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Today's Belize News: February 18, 2016 #511712
02/18/16 05:42 AM
02/18/16 05:42 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 73,258
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP


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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

Forward Operating Base at Sarstoon coming along
On December 19, 2016 the controversial ground breaking of the joint Belize Defense Force (BDF) and Belize Coast Guard (BCG) Forward Operating Base (FOB) was held at an area of land on the northern bank of the of the Sarstoon River in southern Belize. Two months later work has progressed and the building is starting to take shape. On Wednesday, February 10th the Minister of National Security, Honorable John Saldivar visited the construction site, applauding the rapid pace of construction. The FOB has been long needed in the area for law enforcement presence, as the area is known for illegal activities. On his visit to the construction site, Saldivar was accompanied by senior members of the BDF, the Belize Police Department and Ministry of National Security officials, along with Honorable Frank Mena. The FOB at the mouth of the Sarstoon River is one of several initiatives being undertaken by the Government of Belize to safeguard and protect Belize’s sovereignty. “The Forward Operating Base, though modest in its beginnings, will establish a much needed presence and will serve to combat illicit activities such as drug, contraband and human trafficking, and weapons trading, which threaten Belize’s national security,” indicated Saldivar.

Caye Caulker hosts first Lionfish Derby
The first ever Lionfish Derby in Caye Caulker took place on Saturday, February 13th and was organized and founded by the Barrier Reef Sports Bar and Grill along with Oceana Wave Maker volunteer Lynne Harris. The event was organized to continue the fight in ridding Belizean waters of the invasive lionfish. Nine teams registered for the event and headed out to the sea to capture as many fish as possible, then bring them ashore for cooking. There were four main categories which included the Most Lionfish (Scuba Diving), Most Lionfish (Free Dive), Largest Lionfish and Smallest Lionfish. There was even recognition for the youngest team taking part in the tournament. At the end of the tournament, after all the catches had been weighed, the respective winners were announced. The Most Lionfish caught through scuba diving was via Team Sagebrush from San Pedro Town with 78 lionfish caught. Team members were Brad Blanchat, Kyle Thomas, Eddie Ancona, Bill McDonald, Andre Paz, and Justin from Amigos del Mar. They walked away with $500, a case of beer and a bottle of rum. Capturing the prize for the Most Lionfish in free diving, as well as the Smallest Lionfish, was Caye Caulker fisherman Miguel Moreno. He won $600 dollars along with a case of beer and a bottle of rum. The prize for the Largest Lionfish, measuring an impressive 15” went to Stephanie and Henry Lopez from Contour Tours, who took the prize of $100, a case of beer and a bottle of rum. At the end of the award ceremony, the youngest team, Spearheads, was recognized. Even though they did not make it in any of the four main categories, they did well as the youngest group in the competition. They walked away with a $75 certificate courtesy of the Barrier Reef Sports

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Takes Steps to Remain Zika Free
San Pedro Town Council and Ministry Of Health Unite For A Zika Free San Pedro - With the recent Zika situation in the region, The San Pedro Town Council in conjunction with the Ministry of Health has embarked on a proactive approach to ensure that our island, as well as the entire country of Belize, remains Zika free. This plan of action is in accordance with the national plan of action that the Ministry of Health has embarked on. The San Pedro Town Council and the Ministry of Health are therefore encouraging all islanders to do their part to prevent all forms of mosquito-borne diseases and keep our environment and island clean.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

A love letter to the Caribbean Sea
Dear Caribbean Sea, Some of our earliest memories are of you, our beautiful Caribbean Sea. Carefree days; warm sand; beauty and abundance as far as the eye could see. Every year, we take a knee, hoping we are not forced to witness the power of your waters in storms and hurricanes. And every day, we give thanks to you for the air we breathe, the water we drink, the coasts you protect, the jobs you provide, the food you put on our tables. We dare not imagine a world without you…a world without our reef, without fish, without all the treasures that make us who we are: proud Belizeans. No matter where we live, we recognize the role you play in our personal health and in the global reality. Belize is small but we’re strong. And we know just how important you are to us—all the ways we are interconnected and dependent on how you’re feeling. We see you hurting. We hear your cries for help. We know that if each country works diligently to save the ocean, we can help you help yourself. We promise to act, to reimagine how we use and protect our resources to ensure we are doing what we can to minimize climate change, ensure food and job security and a better quality of life for all. You may have seen us on the coasts and cayes, picking up the garbage that’s choking you. You may have heard our voices, calling for sustainable development projects. You have felt our hands as they stretch across the sand to protect you from offshore oil. It’s not enough but we promise to do more. We promise to speak up even more boldly and loudly and to get even more people involved. We know that if we all come together and use our hearts, hands and voices, our small ripples will create big waves of change. We promise to do more than just say we love you; we promise to act like it. Love always, the people of Belize.

Luna Loca's 3rd Anniversary Weekend Celebration & Full Moon Party
February 18 - February 23. Luna Loca: on the beach, San Pedro, Belize. Calling all LUNAtics! Join us in celebrating our 3rd anniversary with a long weekend full of exciting entertainment and fun! Drink specials every day As alway's....walk in and get a free Shot. 2 for 1 Belizean rum 2 for 1 LocaRitas 2 for 1 Green Fairy Thursday 18 February 7p-12a Karaoke with Julian Melodyman Escobar Free shots for all singers, Bring your losing Chicken Drop ticket for a surprise at the bar Friday 19 February 7p-12a Video DJing by DJ Tracks Name dat tune.... Free 2 Be Saturday 20 February 7p-12a DJ GrACiErOcK Droppin dat BASS from di underground... Silly games and prizes Limbo, Musical Chairs, Punta Hoop, and The Big Suck-Off Sunday 21 February 2p-6p LUNAtic Asylum Wine Down With live music by PG Vibes 2 for 1 Bloody Marys/Marias, Micheladas, Mimosas and Bellinis

Sunsets from last night and tonight, Iguana Reef and Belize Diving Services, Caye Caulker, Belize

Ocean Ferry Belize Limited says STOP THE CLOCK!
We are trying something new on 17 February 2016! 11:30 a.m. departure from San Pedro, and 12:00 noon departure from Caye Caulker wink emoticon Come experience this and maybe even win something (hehe) - and who knows....maybe we make it a permanent thing??

Business Outsourcing Provider’s Summit Belize!
Government officials from Belize and private sector representatives will meet in February to discuss a new Commonwealth strategy to improve the country’s business services sector. The meeting, which will take place on 17 February in Belize City, will be an opportunity to examine the benefits of increasing the country’s business services and identify priorities for policy and institutional reform. The strategy was developed by the Commonwealth Secretariat in collaboration with the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (Beltraide). Businesses services cover a wide range of activities including accounting, data processing, IT-related services and telecommunications. Governments and businesses around the world outsource a proportion of these services to make efficiency gains or as part of a wider corporate strategy.

Current Market Surveillance Activities by the Belize Bureau of Standards
Government of Belize Press Office

World Spay Day is next Tuesday Dr. Baptist will be returning to Saga to help celebrate this worldwide event to control pet population...please call Miss Ingrid at 226-3266 to schedule your cat or dog (or rabbit) today... FREE SPAYS AND NEUTERS next week...never a better time to care for your pet and help the animals of San Pedro...

Ixcacao chocolate now in stock on Caye Caulker
Half size (2 OZ) bars in a variety of flavors $5.50 each. Full sized (4 OZ) bars in dark, milk and unsweetened baking chocolate $11. Flavors available in small bars: dark, dark with ginger, spicy dark, dark with cinnamon and milk chocolate. Message me for orders.

Garden & Flower Show in Belize City
If you are in Belize City this weekend folks, lookout for their Garden & Flower Show!

They say "Dis Da Fu Wi Chikin"
Quality Food Products which recently opened its doors announces its COROZAL GRAND OFFICIAL OPENING this Saturday February 20th, 2016. 10% off all grocery items. Whole chicken at discounted price. FREE FOOD & DRINKS (All Day Long). Every hour there will be a raffle - 5 Bicycles, 5 Micro ovens and the GRAND PRIZE of 1 Stove - See you at our location #2 Third Street South, Corozal Town (Same building where Smart is).

A vacancy exists at Belize Electricity Limited
For the post of Lead Mechanic in the Transport Section.

Power interruptions 5:00am to 6:20am & 5:40pm to 6:00pm, Sunday February 21, Cayo and Belize Districts
Entire City of Belmopan, and area from Mile 31 to Mile 50 on the George Price Highway including La Democracia, Franks Eddy, Saint Matthews, Cotton Tree, Roaring Creek, Valley of Peace, Camalote, Teakettle, Arizona, Ontario, Buena Vista, Blackman Eddy, Unitedville and all that area from Belmopan to Armenia Village on the Hummingbird Highway. BEL to conduct climbing inspections of the transmission system & maintenance of equipment at La Democracia Substation.

Health Fair at Lion's Den today!
Want to know how healthy you are? Find out at the Health Fair today (Thursday) from 9am-4pm at the Lions Den!

A DAY TO REMEMBER FOR BELIZEAN EXHIBIT too many times history is forgottten this time we will share the moment of that day with our friends away from home. We thank Dr. Jean Alexandre, former VP United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Nestor Mendez Asst. Secretary General OAS. and H.E. Pat Andrews Belize Ambassador to the U.S. and OAS.

"As We Remember"
NELSON ERNEST FULLER R.I.P. (no more suffering) The Babylon Warriors and fans gonna miss you.

Cayeboard Connection sold
Congratulations to Albert and Chantel on their new journey, as well as to Ellen and Sofia on THEIR new journey. Cayeboard Connection’s success has allowed me to provide jobs to 3 Belizean families and to support my own family. Cayeboard has paid for both of my daughters’ schooling, a paralegal certificate, a bachelor degree and a high school diploma. With competent staff, and the support of my family, I was able to work outside of the shop and to provide countless hours of volunteer services to both the primary and high school computer labs; building the primary school lab from scratch and assisting in setting up the lab in the high school. I am grateful to all of my staff over the years whose hard work and dedication have been a huge contribution to Cayeboard's success. It has been a pleasure knowing and working with all of them. I am especially thankful to Paulina, Albert and Victoria for the awesome job they have done during my absence this past year. And last but not least, I give thanks to the people of Caye Caulker who have chosen to use Cayeboard for their computing and printing needs. I have tried my best to give back to the community whenever possible.

Cristo Rey Bird Garden
The Cristo Rey Primary School is getting a Bird Garden. The Belize Raptor Center, which will visit the school over 20 times for the project (pictures here) has teamed up with Full Basket Belize to make the bird garden happen. Thanks to both wonderful organizations! "The first of 20+ visits to Cristo Rey school. Cristo Rey is one of two schools that will receive Full Basket Belize grant money for a school bird garden this year. We are thrilled to be able to provide the children and community with a year worth of activities and a garden built with their own hands to be proud of for years to come."

Western Ballaz Host Bandits
The Western Ballaz are hosting the Belmopan Bandits this Friday. Go Ballaz! "Rivalry Match!!! You guys ready?? It's happening this Friday at SHC's Auditorium. Let's go Ballaz!!!!"

Chiquibul Forest Advisory Council launched
Thanks to the Forest Department, the Chiquibul Forest Advisory Council was launched today. This endeavor seeks to join efforts for the consolidation of the Chiquibul Forest and define strategies and framework for medium and long term goals.

Channel 7

CARICOM Meeting Wraps On Placencia, We Resolve To ...
At this hour, the Heads of Government from the 15 member States of CARICOM are finishing up their third day of the 27th Inter-Sessional Meeting, which was held on the Placencia Peninsula. Since Monday, we’ve been bringing you coverage of meeting as it progressed, and after all the discussions, the meeting closed by charting the way forward for a number of pressing issues facing the Caribbean Community as a collective. At an afternoon press conference, Prime Minister Barrow, who is the Interim Chair of CARICOM, sat down with the media along with Secretary General Irwin LaRocque. They walked the Caribbean press through the resolutions coming out of the conference. The Secretary General told us that he and the other Heads of Government are pleased with how the meeting unfolded: Ambassador Irwin LaRocque - Secretary General, CARICOM "Prime Minister just very briefly to thank you for your kind words first and foremost but also to thank you for your stewardship over our community from day one of us assuming office you have been in the driver seat. The arrangements made for today, the conductor of the meetings over the past day and a half I think is exemplary, it’s most efficient. You'd be surprise to know the amount of work our heads of government have achieved in a day and a half. Some of the topics as you have heard are fairly witty but they were dealt with thoroughly and with guides to action."

CARICOM Meeting Big On Correspondent Bank De-Risking
But, the biggest issue facing the CARICOM Nations right now is the loss of correspondent banking relationships. As has been widely reported, this phenomenon called de-risking is a result of the US crackdown on money laundering and the financing of terrorism. That has caused the large US Banks to cut off their relations with the indigenous banks of the Caribbean. It’s a widening crisis, and over the last three days, the CARICOM heads of government have discussed the problem and possible solutions at length. Today, the Prime Minister shared with us what the conference of leaders has decided on to deal with the de-risking threat: Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "On correspondent banking, we're great to the appointment of a high level advocacy group to be led by the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda; the chair of the finance minister committee we had earlier set up. This group will be charged with the responsibility to represent the interest of the region in addressing this issue including an approach to the UN and the WTO. We're also talking about engaging directly with the regulators, particularly in the US and with congress, certainly with as many congressional leaders as the team will be able to interface with."

CARICOM On Border Disputes
One other fringe issue that the 15 Heads of Government discussed today was the border dispute that Belize has with Guatemala, and the border dispute that Guyana has with Venezuela. We spoke to Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington in Placencia where he discussed these territorial disputes: Hon. Wilfred Elrington - Minister of Foreign Affairs: "There were two border issues that were dealt with, one the Belize border issue the other one is the Guyana border issue; but I just listen to one of the Prime Ministers who was saying that the Guyana border issue has been on the table since 1993. So these are two issues that have coming back every time the heads meet because it gives the heads an opportunity to affirm their solidarity with the countries in their struggle and claim and of course to get an update as to what has transpired since the last meeting. That is essentially what took place, I was able to give them an update on all that has transpired since we last met and tell them what we are planning to do in the future." Reporter: "Now I know the CARICOM provides support when it comes to issues that the member states are facing both nationally and at a regional level. What kind of support can the Caribbean community possibly lend in terms of our Belize Guatemala issue?"

GOB Pushing Forward With Port Partnership For Cruise Ships?
What’s the cruise future for Belize City? That’s a question that we’ve been asking on this newscast for months now – and finding an answer is like aiming at a moving target. First – back in 2004 - it was the Carnival Cruise Port at the Port of Belize, and then that completely fell part, and then it was Stake Bank –which only recently fell out of contention, and, now, the new frontrunner is the old frontrunner: they’re back to the Port of Belize. Government wants a public-private partnership – reportedly with the Ashcroft Alliance – to build a docking facility there. Exploratory meetings were held last week Wednesday at the Tourism Board – and even the Prime Minister was there. So was Minister of State in the Ministry of Investment Tracy Taegar Panton – and we asked her about it:… Hon. Tracey Taegar Panton - Minister of State, Investment Trade & Commerce: "It's clearly as the Prime Minister indicated a project that we will be looking at very seriously. We have heard over the years and you know I've served in tourism for many years prior to taking on this roll and responsibility. That the berthing facility that will allow passengers to dock and land and go immediately on tours is really what we've heard from the cruise sector. Stake Bank presented a possibility without the causeway it presents challenges and so the port is in Belize City is potentially a site we can look at. We are speaking to a couple of potential investors to examine the feasibility and viability of such a project but we're in the very preliminary stages at this point."

Bureau Of Standards Brought Down The Hammer
On this newscast, we always knock the Bureau of Standards for being too soft on enforcement, but they’ve been busy doing their work these past six weeks. The Bureau reports that its officers have visited 150 stores all over the country to check on the new controlled price of rice and sugar – which went into effect at the end of December, 2015. So, of the 150 stores which they checked, 30 of them were price gouging. This was most prevalent in the south and at corner shops in rural areas countrywide. And where prices were higher than the controlled price, the Bureau confiscated their product, taking in 2770 pounds of rice, white sugar, brown sugar and flour. A third of that came from stores in Belize City, while Punta Gorda and Dangriga had half of the total, Cayo had only 10%, and Orange Walk and Corozal added up to only 8% of the total product seized. And that’s not the end of it. The controller of Supplies has the case files and he will send if to the DPP for advice.

Keeping the City Zika Free
Today another Zika sensitization meeting was held but this time the Belize City Council was involved. This morning at City Hall 3 health officials gave a presentation on the Zika virus to the city council. For some of you, these meetings may seem redundant given that there are no confirmed cases in Belize and it’s pretty much the same information we have been reporting on since cases of the virus began exploding all around us. But health officials say nothing is redundant when it comes to public health. Here are just a few comments from the presentation regarding the transmission of the virus and the symptoms Dr. Javier Zuniga - Reg. Manager, Central Health Region: "Zika is a virus and it belongs to a family of virus known as flavivirus and it is transmitted by a vector and that vector is known as the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. I'm sure you're familiar with the Aedes Aegypti mosquito because it also transmits dengue and chikungunya. The symptoms include slight fever, headache, very important with Zika is a non-purulent conjunctivitis. What do we mean by non-purulent, when we have discharge from the eyes, when you have a pink eye that's a purulent discharge but on this case there is no purulent discharge so its dry but the eye is red. Aching joints just like dengue, chikungunya, heat rash could also appear muscular pain, general discomfort and very important is that it causes vertical transmission. What does that mean; it means that it is passed from mother to child."

Mayor Still Waffling On Plaza Paving
Last night we told you about the situation with Cindarella Plaza in Belize City. One week ago, the Mayor said that the Ministry of Works would pave it – and yesterday the Ministry said it would do no such thing: they built the canal underneath the street; paving the surface is CITCO’s job. Yesterday, Councillor Phillip Willoughby said that they’re hoping that when the 21 million dollar municipal drainage is finished – there’ll be some contingency funds available to come up with the half a million dollars or so need to pave that stretch and a portion of Baymen Avenue. Well, truth is there won’t be; the money has all been spent or programmed. So we asked the Mayor today what’s going to happen: Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City: "The reality though is that the area has to be completed, it will either be completed by the project or if not by some other agency including the city council so that we're trying to see how we can work with the various entities to ensure that's done as soon as possible. Last time we had our public meeting; this was one of the things that was raised. Two pivotal areas were raised, Cindarella Plaza and the area in front of Publics and I think that these are two areas where admittedly there is public disquiet in relation to the lack of completion of those projects and these are two areas that the city council has placed as a priority. So the next works that occur will occur along Cindarella Plaza and along the area of East and West Canal."

Vision Over Visibility For Sandlighter's Promenade
And while Cindarella is a wait and see for City Hall, it seems so is a project on standstill at the Sand Lighters Promenade. If you pass there regularly you would have seen these 2 wooden frames on the side walk. They have been there for about a month and it seems like whoever built them there just abandoned the project. Well, that’s not the case at all, those two wooden frames will be a part of an ambitious water sports spot. Today the Mayor told us more about this project and how it fits right into the city’s master plan. Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City: "The idea with that is that a year ago the city council received a proposal from an individual who wanted to do a zip lining business in the water ways. This was something that we were very excited about because you have had an idea with the master plan where we are developing a lot of the water front area in terms of the cementing streets, BTL Park, Battlefield Park. We are now talking about working with the Inter-American Development Bank and the American Planning Association in doing a project in the Yabra area which is on the water front. And the idea with the master plan is that there could be a significant more economic investment and opportunity with water sports..."

Wilfred, Will Philloughby Fly Away To Windy City?
Earlier in the news, we told showed you our interview with Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington where he briefed the media on the CARICOM discussion about the territorial disputes in the region. That also gave us the opportunity to ask him for confirmation on whether or not the Barrow Administration is going to appoint 2 UDP politicians to diplomatic postings in the US. They are former Albert aspirant Phillip Willoughby and former Albert Area Rep. Herman Longsworth. As viewers will remember, they stepped aside and discontinued their candidacies so that Tracy Taegar-Panton could become the UDP Albert Standard Bearer, and eventually the Area Representative. Last year, the Prime Minister denied that they were being given a gift in exchange for stepping aside, and so today, we asked Foreign Minister Elrington about the plan to turn them into diplomats. Here’s what he said: Hon. Wilfred Elrington - Minister of Foreign Affairs: "I know a little bit more in relation to the Longsworth one than I do with respect to Willoughby. I have spoken to Mr. Longsworth, I have spoken to my CEO in relation to Mr. Longsworth and I know that he was to do the counsellor work in New York that is the thinking, that is the plan and I think that they are making budgetary arrangements for that. I do not know where the Willoughby one stands. I haven't spoken to Phillip on that, I don't think I've ever spoke to him about it in any detail and I haven't gotten any information from my CEO on that as well. So I don't know where it stands."

Darrell To Phil: "Please Don't Go"
And while there is no clear plan for Phil Willoughby in the Windy City – that’s just fine with Mayor Darrell Bradley, who says he has plenty of use for him here where he’s a fourth term city councillor:… Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City: "We don't have any position in relation to that yet because I have not been notified by the councillor nor by any other entity in relation to his departure. Phillip Willoughby is an integral part of the council; I have had the great pleasure of working with him over the last three and a half going on to four years since I've been mayor. I think that he has been one of the most effective departments of the city council; we have seen expansion there to now where we're dealing with more coordination with flood mitigation efforts, climate resilient efforts and so its broad base. You're dealing now with leading the city Zika response so that I think he is an effective councillor, I would sad to see him depart if he chooses or goes anywhere but we will make those determinations at the appropriate time. At the current time I don't know that he's leaving at any specific date in the future and when that date comes then we're going to deal with it."

BPO Is Big Business
When you think about the outsourcing industry you think about call centres – now those types of jobs aren’t the highest paying jobs or aren’t what you would chose as a career path, but Acting Manager of Belize Invest Beltraide Hero Balani says these types of jobs are very helpful in developing a person’s basic skill set for the work force. And today at the first ever Belize Outsourcing Service Summit held at the Radisson - the importance of this sector was highlighted. Balani told us more about the significance of this summit Hero Balani - Acting Manager, Belize Invest: "As you know the business process out sourcing sector which deals with the contact call centre industry has been growing significantly in Belize and so what Beltraide has done today is to really gather all the stakeholders that are involved in this industry included the Telecom providers, academia, the private sector of course and then the public sector; in terms of our ministry, the bureau of standards is here. So what we are here to do today is to really look at what the consultants are recommending for the next steps in the industries development." Courtney Weatherburne: "So tell us more about the specific areas that the consultants are focusing on in terms of development, improving the out sourcing industry in Belize, tell us more about that."

Belama Drainage Capped Off By A 2 Million Dollar Canal
And councillor Willoughby was brought into harness yesterday when the Ministry of Workers toured the 21 million dollar Municipal Drainage project. The City Council will inherit the project and Willoughby sits on the Committee. The engineers met their greatest challenge in trying to regularize drainage in the swampland communities in Belama phases 3 and 4. We had a look yesterday:… Jose Divas - Technical Specialist, Flood Mitigation: "It's very challenging; you can't imagine it is very difficult. It is difficult in the design stage and it is even worse at the execution, the implementation stage." That’s the reality for engineers and work crews trying to bill drainage on the very low lying Delcia Goff Street in Belama Phase 3." Jose Divas - Technical Specialist, Flood Mitigation: "Well initially what was here was one small 10 foot patch of road leading all the way to the canal. We will be expanding that to almost 24 feet wide road with 5 foot drains and 5 foot sidewalks on both sides."

Will City Fix Broken Benches In New Park?
And the municipal drainage project didn’t just build big drains, it also rehabilitated two parks in the Belama area. But when we visited the D’Nest Park, we saw that four of the large concrete benches – which were just recently installed as part of the project – had already been uprooted by vandals. They were heaped at the entrance to the park as a semi permanent eyesore. We asked Willoughby is the city council has the institutional wherewithal to remedy this sort of destructive behaviour:… Jules Vasquez: "How do you feel about this level of public miscreancy?" Phillip Willougby - Belize City Councillor: "Well it’s disappointing, all of us should." Jules Vasquez: "Up keep is a huge problem for city council, we're sitting in a brand new park, we see that those benches are there. I would imagine if I come here a year from now, they'll still be there. We see that the grass isn't cut, these are problems to city council, it has a problem maintaining its properties to standards."

American Murder In PG May Have Been Motivated By Jealousy
American national Thomas Rackowski may have been murdered as a result of jealousy. Our sources tell us that Rackowski became friends with a man and the man may have become suspicious of Rackowksi and his girlfriend. When we spoke to police today they said they also got this information but can’t confirm as yet. 2 men and the woman in question are still detained in connection with this murder. Rackowski was murdered on Saturday night at around 9:25 at his Hopeville home in Punta Gorda. He was at his home reading that night when 3 persons entered through a 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 died on Monday. Police say that this wasn't a burglary or any random home invasion because nothing was stolen from the house. Police say Rackowski was the target. We will keep following up on this murder case.

Southside Cops Solving City Shootings
Since the middle of 2015, south side gun violence has been on the decline. But it spiked up last weekend when 15 persons between the ages of 17 and 19 were shot in three separate incidents. Today, we asked the second in Commanding of the Southside if all of this is indicative of the gang warfare reaching another dangerous tipping point. Here is what he said. Alden Dawson - Acting Regional Commander: "It’s just an incident that the weekend saw two shooting and shooting is nothing new to the Southside. We have been very successful in keeping it to a minimal and to my mind two incidents over the weekend are actually minimal." Duane Moody - Channel 5 News: "Sir what are you guys doing interventions in case of this?" Alden Dawson - Acting Regional Commander: "We continue our meet and great with the public and again the meet and greet has been seeing a lot of success and through the same meet and greet has assisted us in getting information that led to the two arrests in the shooting."

Cops Keeping Up Street Engagement
The Police meet and greet of the South Side police continues. Police say their commitment to this community engagement is paying off. This time they started at the Antelope Street Extension. The Meet and Greet session continued to Iguana Street Extension, Raccoon Street extension, Pelican Street Extension, Elston Kerr Street and surrounding areas.

Pedro Police Partake With Public
Yesterday we told you about the murder of a Honduran National who was stabbed to the throat in front of her apartment by unknown assailants. San Pedro police are arduously following up on the matter but so far there has not been any breakthrough in the investigation. The only thing that police know for sure is that she was robbed of more than five hundred dollars. So while that case is still wide open, police in San Pedro are implementing an extensive preventative mode to curb the level of criminal activity known to run rampant in the island. While speaking with Superintendent Bowden yesterday we asked her about these crime fighting and crime preventing initiatives. San Pedro Police continue to implement the meet and greet program in their jurisdiction.

The Taste Of Pure Tango
A group of professional tango dancers are in Belize and want to perform for you. The group calls itself A Puro Tango and it is originally from Colombia. These dancers have been in many countries but tomorrow night they are performing in Belize for the very first time. One dropped in as they were rehearsing and got a glimpse of their performance. The group will be performing at the Bliss center on the 18 and the 19th –that’s tomorrow and Friday starting at 8. And then they perform in San Pedro on the 20th and the 21st.

Re: Today's Belize News: February 18, 2016 [Re: Marty] #511713
02/18/16 05:42 AM
02/18/16 05:42 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 73,258
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Channel 5

Correspondent Banking: Priority Number 1 on CARICOM Agenda
The day and a half long Intersessional Meeting of CARICOM Regional Heads of Government concluded in the Placencia peninsula today. It was a short, but comprehensive meeting of the region’s [...]

Unified Approach is Best Option to Tackle De-risking
The loss of correspondent banking relations has been called a potentially huge crisis for Belize, and it is already affecting to a major extent smaller countries in the region. Desperate [...]

CARICOM Chair Reiterates That Nothing is Wrong with Caribbean Jurisdiction
Prime Minister Barrow and a delegation of high-level financial experts have concluded a round of meetings in the U.S. with regulatory and federal agencies. Nothing concrete came out of those [...]

Climate Change: Critical Decisions Taken by CARICOM
The Conference of Parties 21, recently convened and concluded in Paris, has been dubbed a milestone session of world leaders where a concerted effort to understand, address and mitigate climate [...]

What Led to an Attempt on Raheem Bailey’s life?
Turning to crime…There were two shootings on the south side of Belize City over the weekend, but details have just become available from the police. The first was the shooting [...]

Joseph Lopez Arraigned for Attempted Murder; Police Provide an Update
The second shooting on south side Belize City occurred an hour later on Boots Crescent near the Saint John Vianney Primary School. As we reported on Monday, a seventeen year [...]

Jury in Rape Trial of B.D.F. Lieutenant is Discharged
In the Supreme Court today, the rape trial of B.D.F. Lieutenant Ruhesi Elijio was abruptly stopped and the jury discharged. Elijio will remain on interdiction from the force since his [...]

CARICOM Braces for Zika
The mosquito borne Zika has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization because it is believed it can cause microcephaly in newborns. So [...]

Belize City Council Prepares for Zika
While the heads discuss the Zika in Placencia, in the city, health officials teamed up with the Belize City Council for a sensitization workshop on the virus.  The partnership is [...]

Mayor Bradley Says Community Effort is Needed to Prevent Zika
An increase in the number of cases involving vector-borne diseases such as dengue occurs primarily in communities that are extremely susceptible.  Nonetheless, Mayor Bradley says that the city council is [...]

Belize’s Foreign Minister Says CARICOM Support is Critical for Border Relations
Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington was also present at the CARICOM sessions this morning during which border relations were discussed – the Guyana/Venezuela issue and of course our own [...]

Guyanese Rice Not a Topic of Discussion at Intersessional Meeting
One issue which did not come up at the meeting of CARICOM heads of government was rice – specifically Guyana rice brought to Belize by importer Jack Charles. It was [...]

Are Herman Longsworth and Phillip Willoughby Assuming Diplomatic Posts in US?
From critical regional matters to political postings – since we had the opportunity, we asked the Foreign Minister to confirm reports of diplomatic assignments. Both Herman Longsworth and Phillip Willoughby [...]

Mayor Bradley Says No Indication from Willoughby As Yet
Mayor Darrell Bradley was also asked about the reported posting of Councillor Willoughby to the Windy City. The mayor says that while that is yet to be confirmed, if and [...]

CitCo to Foot Bill for Cinderella Plaza Completion
Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley is catching some flak from a team of engineers spearheading the Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project.  The criticism follows comments that were made last week regarding [...]

What’s that Eyesore at Sand Lighter’s Promenade?
If you’ve been in the vicinity of Sand Lighter’s Promenade recently you would have noticed a pair of incomplete wooden structures in front of the Mexican Institute.  What are those [...]

Art Comes to Belize City Primary Schools
Two budding artists have won top awards at a national and an international art competition, distinguishing themselves and their schools. The young students are from Saint John’s Vianney and Saint [...]

Colombian Dance Group ‘A Puro Tango’ in Belize
For the first time in Belize, the three-time tango world champion dancers from South America will be performing locally. On Thursday and Friday nights at the Bliss Center for the [...]


Regional leaders say de-risking poses economic threat to the region
Belize is not unique to the de-risking movements taking place with correspondent banking. With representatives present in Placencia for the Inter-sessional meeting of the Heads of Government of CARICOM, we were able to hear from other member states on how they are being affected. Renee Trujillo reporting… “The last few weeks have seen the local banking sector […]

Fight against zika virus calls for regional collaboration
The delegates from CARICOM’s 15-member states began arriving in the country late last week as they prepared to be a part of the 27th Intersessional meeting that Belize is hosting as the country’s Prime Minister holds the seat of Chairman for the Caribbean Community. As we have been mentioning there are several areas of concerns […]

CARICOM leaders discuss CCJ
Upon taking up the seat of Chairman for the Caribbean Community in January 2016, Prime Minister Dean Barrow mentioned that one of the goals on his agenda was to advocate for the member states that have not yet subscribed to the Caribbean Court of Justice as the final court of appeal, to do so. Those member […]

Woman killed on La Isla Bonita, San Pedro
Sometime this morning police were called out to the Boca del Rio area in San Pedro where on arrival at the Basil-Paris Apartments and Store, they found a female Honduran national bleeding from her neck. Love News spoke to Assistant Superintendent Henry Jemmott, Coastal Executive Officer who told us, when they got to the scene […]

Mother of drowning victim seeks answers
US Student Tomari Jackson would have been 15 years old on Monday but unfortunately the bright student from North Cobb High School in Cobb County died on Saturday. He was one of thirty two students who travelled to Belize to the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on an educational trip. On that day, the group went […]

Official discuss flood mitigation project
Back in 2015 the Ministry of Works and the Belize City Council launched the Flood Mitigation Project. Today officials from the Ministry of Works, Ministry of Finance, NEMO, Department of Environment and Belize City Council conducted a tour of the various project sites undertaken under the Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project. We caught up with Project […]

What are the plans for Southside flood mitigation?
The flood mitigation infrastructure project is expected to be completed later this year. The project is expected to reduce flooding in Belize City. However just a few areas in Belize City are a part of the project; most of them on the north side. So what about Southside Belize City? Last year, when the heavy […]

Works at Cinderella Plaza to be completed
Cinderella Plaza is an important infrastructure site as it pertains to the flood mitigation infrastructure project. At first glance you might get the impression that it is incomplete but today we found out that as far as that area is concerned, there is nothing more that officials from the project can or will do. However, […]

Belize’s cotton industry gets a boost
The Government of Japan has made a donation to the Project for the Improvement of the Sea Island Cotton Industry in Belize. The donation is a little over two hundred thousand dollars. The contribution was made under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security projects of the Government of Japan. Love News spoke to Hiromoto […]

Four men charged with firearm offences
Four known gang members were charged for firearm offences. They were detained by officers of the Gang Suppression Unit, GSU who were on patrol last night in the Saint Martin de Pores Area of Belize City. There they searched a gold Toyota Camry car at the corner of Flamboyant Street and Mahogany Street. The car […]


San Pedro Woman neck slit
The body of a Honduran woman was taken by boat to Belize City Tuesday February 16 after she was murdered on Ambergris Caye. Police say that sometime around 5 o’clock Tuesday morning, police were called the Basil Parish apartment building on Bonefish Street in the Boca Del Rio area of San Pedro Town...

Elderly man dies after being stabbed in his home
On Monday 15th of February we told you about 69 year old Thomas Paul Rockowski who was clinging to life after being brutally stabbed in his home in Punta Gorda Town. The stabbing incident happened sometime after 9 p.m. on Saturday February 13th. PG police say they were called to the home of America...

Twenty-Seventh Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government
CARICOM Heads of Government are in Placencia for the Twenty-Seventh Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government. The meeting is being held in Belize since Belize’s Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow takes over the Chairmanship of CARICOM from The Prime Minister of Barbados, Freunde...

Deon Brackett is remanded for attempted murder
Former murder suspect, Deon Brackett, who walked from a murder in 2013, was arraigned in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court Tuesday February 16, 2016 for the attempted murder of Raheem Akeem Bailey, who was shot in the city the previous Friday night. Bailey was the first of five persons shot during ...

Superintendent of police’s stolen vehicle found in Guatemala
On Monday 15th of February we reported on the robbery of Police Superintendent Selvin Tillett’s vehicle. Tillett was driving along with his son- in- law in a white 2014 Mazda Pick-up Truck. When they reached home and parked the vehicle in front of their house, two Hispanic males went up to them poin...

Baby losing toes; mother claims hospital negligence
Helen Conners’ child has a heart problem and the medical complications that come along with that. Late last month, the little girl had a bout with pneumonia and was admitted to the Punta Gorda Hospital . She was then transferred to Dangriga where she spent a weekend but was further transferred to ...

Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project changes the face of Northside Belize City
Nearly five years ago, the Ministry of Works began a project in the aftermath of the soaking Belize City took from Tropical Depression 16. As its name suggests, the Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project is not designed to end flooding, only to lessen it and its impact on the Old Capital’s resident...

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Town and City Council employees trained in QuickBooks
Town and City Council administrators, accountants, financial officers, account clerks, as well as revenue managers took part in a QuickBooks usage training today at the central information and technology office in Belmopan. This training, conducted by the Department of Local Government and Belize Mayor’s Association, […]

Superintendent of Police to receive Ph.D
One officer in Belize’s Police Department is well on his way to becoming the first to obtain a Ph.D. after serving 15 years in the force, working in almost every branch and being promoted to his most recent position as Superintendent of Police, Commanding San […]

Joint anti-drug police operations result in several drug arrests
A joint anti-drug operation conducted by the Benque Viejo Police Quick Response Team, its Special Branch Unit, the San Ignacio Quick Response Team and the K-9 Unit this morning, netted a total of 4.4 pounds (1979.58 grams) of cannabis. Around 5:00 a.m., the team, under Superintendent […]

CitCo hosts Zika sensitization meeting
Officials from the Ministry of Health have met with members of the Belize City Council to sensitize them on the dangers of Zika. Mayor Darrell Bradley stated that this is part of the Council’s duty to residents to keep the City safe. While nowhere in […]

Gospel Choir visits from United States
A unique Gospel Choir, made up of students, alumni and community members from Howard University in the Unites States, will be visiting Belize for an Arts Envoy program in San Ignacio Town, Belmopan City, Dangriga Town and Belize City. The choir spreads the news of Jesus […]

Relatively moist conditions during next couple days
The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting mostly cloudy skies with a few showers mainly along coastal areas this morning and tonight, then over inland areas this afternoon. Winds will be blowing from the Northeast at 5-15 knots and the sea state will […]


Problem Analysis for Sustainable Development
In order to articulate and establish the objectives derived from community goals in working on sustainable community development, (SCD) it is first necessary for the community to analyze the problems that are at the origin of a particular objectives. This analysis will focus upon the exact reasons for creating each objective from an overarching goal as well as establishing measures of progress such as trends, unmet needs, underutilization of resources, and evaluation of community capacity. Defining a community’s problems is in fact going to be one of the main tasks of any SCD project. The real question is whether the community list of “problems” is accurate and whether it includes only the symptoms of a particular situation rather than the actual problems that caused that situation. A sampling of several different community plans completed during the last decade show issues common to all communities to address in the future. Examples of these are listed below. Some of them can be quite specific and sophisticated in representing community governments and organizations. Others can be as important as only a single individual in the community believes them to be. And please note that you are not seeing these objectives in the context of serving their overarching goals, which makes it harder to interpret their meaning. These are shown simply as examples of how some communities have identified issues (problems) and developed objectives to support sustainable community development.

Belize Shuttle and Transfer Services by Roam Belize Tours
A locally owned tour and travel company based in the Stann Creek District, Roam Belize is known for providing the best shuttle service, private tour options and airport transfers in Belize. What makes their service so popular is their premium door-to-door transfer service, so guests can take the shuttle right from their hotel, the Belize International Airport (including any airstrip around the country) or from their holiday rental in Belize. At any point of time, Roam Belize offers the best and high-quality shuttle service for its clients. Their fleets are well-maintained, inspected and serviced regularly. The agency operates all through the week and 24 hours a day. Roam Belize not only offers transfer and pick-up service within Belize, but also it has shuttle services from Cancun, Tuluum and Playa Del Carmen in Mexico. Some of their highly popular shuttle services include transfers from any Belize hotel and resorts to the international airport, Cancun to Placencia, Guatemala to Belize, and Playa del Carmen to San Ignacio. Guests can choose any hotel or resort in Belize for the shuttle to drop them off. Their private shuttle service and transfers are available all over in Belize, including Tikal, Hopkins and in the Cayo area.

A MESSAGE TO MY FELLOW BELIZEANS … who understand the context of the “rice-aflatoxin” headlines that keep popping up in our local Belize news. Note that some things are best expressed in a language that only Belizeans would understand, i.e. our “social glue” … the Kriol language. February 15, 2016 Boston, Massachusetts Dear Mr. conscientious, self-proclaimed philanthropist, public health and nutrition expert; Your persistent, self-serving, Belizean rice-aflatoxin scaremongering is not in the best interest of the Belizean public. As a Belizean health professional, I feel a sense of responsibility to weigh in on this matter, and put things in perspective. My fellow Belizeans, the real threat to your health is not, and has never been rice aflatoxin-related (liver) disease. Our biggest food threat is our near wholesale abandonment of many healthy traditional food choices in exchange for the highly-processed foods found in supermarkets.

Cost of flying direct from BZE Airport versus cab to TZA Airport
When flying to San Pedro and other Belize destinations, you have two options with Tropic Air: Fly directly from Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) (in Ladyville) to San Pedro Airport (SPR) or take a 30 min taxi to the Municipal Airstrip (TZA) in Belize city and fly to San Pedro from there. Both have their own advantages, and the getting the best airfare may be one of them. The main advantage of flying directly from BZE is time. Once you’re admitted through Immigration, pick up your luggage and get cleared through customs, you go directly to the Tropic Air counter and then to the departure area to fly over to San Pedro. Depending on your arrival time and the length of the line ahead of you, you could be in San Pedro within 45 – 60 minutes. The price to fly one way from BZE – SPR or SPR – BZE is $179.50 adult fare and $171.50 for children between 2 and 12. If you know your departure date and you choose this route, it is $42.00 cheaper to buy a round trip than two one ways for adults and $40.00 for children

Training in QuickBooks
The Department of Local Government and Belize Mayor’s Association conducted a one day training workshop entitled: Enhancing QuickBooks Usage, today February 17, 2016 at the Central Information and Technology Office (CITO) in Belmopan. This training was aimed at enhancing the municipal accounts management capacity of all the Town and City Councils (TCCs) through the use of the QuickBooks Accounting Program, with the aim of improving the kinds and quality of information provided to the Councils for policy and decision making. The participants that took part in the training were: Administrators, Accountants/Financial Officers, Account Clerks and Revenue Managers. The series of topics that were discussed included: Posting and Managing Transactions Posting and Managing Budget Estimates Balance Sheet Reporting Following this training, participants should have acquired the skills of being able to properly post and manage asset values, budget estimates and other accounting data in QuickBooks. They will also be able to create balance sheet reports to accurately reflect the assets and liabilities of Councils, keep track of the performance of accounts receivable and payable and profit & loss budget performance reports.

International Sourcesizz

Modular - REEF 2016, Roatan Electronic Experience Festival
Roatan's annual electronic music festival takes place at a breath taking location; Big French Key. You will experience nonstop music from sunset to sunrise, delivered by some of the most prominent regional Djs and headlining international guest Djs. Saturday 14th of May. *Private island *Sunset to Sunrise *Full bar & restaurant *Fresh water showers *Beach chairs & hamacks *Boat shuttle from French Harbor *Bus shuttle from West End will be available *Environmentally friendly practices *Coastal clean up *More info. soon!

Caribbean tourism sets new performance records
For the first time ever since the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) began keeping records, the Caribbean outperformed every major tourism region in the world in setting new arrival and spend records in 2015, while exceeding expectations. International tourist trips to the region grew by seven per cent to 28.7 million visits, much higher than the projected four to five per cent growth. Visitors spent an estimated $30 billion, a 4.2 per cent rise over the $28.8 billion spent in 2014. “So 2015 was the second year in a row that the region has done better than the rest of the world, and the sixth consecutive year of growth for the Caribbean,” the CTO’s secretary general Hugh Riley revealed on Tuesday in announcing the record performance at a news conference at CTO headquarters, streamed live to a global audience that spanned the Caribbean, the Americas, Europe and as far as Asia. Riley attributed the growth to improved global economic conditions in the marketplace; a boost in consumer confidence, particularly in the United States; falling oil prices; rising seat capacity and persistent marketing by CTO member countries and their partners.

US-Cuba commercial flights to resume
The US and Cuba have signed an agreement to resume commercial air traffic for the first time in more than 50 years. Some charter flights currently fly between the countries but the new agreement could see as many as 110 flights a day - more than five times the current number. The flights could begin in autumn this year. This is the latest stage in a thawing of the countries' relationship. US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the commercial flights marked a "critically important milestone in the US effort to engage with Cuba". Cuban Minister of Transport Adel Rodriguez called it a "new era". The US imposed a trade embargo on the communist-run island in 1960. In late 2014, Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced that they would begin normalising their relationship. They met for the first time in April 2015 in Panama, and shook hands and held a private meeting at the UN General Assembly in September.

CARICOM can be a force for change, says Barbados PM
Prime minister of Barbados Freundel Stuart wants the people of the region to know that, when the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) speaks with one voice, it can be a powerful force in facilitating change, both in the region and in the international community. His comments came as he delivered remarks on Monday at the opening ceremony of the 27th inter-sessional conference of heads of government of CARICOM in Placencia, Belize. Referring to the vital role CARICOM played in the preparation, conduct and outcome of the landmark agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris last year, Stuart said that it was an example of what could be achieved if countries continued to find common ground. He added: “No agreement involving in excess of 190 countries can possibly satisfy all. On balance, we in CARICOM were able to get the major breakthroughs that we wanted. I am of the view that the agreement, implemented with seriousness and determination by the international community, will allow us to address the multi-faceted challenges which climate change poses for our countries.”

Belize PM: CCJ a Caricom imperative at this time
Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow wrapped up a news conference in the resort town of Placencia, in southern Belize, saying that he felt the issue of the full establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) was “a real Caricom imperative at this time”. Barrow was responding to a question from the Express about his position on the matter, coming into the Conference of Caricom heads with the idea that he was in a good place, as chairman, to help nudge his colleagues to move on this issue. In an editorial on the matter in the Barbados Nation newspaper, and reprinted in the Express on January 12, 2016, Barrow was hailed as “the right man to push the CCJ”. The editorial added that it would not be a surprise were Barrow to have had Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and St Lucia high on his list of those countries which should have accepted the CCJ as their final court, thereby abolishing appeals to the Privy Council, in London. Responding to a question on the issue, Barrow said first that he had written a position on the matter, to be included in a paper being published by the government of Antigua and Barbuda, in its efforts to promote public awareness and acceptance of the court.

Japan to help Belize revive sea island cotton
The government of Belize has received $102,000 grant from the Japanese government to resuscitate the sea island cotton industry, according to Belizean media reports. Sea island cotton is said to possess fine, almost legendary qualities that are sought after worldwide. The funding was given to the Belize cotton industry for the project named 'the improvement of the sea island cotton industry'. Sea island cotton is a variety of extra-long staple cotton that is grown on a few islands in the West Indies. This variety of cotton is very sensitive and vulnerable to pests, and requires very specific environmental and climate conditions, and hence its production has declined all across the Caribbean. Presently through advanced engineering, the Japanese have been able to produce quality cotton with more durable plants and hence, Belize is now considered to produce the best cotton in the world. Six farming families participated in the sea island cotton cultivation project last year and over 40 farming families are expecting to produce 100,000 pounds of cotton in 2016. About 28,000 pounds of cotton has already been produced so far this year. (NA)

Second term for CARICOM Secretary-General, following unanimous vote
CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has been re-appointed to a second term of office. CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow, made the announcement during the closing press conference of the CARICOM Heads of Government Inter-sessional Meeting in Belize yesterday. LaRocque’s initial five-year appointment ends in August, but Barrow told the media that Heads of Government decided to deal with the matter of his reappointment at this session, because they felt the next meeting in July was too close to the expiration of the appointment. “I’m pleased to say that there was unanimous agreement for the SG’s reappointment,” the host prime minister disclosed. “I want to make clear that, on a personal note, I am as convinced as anyone else, and perhaps more so, that the Secretary-General has done an exemplary job – his commitment to reform, the changes he has already made along the lines of obliging the Secretariat and the Community to become more productive, more efficacious, are well known. And he has done all this while remaining throughout, extremely even tempered and accessible.”

Central America’s top festivals
Festivals don’t always have to mean being knee-deep in mud listening to Coldplay in the rain with a warm beer. Across the world, gatherings of all size, descriptions and reasons take place, bringing together cultural traditions and modern-day passions. With its rich and long history, Central America is packed full of a wide breadth of festivals. Here’s our faves… Experienced and amateur canoers come together every year to take part in the gruelling Mayan River Route Challenge, the biggest sporting event of the year that runs from east to west along the Macal and Belize Rivers. The race started in 1995 as a “save our rivers programme”, which was a canoe race designed to promote cleaning debris on the banks of the river. Over the years the programme has evolved into a four day race that follows the ancient Mayan route from San Ignacio to Belize City.

Caribbean Conference Identifies Key Products For Investment, Coconut, Pepper, Livestock Identified Among Key Caribbean Products For Investment
At the recently held Caribbean Trade and Investment conference, several key products were identified which could produce a significant return on investment. Investment in the production of coconuts and coconut products including coconut water and virgin coconut oil; hot pepper production and value added processing; livestock; aquaculture; sheep and goat and root crops in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) region has been identified as key products for which the return on investment would be attractive while helping the region to reduce its whopping $4.5 billion (US) food import bill and to generate employment. Barbados sea island cotton and sour sop were also identified as crops with significant value added potential.

De-risking of local banks could cripple CARICOM economies
De-risking of the Caribbean’s local banks is one of the biggest threats to the region’s economies, says incoming CARICOM Chairman, Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Barrow, who hosted the 27th Intercessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in Belize Feb 16-17, highlighted the grim situation facing the region’s banking sector during his presentation at the Feb 15 opening ceremony. The Caribbean’s banking system remains under threat of losing correspondent banking relationships with the US and Europe, a development Barrow said has “absolutely cataclysmic ramifications” for CARICOM member states. “I am talking about of course, the phenomenon of so called de-risking. Under pressure from their regulatory authorities in Europe and especially the US, banks in those jurisdictions have been closing their correspondent relations with our indigenous financial institutions. This deprives our banks of the ability to keep US deposits, do wire transfers, facilitate credit card settlements for their local clients and our economy.

Where have our callaloo crabs gone?
MOST OF us Trinis and Tobagonians enjoy our “crab and callaloo” and our “crab and dumplin”, but due to continuing over-hunting, continuing loss of habitat and an ever-increasing demand for our blue crabs the population is rapidly declining. There is urgent need for legal protection and sustainable management programmes for our crabs, lobsters, conch, cascadura, crayfish and black conch, and other shellfish. During the past four to five years market shoppers can often hear the question being asked, “Where have all the big crabs gone?” or “Dey asking so much for dem little crab!” Blue crabs (Cardisoma guanhumi) are becoming scarce. This is a fact known to all market shoppers whether in Trinidad or in Tobago. The demand for crabs has increased, while the crab habitat has gradually been reduced. In addition, there has been uncontrolled hunting of our crabs. There is an urgent need for a management programme with the emphasis being placed on sustainability of our blue crab resources otherwise it can be predicted that within the next 20 to 30 years “crab and callaloo” and “crab and dumplins,” our Tobago specialty, will be delicacies of the past. In TT , we do not have a “closed season” for the taking of crabs, neither is there a size limit, daily bag limit, sanctuary or any “no hunting areas” in either Trinidad or Tobago. The “open season” for crab hunting is 24 hours on each of the 365 days in the year, and crabs of any size and in any quantity may be taken. To compound the issue, is the continuing loss of crab habitat: our wetlands that are being reclaimed for building development.

Fortis Reports 2015 Earnings
Fortis Inc. ("Fortis" or the "Corporation") (TSX:FTS), a leader in the North American electric and gas utility industry, released its 2015 annual results today. Driven by its U.S. utility acquisitions, gains on non-core asset dispositions, completion of the Waneta hydroelectric generating facility ("Waneta Expansion"), and strong results from its Canadian utilities, Fortis' net earnings attributable to common equity shareholders for 2015 were $728 million, or $2.61 per common share, compared to $317 million, or $1.41 per common share, for 2014. For the fourth quarter of 2015, net earnings attributable to common equity shareholders were $135 million, or $0.48 per common share, compared to $113 million, or $0.44 per common share, for the same period in 2014. "Fortis had a year of transformation and growth in 2015, with all utilities contributing," said Barry Perry, President and Chief Executive Officer, Fortis. "We delivered a record year in earnings, which demonstrates the success of our growth strategy. We also advanced our business on several fronts. We successfully integrated our Arizona utility; divested non-core assets to focus on the core utility business; and sharpened our focus on additional investments within our franchise areas.

New partnership to strengthen disaster assessment in the Caribbean
The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is partnering with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in its effort to strengthen the ability of countries across Latin America and the Caribbean to manage the impacts of disasters, in the context of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. The first collaboration between ECLAC and UNISDR will be through a two-day training targeting members of the United Nations Development Group for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNDG LAC), and will take place on 18-19 February in Panama City, Panama. The training will inform participants of the complexities of a disaster, how different sectors might be impacted, and how to use the damage and loss assessment methodology affectively in a timely manner.

Caribbean countries urged to brace for floods
The Barbados-based Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) is warning regional countries that they should brace themselves for floods as the drought conditions which have affected the region since late 2014 are expected to subside by the start of the 2016 Hurricane Season. CIMH said this latest forecast comes after many months of “warmer and drier than average conditions in the Caribbean fuelled by El Niño, a warming of the eastern equatorial Pacific which has implications for weather patterns around the world, including drought in many regions”. CIMH said that after the forecasted weakening of El Niño, its counterpart La Niña “a cooling of the Pacific may take over and affect the region in the latter part of 2016. “If the change in circumstance takes place, it is likely to result in higher than normal rainfall and stronger storm systems,” the CIMH said in its latest forecast, which it said will be further discussed at a news conference here on Wednesday.


  • Shark Ray Alley from a drone, 1min. A Jaws-some view from a drone of Shark Ray Alley at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve in Belize!

  • Knight’s Trip to Belize, 1997, 3min.

  • John and Sandys wedding video Belize 2016, 9min.

  • Belize 2016, 5min. Swimming with Sharks In San Pedro Belize! 2016.

  • Diving the Great Barrier Reef, Belize, 7min. Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, Caye Caulker, Belize, January 2016 HIghlights of the dives we enjoyed this past January, 2016, while visiting friends who live in Caye Caulker, Belize.

  • Go-slow on Caye Caulker, Belize, 3.5min. Highlights of our 2015 "go slow" vacation on Caye Caulker, Belize.

  • Representatives of the Ministry of Health on Dental Health in Belize, 24min.

  • Belize Audubon Society Bird Guide Training, 9min. Strengthening Bird - Based Tourism in Belize

  • Morning Matters of the Day with Ecolution, 58min. Howlers were recorded in Bermuda Landing

  • Ever wondered what we do at NICH? Culture in Motion 2014-2015, 12min. An overview of the activities of the National Institute of Culture and History of Belize for the 2014-2015 financial year. Take a look at these highlights for our 2014-2015 year. This is all we could fit into this video.

  • WCU-Ontario in Belize (2013), 10min. Students of West Coast University - Ontario joined Hillside Health Care in our global health initiatives in 2013. In this video, the students detail their individual stories in Punta Gorda, Belize. From discovering ethical questions to understanding the necessity of cultural sensitivity and communication, the students learned about themselves and the world. Along the way, the students developed relationships with their patients and with each other. Overall, the trip abroad changed perspectives.

  • WCU Orange County in Belize (2013), 15min. Students of West Coast University - Orange County joined Hillside Health Care in our global health initiatives in 2013. In this video, the students detail their individual stories in Punta Gorda, Belize. From discovering ethical questions to understanding the necessity of cultural sensitivity and communication, the students learned about themselves and the world. Along the way, the students developed relationships with their patients and with each other. Overall, the trip abroad changed perspectives.

  • WCU-Ontario Global Public Health Initiative, Belize (2014), 7min. Students of West Coast University - Ontario joined Hillside Health Care in our global health initiatives in 2014. In this video, the students detail their individual stories in Punta Gorda, Belize. From discovering ethical questions to understanding the necessity of cultural sensitivity and communication, the students learned about themselves and the world. Along the way, the students developed relationships with their patients and with each other. Overall, the trip abroad changed perspectives.

  • Hamanasi Hopkins Belize Blue Hole Dive 2 Feb 2016, 130 foot max depth, 29min. The Blue Hole off Belize 2 Feb 2016. Hopkins Divers from Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort took us out.

  • Saint John Neumann Belize 2015, 5min. Parishioners from Saint John Neumann in San Antonio, Tx traveled to Punta Gorda, Belize to serve the poor and elderly.

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