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Today's Belize News: February 17, 2016 #511681
02/17/16 05:50 AM
02/17/16 05:50 AM
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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Honduran national, Johana Samantha Mendez Barrios murdered in San Pedro
The San Pedro Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in solving the murder of 22-year-old Johana Samantha Mendez Barrios. The Honduran national was killed during an alleged aggravated burglary incident in the early hours of Tuesday, February 16th at an apartment building located on Bonefish Street, in the Boca Del Rio Area. Initial reports indicate that Barrios was attacked sometime between 5AM and 6AM upon arriving home. She sustained a single cut wound to the neck and was immediately taken to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II where she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. Police have since processed the area and have launched a full murder investigation. The deceased has been transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City awaiting a postmortem examination. According to police reports, Barrios had been out socializing with friends before coming home. When she arrived, she noticed someone inside her apartment. An altercation ensued, leading to Barrios being fatally injured by her attacker. When police arrived at the scene, they learned that the victim had been taken to the polyclinic where she later succumbed to her injury. According to Officer in Charge of the Coastal Executive Unit Superintendent Sandra Bodden, no other signs of injuries were noticed on her body besides the single cut wound to the left side of her neck. Following protocol, Police contacted the Embassy of Honduras to inform them of Barrios’ death, before publicly disclosing any information.

Murder in the Boca del Rio Area
San Pedro Police have confirmed to The San Pedro Sun that a female has been murdered in the Boca del Rio Area. The incident occurred early Tuesday, February 16th at an apartment building on Bonefish Street. Police have not released the name of the Honduran national, but have indicated that she was killed during an aggravated burglary incident. Police have since processed the scene and are currently in the process of transporting the body to the Karl Huesnuer Memorial Hospital in Belize City for a postmortem examination. Due to her nationality, Police will be informing the Embassy of Honduras in Belize before releasing any official statement. The San Pedro Sun will post a more detailed story as the day progresses.

Ambergris Today

Flashbacks - The Quiet Beach of a Fishing Village
A Quaint Fishing Village, Paradise, Isla Bonita, Belize's No. One Tourist Destination- these are some of the descriptive words that have been used to describe Ambergris Caye and San Pedro. The peacefulness of the island and the pristine beaches are the main characteristics that make San Pedro what it is. The small mahogany skiffs and wooden dories were regularly hauled up the beach, on dry land, for maintenance or a good cleanup. The sandy beach areas lent themselves for children to socialize and play games. Maintenance of the beach was done by the villagers who planted palm trees such as coconuts and laid sand bags to prevent erosion. Way back in the background you can see the Elsa P, a small cargo vessel that brought all the merchandise from Belize City to Pedro. It was quiet; it was quaint; it was peaceful; it was simply San Pedro.

25 Years Ago - The Good Old Days...Catholicism and Ice Comodity
* Back in the GOOD OLD DAYS life was very simple in San Pedro. In those days the small population of San Pedro was 95% Catholic * Back then ice was something very special – scarce, but special. I love the good old days because they made me who I am today. It can safely be said that back in the 1950's almost all of San Pedro was Roman Catholic. There was one Catholic Church, a large wooden building measuring about 24’ X 50’ with some 20 benches that could seat about 160 persons. With a population of about 500, the adult community filled up the church to capacity for the six o'clock morning mass and it was about half full for the eight o'clock children's mass. The Catholic elementary school had an enrollment of 90 to 100 children all of whom were required to attend mass once a month whenever the priest visited the Island. Catholic traditions included Sunday mass, processions, novenas, the Holy Rosary and the big events included Confirmation, Baptism, First Holy Communion, Easter, Christmas midnight mass and New Year's Eve mass.

Twenty-Two-Year-Old Honduran Woman Killed in Aggravated Burglary
The San Pedro Police Department has released the name of the 22-year-old Honduran national who was murdered in the early morning hours of Tuesday, February 16, 2016. Johana Samantha Mendez Barrios, waitress at Compadres Bar, was murdered during an aggravated burglary in the Boca del Rio Area. Police were called to the Basil/Paris Apartments around 5:30a.m. where the reports states that they found Johanna with a cut would to the left side of the neck. The police officers assisted her to the San Pedro Dr. Otto Rodriguez Poly Clinic where she died undergoing treatment for her injuries shortly after 6a.m. Her body was transported to the Karl H. Memorial Hospital in Belize City for a post mortem examination while the San Pedro Police look into leads as to the burglary and murder or Barrios. Police have little leads but are looking at video footage of nearby businesses to try obtain stronger leads to the case.

Over Five Hundred Speared at Lionfish Derby in Caye Caulker
The island of Caye Caulker was the place to be this past Saturday, February 13, 2016, for the Lionfish Derby organized by Oceana Wavemaker Lynne Couch-Harris and the Barrier Reef Sports Bar. This was Caye Caulker's first Lionfish Derby, an event supported by Oceana Belize with assistance from Frontier, Blue Ventures and the Belize Game Fish Association. The tournament's purpose - to spearfish these invasive fish that have been targeting juvenile fish on our reefs and effectively been decimating native fish populations in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The good news? Lionfish is delicious! It was an amazing turnout being Caye Caulker's first ever Lionfish Derby, drawing crowds to the beachside that wanted to see all the participants coming in with coolers full of Lionfish. An impressive 548 Lionfish were removed from the reef, from the smallest measuring at 10cm to the largest that measured an impressive 15 inches. Prizes were awarded for the most lionfish caught while diving, most lionfish while free diving, the largest lionfish and the smallest lionfish. Congratulations to all the winners and kudos to Oceana Belize and organizers for successful event.

Spear Into Action at Belize's Annual Lionfish Derby
Experts state that there is no stopping them now, but hoping to at least slow them down, marine biologists and Oceana Belize have been intensifying efforts recently to spearfish them out of certain areas that harbor fragile reefs and figure out how they became a threat so quickly and so successfully in our oceans. So how are we combatting them? —The Lionfish Derbies are the most successful and fun way. The first annual derby was hosted in Caye Caulker by Barrier Reef Sports Bar, Frontier, Oceana Belize, Blue Ventures volunteers and the Belize Game Fish Association to motivate and award participants who are helping in prohibiting the breeding of the Lionfish. The derby will be hosted at different locations around the country each year with the first one held in Caye Caulker. Fishermen and divers who gather from all over Belize head out to sea in the early morning hours to come back around 3p.m. for the official weigh-in. While some admire the count of fish at the weighin, others enjoy demonstrations on handling and cleaning the venomous fish, filleting as well information on research on the lionfish by Oceana, Forntier and Blue Fentures. The derby awards participants for the biggest and smallest catch, youngest spearfishing group and most Lionfish caught. There is also the gourmet approach where locals and tourists get to enjoy the fresh caught Lionfish in some of the most delicious Belizean inspired dishes. There are plenty of chefs participating in cooking demonstrations and tastings for all those who wish to sample the exotic fish.

Pic of the Week - Attacked by Iguanas in Belize and Loving It
“When your husband gets attacked by iguanas!!” comments @loveatraveler on her Instagram post. This fun picture was taken at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel that houses the Belize Iguana Project. The program is instrumental in providing a great field of research and education to the people of Belize and around the world. Since its inception, the Green Iguana Project has been entirely self-sustained, relying solely on the contributions and donations of concerned visitors and patrons.

Over Five Hundred Speared at Lionfish Derby in Caye Caulker
The island of Caye Caulker was the place to be this past Saturday, February 14, 2016, for the annual Lionfish Derby held at the Barrier Reef Sports Bar. San Pedro's, neighboring island of La Isla Cariñosa was selected as host of the first annual Lionfish Derby, an event organized by Oceana Belize, Frontier, Blue Ventures and the Belize Game Fish Association. The tournament's purpose - to spearfish these invasive fish that have been targeting juvenile fish on our reefs and effectively been decimating native fish populations in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The good news? Lionfish is delicious! It was an amazing turnout being Caye Caulker's first ever Lionfish Derby, drawing crowds to the beachside that wanted to see all the participants coming in with coolers full of Lionfish. An impressive 540 Lionfish were removed from the reef, from the smallest measuring at four inches to the largest that measured an impressive 15 inches. Prizes were awarded for the most lionfish caught while diving, most lionfish while free diving, the largest lionfish and the smallest lionfish. Congratulations to all the winners and kudos to Oceana Belize and organizers for successful event.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Paint Party Events
Hi Splashers, don't forget to sign up for this weeks paint party at Crazy Canucks! Come join us this Thursday at the crazy canucks where we will be painting "Tranquility beach". The cost is $25.00 U.S. per person and there's a slightly discount for members. See you there! February 18, 2016, 2:00 PM.

First Plenary Session of the 27th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is taking place this morning

Book Launch “A walk through Dangriga”
On Monday 15 February 2016, the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) and the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) launched a publication entitled A Walk Through Dangriga. It is the third publication in the Walk Through series which features key landmarks and heritage sites in the various municipalities of Belize. Mayor Francis Humphreys and Ifasina Efunyemi, two well-known educators in Dangriga, were the co-authors of the manuscript. The book was edited and produced by the Institute for Social and Cultural Research (ISCR), a branch of NICH. A Walk Through Dangriga traces the development of historic locations and sites of memory within the town. The information was compiled using oral history, documentary sources and accompanied by photographs dating from the late 1890s to the present. Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Elodio Aragon Jr. delivered the keynote address. He emphasized the importance of community history, both for educational and tourism purposes. Belizeans, particularly students, teachers, and tour guides, are invited to purchase a copy of the publication at their nearest bookstore. Research featuring the other municipalities of Belize remains on going.

CARICOM must wage relentless campaign against threat to banking sector – PM Dean Barrow
The threats to the Region’s banking sector via the phenomenon of de-risking could have “cataclysmic ramifications” for the Caribbean, and a “relentless” campaign must be waged against it, Chairman of CARICOM and Prime Minister of Belize, the Hon Dean Barrow warned on Monday. At the opening ceremony of the Twenty-Seventh Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Placencia, Belize, Prime Minister Barrow used much of his address to focus on the correspondent banking scenario and what it portended for the Community. The matter is a key agenda item of the two-day Summit, and a Meeting of Finance Ministers was held earlier on Monday to craft a Regional response. A Committee of Ministers of Finance on Correspondent Banking, chaired by Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Hon. Gaston Browne will lead the response to this issue. The Committee is supported by leading Regional institutions including the Committee of Central Bank Governors (CCBG), the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF). The threat relates to the possible loss of access to the international financial markets by mainly the Regional indigenous banks. Several international banks, mainly in the US and Europe, have signalled to client banks in the Region an unwillingness to continue carrying their business. The so-called ‘de-risking’ by the global banks threatens to impact several critical services including remittance transfers. International trade, the facilitation of credit card settlements for local clients are among the other effects the Region faces.

The Maya Wedding Re-enactment at Santa Rita
BUY YOUR TICKETS TODAY at Hotel Maya and Tony's Hotel or call 660-6614. The Maya Wedding Re-enactment at Santa Rita Site is Saturday February 20th, 2016. Don't forget that there will be two additional performances. Bring out everyone and let's all enjoy our mayan history and culture. Time: 7:00 P.M. Presenters: Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College. "El baile del Cochino - Hog head Dance". Ek Balam - Potapok Mayan Ball Game. Admission: Reserve $20, Adults $10, Children 14 years and under $2.

Power interruption 8:00am to 2:00pm, Monday February 22, Placencia Village
The portion of the village from Atlantic Bank downward, including Placencia Rd, Placencia Sidewalk, Paradise St, Dodo St, Leslie St, Westby St, Dukunu St, Bile Up St, Tablayta St, Sere St, Sunset Pointe and Henry Young Island. BEL to remove guy wires from property and install distribution structure in the area.

Belize Fishing Report Feb. 1 – Feb. 13, 2016
A big thanks to Teagan, my 8 year old assistant, who helped me with the pin ceremony each evening! Rarely does a cold front make it far enough south to impact our fishing, but this one lasted about a week and we could see signs of fish leaving the shallow water in favor of the deeper warm water. We had to look a little deeper to find the fish as the water cooled.

Ambassador Carlos Moreno meets with Professor Anabel Ford
Ambassador Carlos Moreno recently met with Professor Anabel Ford, director of the El Pilar Program of the MesoAmerican Research Center at UC Santa Barbara, at the launching of her new book,The Mayan Forest Garden, in which she advocates for sustaining Mayan indigenous farming techniques and food sovereignty.

Prime Minister’s Opening Statement XXVII Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) February 15-17, 2016, Placencia Hotel
Colleague Heads, Mr Secretary-General, Ministers, Officials, Ladies and Gentlemen: It is my privilege and pleasure to welcome you to our country and to the Placencia peninsula. We think this an idyllic spot. The Maya mountains, part of their world-famous eponymous Biosphere, are in back of us; and to the front is our Caribbean Sea, shared patrimony of CARICOM and SICA and emblematic of the proud duality that Belize is heir to. I hope that the legacy features of these surroundings will act as aid and inspiration to our deliberations. And very important deliberations they are. For while that is always the case whenever we meet, I may be forgiven for thinking, and hope to make clear, that our issues and challenges are particularly pronounced at this time. Let me therefore begin by considering the general economic climate in which we currently find ourselves. There has been a failure of the world economy to recover properly from the shock of the financial crisis that began in the last part of the first decade of this new century. That failure, for the majority of us in CARICOM, has meant slow growth, increasing difficulties with our public finances, and tremendous strains on our capacity to satisfy the life-improvement aspirations of our people. And it is worth noting that even in the few countries that have shown substantial enough expansion, much of the net effect has been depreciated by population increases. On the bright side, though,there appears to be what we hope will be a sustained resurgence in our region's all-important tourism industry. This would be a welcome offset to the continued volatility in our commodities sector.

Heads of Government at the 27th CARICOM Intersessional in Placencia this morning against the beautiful backdrop of the Mayan Mountains

Caye Caulker Lionfish Derby
On Valentine's Weekend, Belizeans showed their love for reef by participating in the first annual Caye Caulker Lionfish Derby. Thanks to their efforts and in less than "warm" conditions, 540 lionfish were removed from the reef. Lionfish caught ranged from four inches in lenght to 15 inches--that's more than a foot long! The event, organized and supported by the Barrier Reef Sports Bar, Frontier, Oceana, Blue Ventures and the Belize Game Fish Association, included collecting research data and sampling. Prizes were awarded for the most lionfish caught while diving, most lionfish while free diving, the largest lionfish and the smallest lionfish. For more than two decades, these invaders have been targeting juvenile fish, effectively decimating native fish populations in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.With no natural predators, rapid reproduction rates and a voracious appetite, lionfish numbers are exploding…and that means bad news for the ecosystems we depend on. The good news? Lionfish is delicious. Once deprived of its venomous spines, lionfish can be prepared like any other fish. To beat them, we’ve got to eat them! Kudos to all!

Southern Peten cooperation agreement
Southern Peten is divided in five municipalities (Melchor, Dolores, El Chal, Poptun and San Luis). Today Asociacion Balam and FCD renewed a 4 year cooperation agreement with alcaldes of these municipalities with the aim of supporting socio-environmental pillars at the community level.

Howard University Gospel Choir
Today the Howard University Gospel Choir will be arriving in Belize for an Arts Envoy program in San Ignacio, Belmopan, Dangriga, and Belize City. Tune in to Love FM's morning show tomorrow morning for more information on their visit to Belize and keep an eye on our FB page for opportunities to hear them perform in Dangriga and Belize City! About the choir - Formed on the campus of Howard University in 1968, the Howard Gospel Choir (HGC) is a body of students, alumni and community members dedicated to using the gift of music to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. As the first college choir of its kind in the world, HGC is a trailblazer for all gospel music ministries on collegiate campuses across the globe. With a legacy of over four decades committed to excellence in music ministry, this musical aggregation has bred and shared with many of the most prolific people of this century. The choir also travels extensively throughout the United States and most recently has headlined numerous tours to the European countries of Denmark, Italy, Montenego, Slovakia and Sweden. With such a rich legacy of excellence, the Howard Gospel Choir, a beacon light in the Howard University community, will continue to fulfill its calling to the world using Christ centered music as a means of healing, restoration and empowerment. The choir is currently under the direction of Reginald Golden, a Howard University alumnus from Cleveland, OH.

Channel 7

Honduran Woman Murdered On San Pedro
Early this morning, San Pedro police recorded their first murder of the year when they found a woman bleeding from the neck at the entrance to an apartment complex in the San Juan area. The 23 year old worked as a waitress at a local bar and investigators believe that Honduran Johana Samantha Mendez's killer waited for her at the entrance to her apartment. So who would want her dead and why? Emanuel Pech travelled to San Pedro to look for answers: Investigators in San Pedro are still grappling with the case of 23 year old Johana Samantha Mendez Barrios a Honduran National who was fatally stabbed early this morning. The incident occurred around 5 am here at the Parish Apartment Complex in the Boca del Rio area. The owner of the complex who refused to speak to us on camera said that she has known Johana for the past two years; since she started renting with her. In all her years of knowing Johana she said she always appeared to her as a friendly person who kept to herself. So who would want her dead? That's what authorities are trying to find out.

American Killed In PG
Another American was murdered over the weekend and police say it was a planned attack. It happened on Saturday night at around 9:25 in Hopeville, Punta Gorda. 69 year old Thomas Paul Rackowski was at his home reading that night when 3 persons entered through this screen door. They attacked Rackowski and stabbed him 4 times - twice to the neck and twice to the chest. They all ran off but Rackowski dragged himself to the phone and called the police. He was rushed to the Punta Gorda Hospital then was later transferred to the KHMH where he died last night. When we spoke with police this evening they told us that this wasn't a burglary or any random home invasion because nothing was stolen from the house. Police say Rackowski was the target. They have 2 men and 1 woman detained in connection with the murder. Police are looking at several angles - one being that Rackowski had some long standing dispute with these people. When we spoke to one of his very good friends who lives in PG as well, he told us he didn't know of any issue he had with anyone. His friend describes him as very helpful and nice. For a little background, Rackowski is from Boston Massachusetts and came to live in Belize in 1973. He never married and had no kids. His family is flying in from the US this week to plan a service for him. We will keep following up on this case.

Mother Of Drowned Teenaged Tourist Wants Answers
Last night we told you about the teenaged tourist that drowned in the Sibun River. 15 year old Tomari Jackson celebrated his birthday in Belize, and was in a group of 33 American Students between 14 and 15 years old from the North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia. They were swimming at Tiger Sandy Bay near mile 31 on the Western Highway - when Jackson disappeared. And now the story is making news in Georgia. This is the story we picked up from Fox 5 in Georgia: Jackson's mother has told an Atlanta Newspaper that she still hasn't been told how her only child died. He was in first form and his mother says he was also a Boy Scout who knew how to swim. His mother questions why he wasn't missed until the chaperones did a headcount when they had all gotten out of the river.

Another Charged For Weekend City Shooting
Last night we told you about five teenagers shot in the city in three separate incidents between Friday night and early Sunday morning. Well, arrests have now been made for two of those shootings. Today, 23 year old Deon Brackett was charged for the attempted murder of Raheem Akeem Bailey, who was shot on Allan Pitts Crescent on Friday night. This morning, Brackett who walked from a murder in 2013, was arraigned before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Since he is accused of a firearm offence, no bail could be granted to Brackett who was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until April 18, 2016.

CARICOM Heads Meet
In last night's news, we had live excerpts from Placencia of the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting's opening ceremony. It's a rigorously scheduled, 3-day session held to be held at the Ocean Club Hotel. Belize's Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, is presidens over the session as the current interim chair of CARICOM - a rotating position he will hold for the first half of this year. And while we had live clips last night, tonight Daniel Ortiz has the full story from the meeting's first evening: Daniel Ortiz reporting: The beautiful Beach Side of the Placencia Inn was the location for the opening of the Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of The Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM. The 15 Heads of Government of all the CARICOM Nations - except only one who was in transit - walked in together. Though they were being led this time by Chairman and Host Prime Minister Dean Barrow, but these were his equals, each a head of government. They were favorably impressed by Belize's hospitality for this meeting.

CARICOM SG Lays Out Agenda
That was last night, and early this morning, the delegates and ambassadors showed up for the real work to start at the plenary sessions. The heads of Government moved from one meeting to the next, with hardly any breaks in between, and we understand the last meeting is still going on right now. Before diving into the day's activities, the Secretary General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, sat down with the press for a short briefing on what is supposed to happen over the next 2 days: Ambassador Irwin LaRocque - Secretary General, CARICOM: "I think everything is well in place. We had a good opening ceremony last night. You saw the 3 speeches, in particular that of our chairman and Prime Minister Dean Barrow and our outgoing chairman Prime Minister Stuart and the tone has been set for the discussions that will take place today. The formal sessions of the meeting, the discussions actually will start in the next few minutes and of course at that point we will go through the agenda. In my briefings with the Prime Minister I think we are well set to have a good discussion and a few very critical issues of interest to the community.

The Way Ahead For Solving The De-Risking Crisis
Today, we also got a closer look at the proposed plan of action on de-risking that the finance technicians from the CARICOM member states have drafted for deliberation. As we told you, yesterday's meeting ended with the finance ministers recommending that part of the action plan for this crisis is to engage the UN and make a comprehensive presentation on the effect de-risking is having on the Caribbean as a whole. Well, one of the Ambassadors, Dr. Patrick Antoine, who is a chief financial advisor to the Government of Grenada, sat down with us this morning. He outlined what he thinks the CARICOM members should consider while collectively engaging the financial regulators in a manner similar to Prime Minister's trip to Washington 2 weeks ago. First though, the Secretary General briefed us on the recommendations coming out of yesterday's finance Meetings: Ambassador Irwin LaRocque - Secretary General, CARICOM: "In deed. The meeting will be making some specific recommendations to the heads of government on a course of action and I believe once the heads have considered them, then can determine how we go forward. I am not at liberty to disclose now, because it has to be presented to the heads first. But yes, very concrete plan of action how we go forward."

CARPHA Executive Director On Regional CARPHA Threat
While down in Placencia, we also spoke to the Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). He's in Belize to make a presentation to the CARICOM membership on the Zika disease and the serious health threat it poses to CARICOM. He discussed the role that CARPHA plays in the region's fight to manage a potential epidemic to this disease: Dr. C. James Hospedales, Executive Director - CARPHA: "This is a mosquito borne virus which aedes aegypti mosquito transmits the same zika, chikungunya and dengue. So from the time last year we realize that this was potential risk to the region. The first thing you do is to step up the monitoring mechanisms that you have try to detect it early if it comes in different countries. Getting out a lot of public information and education, to stop mosquito breeding and stop mosquito biting especially if you are pregnant, especially if older folks with lots of chronic health problems - you don't want to get one of these viral diseases. Scaling up the laboratory testing available to member's states. Coordinating the response. A lot of different agencies are wanting to work with us in the Caribbean. So that's part of our role." Reporter: "In other parts of the region there have been cases of Zika. In terms of within the Caribbean itself, what has the response to that or the detection been like?"

Antigua Wants To Go CCJ
Right now, the final appellate court in Belize is the Caribbean Court of Justice, the highest court in the land. But, it might be easy to forget that up until a few years ago, the CCJ's role in Belize's judiciary was filled by the Privy Council. Well, today, we spoke to an Ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda, where all final appeals still go to the Privy Council. He told us that he's at the CARICOM meeting to tell the leaders that his country is about to embark on a referendum campaign to change their final appellate court from the Privy Council to the CCJ: H.E. Dr. Clarence Henry, Antigua & Barbuda's Amb. To CARICOM: "I am just appointed a month ago to head the national coordinating committee responsible for preparation of the campaign towards the adoption of the CCJ as Antigua & Barbuda's final court of appeal. In deed so far, the campaign has been going very well. We launched in earnest on 10th March and it will be followed on the 11th by youth forum and a business breakfast to bring together the private sector on Antigua & Barbuda and there will be a number of town hall meetings, focus group meetings. This particular campaign hopefully will lead up to a national referendum sometime later this year. As you are aware Antigua & Barbuda is one of those Caribbean countries that must undertake a referendum in order to migrate from judicial committee of the Privy Council as part of our constitutional requirement."

Senior Cop Carjacked
A Benque Viejo carjacking will surely go down as one of the boldest ever. Why? It took place in broad daylight and the truck was stolen from a senior officer in the Police Department. On Sunday, Assistant Superintendent Selwyn Tillett, Officer Commanding Orange Walk Police was held up at gun point in Benque Viejo. Around 11 am on the same day, Tillett was driving his son in law's white 2014 Mazda pickup and while he was parking the vehicle in front of his house he was approached by two Hispanic men, and one them pointed a gun at him demanding the vehicle keys. He told him in Spanish, "hand over the vehicle, we're not playing!" The vehicle was found by Guatemalan police around 10:30 yesterday morning in an area known as Camalote - about 10 miles from Melchor. The vehicle was intact and only had damages to the door locks. The passenger window had to be broken and Police started the pick-up with the spare key and drove it to the Melchor Police Station. The vehicle has since been driven to the Melchor police station while investigations continue.

Police And Those Interviews
Today was day 1 of a police media workshop. Officers from Eastern Division Southside organized a training to teach officers how to give a proper interview. About 12 officers participated and of course the media was invited to give a few very useful tips. Public Relations Officer Douglas Hyde told us more about the workshop. Now apart from sharpening their English and public speaking skills - another element of the workshop was to try and build a stronger more productive relationship with the media - Hyde spoke to us about the importance for both the police and the media to understand each other's roles. Police will organize a number of other training sessions.

New Drainage Solution For City
The municipal drainage project is a 21 million dollar IDB funded project focusing on the drains on the northside of Belize City. It started in late 2011, and should finish by the end of next month. Major work has been done to strengthen or create at least 4 canals, and to build large drains and sidewalks in the Belama Area. The longest canal was built under Cinderella Plaza. It connects to the existing canal on Douglas Jones Street - but stretches it all the way to the sea by Princess, going through Calle Al Mar. IT's a canal that's five foot wide by five feet deep and runs for 540 meters. Today the Ministry of works engineers along with personnel from the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Finance, and The Department of the Environment toured the drainage project, and we tagged along. Here's the story of what they did at Cinderella Plaza:.. Rolando Chan, Project Manager, Flood Mitigation: "We had an existing stretch which was from Freetown towards the creek and then the new section was from Freetown towards the sea, going through Baymen Avenue, Kelly Street Calle al Mar, across Barack Road and then towards the sea. From Freetown towards Calle al Mar towards the sea. That is the new infrastructure that we place in which is a 5x5 section and that was done by Median Construction." Jules Vasquez: "How will that work when there is a spring tide, a very high tide." Rolando Chan, Project Manager, Flood Mitigation: "When the high tide comes, the water from the sea comes towards the canal into the canal and flows towards Haulover Creek."

MOW To Citco: We Won't Pave It
And while there is a spectacular new drain running under Cinderella Plaza, up above you wouldn't know because the street is in deplorable condition. Last week the Mayor of Belize City told us that the Ministry of Works would finish up the paving - and today the Ministry told us that's not what the fine print says - and they won't do it:... Rolando Chan, Project Manager, Flood Mitigation: "Well the last time it was mentioned or Mayor Bradley mentioned that it's our responsibility. We just want to make clear that this is not our responsibility. It is still under Belize City Council, not under Ministry of Works, nor Flood Mitigation. Just a clarification on that." Jules Vasquez: "Is it that the Mayor misspoke or that he had not read the technical documents which you have read?" Phillip Willoughby, City Councilor: "No. Like I said at every turn after meetings are concluded I brief the mayor on what the status is and like I am banking on that, that if there us sufficient or adequate funding remaining from the project then why not put it there. But if that does not materialize then the city has to incur the cost of to fix the Cinderella Plaza area."

But, The Bike Path...
But one thing the Ministry of Works did do for city hall was create a bike path on Juliet Soberanis Street in Belama Phase one. True, it's only by signage and street paint, but it's a nice touch, except hardly anyone pays attention to it. We asked the engineers about it today:... Rolando Chan, Project Manager, Flood Mitigation "The idea is to allow the cyclists to have their own stretch. They can ride their bicycles freely. But as we can see a lack of communication with residents or let's say public awareness that residents they just park right occupying the bike path. So it's something that I think Belize City Council will have to inform the public the reason why we have these bike paths." Tomorrow, we'll go deeper into Belama, to Phase 4, where creating drains basically in swamps was a major engineering challenge.

Channel 5

CARICOM Heads of Government Discuss Threat of Zika Virus
The looming threat of the Zika virus and its potential impact on the Caribbean was the subject of a presentation earlier today, before an audience of CARICOM heads of government [...]

Day 1 of Intersessional Meeting of Regional Heads of Government Concludes in Placencia
The opening ceremony for a gathering of CARICOM heads of government in southern Belize, complete with cultural presentations showcasing the ethnic diversity of the Jewel, was held in Placencia on [...]

A Waitress is Brutally Murdered in San Pedro
There are two murders to report—one in Punta Gorda and one in San Pedro. Tonight, the body of Honduran national Johana Samantha Mendez Barrios lies inside the morgue at the [...]

An Elderly Man Succumbs to Stab Wounds, Three Suspects Detained
And while San Pedro Police hunt for a killer, their counterparts in Punta Gorda are looking for evidence to identify three. On Saturday night, American National Thomas Rockowski was at [...]

Ministry of Works Engineers Tour Belize City Canals
Today, stakeholders from the Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project conducted a tour across the drainage network in the city – from the Douglas Jones Canal to the Maheia Canal on the [...]

Engineers Say Mayor Bradley Has Cinderella Plaza All Wrong
While the site inspectors assess the success of the project works, the Belize City Council has come under fire for sections which have been left in a terrible condition – [...]

The Fight for Baby Nina is Headed to Guatemala
On Friday, media crews camped outside the Belize Family Court until dark, waiting for a determination on the fate of Nina Barrera Perez. The custody and jurisdiction woes of baby [...]

Deon Brackett is Remanded to Prison for Attempted Murder of Raheem Bailey
A Belize City man has been remanded for the attempted murder of Raheem Bailey last Friday. Bailey was the first of five persons injured during four separate shootings in the [...]

Chief Magistrate Reviews Light Sentence of Repeat Offender
Tonight, a sentence handed down by Magistrate Deborah Rogers is under review by Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith, after it was learned that forty-two-year-old Cecil Franklin, no stranger to the [...]

Grieving American Students Return to North Cobb High School
On Monday, as a post mortem examination was being conducted on the body of Tomari Jackson, his classmates from North Cobb High School traveled back to Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.  The [...]

Who Wants to Win a Wingle?
From day to day we’re called to various Police Stations and substations for any matter of reasons – from hunting information to donations and training courses. But we’ve never before [...]

Sister Cecilia Home Receives Donation from CPBL
Today, the Sister Cecilia Home for the Elderly in Belize City was the recipients of twenty-five chairs courtesy of Citrus Products of Belize Limited in the south. Today at the [...]

Re: Today's Belize News: February 17, 2016 [Re: Marty] #511682
02/17/16 05:50 AM
02/17/16 05:50 AM
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February 17, 2016 issue of The Capital Weekly is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

    Belize’s Prime Minister currently holding chairmanship of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Heads of Government from participating nations have come to town for the 27th Intersessional Meeting. The official opening took place Monday evening on the scenic, serene, stimulating, seaside paradise of Placencia in Stann Creek District. Welcoming the Prime Ministerial guests and their entourage from the Caribbean family, Prime Minister Barrow fittingly remarked, “I hope that the legacy features of these surroundings will act as aid and inspiration to our deliberations. And very important deliberations they are; for while that is always the case whenever we meet, I may be forgiven for thinking, and hope to make clear, that our issues and challenges are particularly pronounced at this time.”
    Established 43 years ago in 1973 through the Treaty of Chaguaramas, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was a romantic idea whose practical purpose has perhaps never been as pronounced as it is today. It is in times of adversity that one most appreciates the blessings of belonging to a family. And it is this sense of belonging and common purpose that Prime Minister Dean Barrow was referring to when he remarked in his speech as the new Chairman of CARICOM at the opening of the Twenty-Seventh Intersessional Meeting of the Heads of Government, “I’m trying to reiterate what we know only too well - the reality that forces us to acknowledge the limitations of individual smallness is the same reality that obliges us to size-up both in terms of collective thinking and collective action.” The context is, of course, the existential threat confronting our region with respect to de-risking and the consequent loss of correspondent banking. It is a matter that understandably looms extremely large on the agenda of the CARICOM meeting.
  • NATIONAL UNITY NEEDED, Patriotism above Politics:
    There are some issues that require national unity and transcend partisan politics. It’s long been agreed that the Belize- Guatemalan Territorial Dispute and efforts to resolve it is one such issue as it threatens the very existence of our Nation as we know it. De-risking and the consequent loss of correspondent banking services, which threatens the survival of our financial sector and the state of our economy, is the latest emerging issue that transcends partisan politics, and overcoming it will require the same kind of national unity. The Prime Minister appropriately characterized it as an existential threat, and a potentially huge national crisis.
  • Caribbean Convenes on Climate Change:
    This past week, Climate Change experts from the Caribbean region converged in Belize for a two-day conference. On the top of their agenda were discussions on the COP 21 Agreement which was recently signed in Paris by 195 nations. That agreement outlines a global plan of action to prevent the adverse effects of climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees centigrade. Speaking to the national media at the Biltmore Plaza where the conference was conducted, Minister of State for Climate Change matters, Hon. Omar Figueroa stated, “Right now we have our technical team that has been really going into these agreements and making sure that we can live up to our responsibilities. But we can’t look at these agreements as a challenge for us.
    The Nation of Belize is stepping up its effort to counter and curb money laundering, financing of terrorism and customs fraud. Two weeks ago, the stage for the intensification of these efforts was set with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the new Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Joy Grant and the Comptroller of Customs, Victor Recinos. The MOU, signed on February 3, 2016, will increase potential sources of information available to the FIU and Customs to properly undertake their analytical and investigative functions. This past week, a strategic planning workshop was held to assist in developing adequate human resources to improve the effectiveness of the Customs Department particularly in this regard. Conducted inside the conference room of the Customs Compound in Belize City, the workshop was attended by senior officers of Belize and well-facilitated by the World Customs Organization.
  • Software Installed for the Visually Impaired:
    The Secretary General of the Caribbean Community Secretariat Ambassador, Irwin LaRocque, visited the Belize National Library Service on Thursday, February 11th, 2016 to officially unveil software, donated by the CARICOM Secretariat, for the visually-impaired. In 2015, the CARICOM Secretariat donated and installed software for the visually-impaired at the Belize National Library Service that would be available to the public. The Library, located on Princess Margaret Drive in Belize City, was identified as the ideal location because of its proximity to several high schools, the university and technical vocational institutions. It is also near to the Stella Maris School, which caters to students with special needs.
  • Two-Day Workshop Conducted In Belize City Free Movement Regime of Caribbean Community:
    Belizeans from the private and public sectors attended a two-day workshop on Free Movement of Labour in accordance with the Caribbean Single Market and Economy. Held in Belize City at the Radisson Fort George Hotel, the workshop opened with four key speakers highlighting the history, present progress and benefits of the CSME. Keynote Speaker, CEO Kerry Belisle reiterated the commitment of the Labour Department to facilitate free movement and reinvigorate domestic systems to create greater efficiency and transparency. Dr. Olivia Smith, Deputy Programme Manager, Free Movement and Labour, CARICOM Secretariat, led an interactive workshop with an overview of the CARICOM Community, explaining the rights, benefits and challenges; while Legal Research Officer, Deborah Barrow expounded on legal implications and compliance with provisions in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.
  • Belizean Law Enforcement Personnel Attend Training Course At International Law Enforcement Academy In New Mexico:
    Senior Superintendent of Police, Chester Williams, who commands Eastern Division South, was part of a Belizean team of law enforcement personnel who recently travelled to New Mexico, United States of America to participate in a training course at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) there. It is one of a number of international police academies administered by the U.S. Department of State where U.S. law enforcement can instruct local police from participating countries in counterterrorism, narcotics interdiction, detection of fraudulent documents, and border control practices.
  • Cooperation in Public Health and Medical Skills:
    An agreement on cooperation in public health and medical skills was signed on Wednesday, February 10, 2016, between the Government of Belize and the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan). The agreement was signed by the Hon. Pablo Marin, Minister of Health and H.E. Benjamin T.H. Ho, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Belize. The objective of the agreement is to access technical support from the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the area of public health and will include, but will not be limited to, health education, disease screening and clinical services.
  • Forward Operating Base at Sarstoon Moving Forward:
    On February 10, 2016, Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar, accompanied by Minister of State Hon. Frank Mena, visited the construction site of the Forward Operating Base at Sarstoon, Toledo. He was also accompanied by senior members of the Belize Defence Force (BDF), the Belize Police Department and Ministry of National Security officials. The delegation appreciated the rapid pace at which the construction is proceeding. Elements of the BDF have set up temporary installations at the site as the work progresses.
  • Belize and the Regional Youth Development Agenda:
    On Monday, February 8, 2016, Honourable Elodio Aragon, Minister of State, Ministry of Education, Youths, Sports and Culture welcomed to Belize Her Excellency, Ana Hazel Escrich, Secretary General of the Central American Social Integration Secretariat (SISCA). During the visit, Minister of State Aragon and H.E. Escrich discussed mutual areas of the SISCA Regional Agenda such as Regional Youth Development Programs and the proactive participation of Belize in CODICADER (Consejo del Istmo Centroamericano de Deportes y Recreación).
  • Belize Ambassador & Haitian President:
    His Excellency Oliver del Cid, Ambassador of Belize to Mexico, presented his Letter of Credence to outgoing President Michel Martelly of the Republic of Haiti in a ceremony at the National Palace on 5th February, 2016. Recognizing the importance of the event as a strong step in further strengthening bilateral relations, President Martelly and Ambassador del Cid expressed their countries’ commitment to furthering the friendship and collaboration. Ambassador del Cid also met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Haiti, Honourable Duly Brutus and made a floral offering at the Haitian National Pantheon Museum in memory of the Heroes of the Independence of Haiti.
  • Agriculture Field Day:
    The Ministry of Agriculture on Thursday February 11, hosted a Field Day on the seed production of corn and beans at the Central Farm Crop Unit Production Plot. The purpose of the Field day was to showcase the technological package in quality seed production of open pollinated corn and beans. Present at the event were the main stakeholders of the project, which including farmers from the Toledo, Stann Creek and Cayo Districts. It is expected that from the experience gained, the farmers will adopt good agriculture practices in seed production, and will thus improve productivity and the quality of corn and beans in their own business enterprise.
  • “We are the Agents of Change,” Graduation Remarks by University of Belize President Alan Slusher:
    I thought that I would take this opportunity to share some thoughts on development and on the role of institutions like the University of Belize in promoting and sustaining development. I have deliberately said ‘development’ rather than ‘economic development’ in order to emphasize the multifaceted notion of the process. It is not just about increasing people’s incomes or purchasing power, thus enabling them to eat more nutritious meals regularly, clothe themselves better, live in more comfortable homes, or own their own cars. It is also about freeing people from the mindless drudgery of repetitive, low-paid manual labour; about providing the capacity and the opportunity to everyone to be able to think, to be able to conceptualize, to analyse, to identify how existing operations can be improved to make them more effective and efficient, so that one can do more with less, and then actually to be able to turn the concepts into physical reality.
  • “Put Your Vision to Reality!” Luz M. Longsworth - Principal & Pro Vice Chancellor University of West Indies Campus:
    First, let me say how happy I am to be back home today to address the graduates of the Spring graduating class of the University of Belize. Since we are in the month of Valentine’s, let me share a love secret with you. Some 15 years ago, almost to the day, in January 2001, I began a love affair with the University of Belize and with the students that I taught for 4 years before returning to work with the UWI here in Belize, and then in Jamaica, and now the region, based in Barbados. The University of Belize at that time had just been formed and this was an exciting moment of history for all of us. Many of the staff who are still here will remember those days of struggle for self-definition for the University, of culture formation, of protests by staff and students as we searched for our institutional identity and our role in the nation. I am sure that we gave our President at the time, Dr. Corinth Mortar-Lewis, very anxious times, and for that I apologize, Doctor Lewis.
  • “I Come With A Lot Of Hope!” New Leader of the Opposition Sworn In:
    One of the pillars of our Democracy is a strong and viable Opposition. Having lost three consecutive general elections and four consecutive municipal elections, serious questions abound about the strength and viability of the PUP as Belize’s Opposition Party. The burden of proof rests squarely and heavily on the shoulders of the new Leader of the People United Party, Hon. John Briceno. He was sworn in as PUP Leader at the party’s headquarters in Belize City on Wednesday, February 3, 2016; and on Monday, February 8, 2016, he took the oath as Leader of the Opposition at Belize House in Belmopan. In an interview with the media, Briceno remarked, “As Leader of the Opposition, one of the first things I want to do is to meet with my parliamentarians, so that we can then discuss the way forward...There are, I think, at least a dozen House committees that we need to look at the composition and see how we can make sure that everybody participates and everybody has a function to do.
  • Japan Government Donates to Cotton Industry in Belize:
    The Government of Japan is granting a total of $102,029.00 USD to the Cotton Industry in Belize. The contribution was made under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security projects of the Government of Japan. The project was initiated by cotton farmers in Belize and is represented by Mr. Kensuke Inoue. Agriculture being one of Belize’s main strengths, the development of this industry provides jobs and stability in such a field. The Embassy of Japan says it wishes success for the project as the Sea Island Cotton represents one of the most promising ventures to strengthen the relationship between Belize and Japan.
  • Enterprise - Employment - Empowerment, Department of Youth Services Conducts Job Preparedness Training:
    The Department of Youth Service’s (DYS) Youth Enterprise and Job Creation Unit is presently conducting a Job Preparedness Training for twenty five youths between the ages of 17 and 29 years. The main objective of the training is to empower these young people with the necessary skills and knowledge to become marketable to join the work force. A total of ten sessions are being conducted. The various topics include, Skills Identification, Work Ethics, Conflict Resolution Management in the Workplace, Resume Writing, Interviewing Skills, Mock Interviews and how to work with HIV infected persons in the workplace. The other component of the training is to continue mentoring these young people and procure placement for them or assist them in returning to school where necessary, or engage them in other skills training such as those offered at ITVET.
  • SICA Member States Meet to Address Emergency Health Issues Associated with Spread of Zika Virus in the Region:
    On Tuesday, February 2, 2016, officials from the Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs of Belize participated in a regional video-conference organized by the Government of Honduras, current Presidency Pro-Tempore of the Central American Integration System (SICA), to discuss the regional health implications of the Zika virus. The objective of the meeting was to coordinate regional positions and actions to ameliorate the number of infections and to agree on a sustained action plan to work towards the eradication of the Zika Virus.
  • Investing In The Fight Against Crime:
    It’s a fact that crime affects every sector of the community. One sector which has otherwise been performing extraordinarily, but whose prospects are being seriously threatened by the scourge of crime, is the Tourism Industry. It is quite fitting, then, that the Ministry of Tourism is making a heavy investment in the efforts to fight crime. On February 3, 2016, Minister of Tourism Honourable Manuel Heredia handed over a donation of three pick-up trucks vehicles to Minister of National Security Honourable John Saldivar to improve the mobility of the Police in its continued fight against crime. The vehicles, which cost a total of $200 thousand, will be deployed in hot-spots in Belize City and Cayo District to provide safety and security for Belizeans and visitors.
  • From Commitments to Results:
    Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Hon. Elodio Aragon Jr and CARICOM Youth Ambassador Eric Sanchez participated in this year’s International Youth Forum on Sustainable Development on February 1st and 2nd, 2016. This Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York under the auspices of the ECOSOC President, His Excellency Mr. Oh Joon. The theme of the forum was “Implementing the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Moving from Commitments to Results”. H.E. Joon listed unemployment, poverty, climate change, and inequality as issues needing to be addressed through a cross-cutting and interconnected approach. In plenary sessions, Minister Aragon stated that Belize is finalizing its National Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy (GSDS) which mainstreams the United Nations Post 2015 Sustainable Development Framework. The GSDS identifies clear policy aims together with subsidiary goals and targets to achieve a national vision comprising of a strong economy featuring optimal national income and robust growth, a resilient society, healthy environment, citizen security and good governance.
  • Mobility for Sports Coordinators:
    As reported in our last edition, the Minister of State with responsibility for Youth and Sports, Hon. Elodio Aragon, recently handed over seven motorcycles to sports coordinators countrywide. The Minister explained, “In each district we have sports coordinators who have responsibility for the sporting facilities. Also they have responsibility to run certain programs for us when it comes to sports, such as dealing with the Primary Schools sports tournament that is going on now; also they must coordinate and begin to plan sporting programs for the districts.


Murder In Paradise, Honduran Woman Slashed To Death
A 22 year old Honduran national was killed early this morning inside her apartment complex located in the Boca del Rio area of San Pedro Town. This morning between 5:00 and 5:45 police were called out to the area where they found Joanna Samantha Mendez Barrios suffering from one large cut wound to the left side of her neck. The victim was transported to the San Pedro Polyclinic but later succumbed to her injuries while undergoing treatment. Superintendent Sandra Bowden: “Early this morning between 5 and 5:45am the police were at the an apartment in the Boca del rio area upon the arrival at the apartment complex they observed a female who was bleeding from her neck she was assisted to the Poly Clinic and whilst undergoing treatment at the poly clinic she died and her identity was later to be one Joanna Samantha Mendez Barrios 22 years of La Ceiba Honduras and she was presiding at the said apartment, so far the police has been able to certain one person to may have been at her apartment who may have inflicted the wound not to mention our investigation is still in its early stages and the body has been transported to the KHMH mort where now it awaits a post mortem.”

Prime Minister Of Belize Discusses Banking Sector During CARICOM Meeting
At the opening ceremony of the Twenty-Seventh Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM that was held last night in Placencia, Prime Minister Barrow, Chairman of CARICOM focused a great part of his address on the correspondent banking situation that has been affecting indigenous banks in many CARICOM member states. The threat relates to the possible loss of access to the international financial markets by mainly the Regional indigenous banks. Several international banks, mainly in the US and Europe, have signaled to client banks in the Region an unwillingness to continue carrying their business The so-called ‘de-risking’ by the global banks threatens to impact several critical services including remittance transfers. International trade, the facilitation of credit card settlements for local clients could also be threatened.

ZIKA Virus Takes Center Stage At CARICOM Meeting
The official opening ceremony of the 27th Intercessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government CARICOM was held last night in Placencia where Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque gave the opening address where he made an urgent call for action to keep the Community’s well-earned reputation safe and secure. Ambassador LaRocque: “It is imperative that the urgency for action be translated into the efforts at acquiring the resources necessary to adapt to its effects in our Region and to ensure our survival. In that regard, it is crucial that the international community honour the commitments to provide the requisite resources. We must maintain the standard set for how we should act in concert to address other challenges. That proven capacity for collective action which brings success has to be mustered as we engage frontally, the challenge posed to our security. All of our Member States are affected in varying degrees as the scourge of crime threatens our societies, our economies and our citizens’ security.

Global Economic Woes Impact CARICOM Countries
Prime Minister Dean Barrow in his address at the opening ceremony of the 27th Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government CARICOM also spoke of the failure of the world economy to recover from the shock of a financial crisis that has had negative effects worldwide including on CARICOM member states. The topic was touched as the P.M discussed the drop in oil prices that has negatively affected our country and other countries who enjoyed the privileges of the PetroCaribe fund. Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize: “This would be a welcome offset to the continued volatility in our commodities sector. The global oil price rout has, in particular, been a double-edged sword for a couple of us. So we salute the recent petroleum discoveries in Guyana and look forward to that country being able to exploit those resources on its own terms; and we welcome the benefit to consumers that cheaper fuel has meant. But at the same time we regret the effect that both the contraction of production and the precipitate price drop have had here in Belize. And we note the even stronger detriment of the latter on public sector revenues in Trinidad and Tobago. As well, the oil conundrum has severely constrained the flow of resources to those of us that participate in the PetroCaribe arrangements. This is, of course, in consequence of the havoc done to Venezuela, the source of our erstwhile bounty. To compound matters, it is clear that the oil price phenomenon is symptomatic of the more generalized weakening...”

Secretary General Of CARICOM Describes Banking Sector As An Immediate Existential Threat
CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, also addressed the correspondent banking relationship issue describing it as an immediate existential threat due to the subjective and unsupported labelling of the Region as a financial high risk area for Money Laundering and Terrorism funding.CARICOM Member States are faced with this classification, even though they are compliant with the institutional and regulatory standards established by the FATF, the Global Forum and other international bodies noted LaRoque.Ambassador LaRocque:“Mr. Chairman, today, our Member States face yet another existential threat and it is immediate. This arises from the withdrawal of correspondent banking services due to the arbitrary and unsubstantiated categorisation of our Region as a financial high risk area. This is despite our jurisdictions being in compliance with the institutional and regulatory standards established by the FATF, the Global Forum and other international bodies.


CARICOM Heads of Government to take place in Placencia
The opening of the 27th Inter-sessional meeting for the Heads of Government for the Caribbean Community is underway in Placencia. Reporter Renee Trujillo is in Placencia and filed this report. Renee Trujillo reporting… “The opening session of the 27th intersessional meeting for the heads of government of the Caribbean Community started at 6 o’clock this […]

US students drowns while on field trip to Belize
A 14 year old US student died in Belize over the weekend. Tomari Aliijah Jackson, a freshman at North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia, USA, is believed to have drowned near Tiger Sandy Bay in Rural Belize. Hipolito Novelo reporting… “Fourteen year old Tomari Alijah Jackson was one of thirty two students and six […]

Man charged with attempted murder of teenager
Twenty year old Joseph Lopez, a resident of Reggae Street who allegedly shot a 17 year old boy, was charged with attempted murder when he appeared today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. Lopez was also charged with dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm. He was remanded into custody until April 4. The […]

Man wanted in connection with chopping incident
Police are looking for Edwin Chacon who is a suspect in a chopping incident that occurred yesterday in the Salvapan area of Belmopan. Thirty three year old Fernando Soria reported to the police that while heading home he was attacked by one Edwin Chacon with whom he had been drinking with. Soria suffered cut wounds […]

Police officers injured in road traffic accident
Three police officers were injured in a road traffic accident on Saturday evening in Roaring Creek Village. Fem Cruz reporting… “Love News understands that on Saturday evening, February 13, sometime around 4:10 pm, the officers were on mobile patrol in the village of Tea Kettle when they received a call for back up. They immediately […]

Baby Nina to be returned to Guatemala
On Friday the case of Baby Nina was back before Magistrate’s Dale Cayetano. The case involving the two year old girl had been ongoing for the last few months. Anna Liz Gutierrez, the child’s mother had taken the child from Guatemala and brought her to Belize. The father of the child engaged the authorities after […]

Baby Nina’s mother vows to continue the fight
While you may think the custody battle is over, Gutierrez says it is not. She explained to us that she has to return to the Guatemalan Family court where other charges were filed against her. She remains strong and added that all she can do now is investigate her rights in Guatemala. Anna Liz Gutierrez […]

Woman recounts ordeal of being held up
Last week the Belize Police Department issued an advisory for the public, especially business owners and security firms to be on alert. This followed two reports of individuals posing as police officers and gaining access to establishments. One of the reported incidents was made by Ebonni Hendy who was employed at Harpy Security on Antelope […]

Woman held up by intruder, fired by employer
And while Hendy went through a traumatic experience, she told us that was not the end of it, as after her boss reviewed the security tapes, he fired her. Ebonni Hendy – Victim “The reason I didn’t call the police is because I feared for my life. He threatened me and told me that if […]

Latest book on El Pilar released
Friends of El Pilar Maya Forest Garden Network presented a book entitled “The Mayan Forest Garden” Eight Mellennia of sustainable Cultivation of the Tropical Woodlands. The book is to enlighten the public on sustainable living via the Belizean Forest. Facilitator Cynthia Topsey, told Love News what the group at Friends of the El Pilar Maya […]


American Retiree clings to life after stabbing attack
An American retiree residing in Punta Gorda has been hospitalized in a critical condition after he was stabbed in his home. The stabbing accident happened sometime after 9 p.m. on Saturday February 13. PG police say they they got a call to the home of American Retiree Paul Rocoski in the Hop...

Chopping in Belmopan; man critical
A night of drinking turned into a brawl that left one man suffering from numerous chop wounds. On Sunday the 14th of February, police visited #8 Bolivia Street in Salvapan, Belmopan where they saw 33-year-old Fernando Soria, a Guatemalan labourer, lying on the side of the road. Soria was suffering f...

Shooting in Belize City leaves 3 teenagers hospitalized
Five teenagers were shot in three different incidents in Belize City. The first incident left three teenagers of Belize City hospitalized after a Valentine Day shooting in the Old Capital. On Sunday the 14th of February, 19 year old Wilbert Welch, 19 year old Davone Gillett, and 19 year old Chelsea...

Minor shot in the back
A Belize City minor was shot in his back while heading home. On Friday the 12th of February, a Belize City minor was walking on Boots Crescent Road from the direction of Faber’s Road when a male person came up behind him and fired several shots, one of which caught him in his back. The assailant was...

19 year old shot at home
Another Belize City teenager was shot this weekend. 19 year old Raheem Jaheem Bailey of Belize City was shot while at his home. On Friday the 12th of February, Bailey was at his home in Belize along with his friends when, one Deon Bracket rode up on a bicycle , pulled out a firearm and fired shots t...

Teenager fire shots at teenagers in Sandhill
Two teenagers of Sandhill were lucky this violent weekend as they managed to escaped unhurt after a barrage of bullets were shot in their direction. A 19-year-old of Sandhill was reportedly sitting with his friend in front of his house when a dark complexion male person, who he identified as an 18-...

14 year old American student drowns in Monkey Bay Area
A 14 year old American student drowned in the Monkey Bay on Saturday afternoon. On Saturday the 13th of February, Tomari Alijah was along with a group of some 30 plus students who went swimming. Reports are that at the end of the outing, when the group was ready to leave the swimming area, a head c...


Atlanta, Georgia, student, 14, drowns in Sibun
Within hours, tragedy struck a group of high school students from North Cobb High School in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, who were on winter break and arrived in Belize on Saturday, February 14, for a field trip, when one of the students drowned in the Sibun River at Tiger Sandy Bay, located off the George Price Highway at about Mile 31. The thirty-two students and their nine chaperones arrived in Belize around midday at the Philip Goldson International Airport, where they were met by personnel from Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Following their brief orientation, the students split up into groups and some of them went swimming, while others decided on hiking. Around 4:00 p.m., the chaperones did a head count before heading back to the resort, and it was then that they discovered that a freshman student and music scholar, Tomari Aliijah Jackson, 14, a ninth grader, was missing. Personnel from the Belize Police Department, the Belize Coast Guard and the United States Embassy began combing the area for the missing student. On Sunday morning, shortly after 2:00 a.m., and after an extensive search in the Sibun River, Jackson’s body was fished out of the river. His body was discovered by two local divers in about 25 feet of water.

CARICOM Heads of Government meet in Placencia
The sandy shores of Placencia were the grounds upon which a momentous gathering of leaders of the Caribbean region converged tonight for the official opening of the 27th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Heads of Government of CARICOM. Captivating entertainment provided by Garifuna, Creole and Maya dancers helped to relax the officials before tense deliberations over the next two days on pressing issues affecting the region. “Our issues and challenges are particularly pronounced at this time,” said incoming chair of the Caribbean Community, Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow, in remarks to his peers. Whereas there has been much talk about what Barrow described as the “banking Armageddon,” due to the “cataclysmic ramifications” of the decision by US and European banks to cut off indigenous Caribbean banks, he pointed to a potentially compounding factor: the possibility that the world economy may be “sliding back into recession,” as he put it. Earlier today, CARICOM Finance ministers met to discuss the banking crisis. The recommendations compiled by a Committee of Finance Ministers on Correspondent Banking, chaired by Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, should be the subject of deliberations by Heads of Government as they meet in Placencia on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 16 and 17. Speaking in Placencia tonight, Barrow said that “CARICOM action must be unrelenting.” He called on the region to “size up” with collective action.

Another Belize City man remanded for piracy of tourists at Middle Long Caye
Another Belize City man was remanded to prison today on a charge of aggravated burglary in connection with the armed robbery of a group of tourists who were anchored in their boat off Middle Long Caye on January 13. Police charged Jason Emmanuel Cortez, 20, along with Bradwick Lino, 22, who is serving a three-month sentence after he pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods last month, in connection with the same incident. Police are relying on fingerprint evidence to assist their case in linking Cortez to the robbery at sea. Cortez, a construction worker and resident of Balan Street, Lake Independence, appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser and pleaded not guilty to the charge. Fraser, however, could not grant bail because the offense has allegedly been committed with a firearm; therefore Cortez was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until his next court date on March 18.

Boss fires victim of fake cop office invasion and attempted robbery
A dispatcher for the Harpy Security Company on Antelope Street Extension, which was held up at knife point at by a fake policeman after she let him in, reportedly has been fired by the company. Evonne Hendy, 25, told Amandala that she was on duty at the company’s office when at about 12:30 Thursday morning, she heard someone at the front door. When she looked, she saw a man dressed in a khaki buttoned-down shirt, tucked inside blue long pants, and a black warm hat on his head, who identified himself as a “police officer.” Hendy said that the man told her that he was there to check on the business place, and believing that he was a real policeman she opened the front grill door and allowed him to enter the office. According to Hendy, upon entering the office, however, the police imposter pulled out a knife from his pants waist, grabbed her around her neck, took her inside the office and demanded that she open the door to the storeroom, an order with which she complied.

Mexican Juan Manuel Yapur wins Digicell Tour 2016
After four days of road races, Criterium races and Individual Time Trials, culminating with the big Road Race yesterday ending in front of Leslie’s Imports, Mexican Juan Manuel Yapur of Yapurland Cycling Team in Cancun emerged the overall champion, as well as the Masters winner, thus garnering the Red Jersey for the 2016 Digicell Valentine Tour. 2nd place for the Tour went to Joel Borland (Digicell-4G); and 3rd was American Chris Harkey (Team Starlight). The Green Jersey for King of the Sprint was taken by Brandon Cattouse (C-Ray Road Addikz Team) who was first to cross the finish line in yesterday’s Road Race; and the Blue Jersey for King of the Hills belonged to Ron Vasquez of Western Spirit Cycling Team. C-Ray Juniors and their lone Female cyclist, Kaya Cattouse, boycotted the Road Race on Sunday, in protest of Juniors and Females being excluded from the Tour; but the 5-member Elite team, C-Ray Road Addikz, did participate in the Tour.

Police and Bandits with eyes on CONCACAF Champ League
The Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2015-2016 Closing Season has completed its fourth week of games in a 10-week schedule, and defending champions Police United FC lead the standings, with a 2 point edge over Belmopan Bandits FC. (See Week 4 standings below.) According to reports of weekend games we have received, Belmopan Bandits FC shut out Verdes FC, 2-0, on Saturday night at the FFB Stadium; and on the same night, at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium, it was BDF FC with a 1-nil win over Wagiya FC. Then on Sunday afternoon, with Placencia losing a player to red card at the 50th minute, Police United FC barely managed to secure a 4-3 victory over Placencia Assassins at the Norman Broaster Stadium. (Up to press time, we have not received details of the goals scored.) While all participating teams have their eyes on the PLB Closing Season championship, their eyes, are also focused, especially that of defending champion Police United FC and Belmopan Bandits FC, on the regular season points tally, which could determine the berth to CONCACAF even before a champion is declared. There are two different races going on at the same time, and below we try to explain.

Editorial: Social Security $$$ and Santander
If you follow the logic which argues that the Belize Social Security Board (SSB) should lend Belizean workers’ money to the giant foreign Santander corporation because Santander would give that money 7 and 8 percent returns, whereas the local banks give the same money only 2 and 3 percent interest, then we Belizeans should take all of Belize’s money and invest it in foreign corporations, dammit, in Guatemala itself, where there are a thousand Santanders running their economy. Look, what was the purpose of self-rule and the struggle therefor? Our national heroes, Hon. George Price and Hon. Phillip Goldson, who began political life together in the People’s United Party (PUP) in 1950, both fought for Belizean self-rule. At a certain point in his early leadership of the PUP, Mr. Price began to speak of a “peaceful, constructive revolution.” It is not clear whether he considered that peaceful, constructive revolution as having been born in 1950, when the PUP was founded, or in 1956, when he took personal leadership of that PUP. Mr. Goldson, for his part, was and is famously quoted as follows: “The time to save your country is before you lose it.” We will return later to these two concepts.

Uncertain future for Baby Nina
n Friday, February 12, the Belize Family Court handed down its decision to have Baby Nina returned to Guatemala. The much discussed case of Baby Nina was heard in Magistrate Dale Cayetano’s courtroom, and both parents were present for the hearing. Analiz Perez Gutierrez, the Belizean mother, was represented by attorney Marcel Cardona, and Ernesto Barrera, the Guatemalan father, was represented by attorney Kevin Arthurs. The court proceedings lasted the entire day. Gutierrez emerged from the courtroom at 6:30 p.m. and told us about the magistrate’s ruling. Gutierrez read the following judgment: “Take note that the above case for declaration of wrongful removal/return of the child was concluded on the twelfth day of February 2016, where the following order was made. The child, Nina Charlotte Alexandra Barrera Perez, born twenty-third October, 2013, was wrongfully removed from Guatemala. It is hereby ordered that the child, be returned to Guatemala immediately, pursuant to Chapter 177 of the International Child Adoption Act Revised Edition 200 and the subsequent articles of the convention.”

Guatemalan milperos clear 17 farms and erect several dwellings inside Chiquibul: FCD
January and February 2016 have seen an upsurge of illegal clearings inside the Chiquibul Forest, according to a report released this week by Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD), which said that it has observed 17 new clearings and several thatch-roof dwellings illegally erected inside Belize. The report also says that satellite imagery analysis and interpretation up to October 2015 has shown that a total of 3,772.5 ha (or roughly 15 square miles) had been deforested. The FCD report was filed after the NGO, which co-manages the Chiquibul National Park, did a flyover of the area two days ago, on February 9, 2016. This was the first flight of several which they hope to conduct as the dry season progresses. “From the small Cessna airplane, large clearings of primary forest were observed. These clearings appear to be fresh, indicating that the milpa activity is starting and may progress rapidly as the dry season sets in,” the FCD report warned. It added that the northern section of the Caracol Archaeological Reserve and on the southern region of the Chiquibul known as Cebada are the most impacted.

How safe is the rice on your plate?
Rice is one of Belize’s main staple foods, but Jitendra Chawla, aka Jack Charles, is saying that the rice that we’ve been incorporating in our daily meals might be contaminated with a carcinogenic substance. That substance to which he’s referring is aflatoxin, which has been described as a “poisonous and cancer-causing chemical”. It takes the form of a mold and occurs when staple foods are “improperly stored”. The Director of the Belize Bureau of Standards in a press release has responded to Chawla’s claim. The release pointed out that “Charles is not recognized as a competent authority to conduct testing of any basic food item in Belize.” While Chawla is not an authority, the institution to which he sent the rice samples for testing — Eurofins Analytical Laboratories, is one that the Belize Agriculture Health Authority (BAHA) is very familiar with, since they conduct their testing there as well, Chawla said. The Bureau’s press release further stated that “The test results provided on February 1, by Charles shows that none of the rice samples analyzed contain detectable levels of aflatoxins and as a result does not pose any threat to human health.” The release ends with a reiteration by the Bureau of its commitment to the public to ensure that food on the market is safe for consumption.

Korean stakes claim to lands occupied by 13 Trio families
Roughly 15 families in Trio, who live and farm in the area of the village, have been in panic after reports that an Asian investor had bought the lands they said they have been occupying for decades—albeit without papers they have claimed were promised to them by politicians. Amandala has been informed that the land in question, which is located near the entrance of Trio, Toledo, had been bought by International Missionary Organization Limited, represented by John Yim, a Korean. Yim’s agent, Adan Blanco, has informed that Yim bought the land, 2,570.325 acres in all, back in June 2014 for BZ$1 million from Greenwood Development Company. Blanco told Amandala that Yim intends to use the land for agriculture and is willing to hire the villagers to work the land while offering them an option to purchase the area upon which they have been squatting. According to Blanco, although the initial sale offer to the residents for an acre of the land in question was $15,000, the owner has dropped the price to $10,000. A 25% down payment, amounting to $2,500, would be required. The villagers would also be asked to sign on to a deal to pay the balance over 10 years.

Pedro Menjivar Murcio, 30 – was he killed over a bike?
Less than 12 hours after Pedro Menjivar Murcio, 30, a farmer of St. Margaret, was involved in an argument with a man after his bicycle had been stolen from a bar on the Hummingbird Highway, Murcio was found unconscious, with severe injuries to his head, in an orange orchard between Miles 15 and 16 on the Hummingbird Highway in Alta Vista. He was discovered at about 6:45 on the morning of Friday, January 29, and was taken to the Southern Regional Hospital, after which he was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in Belize City. He fought for his life for eight days in the intensive care unit of the KHMH until Saturday morning, February 6, when he died. On Monday, February 8, a postmortem exam was conducted on Murcio’s body at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital by Dr. Mario Estradabran. At the conclusion of the autopsy, he declared that Murcio’s death was the result of “acute respiratory failure, bilateral severe broncho-pneumonia,comatose state and blunt force traumatic injuries to the head region.”

SSB pension payments to increase by 5%
Social Security Board (SSB) chairman, Doug Singh, said on the KREM WUB, that the Government plans to increase contributory pension payments by 5% this April. The increase has already been approved by Cabinet, in tandem with the transfer of funds from the short-term branch to the long-term branch, to support the payments, Singh told Amandala. He said that the SSB is proposing another 5% increase in pension payments next April, but that would be contingent upon the outcome of consultations to expand the wage band from a maximum of $320 a week insurable earnings to around $500 weekly. The increase would cost the SSB $2.8 million more to meet payments to 7,700 pensioners. Non-contributory pensions, which have been increased from $75 to $100, won’t be included in the scheme. Singh said that over $3 million is paid each year towards pensions for people who have never contributed to the fund, and this expense is met by the others who contribute to the fund.

Santander pulls back from $12 mil SSB loan, but says it will apply again
Santander Sugar announced in a press conference this Friday morning that it has decided to pull back its application from the Belize Social Security Board (SSB) for US$6 million (BZ$12 million) in financing for its sugar enterprise in western Belize, because “the issue was politicized, and given a negative connotation;” but the company plans to return with a second application, said Andres Ayau, the company’s chief financial officer. “We would like to leave the door open for the Social Security Board,” Ayau said, adding that the company wants to pursue another SSB loan for an additional investment round, for expansion of the project and the sugar cane fields for 50 million US dollars. For the meanwhile, though, the US$6 million has been procured from an international lender. According to Ayau, Santander had already informed the SSB that they would turn to another source for the money. He said that Santander hopes that they “can go beyond the politics and see that this is a safe and sound transaction that will provide a big benefit for the Social Security beneficiaries…”

5 persons shot in the city in 4 shooting incidents
Five people are suffering from gunshot wounds in different parts of their bodies, sustained during yet another weekend of gun violence that occurred in the city, and in Sandhill, in the Belize District, over the weekend of Thursday to Sunday, February 11 to 14. There were 4 shootings: a 17-year-old youth was shot in the right upper back on Fabers Road; Raheem Bailey, 26, was shot in the chest and both thighs; Wilbert Welch was shot in the right shoulder; Davone Gillett, 25, also of Belize City, was shot in the neck and left shoulder; and Chelsea Young, 19, of Ladyville, Belize District, was shot in the left hand. Police have since arrested two persons and detained three pending investigations. All victims have been admitted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in a stable condition. The weekend of violence began in Sandhill. At about 9:00 Thursday night, two friends were socializing in front Davone Gillett’s home in Sandhill when a dark-complexioned man who is known to them and who also lives in Sandhill, emerged from a bushy area opposite the house where the two friends were socializing and fired several times towards them. Luckily, both friends escaped unhurt. Police say that the alleged gunman is well known to them.

From the Publisher
September 5, 2016 will mark 40 years since my younger brother, Michael Charles, was murdered in mysterious circumstances in Accra, Ghana. He was on summer break after the first year of classes in a two-year land program at a school in Kumasi, Ghana, which is about 200 miles inland from Accra, which is on the West African seacoast. In Belize, my younger brother, who was the best athlete in our family, had been actively involved in UBAD, and he was tried and acquitted in the Supreme Court in October of 1972, along with Norman Fairweather and Edwardo Burns, for various insurrectionary activities on the night of May 29, 1972. At the time all this excitement was taking place, Michael was employed at the Lands and Surveys Department in Belmopan where his uncle, the late James Valancourt, was the Lands Commissioner. He had resumed his job after arrest, interdiction, and acquittal. In early 1973, the UBAD movement began to split down the middle, as half its leadership wanted to join the Unity Congress, the precursor to the United Democratic Party (UDP) which was formally established in September of 1973.

Belize urges CARICOM to take urgent action on climate change
CARICOM Ministers who hold the environment portfolio in their respective countries met at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel today to discuss one of the hottest topics on the international front—climate change, but also to use the momentum gained at the international COP 21 climate change forum in Paris last year to launch actions on the ground to help the Caribbean adapt, while putting in place measures to mitigate impacts already being visited upon our region by a changing global climate. While there are some pundits who argue that climate change is a fallacy, others are adamant that it is real. Today, Minister James Fletcher, chairman of both the CARICOM Task Force of Sustainable Development and the Regional Coordinating Committee on Climate Change, spoke of eroding coast lines and climate variability, such as prolonged droughts; coral bleaching due to warming oceans; and ocean acidification, as well as negative impacts on wildlife. He also pointed to the theory that rising public health crises, such as Zika in the Americas, may also be linked to climate change.

Boss fires victim of fake cop office invasion and attempted robbery
A dispatcher for the Harpy Security Company on Antelope Street Extension, which was held up at knife point at by a fake policeman after she let him in, reportedly has been fired by the company. Evonne Hendy, 25, told Amandala that she was on duty at the company’s office when at about 12:30 Thursday morning, she heard someone at the front door. When she looked, she saw a man dressed in a khaki buttoned-down shirt, tucked inside blue long pants, and a black warm hat on his head, who identified himself as a “police officer.” Hendy said that the man told her that he was there to check on the business place, and believing that he was a real policeman she opened the front grill door and allowed him to enter the office. According to Hendy, upon entering the office, however, the police imposter pulled out a knife from his pants waist, grabbed her around her neck, took her inside the office and demanded that she open the door to the storeroom, an order with which she complied.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

San Pedro woman killed, neck slashed
Early this morning in San Pedro Town, police were called to the Boca Del Rio area, where in front of the Basil Parish apartment complex, officers saw 23-year-old Honduran national, Johana Samantha Mendez Barrios, bleeding from a cut wound to the left side of […]

PM Barrow addresses ‘de-risking’ at CARICOM Heads of Government meeting
Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who has been at the helm of the ‘de-risking’ issue in the region, again addressed the issue and sounded the alarm for dealing with the matter urgently, in front of his colleagues at the 27th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference […]

One suspect detained for brutal Punta Gorda murder
One Punta Gorda (PG) man has been detained by police and is pending investigations in connection to a stabbing incident which occurred on Saturday. The assault was upgraded to murder yesterday when the victim died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in Belize […]

Unlawful sexual intercourse in Punta Gorda
Punta Gorda (PG) police are seeking a suspect, who is pending investigations for a case of carnal knowledge. A 14 year old female minor told police that while her boyfriend was staying at a hotel in PG last November, she visited him and they […]

Police recover pickup stolen on Valentine’s Day
The white Mazda pickup truck stolen in Benque Viejo Town, Cayo District, shortly after midday Sunday, has been recovered by Belize police near Melchor De Mencos, Guatemala, with the help of Policia Nacional Civil (PNC). Guatemalan Police officers found the truck in bushes in […]

“Walk Through Dangriga” book launching
As part of its ‘Walk Through’ book series, the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), along with the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), yesterday launched a third publication entitled, “A Walk Through Dangriga.” Books in this series feature key landmarks and heritage sites from […]

Woman killed in San Pedro
A woman was brutally murdered this morning in the Boca Del Rio area of San Pedro. Breaking Belize News has confirmed that the incident played out in the wee hours of Tuesday morning at an apartment building on Bonefish Street. The identity of the victim […]

Mother questions son’s death in Belize
Adell Forbes, the mother of 14-year-old Tomari Jackson who drowned in Belize on Saturday, said she still hasn’t been told how her only child died just hours after arriving in Belize. Forbes, in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said she has more questions than answers […]

Japan grants over $200,000 to Belize’s Cotton Industry
Belizean and Japanese officials gathered yesterday to initiate a grant of US $102,029 that is being handed over to Belize’s Cotton Industry from the Japanese Government’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security projects. Benefiting cotton farmers with the potential to strengthen the relationship between both […]

Can Johnny Briceño unite and ignite the PUP?
Newly elected People’s United Party (PUP) leader Johnny Briceño was sworn in as opposition leader last week, and now the real task begins – rebuilding and uniting an embattled party which has been in constant inner turmoil for the past few years. Belize’s most storied […]


Belize, the Adventure Capital of the World
As far as Central American destinations go, Belize is rather unique. This small nation has some of the most incredible attractions in the world in terms of animals, marine life, natural landmarks, artifacts and culture. The Belize Barrier Reef is one of the best sites in the region. It’s a 300-kilometer (or 186-mile) section of the larger Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System that spans from Cancun, Mexico all the way to Honduras. The Belize Barrier Reef is one of the most popular destinations in the country, and it sees over a quarter of a million visitors each year. The reef hosts over 100 species of hard and soft coral, 500 species of fish as well as several species of turtles, sharks and manatees.

When “Gaad” Comes Knocking
Ambergris Caye: an atoll, resembling an island, that’s almost the tip of a peninsula, closer to Mexico but belonging to Belize and under claim by Guatemala. A Caribbean lifestyle, integrated with a Mestizo culture, but geographically part of Central America. Multiple languages are spoken, with English being the official language, but most San Pedranos, named after the only town on the island, San Pedro, speak a combination of English, Spanish, and Kriol. After you’ve lived here a while, if you love it as much as I do, the combination of these languages make you feel at home and become an integral part of life. I present you with this background on language to help you understand my excitement when I received a Jehovah’s Witness booklet in my little wooden mailbox, written completely in Kriol. The title was, Gud Nyooz Fahn Gaad. May I first lay this on the line: I am one of the faithless, so I have absolutely no interest in religions, except in the way they affect me and my community on a day to day basis. Understanding a little bit about them is important too in terms of being culturally sensitive and appreciating traditions that my friends and neighbours enjoy. Having people knock on my door to evangelize though… not so much.

Re: Today's Belize News: February 17, 2016 [Re: Marty] #511685
02/17/16 06:15 AM
02/17/16 06:15 AM
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International Sourcesizz

Notice of Public Consultation
The general public is hereby informed that the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) is developing a Pilot Project to conduct research on the cultivation of Arundo Donax (wild cane) in Belize. The digital DRAFT of the “Environment and Risk Management Plan” can be viewed on the website of the Department of the Environment as well as below. Hard copies will be available at the San Lazaro Community Centre on Thursday, February 25, 2016, and at the office of the CCCCC in Belmopan during working hours from March 16 – 23, 2016. Download: Draft Environment and Risk Management Plan. The public is invited to offer comments via email, addressed to [email protected], or in person at the Community Centre in San Lazaro Village, Orange Walk District, Belize, beginning at 7:00 – 9:00 pm on Thursday, February 25, 2016.

Cuban lung cancer vaccines offer hope for survival
Two Cuban lung cancer vaccines offer the hope of survival for patients with an advanced stage of that disease. The head of the oncology services at Santa Clara University Hospital, in central Cuba, Ana Victoria Torre, said that the vaccines activate the patients’ immune system to fight cancerous cells. The vaccines are known as CimaVax and Racotumomab, which delay the spread of cancer in the body. The two products are still under clinical tests, though they have proven successful in Cuba, said the expert. Meanwhile Fernado Cabanillas, director of the Cancer Center at the Santa Clara hospital, explained that the vaccines are administered following chemo and radiotherapy treatment with different results. Some patients may live for some additional months; others extend their lives for years, despite the advanced stage of their disease. Experts say that the vaccines could be possibly be available in Puerto Rico in a few years in tune with the advancement of the US-Cuba normalization of relations. At present, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York is working to use the Cuban vaccines in the US.

Cobb mother wants answers after son dies on school trip to Belize
She worried about her son remembering to take his vitamins and use his mosquito spray while on a weeklong school trip to Belize. And Adell Forbes hoped her son enjoyed celebrating his 15th birthday while he was gone. But she never imagined he wouldn’t return home alive. In an interview late Monday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Forbes said she still hasn’t been told how her only child, Tomari Aliijah Jackson, died Saturday within hours of arriving at the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. She was preparing to go to Belize herself when she got a second phone call from the U.S. Embassy. Tomari’s lifeless body had been pulled from the water, but Forbes was given very few details. “Once they told me what what had happened, there was nothing else,” Forbes said. Tomari’s classmates and chaperones returned to Atlanta on Monday, what would have been his 15th birthday. But Forbes has been told it will be at least Friday until her son’s body will be returned. Until then, Forbes is hopeful someone will give her more details on what happened to Tomari. She has one question she needs answered. “Why wasn’t he missed until later, until after the fact?”

A look back at 1930s Limón and the real legacy of Afro-Caribbean immigrants
On two separate occasions over the last year, I have been asked for information about what life may have been like in Puerto Limón during the 1930s and 1940s. Those asking me were exhausted by the stereotypical notions of Limón being about “Cocorí” and rice and beans. Though there is research on Marcus Garvey, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), the Northern Railway and the United Fruit Company’s role in the banana industry, very little information has been preserved (or documented – beyond the work of don Quince Duncan) to highlight some of the individuals who forged lives in this region at the turn of the 20th century. My personal interest is in slavery in Costa Rica, and it is always fascinating to be in conversations with Ticos who readily add the English-speaking Caribbean people who immigrated to Limón into the “slave pot.” I quickly respond that these immigrants were in fact never slaves, but rather educated people seeking economic opportunities for themselves and their families. They arrived in Costa Rica by choice, not force.

Belize PM warns of catastrophe from correspondent banking exodus
Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow yesterday called on CARICOM to wage a relentless campaign against what he described as the “possible banking Armageddon that we face” from bank de-risking. In recent years, international banks have begun shedding correspondent banking relationships with financial institutions in the region because of the perceived risk of money laundering and other financial crimes. The trend has alarmed CARICOM in recent months as it can affect an entire range of services including money transfers. Barrow, the incoming CARICOM Chairman spent a large part of his address to the 27th intersessional meeting of Heads on the matter, according to the text released by the CARICOM Secretariat. The Prime Minister proposed on behalf of Belize that banks across the region get together and as a bloc approach target banks in the US for pooled correspondent services. “That way we should be able to leverage the critical mass needed to make our business volume worthwhile in terms of the risk/reward equation. The modalities and logistics will take some working out but clearly are not beyond our skills”, Barrow stated.

Mother demands answers after her son, 14, mysteriously dies just HOURS after arriving in Belize on school trip
A Georgia mother was left searching for answers after learning that her son has unexpectedly died during a school field trip to Belize, just days before his 15th birthday. According to a statement from the Cobb County School District, Tomari Aliijah Jackson was part of a group of 32 students and six chaperons who were visiting the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday, just hours after landing in Belize. The teen, who was a freshman at North Cobb High School, was reported missing while splashing in shallow water near a river bank after a hike. Jackson was found dead after a brief search and additional details on his cause of death weren't immediately available. The teen's distraught mother, Adell Forbes, said in an interview with Atlanta Journal Constitution that the circumstances surrounding her only child’s untimely death did not make any sense to her. She said Tomari was a Boy Scout and a good swimmer who loved nature and enjoyed traveling. 'I wasn’t concerned about his safety,' Ms Forbes said, adding that she trusted officials at her son's school to keep him safe during the week-long trip to the Central American country. After getting the initial call alerting her that Tomari was missing, Ms Forbes said she was preparing to go to Belize to help search for him. But then a second call came from the US Embassy telling her that a search party has recovered the boy’s body.

What Are the New Fees and Capital Requirements Required by Belize’s IFSC?
Belize’s International Financial Services Commission (IFSC) has made a number of key changes to its fee requirements for brokers and providers operating in the country, including notable jumps in its minimum capital requirements that look to dramatically reshape the playing field in the country. Previously, many financial service providers in Belize had enjoyed relative low capital requirements and very lax licensing fees. Relative to other locales or regulatory jurisdictions in the Western Hemisphere, Belize’s IFSC registered but a fraction of the fees incurred via other regulatory entities. As per a new agenda outlined by the regulator, the IFSC application fee has soared to $1000, doubling from just $500. In addition to this price jump, the IFSC also stipulates that the applicable fee must now also accompany a new application and cannot be refunded. Furthermore, this move was also accompanied by an increase in its annual license fee charged by the regulator, from $25,000 from $5,000.

VIU students earn scholarships to study in Belize
Stephanie Govier burst into tears of joy and immediately called her mom. Kala Mackintosh still can’t sleep because of the excitement, and Haley Robinson recognized right away that she was just given a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” All three Vancouver Island University senior undergraduates are recipients of VIU’s Building Resilience in Coastal Communities, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships. Each scholarship provides money to cover travel, tuition and living expenses for a three- to six-month internship in Belize. They, along with 11 other VIU scholars and visiting scholars from Belize, were officially recognized at a ceremony held earlier this month. “When I heard I was selected, I understood right away what a huge learning opportunity it was. When we go to Belize, we know there won’t be somebody there telling us what to do. We’re expected to be leaders of our own projects so it’s a bit intimidating. But I know I was picked for a reason, and I’m ready,” said Mackintosh.

New Love Bug Boasts Heart-Shaped Leg Joints
A new beetle species found in a rainforest in Belize boasts a prominent heart-shaped leg joint and appears to have only one thing on their mind: Mating. Max Barclay of the Natural History Museum discovered these beetles, belonging to the genus Ivierhipidius, after spotting two odd-looking winged male specimens among thousands collected on a trip to Central America. The unique bugs possess a heart-shaped trochanter, which is the part of the upper leg that connects it to the abdomen and has not been witnessed in any other type of beetle. Humans also have a body part called the "greater trochanter," but it is not as intricately shaped. However, researchers are unsure what exactly the heart-shaped joint is used for. Ivierhipidius is now known to contain at least four species from across Central and South America. I. paradoxus, the species found in Belize, inhabits lowland rainforests.

Congratulations to rising track star, Amir James, a child of Belizean parentage
Congrats to our Demon Amir James on winning the Southland Conference Championship in the 60 and 200 meters! Was really close to breaking the conference indoor record in the 200. Also big congrats to Micah Larkins with two top 5 finishes in the 60 and 200.


  • Remarks at the Opening of the 27th CARICOM Intersessional, 16min. Incoming Chair of CARICOM, Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize's Remarks at the Opening of the 27th CARICOM Intersessional in Placencia Belize

  • 27th CARICOM Intersessional Meeting, 5min.

  • The Beautiful West Side of Ambergris Caye, Belize from the water and the air 2015, 5min. See the pristine, undeveloped beauty of the West side of Ambergris Caye, Belize. Private, white sandy beaches and crystal clear blue waters. Shot in stunning HD video with true 4K HD drone footage.

  • Birds Eye View of Boca Del Rio area of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize, 3min. Amazing drone footage of the Boca Del Rio area on Ambergris Caye. "The Cut" divides the North from the South end of the island and is at the Northern edge of San Pedro Town. Amazing 4k video footage of the sandy white beaches and crystal blue Caribbean water surrounding " the worlds best island".

  • Belize River Valley Expo 2016, 19min.

  • Snorkeling in Belize, 2min.

  • Atolls of Belize, 3.5min.

  • Youth Ambassadors selected to go to the USA, 1min. Today we had the opportunity to meet with the Youth Ambassadors selected to go on an exchange program in the U.S. These youth represent some of the best and brightest young people in Belize. They come from Belize City, Stann Creek, Cayo, and Caye Caulker. We are very proud of them!!! Check out the video from two of the youth sharing a poem about Belize they will share with the other youth ambassador program participants from other countries and the U.S.

  • WIZ FEBRUARY 15, 2016, 6min.

  • Tying Ragheads, 10min. Short video on variation of Raghead Crabs we have used in the Bahamas, Florida, Cuba, Mexico, and Belize.

  • Simple vacation in Belize 2016! Music by The Orchard Music Jerry Jeff Walker, 14min. Wakacje w Belize 2016.

  • Sea turtle attack - Placencia, Belize, 1min. My wife and I went on a little snorkeling trip in Belize. The guides said "don't touch the sea turtles." She took that to mean even when one is about to bite the mask right off your face! No sea-life or people we're harmed in this clip.

  • Mexico Rocks Ambergris Caye Belize, min. Mr. Eaton doing a dive at Mexico Rocks.

  • Son Brother & father=in-law Zip lining in Belize honduras, 21min.

  • History Tour - Belize Sugar Industry 18th Century, 2min. The cultivation of sugar cane was introduced to Belize by the Maya and Mestizo refugees who fled from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula as a result of the 1848 Guerra de Las Castas. During and after the American Civil War (1861-1865), Americans living in the Southern United States migrated to Belize. These immigrants settled initially in the Cowpen area of the Toledo District then migrated to different areas, primarily in southern Belize investing large amounts of capital in sugar estates. During the 18th century and early 19th century numerous small sugar mills were established throughout southern Belize. Two steam powered mills owned by the Serpon and Regalia Sugar Estates were established in 1863 marking the arrival of the industrial era to Belize. By the turn of the century sugar production was found to be more profitable in the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts, and the Serpon and Regalia mills were eventually abandoned 1910.

  • Caracol Mayan Ruins Tour - San Ignacio Belize, 2min. Caracol Mayan Ruins Tour is unlike any other site in Belize. Because it’s so secluded, there’s more wildlife that calls it home–like the ocellated turkey, the keel-billed toucan, and the legendary mot-mot. And like the famous buried city of Cumae in Italy, most of the city still lies sleeping underground. But even the small fraction of buildings exposed to the air offer testament to the city’s majesty. In addition to these extraordinary ruins, PACZ offers two stops on the way there or back: first, the breathtaking Rio Frio cave, with its eerie subterranean beach and ceilings high enough to fit a cathedral. You can try capturing it all in one camera shot, but no one’s ever succeeded!

  • Grace and You Cooking Show - Grace Kennedy Belize SEP 25th 2015, 24min.

  • Hamanasi Hopkins Belize Southern Barrier Reef Jasons' Wall Dive 1 Feb 2016, 26min. A 1 Feb 2016 dive of the South Barrier Reef Jasons' Wall off Belize, Hopkins Divers from Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort took us out.

  • Links
    Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
    Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!
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    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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