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Today's Belize News: February 20, 2016 #511765
02/20/16 06:08 AM
02/20/16 06:08 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
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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

San Pedro Fishing Association elects new board members
On Wednesday, February 17th, the San Pedro Fishing Association held a general meeting at the Lions Den shortly after 7PM. The main purpose of the reunion was to elect new members for the association, which would include younger and active members. At the meeting, issues affecting the organization were also discussed and these included the enforcement of fisheries regulations, illegal fishing and even the proper issuing of fishing licenses. The newly elected members of the San Pedro Fishing Association are: President Enrique Marin, Vice President Roberto Bradley Jr., and Secretary/Treasurer Henry Beissner. The association also elected four new board members: Severo Guerrero Sr. Michael Hancock, Gilberto Lara and Giovanni Marin. The fishermen present at the gathering expressed their willingness to work along with the new president and support him in every possible way to make things work for the association. In return the president committed himself to fully look after the fishermen of Ambergris Caye, but also asked the community and any other organizations to work along with them. “I am ready to lead the association. We have a lot of energy, my team and I want to come up with new ideas in order to do more compared to what has been done in the past four to five years. The first step was to create a new committee with active members, and then we will start to work together. At the moment there is no unity among the fishers on the island. We need to establish that first so we can have a strong association and that will be one of my priorities as the president,” said Marin. He indicated that there will be more frequent meetings to keep everyone inform of events in the fishing industry. Also he believes that a very active committee will be able to foster more resources for the benefit of all fishers in San Pedro.

Saga Humane Society rescues stranded Anteater
On Tuesday, February 16th, the San Pedro Saga Humane Society was notified about an anteater/antbear found at a private residence along the beach in the vicinity of The Island Academy School. The long-nosed mammal was observed up in a coconut tree, from where Saga staff members retrieved the animal. The anteater was then immediately transported to the Animal Wildlife Clinic in the Cayo District via Tropic Air, where checks and treatments were administered. Ingrid Lima of the Saga Humane Society, stated that so far, they do not know if the anteater belonged to anyone as there were no indications as to an owner. It is not common to spot the solitary creature on the island, and this lead Saga to suspect that maybe it was being kept captive. According to Lima, she was notified from the Animal Clinic in San Ignacio Town that the anteater, which has been identified as a female, has been admitted into a rehabilitation program and is doing well. However, upon arrival it was noticed that she was suffering from a wound to one of her legs, which was immediately treated. The team at the Animal Wildlife Clinic is looking forward to releasing her back into the wild as early as next week.

Mayor’s and Minister’s Cup continues
The first games for the Mayor’s and Minister’s Cup for the month of February saw many football fans attending the games this past weekend. The results of the games played are as follow: Saturday – Catrachos 3-1 Peace Makers, San Mateo 3-3 Progresso Boys, Sunday – Belize Pro Divers 1-0 Veterans, PSG 6-4 Sky Energy, Searious Warriors 1-0 Ambergris Divers*, Jokers F.C 5-3 San Pedro Junior College. *Ambergris Divers teams was disqualified in the match against Searious Warriors after they used a player that was not registered. Games continue this weekend starting at 7PM sharp at the Honorable Louis Sylvester Sporting Complex.

St John’s Anglican girls and St. Martin’s boys win Belize City basketball finals
The girls of Holy Cross Anglican School and boys of San Pedro RC School represented la Isla Bonita at the Belize City district primary schools basketball finals, organized by the National Sports Council, at Birds’ Isle on Wednesday, February 17. The San Pedro RC boys went up against the Belize City champs, the St. Martin De Porres RC School boys in the opening game of the tournament Wednesday morning, and Ian Pou led the San Pedranos’ attack, scoring 6pts; while Robert Stuart and Tionne Paguada each scored a basket in the first half. But they trailed the city boys 10-13 at the break as Elijah Gabourel had led the Martin’s boys’ attacks with 7pts, and Tyrek Solis, Kareif Smith and Lyndon Gentle had each scored a basket. The island boys pulled out all the stops and tightened up on defense to out-score the city boys 15-10 in the 2nd half; as Ian Pou poured in 8pts more to finish with a game high of 14pts. Tionne Paguada tossed in another 6pts, he finished with 8pts; while Robert Stuart added a free throw. It was an all-city finals in male and female; as the St. Martin de Porres girls eliminated the Belize rural champions, the Burrell Boom Methodist Schol girls 17-1 in the 3rd game of the day. The Belize Elementary School boys eliminated the Hattieville Government School boys 17-8 in the 4th game. The St. Martin’s girls won the pride of representing the Belize district as the primary schools nationals in Orange Walk next Friday and Saturday, February 26-27; as they handed the St. John’s Anglican girls their first loss: 12-13 to win the district championship.

Fruta Bomba to close operations in Belize
Agriculture has been heralded as the leading industry in Belize, but in the past year, it has taken a number of hits. The first came when Fyffes broke ties with Meridian Enterprises in October of 2015, sending the banana industry into crisis. Then came a virus outbreak in the shrimp industry in November of 2015, causing close to $30 million in losses. The latest hit to Belize’s Agriculture Industry is the announcement of Fruta Bomba and Belize Fruit Packers permanently closing over the next six months. Fruta Bomba has been the leading papaya grower company in Belize for the past 20 years, and their closure will result in over 250 persons losing their jobs. “After 22 years operating in the Central American country of Belize, Brooks Tropicals has found it necessary to close its growing and packing operations there,” said the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Greg L Smith, of the parent company of Fruta Bomba and Belize Fruit Packers, in a press release. He went on to further explain that the decision came following economic setbacks from Hurricane Dean in 2007 from which the company never fully recovered. “Efforts over the last three years to build and maintain efficient growing and packing operations in Belize have not been successful, and as a result we had incurred substantial annual loss in Belize that the company can no longer sustain. Efforts included the building of a 16,000 square-foot operations building and considerable improvements to growing, packing and nursery facilities and processes,” said Smith.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Belize Audubon Society “Bird Fair”
Last week, TBZ’s Education Department had the pleasure of participating in a “Bird Fair” organized by the wonderful folks at Belize Audubon Society. In their continued efforts to strengthen avian conservation through community education and sustainable birding tourism, Belize Audubon partnered with the local school in Red Bank Community in southern Belize for a fabulous feathered festival! 6 schools and hundreds of guests attended the fair. TBZ and other colleagues in the avian conservation field engaged eager visitors in discussions and demonstrations about the wonderful world of birds! And, we weren't the only ones putting on a show! A superb “show and tell” was put on by winners of the school competitions. Talented young students shared poems, costumes, and some cool dances! All forms of expression celebrated the birds of Belize, and how important it is to protect them.

Fruta Bomba & Belize Food Packers Ltd. to close its growing and packaging operations in Belize
Brook’s Tropicals, which is the parent company for Fruta Bomba & Belize Food Packers Ltd., has informed the Ministry of Labour of its intention to close its growing and packaging operations in Belize, over the next six (6) months. The closure will result in the termination of approximately two hundred and fifty (250) employees. The company states that despite substantial efforts to rebuild and make its operations profitable in Belize they have suffered financial loss, which has caused them to close for economic reasons. Today February 19, 2016 the Company intends to lay off a total of one hundred and twenty three (123) employees. The Ministry of Labour, is currently working closely with the management of the company and the affected employees, to ensure that the legal requirements under redundancy are complied with and most importantly that the wages and terminal benefits due to all employees by law are paid. A number of employees have already received advice from the Labour Department and we encourage all others to visit the office in order to verify their payments.

MONDAY, 22ND FEBRUARY TO SUNDAY, 28TH FEBRUARY, 2016 – 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Ministry of Works, Transport hereby informs the general public that an axle weight survey for heavy construction and heavy transport vehicles will take place in Benque Viejo del Carmen Town in front of the Cancha Marshalleck. The main purpose of this survey is to gather preliminary information regarding the range of heavy axle loads borne by Belize’s main highways that will be used to assist engineers in improving future highway design, improve the performance of routine & periodic maintenance and to expand its database of vehicular axle weights. We apologize in advance for inconveniences in the form of minor delays for heavy construction and heavy transport vehicles. We encourage all motorists to obey the rules of the road, to drive with caution and to be mindful of those involved in carrying out the axle weight survey from 22nd to 28th February, 2016.

Power interruption 7:00am to 12:00 midday, Wednesday, February 24, Hopkins
Portion from Jungle Jeanie’s to Sittee Point area. The entire Hopkins Village & areas along Hopkins Road will be affected from 7:00am to 8:30am. BEL to replace fuse cut out & re-insulate power lines for portion of Hopkins.

Belize Screen on the Green
Belize Screen on the Green 2016 is launching the annual monthly movie program for the third year! Please join us as we re-launch this great program on Friday, February 26th. The Belmpan Mayor and U.S. Ambassador will attend this event and help launch this program for another succesful year of great movies and communit fun in Belmpan! The program starts at 5:30 with special performances by the Senior Steppers and the Community Policy Drama Club, and then the movie "The Hurricane" will begin at dark.

Saga Humane Society rescues stranded Anteater
Miss Ingrid reported the clinic had a new visitor anteater...staff was called to retrieve the long-nosed mammal from a coconut tree... Belize is a spectacular country rich in teeming jungles, lush rainforests, dry pine savannas, tangled mangrove swamps, and dynamic coral reefs. It’s home to countless species of wildlife and creatures that inhabit the terrain including The Tamandua or Collared Anteater (tamandua mexicana). This diurnal and nocturnal, arboreal, terrestrial and solitary creature can be found in Central and South America; from the south of Mexico throughout all of Central America including Belize. It feeds mainly on ants, termites, and bees extracted after ripping apart their nests with their fore claws. They have an average body size of 60 cm (23 inches); its tail would range as long as 50 cm (19 inches) and average a body weight of 6 kilograms (13lbs). Tamanduas are medium sized, with a long prehensile tail. It has distinctive colors; blonde on the head, upper back and legs, with a black vest, or entirely blonde, or blonde with a partial vest. It has four large claws on its powerful forelimbs, five claws on hind limbs and the tail is almost naked, pink with irregular blackish splotches.

Notice of Detention - Rice Producer
The Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) in the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Commerce hereby informs the general public that it has served a Notice of Detention to a Rice producer. With the recent changes in the Belize Standard for Rice Specification (BZS 20:2015 ) on October 2015, the producer has breached Section 10 of the Standards for failure to comply with proper packaging and labelling requirements for rice. Consequently, the BBS proceeded to remove 27,571 lbs of rice on February 11, 2016 from its business outlet located in Belize City. The producer has been provided an opportunity to bring the product into compliance which is required to be done in writing. The company has responded stating its commitment to reprocess the rice in order to be in compliance with the new packaging regulations.

BA1 Project: Prevention of Violence against Women, Human Trafficking and Femicide in Belize
Handing over of Equipment to strengthen Data Producing Units in charge of data on Violence against Women, Human Trafficking and Femicide in Belize The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), provided data gathering equipment valued at approximately BZ$184,000.00 to relevant government departments, including the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of National Security. The official handing over of the equipment took place today, February 19, 2016 at the Raccoon Street Police Station in Belize City. The purpose of the equipment is to strengthen the capacity of those government units in charge of collecting and analyzing data on violence against women and human trafficking and ensure improved access to reliable data for programme planning and decision-making in this area.

The Belize Forest Department hereby reminds the general public that, as per the Wildlife Protection Act (CAP 220), a license is needed hunt and sell the following game species: Deer, Gibnut, Armadillo, Peccary, Iguana, Chachalaca, Black-throated Bobwhite. The Forest Department reminds the public that it will be monitoring and enforcing these laws throughout the country. All hunters and vendors are advised to apply and obtain the necessary licenses at any of the Forest Department Offices located in Orange Walk Town, Belmopan City, San Ignacio Town, Savannah in the Stann Creek District or Machaca in the Toledo District.

Fire Season is on
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development hereby informs the General Public that the Fire Season is on. In Belize, the Fire Season is observed from February 15 to June 15 annually. The General Public, especially agricultural farmers, are asked to take all the necessary precautions when using fire for their daily necessities such as the burning of their garbage and preparing land for cultivation. Most forest fires originate from the negligent use of fire by farmers for the burning of their milpas and other agricultural lands. In most instances agricultural fires tend to get out of control due to the time of the day when the fire is lit and the failure of the farmer to open fire lines around the entire perimeter of the land. We encourage farmers NOT to burn during the hottest part of the day (10 am - 2 pm) and ensure that at least a 6 feet wide fire line is cleaned around your milpa. The burning of our forest causes major damage to the trees, destroys the non timber forest products and wildlife habitat. Furthermore, an escaped agricultural fire can cause severe crop and livestock damage as well as affects the soil’s natural fertility and structure. Closer to home, the burning of our forest contaminates our air with smoke and therefore becomes a health hazard as has been witnessed in past years.

Blood drive today in San Pedro
Help by giving blood! Today, February 20, 2016.

Various cigarette traders at the Corozal Commercial Free Zone were called at a meeting today by Atlantic Bank
The only bank carrying out business at the CCFZ, to be informed that all their accounts will be terminated with that bank and therefore will no longer be able to trade with them. More on this news as it develops.

Power Interruption 8:00am to 10:00am, Tuesday, February 23, San Pedro
Portion between Pelican Reef Villas & Island Cottage Resort. Two 10 minute power interruptions, 8:00am to 8:10am & 9:50am to 10:00am will also affect portion between Atlantic Bank & Island Cottage Resort. BEL to energize new high voltage lines in area.

Rescued pelicans
It's all about the pelicans this time of year. Thanks to two reports from concerned Belizeans and two fabulous rescues by our capture experts Belize Animal Rescue, we took in two juveniles who both got on the wrong end of a catfish.

Channel 7

FFB Pres. Vicente Holds On, Under Heavy Fire
He's under heavy fire from within, but tonight Ruperto Vincente is still holding on as President of the FFB. Last night, we told you about the bold attempt by three members of the executive committee to suspend their own president. Senior Vice President Sergio Chuc, and executive members Marlon Kuylen and Cruz Gamez used their majority to pass a motion to suspend Vicente. That's after they forced a meeting, which General secretary Michael Blease and Vicente tried to block, because the main item on the agenda was the suspension of Vicente. But they couldn't block it, and that resolution was passed in the afternoon, but coming unto evening, President Vicente, refusing to accept his suspension, called a meeting with a number of the FFB Congress Members. The FFB Congress is the highest decision-making body of football in Belize, and after this impromptu meeting, it was decided that the suspension would be put on hold until a legal interpretation from FIFA and CONCACAF was forthcoming.

The War Of Words: Ruperto Vs. The Rebels
So, right now, the FFB is in a precarious situation, and the president is waiting to see if his suspension stands. The other 3 executive committee members are holding their ground; they say Vicente is bad for football and he has to go. All this is unfolding just 6 weeks before elections are due for the entire FFB executive. But, now, this fight - brewing for months behind closed doors - has erupted into public view. The main complaint that the Chuc, Kuylen and Gamez have against their President is that he has been making unilateral decisions, without consultation, and sometimes even after they've counseled him against a policy direction. Next, they complain that he has given General Secretary Michael Blease too much authority to make decisions that only the president ought to be able to make. Finally, they're accusing Vicente of rigging the district elections in his favor, to ensure his re-election in April. Now, that's a heavy charge to lay against Vicente, after all he was elected a platform of transparency and accountability. Not only that, but the man he replaced, Dr. Bertie Chimilio was accused of doing the same thing!

Brooks Tropical, You Dropped The Bomb On We
Tonight the Corozal District is shaken after Fruta Bomba IN SAN JOAQUIN laid off half its staff in a single swoop today. According to the Ministry of Labour, 123 employees were laid off today. A number of them have complained to the media about what they feel is a pittance they are receiving in compensation after years of work. The Ministry says it is giving advice to a number of employees, and it is working closely with management to ensure that the legal requirements under redundancy are bring met, while primarily making sure that the wages and benefits due to all employees are paid. Of course, that is cold comfort to the 251 persons who will be laid off as the company closes down its Belize operation and moves out to the Dominican Republic.

BBS Requisitions Unlabeled Rice
Earlier in the week we told you how the Bureau of Standards had brought down the hammer on 30 grocery stores that were price gouging on rice, sugar, and flour. Well the Bureau is not only cracking down on retail, they're going straight to the producer! And The Bureau says it's because the rice producers have not met labeling standards. These new labeling requirements go all the way back to this time last year when Jack Charles first threatened to bring in Guyanese rice because local rice was too expensive at 1.20 a pound. The local producers blamed it on price gouging grocers, so the Bureau of Standards came up with a solution: the producers would label the rice by pound and price - so that when it reached the shelf, it would leave nothing to the discretion of the merchants. In other words, they would no longer be able to sell loose rice for their price; they would have to sell it for the price on the pre-labelled bag.

Circle R to Charles: Hit The Road, Jack
And another rice producer, Circle R Products today sent out a press release thanking importer Jack Charles for certifying their rice as "excellent." Now, we know Charles was trying to prove that locally produced rice was tainted with afla toxins. The test he got done showed that there were two micrograms of aflatoxins per kilogram. But according to Circle R, this proves the opposite. A release issued today says, quote, "we are pleased to note that EUROFINS Lab has described the results of these tests on our Belizean produced rice as 'excellent'." Circle R produces 'RUBY RICE', 'JADE RICE' AND 'PREMIUM RICE FOR KIDS'

Man Will Stand Trial For Sex With Child
A 27 year old man will stand trial for unlawful carnal knowledge with a 9 year old girl. Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith today found that Daniel Rios should face trial in the April session of the Supreme Court. Rios a resident of #276 Star Fish Crescent, Belama Phase 1 is accused of having sex with the child in April of 2015. Police are relying on statements from 9 persons including the minor and her mother. Rios remains in custody at the Hattieville Prison. His attorney, Richard "Dickie" Bradley who was not present for the hearing, and did not challenge the police evidence at this stage. Rios remains on remand.

Red Light Lobster
The Belize Coast Guard, while doing one of their regular patrols in Turneffe near Crayfish Caye came upon a vessel that was harvesting illegal out of season lobster tails. They were busted with quite a substantial amount- 243 lobster tails to be exact. Authorities say that the three men on the vessel- George Marin, 53, Angel Tun, 24, and Raymond Petzul, 30- were spotted throwing lobster traps overboard. Coast Guard personnel asked for their fishing licenses but the captain of the fishing vessel said he had his license back at their camp- the place where they were hoarding their illegal catch. Lieutenant Gregory Soberanis told us more. Lt. Gregory Soberanis, First Fleet Commander: "Upon reaching the fishing camp, a search was conducted at the camp where the Coast Guard team discovered hidden among the lobster pots a white ice box containing 243 lobster tails and a parrot fish or a grazer. Our team knew exactly that at that moment that the products were illegal as you know lobster season is closed and that the harvesting of the parrot fish in itself an illegal activity. They called Coast Guard headquarters and they were instructed to bring the individuals and the products to mainland where they were handed over to the Fisheries Department for prosecution." Hampton Gamboa, Fisheries Dept.: "They were charged for possession of lobster during the close season and it was 243 lobster that they were found with. They were fined and penalized by the magistrate for the possession during the close season."

Belize Bar Assoc: "Don't Worry, Be Happy"
Attorneys from the Belize Bar Association today held an all-day conference at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel. It's an annual event where the bar comes together and choose one topic to educate themselves on. This time around, they chose the Belize Guatemala Territorial Claim, and they called all the experts to make weighty presentations on the different aspects of this topic. We asked with the President why Belize-Guatemala: Jacqueline Marshalleck, Pres. Bar Association of Belize: "The conference is essentially to educate attorneys on the issue of the Belize/Guatemala dispute. I think there is an assumption because we are attorneys we are all comfortable and knowledgeable on international laws and the details of this dispute. There is an expectation I do believe by the public, since the dispute touches on legal affairs, that we will be able to advocate and explain and I think that that a fair expectation of us as an association and as advocates. But in order to do that properly we need to have that information and we need to be properly educated ourselves, so that when we go out to assist perhaps in explaining or educating things to the general public, to our family, to our friends - that we make sure we don't provide wrong information or we miscommunicate something. Because we are picking it up from sources or places that may not necessarily be proper. So the idea is to put our attorneys in a position where they have access to persons who know about this topic in detail and in depth and hopefully they will learn from this experience and then be able to assist others."

Youths For Change
Today the Department of Youth Services held a youth parade that moved off from in front of the St. Johns College Campus at Princess Margaret's Drive and closed off with a youth rally at Battlefield Park on Albert Street. The purpose of the rally was to kick-start the events leading up to the election of the National Youth Council. District Elections will be held in all 6 districts on February 29 to elect their respective District committee members. Today we caught up with the Belize District Delegation as they got their pep on. Shawn Saldano, PR Officer - Dept. of Youth: "Today is the rally for the endorsement of the national youth council that is a long overdue process that the government of Belize has been trying to push off a long time ago. It is finally here. The election is on February 29th where the youth representative who have been nominated will be elected into office for the varied different positions of president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and public relations officer. Today the rally is important because it is the hype, it is the highlight of gathering youth leaders to finally be involved in decision making, to finally be involved in the process of making whatever differences it means to ensure that our youth population is well represented and well impacted."

Finest Footballing Youths
This evening, High School football teams from across the country finished up their day 1 matches in the national finals. They're trying to advance to the final round tomorrow. We spoke with the President of the National Secondary School Sports Association about those schools who made it this far: We'll tell you on Monday's newscast which male and female teams emerged victorious.

Costa Ricans for Cross Country
Tomorrow for the first time Belize will be hosting the annual Central American Cross Country Championships- a tournament sponsored by the Central American Track and Field Organization, CADICA. 7 countries will participate including Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Belize. Today we caught up with the delegation from Costa Rica when they arrived at the international airport. They brought 10 athletes with them- 5 males and 5 females and spoke to us about their expectations for the championship and their will to win. This is the 10th annual championship but this is the first that is being held in Belize. The games start at 9:00 tomorrow morning at the Roaring River Gulf Course in Roaring Creek Village. The tournament will feature 5 different categories. Belize will be participating in 4 of the categories with a total of 11 athletes on the roster.

Computers To End Violence Against Women
Today the United Nations Population Fund donated laptops and computers to assist with the prevention of violence against women. Now equipment isn't the first thing that comes to mind when addressing such an important national issue. Today we spoke with a representative from the Ministry of Human Development and the Ministry of health and they explained how this donation will be used for this cause. Sheila Rosel, Director Representative, UNFPA: "Our role is very crucial and very significant. UNFPA is very pleased to be partnering with the various ministries including the Ministry of Human Development, Social and Poverty Alleviation, The Ministry of Health, the Ministry of National Security and some other development agencies to implement the BA1 Project for the prevention of violence against women in Belize. We are very excited about this handover ceremony and to be handing over these very useful equipment to the various partners in order to strengthen the capacity of their ministries in the area of data management for the prevention of violence against women. We are very confident that these equipment are going to be used in a very useful way so that we can do more for the prevention of violence in Belize. Violence against women is something that can be prevented. I know the commitment is there. Belize have put in place measures like legislation. They also have support services. But we cannot just accept those and be too complacent with what we have. We have to do a lot more and I know that equipment that have been provided today to these ministries will be very useful."

Channel 5

Embattled F.F.B. President Addresses Charges Made Against Him
The Football Federation of Belize is deeply divided tonight and its president Ruperto Vicente is under threat from his own executive. On Thursday night in Belmopan, three executive members made [...]

Ruperto Vicente Says Disgruntled F.F.B. Executives are Free to Step Down
While F.F.B. President Ruperto Vicente is preparing to run against members of his existing administration, the trio of executives opposing his presidency maintains that it is the final opportunity to [...]

Fruta Bomba Winds Down Quicker than Initially Expected
Lay-offs at Fruta Bomba and Belize Food Packers Limited are taking place up north. The companies which are located in San Joaquin Village and Corozal Town will be letting go, [...]

Bureau of Standards Comes Down Hard on Rice Producer in the North
There is a development tonight in the rice industry, which does not have to do with importer Jack Charles. The Belize Bureau of Standards says it has served what is [...]

Annual Law Conference takes on Border Dispute
Today, members of the Bar and the Bench gathered at the Belize Biltmore Plaza for a forum of sorts. It was dubbed a law conference, but the focus wasn’t law, [...]

Why is there a Serious Backlog in the Justice System?
There is a critical backlog in the justice system and while it’s nothing new, it seems to be getting much worse. It has become commonplace for accused criminals to spend [...]

Bar President Comments on Formation of Another Legal Fraternity
In September 2014 Government moved legislation to amend the Legal Profession Act. That legislation removed mandatory membership in the Bar Association and paved the way for attorneys to form or [...]

Missing Caledonia Resident Luis Alcoser Resurfaces
A resident from the village of Caledonia, Corozal went missing on the morning of January fifth, 2016. His vehicle, a KIA Sportage, was found abandoned off the main highway near [...]

Accused Rapist Daniel Rios Remains in Custody
Tonight, twenty-seven year old Daniel Rios, who is being accused of raping a nine year old child remains in custody at the Belize Central Prison. A preliminary inquiry has determined [...]

Coastguard Busts Trio of Fishermen with Illegal Lobster Tails
While on patrol on Crayfish Caye, Turneffe atoll, the Belize Coastguard made a bust this morning for the Fisheries Department. Three men from Belama Phase Two, Belize City were found [...]

Has Belize Lost Grounds in the Sarstoon?
In the past year there has been a perceived escalation in hostilities between Belize and Guatemala. That perception gained wings when thirty-seven Belizeans were basically kidnapped by Guatemalan military in [...]

News Five to Attend Media Workshop in Barbados
Reporter Duane Moody and I are among a group of regional media personnel who will be participating in a Media Law Workshop to be held in Barbados which is funded [...]

Alcaldes Convene to Discuss Appointment of Toledo Land Rights Commission
The Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission was named a few weeks ago.  The breadth of its work is the implementation of a Consent Order by the Caribbean Court of Justice.  [...]

D.P.P. to Proceed with Prosecution Santa Cruz 13
Also discussed during today’s gathering was the Director of Public Prosecution’s decision to proceed with legal action against the Santa Cruz Thirteen.  They were arrested and detained last year for [...]

High School Students March in the Name of Drug Education
Today, students of Nazarene High School culminated a week of drug education with a march through Belize City streets and a rally. It was an intensive session in which the [...]


Over 100 Papaya Workers Sent Home Today
The last we told you of the situation up north with Fruta Bomba and Belize Food Packers Limited was that they were making plans to close down the papaya factory operations and that it would leave many workers out of a job. Today, the ministry of Labour issued a press release on the matter advising […]

Belize/Guatemala Differendum: When and How Do We Draw the Lines?
An all day session was held at the Belize Biltmmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City wher ninety legal minds were catered for. It was a conference that saw presentations on the Belize Guatemala Differendum as they discuss when and how do we draw the lines. The conference was organized by the Belize Bar Association with […]

Former Negotiator Says Things are Getting Worst With the Belize/Guatemala Issue
As we mentioned today’s conference hosted by the Belize Bar Association, the issue of the territorial differendum was the topic at hand. It is an issue that has been going on for generations and for many, it is one that has been taken for granted with the mentality that it will just go on and […]

Vicente vs FFB Executives
Three executives of the Football Federation of Belize namely Marlon Kuylen, Cruz Gamez and Senior Vice President Sergio Chuc want the President Ruperto Vicente suspended from his position. A meeting was called yesterday evening at the FFB’s Headquarters where the executive voted on suspending Vicente. However, following that decision, a second meeting got underway and […]

Vicente Says It’s Not About Football But Power
Ruperto Vicente believes this goes beyond football. He says that the three executives want him out of the way so they can do what they want with the federation. Vicente says the trio is out to get rid of him so that he will not be able to contest the next elections. However, Marlon Kuylen […]

Football President Receives Death Threats
While the three executives want to get rid of Ruperto Vicente by suspending him from the Football Federation of Belize, there is someone else to wants to get rid of him permanently. Vicente told Love News that he has been receiving death threats.

Circle R Promises Continued Production of Quality Rice
Some weeks ago when the rice saga had begun with the Guyanese rice coming on the local market and the Belize Agricultural Health Authorityy, the media had been reporting on the matter with interviews from the importer, the local authorities and the attorney for the local rice producers. What we had not gotten was a […]

Lobster Bust on Cray Fish Caye
Last week we told you of the lobster season being closed and the Fisheries Department did issue a notice to the fishers,stressing the importance of being compliant with the regulations. Despite that warning, a group of threefishermen were busted today by the Belize Coast Guard just after nine o’clock on Cray Fish Caye. Gregory Soberanis […]

Workshop for Fishers in Southern Belize
A number of fishers are meeting to discuss their participation within the industry. We hear more in this report from correspondent Harry Arzu.

CARICOM 27th heads of Government meeting comes to an end
The 27th Intercessional Meetings for the Caribbean Community concluded on Wednesday in Placencia with a plan of action drafted on several issues, the main topic was correspondent banking. In the closing press conference, Prime Minister Dean Barrow spoke on what was decided. On correspondent banking we agreed to the appointment of a high level advocacy […]


DJ Busch charged in brutal beating of friend at wake
Popular disc jockey James “DJ Busch” Busch has been charged with dangerous harm after apparently assaulting a good friend at a wake for a late mutual friend of theirs, Ian Blair. According to 35 year old Marlon Chavez, on January 29, the man he considered to be as close to him as a brother left him ...

Court delays sentencing of Estella Gonzalez
Last week 64 year old naturalized Belizean from Honduras, Estella Gonzalez, was found guilty by a jury of trafficking in persons. She brought a 15 year old to work in Belize in her George Price Highway bar, not in her field of cosmetology, but in sexually servicing men at the bar for a pittance. Tod...

How to get more babies registered at birth
After the miracle of birth, the niceties of Belizean law must be observed: all live births, including stillborns, must be registered where ever the child is born. While most parents – 94 percent according to statistics – adhere to the law, some are not able to because of circumstances. T...

Health Ministry continues to fight dengue and Chik-V
The terrible trio of viral diseases spread by the Aedes mosquito – dengue, chikungunya and Zika – are occupying the headlines at the moment. But in the case of the former two, their presence has not been as severe as expected. Last year it was chikungunya or Chik-V that dominated the hea...

FFB election woes
There are rumblings in the Football Federation of Belize ,rumblings reminiscent of the last days of the former FFB president Bertie Chimillo. We understand that later this month, elections are to be held for district Football Association and next month these district committees will be voting for th...

Bureau of Standards cracks down on price gouging
The Belize Bureau of standards has reported that there are quite a number of stores price gouging on rice and sugar following the new controlled prices on those products implemented end of December, 2015. The Bureau says its officers have so far checked 150 stores countrywide and found 30 of them t...

Meet and greet in Teakettle
Police continued their meet and greet sessions today, an initiative taking place in various parts of the country. It is an attempt to have residents of various communities to get to know the police officers in their areas and to also talk with the police about issues affecting their communities. Su...

Re: Today's Belize News: February 20, 2016 [Re: Marty] #511766
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02/20/16 06:09 AM
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The Guardian

CARICOM Leaders tackle financial problem
By now, Belizeans may be very familiar with the current threat to the economy caused by the loss of correspondent banking relationships between local banks and the Tier 1 American Banks. Readers may be aware that this issue is one that the entire Caribbean Community faces collectively. That’s abecause these large banks do not view the business it does with the Caribbean Countries as beneficial to offset the risk of running afoul of the stricter enforcement of global regulatory standards to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. That was a major topic discussed at the Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of The Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, which was held in Placencia. CARICOM which is being chaired in the interim by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, has come up with a comprehensive and exhaustive plan to try to address it, since member states like Montserrat are in trouble of being de-linked from the global financial network. Prime Minister Barrow, and Secretary General Irwin LaRocque discussed that action plan perfected over the 3-day discussion with the other Prime Ministers of CARICOM. First of All, there will be a high-level advocacy group to be led by the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne. He was appointed as the Chair of the Finance Ministers’ Committee, which set up earlier before the meeting. They will be charged with the responsibility of representing the interests of the Caribbean Region on this issue. That will include an approach to the United Nations and the World Trade Organizations, and the financial regulators in the United States, as well as the leaders of the United States Congress. This team will work to sensitize these organizations and authorities on the very real threat that de-risking poses to CARICOM because these US banks are terminating their correspondent banking relations with the indigenous banks of the Caribbean.

Belize chairs Caricom Heads of Government meeting
Prime Minister Dean Barrow and his fellow Government officials have conducted a very exhaustive and diligent leadership of the Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of The Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM. This meeting, was held on the Placencia Peninsula, where 15 Caribbean Leaders flew into Belize to meet with their peers to discuss a number of issues facing the Caribbean Community as a collective. The meeting started on Monday, February 15, and ended officially on Wednesday, February 17. These Prime Ministers were anxious to get started, and among the agenda items included the loss of correspondent banking relationships that the Caribbean Banks have been facing since the American Bankers have been de-risking, the possible threat of the Zika Virus which has left the Caribbean mostly untouched, the issue of crime and security, Climate Change, and a few others.

Marijuana de-penalization coming!
At the end of January a white paper was presented to Cabinet for its consideration at the possibility of decriminalizing marijuana. The issue has been looked at and in preliminary fashion Cabinet has decided that amendments be made to the criminal code to deal with persons who are caught with 10 grams or less of the drug. According to Minister of National Security, who has had reservations about the entire issue, Cabinet received the paper three weeks ago. It was reviewed and sent to the Attorney General’s office for changes to the laws to accommodate the move. While Cabinet has asked for amendments to the law, Minister Saldivar explained to the Guardian that the recommendations are not necessarily for the decriminalization of Marijuana, rather he deems it as de-penalization. In broad terms the Cabinet has recommended that anyone who has been caught with 10 grams or less be fined and no prison term be attached when found guilty of that amount. Additionally convictions of these amounts would not form part of the person’s criminal record.

Bad mouthing cost millions
It seems like these PUP operatives a.k.a. Chicken Littles or Blue-concas are set on opposing just for the sake of opposing. Maybe the reason for their behavior is because they have been in opposition for such a long time, that now opposing comes so natural for them. About three weeks ago, news surfaced that the Social Security Board was looking favorably towards granting a loan that had been requested of them by Santander, the company that is about to open a sugar manufacturing operation in the western part of the country. Those PUP naysayers or as some people refer to them as BLUE-CONCAS went on an all out offensive to badmouth the SSB and by extension the government. The granting of SSB loans under a UDP administration unlike under a PUP administration is not about a handshake and any old piece of paper that is only fit to line a birdcage. The SSB under the UDP does it’s DUE DILIGENCE through it’s Investment Committee. After that due diligence is done that report goes before the Board of Directors of the SSB. If the report from the investment committee is negative then the board does not proceed with the loan or whatever sort of investment is before them. However if the report is positive then the board may agree in principle and go on to the next step and make it known to the general public and ask for comments and input as per the SSB Act. It is only after that period is completed that the board finally decides based on all the information before them, if they will or will not proceed with the granting of that loan or making that investment.

Opening Statement by the Hon. Dean Oliver Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize At the Opening Ceremony For the Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
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.

How did American Boy Scout drown in shallow water?
How does a Boy Scout, who is considered to be a good swimmer, drown in front of 31 schoolmates and nine adult chaperones and no one notices? That is the question on the mind of Tomari Jackson’s mother. Freshman student of North Cobb High School, 14-year-old Tomari Aliijah Jackson, was to have the time of his life on a week long mission trip to Belize with 31 other schoolmates. The well loved talented flute player of the school’s freshman band arrived in Belize on Saturday, February 13, and headed west to the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary where the team would have spent five days on a field trip. Plans were also in place to celebrate Tomari’s 15th birthday on Monday, February 15. Unfortunately, the trip went tragically wrong just hours after the students landed in Belize. Soon after they arrived at the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary the students went for a swim in the Sibun River at Tiger Sandy Bay. Mathew Miller, Managing Director of the Sanctuary, said there were three tour guides along with the six chaperones to watch the children. “It is a known bathing spot, Miller said, “It’s a shallow area; there is not a strong current; it’s even a little back eddy where there is calm water. Tomari was swimming with his Go Pro camera, his swimming goggles, his grey shirt and his blue shorts—going under and coming up.”

Training for better administration of City and Town councils
The Department of Local Government and Belize Mayor’s Association conducted a one day training workshop entitled: Enhancing QuickBooks Usage on 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

The ongoing battle against Antibiotic Resistance in Belize
Two weeks ago a mission from the Ohio State University visited Belize to sensitize the Ministers and Chief Executive Officers in both the Ministry of Health and Agriculture on antibiotic resistance as part of a two year project to do the same in the Caribbean. This is as a result of international reports that bacteria in both China and Britain have developed resistance to a last resort antibiotic, Colistin. What makes this resistance to antibiotics concerning is that the resistance has been transferred easily between bacteria as a result of a new mutation. The development of antibiotic resistance is not new. While antibiotics have revolutionized medicine, resistant strains in bacteria have always been developing against the wonder drugs. For example, Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928, and in 1940 several years before the introduction of penicillin as a therapeutic, a bacterial penicillinase was identified. This showed that once an antibiotic was used widely, resistant strains capable of inactivating the drug became more pronounced. In another case of the antibiotic resistance, streptomycin, introduced in 1944 for the treatment of tuberculosis, mutant strains of Mycobaterium tuberculosis arose during patient treatment. Today, tuberculosis has evolved within the human race and currently infects one third of the World’s population, despite the development of streptomycin and isoniazid antibiotics; as bacteriological resistance to antibiotics has developed rapidly. In Belize part of the difficulty has been to pinpoint all the antibiotics that the private sector imports. Also, the fact remains that several of the antibiotics that are being used for humans can also be used for animals, which introduces new variables in the discourse of antibiotic resistance.

Medical clinic to open soon in Cayo Central
The Santa Elena Health Clinic in the Cayo District is in its final stages of development and will be opened soon. As this is occurring, the Hon. Rene Montero, Representative for the Cayo Central Division is hard at work securing partnerships with international specialists. When completed the new Health Center will serve the entire constituency of Cayo Central and will be fully staffed 24 hours a day. The Clinic in Santa Elena is in a centralized location, easily accessible by the local population. Hon. Rene Montero along with Hon. Pablo Marin and CEO in the Ministry of Health Dr. Ramon Figueroa conducted a walk-through at what is to be the new Santa Elena Health Center on Tuesday of this week. At this occasion, the Hon. Pablo Marin committed to assisting with equipment and staff for the facility to be fully operational.

Let’s take “A Walk Through Dangriga”
Monday February 15 marked a historic milestone in the rich and colorful history of Culture Capital, Dangriga. ‘A Walk Through Dangriga’, a pictorial history of Dangriga past and present was launched at the BTL Princess Royal Park. This is the third such publication in the ‘Walk Through’ series; two previous publications were ‘A Walk Through Belize City’ and ‘A Walk Through San Ignacio’. It is hoped that this publication will be utilized by students and tour guides in Dangriga and the wider Belizean community and diaspora. The 46 page publication is packed full of pictures and the history of Dangriga. This would be an ideal book for any household as well as a great addition to your coffee table. A Walk Through Dangriga was authored by Dangriga’s very own, His Lordship, Mayor Francis Humphreys, one of Belize’s preeminent historians and Co-Authored by up and coming historian and another one of Dangriga’s very own, Miss Ifasina Efunyemi. The launching date of this book, February 15th, is noteworthy because in 1895, February 15th, Dangriga was officially named a town. So the launching marked Dangriga’s Birthday.

Derisking - “The Greatest Danger”
What laws did we contravene? What regulations are we about to break? Those are the questions of the day! H.E. Dr. Patrick Antoine, Chief Finance Advisor - Govt. of Grenada: “The de-risking phenomenon is perhaps the greatest danger to our economic prospects at this time…We need to put the onus on the United States to tell us what regulations will transgress or what regulation, it appears that we are going to transgress. And then they have an obligation to tell us how are they purporting that these limitations accrued and I think that is one of the things we need to do.” Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Interim Chair, CARICOM: “Under pressure from their regulatory authorities in Europe and especially the US, banks in those jurisdictions have been closing their correspondent relationships 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. The implications of this for our international trade, for our remittances, for our structures of production, consumption and investment, are so obvious as to require little further elaboration. It is therefore no hyperbole to say that, especially in an environment where the value of our imports and exports taken together equals or exceeds our GDP, any attenuation, not to say complete cutoff, respecting our trade and remittance flows, constitutes a clear, present and compendious danger…Surely our respective country banks can get together across jurisdictions and as a block, approach target banks in the US for pooled correspondence 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.”

Tour of Belize City Flood Mitigation Project sites
The 21 million dollar Belize City Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project is almost complete and members of the press were guided on a tour by the project managers on Tuesday, February 16. Rolando Chan, Project Manager, led a tour to several sites across the city to assure the public that the city’s signature drainage project will be completed far ahead of the Inter-American Development Bank’s November 2016 deadline. In November 2011, the Government of Belize and the Inter-American Development Bank signed onto an agreement for a loan of US$10 million for a flood alleviation and mitigation project for Belize City. As part of the agreement, the Government of Belize provided $1.5 million in counterpart funding. The project consists of three main components to be implemented over a period of five years. The first component is Engineering and Administration. This includes the establishing of an Execution Unit along with Operational Expenses. The second component is divided in two sub components which are First Year of Civil Works and Second Year of Civil Works; First Year of Civil Works is further divided into outputs such as street improvements, canal construction and upgrading of Albert Hoy and D’Nest Inn Parks. Component Three is for Institutional Strengthening with a focus on developing a maintenance system for the Belize City Council and a look at Geographic Information System among others.

Civic Pride not dead in ‘Griga - The birth of a beach!
What are the chances of going from an average 2 – 3 feet unkempt area consisting of wild onions, thorns and other shrubbery to a full-fledged beach in just a matter of one month? You would probably believe that story if you would personally witness the hard work involved. As people, we often sit and see the potential of some great things and perhaps think about it; however that’s where it all ends – as a thought. That was not the case with private citizen Clarence Sarawl. He needed somewhere to swim and “chillax” as he put it, but couldn’t find an appropriate place to do so. He thought about it, picked up a machete, a hoe and a rake and proceeded to clear a 10 by 10 chill spot space for himself. Little did he know, that thought would quickly be transformed from a 10 by 10 space to a full scale task of creating and building a beach.With community involvement and assistance, the Dangriga Wahima Beach Restoration Project under the auspices of the Brothers and Sisters Keepers Organization was born. Wahima Beach, is now a community empowerment initiative in partnership with the Dangriga Town Council. The initiative burned like a wild pine ridge fire. Two newly formed organizations have now taken on the task of doing their own beach cleaning, one on the Northside and the other on the Southside of Dangriga. Clarence Joseph Castillo who now prefers to be called Sarawl (meaning awaken in Garifuna) returned home in 2011 with several nonprofit initiatives on his mind. The one that burned brighter was to have the beach, a stone’s throw from his old Dangriga neighborhood, revitalized. He told the Guardian, "It was my intent to have this area serve as recreational grounds for both children and adults and it seems to be doing that and more." Wahima beach is located on the northernmost end of Front Street. Sarawl and his band of volunteers consisting of several Grigalizeans, American and Canadian ex patriots and Belizean-American retirees could be seen daily with their garden tools, hard at work maintaining the beach.

Bad press forces Santander to withdraw SSB loan request
At a press conference called by the Santander Group, Andres Ayau, Chief Financial Officer for the company announced on Friday February 12, that it would not take a 12 million dollar loan from the Social Security Board. At the announcement Ayau stated: "It's sad enough to say that this issue was politicized and it's been a negative connotation and due to this negative media coverage we decided to actually use another lender, an international lender to cover that participation." The announcement ended a week's worth of speculation and badmouthing by a few public persons who preferred that SSB not make the investment which ultimately would have earned the board an 8 percent return on investment in the first two years of the loan and 7 percent thereafter on the 10 year loan. Santander had approached the Social Security Board with the proposal in October of last year after a bank which had originally committed to the loan withdrew the commitment leaving Santander to look for another investor which they have since found. Ayau stated that, "We thought it would be a good thing to invite Social Security Board to participate... This loan offers a return of 7% which is more than twice what you are currently getting and exceeds inflation cost which are not being covered by the current returns you are getting." That is now a lost opportunity but Santander is not yet giving up on the possibility that the SSB invest in its operations. Ayau says that "We would like to leave the door open for Social Security Board and we are announcing here that we are doing and additional investment around this project for expansion of the factory and the sugarcane fields of 15 million US dollars and we continue our invitation to Social Security to participate in that's transaction.

Lady of the night killed in San Pedro
San Pedro police are investigating the murder of 23 year old Johana Samantha Mendez Barrios who was killed on Tuesday morning. Police were called out to the Basil Parish Apartment Complex in the Boca del Rio area of San Pedro town sometime around 5:00a.m. on Tuesday February 16. There they found the 23 year old woman suffering from a cut wound to the left side of her neck. She was transported to the polyclinic at the island but died while undergoing treatment.

Phillip Bowen guilty of robbery and aggravated assault.
After being on remand at the Belize Central Prison for eight months, Phillip Bowen, 22, is now a full serving convict for the offense of robbery and aggravated assault. Bowen was convicted of hijacking Harry Holder’s Nissan taxi car and assaulting two police officers. In court Holder testified that on June 28, 2015, Bowen got into his taxi at Cinderella Plaza and asked to be taken to 88 Shopping Center on Central American Boulevard. Just as they were passing the Puma Freetown Gas Station, Bowen pulled out a gun, placed it at the back of his head and told him to stop the vehicle. Fearing for his life, Holder jumped out of the moving vehicle and ran to safety. Bowen then went with the vehicle. As he sped across the Belcan Bridge, PC Anson Simpson and PC Argazabad Sankey intercepted him at the corner of Central American Boulevard and Mahogany Street. Bowen refused to stop when told to do so by the officers and that led to a high speed chase. The taxi went up the boulevard and into Antelope Street Extension where the officers cornered him at a U turn area.

Belize Family Court sending baby Nina back to Guatemala
The Director of the Belize Family Court, Magistrate Dale Cayetano, ordered the Department of Human Services to return two-year-old Nina Perez to Guatemala in a ruling on Friday, February 12. Nina had been the subject of an international custody battle since November – she is our very own Elian Gonzalez. Two parents, one Belizean and the other Guatemalan, locked in a legal battle over who gets custody and guardianship of the child. The child’s Belizean mother, Ana Liz Perez Gutierrez, ran away from Guatemala with the child in October of 2015, allegedly escaping domestic abuse. She went to live with her family in Orange Walk but that refuge was short lived. Nina’s Guatemalan father, Ernesto Barrera, reported to authorities in his country that the baby was taken across the border without his permission. As a result, an international complaint went in to the Human Services Department and the child was removed from the mother’s care on Friday, November 13. Under a provision for “Emergency Care” in the Families and Children Act, the Department of Human Services took temporary custody of the child’s guardianship. Under this law, the Department has two days to approach the court to confirm the legality of this emergency protective care. That was done on Monday, November 16, and the Family Court granted the Department interim custody of the toddler under the substantive issue until rightful guardianship could be determined.

Darrell Mayen convicted of attempted murder
Darrell Mayen, 21, is awaiting his fate after he was convicted of attempted murder by Justice Troadio Gonzalez in a trial without jury on Friday, February 12. Mayen was accused of trying to kill Rafael Caceres, a 32-year-old tour guide, back in August of 2010. The incident occurred on August 21, 2010, at the corner of Woodpecker Street and Fabers Road. Caceres was shot at several times but only one shot caught him in the back. The bullet left him crippled for life but he survived. During the trial, Caceres testified that he had just left a Chinese shop and was heading home walking on Woodpecker Street when he realized that someone was behind him. When he looked back he saw Mayen pointing a gun at him from a distance of seven to eight feet. Caceres began to run and Mayen opened fire. As he tried to jump over a fence, Caceres said he felt a burning sensation and knew that he had been shot. He fell to the ground and while he was lying there Mayen stood over him and fired four more shots at him. Caceres was able to positively identify Mayen as his shooter that day.

American man killed in Punta Gorda
American national, 69 year old Thomas Paul Rackowski was attacked on Saturday night while he was at home and he has since died as a result. Punta Gorda Police report that on Saturday 13th February they responded to a call by a man who was in the Hopeville area of Punta Gorda Town. As a result of the call police visited the home of Rackowski where they found him suffering from stab wounds to the chest and neck area. With the assistance of paramedics Rackowski was taken to the Punta Gorda Hospital and was later transferred to the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga and then on to the Karl Heusner Memorial where he succumbed to his injuries at around 10:30p.m on Monday February 15. Before he passed away, Rackowski told police that sometime around 9:25p.m. on Saturday he was at home reading a book when three men forced their way into his home by prying open the screen door. One of the men then inflicted the injuries he suffered.

Sudden death in Benque Viejo
A man visiting Benque Viejo del Carmen has died suddenly while visiting family members. The incident continues to puzzle residents as to a preventable tragedy. A dead body was discovered at about 3:05 pm in a creek about 200 yards away from the Mopan River, in Benque Viejo on Friday of this past week. CIB personnel visited the scene where they noted that a male person wearing a black shirt and blue short pants was lying on his left side in the shallow water of the creek. The body was later identified to be that of 47 year old Fernando Melendez, a Belizean laborer of San Pedro Town. He appeared to have bruises on the left side and upper center of the head.

Vehicle robbed from police officer in Benque
A police man was robbed of his vehicle over the weekend in the Cayo District. Forty seven year old Police Officer Selvin Tillett of Lomos del Rodeo, Benque Viejo Town reported that on Sunday of this past weekend at about 11:10 am he was driving his son-in-law Sadani Harrison in a white 2014 Mazda BT-50 Pro with License Plate C-0311 when he lost the vehicle. Tillett said that he had parked the said vehicle in front of his home on Humble Street at Lomas Del Rodeo, in Benque Viejo Town, when two Hispanic men approached him. He had opened the door on his driver side when one of the males pointed a black 9 mm weapon at him and uttered in Spanish that he wanted the vehicle and that he was not playing. The robbers then drove off in the vehicle in the direction heading to Arenal Village. Police have made checks in Arenal Village, but it was fruitless, and it is now suspected that the vehicle was taken to Guatemala.

Juan Manuel Yapur wins Digicell Valentine’s Tour
The Cycling Federation of Belize in collaboration with Digicell, sponsored the Annual Digicell Valentine’s Tour, which commenced on Thursday 11 February and concluded on Sunday 14 February, 2016. At the end of four days of racing it was, Juan Manuel Yapur, a Mexican who rides for Team Yapurland, and no stranger to the cycling world in Belize, won the Digicell Valentine’s Tour with a cumulative time of 8:55:50. Joel Borland of Digicell 4G Elite Cycling Team took second place with a time of 8:55:59. Third place went to American Chris Harkey of TEAM Starlight with a time of 8:56:00. Brandon Cattouse of C-Ray Road Addikz finished in the fourth position with a time of 8:56:08 and he was followed by Byron Pope of Benny’s Megabytes who finished fifth with a time of 8:56:25 to round off the top five finishers in the Annual Digicell Valentine’s Tour. The other top finishers in the Digicell Valentine’s Tour includes Nissan Arana of Westrac Alliance with a time of 8:56:38 and he was followed by Robert Liam Stewart of Western Spirit Cycling Team with a time of 8:57:01, and he was followed by Tarique Flowers of Benny’s Megabytes Elite with a time of 8:57:01 and he was followed by Giovanni Lovell of Digicell 4G Elite Cycling Team with a time of 8:57:04 and he was followed by his team-mate Joel Vanegas with a time of 8:57:20 to round off the top ten riders in the tour.

Smart Belize Hurricanes extend winning streak to 5 games
The National Elite Basketball League of Belize competition continued over the weekend with a number of games played across the country. On Saturday 13 February, 2016, at the Bird’s Isle here in Belize City, the Smart Belize Hurricanes extended its winning streak to 5 games when it upended the Dangriga Warriors by the score of 70-61. The Smart Belize Hurricanes was led by Akeem Watters who scored 13 points, had 3 steals and 2 assists. He was able assisted by Brian White who contributed 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a winning effort, while Farron Louriano and Glency Lopez also contributed 11 points each. For the Dangriga Warriors, the top scorers were James Ewing with 15 points and 8 rebounds, Edgar Mitchell with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals and Lisbey Castillo who scored 12 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals. Meanwhile, out at the Independence High School Auditorium in Independence Village, the defending champions the San Pedro Tiger Sharks defeated the Independence Thunderbolt by the score of 75-41. The top scorers for the San Pedro Tiger Sharks were Caleb Sutton with 16 points and 6 rebounds, Ashton Edwards with 15 points from 5 three-points, and 3 rebounds and Gene Myvett with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

Antigua to decide whether they want the CCJ or not
Readers of the Guardian newspaper know very well that Belize’s highest Court, where all appeals are final, is the Caribbean Court of Justice. It may be a distant memory but up until May 2010, the CCJ was not Belize’s final arbitration panel. That job was handled by the Privy Council, headquartered in London, England. That was part of the justice system which the country inherited when it got independence from the British, but right now, there are a number of CARICOM territories who still send final appeals to the Privy Council. Prime Minister Dean Barrow has declared that in his 6 months as interim chair of CARICOM, he intends to encourage those member states to take the steps to adopt the CCJ as their final court of appeal. One such nation which is on its way to doing so is Antigua and Barbuda. It’s CARICOM Ambassador, H.E. Dr. Clarence Henry, attended the Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of The Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, which was held on the Placencia Peninsula. Part of his mission was to update the CARICOM member states that Antigua and Barbuda has just established a National Coordinating Committee which is responsible for the preparation of the campaign toward the adoption of the CCJ as Antigua & Barbuda’s final arbitration panel.

CARICOM Heads discuss Zika
Belize remains free of the Zika Virus which has spread all around the Latin American Countries, and to 5 countries within the Caribbean. The Belizean authorities want to keep it that way, and the CARICOM Leaders want to curb the epidemic to make sure it does not get any worse. That was one of the topics discussed at Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of The Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, which was chaired by Belize’s Prime Minister, Dean Barrow. Coming out of that 3-day meeting, the CARICOM Heads of Government endorsed a course of action to address the spread of Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue, which are all borne by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Since this mosquito is the vector for all of these illnesses, the plan by CARICOM is to reduce the amount of breeding sites it can have which would mean a direct decrease in new infections of these diseases. That course of action from CARICOM will include continuous public education campaigns; and actions to implement measures at the ports of entries of all the territories, and important buildings and edifices where large numbers of people gather daily, such as schools and factories. The plan here is to concentrate on their immediate environments, with activities like fogging to render possible breeding sites unsustainable for the mosquito.

CARICOM Secretary General hands over computer equipment for use by visually impaired persons
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 Margret Drive in Belize City was identified as the ideal location because of its proximity to several high schools, university and technical vocational institutions. It is also near to the Stella Maris School which caters to students with special needs. The two software programmes installed at the library are:

CITCO prepares for Zika Epidemic
Mayor Darrell Bradley, Councilors and staff of the Belize City Council took part in a sensitization workshop as part of their development of a Zika Preparedness Plan on Wednesday, February 17. Presentations were made by Dr. Javier Zuniga and Mr. Javier Alpuche of the Central Health Region. The expert consensus is that it is only a matter of time before the Zika virus is officially detected in Belize. Therefore, local governments across the country are developing their strategy to limit its spread in their communities. Dr. Zuniga presented on a background of Zika, the potential public health threat it poses and the epidemiological profile and regional situation. In a brief background briefing, Zuniga explained that the Zika Virus has been around for more than 60 years - it is named after the Zika Forest near Lake Victoria in Uganda, where it was first noticed in 1947 from a captive monkey. Since then, it has spread across Africa to Asia, Pacific Polynesia and now the Americas. It is only in the past year that scientists and health experts have become seriously worried about it. A massive outbreak that started last year in Brazil brought it sharply into focus because of emerging links to microcephaly - a congenital disorder that can shrink unborn babies' brains and heads and reduce life expectancy. Since April, the virus has spread quickly.

A call for action on Climate Change made in Belmopan
Where Belize’s Agricultural Sector has been considered to be of critical importance to National Development, especially food security, there has been a renewed interest on the implications that Climate Change will be having in the foreseeable future. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Environment and Sustainable Development in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture IICA and the National Climate Change Office organized on Wednesday a National Agriculture Climate Change Forum at the George Price Centre in Belmopan. The focus of the forum was to move beyond a national adaptation strategy to address climate change and revisit the evidence and potential solutions with the overall objective of moving from the strategy to action and raising awareness among crops and livestock producers in Belize on the impacts of climate change and what can be done to build resiliency within the sector. Diana Ruiz, Science Officer at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center CCCC based in Belmopan told the audience today that the temperatures in Belize will be increasing, there will be a decrease in rainfall and so will hurricanes as surface temperatures increase. As a result there will be implications for the health sector in terms of incidences of vector borne diseases. Diana Ruiz also informed that as a result of climate change, predictions on low rainfall will impact on sanitation, and sea level rise will lead to salt intrusion in San Pedro and Caye Caulker.

Japan gives grant to Belize’s Cotton Industry
On Monday February 15, the Government of Japan granted $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. With agriculture being one of Belize’s economic pillars the Government of Japan saw it fit to invest in the cotton industry since it provides jobs and development. In a release from the Japanese embassy it states that, “the Embassy of Japan wishes success of this project because the Sea Island Cotton is one of the most potential products to strengthen the relationship between Belize and Japan. Belize produces some of the best cotton in the world.

New or Old Johnny?
Following up on his appearance last week on the Love FM Radio and Television Morning Talkshow, the brand NEW/OLD People’s United Party Leader made his way over to Belmopan to the PUP Plus TV station for what appeared to have been a rehearsed interview conducted by the Preacher and the Drunk . The questions were not only weak but every so often it appeared as if it was the interviewee leading the discussion and not the other way around as it should have been. At times it appeared as if the PUP Leader was looking down and getting his cue from a card or something that appeared to have been hidden from the camera by a Coffee mug placed on the table. For the hour and a half that Johnny spoke he did not say anything that would convince us that the PUP he is leading will be any different from the one that was lead by Said or Francis. Johnny, it appears, is afraid to overturn the Apple-cart even while in opposition so how can we expect any different if he were ever the Prime Minister of this country. Was that not what he, the G-12 and G-7 before were all about? Did they not on those occasions suggest that they must get rid of the Cancer a.k.a. the Old guard that was plaguing the party for Donkey’s years? So why is he still willing to work with these same persons? Were these not the same persons he referred to as CROOKS or persons who made millions when last the party was in government?

Belizean law enforcement officers sharpen their anti corruption and leadership skills in New Mexico
A cadre of law enforcement officers, including 10 police officers and a magistrate are at Roswell New Mexico at the International Law Indictment Academy ( I.L.E.A.) participating in an anti-corruption and leadership training for 4 weeks. The course will run from February 1 to the 26th. While at the institution, the officers are being instructed by personnel from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the United States Department of Justice. During the course the participants visited with the U.S. State Department of Justice where they had an opportunity to meet with a judge who gave the Belizean law enforcement personnel an insigt on how the U.S. courts and judiciary functions. Participants of the course include Magistrate Patricia Arana; Sr. Superintendent Chester Williams; Superintendent, Bart Jones; Superintendent, Andrew Ramirez; Superintendent Daniel Arzu; Inspector, Egbert Castillo; Inspector, Daniel Iche; Sergeant, Santiago Patt; Sergeant ,Salmon Westby; Sergeant, Evan Lino; and Corporal, Lillian Lopez.

Belize City Council shows love for city residents at BTL Park’s 2nd anniversary
The new and improved BTL Park was rocking on Friday, February 12, for the 2nd anniversary of its opening. The upgraded social space opened on Valentines Day 2014 with a Duane Stephenson concert that was free to the public. The Council has since maintained a schedule of weekend events at the park and other public venues in an effort to encourage city residents to get out and access the facilities. This initiative has resulted in a revitalization of the city as families are once again establishing weekend traditions; community groups are going on outings right here in the city, and new friendships are being formed between individuals from various corners of the city. The BTL Park is now a central venue where the melting pot that is Belize is fully on display. It is for this reason, among many others, that the Belize City Council sees it fit to celebrate wholeheartedly the 2nd Anniversary of the New BTL Park. The star attraction for the celebration on Friday was Jamaican reggae and dancehall artist “Gyptian”. Over three thousand residents made it out to the park for the concert. Most of them were dressed in red on the occasion of Valentine’s Day and many were with their significant other. The entertainment was perfectly selected for the theme of the night, an old fashion love fest at the BTL Park.

Dr. Bernard Bulwer’s strong words for Jack Charles
It is very rare when members of the medical fraternity make public comments about their views on social disputes. However, Jack Charles’ rice war seems to be pushing everyone’s buttons and now one of Belize’s most respected medical experts has weighed in. In a post on his personal Facebook account dated February 15, 2016, Dr. Bernard Bulwer had some very strong words to the Belizean public about Jack Charles. In the post titled “OPEN LETTER TO MR. BELIZEAN RICE AFLATOXIN EXPERT”, Bulwer writes, “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… The scientific and public health evidence is clear. Highly-processed foods and sweetened drinks, with their toxic trans-fats, artificial additives, and excess sugar are direct causes of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. These are the number 1 food-related killers in Belize.”

New ambulance and more working hours at Benque Viejo Polyclinic
Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin on Tuesday February 16 officially handed over the keys for a brand new ambulance for use at the Benque Viejo Polyclinic. The ambulance was handed over to Hon. Erwin Contreras, Area Representative for Cayo West and Mayor Heraldo Ramcharan. The ceremony was also used to officially launch new opening hours for the policlinic which will extend its opening hours from 8 hours a day to 12 hours during the week. It will also now be opening on Saturdays from 8a.m. until 1p.m. According to Mayor Ramcharan, the addition of the ambulance and opening hours is very much welcomed in the town as it will better serve those in need of medical attention.

One of the blessings that Jesus pronounced during his teaching on the mountainside in Galilee has often been misunderstood. In Matthew chapter 5, verse 5, we read; "Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth." Many people when they hear the word "meek" associate it with being weak or ineffective. However, the true definition of meekness is an attitude of humility towards God, and gentleness towards people. If someone has done wrong or offended us, then we are to deal with that person gently. There is no need to be aggressive. There is strength of character in remaining calm. The apostle Paul describes the character of good leaders in Galatians 5:22 & 23, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." These are the attributes we strive for. If we are meek, willing to suffer opposition for standing up for what is right and honorable, then we will "inherit the earth."

Retrial in BDF rape case due to prejudiced juror
A female soldier of the Belize Defense Force reported to authorithies that after a function at the Price Barracks Compound on the night of March 25, 2011, Lieutenant Ruhesi Elijio went to her room and forcibly had sex with her against her will. There was no witness to the crime so it is a case of her words against his. Elijio has been on interdiction since the allegations surfaced and the trial finally started almost five years later on Monday, February 15, 2016. However, the case came to a sudden hault on Wednesday, after the Jury Forelady informed the court that the jury was compromised. She explained to Justice Traodio Gonzalez that during the victim’s testimony on Monday a male juror leaned over and said, “I know she deh tell lies.” This kind of statement from a member of the jury selected to hear both sides of a case without prejudice could not be ignored by the court. Justice Gonzalez said the juror had formed his own opinion of the victim before she could conclude her testimony. Because of this, Justice Gonzalez discharged with nine member jury of six men and three women and ordered a retrial for the April session of the Supreme Court.

Four men on remand for gun found in a vehicle
Leith Bermudez, 21, Deshane Mena, 29, Anthony Robinson, 29, and Richard Flores, 38, are at the Belize Central prison on remand after they were found inside a vehicle with a firearm on Tuesday night. At around 8:25 p.m. on Tuesday, February 16, police intercepted a vehicle at the corner of Flamboyant and Mahogany Street with the four men inside. A search of the vehicle led to the discovery of a chrome .38 Smith and Wesson revolver with a wooden grip and five live rounds of .38 special S&B ammunition under a seat. All four men were arrested and charged with keeping a firearm and ammunition without a gun license. The men appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith on Wednesday, February 17. Robinson pleaded guilty to the charges expecting that the others would be released. However Prosecutor Christopher Smith told the court that the DPP would not withdraw the charges from the other men. With that, Robinson changed his guilty plea to not guilty and all four men were remanded to the Belize Central Prison until April 18, 2016. The Chief Magistrate ordered that disclosure be given to the men by that date and set trial for May 11, 2016.

Joseph Lopez charged for attempted murder of teenager
Police say that Joseph Lopez, 20, is the man who tried to kill 17-year-old Tyrone Reyes on Friday night, February 12. Reyes was shot sometime around 8:05 on Friday night. He was walking on Boots Crescent, next to St. John Vianney Primary School, from the direction of Fabers Road and just as he was turning into Rivero Street Extension a man approached him from behind and fired several shots. Police in the area responded to the sound of gunshots and met Reyes lying on the street side with one gunshot wound to his upper back. He was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial for medical assistance. Reyes was admitted into ward and is listed as being in a stable condition. Quick police response led to an arrest shortly after the incident. Police arrested and charged Joseph Lopez with “Attempted Murder, Dangerous Harm and Use of Deadly Means of Harm”. Lopez was unrepresented when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser on Monday, February 15. No plea was taken from him since the charges are indictable offenses. Bail could not be granted either and Lopez was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until his next court appearance on April 4.

Busted with weed and accused of biting a police officer
Tanisha Mckoy, 28, is out on bail after a police officer accused her of biting him while he conducted a search on her for drugs. According to Police Constable Cruz Garcia, while conducting a search on Mckoy on Thursday, February 11, she bit him on the finger. This did not hinder the officer; however, from finding marijuana in her possession. Mckoy was arrested and charged with drug possession and wounding. Mckoy appeared in court before Magistrate Deborah Rogers on Friday, February 12. She pleaded not guilty to two criminal charges: possession of a controlled drug and wounding a police officer. She was unrepresented in court and there was no objection to bail by Prosecutor Kennard Clark. With that, Magistrate Rogers offered her bail in the sum of $800 plus one surety of the same amount which she met.

Patient steals from her doctor at KHMH
The mother of a new born baby boy is on remand at the Belize Central Prison after she was accused of theft by her doctor. Dr. Martha Habet reported to police that while working in the Emergency Room of the Karl Heusner Memorial on Wednesday, February, 10, she left her purse in the staff room and when she returned from duties her wallet was missing from the purse. A quick investigation was launched by hospital security officials who reviewed the surveillance camera. The footage showed Margarita Pech Noralez, 35, taking the wallet out of the purse. Noralez was apprehended by hospital officials and later handed over to police. On Monday, February 15, Noralez appeared in the Magistrates Court to answer to a single charge of theft. She explained to Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser that she went to the Karl Heusner Memorial to have stitches removed from a surgery that was recently conducted. When she was asked what she did with the doctor’s wallet, which has not yet been recovered by the police, she refused to answer the magistrate. When the charge was read, she pleaded not guilty.

Belize to host CADICA Championship on Saturday
The Belize Athletics Association informs the general public that the Association will be hosting the 10th Central American Cross Country Championship in Athletics. The championship is being sponsored by the Central American Track and Field Organisation (CADICA). The championship is scheduled for Saturday 20th February, 2016, at the Roaring River Golf Course in Roaring Creek Village, Cayo District. It is anticipated that the championship will bring together some 125 cross country athletes and officials from all seven Central American countries. The championship will commence at 8:00 am with the 10Km run for both female and male runners in the Open Category. This will be followed at 9:00 am with the 8Km run in the U-20 male category and this will be followed by the 6Km run in the U-20 female category.

Police United maintains lead in Premier League Closing Season
The Premier League of Belize Closing Season 2016 continued over the last weekend with three games on the schedule. On Sunday 14 February, at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, the defending national football champions of Belize, Police United continued on its winning path when it edged out the visiting Placencia Assassins FC by the score of 4-3. The host team was able to get onto the scoreboard first when Kenroy Arthurs scored the 1st goal of the game in the 13th minute of play to give his team a 1-0 lead. The lead was further extended when Byron Usher scored his team’s 2nd goal of the game in the 33rd minute of play for a 2-0 lead. Devon Makin then made it a 3-0 lead when he scored his team’s 3rd goal of the game in the 40th minute of play. The Placencia Assassins FC did not go down quietly and created a stir when Ashley Torres scored his team’s 1st goal of the game in the 41st minute of play to cut the deficit to 2 goals. Luis Torres then made it a 3-2 game when he was able to convert a penalty into a goal in the 43rd minute of play.

St. John’s College to host National High School Football championship
The National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA) will be playing host to the National High Schools Football Championship at the MCC Grounds on Friday 19 February, 2016, and on Saturday 20 February. This year’s championship will be hosted by St. John’s College. The schools that have earned the right to represent their respective zones are from the Northern Region (female) Corozal Community College and in (male) San Pedro High School. From the Central Region (female) St. Catherine Academy and in (male) Anglican Cathedral College. From the Western Region in (female) Belmopan Comprehensive School and in (male) Sacred Heart College and from the Southern Region (female) Independence High School and in (male) Julian Cho Technical High School.

St. Catherine Academy and Anglican Cathedral College won Central Region High Schools Football competition
The 2015-2016 Central Region Secondary Schools Football Competition came to an end on Wednesday 10 February, 2016, at the MCC Grounds with the second and final game played in both the female and male categories. In the female championship game, St. Catherine Academy waltzed through the competition with a perfect record when it blanked Gwen Lizarraga High School by the score of 1-0 to capture the championship. The only goal of the game was scored by Gabriella Mendoza. Meanwhile, in the male championship, Anglican Cathedral College upset the previously unbeaten Wesley College when it defeated them by the score of 1-0 in regulation time. In the first game of the championship series, Wesley College had defeated Anglican Cathedral College by the score of 2-1. At the end of the second and final game in the series, the aggregate score was 2-2.

Wesley College girls lead in high school softball competition
The Central Region Secondary Schools Softball Competition continues at Rogers Stadium in both the female and male categories. On Tuesday 16 February, in the male competition played, St. John’s College defeated Wesley College by the score of 10-8. The winning pitcher was Alwayne Hendy and the losing pitcher was Alonzo Terry. On Saturday 13 February, in the female game played, Wesley College continued on its winning path when it defeated Gwen Lizarraga High School by the score of 16-1. The winning pitcher was Shania Pook and the losing pitcher was Semaya Usher. In the male game played, Gwen Lizarraga High School defeated St. John’s College by the score of 9-3. The winning pitcher was Devonte Middleton and the losing pitcher was Alwayne Hendy.

Re: Today's Belize News: February 20, 2016 [Re: Marty] #511767
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The Reporter

Eamon Courtney and Assad Shoman talk about territorial claim and what GOB should do
Facilitators of Friday’s Bar Association workshop, Assad Shoman and Eamon Courtney gave their perspectives on the direction our territorial dispute with Guatemala should take and warn that the claim could be heading for the worst. Speaking on the issue, Shoman said that, on a whole […]

Bar Association holds workshop on Belize Territorial Issue
The Bar Association of Belize held a workshop discussing issues related to the Belize Territorial Claim at the Biltmore Plaza, Belize City on Friday. Jacqueline Marshalleck, president of the Bar Association, said that as the Guatemalan Claim has a diplomatic aspect, it also has a legal aspect […]

Japan invests more in Belize’s cotton industry
Belize’s budding Sea Island Cotton industry, as it is known, has received additional assistance from the Government of Japan. On Tuesday, Japan handed over two tractors worth $205,000 to ICA Belize, a local cotton growing company owned by Japanese-belizean businessman Kensuke Inoue, under the aegis of the […]

Department of Local Government and Belize Mayor’s Association conduct training
The Department of Local Government and the Belize Mayor’s Association conducted a training session this week in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye with the aim of improving managerial work at municipal councils. The training was specifically aimed at enhancing the municipal accounts management capacity system at […]

BIL reconfigures and takes new direction in 2016
The Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL) is increasing its role in 2016, exploring engagement in different types of infrastructural developments apart from sporting facilities, which were its primary focus. Commissioned in 2012 to act as the executing agency on behalf of the government, BIL’s role and […]

Santander sugar company to begin operations in March, says CFO Ayau
After four years of due diligence, followed by construction and planting of sugarcane, the mill at the Santander Sugar Company in Valley of Peace, Cayo, will begin to crush cane as early as March, Santander Chief Financial Officer, Andres Ayau said. This will be a […]

Belize City’s Strike Team
The operational arm of southside Belize City, the police strike team established by Eastern Division South Commander, Senior Superintendent Chester Williams, recently became fully functional. The team is tasked with carrying out operations in various sections of the city to prevent crime and violence. Created […]

Cinderalla Plaza Will Be Fixed – Someday!
Residents and users of the Cinderella Plaza area, including its intersections with Kelly Street and Baymen Avenue, have complained about the condition of the area for months. Who dropped the ball when it comes to repairing the mess left behind from the Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project (FMIP) is debated by […]

Mother of drowned teen questions circumstances of son’s death
The mother of Tomari Jackson, the 14-year-old American who drowned in Belize on Saturday, is questioning the circumstances of the boy’s death. “Why wasn’t he missed until later, until after the fact?” Adell Forbes asked as she spoke with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The single mother […]

CitCo prepares for Zika
The Belize City Council this week held a sensitization workshop for its staff on the Zika virus, and the council’s role in the national response. CitCo held the workshop on Wednesday at City Hall, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. Dr. Javier Zuniga, primary […]

Waitress murdered in San Pedro
San Pedro police are investigating the country’s 20th murder, which occurred on Tuesday in the Boca del Rio area of that town and claimed the life of a Honduran bar waitress. Officer Commanding the San Pedro police station, Inspector Henry Jemmott told the Reporter that […]

Deadly Valentine weekend leaves 5 hospitalized
Police are investigating four shooting incidents that happened in Belize City and Hattieville over the Valentine weekend. On February 11, around 9:00 p.m. a 19-year-old Sandhill resident reported that a person he knows from the same village came out from nearby bushes and opened fire […]

Elderly man stabbed to death in PG
A retired US citizen was stabbed at his house in Punta Gorda on Saturday night and died on Sunday night while receiving treatment at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in Belize City. Officer Commanding the PG police formation, Superintendent Simeon Alvarez told the Reporter […]

American student drowns in Sibun 2 days before 15th birthday
Tomari Elijah Jackson, a high school student from Atlanta, Georgia USA, arrived in Belize on Saturday as part of a missionary group program and drowned the same day in the Sibun River – two days before his 15th birthday. The group of 32 students had […]

GOB’s next step
The future of the Belizean economy is anyone’s guess and all indications are that it is not performing successfully. The departure of First Caribbean was the writing on the wall that all is not as well as the government would want us to believe. Then came Fruta Bomba – one […]

Zipline coming to Belize City
A company investing in Belize City is making use of the unused waterfront available to the city by creating a zip-line that will attract tourists, Mayor Darrell Bradley told the Reporter. Bradley said although people in the city tend to associate water with environmental damage like hurricanes and flooding, this […]

Belizean consumers were reassured and comforted this week to hear from an eminent nutrition expert that there is nothing wrong or harmful with rice produced in Belize. Indian businessman, Mr. Jitendra Chawla, also known as Jack Charles, has been making noises in the press to say that his private investigation […]

Power struggle at FFB; President says he received death threats!
Despite all odds, Ruperto Vicente remains President of the Football Federation of Belize (FFB), after a takeover attempt by fellow executive members on Thursday. Those members made a move to suspend him from the Board and Vicente has received death threats, which he claims are related to dethroning tactics. A […]

KHMH negligence leads to amputation, says mother
Helen Conyers, the mother of two-year-old Ireland Conyers, who was recently admitted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), claims the child developed a medical complication due to negligence at the hospital, which now requires the amputation of two toes. Conyers said baby Ireland suffers […]

CARICOM heads meet in Belize
The beachfront Ocean Club on the Placencia peninsula was the venue of the 27th Intersessional Caricom Heads of Government Summit earlier this week. Regional leaders convened to discuss issues of great significance to member countries, but more than discussion, it was dubbed as an action session to formulate a structured […]

GOB to decriminalize marijuana
After years of research and consultation, the Government of Belize is preparing to amend the laws of Belize to decriminalize marijuana. Cabinet has handed recommendations made by the Decriminalization of Marijuana Committee, over to the office of the Attorney General for the legislative amendments to […]

Canadian government to host media law workshop in the Caribbean
The Canadian Government is gathering media personnel from across the Caribbean region to attend a media law workshop in Barbados next week. Themed “Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean”, (IMPACT Justice) is a regional justice sector reform project implemented from within the Caribbean Law Institute Center, Cavehill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI). Topics to be discussed aim at addressing the rights of the media, the role of the media in educating the public about their rights and the media’s duty to act responsibly. The opening ceremony will see Senior Director to the Caribbean Regional Programme and Director for Canada to the Caribbean Development Bank, Gail Miller deliver remarks on behalf of the Canadian government.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

New Coconut Project to be implemented in Belize
A workshop scheduled for Thursday, February 25th, will be conducted by scientists from the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), as part of the “Coconut Industry Development for the Caribbean” project which is being funded by the European Union and targeting coconut stakeholders […]

Regional leaders advance agenda at CARICOM meeting
The 27th Intersessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government was a chance for the region’s leaders to make an impact on ongoing regional problems. And, in just a day and a half on the Placencia Peninsula, they believe they managed to get a lot […]

Health Ministry continues to fight dengue and Chik-V
Zika occupies the headlines at the moment. But it was only last year that chikungunya or Chik-V dominated the headlines, while, dengue, an old enemy, is still hanging around. According to the Ministry of Health, surveillance for Zika also takes into account the presence […]

BTL workers demonstrate?
Employees of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) who are also members of the Belize Communication Workers Union (BCWU) were seen meeting at company headquarters on St. Thomas Street, Belize City. We were informed that the meeting which took place during lunch break, was a form […]

Belize’s biggest adventure race kicks off tomorrow
Belize’s biggest adventure race, the Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge, is set to begin tomorrow! This year’s epic competition will include a total of 52 participants and is the second time the race is being held in Belize. Set in the Maya mountains in the lush tropical […]

Brooks Tropicals fires 123 more people as operations close
Brooks Tropicals, which had announced its intention to close operations in the country last week, intends to lay off 123 more employees by the end of the day, according to a release from the Ministry of Labor. The ministry further indicated that it is working […]

Relatively moist Northeasterly airflow prevails
The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting cloudy skies at times with a few showers mostly in the South. Winds will be blowing from the Northeast at 10-20 knots with higher gusts and the sea state will be moderate, becoming locally rough at […]

Fruta Bomba lay-offs begin
Brook’s Tropicals, which is the parent company for Fruta Bomba & Belize Food Packers Ltd., has informed the Ministry of Labor of its intention to close its growing and packaging operations in Belize, over the next six (6) months. Today, February 19 the Company intends […]


Hanging out with the not-so-old man and the sea
(Today we publish our first guest posting, From Jeff Drew, an American who spends a few months a year on Ambergris Caye with his wife, Kathy. Recently Jeff had the opportunity to spend the day with a local fisherman, the amazing Jose (Salva to some) who paddles out to the reef every day. This is their story.) Imagine being invited by Ted Williams to take batting practice with him, complete with tips on the science of hitting. Or a shoot-around with Larry Bird in his prime. Perhaps an offer to learn stick handling from Wayne Gretzky (gratuitous reference for my Canadian friends and wife). Anyhow, that’s the opportunity I had a few weeks ago when a mythological spear fisher invited me to share a kayak with him for a day of spearing, gaffing, and conch gathering. What he’s been doing nearly every day for over 40 years to make a living. My mentor, Salva to some … Jose to others, is amazing to watch. Not an ounce of fat on his 56-year-old frame and endless energy. We launched at 9 a.m. and returned just before sunset. Paddled from the old Palapa Bar location almost to Mexico rocks. Salva practically knows every coral head by name. He pointed out that he knows which ones hold lobsters — and those are the only ones he checks. He constantly slid out of, and back into, the kayak as we paddled north. When I crawl back aboard, it’s an adventure. He does it quickly and effortlessly.

Foodie Friday – Chaa Creek Pizza 101!
The Lodge at Chaa Creek has great food, really good stuff out here, everything is fresh and organic, but every now and again you just want pizza. Pizza is probably one of the best things to come out of Italy and to find one of the best things in Belize that can be just as good is even better. There is an excellent security-turned-maintenance personnel by the name of Elvis, who besides being great at making sure everything is working fine, is an expert pizza maker (quite an interesting repertoire). Low and behold, Elvis being the modest man he is, didn’t really advertise his pizza mastery to us until recently. He confessed to have been thought by an Italian master pizza maker at a famed Placencia resort where he learned everything about the trade (including pizza tossing!). We asked Elvis if he could show us some of his techniques, and show the other members of the kitchen staff the ways of the force… I mean pizza toss. Elvis agreed to share his skills, so the kitchen staff eager to up their game gathered around notebooks in hand ready to jot down pointers. Elvis took it from the top and made the dough with its base ingredients, he used his own recipe which included olive oil, yeast, salt, and of course flour, and he added water at intervals along the kneading process. After this process was complete, he rolled the dough up and placed it for about an hour to get the dough to rise and get it ready to throw.

8 Great Apps for Travelers
Did you know that travelers who take more than 20 round trips a year tend to have and use more travel apps, downloading more than four and using nearly three on average? For those of you who travel a lot, finding just the right travel apps for your destination is sometimes a lengthy but worthwhile task; making your travel experience as easy as possible. Whether you’re an Android or Apple user, we’ve assembled a list of 8 free apps to download that are perfect for any traveller and guess what, all of them can be used in Belize! Flipagram, Google Maps, Google Translate, Instagram, Snapseed, TripAdvisor, WhatsApp, 94%.

International Sourcesizz

Communique issued at the conclusion of the Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), held in Placencia, Belize on 16-17 February 2016
The Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was held at Placencia, Belize on 16-17 February 2016. The Prime Minister of Belize, the Honourable Dean Barrow, chaired the proceedings. Other members of the Conference in attendance were: the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Honourable Gaston Browne; the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt. Honourable Freundel Stuart; the Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. the Rt. Honourable Keith Mitchell; the President of Guyana, His Excellency Brigadier (ret’d) David Granger; the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris; and the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley. The Bahamas was represented by the Honourable Frederick Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, the Commonwealth of Dominica was represented by Senator the Honourable Francine Baron, Minister of Foreign Affairs and CARICOM Affairs; Haiti was represented by Ambassador Guy Lamothe. Jamaica was represented by Senator the Honourable A.J. Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Saint Lucia was represented by the Honourable Alva Baptiste, Minister of External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation; St. Vincent and the Grenadines was represented by the Honourable Camillo Gonsalves, Minister of Economic Planning and Sustainable Development; Suriname was represented by the Vice-President, His Excellency Ashwin Adhin.

February San Pedro Belize Red Cross fundraisers, lots of photos!
January 29th was the last Friday of the month so the proceeds from the weekly trivia game at Crazy Canucks Beach Bar ($150.00) was donated to Red Cross. January 30 was the date of the latest Blood Drive. Although the number of units was lower than hoped, (due mostly due to another huge event going on that day) every pint helps and is very much appreciated. The youth volunteers did a great job raising another $300 with the dollar drive. February 1 marked the day when the San Pedro Branch received a donation of 4 CPR Manikins. The Branch Coordinator was more than happy go up to Cocotal to accept them. They are so grateful to Sheri Dillon from Kalamazoo Michigan, for her most gracious gift. Kelly McGuire's final concert for the San Pedro Branch of the Belize Red Cross was held February 8 at the Island Time Bar and Grill. The first was at the The Dive Bar, then Captain Morgan’s. The San Pedro Branch thanks all three locations for hosting Kelly’s concerts and for allowing them to raise funds.

Caldwell University students serve in Belize
Seven Caldwell University students spent part of their winter break serving in remote villages in southern Belize, Central America. They helped repair schools and churches in the town of Punta Gorda and in the Mayan villages of Dolores, Santa Cruz and Pueblo Viejo. Katlyn Houtz, a junior and an education and psychology major, said highlights for her were working in the school in Dolores where they assembled the framing for dividing walls for classrooms and having the opportunity to get to know the principal. “I loved her story,” said Houtz, explaining that the principal grew up in a village and was very good at mechanics and engineering but her father wanted her to become a teacher. She was able to attend high school and college, which is not the norm for females. Now that principal is focused on making education more readily available to girls. Professor Thomson Ling, associate professor of sociology and counseling, was one of the chaperones. He was happy they could help build basic things to improve people’s lives. “On the first day, we constructed steps that would allow children at the school to reach the dumpster when throwing out classroom trash,” Ling said. They also helped with building the walls to divide the one-room building into separate classrooms. “I can’t imagine what it was like to learn in an open space where there are several other classes and teachers all trying to run classes at the same time,” Ling said.

ZIKA VIRUS: Travelers sticking with travel plans
A dozen Inland divers are almost ready to pack their bags and scuba gear for Roatán. To their relief, the tropical island off Honduras – famous for its spectacular coral reef diving and nearby whale sharks – isn’t known as a Zika virus hotspot. From divers preparing for Caribbean scuba trips to honeymooners planning a Belize adventure, Zika is on Inland travelers’ minds. Yet that doesn’t mean they’re cancelling their plans. Dive instructor-trainer Tony Wiley, owner of Wiley’s SCUBA Locker in Riverside, said the divers he’s leading on two trips to the Central American island in late April and early May want the trips to go ahead as planned. They’re all seasoned explorers who have traveled with the former U.S. Navy diver to other exotic dive spots. “None of my customers hesitated one second,” Wiley said. “When you’re going to a Third World country, you’re subject to dengue and Montezuma’s revenge and any number of things.”

218 years since the Garifuna were removed from their homeland but injustices continue
In March 1797, after our people lost the war to the British Crown and surrendered, about 5,000 of our people were rounded up, unlawfully imprisoned on the isolated island of Balliceaux, tortured, killed and those who survived subsequently forcefully removed to the distant island of Roatan, now a part of the Bay Islands in Honduras. They landed there on April 12 of that same year but were not happy with the conditions on the island. The soil was not fertile for them to grow their food and the lack of enough water was a major concern of theirs. Immediately, some of the Garifuna leaders were looking for other places to migrate. Discussions between the British and the Spanish Crown, led to some of our Garifuna people being given permission to migrate to Trujillo and other coastal areas. However, during that transition most of their names were changed from native and French names to Spanish names, which a majority of them have up to this day. There are a few Garifuna original names remaining such as Parchue, Elijio, Sabio, Avaloy, Sambola, Chatoyer, Satulle, Franzua, etc.

Happy 106th birthday to Hibs’ oldest fan Sam Martinez
Sam Martinez, the well known Edinburgh pensioner and fanatical Hibs; fan who was born in 1910, when no women and only some men had the right to vote in Scotland has celebrated his 106th birthday this week. To mark the occasion in style, Sam Martinez and his family were invited to a special lunch held in his honour by The Merchant Company, Scotland’s pre-eminent livery company. Pat Denzler, Master of the Merchant Company, welcomed Sam to The Merchants’ Hall where he was presented with a birthday cake, given a special lunch and talked to some of the Members about events in his life. While the Suffragettes were calling for votes for women in Scotland in 1910, Sam was born far away in Belize, one of eleven children in his family. In 1941, he was one of more than 800 men who travelled by ship from Belize, during World War ll, to Scotland where he worked as a forester. After the War ended, Sam decided to stay in Scotland where he raised a family and became an ardent Hibs supporter.


  • Howard University Gospel Choir, 4min. Last night the Howard University Gospel Choir performed at Ambassador Moreno's Residence for the Governor General and others. The Belchoral Children's Choir joined them for their final song, "Oh Happy Day." It was beautiful...

  • Mangroves: Where the Land and Sea Intertwine: Connecting the Ecosystems of Belize, 84min. Join Smithsonian scientists and explore coastal ecosystems in Central America, along the coast of Belize. Here thousands of small islands, called cays (pronounced keys) lie in the lagoon between the mainland and barrier reef. Mangrove forests dominate this coastal zone, along with sea grass beds and coral reefs. Discover how these three ecosystems are inextricably linked, and how the distribution of mangroves parallels the distribution of coral reefs worldwide.

  • Scuba diving Turneffe Atoll and Ambergris Caye, Belize, 2.5min. Videos never never quite do the experience justice, but here's a quick look at my last few dives in Belize. The Turneffe and Ambergris Caye areas are incredible, healthy and full of life. Much love to Walter and Ilya from Belize Diving services for being my amazing guides 3 years in a row. Max depth 80ft. February 2016.

  • Beltraide, OCO Global, and the Commonwealth Secretariat on the Belize Outsourcing Service Provider S, 34min.

  • Brad and Rene Coco Plum Caye Belize 2016, 18min. Coco Plum Island Resort, Belize.

  • Belize Audobon Society Who We Are Feb 19 2016, 3min.

  • No se necesitan instrumentos caros para sacar musica, 4min. There is no need for expensive instruments to make music..

  • Heavy roadworks happening on Middle Street, Caye Caulker, 1min.

  • The first edition of Belmopan Weekly for 2016!, 26min. Belmopan Weekly is BACK! We kickoff with a recap of this week's CARICOM Intersessional!

  • Chocolate Making in Belize, 1min. Making chocolate at IXCACAO Maya Belizean Chocolate, grinding the beans by hand. San Felipe

  • Kelly McGuire at The Palapa Bar in San Pedro Ambergris Caye Belize Drone video by Rus Records 2016, 3min. Kelly McGuire at the Palapa Bar in San Pedro Ambergris Caye Belize singing Boat in Belize, Drone video by Rus Records with owners of the Palapa Bar Scott and Jodie Harnish Feb 2016

  • Belize Caye Caulker Caveman Schnorchel-Tour, 3.5min. Meine Schnorchel-Tour am Belize Barrier Reef mit Caveman Tours. 6 Stunden Tagestrip mit dem Boot von der kleinen Karibikinsel Caye Caulker aus. Schnorcheln mit Ammenhaien (Nurse Sharks), Stechrochen (Sting Rays) und Meereschildkröten.

  • San Pedro Belize Express EASTER 2015 AD, 1min.

  • The Birds of Belize - Complete DVD - Version 11, 56min. This is the complete DVD, The Birds of Belize, Version 11, with 315 species included. This video includes the Introduction, Main Body and Credits/Locations. All proceeds from the sale of the DVD go to Belize NGOs and for education in Belize. The DVD is available from eBay for shipment to the US only. It is also available at many locations in Belize.

  • Links
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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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