 million dollars to commence road works on the Philip Goldson Highway from the beginning of Social Security Building in Corozal Town right up to the Santa Rita Hill being "concreted". In addition, Prime Minister Barrow stated that he has asked the Mayor of Corozal Town to identify additional streets, starting with two that government will also pay for. PM Barrow further stated that this is on top of the five (5) streets that the Mayor already contracted with Imer Hernadez to do, two (2) of which have been completed which the government has paid for. PM Barrow announced that work in Corozal will begin on Monday.

Western Ballaz Heading to Finals
The Western Ballaz defeated the No Limit last Friday 75 - 57. They are heading to San Pedro to play the Tiger Sharks this Sunday in the 1st game of the NEBL finals. The game starts at 1:30pm. The Ballaz will host the 2nd game next Friday, June 20th. Thanks, Adma Chuc, for the great pictures of the fans, and the Ballaz. Go Ballaz!

Cayo West Art's Collection Call
The Benque House of Culture will be having a local art exhibit this Summer, and they are asking all local artists to submit their art. It can be in any media. If you are an artist, and would like to be in the exhibit, contact them at [email protected], or stop by the Benque HoC. The deadline for submission of works is June 26th. "Inviting artists to make their submissions for the Cayo West Art's Collection coming this Summer 2014"

We Will Rise - Giselle O'Brien
Cayo's Giselle O'Brien submitted 'We Will Rise' for this year's Commonwealth Music Competition. It's a beautiful song, and you can tell she put her heart and soul into it. She garnered 2400 votes before the competition closed. Great medley, wonderful lyrics, and a positive message. Go, Giselle! 'We will rise, we will stand, hand in hand!"

Channel 7

PM Says The Rod Of Correction Movement Can't Stir Unrest Against His Gov't
The social partners launched the Rod of Correction movement last week – presumably to lash government on a number of issues from Harmonyville to Penner to Danini Contreras. This afternoon in a three hour press conference – that went from 2:15 to 5:15 pm, the Prime Minister took on all their issues – and said he's happy they didn't get a crowd out on Saturday- but that's because they can't - not against his government: Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "I found the rhetoric emerging from the interviews that the principals gave in particular, the President of the NTUCB, to be disrespectful, to be entirely confrontational, and to be - in a word - rude. But, let me make clear; it takes 2 to quarrel. I am not going to respond in kind. I do want to make clear though, that I see the rhetoric as out of all proportion to the issues raised. There is no doubt that a number of things have bubbled recently, and that there is a degree of disquiet on the part of several sectors of the society, pertaining to some of the issues raised. But, having conceded that, having granted that, I have to say that the position adopted, the effort made to suggest that the sky is falling down, is absolutely unsustainable when you look at the facts.

PM Says Teachers, Public Officers Will Get 6% Raise
And, teachers and public officers were surely missing from Saturday's protest – and that may be because their raise is working out to more than the 5% first promised. The Prime Minister discussed the final figure today: Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "It turns out that they're getting 6%. When you add that with the annual 3% increment, you're talking about a global figure of 9%. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm making the case to you, to the public, this afternoon, that while I can understand the public officers and the teachers want even more, certainly, Government has done, as I said, extremely handsomely by them, and we cannot do more without then passing on the additional portion of a new bill that will become due to the taxpayers. The public officers and the teachers are a critically important and valuable element of our society, but they're not the whole society."

Unions Upset About Being Dismissed by PM
But while the PM says government has gone as far as it can with the salary adjustment – when the government wrote to the unions to say it wanted to formally close the collective bargaining negotiation on June 19th, it upset the unions. They explained what was in the letter that angered them: Luke Palacio - President, BNTU "The Prime Minister has written saying that those proposals will not be discussed further. They're not supported, and therefore, that is the end of the process. We do not agree because that is not how negotiations work." Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer - Acting President, APSSM "Stated in that letter, I know what upset me, personally was the fact that in there, the Prime Minister suggested our so-called outstanding proposal. Those proposals are very important to us and our members, so that in fact, the word. I don't know what was in his mind, when in fact that was put there, but I do know that it is subject to a number of interpretations, including a very dismissive interpretation. The 5 outstanding proposals, we were not ever given an opportunity to put forward our case. From the very beginning, when the CBA was gotten back, those had not supported, not supported. So, at no point in time, there were any meaningful and serious discussion, except with the health insurance. And, to be dismissed just like that, I think that is why we're not - we're not happy." The union says it is consulting with its membership and joint councils of management about what it should do about that proposed June 19th signing date. One of the outstanding proposals that it says is being pushed off the table without consideration is health insurance for public officers and teachers.

PM To Unions: I'm Sorry You're Sorry, But...

This afternoon, the Prime Minister discussed their hurt feelings – and said he's sorry, but he can't do anymore:.. Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "I am sorry, the Collective Bargaining Process has to come to an end. You haven't gotten everything that you've asked for, but by God, you've gotten 90%, in a real world, with a government having a responsibility to an entire country, with finances being what they are. For God sake, man, understand that we can do no more."

PM: Heck No to Harmonyville's Plant Di Corn Initiative
And one more issue of burning public interest that the Prime Minister weighed in one today is Harmonyville and their desire to "plant di corn" on the 29 acres of road reserve between their community and the highway. He held the government's position that it will strictly not be permitted: Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "You can't plant corn on the road reserve, for 2 obvious reasons. The road reserves are there for a purpose, and road reserves belong to the Government and people. Well, ladies and gentlemen, our position is quite straight-forward. We're not going to countenance illegality, lawless behaviour. It is simply not going to happen. If the members of the Harmonyville community really want to plant corn on any portion the 1,300 acres that they own, Government will - by way of the Department of Agriculture - make seeds available, make extension services available - may even be prepared to use bulldozers to assist the individual owners in in fact planting corn. It is just that, Mr. Harmonyville, you will not plant corn on the road reserve." As we said it was a three hour press conference today – and so far, we've only excerpted about seven and a half minutes. We'll have a few more choice cuts form the PM's press conference later on – including today's big reveal: the formal announcement that Darrell Bradley will run for mayor in a second term.

Police On City-Wide Crackdown
For the past 2 days, we've been reporting the 4 shootings in Belize City, which are all believed to be connected to a flare-up between Ghost Town and George Street. It has resulted in 8 people getting shot, one of whom is in a critical condition, and another being brain dead. Well, police are taking action to prevent further retaliation. The police high command has since given the order that they will be stricter when it comes to enforcing the law, and they will be prosecuting offences, no matter how petty they may be. It started yesterday and today with check points at the Belcan Bridge, the Bel China Bridge, and the Pound Yard Bridge. Today, Assistant Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura hosted a press briefing at the corner of Vernon and Mayflower Street, the location where Rafael Cruz was shot yesterday. He explained that what investigators have found out is that these shootings started with misunderstandings between members of the two gangs, which transferred over to the gangs causing an escalation: ACP Miguel Segura - OC, Eastern Division "The analysis of this case, as I mentioned, is that they started on a personal note in the night club, and this could have been dealt with on a person to person. That issue should have been resolved, but it has escalated now that it has now gotten to the point that it is between a gang to another gang. That's why we saw the other incidents. Our police response, and all actions, we started in meeting the key players, to try to see and hear why it started, to resolve these issues.

Cane Farming Executive, PUP Political Aspirant Alfred Ortega Almost Committed To Jail
Viewers may know Alfredo Ortega. He is the vice-chairman of the committee of management for the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, and he has been one of the mediators for the cane farmers whenever there is a breakdown in industrial relations with BSI/ASR. Well he dodged being sent to prison today after he managed to make a partial payment to Family court for arrears he owed to his ex-common-law wife. In February 2004, the Family Court issued a ruling that Ortega should pay Alba Luz Galeano $30 every week for spousal maintenance. The family Court records say that he paid all the way up to November 2006, and for the next 8 years he let the arrears grow. The last check was February 14 of this year, and by their calculations, he owed $11,460 in maintenance. That's when the court decided that a bailiff had to mark his belongings to be sold off as chattel to cover the debt, but it was discovered that he didn't have enough to cover the amount. That's when the sitting Magistrate issued a warrant for his committal in distress since February of this year. It was finally executed against Ortega, who told our colleagues from CTV3 News that he made a substantial payment toward the amount so that the warrant wasn't executed. He claims that he will make arrangements to cover the rest of the debt owed to this ex-common-law.

After Three Months Of Flip-Flopping: Mayor Bradley Will Run Again
Today's marathon prime ministerial press conference was overtaken by national issues: but the first item on the agenda was a local one: the announcement that Mayor Darrell Bradley will offer himself for a second term. In a sense that brings us right back to where we started: February 27, 2014 – an afternoon press conference with the prime minister in that very same Caracol Rook on the fifth floor of the Radisson. That's when the mayor said he would run again – and then immediately changed his mind. He's been flip flopping like that in the three and a half months since. But today, he announced that he will run: Mayor Darrell Bradley - Will Run For Re-Election to Office "Prime Minister, you have 100% committed mayor. It is something I regret in terms of my lack of certainty, and when one aspires to any office, one needs know that they're 100% committed to that office. That is why it has been difficult for me. But now, standing before you, I can say to the Prime Minister and to members of the public, that I am 100% committed to doing far more than we have done in this first year, and I know that it can be done with this team, with this City Council, and under the leadership of the Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow.

PM On Justice Of Appeal Awich
Today the Prime Minister also fielded questions of Justice of Appeal Awich. The Bar Association came out strong with a resolution saying that the timing of Awich's re-appointment raises the issue of an appearance of bias. They are referring to the fact that Awich's lead decision in the case of the BTL;'s 2nd acquisition was presented on the same day his contract expired. Barrow told the press he had no choices with the timing: Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "It is well-known that there has been a historical problem between certain members of the Bar - I am not sure who all attended the meeting - certain elements of the leadership of the Bar, and Mr. Justice Awich. One of the complaints or one of the things flagged by the Bar Association's resolution was the fact that we were proposing to renew the appointment after the last court judgement, in which the leading decision was given by Mr. Justice Awich, and the Government won. Well, suppose we had given the extension of the contract before the decision came down, you'd have heard that we did it as an inducement. We said we would wait. Let the judgement be over and done with, and then we can proceed. They turn around they still complained about that."

PM Doesn't Exactly Open Door For Puerto Azul
And the Prime Minister was also asked to address the Puerto Azul Project that's been generating so much controversy in the conservation community. He said there is no project, only a concept: Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister Dean Barrow "Government's position, we have detailed a set of criteria. I believe there are 5 points that constitute a litmus test. Mr. Proposer, when you get your act together, when you come to the final concept that represents an articulated proposal, we will examine your 'project' to see whether it passes the tests laid down in the 5 criteria. If it fails to meet even 1 of the tests, it's no-go. So, not a problem that the environmentalists and other people are already getting excited, vigilance, even if perhaps a little premature, is welcomed. But, please, let us, again, deal with the facts and the reality of this thing not having gone anywhere. Let me assure all concerned that no kind of approval will be given except all the processes required by law, by public policy, and by good governance have been gone through." And so what about those pictures his ministers of tourism and investment took in Cannes at the gala event launching the project – and who paid for them to go there? The Prime Minister said it was paid for by the sponsors:

Props For Peter: PM Stands Up for Much Maligned CEO Peter Allen
And moving to the subject of another embattled public official: the Prime Minister gave a staunch defence of embattled Chief Executive Officer Peter Allen. Allen has been called out by the auditor general for not putting measures in place at the Southern Regional Hospital where 366 thousand dollars was siphoned out of an account that no one was checking. Still, the Pm said Allen is a good guy in a tough situation…. Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "I have to go by what I know - and I am conceding that that was - Lord - a misstep. But, examining this thing as closely as I can, I do not feel that again, the bill of indictment that the public, the media have presented against Peter Allen, reaches the point where I, as the person ultimately responsible for CEO's, can say that Peter Allen ought to go. He knows because it's a fact that's ventilated over and over. He knows that there is tightening up that has to be done because he is on the 'back foot' where the media and the public are concerned. I believe him well capable of taking the remedial steps that may be necessary, and as I say, I certainly am utterly convinced that capacity-wise, this guy has it, and can do a job as CEO in the Ministry."

Kenrick Still Serving Life
And taking a quick break from all the political news, convicted murderer Kenrick Williams had his life sentence affirmed today after the Court of Appeal dismissed his case. Williams was convicted in the Supreme Court of strangling 16 year-old Elia Gonzalez after having sexual intercourse with her. The incident happened on March 23, 2004. The second form student didn't make it home that evening at around 3 because Williams abducted her and dragged her into the bushes, tied her up with her shoelaces, and he then forced himself. While in the act, he was choking her, and when he was finished, he realized that he had suffocated her. He was tried and convicted in December 2009, but a mistrial was declared. He was tried again in July 2012, where he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Municipalities Do Stock Taking
In September 2010, the World Bank approved 30 million dollars to be disbursed to the 7 municipalities of Corozal, Orange Walk, Santa Elena/San Ignacio, Benque Viejo, Dangriga, Punta Gorda and Towns, and Belmopan City as part of the Municipal Development Project. Since then, the project has been in its first phase, and these 7 municipalities have benefited from the project in the form of major infrastructure upgrading works. Today, all 7 of the local government leaders were invited to a work shop hosted by the Social Investment Fund today in Belmopan, and 7News stopped in. This project was an incentive by the World Bank to that these leaders improve their management capacities, and 4 out of 7 mayors describe how their respective towns would benefit from the second phase: Gilbert Swazo - Mayor, Dangriga Town "Within that plan is - it includes our strategy in relation to whatever development we want to do with our beach front, with a view then to establish a kind of tourism - cultural tourism among others, so that we have a viable industry within Dangriga. It will also minimize the kind of transit tourism that we're seeing, because don't have infrastructure."

PG Mayor Says His Town Coming Around
And while we had the opportunity, we asked Mayor Anthony Fuentes from the Punta Gorda Town Council about the situation which became so dire that the Ministry of Local Government had to intervene 2 months ago. Fuentes told us today that the problem is caused by a lack of employment in PG, which then transfers over to non-payment of taxes, which then causes a loss in the council's revenue stream: Anthony Fuentes - Mayor, PG Town "The Punta Gorda Town Council, like any other council, has its challenge, especially with finances. So, in other to alleviate problems like these, jobs need to be created. If you don't have a job, you can't pay your property tax, and if you can't pay your property tax, then the council will not be able to provide certain services. So, it's only fair that jobs are being created for the People of Punta Gorda Town, so that they can pay their property taxes. What we have been doing is to work closely with the Ministry of Local Government, so see how we can improve in providing a better service for the people of Punta Gorda Town. It's very challenging at times, and so, from time we'll have the Director, and of course, individuals from SIF going down to assist us greatly. Over the year, we've had with problems or difficulties with a finance officer. That, of course, is one of the criteria in order to access funding under the Belize Municipal Development Project. That is one of the criteria set out by World Bank, and so, we've had difficulty getting a finance officer. When I got elected as mayor, we had a finance officer. She had a tonsil problem, and so, she resigned. We got another one; she was qualified. She got a better paying job, and she left, and so, we got someone else, and this person has resigned as well. So, we're working closely to advertise the position, so that we could get a finance officer for Punta Gorda Town. That has been one of the major challenges, but apart from that, we've tried our best to deliver a lot of the services to the people of Punta Gorda Town.

Social Security Says Your Card Is Ready
Last night we told you about the three month delay for new social security cards at the Social Security Board. As we reported, it was caused by a shortage of the protective plastic that goes over the card, a very basic item. Well, the Social Security announced today that those of you who have been patiently – or impatiently – waiting on your new cards, you can come in to check for them. SSB says that the cards have been available since June 2, and they also apologize for inconveniences caused. A few persons we know who've been waiting told us they called after the second, and were told their cards were still not ready...

PSE Results Coming June 12th.
Tonight may teachers, parents and school administrators are anxiously awaiting the release of the PSE results. And right that they should. Last year, the PSE results were released on June 7th, and in 2012 it was issued on June 12th. Well, today is June 11th…so when is it coming out? That's what we asked the education CEO today: Jules Vasquez "What is the final verdict on PSE results? We know that last year, it was out June 7." David Leacock - CEO, Ministry of Education "And in 2012, you told me it was in June 12, which would be tomorrow right? Right now, we're in the process of printing the results that will go out to the schools, so by tomorrow morning, all that should be completed, and we then ship that out to the various districts to get to the schools. So, by tomorrow, there will be a release." So tune in tomorrow night for those results...

Hon. Dean Defending Danini
Earlier you heard the Prime Minister defend the CEO in the Minsitry of Health. Well, today at his press conference, the Prime Minister also defended another controversial employee in the Ministry of Health Danini Contreras. The Belize Pharmacist Association has objected ot her being hired as the director of the drug inspectorate because she has no experience. The PM clearly thinks experience is over-rated: Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "Other issues having to do with the Belize Pharmacist Association, again, I will not make light of their concerns. I believe that Ms. Contreras, who is Minister Contreras' daughter, has a degree, is qualified. They say that she doesn't have experience. Well, I don't know how you get experience, except by in fact working. What qualifies you to work is the acquisition of these degrees, these papers, these certifications. I understand that I will never get the Pharmacists Association to agree with us. I am afraid, respectfully, then, we will have to continue with the difference of opinion there."

Hulse on Auditor General's Report
And today in our very last item from the prime ministerial press conference, we asked Immigration Minister Hulse about the auditor general's report. COLA issued a release yesterday saying that it indicts senior officials in the Department, especially Director of Immigration, Maria Marin for showing blatant disrespect to the office of the Auditor General. It adds that the Report indicates that according to the Director, much, if not all of the pertinent information requested by the Audit Department is with Godwin Hulse. We asked Hulse about that today:.. Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Immigration "The only issue, I will say, with respect to that is that indeed, she alleges that there was non-cooperation on the part of the Director. That is absolutely inaccurate, and I will say that, because as I understand it, officers who were doing the audit kept asking officers in Immigration for documentation, and their response was, it is with the Director, or is it with the Minister. There is a protocol in Government for communications, man. It's called memorandum. The Auditor General, when her officer reported that to her, should have written to the Director formally to request - or written to the Ministry. Now, I understand from the Director that there was no such correspondence written to her to request any documentation. I understand that from her. I can categorically say that there was none written to the Ministry, as there was no correspondence to me saying, 'We needed documents A,B and C, which we understand are in your custody, or the custody of the CEO'. There was no such correspondence. When the Auditor General did write to me, of course, I immediately responded and say, 'Oh no, we'll give you maximum cooperation, and if there is an issue with getting documentation, please forward that to the CEO, who will facilitate forthwith.' That, was done."

Channel 5

Rod of Correction is an attempt to recreate the unrest of 2005
Prime Minister Dean Barrow hosted a press conference this afternoon, his first in at least six months. So you can understand that there were many questions. In fact, the session [...]

Unions to get 6% salary adjustment
While the PM took his initial jab at ROC, he pulled no punches when it comes to the unions who are behind ROC, and claims that the agitation of the [...]

PM says Union demands are irrational and will not be countenanced
PM Barrow says that the IMF is actually telling the government to retrench public officers, as is being done all over the region. And it’s more than that. Teachers and [...]

BYGEA will not plant corn in the buffer area of Harmonyville says PM
Then the PM turned from the unions to the group which organized the rally on Saturday. BGYEA wants to plant corn on about sixty acres of buffer zone at Harmonyville [...]

Barrow speaks on the Auditor General’s report on the passport scandal
The Auditor-General’s report on corruption in Immigration surrounding the Won Hong Kim/Elvin Penner passport scandal was handed over on March twenty-first to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Immigration. [...]

Barrow maintains there is factual guilty, but not legal guilt in respect of Elvin Penner
And that brings us to the man at the centre of the scandal, former Minister of State Elvin Penner. According to PM Barrow, any suggestion that there is a cover-up [...]

Brass of police says that recent spate of shootings is gang related
Gang rivalry was at the root of a spate of shootings that started over the weekend and continued through Tuesday. As many as nine persons were shot and injured including [...]

BSCFA’s Alfredo Ortega is arrested
Alfredo Ortega has been the face of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association for years. First as Chairman and now as Vice Chairman, he has been at the fore of [...]

Valley of Peace man stabbed to chest by drunk farmer
A Valley of Peace resident is tonight admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Western Regional Hospital following a stabbing incident on Tuesday afternoon. Sometime around two p.m., forty-three [...]

PM reacts to Mark King’s scandalous comments
Minister of State Mark King came under fire recently for comments he made, claiming that they represented the policy of his government. King claimed that the government looks after, “U.D.P.s [...]

PM says NCL is fair game to getting contracts
In the same interview in which those comments were aired, Minister of State Mark King stated that he is lobbying Norwegian Cruise Lines on behalf of a security company he [...]

Is Peter Allen on his way out?
Ministry of Health C.E.O. Peter Allen has come under serious and sustained fire recently. There have been public allegations made against him by parties in the Ministry of Health who [...]

PM on comprehensive audits at health institutions
You heard earlier about Prime Minister Barrow’s comments on Health C.E.O. Peter Allen. He also touched on the comprehensive audits at the Southern Regional Hospital and the Central Region. But [...]

PM confirms reappointment of Justice Samuel Awich
The reappointment of Justice Samuel Awich has been opposed by the Opposition and the Bar Association which went as far as to issue a resolution saying it did not support [...]

Darrell Bradley will seek re-election as Belize City Mayor
Today’s press conference started with a focus on Belize City Council matters, and the matter on the top of that list is the political future of Mayor Darrell Bradley. Earlier [...]

PM says despite existing plan, there is not yet a Puerto Azul project
Since its grand introduction on the French Riviera a few weeks ago, to coincide with the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, the Puerto Azul development project, a proposed multimillion dollar tourism [...]

Town councils gear up for the thirty million-dollar Belize Municipal Development Project
The thirty million dollar Belize Municipal Development Project was the focus of a workshop in Belmopan today. The BMDP was rolled out a year ago, and so far there have [...]

Mayor Kevin Bernard says Orange Walk streets in bad shape
The Belize Tourism Industry Association, Orange Walk Chapter, on Tuesday in a release complained about the bad state of streets in Orange Walk Town. While works are currently underway on [...]

Court of Appeal upholds life sentence conviction of Kenrick Williams
Kenrick Williams, sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a minor in 2004, will remain incarcerated at the Belize Central Prison after a panel of judges at the [...]


MOH Holds Workshop In The Quality And Care For Patients
The Ministry of Health in collaboration with Mental Health Associations across the country, hosted a workshop at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino conference room over the weekend for countrywide stakeholders in the quality and care for patients program. In attendance were 18 nurses from across the country including a social worker. Corozal Psychiatric Nurse Rosalia Juchim told us more. Rosalia Juchim - Psychiatric Nurse “It’s main focus is management on drug and alcohol, addiction disorder and participants including mental health personnel, the psychiatrist nurse practitioners from across the country and the only social worker in Belize. Our objective is combating and preventing drug substance abuse in the country and some of our topics include introduction to substance use disorder, screening with use of screening tools, evaluation and treatment so we had different groups where we did the interviewing and the role play of the sessions so we had data gathering with the use of screening tools, treatment planning and some brief interventions also.”

Tenant Sues Land-Lord For More Monies Invested In Property
Today a fifty nine year old Orange Walk resident visited our studios in what he calls a last effort to finding some help in his current situation. Benjamin Popper, a resident of Otro Benque Street in Orange Walk says that he has been having some trouble with two tenants who have been renting his house on the same address since 2012. The tenants, Popper says have not been paying their full rent but it was ok with him; that is, until he decided to collect a lump sum of eight hundred dollars that had been accumulating over the course of the months. They refused to pay up and so Popper said he sued the couple. But they turned around and sued him for over six thousand dollars which they are claiming is money they invested in Poppers property. Popper told us more about the situation. Benjamin Popper – Complainant “The guy want to get aggressive all of them want to get involve to coming to court, so right owe why I am here is because I summons them for a money that they owe me a little by little about $800.00 they owe me and I carry check and we went to court they summons me for six thousand four hundred and odd dollars. I summons them for eight hundred and now they summons me for six thousand four hundred dollars; three thousand it for the material and two thousand and odds dollars is for labor but let’s go say that I agree that they invest, they never invest it for me I am not winning nothing out of that they invest it in themselves so now should I have to pay them and the law give benefit as the rights and they have receipts for everything and the judge is with them and I can’t defend myself.”

Isabelle Swasey Winner Of Spelling Bee Competition
Yesterday we told you about the winners of the 20th National Spelling Bee Competition that saw Orange Walk district place runner up in the competition. After 3 hours of competition and reaching up to round 7, 3 students emerged as the best of the 12 finalists including Louisiana Gov’t School finalist, Isabelle Swasey. We got her reaction to the competition today while attending school. Isabelle Swasey “I am very trilled at this moment. Some parts were easy and some parts were hard.” Maria Novelo – Reporter “Tell us more about it, the words that you were given was it foreign to you, did you know them?” Isabelle Swasey “Well, it is the training that I got, had seven coaches but they are very good coaches. Some word had silent letters and some randomly they put in the reserve.”

Louisiana Primary School Wins Coca Cola Banner Competition
And while the Louisiana Primary school boasted the second best speller, history shows that the schools performance in competitions of art and sports is another strong hold. This weekend, they snagged first place in the Coca Cola Banner competition which is held simultaneously with the Spelling Bee competition. Teacher Alginold Bennett says it was a collective effort between teacher and students. Alginold Benett “Two years we won it with a banner that it was the first time not a rectangular shape and this year we were actually competing not against the other districts but we were competing against ourselves basically. Next year we have some talented speller inline to take over from Isabelle and we will be there again at Spanish Lookout getting that first price again in the banner competition and this time also in the Spelling Bee, I would like to mention the name of the teachers who worked hard on that banner because without their hard work we wouldn’t get that first place every year; we have of course Miss Rosy who you have spoken to already, we have Miss Cruz, Miss Sharon, we had Miss Lily who had that wonderful idea of using an umbrella to create that bag, we had that strong support of the administration, Miss Debbie and Miss Perla and Mr. Rick and we had other teachers like Miss Zenaida and Mr. Jose and some students, Noel and Naizer, and Loaney whose input was instrumental in getting that banner the way it was and we even had my art students , it is a really nice idea that when put together created a beautiful blend when all the banners were up there on display the judges had no option except to award Louisiana once more the first place.”

US National Suffers Seizure Attack And Collides Into Truck
A US national residing in the Corozal District is tonight hospitalized at the Corozal Community Hospital after being involved in a traffic accident this afternoon. Paramedics were called to Fifth Avenue around 1:30 this afternoon and observed a red Dodge 1500 pickup truck bearing license plate C17407 with extended damages to its front portion. CTV3 News understands that the diver of the truck, US national Nancy Neftchi, had a seizure attack while driving the vehicle which caused her to lose control and ran into a parked freightliner cargo truck belonging to ServiTech, which was parked in front of courts.

Road Conditions Causing Financial Loss Across The Board
Whether you ask a vendor, the layman, businesspersons or any individual residing in Orange Walk Town their sentiments towards the towns road infrastructure will be the same. Since the incumbent town council took office, the pleas and cries from residents to Central Government have gone on deaf ears. It was one of their biggest promises made to Orange Walkenos in their manifesto and today the dilapidated streets is at its worse condition despite the councils efforts to maintain them. But if we talk about streets, it is not only those that fall under the council’s jurisdiction that are in deplorable conditions. So is the pot hole ridden Philip Goldson Highway, especially the portion that runs through Orange Walk Town. But the effect goes beyond mounting mechanic bills because according to the Belize Tourism Industry Association Orange Walk Chapter, the bad condition of the highway is causing a trickling financial loss across the board. In that light, the association lashed out at the Government in the form of the press release on urgent repairs to the Towns roads. Lourdes Saldivar, interim Vice President of the Association expressed much discontentment and frustration in relation of the streets of Orange Walk Town.

Hawaiians Product Took Second Place In Caribbean Micro financing Award
In last night’s newscast we presented to you the success story of seventeen year old Eider Romero founder of ER’s Icy Treats who won Best young entrepreneur in the Caribbean in the third annual Citi-CMFA Caribbean Microfinance Awards. Tonight, we feature the success of twenty-five year old Eliel Reynoso owner of Hawaianas who won second best young entrepreneur in the Caribbean and took one thousand five hundred US dollars as his prize. Here is his story. Dalila Ical – Reporting On a hot day like today one of these shaved ice is refreshing and somewhat heaven sent. But, this is no ordinary “ice”. This product has a unique zest that has propelled its inventor to success. He is twenty-five year old Eliel Reinoso who has been self-employed for the last three years. Eliel Reynoso – Micro-Entrepreneur “The first mixture that I did was the Hawaiian; I put some lime, salt and pepper and pine apple so it is mixed so that whenever I mixed it up in the cup it stays like sweet and sour right, it doesn’t stay that sour and that sweet and then I have the fruit cocktail which is the milk syrup pineapple and papaya and then I have this one which is the chocolate cocktail still milk syrup, pineapple and papaya and then I add the chocolate Hershey’s on top and then I have the tam bran and the chamois too I have basically seven product.”

Re: Today's Belize News: June 12, 2014 [Re: Marty] #492174
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Corruption Exists In Civil Service
The Central Health Regional and the Southern Regional Hospital Audits were leaked to the media and it pointed out to gross misused of funds by its administrators. During his press conference, PM Barrow, described is as plain stealing. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW Prime Minister “Well I will point to the fact that the audits are commissioned by the ministry, by the Government, precisely because if there wasn’t a suspicion that all was not well, there was recognition that there was a need to find out. So, in a sense we are being hoist on our own petard; you commission audit and no one will give you any credit for that by way of saying that you are trying to get to whatever is wrong; what they do is give you a stick licking when the audits disclose that in fact, public officers and again, when they talk about ministerial corruption – fine…let us have no argument with that but please recognize that there is a great deal of civil service corruption and that Auditor General’s report fingers a ring of public officers…..but let us hope that what the audit discloses will mean that every effort will be taken to try and better police the system in order to avoid the kinds of irregularities and out right stealing that has clearly been taking place.”

Barrow Says, “There Is No Puerto Azul Project.”
Puerto Azul- it’s the multi million dollars project designed to be built in Northern 2 Caye of Lighthouse Reef. It’s described as a mega project for the mega rich and fabulous. The environmental community has announced its utmost concern of the project. Prime Minister addressed the matter. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW Prime Minister of Belize “There is no Puerto Azul Project; there is this proposal; there is this concept and indeed Government has engaged the potential developers about their ideas but it has not gone beyond that. I know for a fact that, Lighthouse Reef, that the Puerto Azul people are not the owners of that property. They have, as I understand it, made some sort of an escrow deposit as part of their efforts to try and acquire ownership and by the way, the ownership which is in private hands has nothing to do with this Government; so, let us be absolutely clear about that. But they come with a concept, we want foreign investment, we want an investment in tourism and as a Government we are obliged to give them a listen. Certainly, when I first met them, they had called on me some months ago; a lot of what they were describing struck me as absolutely unrealistic and complete wishful thinking and I think I told them that. So, even from then they were sent to scale down their concept.”

Bar Association Application Denied Ref. Justice Awich
Last week it was reported that the Bar Association was not pleased with the re-appointed of Justice Awich to the Court of Appeal. A resolution passed by the Bar Association says that the Bar condemns the appointment of Court of Appeal judges on short term contracts….and calls on the Government to discontinue the private negotiation of the terms and conditions of service for Court of Appeal judges. Prime Minister Dean Barrow responded to the Bar Association. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW Prime Minister of Belize “We had no obligation to consult the Bar Association; we had an obligation to consult the Leader of the Opposition, who then in-turn consulted the Bar Association setting in motion the process that saw them actually issue a resolution then the Leader of the Opposition writes me and says, ‘this is the Bar Association’s position and therefore I don’t concur. It strikes me that he is not discharging his constitutional duty. If he says, ‘look, here is what the Bar Association says and here is what I say as Leader of the Opposition and let me show you the extent to which my position is informed by the position of the Bar’…but simply to tell me what the Bar’s position is, he is failing in his constitutional responsibilities.

PM Says Danini Stays
Prime Minister Dean Barrow also spoke of the appointment of Danini Contreras as the Director of the Drug Inspectorate Unit- something the Pharmacist’s association was against. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW Prime Minister of Belize “Miss Contreras, who is Minister Contreras’ daughter has a degree, is qualified; they say she doesn’t have experience; well, I don’t know how you get experience except by in fact, working and what qualifies you to work is the acquisition of these degrees, these certifications. I understand that I will never get the Pharmacy Association to agree with us and I am afraid that respectfully then, we will have to continue with the difference of opinion there.”

PM Tells BGYEA to Plant Corn on Their Lands
The Big Grass Youth Empowerment Association, BGYEA, forms part of the Rod of Correction, and BGYEA wants to plant corn in the buffer zone of Harmonyville on the George Price Highway. During his Press Conference Prime Minister Dean Barrow firstly criticized the NTUCB for taking BGYEA’s side and said that there will be no planting of corn. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW Prime Minister of Belize “I don’t understand how the NTUCB can say this is about planting corn and an uncaring, cruel, mean Government wanting to stop the people from planting corn. That is not the issue at all; all we are saying is that you can’t plant corn on the road reserve for two obvious reasons: the road reserves are there for a purpose and the road reserves belong to the Government and people. Why on earth is there no reference to the fact that it is one thousand three hundred and twenty seven point one three nine acres (1327.139) that exist at Harmonyville; one thousand and about forty leases have been issued by this Government to the Harmonyville collective. Everything has been given out to them; Government facilitated this by having the Lands Department meet on Saturdays and all this was done on the backs of an acquisition of the property of which Government and tax payers had to pay one million nine hundred and ninety thousand seven hundred and eight dollars and fifty cents ($1,990,708.50) for; we did all that.

Family Members Speak Out on Cob’s Incident
When we spoke with Corozal Police yesterday they told us they were not cetain whether the injuries suffered by Leocadio Cob of Xaibe Village were as a result of an assault or a hit and run incident. Today Love News spoke with Cob’s nephew, Stephen Martinez who said Cob was the victim of a traffic incident. STEPHEN MARTINEZ “I see when he got thrown out there and then people came and the ambulance was called but they came half an hour later and the police came and they picked him up. When they picked him his head was bloody and his eye was coming out. If they had beaten him his eye wouldn’t have come out; that was a knock down incident. When we came back, I saw my uncle right there on the side. We saw a white vehicle that allegedly knocked down my uncle. The vehicle was there parked but no one came out. The tire tracks are still there where he parked. After that I saw him leave and he never came back. The police still hadn’t gotten here when the vehicle left.”

Aspiring Politician Detained For Outstanding Child Support Payments
He has been in the news more often times than not and it is usually for the lobbying efforts for the Belize sugar cane farmers….but tonight we tell you of the Vice President of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, Alfred Ortega’s plight as he was arrested and detained at the Orange Walk Police Station for an estimated two hours due to an outstanding debt of an estimated eleven thousand dollars for child maintenance. Reports to Love News are that he was picked up by police from his home in Trial Farm Village at around two o’clock this afternoon on the strength of a committal warrant. He was released about two hours later but Love News has been unable to confirm whether Ortega paid the outstanding amount in full or if he had made some payment arrangements at the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court. Ortega has submitted his name in the Orange Walk North Standard Bearer convention under the umbrella of the People’s United PArty.

Court of Appeals Dismisses Case of Convicted Murderer
An appeal by Kenrick Williams, who was convicted of the murder of 16 year old Elia Gonzalez and sentenced to life imprisonment, was dismissed today by Belize Court of Appeal. Williams’ conviction and sentence were affirmed. The incident occurred shortly after 3 p.m. on March 23, 2004 0n the Conception\Libertad Road in the bushes near to a water tank. According to the evidence, Williams met Gonzalez on the Conception\Libertad Road and took her into the bushes and had sex with her. He was squeezing her throat while he was having sex with her and when he was finished he observed that she was not moving. Williams’ attorney, Phillip Palacio, had appealed on the main ground that the learned trial judge failed to give to the jury the Mushtaq direction which means that the judge should have told the jury that if it found that the caution statement given by Williams was obtained under duress it should disregard the statement. The response by the Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lyn Vidal was that even if the Jury was not given the Mushtaq direction there was sufficient circumstantial evidence for the jury to convict the appellant. Williams was convicted of murder on July 4, 2012. He was sentenced to life 14 days later. The trial was his second. The jury was unable to reach a verdict at the first trial.


BNTU Waits on Final Assessment of Merger
As we have been reporting three Belize City high schools on the South-side have planned to engage each other’s resources to provide the best education to their students. Some 500 students, not including new entrants, will benefit from this first-of-its-kind program administered by the Secondary School Management Unit of...

Candidate for PUP Standard Bearer Arrested Before Convention
Alfredo Ortega, a candidate running for PUP Standard bearer Orange Walk North Constituency, was arrested today in the peak of Candidacy. According to reports at about 2 o’clock this after, Orange Walk police went to detain Ortega at his home in Trial Farm over a Committal Warrant. Ortega was...

Prime Minister Speaks on Rod of Correction
The Prime Minister of Belize hosted a press conference this afternoon in Belize City. With numerous social issues raised recently and the formation of an amalgamation of unions, social and activist organizations, the Prime Minister spent a great deal of the press conference addressing not only the formation of...

Darrell Bradley Will Run for Belize City Mayor Again
It’s now official: Mayor Darrell Bradley will run for that post again under the aegis of the United Democratic Party (UDP). This afternoon  UDP leader Dean Barrow announced that an understanding had been reached between the Mayor and the two men waiting in the wings to potentially replace him,...

Unions Scrap for Greater Salary Adjustment
The Government of Belize has estimated that teachers and public officers, based on a special formula of 50% of gross revenue, will receive some $22 million more in salary, not including increments, for the next three years. It is the biggest of 23 proposals under discussion for the past...

Unions Not Ready to Sign Collective Bargaining Agreement
As previously noted, the salary adjustment issue is the biggest one, but only one of the 23 proposals on the table for the collective bargaining agreement since 2008. The unions have been given a deadline of June 19 to agree to the entire agreement, even as Prime Minister Dean...

Man Stabbed to the Chest for No Apparent Reason
A man was stabbed to the chest and he says it was for no apparent reason. Yesterday afternoon, 43-year-old Luis Guevara, a Belizean labourer of Valley of Peace, Cayo District, was at home at Santos Amaya’s farm located 4 miles north of Valley of Peace. That is when he...

Teenagers Charged for Robbery
Delwyn Tun, a Belizean of San Joaquin Village, Corozal District, reported that on Saturday the 7th June 2014 about 10:00pm, he had a few drinks at a bar and at about midnight, he headed home on his bicycle. When he reached near the BTL tower towards the Phillip Goldson...

Dangriga Market Back on the Way
The 2013 Dangriga Market Controversy placed a black eye on the once good name of The Social Investment Fund known as SIF and as such, the organization was compelled to let go its former Executive Director among others. Earlier this year, the organization announced its new executive director and...

Eric Chang has Mayor’s Approval
Late last year he was in hot water with his boss and the people of Belize but Councilor Eric Chang appears to be back in the good graces of the former, if not the latter. He was suspected, but never proven, to be the courier of the Won Hong...

Penner has Been Punished; Auditor General’s Report is Nothing New
The Prime Minister then turned to the issue of Elvin Penner, who has been kicked out of Cabinet and hung out to dry by his own colleagues in relation to his procuring a passport and nationality certificate for South Korean Won-hong Kim. PM Barrow maintains that he has done...

Ministers’ Fraternizing with Potential Investors ; Questionable but not Illegal
Ministers receiving gifts from potential investors in Belize, or trips to exotic parties in Cannes France to meet with potential investors is not illegal in Belize. While much has been said about the fact that two of Belize’s ministers were seen fraternizing at the Cannes Film Festival with  investors...

Patrick JonesPJ

PM says Penner has been punished; Auditor General’s Report is nothing new
Prime Minister Dean Barrow today addressed the long-running issue of former junior minister of Immigration Elvin Penner, and his role in the Kim Wong Hong passport scandal. Penner was kicked out of Cabinet and hung out to dry by his own colleagues in relation to his procuring a […]

Unions want further negotiations on collective bargaining agreement
More than five years ago, a specially-constituted negotiating team of senior Government officials, later including a three-man select committee consisting of Ministers Patrick Faber, Senator Charles Gibson and Senator Godwin Hulse, and at times Prime Minister Dean Barrow, and that of the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU), Public […]

COLA hints at contents of Auditor General’s Preliminary Report
Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) says it has been given a copy of the 25-page preliminary report of the Audit Department with findings in its long-running investigation of the work of the Immigration and Nationality Department under ex-Minister of State Elvin Penner. COLA says it is […]

Historian and Muslim leader Ismail Shabazz dies
76 year old Ismail Omar Shabazz, a leading Muslim thinker and historian and founding member of the United Black Association for Development (UBAD) and later the Belize Rural Economic Development Agricultural Alliance (BREDAA) died on Tuesday after a long battle with illness. Shabazz was one of the first […]

Police Department streamlines recruitment exam
The Belize Police Department is changing the way recruits are taken into the Police Academy for training to become police officers. According to a press release issued by the Police Press Officer, the entrance exam, which will now be prepared and administered by the National Police Training […]

Stabbing in Valley of Peace leaves man hospitalized
A man from Valley of Peace village, Cayo district is hospitalized in stable condition at the Western Regional, following a stabbing incident on Tuesday afternoon. 42 year old Luis Guevara was stabbed in the chest. Police say that around 2 pm on Tuesday, Guevara was at home […]

US Capital Energy completes drill pad in Toledo
US Capital Energy is finalizing pre-drilling exercises at its exploration site inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park, despite ongoing opposition from certain Maya buffer communities. This week, officials of US Capital Energy confirmed that the company has completed construction of the drilling pad, bringing it one step closer […]

How Poverty is Changing Rice and Beans in Belize
“Rice and beans” is as Belizean as you will get….and traditionally, this generously served dish included rice swollen in coconut-milk-flavored whole beans soup, choice of meat with gravy, fried plantain, stuffing and potato salad. The original recipe for potato salad included diced broiled potato, onion, carrots, green peas, eggs seasoned with salad cream and a […]


The Belize Mango
What are those kids doing up in trees? Why are people walking around smiling and sticky with stains down the front of their shirts? What are all those big flat seeds suddenly appearing on the ground? And what is that lovely smell emanating from all those houses? It’s June and mango season is in full swing in Belize. Yes, it’s that time of year again when mango famine had turned to mango feast and everyone gets into the act, eating this delicious fruit raw, juiced, in baked goods or put up as jams and preserves while debating passionately on which of the many species is the best. Mango trees have been in Belize as long as anyone can remember, and long before commercial cultivation they were seen in many a yard and scattered along roadsides, often growing as a result of someone tossing away a seed after a snack. Villagers along the coast in areas such as Gales Point Manatee would load up dories (dugout canoes) and make the long haul up to Belize City to sell them in the markets. Mangos are now commercially grown, but the backyard variety is still the mainstay of local consumption, with reputations made or broken on the strength of one’s mangos. The mango, or Mangifera indica for the botanically inclined, is indigenous to south and southeast Asia, has been a big part of India’s culture and cuisine for thousands of years and is one of the most widely cultivated tropical fruits in the world. The mango is a hearty and long lived tree, with some still bearing fruit after 300 years. The long taproot can travel 6 m or 20 feet below ground to, along with feeder and anchor roots, support trees up to 40 m (131 ft) tall with evergreen leaves and small flowers giving off a sweet aroma.

EDM Insanity at Meluchi's
Meluchi's is the place to go Friday if you want to hear some great trance. The EDM vs. Dancehall Invasion has a great line up of DJ's, including Xavier, DJ Mesmerize, DJ RM, DJ Blue, and DJ Kid. The music starts at 9:00, and there won't be any talk. Adma Chuc will be there taking pictures, and they request you wear white or black for the - here's something different - spray on tickets.

The GREAT Program in Cayo
64 students in Unitedville got their GREAT certificates. GREAT, implemented around 4 years ago, stands for Gang Resistance Education and Training Program, and the program teaches students to be better citizens. Thaks, and keep up the excellent work, PC's! "Instructions under GREAT began at the Unitedville School in September of last year and ended in March of this year. Instructor Ciriaco Medina, who is Police Constable 1121 and member of the Community Policing Unit at the San Ignacio Police Formation, gave out the certificates this evening, telling students, 'I expect good things from you guys, don’t let me down.' Jason Jones, along with Roland Augustine from the Community Policing Program at the San Ignacio Police Formation also joined in this evening to encourage students to continue being good citizens. 'For every action there are consequences…the great program has rules, do not steal and fight,” reminded Roland Augustine.'"

BR>Power interruption 8:30am to 1:00pm, Saturday, June 14, Placencia Peninsula< Maya Lagoon, Plantation and Belize Lands Development. Two 10-minute power interruptions from 8:30 to 8:40am and 12:50 to 1:00pm will affect Coco Plum, Maya Beach, Poinciana Drive, Coconut Walk and Forest Lagoon Estate. BEL to facilitate development and repair damaged transformer in area.

“Morning Has Broken” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Up around 04.15 hours yesterday. A bit earlier than usual I think because in my sleep my subconscious thought was reminding me that this was going to be a BIG day. The day that our boat was going to be towed from Captain Shark’s Boatyard in the DFC area to Louis Gillett’s workshop in Boca Del Rio. Louis is the engineer who we hope will make our sick engine well. It didn’t too long to make my mug of black coffee (it never does, that’s why it’s called instant!), pick up the iPad and be out on the veranda. In the dark. I took the camera out there as well just so you get an appreciation of just how dark it is. There’s very little that can be seen at that time of the morning but there are plenty of sounds. The breeze rustling through the trees. And now that we have a palapa either side of us I can hear it rustling through them too. There’s the sound of fish (I’m told its snappers) launching themselves from the lagoon and then the splashing sound as they re-enter the water. I’m also convinced that I hear the sound of crocodiles as they swish their tails to propel themselves though the water.

In Belize, there is an "open season" during which lobster -- the "gold" of the Belize sea -- can be harvested legally. The season starts on June 15th and ends on Feb 14th of the following year. This mechanism set in place to protect the sustainability of the industry. Long before the tourist destinations of Ambergris Caye, Placencia, and Caye Caulker became tourist hubs, they were fishing villages. In fact, many of today's local entrepreneurs and the educated elite of these destinations have the lobster industry to thank for their current successes. It was the success of the fishing industry which paid for their studies and subsequent business investments.

Lobsterfest celebrates the crusty crustacean's impact on the local economies. It is usually a time for fun, merrymaking, good eating, dancing, laughter, and great family time in the sun. The national beer of Belize, Belikin, has launched an ad for Lobster Fest. It features tantalizing scenes of revelers enjoying Lobster Fests all over the country. The first scene features tourists in colorful beachwear strolling down crowded, white, sandy, festival streets, possibly in Caye Caulker or Placencia.

The Calabash fruit (gourd) is found in a few environments of Belize. For the most part it can be found in the low-lying pine and palmetto savanna system in the flatland closer to Belize City. It is a rustic crooked tree that seems to have painstakingly grown from arthritic roots. This fruit has served as great utility and is also deeply rooted in ancient Maya mythology. Forest workers, like ancient Maya before them, used the dried and gutted calabash fruit as a water-carrying capsule where they would plug the hole used to “disembowel” the inside of the fruit. Once dried, it makes a wonderful water carrying device which they would plug with dried corncob. Its a pretty unique innovation with organic materials. Again, the jungle provides. The more mesmerising story of the calabash tree and fruit is found in the deepest and darkest mythological corner of the ancient Maya belief system. In summary, the story goes that the original first twins in history were brought up without the knowledge of the ancient Maya sacred ball game. The story continues that a rat, their friend, suggested to them that if they would give him extra food he would show them a secret their father hid from them. They were obliged and fed the rat and the rat in turn went into the rafters of the house and presented them with a solid rubber ball, elbow and knee pads, and a pair of rubber and stone yokes designed to protect the waist. Wow! Imagine 2 young boys with gear to play a game. The game was on!

When the first twins were set up to play the ball game and they lost and were beheaded, one of their skulls were buried in the centre of the ball court the others skull was thrown into the forest where it stuck on a tree that bore no fruit until that moment. A lord of the underworld, known as Xibalba announced to all that no one should ever eat from that fruit (sounds a little biblical doesn’t it?). Days passed and everyone obeyed the command of the great lord. Everyone, except his daughter, sixteen year old Little Blood or “Ixquic” (we think you will remember Little Blood best!) The skull on the tree befriended her and they entered into continuous conversations. The myth continues with the skull spitting into her hand as a gift it promised her. It was a poignant moment of the myth. Through that act, Little blood was pregnant. With twins! Myths were how ancient civilisations explained or gave meaning to phenomena. This was not the first or the last virgin impregnation in mythology. This was how the Maya expressed the next chapter of their civilisation. Little Blood was found out and her father summoned the guardian owls to take her into the forest and commanded that they bring him her heart! To many, this may sound familiar (Snow White?). The owls could not do it so, they slaughtered a peccary (wild boar) and took its heart to the Underworld lord and commanded Little Blood to go through the cave and find the grandmother of her twins. She did as she was told.

If you take some time to at least attempt to imagine short bursts of migrations from Eurasia via the Bering Straits on that sheet of ice that once linked Eurasia and America, one will start to realise how incredible that journey was and certainly, how the descendants of these people created the greatest civilisation in America, the Maya. These people were hunters and gatherers all the way from 40,000BC to about 2,000BC. They never farmed. At least there is no evidence of farming then. What we do know is that the descendants of the Paleo-Indians who were the Archaic people gave way to their descendants the Proto-Maya and later the Maya people. Another important piece of information we know is that corn was” invented” in Central Mexico around 3,500BC. This one innovation changed everything over on this side of the planet as it did in the Sahel region of Africa and also as it did in the Fertile Crescent which is in the country of Iraq today. It allowed people to create civilisations which changed the world. The more mesmerising story of the calabash tree and fruit is found in the deepest and darkest mythological corner of the ancient Maya belief system. In summary, the story goes that the original first twins in history were brought up without the knowledge of the ancient Maya sacred ball game. The story continues that a rat, their friend, suggested to them that if they would give him extra food he would show them a secret their father hid from them. They were obliged and fed the rat and the rat in turn went into the rafters of the house and presented them with a solid rubber ball, elbow and knee pads, and a pair of rubber and stone yokes designed to protect the waist. Wow! Imagine 2 young boys with gear to play a game. The game was on!

Caye Caulker, Belize – How (not) to go to jail?
Once upon a time, on Caye Caulker island in Belize, I experienced how it feels like to be arrested. For nothing. I was sitting on a terrace of my hostel and chatting online with a friend that shared a terrible story with me. She was almost raped in Guatemala city that day. Terrible! She ran away, but she was in shock so she wanted to talk about it. I was totally immersed in the conversation and tried to calm her down. In the meantime, some guys from my hostel sat around me and they were in a great mood. One of them sat on a fence of the hostel’s terrace and started rolling a joint. I didn’t pay attention to what was going on around me and I didn’t really care about what they were doing. Suddenly the guy who was rolling the joint was gone. I looked up and I saw a policeman looking at me. “Lady, is this yours?” “No.” I replied and continued chatting with my friend. Her story was much more important than someone’s ganja. “Lady, who is the owner of this here?” “I don’t know.” I didn’t even know the guys name, and I felt like I had nothing to do with it, so I didn’t want to be bothered. “You have to go with me. You are the closest to this marihuana here, so until we find the person who was here before, I can’t let you go,” said the policeman. “What? I have no idea who was that guy. I’m just on my computer here, I have nothing to do with it.” “Until we’ll find the person, you have to stay with me lady. Let’s go to the police station.” At this point I was still reluctant to go, but on the other hand I knew that I had nothing to hide and I didn’t want to get into a conflict because of someone else’s stupidity. I asked the girls that were around me to witness that it was not my marihuana and they did so. It didn’t help and the policeman told them that they should be quite, because he will arrest them for disrespect. I “love” policeman like that.

International Sourcesizz

Mayan Pyramids, Crystal Caves and Cracking Coconuts in Belize
Native culture thrives in Belize, a small Central American country bordering Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the west and south. Although smaller than the state of Massachusetts, Belize boasts a population of more than 300,000 people and eight distinct racial groups. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or already acquainted with Belize, here are eight ways to encounter Native culture while you’re there: Experience the simple life on one of the many islands—or cayes—off the east coast of Belize. Opportunities abound to learn how early residents of these islands lived and explored the Caribbean coast. Book a stay at International Zoological Expeditions on South Water Caye, and learn from Mayan guides how to crack open coconuts, identify native birds and wildlife and dive near the coral reefs. Get to know the unique Garifuna culture through dance in the coastal town of Dangriga. The Garifuna are descendants from renegade African slaves who were shipwrecked in 1675 on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent. Lirahunu Satuye is a group of female dancers who tell stories about life and culture through movement, song, humor and audience participation.

Belizean conch fritters at South LA’s Joan and Sisters Restaurant
At Joan and Sisters Restaurant in South L.A.’s unofficial “Little Belize” neighborhood, cooks serve up conch fritters, rice and beans — all typical foods of Belize that represent the Central American country’s wide-ranging ethnic influences. Belizeans can be Black Creoles of slave descent, Hispanic Mestizos of Mayan and native descent, or Garifuna, a group whose ancestors are a mix of Carib Indians and West Africans arrived from wrecked Spanish slave ships in 1635. East Indians, Middle Easterners and East Asians have also made their way to country on the coast of the Caribbean. Jerome Straughan, a Black Creole from Belize, moved to the U.S. in 1980. In his Ph.D. dissertation about Belizeans in Los Angeles, he wrote that Belizeans can more easily interact with other ethnic groups in L.A. than in other places, because the city is so diverse.

Nitsche youngest to three bracelets
Final tables of $1,000 events at the World Series of Poker typically feature eight players who have yet to leave their mark on the industry and one player who has some recognition. That final table composition couldn't have been further from what was seen in Event 21, where Dominik Nitsche became the youngest three-time WSOP champion in history. Earning this victory required defeating a 292-hand final table that included 2011 November Niner Bob Bounahra, Thayer Rasmussen, Jeff Gross and Dave D'Alesandro. Rasmussen, better known online as "THAY3R", began the final table with the lead, but it was Gross who moved first, eliminating David Burt in ninth. Next, Billy Horan and Eric Milas followed him out the door at the hands of D'Alesandro. With six remaining, and five poker-household names in the mix, it was Belize's Bounahra in command, and the chips continued fly. Nitsche made his move at this point, knocking out Gross (Q-Q over A-K) in sixth, Rasmussen (10-10 over A-K) in fifth, and 2009 Aussie Million main event final tablist Zachary Gruneberg in fourth. D'Alesandro knocked out Bounahra in third (Q-Q over 7-7) and earned a 2.5-to-1 chip lead entering heads-up play.

35 Fun Gifts for Dads Who Travel
I'm a dad. I travel. Sometimes I'm bumbling through airport security with three daughters, diapers and pacifiers flying in all directions; sometimes I'm flying luxuriously solo, rocking my wireless office through Denver International Airport, en route to a new adventure in Nicaragua, Mexico, or Belize. Both of these types of Dad-travel require different levels of preparedness and equipment. Since half the battle of fatherhood is having the right tool for the job, I thought I'd offer this travel-themed Father's Day gift list. Note: The Nicaragua connection to many of these gifts is not accidental. I've been traveling there since 1998 and wanted to share some of my discoveries and connections with you -- and your traveling Dad. Before he goes anywhere, Dad needs to relax and plan his route. Get him a double-sized, triple-stitched parachute nylon hammock by Grand Trunk ($65). It's easy to hang, lightweight, quick-drying, and very packable. It's also wide enough to snuggle with the kids (or with Mom)--or to sprawl out with maps and guidebooks. Add an ultra-light Dragonfly Insect Net ($75), designed specifically to fit around a slung hammock, to keep out creatures as small as no-see-ums. This set-up would work equally well in the rainforest of Central America and the backyards of Long Island.


Video: Las Terrazas Belize: Full Guest Experience, 7min.

Video: You've got to see it to BELIZE it!, 5min.
Belize City, Belize San Ignacio, Belize Tikal, Guatemala Ambergris Caye, Belize Caye Caulker, Belize

Video: BelizeHoneymoons2, 2min.
Whale sharks and much more!

Video: Belize - Blue Hole, 16min.
At 140 ft

Video: Yo Creek (Belize) Hand Planting Sugar Cane, Part I, 1min.
Thanks to Gabriella Locke who took the video on June 11, 2013.

Video: Yo Creek (Belize) Hand Planting Sugar Cane, Part II, 1min.

Video: Yo Creek (Belize) Preparing Sugar Cane to Eat, 1min.

Video: Yo Creek (Belize) Machete Sharpening, 1min.

Video: Bridge to Belize Video, 7min.
A Photo Montage of our trip to Belize

Video: Having fun swimming in Corozal Bay, Corozal, Belize, 1min.
Enjoying the beautiful day swimming in Corozal Bay, Caribbean, Corozal, Belize. Just look at that smile.

Video: Black Pot Friday Punta Gorda, Belize, C.A. (05.09.2014), 8min.
Drums Not Guns Belize City teams up with Emmeth Young & The Talla Walla Vibrations & Fernando Landero for an epic Black Pot Friday in Punta Gorda, Belize. Creole & African Drumming alive in Belize!!!

Video: Belize 2013, 8min.
On November 2, 2013, with God's grace, a group of 21 individuals traveled down to Belize for a week to spread the Word of God. Some made this trip once before, while others were complete stangers. While in Belize, we worked as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ by ensuring God's greatest gifts were given to the people of Belize that were provided by our God and Galilee Baptist Church.

Video: Coral Gardens, Caye Caulker, Belize, Night Dive HD 19.5.2014, 9min.
Night Dive Coral Gardens

Video: Turtles of Belize, 3min.
It's always fun to see these guys!

Video: Belize - Blue Hole descent, 2min.

Video: Belikin - LOBSTER FEST 2014, 1/2min.
o matter where you go for Lobster Fest, Make it a party with Belikin Beer, the beer of Belize!

Video: Love TV Morning Show with Student Dream Flag Guests, 7min.
May 28, 2014 clips from 16-minute segment on Love TV Morning Show in Belize City with three student guests from The Agnes Irwin School who were part of a 19-student Dream Flag themed cultural connection trip to longtime Dream Flag School Burrell Boom Methodist.

Video: Harvesting Sugarcane, Orange Walk, Belize, 1min.
Farmers harvesting sugarcane north of Orange Walk Town, Belize, on June 8, 2014

Video: Crab Loading Sugarcane on Truck, Orange Walk, Belize, 3min.
Students aboard a crab loading sugarcane on a truck north of Orange Walk Town, Belize, on June 8, 2014

Video: Blackbird Caye Resort | Belize, 3min.

Video: Belize Aggressor III, 6min.
Belize Aggressor III 6min video highlights of SCUBA diving from live-aboard Belize Aggressor III, 3-10 August 2013

Video: Belize June 2014 - Trent catching a Barracuda, 5min.

Video: Main Street, Orange Walk Town, Belize, 10min.
Main Street (Orange Walk Town, Belize) from the second floor of Hotel de la Fuente on June 6, 2014

Video: Belize Health And Healing Center, 12min.

Video: Belize Large, 57min.

Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!
Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
Maruba Beach Klub and Spa is the premiere Secret Beach spa and restaurant located on the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean Sea at the center of Secret Beach, Belize
First Class Accommodations for the Budget Traveler
First Class Accommodations for the Budget Traveler

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