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Today's Belize News: November 26, 2014 #498370
11/26/14 05:03 AM
11/26/14 05:03 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

Parliamentarian Resigns; Bi-election to be held in Cayo North on January 5th
The two leading political parties have to be ready when the GG issues the Election Writ which gives them a minimum or 15 days or a maximum of 21 days before the bi-election. While the UDP has elected Dr Omar Figueroa as their standard, the PUP is yet to identify who will be their candidate. They had originally hoped to have had that candidate by January 2015, but with Mahmud’s unexpected decision, the PUP is forced to have their candidate within 15 days in the worst-case scenario. Two names have surged as possible candidates for the PUP, including well-known Attorney Michel Chebat and well-known businessman Richard Harrison. Mahmud’s decision is also making history in Belize’s politics. That is because since 1981, there has only been two bi-elections that have been called – the two were forced by circumstances. The first was to replace Derek Aikman in Freetown in 1992 after he was forced to step down after declaring bankruptcy. The second was October of 2013 in Cayo South which was forced by the death of Agripino Cawich who lost his fight with cancer. But this is the first time in Belize’s political history that a bi-election is being called by the voluntary resignation of a parliamentarian. Political observers believe that PUP will fight to retain the PUP seat in Cayo North that will keep the UDP on their toes with a very slim majority in the House of Representative. But the UDP will try to regain the UDP strong hold to stretch their slim majority and to check and flex their strength ahead of the municipal elections scheduled in seven towns and two cities on March 4, 2015.

Belizeans dominate Mexican fishing tournament in Mahahual
The Belizean fishing teams of San Pedro Town dominated the 3rd Annual Wahoo de Plata Sport Fishing tournament in Mahahual Quintana Roo, Mexico. The two-day event took place on the 22nd and 23rd of November, and five teams from Ambergris Caye participated. Following two days of intense fishing, the Reel Challenge Team headed by Enrique Marin of San Pedro Town captured the championship. According to organizer of the fishing tournament Carlos Zafra Perez, the tournament ended up being a great success for the many sea and fishing aficionados despite the forecast which called for bad weather. “The prediction for bad weather discouraged many fishermen from entering the tournament. However, the tournament also attracted avid and serious fishermen from outside of the state and from Belize,” said Zafra Perez.

The Battle is on for the semi-finals at the Mayor’s Cup Tournament
It’s been four weeks since the Mayor’s Cup Five-a-side Football Tournament started, and the semi-finals are near. There are four spots available, and one team that doesn’t have to fight for one is Dorados FC, who has automatically earned a spot for being the leading team throughout the tournament. With only one more week of games in the regular tournament season, the teams played extra hard on Saturday, November 22nd and Sunday, November 23rd, trying to gain some much needed points. In the first game on Saturday, November 22nd Eagles FC faced off against Green House FC. It was a grueling match and neither team wanted to lose, but in the end, the victory went to Eagles FC with a 5-4 point game. Pro Divers FC defeated Island Pure FC in the second game of the night in a 3-1 point game. In the third game, the unstoppable Dorados FC easily defeated Warriors FC with a 4-1 score. Swampedrito Lazy Boyz faced off against Airstrip Taxi Strikers FC in the fourth match. The game ended in a 4-2 win for the Swampedrito Lazy Boyz. FC Aluminum Fabricators narrowly defeated Venecia del Caribe in the final game of the night in a 2-1 point game.

Ambergris Today

Saga Celebrates 15th Anniversary with Top Chef Challenge
Celebrate the Saga Humane Society 15th anniversary with Saga Humane Society on Tuesday December 16, 2014, cook-off style. In closing out the year, Fido’s Restaurant and Bar will host the Saga Humane Society December cook off where the 2014 Saga Top Chef will be crowned. Ambergris Caye’s best chefs and 2014 Cook Off winners will be invited to participate in the cook off. The theme for this last cook off will be “chef’s choice” and is expected to draw a record crowd. Seating is limited to 75 total and VIP seats will be extended to the first 15 reservations. Fido’s Restaurant and Bar will be donating $1.00 directly to Saga for each draft and local rum drink sold during the event and will be serving their full menu.

Gaia Riverlodge in Top 10 Eco Resorts in Smith Hotel Awards
In a recent series of environmental initiatives, GAÏA Riverlodge is also one of the only five properties in Belize to be Green Globe Certified. The hotel prides itself in upholding the highest standard of sustainability and recently developed a fresh vegetable garden on-site, where guests can now enjoy hyper-local cuisine at GAÏA's acclaimed restaurant.

Belize Fashion Week 2014 Highlights Belizean Designers
But Fashion Week was also a great platform for new designers like 16-year-old Saskia Alejos who is still attending San Pedro High School, but has a passion for clothing designing. She was one of the designers whose line shined bright on the runway over the weekend. Char Tolentino is also a local from Ambergris Caye who amazed the audience with a stunning collection of sexy swimwear. Needless to say, Belize Fashion Week was very entertaining and a great opportunity for all the designers who participated including the bevy of beautiful models from around the country who also took the event as an opportunity to steer their modeling careers.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Bloody Violence Or just Good Chocolate?
Ok my Friends! Help needed! Had a chocolate accident yesterday and was sure refreshing! The belt gave up on our new BIG machine, placed a new one in, started it and kicked chocolate all our me!!!!!!!. All in a mad rush to have enough quality, high-end Mayan chocolate for Christmas. I need someone to come clean me while it is still available.

US Ambassador to Belize visits Corozal
Ambassador Moreno visited the Corozal district! The Ambassador met with the General Manager of Fruta Bomba Limited, Mr. Gilbert Vivas, who facilitated a guided tour of the papaya plantations in San Joaquin Village. He also visited the Belize Fruit Packers in San Andres Village. In addition, Ambassador Moreno visited the Corozal Free Zone, where he met with Chairman, David Akierman. He also took the opportunity to tour local community and also meet with American Citizens living in Corozal. What else should Ambassador Moreno know about Corozal Town? (6 photos)

Corozal Predators’ Basketball Team
The Corozal Predators’ Basketball Team makes two local sport headlines in the neighbouring state of Quintana Roo, Mexico within the last three weeks of competition. This past weekend, the Predators won over Chetumal to take the First Place lead in Bacalar with the final win against Cancun. The Predators are hoping to make national headlines in that country as they travel to the state of Guerrero, Mexico to face off on a 10 Teams Tournament. The Corozal Daily wishes the Preds, organizing staff and fans the best of luck. We thank all the financial supporters on their behalf.

The Gateway Youth Center officially opened today in Belize City
The Center is an intiative of the Community Action for Public Safety (CAPS) Project, which is funded through a loan facility between the Inter-American Development Bank and the Government of Belize. The project is being executed by the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, and is a part of the Education Support Services of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. The Gateway Youth Center offers organized instructional programs and support services under the following categories: Literacy and Math program, Afterschool Programs, Re-entry and outside referral services and family support services. Equipped with classrooms, offices, auditorium, security and recreational facilities, the Center provides a safe environment and is the ideal location for creating opportunities for youth. Youth must register in order to participate in the programs being offered by the Center. To find out more or register, contact a Youth Officer at 227-0840 or visit the Center at Dakers Street.

Power interruptions scheduled for Orange Walk and Corozal Districts on Saturday, November 29
7:00am – 3:00pm: San Antonio Road from Orange Walk Town to San Felipe including Yo Creek, Trinidad, August Pine Ridge, San Antonio, and Santa Cruz. Also 7:00am to 11:00am: San Lorenzo to Progresso including San Roman, San Luis, San Jose, San Pablo, San Juan, Douglas, Buena Vista and Caledonia; and 7:00-7:30am and 3:00-3:30pm: Blue Creek. BEL to replace utility poles and conduct repairs on high voltage lines.

Captive parrot licensing program
Just in case anyone is unaware of the captive parrot licensing program run by the Forest department. All indigenous captive parrots in Belize require a permit. The permitting program will end January 1st 2015. The permits last from the day of issue until the death of the bird. From Jan 1st 2015, nobody will be able to apply for a new permit. Anyone found in possession of an indigenous parrot without a permit will have the bird seized and they will face prosecution. Ignorance of the law will in future cease to become a valid excuse. You can find details of the program at the link below, as well as download a permit application and the standards of minimum care that have to be met before the issuance of a permit. There is no fee for a licence to keep a parrot.

Channel 7

New Year, New Representative For Cayo North
The New Year will start off with a bang for the voters of Cayo North - and that's because the date for the by-election has been set for the fifth of January 2015. The Governor General has signed the writ of election - and set nomination day for 20 days from now, on Monday December 15th. The election will be held 21 days after that on Monday, January fifth. And while that total of 41 days is fairly quick - we're told that the Barrow administration would have wished for it to be sooner - but the Christmas holidays got in the way of that plan.

GF of Accused Teenaged Male Says Diplomat Tried To Rape Him
But, first to news of a compelling story coming out of the murder of Panamanian Diplomat, Jose Rodrigo De la Rosa Stanford. As we told you last night police were quick to detain the prime suspect and even recover the Charge D' Affairs stolen vehicle. Tonight they are preparing to charge an 18 year old male for the crime. But, there's a disturbing counter narrative that has appeared. It's being led by the girlfriend of the accused. She's not saying he's innocent - she says that the teenager was acting in self defence, as he fought off an unwelcome sexual advance from the 64 year old diplomat.

Hon. Elrington Has To Speak To Panamanian Counterparts
And while the narrative and the confession from the 18 year old should serve to ease the scare in the diplomatic community - the ugly details make it no easier for Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington who has to communicate the news to his Panamanian counterpart. Today, we caught Elrington as he was heading into a cabinet meeting. He told us that he has been in contact with the Panamanian Government to assure them that the authorities in Belize are doing all they can to bring De La Rosa's killer to justice: Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs "My understanding is that he was seeing leaving his apartment at the Marina Towers on Sunday morning and then his body was found sometime on Sunday afternoon. So it was a 12 hour period within which this incident occurred. It's a very unfortunate situation. We are very saddened about it, exceedingly saddened. I had met the Ambassador, he was only been here for a brief while and I think everybody who came across him were impressed with him. They liked him very much and he was very enthusiastic, he really wanted to get the airline coming out of Panama into Belize as quickly as possible.

Hon. Fonseca Says The Blame Is On Mahmud
As we told you at the top of the news, there's going to be an election in January. That's in Cayo North - a division that went blue in the last election - but, right now it's up for grabs after the Area Representative Joseph Mahmud resigned yesterday. The UDP hopes it can re-claim the seat which it controlled consistently up until 1998 - while the PUP is hoping to hold on in an area where they currently have no elected standard bearer. Making it harder for the PUP is the fact that the outgoing standard bearer Joseph Mahmud will clearly not help his successor, whoever that will be. How do we know that? Well, he didn't tell his party leader he was resigning, and the party leader says that he didn't even tell his committee. At a press briefing at Independence Hall this morning, Opposition Leader Fonseca admitted to being caught off guard:.. Jules Vasquez "Is it something that you might have expected or were you caught off guard?" Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "Yes I would say that I was not anticipating that that would happen. If it were to happen I thought it would may have happen later on and not so quickly."

Hon. Espat Deflects Blame For Mahmud Departure
As you heard, the PUP will also be moving shortly to name a candidate, but first it has to do some house-keeping. The historic Mahmud resignation is like a body blow - and the political subtext is that the first blow against Mahmud was thrown by Deputy Leader for the West, Julius Espat. Ever since the 2012 election, he and Mahmud have been jostling for control of the west: Mahmud was chair of the Western Caucus, and Espat the Deputy for the West. Mahmud's supporters say he was eventually boxed out of that position as Chairman - and that was through the calculation of Julius Espat. Now, that is only one side of the story. Today, in Belmopan we got the other, when Espat answered the media's questions about the perceived tension between him and Mahmud. Reporter "Sir, would you say it was irresponsible for him not to notify the party and the party leader?"

Hon. Elrington Says UDP In Gear
And while the PUP tries to move on from finger-pointing to candidate picking, is the UDP's plan? We know they are eager to get it over with quickly, and we tried to speak with Prime Minister Dean Barrow about it when he came out of the Cabinet meeting this afternoon, but he told us that he couldn't grant an interview because he was running late. We did get a chance to speak with Attorney General Wilfred Elrington about the UDP's take on Mahmud's abrupt departure: Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs "That's a crisis for the People's United Party and they seem to be lurching from one crisis to the next. I am hoping that in fact the leader Francis Fonseca is not going to be adversely affected by it. These things normally have unintended consequences and I am certain that this kind of resignation brings really great pressure on him. He has been having a difficult time so far and I don't think this helps him. But certainly one has got to commend Mahmud for being principle. I imagine he is taking a principle position on matters of a political nature. I myself had at one time gone off on my own dependently, so these happens with politicians, so again, part of the reality of our democratic system, I think it's healthy. I think it is good that people can feel strong enough about an issue to be prepared to resign."

Will PUP Take Petrocaribe Funded Christmas Cheer
As we said, Petrocaribe is expected to factor significantly into this Cayo North election. Indeed, it is the driving force behind politics right now - and if you don't believe that, just ask the thousands who were rolled up to Belmopan to defend the programme a week ago. Petrocaribe is being used principally for infrastructure projects, but it is also used the Christmas Cheer programme. Last year Christmas, the opposition got shared into the Cheer programme with an allotment - albeit a lesser one - for each PUP representative. But, they took it - one prominent opposition member even asked for it in cash to reimburse himself for toys he had already bought. But, that was before the Petrocaribe challenge - since then the PUP has gone to court to try and shut down the programme as unauthorized spending.

11 Year Old Alleges Gang Rape
There is a very disturbing case of rape to report tonight - it involves an 11 year old primary girl who is alleging that she was gang raped by four men on the southside of Belize City. She told police she doesn't know all their names - but one suspect was charged today. He is 22 year old Wilfred Ramirez of Iguana Street - and she says it happened at his house late last week. He was charged with a single count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a female child under the age of 14. Ramirez who was unrepresented asked to speak in court and told the Chief magistrate, Anne Marie Smith that he is being wrongfully accused. He said he had asked for an identification parade but got none. He also said he has been detained for four days until he was charged today. He claims he even asked for a DNA test but that too was denied.

Cops and DPP Going Separate Ways
As we've been telling you since yesterday, the killing of the Panamanian Diplomat, Jose Rodrigo De la Rosa Stanford, is a high-profile case being treated in a sensitive manner. And while you might think that all authorities at the state level are being engaged to ensure that the prosecution airtight when it goes to the Supreme Court, that's not so. That's what we found out today when we contacted the Director of Public Prosecutions to inquire about her office's input into the investigation at this time. She told us that her office has not been sought for any advice on how the investigator may proceed to ensure that a prosecutable case is brought against the accused person. Typically, after a case is investigated, the DPP's Office would advise investigators on what evidence they would need to lead a successful prosecution.

Police: Fixing Up From The Inside Out
We know police love the get-tough approach, but the Eastern Police Division is trying to transform its headquarters into a customer friendly environment. A workshop was held on Customer care for 20 police officers today at the Raccoon Street Police station. Instead of learning about suppression techniques or weapons handling, they got training in topics such as effective communication skills, front desk management and job etiquette. Courtney Weatherburne found out more:.. Courtney Weatherburne reporting Usually the focus of a gathering of police officers such as this would be on weighty matters such as crime control and follow up meetings on ongoing cases. But that was not the focus of today's gathering. These officers are participating in a Customer Care and Front Desk Services Training. Douglas Hyde, Police Press Officer "The idea of the training is to better their skills, of course their approach, their public relation when dealing with the general public when they walk in and these officers who are participating in this two days training are the front line workers. These are the persons when any person walk within the precincts or headquarters here, these are the persons that they will see."

Licenses Discarded In Dirt
If ever there comes a time when you can't find your driver's license - you might want to go to the City Council Compound at mile 4 on the Western Highway where there's a virtual cemetery for them. Today, these pictures of carelessly discarded licenses went viral on Facebook. We found them at the very back of the Belize City council works department compound where some had been recently burned while others were just strewn around the fire. City Councillor Dean Samuels went on Facebook to say that the Council has to discard licenses that accumulate over time. He said they were at the city dump - but in fact they are not.

A Gateway To A New Future
The Gateway Youth Center- it is an initiation of the Community Action for Public Safety Project which aims at creating constructive use of free time for teenagers. The educational, social and recreational facility caters to both males and females who are in school and need additional tutoring and support as well as those out of school youths who wish to re-enroll in an educational institution. Today the official opening of the youth center was held and 7news was there. The project is funded through the Inter-American Development Bank and the Government of Belize. The youth center provides instructional programs such as Literacy and Math, afterschool program, re-entry and outside referral services and family services. It's equipped with classrooms, offices, auditorium, security and recreational facilities. If you are between the ages of 13 and 19, you can contact a youth officer at telephone number 2-2-7-0-8-4-0 to register to participate in the programs offered.

Yasmin and Patrick Call Names
As the three term representative in the Collet Division Patrick Faber is considered very difficult to unseat. But don't tell that to his new opponent Yasmin Shoman. She's been waging an active campaign on social media - and challenging Faber to do something about the living conditions in his division - which is one of the poorest in the country. Yesterday Faber told the media that she should have done something about it when she was in municipal office:.. Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education "To work in the division, continuing our efforts to improve the quality of life for the residence of Collet. I am going to be the first to admit and to agree with Ms. Shoman that in terms of the infrastructure, it has never been what we want it to be, but it is given that it is in an area that is difficult to develop. I would want her to show us her plan as to how she will eradicate the London bridges over Crooman Lagoon. If she can tell us that then I'll let you know. If she can show us where she is going to get the money to fill up Crooman Lagoon, so that no London Bridges are there. It will be a great initiative. I am nor even sure the Petrocaribe funds would be enough. It's a sink hole."

Bze Will Have New Mex Ambassador
Belize will have a new Mexican Ambassador. He is Carlos Quesnel Meléndez. Quesnel holds a Mexican law degree and did graduate studies at the Institute of International Law and Comparative Constitutional Law at the University of Zurich. He also has a Masters degree in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Switzerland. He joined the Mexican Foreign Service in 1990. He has served at the Embassy in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Channel 5

Bye-Election for Cayo North Set for January 2015
Joseph Mahmud handed in his resignation to the offices of the Speaker of the House on Monday indicating that with immediate effect, he was stepping down as P.U.P. Area Representative [...]

P.U.P. Leader Says Joe Mahmud Disrespected the Party
  The People’s United Party is still reeling from the devastating blow it has suffered in the wake of that announcement.  Party Leader Francis Fonseca has gone on record to [...]

Francis Fonseca Says P.U.P. Cayo North Campaign will be Spirited
While the date for the upcoming bye-election has been set for January fifth, 2015, opposition leader Francis Fonseca says that the P.U.P. will lead a spirited campaign in Cayo North, [...]

Did Wilser Chavarria Kill Panamanian Diplomat?
Tonight, eighteen year old San Martin resident Wilser Chavarria is being held by Belmopan Police, and we are told he will be charged for murder by Wednesday. Chavarria is the [...]

Panamanian Officials Arrive in Belize
This afternoon, high level representatives from the Panamanian government landed at the P.G.I.A. to deal with the gruesome murder of one of their own.  While they declined an interview, News [...]

Francis Says Mahmud’s Abrupt Resignation was a Poor Decision
The unceremonious stepping down of Joseph Mahmud on Monday as a duly elected area representative for Cayo North is raising serious concerns about the integrity and unity of the P.U.P.  [...]

Is P.U.P. Western Caucus a House Divided?
Prior to Mahmud’s resignation, there were reports of contention within the P.U.P. Western Caucus.  The rift was said to be between Deputy Party Leader, Julius Espat, and former chairman Mahmud [...]

Boots on Mahmud
The issue of Joseph Mahmud’s resignation as Cayo North area was also discussed at today’s Cabinet meeting.  News Five also raised the issue with Minister Anthony “Boots” Martinez on what [...]

“Robbery” Charged with Drug Possession
Well-known criminal figure, Kareem Lopez, aka “Robbery” was back before the court today to answer to a single charge of Possession of a Controlled Drug, being ten grams of marijuana. [...]

Attorney General Comments on Office of D.P.P.
Last week, News Five broke the story of a memo from Assistant Commissioner of Police Russell Blackett to all formation commanders. In that memo, dated September twenty-fourth, Blackett directs that [...]

Expired Drivers Licenses, Are They Being Disposed of Properly?
Earlier today, there were reports that driver’s licenses were being incinerated at the garbage dump near mile three on the George Price Highway. Residents of Belize City were incensed that [...]

Mayor Darrell Bradley on Moratorium on Taxi License Plates
On Monday evening, dozens of taxi operators representing various unions and associations across Belize City participated in a public consultation where they shared opinions on an existing moratorium on the [...]

Youth Center Opens in Belize City
The Getaway Youth Center was officially opened today at the Gwen Lizarraga Compound. The facility is intended for use by youths between thirteen to nineteen years to channel positive behavioral [...]

Police Officers Receive Training in Customer Service
The Police Training Academy in Belmopan is the location where officers of the department get the necessary physical training and knowledge to arrest crime. But while they get physical training, [...]

OCEANA Rides for Belize
OCEANA’s Ride for Belize begins this Thursday in Corozal where participants will ride-off on a four day ride across the Jewel. The OCEANA initiative is intended to create awareness on [...]


Negotiations To Resume Between BSI/ASR And BSCFA After Meeting With SICB
At a critical point in the state of affairs of the Sugar Industry a long awaited breakthrough has finally been made. There will be a crop and negotiations between the Belize Sugar Industry and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association will restart. This was agreed upon following a meeting among representatives of the BSCFA, BSI and the Sugar Industry Control Board. The meeting took over four hours and at the end of the discussion, which at points became very tense, all parties agreed on three important points. Chairman of the SICB Gabriel Martinez spoke with the media but refrained from going into much details of the discussion. Here is an unedited interview with Martinez. “The Sugar Industry Control Board met this afternoon to consider the request of the BSCFA and the points in the agenda was basically two of them; one was an update of the negotiation between the BSI/ASR and BSCFA as well the start of crop, as we agreed for the sanity and the good advancement of the negotiations, wish to first of all give thanks to all the parties that were involved, the BSCFA, BSI and representatives from government as well as independent members all parties agreed that we should start crop no delay of the crop and they also agreed that they are going to carry on the process of going back to the negotiations on the issue of the starting of the crop and I must say that it means a lot for the industry and basically, I wish not to comment on any details because that was agreed on and basically that is all what I can say.”

Opposition Leader Response To Mahmud Resignation
Yesterday we told you about the abrupt official resignation of PUP Area Representative for cayo North, Joseph Mahmud. The move comes shortly after Mahmud had stepped down from contesting the next general elections. And while there is the public debate on why or what his reasons were for resigning from the party, today the People’s United Party held a briefing at its headquarters in Belize City. Party Leader Francis Fonseca says while Mahmuds decision to not inform the party reflects poorly on him, the party will move on with an intensive campaign for Cayo North. Here is that clip provided with the help from our colleagues at 7news. Francis Fonseca – Party Leader, PUP “And in fact, that is where we are today, moving forward and yes disappointed the Mr. Mamud has resigned from the National Assembly and I think that his decision to do so and let me make it clear that his decision to do so without a consulting the party, without informing the party, without informing his executive in Cayo North, I think reflects poorly on him and I view that as disrespectful to the party.”

Suspect Detained For Diplomats Murder
Belmopan police have one man detained in connection to the murder of Panamanian diplomat Jose Rodrigo De La Rosa and he should be facing charges no later than tomorrow. Authorities have also recovered the missing vehicle and personal belongings of De La Rosa including his cellular phone. The vehicle was found in another area in Belmopan. As has been reported, the body of sixty-four year old was found in the La Choza area in West Belmopan on Sunday evening. He had sustained cut wounds to his neck and head according to police. According to reports from other media, police were led to a person of interest who gave a caution statement and then led them to the vehicle hidden in some bushes.

Corozal Police To Set Christmas Anti-Crime Operational Orders
Each year law enforcement agencies around the country “beef up” their presence on the streets and security measures to curb crime especially during this holiday season. As is customary every year, formations across the nation launch their crime prevention campaigns. And while we have yet to hear of Orange Walk Police’s plans for public security during the holidays, the Corozal Police have launched their operations to minimize crime in that municipality. We spoke to Officer Commanding the formation, Andrew Ramirez who elaborated on the initiative. “On a national level, because first I just want to mention that whatever Corozal is doing is basically on a national level; every formation must step up their patrols so what we have in place is the annual Christmas Anti-Crime Operational Orders, that Orders run from November 16th 2014 to January 15th 2015, what that does is that on a daily basis the police will have to be out in strength until 10pm Sunday to Sunday, there is ten additional officers minimum that have to do additional patrols.”

Education Department Urges Parental Involvement In Schools
That education is important for every child cannot be overstated but what happens when a parent is not as involved in their child’s or children’s’ education? Or perhaps the better question for many parents is why get involved in their education? The answer is not too much of a surprise. Research shows that when parents are involved in their children’s education they get better grades, have better attendance, obtain higher graduation rates, and get this – they develop better self-esteem, use less drug and alcohol, and have less violent behaviors. Now while the benefits are many, being involved can prove a bit difficult for some parents, particularly parents who work. The matter is an important one, and it is especially important for education officials here in Orange Walk. According to Education Center Manager, Carla Alvarez, the lack of parent participation can prove a bit overbearing. “As the child gets older we find out that we don’t see the parents as much and we have gotten to the point where there are some principals who have started to complain and starting to say that the parents are coming to us and say I can’t control my child, you discipline my child, in those communities what we are doing because we have certain communities that we have targeted, we have started what we call parenting sessions; right now we have started in Guinea Grass R.C school and we are working along with the Human Development Department and what we want to do is that we want to foster and we want to help the parent to work on their parenting skills because parental involvement is very important in a lot of communities the parent think that it is the teachers job to educate the child but it is everybody business.”

Renovation Of Orange Walk Well Underway
While you may have seen road and rehabilitation works around the Town Core, you may have drove past the orange Walk central park and seen the works being done there. It’s a great development project for the North but many residents came to us with concerns on the projects timing. Most of the people we spoke to off camera said, they could not understand why they took this “holiday” season to start on the project. Despite the concern, we are happy to report that the park works are coming along just as planned. As we have previously reported, the project is expected to be completed by February of next year. The project is one in collaboration with the Social Investment Fund, Government of Belize and the Orange Walk Town Council.

Dalla Taxi, A Main Issue Among Other Taxi Associations
And while we were filming at the park, we were approached by several persons who had concerns surrounding the operation of the “Dollar Taxis” in Town. It’s been a highly debated topic among other taxi operators who have strict laws to follow as they form part of several taxi associations. But for these Dollar Taxis, the people we spoke too claim that these operators have no regulations to follow or designated parking areas and is creating a traffic issue. We have been informed from reliable taxi operators that suggestions to set a designated parking spot for these dollar taxis and having them operate beyond the two traffic lights would ease the worries of many, but up to date, not much has been done. We’ll take a closer look at this developing story in our subsequent newscasts.

Woman Claiming She Was Robbed, Charge For Mischievous Act
Tonight a couple is in custody at the Corozal Police Department, pending charges for mischievous act. According to Corozal’s Commanding Officer, Andrew Ramirez, on Sunday night Nailea Cardenas was heading back home after spending some time with her aunt in the village of Xaibe in the Corozal District, when she was allegedly robbed. Cardenas told authorities that around 7:45pm she was riding her bicycle towards her house when a man whom she did not recognize came out of nowhere and punched her on the left eye causing her to fall off her bicycle and hit her head on the ground. Cardenas further stated to police that somehow she got up and ran back to her aunt’s home. But not before her attacker managed to get a hold of her purse which contained her cellular phone valued at $600.00bcy and $300.00 in cash. Cardenas was taken to the Corozal Community Hospital where doctors classified her injuries as harm. But why was the woman charged for mischievous act? Today when we caught up with Officer Commanding the Corozal Police Department, Andrew Ramirez, he expanded on the findings of the investigation.


Elrington Speaks on Diplomats Death
According to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington, the murder of Jose De la Rosa would not affect any diplomatic relationship between Belize and Panama. MINISTER WILFRED ELRINGTON “I am very saddened about it, exceedingly saddened. I had meet the ambassador, he has only been here for a brief while and I think everybody who came across him were impressed with him and liked him very much and he was very enthusiastic he really wanted to get the airline coming out of Panama into Belize as quickly as possible. I know that was a project he was working on with a great deal of enthusiasm. I was very disappointed to hear of his passing. Our police have been doing excellent work however and I am told in fact they are just about to charge someone for the offense, they have recovered his cellphone, vehicle and they have gotten a caution statement so if there is anything that is good about that situation it is that in fact police have done an excellent job in seeming to resolve that problem.” HIPOLITO NOVELO “Does this hinder the relationship between Belize and Panama?” MINISTER WILFRED ELRINGTON “Absolutely not, people understand that these things happen, it doesn’t reflect on the government. Crimes are committed all over the world and every minute of the day so they understand that. Panama is an exceedingly mature society and government and they understand that these things happen in the scheme of things.”

18 Year Old Charged For The Murder of Panama Diplomat in Belize
Belmopan police is waiting to charged one man for the murder of 64 year old Jose Rodrigo De la Rosa, the Charge d’ Affaires for the Panama Embassy in Belize. In most cases, we are unable to release the name of the person detained until he is charged, but his family spoke to the media giving us his side of the story and permission to use his name. And so tonight, we can tell you 18 year old Winsor Chavarria is in a holding cell and expected to be charged sometime tomorrow. Today the story took an unusual twist; Chavarria’s family told reporters that Chavarria acted in self defense. The family said that De la Rosa made unwelcome sexual advances on Chavarria. Hipolito Novelo has the details. Sixty four year old, Charge d’ Affaires for the Panama Embassy, José Rodrigo De La Rosa was found dead on Sunday evening in the Las Flores Area in Belmopan. He was found with a cut wound to the thought and injuries to the head. His accused murderer, 18 year old Winsor Chavarria of the San Martin Area, is behind bars waiting to be charged with murder. However, his common law wife, who asked to appear off camera, told us, that Chavarria acted in self defense after Del la Rosa, made unwanted sexual advances on him.

Re: Today's Belize News: November 26, 2014 [Re: Marty] #498371
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More News: Scroll up from here


Suspect in diplomat’s murder alleges self defence
On Monday we told you about the murder of Panamanian Diplomat Jose Rodrigo De La Rosa Standford, whose body was reportedly found around 4 o clock on Sunday evening about a quarter mile from La Chosa in Western Belmopan. Very little information was available as the police remained tight lipped in their handling of information regarding this case; however now we have been able to confirm that a man from the Las Flores Area, Belmopan, has been detained pending charges. The man, who is only 18 years of age, accused of the heinous murder, lead police to recover De La Rosa’s missing white vehicle which had been hidden in the bushes. All in all it seemed like the closure of a high profile murder. However the story took a bizarre turn when the common law wife of the detained spoke to the media outside the police station, claiming her common-law husband acted in self-defence, when he allegedly killed the Panamanian Diplomat.

Couple relaxing on veranda shot at
28-year-old Kareem Morris, a fisherman of Belama Phase 3, Belize City, reported that about 11:30pm on Sunday November 23, he was on the veranda of his residence, along with his common-law wife, when a clear complexion man, wearing a brown shirt, long jeans pants and black cap approached them. Upon reaching about 15 feet away from them he pointed what appeared to be a 9mm pistol at them and fired several gunshots in their direction. No one was injured; however, the cement wall of his residence was damaged. The man then ran towards the Haulover Creek and made good his escape. Three 9mm expended shells and (2) fragments were retrieved from the scene. Police investigations continue.


Panamanian diplomat murdered in Belmopan
Belmopan police are presently attempting to unravel the circumstances surrounding the shocking death of the Charge d’ Affaires of the Panamanian Embassy in Belize whose lifeless body was reportedly found, with cut wounds to the neck and head, at about 4:00 p.m. yesterday, November 23, in the western part of Belize’s capital, Belmopan. Today, police reported that the mutilated body of Jose Rodrigo De La Rosa Stanford, 64, was discovered about ¾ mile from the La Chosa area, and sometime this evening, his vehicle, a white Nissan with diplomatic license plates, which had been stolen, was recovered by police. While authorities have launched an investigation into the apparent homicide, details of the events leading up to the grisly death of De La Rosa Stanford remain unknown, and while we have confirmed that an associate of De La Rosa is currently detained and being interrogated by police, it is still unclear whether was De La Rosa killed in the area where his body was found, or if he was killed elsewhere and his body left in the area near La Chosa, where it was found by police on Sunday evening.

Bombshell: Mahmud resigns!
Since the Immigration scandal broke last year September, there have been calls for Elvin Penner, Cayo Northeast area representative of the ruling United Democratic Party, to resign from Parliament – a move which would be unprecedented in Belize’s parliamentary democracy. Although legally the provisions do exist for such a departure from electoral politics, it has never happened in Belize; that is, until this morning when the National Assembly received a resignation letter – although it was not Penner’s. It was the sudden, bombshell farewell of the PUP’s Cayo North area rep, Joseph Mahmud, who had resigned as the PUP’s standard-bearer for that division last month but who had indicated that he would continue to serve until the general elections, scheduled for 2017. The unexpected resignation of Mahmud in the middle of his first term, and with immediate effect, is unparalleled in Belize’s electoral history. In 1992, Derek Aikman, then Freetown rep for the UDP, was forced to resign due to having been declared bankrupt. In 1975, Vicente Choco crossed the floor from the UDP to the PUP, and in 1989, it was Stanley Usher who did the same, crossing from the UDP over to the PUP.

Epilepic found dead in pit latrine
Herbert Francis, 33, a resident of Eldridgeville, Punta Gorda, who suffered from seizures, yesterday was found dead in a pit latrine with his feet up and his head at the bottom of the latrine. Police took him out, and took him to the Punta Gorda Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival. Francis suffered a seizure and fell head-first into the pit, causing him to suffocate. He was found about 10 hours after he fell into the pit, police said. No foul play is suspected, and the death has been ruled to have resulted from a seizure and suffocation.

Ellis Meighan, Jr., remanded for attempted murder of Carlos “Zimbab” Abraham
Two persons, Ellis Meighan, Jr., and a 17-year-old minor, appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, who arraigned them on attempted murder and related charges this morning. Police charged the two with the attempted murder of Carlos “Zimbab” Abraham, 43, a reputed “general” of the George Street gang. No plea was taken from the two accused, because attempted murder is an indictable offense and will be heard in the Supreme Court if the prosecution can make out a prima facie case against Meighan and the minor when the matter comes up for a preliminary inquiry. In addition to the attempted murder charge, Meighan and the minor are also facing charges of use of deadly means of harm and dangerous harm against Abraham.

Mexican girl, 16, reported missing in Belize
Noemi Briceño Trapp, 16, a Mexican national of Chetumal, Mexico, whose grandparents and other family members are Belizeans of August Pine Ridge in the Orange Walk District, has been reported as missing since September 4. The family reported that Trapp left her Chetumal home ,Thursday, September 4, and came over to Belize by the way of Botes, a bordering village between Belize and Mexico, along the Rio Hondo, but she did not arrive at her grandparents’ home in August Pine Ridge. She has not been seen or heard from since. On the night of Tuesday, November, 4, the family told police, the girl communicated with them and said that she was being detained at Belize’s northern border by police.

Cañeros and SICB to meet next week
Today was set as the deadline for the ultimatum that the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and it membership, at a meeting last Saturday, November 15, gave the Government-appointed industry regulator, known as the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB), to arbitrate the longstanding dispute between the cane producers and the sugar processors, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI)/American Sugar Refineries (ASR). Since we understand that two of the members of the SICB are presently out of the country, a meeting could not be arranged, and therefore, the BSCFA has agreed to wait until November 25, which is the date that the SICB had first planned to hold its meeting. Also of note is that today, the BSCFA executive met with Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Gaspar Vega, and while we have not been able to receive any official comment on the outcome of that meeting, we were told that Hon. Vega simply encouraged the BSCFA to return to the negotiating table with BSI/ASR — something BSI/ASR has been reluctant to do.

Marion Jones Sports Complex to be opened soon, says Sports Minister
Earlier this year, this newspaper chronicled the setbacks that have befallen successive governments as they have attempted to complete a comprehensive facelift of the Marion Jones Sports Complex, one of the country’s most prominent sporting facilities, and today, five years after the last groundbreaking ceremony for the facility was held, current Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Hon. Herman Longsworth, announced that the protracted refurbishments on the stadium should be completed by the end of this month. If works go as planned, the completion of the facility will be welcomed news for both athletes and sports enthusiasts, especially in the population center, Belize City, and when the media caught up with Longsworth at an unrelated event today, he indicated that the long awaited conclusion of the upgrades on what had become a project that was plagued by holdups, is right around the corner.

Five-A-Side Football Tournament in Orange Walk
The Orange Walk Five-A-Side Football Tournament got started on Tuesday, November 18, at the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk Town. Five games were scheduled to open the tournament. The results are as follows: In game 1, in the Inter-Office Division, Leo Corado scored 2 goals for Cuello’s Store, who registered their first big W of the season over Centaur, 2-0. Game 2, in the Open Division, saw Rig Parts overcoming Minions, 5-1, with 3 goals from Mauricio, and 1 each from Nelson and Christian. Filodelfie Quinonez scored the lone tally for Minions. In game 3, in the Open Division, it was Landy’s drawing, 1-1, with Leonardo’s. Bram scored his first goal to open the scorecard in the first half for Leonardo’s, but Enrique Castillo evened the score for Landy’s in the second half.

FFB seeks help in locating its Garifuna drums
The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) needs your help in locating these drums. A set of Garifuna drums, a Primero and a Segundo, bearing the name and picture of the Jaguar, designed, built, engraved and donated to the FFB by Mr. Austin Rodriguez. These drums were removed from the Federation Headquarters in Belmopan. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of these drums is asked to please call the Federation at telephone numbers 822-3410 or 822-3717. Thank you for your kind assistance in the recovery of our Federation’s drums.

Nobody safe, 6 teams in hunt for 4 playoff spots in PLB Opening Season
If the Premier League of Belize (PLB) was looking for a formula to obtain parity in the league, it could hardly have done much better, where the competitiveness of this race to the playoff is concerned. Despite the fact that 3 teams are now out of playoff contention, none of them is a pushover, and there is still room for upsets and heartbreaks for the 6 frontrunners chasing 4 playoff spots, as the regular season draws to a close. And none of the 6 teams is yet certain of a playoff berth. Week 6 was completed over the past weekend, with two games each on Saturday and Sunday, November 22 and 23. And there was nearly a monumental upset in capital city Belmopan on Saturday night, where star studded Police United FC found themselves trailing 3-1 at halftime against visiting Paradise/Freedom Fighters from Punta Gorda. But in the end, after Freedom Fighters lost their sweeper and captain Wilmer Garcia to a red card early in second half, Police came back strong to take the 5-3 win. It was a real scare for Police United, whose playoff hopes may have been in serious jeopardy. Shaking the net for Paradise/Freedom Fighters were Kenroy Arthurs (19’) and Wilmer Garcia (23’ PK & 34’); while Police got their goals from Harrison “Cafu” Roches (28’ & 51’), Marlon “El Matador” Meza (59’ PK), Kishane “Grill” Pech (79’) and Amin “Tacos” August, Jr. (90+’). The other Saturday encounter took place at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Independence, and saw visiting Belmopan Bandits leaving with a 1-nil victory, courtesy of a 36th minute strike by Elroy “Bibs” Kuylen, to deal home standing Placencia Texmar Assassins their first season loss and first goal conceded.

Editorial: Politics and money
The individuals and corporations who finance political parties in Belize, as indeed all over the world wherever there is electoral “democracy,” may be referred to as “smart money.” These are calculating people who know what they are doing, and they don’t make mistakes. In Belize, the smart money finances politicians in order to get returns on their investments. In the United States, planet earth’s superpower, by contrast, a lot of the financing of the political parties is done by citizens and companies who have a certain agenda or socio-political philosophy which they want to push. This is not to say that when the party they are financing wins, the financiers of American politics do not expect to get back their money, and then some. They do. But, it is to say that in Belize the return on the investment is the primary, and often only, concern for the financiers of the major political parties. And, this is the case in Belize because there is very little difference in socio-political philosophy between the People’s United Party (PUP) and the United Democratic Party (UDP).

From the Publisher
Inside the House of Representatives, to the immediate right of the Prime Minister, sits a man who has been publicly accused of murder. Earlier this year, the Commissioner of Police was ordered by the Chief Justice to carry out a thorough investigation into the involvement of the Hon. Elvin Penner in the sale of a Belize passport to an indicted South Korean businessman who was locked up in a Taiwan prison when the said Belize passport was processed and flown to Taiwan for delivery to him. It really does not appear as if the Commissioner of Police made any serious effort to do as he was instructed to do in the Penner matter. So that, it is very, very difficult for the people of Belize to believe that the police will carry out a thorough investigation into the aforementioned murder allegation. In fact, the accused murderer has gone on a legal offensive. He has retained the Prime Minister’s law partner to commence libel proceedings against his political opponent, the person he considers ultimately responsible for airing the murder allegation on national radio, and so that political opponent must shut his mouth or risk aggravating whatever damages the courts may award to the plaintiff, who, to repeat, sits next to the Prime Minister in the House.

Belize’s first confirmed case of Chikungunya in Las Flores
Chikungunya, a viral mosquito-borne illness which began to spread in the Caribbean a year ago. Director of Health Services (DHS), Dr. Michael Pitts, told Amandala that the positive result was confirmed last week, following tests conducted at the laboratory of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), based in Trinidad and Tobago, on samples taken from a woman of Las Flores, Belmopan, whom he declined to identify. Pitts said that Chikungunya (also known as Chik-V) has been a concern since it began to spread in the Caribbean in 2013. “We have all the conditions: the two subtypes of mosquitos, environmental conditions, the rains,” Pitts said. He noted that Chik-V has been spreading in many countries in the region, including Jamaica, Grenada, Santa Domingo and Salvador, the country from which Belize’s index case was imported.

Allegedly intoxicated cop charged in Pan
Constable Luis Cobarruvias, of the Belmopan police, has been released from custody on a bail of $1,500 and ordered to return to court on January 15, after he was arraigned in the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court this morning on charges of discharging a firearm in public, common assault, damage to property and obtaining services by deception. Police claim that while in uniform, at about 7:30 Thursday evening in Belmopan, Cobarruvias, in an intoxicated state, broke a taxi cab mirror, refused to pay a taxi fee after he was taken to his destination, and fired shots in the area. In taking further action against him, the police department has interdicted him from duties and he will face additional charges in front of a police tribunal.

Missing Canadian national, 59, found floating in Mopan
The lifeless body of a Canadian national who had been reported missing since this past Saturday, November 22, was retrieved from the Mopan River yesterday, Sunday, wearing only a black jacket, San Ignacio police reported today. According to police, Canadian accountant Nicole Warner, 45, a naturalized Belizean, told them that at about 4:00 p.m. last Friday, November 21, she went to pick up her husband, Canadian national James Garfield Searles, 59, from the Philip Goldson International Airport in Ladyville, after which they headed to San Ignacio Town but stopped to have a few drinks on the way. Warner said that when they reached their destination, she fell asleep with her husband at her side, but when she woke up at around 3:00 a.m. the next morning, she realized that Searles was missing.

Cañeros and SICB to meet next week
Today was set as the deadline for the ultimatum that the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and it membership, at a meeting last Saturday, November 15, gave the Government-appointed industry regulator, known as the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB), to arbitrate the longstanding dispute between the cane producers and the sugar processors, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI)/American Sugar Refineries (ASR). Since we understand that two of the members of the SICB are presently out of the country, a meeting could not be arranged, and therefore, the BSCFA has agreed to wait until November 25, which is the date that the SICB had first planned to hold its meeting. Also of note is that today, the BSCFA executive met with Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Gaspar Vega, and while we have not been able to receive any official comment on the outcome of that meeting, we were told that Hon. Vega simply encouraged the BSCFA to return to the negotiating table with BSI/ASR — something BSI/ASR has been reluctant to do.

Patrick JonesPJ

Cayo North Bye-Election set for January 5, 2015
People in the Cayo North constituency will go to the polls on Monday, January 5, 2015 to elect a new Area Representative. Governor General Sir Coville Young has issued a Writ of Election, paving the way for a bye-election to replace the People’s United Party’s Joseph Mahmud who abruptly resigned on Monday morning. According to a government press release, Nomination Day will be Monday, December 15 with the Administration Building in San Ignacio town being the place where the nomination of candidates will take place.

Forum on women’s issues held in Punta Gorda town
The Punta Gorda branch of the Women’s Department today hosted a forum for students of the St. Peter Claver Primary School. The Father Francis Ring Parish Hall was the venue for the event which was designed to create awareness of current issues that women face on a daily basis. According to Lorraine Johnson from the Women’s Department, the presenters at today’s forum were from various sectors of the community who shared information on HIV stigma and discrimination and violence against women, among others.

Rianne Gutierrez is Miss Teen pageant winner
A first of its kind Teen Pageant was held over the weekend in Benque Viejo del Carmen. Rianne Gutierrez beat out four other beautiful young ladies to claim the crown on Saturday, November 22, 2014. According to organizers Lupita Kuylen, the pageant was a huge success and Miss Teen Rianne Gutierrez will not be involved in various community activities during her reign. According to Gutierrez “words can’t describe how it felt to get something you’ve worked so hard preparing for and this was an unforgettable experience and the journey is just starting.”

Warm weather conditions; but a cold front is approaching
It is a warm, sunny morning in San Ignacio town. Indeed across the nation today, the weather is beautiful; but change is on the way. The Belize Weather Bureau says that an increase in moisture later in the day will herald the arrival of a Cold Front. In the meantime however, the sunny conditions will continue for most of the day; then an increase in shower activity will start inland and move across the entire country tonight. Winds are easterly to southeasterly at 5 t 15 knots; but will shift to the north-west on Wednesday morning. The sea state will be choppy today; but will become locally rough near showers and thunderstorms tonight.

Charges expected soon in the murder of Panamanian diplomat
Police in the nation’s capital, Belmopan, are reportedly close to bringing charges against a suspect in connection with the killing of Panamanian diplomat Jose Rodrigo De La Rosa. The body of the 64 year old diplomat was found late on Sunday evening about a mile off the Hummingbird Highway in west Belmopan. Cut wounds were visible on De La Rosa’s neck and head. Police continue to be judicious their handling of information surrounding the murder. Sources say that the break in the case came late Monday when the suspect allegedly gave a caution statement and subsequently led authorities to where the diplomat’s vehicle was hidden in some bushes.


Belize Winter Vacation: When yuh hot, yuh hot!
How I beat the freeze and became a hero: Lounging here by the side of the infinity pool, watching clouds drift across an impossibly blue sky, serenaded by parrots and other tropical birds while enjoying an ice cold beer, it’s hard to process the images we received this morning from our friends in New York. White mountains of snow with cars buried beneath, people leaning into freezing winds, roads clogged and residents breaking out their snow shovels, it looked like winter on steroids. And Boston looked even worse. I put down the tablet and jumped in for another swim, thinking how amazing it was that all of this was happening just a few hours away. And when she-who-is-often-skeptical joined me, I could tell from her smile that I was still enjoying hero status. Last month she wasn’t so sure when I suggested we take our main vacation early this year and spend it in Belize. For me, it was a snap decision that began with a coworker coming back to the office with a healthy looking tan, fresh attitude and stories of what sounded like the best two weeks one could imagine. “It’s the most amazing place I’ve ever been,” she said, “On one side of the country you have these huge wilderness areas filled with ancient Maya temples and ancient cities, and on the other the Caribbean Sea and all these little islands and coastal villages and resorts, all protected by a huge barrier reef. The people are really friendly and, to top it off, everyone speaks English!”

Snapshots Around Belize This Past Week or So
I post photos in a few places – on my blog for sure, on Facebook and then, the most casual “out and about during the day” photos on Instagram. Instagram certainly has those who love it and those who don’t. It’s packed with all sorts of filters that can turn even my most dull washed out photo into the City of Oz. It makes it fun and artsy but doesn’t always present the real picture. Just a different medium…and I love it. Express yourself. And honestly? There are many people that I’d prefer do that in photos rather than words. And so, for lack of a more serious topic today (like the upcoming election season or Thanksgiving in Belize), here are some snapshots that I’ve taken and posted on Instagram over the last week…or so.

International Sourcesizz

IMF wants to know what PetroCaribe money was used for in St Vincent
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it is monitoring the potential impact of Venezuela's current economic stress on PetroCaribe, the country’s oil alliance with several Caribbean islands, and it also wants to know what PetroCaribe money was used for in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), Merco Press reported. According to SVG Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Caracas has invited PetroCaribe member countries to a meeting about “reaffirming” their commitment to the initiative, the brainchild of the former Venezuelan president, the late Hugo Chavez. IMF Western Hemisphere advisor, Elie Canetti, told reporters that the IMF’s main concern “is that we know Venezuela is going through increasing financial stress, and oil prices have dropped from around US$120 a barrel to mid 70s a barrel and Venezuela is hugely dependent on selling oils.” “So, we are mindful and concerned about the feasibility of PetroCaribe continuing, certainly at the level it has been, and we are looking into what will be the impact on Caribbean countries,” Cantelli said. “So if PetroCaribe is, in the extreme, wound down, or if PetroCaribe financing benefits become less generous, it is something that will have to be taken in account in the fiscal strategy,” he said, adding that the Washington-based financial institution is trying to understand what exactly PetroCaribe money was used to pay for in SVG.

Belize take note. Belize cited as one of four countries urged to reduce reliance on Petrocaribe Funds
Venezuela Turmoil Signals End of Oil-for-Jeans Giveaway. For a decade, countries from Guyana to Nicaragua have gained from a program that allowed them to trade for Venezuelan oil using everything from the jeans they produced to the pasta they made. Now, the $8 billion Petrocaribe subsidy, which also allows countries to finance part of their oil purchases at 1 percent for 25 years, is looking less secure as Venezuela faces inflation that’s risen to 63 percent and the world’s widest budget deficit. In response, at least four countries are taking steps to reduce their reliance on Venezuela’s subsidy as crude prices plunge, according to the International Monetary Fund. It’s a move other countries should follow, said David Voght, managing director of energy consultancy IPD Latin America. “The scale of the oil price decline should trigger some adjustments,” Voght said by telephone from Miami. He urged countries to “react quickly to the fact that in its current form, this agreement presents a huge financial burden for a struggling Venezuela.” The four countries are Guyana, Haiti, Belize and Jamaica. Cutbacks in the subsidy, created by former President Hugo Chavez, would ripple across the Caribbean and Central America, said Franco Uccelli, an emerging markets analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Miami. Those financing terms are “almost free money,” Uccelli said in a telephone interview. “If somebody were to pull the plug on those flows, it would be difficult to replace with well-priced funds from a different source.”

City man found dead in river near Belize home
The family of Winnipeg's James Searles is in shock after the 59-year-old was found dead in a river in Belize hours after arriving to be with his new bride. "The family is mourning and grieving. This is a complete shock -- the reality hasn't set in," his daughter and family spokeswoman Jennifer Stringer said Tuesday from her home in British Columbia. "Until he's brought home (to Winnipeg), we don't want to speculate," she said, declining to speak further. In an interview with Belize Channel 5 television, police Supt. Dinsdale Thompson said Searles flew into Belize on Saturday and was picked up by his wife, 45-year-old Canadian Nicole Warner, a local resident whom Searles had married in September. They retired to Warner's home after going out for drinks, Thompson said. Thompson told the TV station Warner woke up on Sunday to find Searles gone, and went to the police station to report her husband missing.

Jeff Ransom: Ancient-History Preservationist
When he was a 9-year-old Boy Scout, Jeff Ransom and his fellow troop members got lost in a Venezuelan cave. Flashlights were dying. Kids were crying. Even their adult Eagle Scout leader shed tears. Luckily, the future archaeologist of Miami-Dade County was there to save the day. "I wasn't scared, and I remembered the way back out, so I got everybody out," Ransom, now 49, recalls as he sits in a 12th-floor conference room at the Stephen P. Clark Center. "I've always felt very comfortable in caves." Rather than developing a serious phobia, that early incident sparked a lifelong passion for archaeology. Ransom returned to the caves while studying at Florida Atlantic University and later did graduate field work in Belize, where he documented ancient Mayan activity in caves for five years. But Miami called to Ransom, who wanted to be closer to Venezuela and his family. He began working as the county's official archaeologist in 2006. It's a tricky job that's part scientist and part negotiator. The science part happens whenever another billionaire developer wants to dig up Miami to put up a swanky hotel. Ransom is the guy who makes sure there aren't any ancient artifacts that could be destroyed in the process.

Before You Slice the Turkey, Give Thanks to Those Wild Cousins
According to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, the U.S. is the world’s largest turkey producer and largest exporter of turkey products. An estimated 46 million turkeys will show up on American tables this holiday, and most of those will come from turkey production facilities. A much smaller percentage featured on the holiday table will be wild turkeys hunted on private and public lands. There are more than 7 million wild turkeys roaming the countryside, but their numbers were not always that robust. According to the National Wild Turkey Federation, which partners with the U.S. Forest Service, the tasty game bird native to the U.S. faced extinction in the 1930s. The Forest Service works with the Wild Turkey Federation to improve the fowl’s habitat. The federation’s “Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt” campaign has a goal to enhance more than 4 million acres of upland wildlife habitat. Blatt said improving wild turkey habitat includes other projects, such as ridding the area of invasive species. There are only two species of turkeys that fall under the scientific genus Meleagris: Meleagris gallopavo, or the North American wild turkey that includes five distinct subspecies, and Meleagris ocellata, the oscillated turkey that exists only in a 50,000-square-mile area that includes parts of Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala.

CARICOM expands diplomatic relations with Eastern European
The expansion of the Caribbean Community's diplomatic relations with Eastern European countries continues with the accreditation of the first ambassador from Georgia to the regional organization. Otar Berdzenishvili is the newest diplomatic representative following the accreditation last week of an ambassador from Lithuania, CARICOM said in a statement on Monday. "This is an historic occasion. The expansion of diplomatic development, trade and economic relations constitutes for CARICOM a deliberate and key element of our coordinated foreign policy," Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque said.


Video: Manatees in Belize, 1.5min.
Earlier this month, we were lucky enough to stumble upon five manatees during a routine survey at Hol Chan Marine Reserve. In honor of Manatee Awareness Month, we put together this quirky, little video.

Video: Blue Tang Inn San Pedro - San Pedro - Belize, 1min.
Picture yourself in a spacious room with the blue Caribbean at your doorstep youre at the Blue Tang Inn. Stretch out on your deck or stroll on the beach. Sunrise at the Blue Tang Inn is something special. We will serve you freshbrewed coffee and Island tasty fruits. No charge, by the way, its on us. All suites are air conditioned, have fully equipped kitchens and are decorated in soft tropical colors. Enjoy the sunlight and breeze provided by the large windows in each suite. Our third floor suites have hard wood floors, vaulted ceilings and Jacuzzi bathtubs. The beautiful accommodations, fun daily activities, unique dining and friendly local culture are all part of what makes your stay at the Blue Tang Inn a truly unique experience.

Video: Belizean Dreams tours, 23min.
Follow two of our guests as they enjoy all that Belizean Dreams Beach Resort has to offer! From the night life at our Palapa Bar in Hopkins Belize, to ziplining, cave tubing, hiking, Mayan ruins tours and more!

Video: Dangriga Belize Service Learning Project, 7min.
Students talk about their experiences in Dangriga Belize as part of the service learning project.

Video: Belize Tire Depot, 1min.
Belize Tire Depot is Belize's number one tire company whose friendly staff will help you find the tires you want at a price you can afford. Belize Tire Depot offers a wide range of manufacturers and a huge selection of styles and sizes and is committed on providing you with the best service and the best quality in tires, car products and construction hardware tools.

Video: Belize Project by Bradlie Morgan, 5min.

Video: Follow the leader... Belize style!, 1min.
Shark footage I shot on Half Moon Caye in Belize November 2014 while at Turneffe Island Resort.. These segments were from one longer video - I edited out parts where the Reef Shark got a little further away from me and resumed where I caught up with him again.

Video: Brenda Johnson: Belize's Humble Softball Giant!, 35min.
The eleventh episode in a video documentary series called Belizean Legends that will profile the legendary Belizean softball player and gold medalist Brenda Johnson who played on the Belize national selection that won the gold medal in the 1974 Central American & Caribbean Games in Santa Domingo. Johnson discusses her softball career in Belize with Belizean Legends host Bilal Morris and revisits highlights of the game where Belize won its first gold medal in an international sports competition, and the homecoming reception that the Belize national team received from Belizeans and government alike. Johnson also championed the legendary Belizean softball pitcher, the late Isolene Heath as Belize's best pitcher ever, and also championed the legendary coach the late Collect Gill as the best softball coach that Belize ever had. Johnson who became a coach herself after retiring from softball as a player, continue to contribute to the development of sports in Belize through her working with young people in Belize to develop the discipline of sports again.

Video: Blue Ventures Belize, 69min.
Blue Ventures Belize Blue Ventures are an award winning marine conservation organisation running expeditions in Belize and Madagascar. Part of the work volunteers are involved wi.

Video: Belize 2014, 5min.
San Pedro, Turneffe, Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye, Goff Caye, Caye Caulker.

Video: Jetski and Snorkeling in Belize, 3min.
So blessed to have the opportunity to jetski and snorkel in the barrier reef! This was our second day on the island.

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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White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Click for Ian Anderson's Caves Branch, Welcome to a World of Adventure
Lil Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
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