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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
YJ Deli still operating on public land
YJ Deli located at the corner of Black Coral and Angel Coral Street has apparently been allowed to operate on prime public land for free for well over three years now. Despite the many articles published by The San Pedro Sun, and to much public concern, the local municipality has allowed the owners to operate their for-profit business without paying rent. However, the days of free rent seem to soon be coming to an end as The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) is preparing to implement a plan of action. It is known that SPTC issued a letter of notice to the proprietors of the Deli to vacate the area by June 14, 2014. Nearly two years later, the Deli remains at the same location. Mayor Daniel Guerrero was questioned about the matter, and according to him he wants the Deli to move. “The plan is to move the Deli and start putting food booths, the proprietors have already been informed of the removal and the plan that we have and they have agreed. So when it happens, they will need to start paying a rental fee, to use the area,” said Guerrero. He emphasized that the building will be moved and be replaced with a food stand which the current proprietors of the Deli can rent.
Teacher Education – Ministry of Education Setting High Standards
o be a teacher is to undertake a phenomenal profession, which should be taken with pride, dignity and most importantly responsibility. The education of a nation demands that educators are equipped with the necessary pedagogies, methodologies, skills, knowledge and attitude to be an effective teacher. These, however; can only be attained through formal education where teachers are exposed to receiving the theoretical and practical forms of educational development. In the earlier days of schooling in Belize, the demand for teacher training was not as rigid as now. In those days, children were not exposed to the internet and other forms of technological media and gadgets which transcend and transfigure the cognitive, psychomotor and affective domains of an individual. It is therefore; imperative that teachers keep abreast with the 21st Century movement of technological awareness, and the many demands that challenge our education system today. It has then become necessary and important that proper training of our teachers and educators be done to meet the standards of a growing, dynamic, and evolutionary nation.
Five-a-side Football action continues
The San Pedro High School (SPHS) and Island Citizen Sporting Club (ICSP) Five-a-side Football Tournament continues its football action. Now in its eighth week, the tournament is reaching it’s midway mark. The most recent matches were played on Saturday, February 13th and Sunday, February 14th at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium. Game 1: Bayern Leverkusen 2 – 2 Bayern Munich B; Game 2: El Pescadro 3 – 4 Bayern Munich A; Game 3: Victoria House FC 1 – 0 Caye Caulker Boys (by default); Game 4: Boca Bomber 2 – 2 Boca Jrs.; Game 5: Scorpions FC 8 – 3 Reef Sharks; Game 6:United FC 2 – 2 Island Pure. No matches will be played this coming weekend. Five-a-side action returns on Saturday, February 27th.
SPTC and Ministry of Health unite for a Zika free San Pedro
ith the recent Zika situation in the region, The San Pedro Town Council in conjunction with the Ministry of Health has embarked on a proactive approach to ensure that our island, as well as the entire country of Belize, remains Zika free.
This plan of action is in accordance with the national plan of action that the Ministry of Health has embarked on. The San Pedro Town Council and the Ministry of Health are therefore encouraging all islanders to do their part to prevent all forms of mosquito-borne diseases and keep our environment and island clean.
* Get rid of all water catchment that can be possible mosquito breeding sites; such as tires: old cans, coconut shells, old refrigerators, drums and soda caps.
* Keep your yard and surrounding properties clean and free of garbage.
Coffee break on the Beach
Can't beat this view
Misc Belizean Sources
Beach cleanup at the Phoenix
Small but mighty beach clean up crew this morning. Phoenix staff members Abel and Eymar represented as usual. Big thanks for their constant support. We'll be back next Saturday, 8am, in front of The Phoenix, to get our beach clean up on.
It is about participating, Congratulations to our Corozal Community College female Football Team.
CCC's female football team wins second place at Nationals!! Congrats!!! You have made us proud!
New Manatee Pool at Wildtracks
Wildtracks Update: The new Manatee Pool construction continues - the pool is now taking shape, with all soil removal being completed by either the end of this afternoon, or more likely on Monday morning. The pool will be 35 ft long, 15ft wide and 6 ft deep - an urgently needed addition to the Wildtracks facilities. A huge thank you to the Wildtracks crew, with their shovels, pick axes and wheel barrows - we really appreciate you!!
We're 86% of the way there for being able to complete the new manatee pool - but still have 14% to go...please donate if you are able to... we really appreciate the support... http://igg.me/at/9bx4qCOTJ38
MMAC 2016 Begins
The Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge started to day, from Cahal Pech. A run to Benque, canoe to Xunantunich, climb El Castillo, and then canoe to Branch Mouth, and that's just the first half of today. You can follow the teams here.
Hierba Santa Concert
Hierba Santa and the World Culture Band will be playing a free concert at the Cayo Welcome Center next Friday, starting at 7:30pm. The Mexican Embassy has teamed up with NICH to make this amazing concert happen!
"La Embajada de México en Belice y el National Institute of Culture and History de Belice presentan al grupo mexicano "Hierba Santa" en el marco del Festival Artístico de la Calle, el próximo 26 de febrero en el Welcome Center de San Ignacio, Cayo, y el 27 de febrero en Albert Street de la Ciudad de Belice."
FCD presents its Chiquibul Grisons
Derric Chan (Team Captain), Gina
Lovell, Boris Arevalo and Jose Sierra. All set for adventure challenge 2016
at 10:00 a.m. Cahal Pech. Best to our team!!!
The Howard University Gospel Choir in Belize City
Special patrol North of the island looking out for speeding drivers
San Pedro Transport Department
To my caye caulker peeps .. I had the worst scared today .. Unbelievable but they robbed us at about 4:30 this evening
ever expected such fright ..in the property of Tropical Paradise rest.. Me and my american friend ..No luck in finding the guy .. But be careful he came running up to us from behind and grab and he is still out there so warn everyone.. Police say they are looking .. I saw him well enough so i can identify him .. But no luck yet.. Just warning everyone to be real careful .. Daylight unbelievable.. Sad ..scary
Maya Wedding Re-enactment at Santa Rita site
Phillip Bowen, 22, sentenced to 7 years
After the prosecution closed its case against Phillip Bowen, 22, a Belize City clothes vendor, and Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith gave him the option of making a dock statement or swearing on the Bible and giving evidence in his defense, or just remaining silent, Bowen chose to remain silent. He was then found guilty of all the charges – one count of robbery and two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm against two police constables.
This morning after reviewing the evidence of his case, Smith sentenced Bowen to seven years in prison for the robbery conviction and two years for each count of aggravated assault. The sentences are to run concurrently, and therefore, Bowen, the father of one child, will only serve 7 years in prison.
In his very brief plea for mitigation, Bowen told the court, “I’d like to ask for leniency, as this is my first offence.”
“Leniency for what?” Smith asked the convicted man. “Did you have leniency for Mr. Holder that night?”
Bowen said in a low voice,” It was not me!”
“What, it wasn’t you?” Smith responded. “It was Shaggy?”
DPP to review “powder-puff” sentence for burglary
The offense of burglary carries a minimum prison sentence of 7 years under the most recent amendment to the law, but on Tuesday, Belize City Magistrate Deborah Rogers sentenced a repeat offender to six weeks in prison after he accepted responsibility for a burglary.
Cecil “GI Joe” Franklin, 42, a resident of Pine Street who has previous convictions for crimes of dishonesty, was the recipient of an unusual judicial generosity after he accepted responsibility for a burglary that he allegedly committed on Friday, February 12.
Franklin burglarized the home of James Copious and stole a number of household items valued at $258.
Tanisha Flores, Copious’ girlfriend, reported to police that she was at home when Franklin entered their home as a trespasser and stole the items.
Franklin stole a blue and black wire cutter valued at $60, a green wooden-handled rake valued $14, a black shovel valued at $24 and assorted tools, all to a total value of $258.
DPP to prosecute Santa Cruz villagers
The case of the Santa Cruz villagers who are being prosecuted on allegations that they had assaulted Rupert Myles, of Bella Vista, was called up today before Magistrate Emerson Banner, but the case, which began last year, has still not gotten off the ground.
Latest reports to our newspaper are that the matter, which was being prosecuted by police, will now be prosecuted by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Cheryl-Lynn Vidal.
The case of the Santa Cruz villagers is historic, and it is the first time, at least in the recollection of the DPP, that her office is dealing with a case of this magnitude, having 15 persons accused.
Vidal explained to us why she is the one prosecuting the case. “The first is that the Commissioner [of Police], I am told, gave a directive that the matter was to be heard on indictment. I have never heard of a case of common assault going before a jury,” the DPP said.
The Zika, dengue and Chikungunya trilogy sparks CARICOM/SICA action
With the world’s attention now focused on Zika and its possibly devastating consequences, leaders in both Central America and the Caribbean have been meeting this week to discuss their plans of action for tackling not just this emerging disease—which is suspected to have infected over a million people in the Americas since it began spreading rapidly through the hemisphere last year—but also a reconsolidation of action targeted at a well-known pest – the mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, since it also transmits dengue and Chikungunya, already present across our region.
Six of seven Central American countries and five of fifteen CARICOM countries have confirmed cases of Zika: 50 in Panama, 66 in Nicaragua, 105 in Guatemala, 10 in the Dominican Republic, 7 in Barbados, 6 in Suriname, and 5 in Haiti, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which states that there has been Zika transmission reported across 28 territories in the Americas.
CARICOM “ramps up” fight for banks being cut off by US
Countries across the Caribbean are being impacted by the decision by foreign banks, primarily US banks, to cut their ties with indigenous banks in our region amid fear that they could face sanctions from their metropolitan authorities if tainted money passes through their banks. Belize has been grappling with the impacts of what has been called “de-risking” for years now, but the matter came into the public spotlight in 2015 when Belize Bank was cut off by Bank of America, a well-known US bank. The small Caribbean island of Montserrat has only two banks, and one of them finds itself in the same boat.
In 2015 key players in the region stepped up their search for answers, and at their meeting held in Belize this week Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) decided that they would do everything they can to resolve the region-wide problem which threatens to cripple their economies.
CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, told Amandala that the technical people had been working to address the problem long before the meeting in Placencia, Belize. The milestone reached this week means that CARICOM has “ramped up its action on the political front,” and meetings with officials in the US could begin within the next month or two.
Laws in the works for marijuana decriminalization
Laws for the decriminalization of marijuana, for possession of up to 10 grams, are in the works. Amandala is reliably informed that after Cabinet gave its nod for the legal drafting, the Attorney General’s Ministry began working on amendments to the Criminal Code which would remove criminal penalties in the event that persons are found with marijuana within what would become the new limit.
Of note, though, is that Government is not moving to legalize marijuana use. Persons found with small quantities of marijuana would instead receive a fine through a sort of ticketing system. It is only in the event that the person fails to pay the fine that he or she would face incarceration.
Former National Security Minister Doug Singh, who was integrally involved in preparing a white paper which has been reviewed twice by Cabinet, told Amandala that Cabinet had approved the recommendations which were unveiled to the press last year. Since the November elections, new members were added to Cabinet, and they were recently presented with the white paper.
“Disheartened” and “disappointed” in FFB President
There have been numerous reports in local football circles about members of the football family feeling let down by the current FFB administration, which replaced the unpopular Bertie Chimilio leadership back in March, 2012, declaring that it represented “a breath of fresh air” to football.
Not all promises of the new FFB leadership have been kept; understandably, since it was left with an empty bank account by the outgoing executive. In fact, there have been many complaints, starting with the lack of accountability with the moneys raised from an enthusiastic public towards Belize’s participation in the CONCACAF Gold Cup back in 2013.
Nobody is perfect, but what has really created open wounds for sincere football people is the current state of affairs regarding the election process for district association executives, the first step towards the FFB executive elections sometime in late March or early April of this year.
One such terribly “disheartened” and “disappointed” football family member is former semipro player, Karl “Bullu” Tillett, who played during the 1990’s and early 2000’s with teams like Santels, Sagitun and San Pedro FC, before migrating to Houston, Texas, where he earned a degree in education and is presently a teacher at Raven High School.
I question the legality of FFB recent actions towards the PLB!
(Ed. Note: Addressed to his fellow Premier League of Belize (PLB) members, the writer agreed to share his emailed thoughts with other members of the football family. With the recent turbulence inside the FFB, we thought it relevant to document the course of events.)
BELIZE CITY, Tue. Feb. 16, 2016–Gentlemen, I question not only the legality but the ethical standards of the FFB’s actions towards the PLB.
The Premiere League of Belize (PLB), as a private organization and an affiliate member of the FFB (PLB Statutes: Article #1:1-3), is constructed to promote, improve and advocate for fair play in organized football in the country of Belize (PLB Statutes: Article #2 Objectives; a—c). The PLB, as a member of the FFB (FFB Statutes: Article #10; 10.1—10.3), enjoys the autonomy, of not only orchestrating its day to day affairs, but also advocating for improvements within the sport. As a result of such, the PLB, a substantive member, is allowed to take part in Congress, able to nominate candidates for all bodies of the FFB to be elected, and, more so, to exercise the 6 votes granted by FFB (FFB Statute: Article #12 Members Rights; a—f).
Belize District Primary Schools Basketball Champs
Today at Bird’s Isle, 8 teams, 4 male and 4 female, were present to play for the title of the Belize District Primary Schools Basketball Champions.
The male teams were: Belize City 1st place, St. Martin De Porres, and 2nd place, Belize Elementary; Belize Rural 1st place, Hattieville Government, and 2nd place, San Pedro RC.
Female teams were: Belize City 1st place, St. John’s Anglican, and 2nd place, St. Martin De Porres; Belize Rural 1st place, Burrell Boom Methodist, and 2nd place, San Pedro RC. Next week Friday and Saturday, February 26 and 27, St. Martin de Porres (male and female) will represent the Belize District at the National Primary Schools Basketball Championships in Orange Walk Town.
The National Sports Council would like to thank all Belize District schools who participated in this year’s basketball tournament. We look forward for your participation in 2017.
Tennis News – Youth Tournament
A junior singles tennis tournament kicked off this past Saturday, February, at the Belize Pickwick Club Tennis Courts for Lime Green category, where the length of the full-size court is made smaller by 4 feet on each side to accommodate younger players. The top four juniors who proceeded to the semifinals were Alex Musa, Devesh Hukmani, Blake Lee and Nisani Mendez. Alex Musa overcame Nisani Mendez in a very close semifinal match, 4 games to 3, to make the finals; and Hukmani defeated Blake Lee, 4-0, to contend the finals. In the finals, Devesh Hukmani came back from a 2-love deficit to take the victory over Alex Musa, 4 games to 2.
Congratulations to Marco Chi and Sofia Solano, who showed great improvement and readiness for the big court!! All junior players from all categories are encouraged to keep on playing, as several tournaments are coming up!!
Easy Does It tells Police, “Not this time;” and Western Eagles lashes Bright Star
Hello, you wonderful cricket fans! Under the auspices of the Belize National Cricket Association, the Harrison Parks 2016 Cricket Competition got under way over the weekend with some very interesting matches.
Let me take you to the village of Lemonal, the home of last year’s champion, Easy Does It. Team Police travelled there to start the season. Police team is the 2nd place divisional champ for last year under the management/captainship of Officer Howell Gillett. After arriving in the village, they started meeting and greeting friends of long ago. Even shaking hands with Orlando Banner, who had played with them last year, but decided to go back home this year.
Well, time for game to start. Police took to bat first, and at the fall of the last wicket, 159 runs were put on the scoreboard. The batsman who helped to reach that score was captain Gillett, who top scored with 38 runs. If it was not for Herbert Banner, that performed so well in his bowling, taking 5 of Police batsmen’ wickets, maybe the score would have been different. That is a very defensive score if bowling is good.
Editorial: Dorian recants
A couple weeks ago Dr. Dorian Barrow wrote an article in The Reporter in which he called for the old Belize Teachers College to be separated from the University of Belize (UB) and returned to its individual institutional status. His argument was that the national university has failed to do an adequate job of training teachers to acceptable standards, but the statistics he presented to buttress his argument, which was that the Belize Teachers College in its time had done a better job of same, were not all that convincing.
In his article, Dr. Barrow, who was the chief executive officer in the Ministry of Education at the time the national university was being established in the year 2000, and therefore a “big man”on both the University College of Belize (UCB) board and the UB board which succeeded it, confessed that he had supported the inclusion of Teachers College in the five-institution amalgamation of August 2000 which the University of Belize represented. Now, he was changing his mind. (The Government of Belize, led by then Prime Minister Said Musa, amalgamated the UCB, Belize Teachers College, Belize Technical College, the Bliss School of Nursing, and the Belize College of Agriculture to form UB.)
From the Publisher
In our editorial last Friday, February 12, 2016, we celebrated the 16th anniversary of the opening of the African and Indian Library, which was/is a dream fulfilled of the late Dr. Leroy Taegar. We did not mention in the said issue of our newspaper that Thursday night last week, February 11, 2016, there was an important and valuable show on KREM Radio which marked its 21st anniversary. This is the show called BELIZE MUSICIANS PAST AND PRESENT. It is hosted, indeed it was created, by the singer/songwriter, Tony Wright, and his deejay/engineer partner, J. C. Arzu.
As a business venture, KREM Radio has not been a success. To my mind, there are several reasons for this. The main problem from the beginning in November of 1989 was the fact that the power structure in Belize could not conceive of (which is to say, “tolerate”) so much media power being concentrated in the hands of an organization which had a revolutionary past, a roots present, and an uncontrollable creativity.
KREM Radio, from one perspective, was the political experiment of a few leaders in the People’s United Party (PUP), and those PUP leaders did not intend for KREM Radio to survive and succeed. The concept of the private radio station was to be used to assist in winning the September 1989 general election, is all, and so it did.
Open letter to Mr. Rice Aflatoxin Expert
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.
“Soh I really noh like how you come da my country, mek latta money from my people by profiting from your highly-processed food enterprise, and pan tappa dat, yuh di persist and di try tek my people fi fool.”
H.E. Irwin LaRocque reappointed CARICOM Secretary-General
Dominica national, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, will serve a second term as Secretary-General of the CARICOM Secretariat. CARICOM Chairman, Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize, told the media when he made the announcement this afternoon that the vote to have LaRocque reappointed was unanimous.
“I am as convinced as anyone else, and perhaps more so, that the Secretary-General has done an exemplary job… his commitment to reform, the changes he has already made along the lines of obliging the Secretariat and the Community to become more productive, more efficacious, are well known; and he’s done all this while remaining throughout extremely even-tempered [and] accessible—any head can get him at any time, including very early in the morning,” Barrow said.
Toledo Maya alcaldes to discuss CCJ order Friday
Maya leaders are due to meet this Friday to discuss the way forward in implementing an order of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) which requires the Government of Belize to work with the Maya to formally recognize Maya land rights, after a finding by the court that the Government of Belize had breached the right of Toledo Maya to protection of the law by failing to ensure that the existing property regime, inherited from the pre-independence colonial system, recognized and protected Maya land rights.
After years of litigation, the parties in the Toledo Maya Land Rights case—the government, on the one hand, and the Toledo Maya, on the other—reached an agreement last year, during proceedings which the CCJ held in Belize on a consent order to chart the way forward in putting into effect structures to formally set up a framework for the demarcation of Maya lands in southern Belize.
Last month the Government installed the Maya Land Rights Commission, headed by former Cabinet Minister, Lisel Alamilla, with E. Anthony Ross, QC, a legal expert originally from St. Kitts but operating out of Canada, serving as advisor.
Social Security Board’s second annual tertiary debate
On Friday, February 12, the University of the West Indies Open Campus and St. John’s Junior College debated, “Be it resolved that birthright citizenship in the US be abolished.” The debate was held at St. John’s Junior College and the moderator for the occasion was Dr. Leroy Almendarez.
St. John’s Junior College, represented by Erin Garnett, Tori Lord, Renata Samuels, Martha Mejia, Kory Leslie and Sydney Medina, emerged victorious.
Gayle Ozaeta, Communications Officer for Social Security Board, told Amandala that this is Social Security Board’s second annual debate among junior colleges. Ozaeta said that the idea for the debate came up at Social Security Board’s 34th Anniversary, where they were trying to come up with activities that would engage the community, and at the same time contribute towards national development. The tertiary debate seemed to fulfill those requirements. It proved to be such a big success that it was brought back by popular demand, Ozaeta said.
San Pedro waitress, 23, dies after her throat is slit
Tragedy struck a young Honduran woman who came to The Jewel to work to make a better life for herself and her 2-year-old baby, whom she is supporting in Honduras. Johanna Samantha Mendez Barrios, 23, was found at about 5:00 yesterday morning, Tuesday, with her throat slit in her apartment in the Parish Apartment Complex , located on Bonefish Street in the Boca del Rio area of San Pedro Town, where she have been living for the past 2 years.
After slashing the woman, the attacker escaped with $500 from her room.
Barrios, was taken to the San Pedro Polyclinic, where she was declared dead on arrival. She has since been taken to the morgue at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City, where she awaits a post-mortem to certify the cause of death.
Youths running for DYS Youth Council hold youth rally
With the Department of Youth Services (DYS) Youth Council about to be implemented, the candidates are making their presence felt by holding a youth rally in every district this weekend.
The elections that will take place on February 29 will fill the positions for President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Public Relations Officer.
DYS went about selecting youth leaders who they found authentic, dedicated and with vision for the young people of Belize.
The youth population of Belize comprises almost 70 percent. The Deputy Public Relations Officer for the Department of DYS states that is what having a Youth Council with youth leaders that understand the problems young people are facing today.
The rally endorsing the candidates is significant said Saldano is to “ensure that youth leaders across the country understand the position they will no hold, understand the responsibility that comes with these positions.”
$184,000 worth of equipment for Human Development and other departments
The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) handed over equipment valued at $184,000 to different government departments on Friday in Belize City.
The equipment, which was handed over at the Racoon Street Police Station, went to departments in the Ministries of Health, National Security and Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation.
The equipment will help them strengthen their ability to collect and analyze data on violence against women and human trafficking, in their plight in dealing with prevention of violence against women.
Access to reliable data is essential for decision making and to plan programs to abate these issues. The data collection resources will reinforce the departments to carry out these functions.
The Belize Times
Gaspar Vega sold a village! – Trio Villagers are being evicted by private land owner
When the Ministry of Lands presided over by Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega was called a “hotbed of corruption” by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, we had no idea just how rotten it had become. Vega was eventually stripped of the land portfolio despite his all-too powerful stature in the UDP, and the skeletons have been piling out of the closet. There is yet another major controversy which points right to Vega’s term. This one involves the giveaway of almost an entire village to a foreigner. In 2014 South Korean national Sang H. Yin was sold 2,500 acres of land in the Toledo District. It appears the due diligence that normally takes place in the sale of lands was thrown out the window by the not-normal Minister because part of the land sold to Yin covers half of Trio Village and includes dozens of homes belonging to Belizeans. Those villagers are now staring at homelessness because Yin has told them they must vacate his property or purchase the land at $20,000 per parcel from him, or he will force them out. The village residents are mostly poor farmers who have been living on the lands for over twenty-five years.
Fix Cinderella Plaza Mr. Mayor!
Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley has been caught trying to run away from doing his job.
In the rush to the general elections, Mayor Darrel Bradley and the Belize City Council spent somewhere between $50million and $60 million in pouring cement on streets in Belize City. Most of the money was spent on streets in the Caribbean Shores area, where Bradley had planned, months prior, to run for political office. This is a twisted story about one man’s ego that cannot be forgotten.
In the rush to cement away Belize City, Mayor Bradley’s cement programme apparently overlooked Cinderella Plaza. This important traffic artery in Belize City is in a total mess.
Some months before the November 4th election, the area was dug up as Ministry of Works hired engineers repaired the underground drainage. Once that was finished it was expected that the Plaza would be fixed up back again. After all, the area is an intersection for six major streets, including the always busy Freetown Road. But once it was covered with dirt, the area was abandoned.
“Pay First” Policy adopted by KHMH
The country’s only referral public hospital, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, has made a drastic policy shift from a public-led hospital to a for-profit one.
Last week, hospital officials were on defense mode as they attempted to validate the imposition of new fees on the public. As of February 15th, Belizeans are paying more to access health care services.
Non-emergency cases would go up by 150%, from $10 to $25 and physiotherapy clinic fees would climb by 100%, from $15 to $30.
According to KHMH’s financial director, the $25 dollars represents 32% of the total cost which will now be met by the public, while the Government covers the remaining 68%. Based on those numbers, the total cost would be about $83. Our checks at private hospitals show that for non-emergency services, Belizeans pay between $40 and $60. The question is how are the fees at KHMH higher when the health care services at the private hospitals are more efficient and advanced?
Honduran woman murdered in San Pedro
It’s one of those rare occurrences when, under this Government, a rich company is defeated by the power of the people but this is what occurred last week when the Santander Sugar Group, a sugar-producing company with Guatemalan shareholders based in the Cayo District, folded to pressure mounted against a plan to use $12 million of workers’ money at Social Security Board to finance their project.
SSB, it seemed, was prepared to hand over the money to Santander who needed the financing after one of their financiers copped out of a syndicated loan involving other financial entities including Belizean banks. The SSB Investment Committee approved the financing despite the workers’ representative on the Committee, NTUCB’s Rebecca Suazo, disapproving of it.
Last week opposition flared with the NTUCB President Marvin Mora publicly declaring their disapprobation, followed by the Opposition People’s United Party challenging Santander to prove it’s soundness by accessing the funds elsewhere instead of the workers’ savings funds.
Santander folds to Opposition pressure
San Pedro Police are investigating the chilling murder of a young Honduran woman who had made “la isla bonita” her home.
22 year old Johana Samantha Mendez Barrios was murdered early Tuesday morning by an unknown assailant. Police found Barrios at the San Pedro health center, Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II, with a fatal cut wound on her neck.
Barrios was taken to the health clinic by a friend who had found her stumbling outside her apartment, bleeding profusely.
It is believed that Barrios was violently attacked inside her second-floor apartment located on Bonefish Street, in the Boca Del Rio Area. She had arrived home between 5am and 6am, after a night out, when she was attacked.
Police believe the killer was a burglar who was already in the house.
Open letter to Mr. Rice Aflatoxin Expert
A MESSAGE TO MY FELLOW BELIZEANS … who understand the context of the “rice-aflatoxin” headlines that keep popping up in our local Belize news. Note that some things are best expressed in a language that only Belizeans would understand, i.e. our “social glue” … the Kriol language.
February 15, 2016
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.
A Financial Armageddon
The Prime Minister of Belize has reportedly likened the current banking crisis facing Belize and the rest of the Caribbean Community as a “Financial Armageddon”.
But one would not have thought so given the late start, at the beginning of the working week, of a Caricom Summit, or a talk shop, to discuss numerous issues affecting the Caribbean Community. Chief among them is the banking crisis in which American banks, due to stiff US banking regulations, cannot take the risk of having correspondent bank agreements with banks in the region that are perceived as being involved in money laundering and other illegal banking activities.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Belize has been less dramatic than his boss saying instead that the Banking crisis “is more serious than climate change” and that it is one of the most serious threats to the region”(including Belize).
The Armageddon and climate change analogies are both over-dramatized. But the point is taken: they are both man-made and, with due diligence, could have been avoided were it not for arrogance.
Is it not the role of the Governor of the Central Bank to regulate and monitor the banking industry in Belize and to work with the Government’s Financial Intelligence Unit to monitor money laundering and other irregular banking activities?
Corozal Free Zone is “dying”, says SSB Chairman Doug Singh – Belize’s economy more depressed than revealed by authorities
Chairman of the Social Security Board Doug Singh has confirmed that Belize’s economy is in greater danger than the Barrow Administration is admitting.
Belize’s economy is crumbling on multiple fronts. The correspondent banking crisis which could lead to a total disconnection from U.S. banks, with whom Belize makes majority of its business, is just the tip of the iceberg.
Last week, papaya growers and exporters Fruta Bomba and Belize Fruit Packers, both subsidiaries of U.S. company Brooks Tropicals, announced that they were moving their operations out of Belize.
Fruta Bomba, which is based in San Joaquin Village in the Corozal district, has been facing distress for some time. The working staff has been shaved down to barebones, and with the announcement last week, the remaining 250 employees are preparing to be out of jobs in a few weeks.
Hate vs. Hope
During the past eight years of the Dean Barrow regime, Belizeans have experienced a terrible deterioration in their way of life and standard of living.
Week after week, month after month, the price of food and household items at the grocery shops and supermarkets rose higher and higher. But wages for workers remained stagnant. Then we were all hit below the belt when the Prime Minister broke his promise not to raise taxes. A 25% increase in GST was imposed. The second act of betrayal came with the increase in fuel prices Do we remember the Prime Minister’s solemn pledge in the House of Representatives that he would not allow the price of gasoline to go above $7.00 a gallon?
This dire situation went from bad to worse. The health of the people was the first victim. NHI was suspended and even the primary care benefits offered during the PUP administration were severely cut back. Now people will have to pay more if they want to access health care at KHMH.
The older folks – all our senior citizens who sacrificed for their children and the nation were on the second list of victims of this heartless Barrow regime. Over 1,500 lost their modest monthly pensions from Social Security.
Waiting on the “Best” but…
We’re waiting on the best. We were told its coming.
In the meantime First Caribbean Bank packed up and left. We lost correspondent bank relationships.
We lost our shrimp industry. We lost most of our banana production.
We lost Fruta Bomba. Citrus export is plummeting.
Farmers are struggling to survive. Oil is done. Petrocaribe is done.
Sugar-cane is in trouble. The Commercial Free Zone is dying. The cost of everything continues to go up.
Crime is spiralling AGAIN. Tourists are being targeted. We’re being blacklisted by everybody.
GOB has raised taxes on fuel, punishing Belizeans.
But Social Security wants to lend OUR money to Guatemalans.
While UDP politicians live large, Belizeans struggle with hard times
Why is it that everything in our country seems to be going wrong? Why is it that we seem to be going backwards instead of forward? Our politicians can drive the latest fancy SUVs with heated seats, just like politicians in first-world countries. Our politicians can live lives of plenty, and build homes all over the place, and maintain sweethearts, and throw posh parties and fly first class just like politicians in first world countries. But in everything else we are a struggling third-world country, far behind other countries.
Our transportation system is a joke. Fifteen years ago we had comfortable buses with a ticket system and a regular schedule. Morning commuters used to get juice and johnny cakes and could watch a movie on the bus. Today travelling by bus is a nightmare. There is absolutely no system in place. Buses are in deplorable conditions and just reaching your destination without incident is a good thing. Schedules are a mess, with hundreds of commuters fighting to get home. There are not enough buses, no ticket system, no supervision, no regulation. Every bus at night is packed full of standees. Imagine if there would be an accident.
St. John’s Anglican girls & St. Martin’s boys
The girls of St. John’s Anglican School and boys of St. Martin De Porres RC School won the Belize District Primary Schools basketball finals at Birds’ Isle on Wednesday, February 17.
The St. John’s Anglican girls won 13-1 against the St. Martin de Porres girls as Taliyah Hyde scored 4pts for St. John’s, and Shantel Flowers scored 9pts for St. Martins.
The Belize Elementary won 3rd place 11-2 over the Muslim Community girls, led by Aaliyah Herbert scoring 7pts and Sanna Rowland scored 2pts. Bonnie Udoye scored the only basket for Muslim Community.
The St. Martin’s boys won the city championship 25-22 over the BES boys. Martin’s Elijah Gabourel scored 13pts, Tyreck Solis 5pts; while Evan Welch and Lyndon Gentle scored 4pts apiece. BES’ James Courtenay scored 8pts, while Eric Williams added 6pts and Alex Ariola – 4pts.
Dean Hemmans & Samira Pott – too fast to handle
Dean Hemmans and Samira Musa Pott won the City Run Xpress’ “Fastest Mile”, organized in association with Karen Rosito/Nutrition for Health on the Marine Parade and Newtown Barracks to the finish at the BTL Park in Belize City on Saturday morning.
City Run Xpress presented both 1st place winners in with a trophy and a gift bag from Dutch Lady and Seven-Seas courtesy the San-Cas Group.
1st – Dean Hemmans (5:56)
2nd – Jaheed Smith (6:04)
3rd – Rasheed Pollard (6:05)
1st – Samira Musa-Pott (8:25)
2nd – Nicole Solano (9:01)
3rd – T’Jahrri Yearwood (9:44)
Excellence & Western Eagles Open 2016 Cricket Tourney
The Excellence Cricket Club from Double Head Cabbage and the Western Eagles from Rancho Dolores both posted big wins when the 2016 Harrison Parks cricket competition kicked off in Lords Bank and Sand Hill last Saturday.
Excellence defeated the Central American Health Science University (CAHSU) Medicos 83-77. The Double Head eleven batted first and Earl Weir led, hitting 3 fours and a six to score 25 runs before he was caught, while Vernon Stephenson also hit a six to score 14 runs. Rydell Thompson scored 7 runs before he was run out and Andy Dominguez managed 6 runs before he was given Leg Before Wicket.
Jawahar Bharath and Jaswath Rudraraju led the CAHSU defense, taking 3 wickets apiece, while Nanjeeph Yadav took 2 wickets. The CAHSU bowlers took the last 6 wickets for 7 runs to hold Excellence to 83 runs all out, even including 12 wides and 9 byes.
In a recent appearance on Krem’s Sunday Review, Chairman of the Social Security Board Doug Singh exploded a bombshell that proved the perfect “red herring” to his cause. Singh was there to answer questions regarding the twelve million dollar loan to Santander but wound up taking the conversation in a completely different direction.
A new purpose has been found for the marijuana issue and look for it to be tossed around much leading up to the next general election; whenever it is called. Singh has already warned that while a proposal has been forwarded and was approved by cabinet that it might take several years for any real action to be taken. Look for such action to be timely and politically convenient.
According to a 2010 Population Census, Belize population is comprised of over sixty percent young people, mostly under the age of 25 years old. In this age group in particular, support for address to the marijuana is high. These young people can either already vote or will be eligible to do so in the near future. Make no mistake, the benefits or detriments of marijuana use are of far less concern to these politicians than victory in an election.
I have long made known my stand on this issue and that is that small amounts of marijuana should at the very least, be decriminalized. Alcohol is far more dangerous than weed and its use accounts for the deaths of thousands of people each year. It is suggested that cannabis kills nobody, although Willie Nelson once claimed that a friend of his died when a bale of cannabis fell on his head.
MY PERSPECTIVE – Incredible Misogyny
We are in the Season of Lent now. Just last week there were Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) in New Orleans, and Carnival in Rio de Janeiro and Trinidad. Trinidad J’Ouvert and Carnival Tuesday are loved, and are considered by many to be one of the greatest street celebrations anywhere. I have witnessed the excitement, the music, the pageantry of the event in Port of Spain and at the Queen’s Park Savannah where the huge music bands pass as thousands participate in “playing mas.” And I agree that it is hard to beat.
Very sad news emerged on Ash Wednesday last week when the dead body of a reveller was discovered in the bushes at the Savannah by a homeless person. It was that of a woman who was clad in her Legacy Band carnival costume. The body had not yet been fully identified, nor all the circumstances surrounding the death brought to light, when Port of Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee got on his soapbox pontificating and decried the lewd and crude behavior of women at Carnival and, according to him, the vulgarity that takes place. He was referring of course to the mostly bikini costumes worn by women who play mas. He suggested that by dressing in a revealing costume and dancing, that somehow she was responsible for her own death. He intoned: “The woman has the responsibility to ensure that she is not abused.” (!!)
Think About It
A battle erupted between a Belizean mother and her former Guatemalan partner over their two year old child when all three were living in Guatemala.
The mother brought her daughter to Belize while there was some sort of court case taking place in Guatemala. The father pursued the matter.
First the Women’s Department or Human Development Ministry got involved by wrongly seizing the 2 year old from the mother in Belize.
The matter ended up in the Family Court.
So far, so bad.
It now gets worse.
The Family Court made a decision to take away the child from the mother and hand over the child to the father to be taken to Guatemala. There presumably the matter of the mom fighting for her little daughter may continue.
Which Barrow collected $175,000 as Christmas Bonus?
Reliable sources have shared with the BELIZE TIMES that a certain Barrow had the sweetest Christmas ever after collecting a huge Xmas bonus of $175,000 last year.
Can you guess who it was? It may be a bit difficult to figure out. Not because the idea of one of the Barrows collecting such a grand load of money as bonus is hard to believe. On the contrary, the family members of Prime Minister Dean Barrow are known mini-millionaires.
His Ex-wife Lois currently collects a huge salary paid by tax payers’ as Ambassador to New York and the United Nations. Tax payers pay her New York apartment rent, light bill and even grocery bill. Before this, she was hired and paid handsomely as a private attorney by the Barrow Government for cases that were at times straightforward litigation matters for the Attorney General’s Ministry to deal with.
U.S. student drowns in Belize during science trip
Tragedy struck a visiting delegation of students from Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A., when one of the visitors drowned while on a trip to Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary located in the outskirts of the Belize District.
Tomari Jackson was supposed to celebrate his 15th birthday in Belize. He arrived over the weekend as part of travelling group of students from North Cobb High School in Atlanta.
One day into the visit, however, the group experienced a terrible occurrence when they went to swim in the Sibun River. Jackson disappeared under water and it took various attempts by a diving team to find his body.
As a result of the incident, the school cancelled the rest of the visit and the students returned home distraught.
Managing Director of Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Matthew Miller, has expressed condolences to the family of the student.
Breaking Belize News
Mainly fair weather conditions over next couple days
The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting mostly sunny skies during the day time and partly cloudy skies tonight, with generally isolated showers. Winds will be blowing from the East-Northeast at 10-20 knots and the sea state will be choppy to moderate. High […]
Many hands make light work
Life has been whirlwind of activity for the San Pedro Branch of the Belize Red Cross over the past few weeks. Our volunteers were kept busy so much that we had to reach out to Project Abroad and use some of their new arrivals who are here volunteering in Belize.
In building the capacity of the island, we had our first blood drive of 2016 and are continuing to grow our Ambergris Caye Reserve. Our branch is continuously striving to make Ambergris Caye a safer place and very pleased to have received a donation of 4 CPR Manikins to help us with this ongoing goal.
In addition to our regular monthly trivia fundraiser, we had Kelly McGuire and two other bars offer to do events for us.
Caye Caulker, a relaxed and popular island off the coast of Belize, is a small island inhabited by friendly locals (and many friendly dogs as well!). Should this island be added to your list? You better belize it! (lol) The locals are very friendly. You don't need to be worried about people pestering you too much to buy things. The beer is cheap ($2 USD a bottle) and food is every where! Honestly, it felt more like Jamaica than Central America. We had a great time on the island. After spending 4 nights there, we felt it was time to move on. It is a small island after all! Man was it hard to leave that water though...
We spent 4 nights on this tropical paradise and really enjoyed ourselves. Due to the fact that this was the very first stop of our long term backpacking trip and that Belize is some what more expensive compared to other parts of Central America, we didn't do a whole lot. We did not spend any money on activities or many meals out! Thankfully we had a great kitchen at our hostel Yuma's House. We spent the days wandering, laying out on the beach, rented bikes, and shopping for groceries. It was the perfect start to our trip!
Yet another medical saga: Saved by my angels in Merida
Well, as some of you may know — or may have surmised — I’ve been sick.
Last year started with a stent implant to unclog a very clogged artery. That went well, if rather more expensively than I had hoped. And I am proud to say the operation was done here in Belize by a talented cardiologist.
Then in May I had a mysterious case of internal bleeding that sent me to the public national hospital in Belize City, Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, on a holiday weekend. It is an experience I shall cherish and never want to repeat again. The bleeding was stopped; the reason for it was never discovered.
Then, at the end of 2015, I developed a serious prostate problem. I spent a couple of days in a private clinic in Belize City where the urologist made several observations: 1. It may need to be removed. 2. It may be cancerous. 3. Get it done in Merida, Mexico, not here in Belize.
I took the doctor’s advice.
I booked a flight to Merida, right after booking a consultation with a urologist.
This was all made possible for two huge reasons: 1. My good friends Dennis and Tamara Rossi now live in Merida. 2. An amazing medical “concierge” named Teresita who serves as a guardian angel between the vast and sprawling Merida medical community and terribly confused and stressed medical tourists. Like me.
CONCACAF embraces reforms in effort to save itself
The regional football association CONCACAF said it has collectively embraced the proposals for reform from FIFA and member states will vote on the changes during the Extraordinary Congress later this month in Zurich. But a report by Reuters revealed that the association’s lawyers warned the members last Friday that if they don’t adopt the reforms they will risk more convictions, the freezing of accounts, the forfeiture of CONCACAF assets and even the end of the association.
Most of the indicted officials in the massive FIFA corruption investigation by the US Department of Justice were part of either CONCACAF or CONMEBOL, the South American federation.
Three of CONCACAF’s former presidents have been arrested, including the Cayman Islands’ Jeffrey Webb, who has been convicted of racketeering offences, and former general secretary Chuck Blazer, an American. Jack Warner, Webb’s predecessor, is still fighting extradition to the US from his native Trinidad, while Webb’s successor, Alfredo Hawit from Honduras, was arrested in December in Switzerland and was extradited to the US in January, where he pleaded not guilty to the bribery charges.
Japan provide grants assistance to cotton industry in Belize
The Government of Japan provides additional assistance to budding Sea Island Cotton industry, Belize. Cotton crop yields are much higher than any other agricultural product in Belize, including sugar cane, but cotton farming requires different kinds of equipment. The Japanese, who are knowledgeable in the harvesting and processing of cotton, has offered this kind of support, as well as the equipment to produce cotton.
A year ago, Japan also assisted the industry, which was originally started in 1980 by a US company. The Japanese since 2000, has been managing the industry, through a cooperative called ICA.
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 Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security projects of Japan.
Benefiting cotton farmers with the potential to strengthen the relationship between both countries, the Embassy of Japan, wished the project success and said that Belize produces some of the best cotton in the world.
The gifts complement an ongoing project, which Japan revived to benefit both countries. Japan’s demand for cotton far surpasses the world’s supply and Belize can earn much-needed cash by exporting the product.
Belize’s weather conditions and soil quality bodes well for Belize’s ability to produce top quality cotton. In a productive year, the country can produce 30,000 pounds of dried cotton, which represents $160,000 in earnings from Japan and Europe.
There are six local farmers in Buena Vista, Little Belize, Shipyard and Bomba who are involved in the project.
Spooky Places You Don't Want To Visit
Cave of The Crystal Maiden: The Cave of the Crystal Maiden was discovered in the jungle of Belize. Any place where you can see the bones of the dead, in the depths of a dark cave, deserves to be placed high on the creepy list. Archaeologists accidentally discovered this cave while exploring the outer areas of Actun Tunichil. In Actun Tunichil Muknal or “Cave of the crystal Sepulchre,” lies the remains of several human and animal sacrifices, including a young woman, whose bones are most likely over 1,000-years-old, and have been preserved due to calcite buildup.
The result of the sacrifices is due to what is believed to be religious ceremonies. The questions that lead archaeologist, Holly Moyes and Discover Magazine, have been trying to answer since this discovery is “why would such a religious ceremony be performed in a dank, dark space of a cave?”