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Today's Belize News: March 11, 2016 #512319
03/11/16 06:14 AM
03/11/16 06:14 AM
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Specials and Events

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

The San Pedro Sun

Stability in a time of Change: Barrow delivers 2016-2017 Budget address
On Tuesday, March 8th, Prime Minster Right Honorable Dean Barrow presented the official budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year emphasizing “Stability in a time of Change”. Now in his third consecutive term as Prime Minster, this is Barrow’s ninth budget address. And even though several of Belize’s industries suffered crisis in 2015, Barrow is confident that the current and forecast state of the public finances of Belize are both “sturdy and stable”.10 Pm Barrow Budget Address-1 Before delving into the projected 2016-2017 budget, Barrow took time to explain how his United Democratic Party (UDP) administration has improved the country’s economy. “First, there is an unmatched string of year on year increases to the size and diversity of the economy. And this has been complemented by the longest post-independence period of low inflation, reductions in the cost of borrowing for both private and public sectors, and increases in revenue generation by the Government.

Traffic department announces new designated parking area
The San Pedro Traffic Department (SPTD) has announced that opposite of the Honorable Louis Sylvestre Sports Complex and beside ‘The San Pedro Artisan Market’, it has established a newly constructed parking lot for long term use, free of cost. This parking can accommodate 80 golf carts only. The SPTC recommends and encourages those in the labor force to utilize the new parking area. Many golf-carts are often parked on busy streets for prolonged hours, giving other short-term riders limited spaces to park. The new parking area is excellent and geared to those who park all day during normal business hours. Not only will this method steadily improve a percentage of our congested traffic in downtown areas, but it will also acknowledge a health issue. According to Local Economic Development Officer at the SPTC, Jorge Aldana, “Our parking area has another positive effect. By using the parking lot, we are addressing certain health issues by encouraging people to become more physical. From the center of town to the furthest point up in town is probably a five minute walk,” stated Aldana.

Northern Softball Regionals: One round down, one to go!
The San Pedro High School were in the comfort of their own home as they hosted the NTSA Male and Female Northern Softball Regionals 2016 on Friday, March 4th. The games took place at the Honorable Louis Sylvestre Sports Complex, where enthusiastic fans and supporters from other districts attended. Both female and male teams were equipped to compete in the regionals, and came from San Pedro High School (SPHS), Corozal Community College (CCC), Escuela Secondaria Tecnica Mexico (ESTM), and Orange Walk Technical High School (OWTHS). In the male division, the second game was played between OWTHS and CCC, where OWTH defeated CCC 15 to 5. CCC team members were officially eliminated from the regionals and OWTHS boys are qualified for the Championship Game. Games resume this Sunday, March 13th commencing at 8:30 am at the same location. In game four, females start off the competition, with as OWTHS going against SPHS. The losing team in this match will be eliminated, and the winner will advance to the Championship game to face Escuela Mexico.

US Embassy officials meet with AC’s American community
On Friday March 4th, officials of The United States Embassy from Belmopan met with various American citizens for a scheduled Town Hall meeting at the Blue Water Grill in San Pedro Town. The Embassy initiated this meeting to share beneficial information regarding consular services that it provides. Several guests, many of whom consider San Pedro as their second home, attended this informal event. Prior to the meeting, U.S. Ambassador Carlos R. Moreno gave a preliminary introduction, speaking about all national protocols the United States takes to ensure the safety and well-being of their fellow American citizens. Those who attended were reminded that the US government works in accordance with the Belizean government.

BDF discover Guatemalan run marijuana planation in the Chiquibul Rainforest Reserve
A Guatemalan Nation who illegally entered Belize was shot on Thursday, March 3rd by a member of the Belize Defense Force (BDF) following the discovery of a marijuana plantation within the Chiquibul Rainforest Reserve in Belizean territory. According to reports, members of the BDF along with Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) rangers where conducting scheduled patrols in the area when they came across the plantation. As the team approached the area, they were met with gunfire, which resulted in the BDF firing back and injuring one man. The BDF proceed to capture the culprit identified as Guatemalan National from Peten, 51-year-old Francisco Torres Sucup, who received a gunshot to the knee. The BDF also reported that while one of the culprits was detained, another man, later identified as 56-year-old Luis Diaz Alballeros, escaped during the crossfire but was later captured. At the plantation, the team searched a thatched shed where they found 15 live 12-gauge cartridges and 24 live rounds of 9mm ammunition. Two illegal weapons, a 9mm pistol and a 12-gauge shotgun, were also confiscated from the men.

Koop Sheet Metal takes the 2016 La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge
It was that time of the year again, when the river banks of the Mopan and Belize rivers, along with the many communities trailing its course, became alive once again with the 19th annual La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge. The four-day canoe race saw competitors enduring the odds of the weather, changing currents of the river and the bogginess of the tropical Belizean environment. Among the teams were two outstanding sets of participants who were all in for the fun of the competition, proudly representing Ambergris Caye. Team “Hope We Finish,” comprised of Dee Regis, Brittney O’Daniel, and Greg Lamb and Team Reef Runners comprised of Edwardo “Wayo” Vasquez, Lisa Rusinek-Cyrier, and Ronnie Cyrier took on the challenge and joined the paddling tradition. “It is a challenge and I am happy to be part of it. Is not about winning, is about committing yourself to the challenge and overcome it,” said a determined Wayo.

Ambergris Today

Belize Responds to Tourists Robbed at Altun Ha Maya Site
In a press release issued today, the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture notes with concern and condemns the actions of those criminals involved in the robbery of tour guide Clifton Hoare and eight tourists at the Altun Ha Archaeological Site on Wednesday, March 9, 2016. “This was a crime of opportunity that presented itself when the group visited a somewhat isolated section of the site,” stated the release from the Ministry. “The criminals who had entered through the bushes in the back seized the opportunity to commit their robbery.” There was adequate police and security presence at the Archeological Site. Therefore, a quick police response resulted in the detention of several suspects who are residents of nearby villages. An extensive investigation is being carried out.

Tropic Air Gives Back To Caye Caulker Cancer Support Group
Tropic Air has announced the February results of its ongoing nationwide #TropicGivesBack charitable fundraising campaign. For every ticket bought at the month’s selected station, $1 will be donated to an organization chosen by the staff stationed in that community. In January, $500 was donated to the Dangriga Red Cross. February was the chosen month for Caye Caulker, with Belmopan scheduled for March and San Ignacio coming in April. As part of the airline's largest charitable fundraiser of the year, Tropic Air business partners, staff and customers joined efforts and raised $400 for “Arms of Love”, a Caye Caulker cancer support group. Sergio Marin, Caye Caulker Station Manager and his staff presented a check to Ms. Enelda Rosado from “Arms of Love” on Thursday, March 3.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

SAGA Restaurant Chef Cook Off
Join Saga Humane Society March 15th for the Restaurant Chef Cook -Off at Luna Loca. Sample delicous dishes from San Pedro's top restaurant chefs. VIP tickets are available at Pampered Paws 226-2227 or at [email protected] Entertainment by Mar and Gonzo, raffle prizes and more!

Island Magic Beach Resort on Caye Caulker is still looking for Maintenance Man
Please visit our office or call 610-1804 or 226-0505 if interested.

Statement from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports on the Altun Ha Robbery
The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture notes with concern and condemns the actions of those criminals involved in the robbery of tour guide Clifton Hoare and eight tourists at the Altun Ha Archaeological Site on Wednesday, March 9th. This was a crime of opportunity that presented itself when the group visited a somewhat isolated section of the site. The criminals who had entered through the bushes in the back seized the opportunity to commit their robbery. There was adequate police and security presence at the Archeological Site. Therefore, a quick police response resulted in the detention of several suspects who are residents of nearby villages. An extensive investigation is being carried out.

UDP confirms Vega resignation
The United Democratic Party confirms that First Deputy Party Leader Hon Gaspar Vega has, by letter dated March 8, 2016, informed the Party of his decision not to stand again for his Orange Walk North seat in the next General Elections. Hon Vega has also said that in view of this early notification of his retirement from electoral politics at the end of the current term, he feels it is right that he not continue as First Deputy Party Leader of the UDP. Accordingly, he is no longer prepared to accept the four year endorsement as First Deputy, which endorsement would have been done at, and with effect from, the UDP Convention on March 20, 2016. In the result, the March 20 Convention will now proceed only to endorse, for the next four years, the Party Leader Rt Hon Dean Barrow; the Second Deputy Leader, Hon Erwin Contreras; the Party Chairman Alberto August; and the Deputy Party Chair Fern Gutierrez. The National Party Council of the UDP will meet shortly after the March 20 Convention to decide on the procedure and timing for a special election to choose the new First Deputy Party Leader to succeed Hon Vega.

NOW OPEN IN COROZAL: Sherwin Williams Home Improvement
aints for all your Cabinetry, Furniture, Interior Trim and Accents, Bathrooms and Kitchens, High Traffic Areas, Ceilings and Do-It-Yourself Projects. Whole-House Paint Schemes with Floor Plan and Examples. Come visit our new friendly location in Corozal. We are located at 5th Avenue, Bahia Plaza Complex (across from COURTS).

Please note that the March screening for Belize Screen on the Green will take place on Thursday, March 17. There was not a movie Thursday night.

Protection of The Seabed and Protection of 66 Feet Reserve
The Lands and Surveys Department, through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Immigration, advises the general public that in Pursuant to Section 2 of the National Lands Act, National Land includes the seabed and the 66 feet reserve, which may include riparian forests, beaches, littoral forests and shoals. Therefore, occupation within the above mentioned spaces without permission from the Minister of Natural Resources and Immigration constitutes an offense of unlawful occupation of National Land. The general public is advised that jetties, breakwaters, seawalls, groynes, and over water structures such as piers or wharfs, and any use of the seabed and the 66 feet reserve requires permission from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Immigration. Kindly be advised that the applications for the use of reserves that include mangrove also require a mangrove alteration permit through the Forest Department. The general public is informed that there is an official process for obtaining permission to utilize the seabed or 66 feet reserve in Belize, and takes this opportunity to invite the general public to visit the Lands and Surveys Department Headquarters in Belmopan for more information. From the Commissioner of Lands and Surveys

Three trucks donated to MOH
Three pick-up trucks were handed over this morning to the MCH programme of the MOH in order to further scale up preventive interventions at the community level in family and community health. The vehicles were donated by the IDB through the Salud Mesoamerica Initiative (a public/private initiative with multiple funders) with a total value of $120,000.00. The vehicles were received by health CEO, Dr. Ramon Figueroa and they will be deployed to the Western and Northern Health Regions.

SIPL Storytime Saturdays
It's Children's Month, and the San Ignacio Public Library is having events for local school kids every day. The SIPL will be teaming up with the Belize Raptor Center to bring Storytime Saturdays to the SIPL for the next 6 Saturdays. If you're child is interested sign your child up at the SIPL. Thanks, SIPL, and BRC!

Alexander & Vincent: The Champion & The Pacer!

The National Classification System for Accommodation. Kindly see dates and locations.

Channel 7

Vega’s Vamoose Leaves Vacuum in UDP Executive
It's official, Gaspar Vega has resigned as Deputy Leader of the UDP - and with that he is expected to be replaced as Deputy Prime Minister. Those are the broad strokes of a political story that caught everyone off guard yesterday. At first, there were suggestions that Vega could be making the first move to break up the Barrow Cabinet, but tonight we can report that he is simply walking away, not leading a rebellion. 7news has obtained a copy of his resignation letter to the UDP. Dated Tuesday, March 8th. and addressed to the party chairman, it thanks the party for letting him serve as Deputy Leader for the the last 8 years. It continues, quote, "this opportunity ultimately elevated me to the position of Deputy Prime Minister...for which the most gratifying accomplishment was the successful renegotiation of the Petrocaribe agreement...."

Wife Who Killed Husband Released W/O Charge
On Tuesday, we told you about a domestic dispute in San Pedro that resulted in a wife killing her husband. It happened on Sunday March 6th sometime after 9:00 pm. Rommel and Alida Catzim had been out socializing and got into an argument. That quickly escalated - and Alida stabbed Rommel. She was immediately apprehended. In her statement she alleged self defense. As a result no charges have been laid against her and she has since been released. ACP Desiree Phillips, Officer Commanding Eastern Division North gave us an update today. ASP Desiree Phillips- O C, Eastern North Division: "Due to the circumstance of what the investigation revealed, we had compiled the file and we sent it over to the Director of Public Prosecution. So far she had directed that no charged be levied against the wife of the accused at this time." Emanuel Pech: "In the meantime the wife has been released?" ASP Desiree Phillips- O C, Eastern North Division: "Yes." Emanuel Pech: "Give us an idea of how sensitive the matter is because of the supposed history of domestic violence between these two?"

Alleged Killers Cops Got Course on Proper Care And Custody of Prisoners
But while investigators continue to tread on that matter carefully, in another murder, police were not so hesitant to press charges - even though the accused were cops. On Tuesday police arrested and charged three constables for murder. They are PC Reydel Teck, PC Romelio Logan, PC Jahsimir Cob. In addition to that, Sergeant Raymond Berry, who is being accused of administrative neglect, was placed on interdiction. The men are being accused of carrying out a vicious beat down of San Pedro Bartender Edwin Ixpatac on Thursday last week. The incident occurred while Ixpatac was detained at the San Pedro police station. The next day he was found unconscious in his cell and was later transported to the hospital where he died. A post mortem examination on the body concluded that Ixpatac died as a result of a blow to the head. This comes right after San Pedro police recently participated in a course dealing with the proper Care and Custody of Prisoners. But are these courses working? Today we spoke to Assistant commissioner of Police Desiree Phillips about it.

Cops Have First Suspect For Altun Ha Robbery
Yesterday two men robbed a group of tourists at Altun Ha. It happened between 1 and 2 yesterday afternoon. 8 tourists, including 53 year old German retiree Wolfgang Schupp and 62 year old Deborah Lee Horne were on a cruise to Belize and were being chaperoned by local tour guide Clifford Hoare. Reports are that 6 of the 8 tourists decided to go on a 15 minute hike on a trail that leads to a pond on the same grounds of the archeological site. However when they were about the reach the pond they were accosted by two men. Several items were stolen including a gold necklace and $250 US dollars in different denominations. Now as we told you yesterday, several individuals from around the nearby villages surrounding the archeological site were being taken in for questioning. The update today is that authorities have their first suspect and are preparing to conduct an ID parade to see if they can get a positive ID.

Stann Creek Cops Looking For Killers, One Could Be Escapee
Independence police are looking for 2 men in connection with Duane Logan's murder. They are escaped prisoner Shane Bennett, and Ronald Jaime. Police believe that these two men broke into Logan's home and one of them shot and killed Logan in front of his 4 year old daughter. Police told us they went out to look for Bennett and Jaime yesterday and found camps set up in a Pine Ridge area where they believe these men were hiding. But police haven't found them yet and will keep looking. The incident happened on Saturday March 5th. Logan had just returned home at around 8:00 Saturday night when 2 masked men held him up. One man had a gun and the other had a machete. They forced him inside and demanded money and weed. When he refused, one of the men took his common law wife in the bedroom and forced her to give up some money and jewelry. But that is when she heard a gunshot. As she came out of the room, she saw her husband on the floor dead - he had been shot to the chest. Their 4 year old daughter and 17 year old niece saw everything. We tried to speak with the wife yesterday after the post mortem but she declined.

Staffin Wins, Power Politics At Play
Last week Tuesday, we told you about all those elected to the 6 district chapters of the National Youth Council. But, the race for the Belize District presidency ended in a tie between Stafin Duncan and Micah Goodin. Also in Corozal, the Phillip Wade and Herman Sanchez had the same number of votes for the post of treasurer. So today, the Department of Youth Services held a bi-election in the Belize and Corozal Districts to allow the registered delegates to make a final choice. We stopped by today, and spoke with the Belize District candidates: Shawn Saldano, PR Officer - Dept. of Youth: "Today is the bi-election for both Belize City and Corozal. Belize City, the bi-election is for the president position between Micah Goodin and Stafin Duncan. When we had the district elections on February 29th, they both tied. So today is the election process to try to see which one of them will fit the position of the president for the Belize District Youth Council. Between 9am-10am this morning, we had 24 turnout and between 10:50am we had 7 turnout and this is a total of 31 out of 75 delegates. Bear in mind that Belize City has 92 delegates. In San Pedro, that is where the 17 and the 17 plus the 75 here in Belize gives us a total of 92."

Eco Audit on MBRS says Belize Improving
Every two years, marine conservation groups get together to conduct an eco-audit of the Mesoamerican Reef System. There have been 3 eco-audits done to look at what Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, have done to improve or worsen the health and sustainability of the Barrier Reef. Today, the Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative released the 2016 Eco-Audit, and it shows that once again, Belize has been making incremental progress. In 2014, the audit gave Belize a grade 57%, and this time around, Belize got a 68%. That's still a C, but the experts say that it's a lot to be proud of since Belize remains a trend-setter when it comes to Marine resources management. Here's an excerpt from the presenters on the findings of the Eco-Audit: Dr. Melanie McField - Director, Healthy Reefs for Healthy People: "For this year we have 62% overall. So we are really continuing to get up there. We are still in that fair range. The marine protected areas is high. The research and education is high and the same to private sector and very lowest ones, sewage and sanitation. And that something we are going to talk about more I think in the Belize section where we really need to bring other players to the table, because its not necessarily this set of people that we collaborate with day to day that can fix the sewage and sanitation problems."

Is Belize Reef Doing Ok?
As you heard, the purpose of these assessments is to ensure the long-term viability of the reef system for future generations. But, is Belize's barrier reef actually healthy? Here's how he answered that: Roberto Pott, Belize Coordinator, Healthy Reefs: "There was a global alert towards the end of 2015 and we were concerned that we were going to see some of the same die-offs that we saw in the early 2000 late 90's and so we are happy to report that it wasn't as severe, but we are still continuing to monitor the situation. Climate change is now a reality and we have to be able to monitor the impact that its having and report back to those who could make the decisions to change and make changes." Daniel Ortiz: "What are some of the more prominent threats to the coral system in Belize, the Barrier Reef System?" Roberto Pott, Belize Coordinator, Healthy Reefs: "Well we've seen a lot of fleshly macro agro growth, which is an indicator that we have a lot of nutrients moving into the water that comes from the need for better sewage management, better management of our water sheds. But we are seeing a lot of coastal developments as well and we've had movements with the coastal zone plan and so we need to follow through on that plan. So we are seeing where we understand that there is a need for development and there are issues like global climate change that we can't really addressed locally, but we need to be able to weather the storm and prepare for it."

Southside Strike Nabs A Gun
Police from the Eastern Division South are reporting tonight that they conducted several successful raids which led to the seizures of drugs and a gun, all found in gang territories. The Eastern Division Southside Strike Team moved out just before dawn this morning. The first location they visited was the PIV area. At around 6:30, the Strike Team, along with the Special Branch and K9 Unit searched an abandoned lot on Croton Lane where the K9 detected drugs in the area. When the police did a sweep of the location, they found 757 grams - or just over 1 and a half pounds - of marijuana. The drugs were found inside a plastic bag, stuffed inside a speaker, under a pile of garbage. No one was in the area, and so, it was deposited as found property. About an hour later, the police patrol went to another abandoned lot in the CET Site area. There, the K9 "Bosco" again detected drug. This time they found a black plastic bag containing 152.5 grams - or just over 5 ounces - of compressed marijuana. The officers also discovered a .357 magnum revolver, and since no one was in the area, it was deposited as found property.

DVD Vendor Got Knocked Down In High Speed Police Chase
33 year old Jamal Young, better known as "Bounty," or "DVD guy", was one of two persons who were injured during a high speed chase on Mahogany Street last Saturday. The incident occurred shortly after midday. Young was in the area making some DVD sales when he heard the distinctive sound of gunshots. The peddler said he felt a sharp pain to his left leg and was knocked down by the fleeing vehicle. Police were in hot pursuit of a vehicle that ran a checkpoint. When police finally caught up with the vehicle, they searched it and found nothing more than an expired license. However the accident has left Jamal Young with a broken leg and the other individual, a fast food delivery-man, with injuries to his chest. Now subjected to a wheel chair, Young is at a loss as to how he will maintain his only daughter. He told us about his plight: Victor Young, Father of alleged shooting victim: "From the story that I got, the police were chasing some people in a car. He was on Mahogany Street going about his business and the police were firing shots apparently and the car swerve into him, because they were chasing, knocking his down and he ended up with a broken foot. He have a hole through his foot where the doctor is saying couldn't be caused by the car - could be a bullet that caused it."

Citrus Growers Still Waiting On Payday
Citrus Growers still haven't been paid. The Central Bank Board met yesterday to discuss the 5 million dollar loan from the Heritage Bank to the Citrus Products of Belize. Chairman John Mencias would not comment about it today, but the Citrus Growers association sent a release this afternoon saying, quote, "we have just been informed by CPBL that Heritage Bank is still waiting for 'approval from the Central Bank to release the remaining funds.'" And so, because of this CPBL still can't pay the growers but are holding out hope that they will be able to do so tomorrow. We'll let you know.

The History Of The Bhojawani Debacle
Yesterday we had an extended interview with Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley about the debacle with the Hans and Nandini Bhojwani Foundation. The foundation donated a pair of bandstands for the City - and when those were demolished - they said the city had to somehow compensate them. The city has agreed to do so by placing, or as the case may be "replacing" two signs on Marine Parade, calling it the Bhojwani Promenade. In part two of our interview with the Mayor, we went into our archives to find out more:.. Jules Vasquez reporting The BTL Bandstand and the Battlefield park bandstand - donated in the Zenaida Moya years at a cost of 140 thousand dollars total. They were rubbished a few years later to make way for a new vision of a new park with new big money benefactors - except the mayor never told the old benefactors anything but how much of this has to do your leadership style insofar as when you rubbished the 6:04 two bandstands you were advised. Jules Vasquez: "But how much of this has to do with your leadership style in so far as when you started, when you rubbished the two bandstands, you were advised. I'm saying you were appraised at the time. But at that time you were on "romperajo" timing - we are going ahead building this park and we will do that - we don't care, he donated that to Zenaida - that looks bad - we don't business - next."

Two Men To Jail for Beating
30 year-old Shawn Hemmans and 39 year-old Wilfred Fitzgibbon, both residents of Kings Park in Belize City, are in jail tonight after they were accused of badly beating Justin Flowers. IT happened last week Thursday outside the Wong Gok Restaurant on 6th Street in the Kings Park Area. Flowers was taking a drink outside the restaurant when he was attacked by 3 men. One of them punched him in the face, another struck him in the head with a Belikin bottle. The third man, who remains unidentified, allegedly pulled a piece of wood and clubbed Justin Flowers in the mouth, knocking out several of his teeth. After investigating the report, police arrested and charged both men grievous harm. When they were arraigned today before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza, Ivan Fitzgibbon pleaded guilty. He told the Magistrate that he struck Flowers over the head with the Belikin bottle because Flowers was acting drunk and belligerent.

Child Abusing Pastor Sent Back To Jail By Court of Appeal
Viewers will remember the sensational story back in 2012 in which Julio Cesar Garcia, who was acting the spiritual leader of the Franks Eddy Baptist Church, was accused of having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 11 year-old girl inside the church building. Well, he was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in jail. He appealed his conviction today in the Court of Appeal, and at the end of that hearing, the Judges dismissed his appeal and upheld his conviction. The 11 year-old testified in the Supreme Court trial that on October 28, 2012, and November 1, 2012 Garcia had intercourse with her. He was convinced that he was wrongly accused and convicted, and he hired attorney Oswald Twist to make his case before the Court of Appeal. Twist presented 4 grounds of appeal, including misdirection by the judge. In the end, the judges weren't convinced and upheld the conviction and sentence.

Bar Assoc. Has New President
There's a new president of the bar association. She is Priscilla Banner, and she is joined by Senior Counsel Fred Lumor, who is now the Vice President. Wayne Piper was elected as Secretary, and Jose Alpuche was elected as Treasurer. Also on the executive as Bar Committee Members are DPP Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, Ashanti Arthurs Martin, and Mikhail Arguelles.

Police Trade Pistols For Paint Brushes
Today police officers from the Eastern Division North in Belize City, led by Assistant Superintendent Desiree Phillips, put down their batons and pistols, and picked up paint brushes. The cops were partnering with the Belize City Council and residents to target two known gang areas for community rehabilitation. One of the areas they targeted was an area of Victoria Street. Cops got down and dirty to clean and give the one and only park in that community a much-needed facelift. What is particular about this park is that it was named after 9 year old Joshua Abraham a child who was caught in a crossfire between rival gangs in 2011. We caught up with volunteers today as they got on with the works. The other structure that was targeted is the area near Pink's Alley. Officers along with members of the City Council and even some youths from majestic alley worked together to repaint a portion of City Hall. An old dilapidated wooden structure that has been the target of much graffiti. Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood, Public Relations Officer for the Eastern Division, led the efforts at that site.

A Grand Goal For YES: Ending Youth Violence
"Ending Youth Violence in the country," that was the main topic of discussion during a 2 day workshop with stakeholders including TIDE, PLENTY Belize, POWER, the Child Development Foundation and The Special Olympics. The idea was to train trainers in identifying and intervening in cases of child abuse and child sexual abuse. The program hopes to reach out to parents, medical practitioners, coaches, and just about anybody who comes in contact with youths. We spoke with Karen Cain the Director of the Youth Enhancement Services about the initiative. The workshop was an initiative headed by the Youth Enhancement Service and is being financed by UNICEF.

Women Stronger Than Just Numbers
Tomorrow the second women's empowerment rally will be held and women and men from all over the country are invited. Now they expect to get that full 20 thousand strong, but today organizer Anne Marie Williams told us that it's about more than just numbers. The Rally moves off from the Memorial Park at 8:00 am and moves over to the Marion Jones Stadium for the rally. The rally ends at 12:30. Now some may criticize that this movement changes nothing - thousands of women standing around listening and cheering on uplifting speeches is not enough. Williams agrees that so much more needs to be done but that this movement is the step in the right direction. When we discuss women empowerment - abuse and domestic violence comes to mind - cases like Maria Candelaria Chacon and Alida Catzim are brought into sharp focus. Williams says the rally will address this issue, but that above all - there needs to a shift in social conditioning.

Chinese Vendor Critical After Ruthless Robbery
A Chinese grocer in Orange Walk Town is in critical condition after he was badly beaten last night. It happened during a robbery and officer commanding, Superintendent Selwyn Tillett told us more:.. "One of them went behind the counter at the cash register where he helped himself to about approximately $1,000 Belize currency cash in different denominations. Whilst the other went to the back of the shop where Jian Ping Wong was and hot him with a handgun several times to the head. Last night about 7:50pm Orange Walk police visited the Northern Regional Hospital emergency room where one Jian Ping Wong a Belizean Chinese man, owner of A & A Store located at corner Arthur Street in Orange Walk Town, was seen suffering with 4 deep cut wounds to the top of the head."

A Place for Pickups
As a part of the Meso America 2015 project to enhance maternal and neonatal health services in the region, the Ministry of health today received two brand new Ford Ranger pickups. The original budget was for one vehicle for the maternal and child health sector. But with a little bit of sourcing, the Ministry was able to purchase of two more. Health CEO Dr. Ramon Figueroa told us more. The project is an initiative funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Aziatic, Back To His Roots
Veteran Punta Rocker Aziatic, who has a career spanning almost 15 years, has been hard at work on his latest project. This time around he's departing from his usual albums, and he's putting the finishing touches on an all - Paranda CD titled, automATIC. Today, the Belizean American artist and told us that one of the tracks is a song he collaborated on with the late Andy Palacio: But, Aziatic says that he's reached a point in his career in which he can finally give back to the Belizean community. He's set up a sort of scholarship fund to provide at risk youths with an incentive to stay in school:

A Festival Flourish
And some potential recipients can be found right at the Preschool festival of the arts. The Belize District kids had their turn on the stage at the Bliss Center again last night. We leave you with that this evening - do join us back here tomorrow, I am Courtney Weatherburne and thanks for watching:..

Channel 5

Minister Gaspar Vega Won’t Run in OW North Again
It is confirmed. U.D.P. power-broker, financier and three term area representative Gaspar Vega is getting out of politics, or at least that’s what it looks like. The rumors started circulating [...]

Why Did He Resign?
There’s no smoking gun in Vega’s letter but there’s no doubt a cannon has been fired somewhere by somebody. Speculation is roaming wild and free. Did Vega resign because he [...]

2 Men Detained for Altun Ha Tourist Jacking
At around one Wednesday afternoon the majesty and mystery of the Altun Ha Archaeological site was shattered by the reality of crime in Belize. Six tourists off a cruise ship [...]

Police Say They Didn’t Shoot ‘Bounty.’ So who did?
The unintentional shooting of self-employed DVD salesman Jamal Young, presumably by officers in pursuit of a fleeing vehicle, remains a whodunit mystery; at least within the Belize Police Department.  That’s [...]

GSU Denies Involvement in Pursuit
According to Commander Mark Flowers, the Gang Suppression Unit did not engage the suspects being pursued.  In fact, they only came to the aid of the responding officers before carrying [...]

Additional Charges Brought Against Illegal Guatemalan Farmers
Fifty-one-year-old Francisco Torres Sucup and fifty-six-year-old Luis Diaz Alballeros, both Guatemalan nationals, have been charged for possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.  Sucup, who was shot below the left [...]

Questions Still Circulating over Bartender’s Murder
Traditionally, the role of Police Officers is to protect and serve, but instead three Police Officers from San Pedro are actually accused of beating bartender Edwin Ixpatac so badly, he [...]

No Charges for Woman Who Stabbed and Killed Her Husband
On Sunday, forty-three year old Rommel Catzim was stabbed to death by his Guatemalan wife Alida Catzim in San Pedro. The couple had allegedly been socializing earlier and got into [...]

D.O.E. Analyzes Silt Situation in Southern Foreshore
For weeks now, there has been a build-up of silt in the area of Southern Foreshore in the Belize City Harbor. It’s an eyesore for an area that is traditionally [...]

Belize City Has Record Murder Low
Unofficially, there have been twenty-eight murders in 2016 – fourteen in January, ten in February and four so far for March. That’s a record-setting trend when compared to 2014 and [...]

Pastor’s Sentence for Sexual Offences Upheld by Appeal Court
A self-proclaimed pastor who was convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with a young girl saw his appeal dismissed and his conviction and sentence affirmed by the Justices of the Court [...]

Retiree Faces Serious Jail Time
A sixty-one year old retiree, James Parks is looking to spend a number of years behind bars for breaching a protection order to stay away from his ex-common-law wife, burglary, [...]

Y.E.S. Explores Ending Violence Against Children
Every day and in many forms, children endure acts of violence. The lack of awareness of the epidemic is a huge concern for agencies that want to build the confidence [...]

Mesoamerican Eco-Audit Launched
Healthy Reefs for Healthy People…an eco-audit is ongoing to determine how far Belize is in respect of a number of reef management measures. The launch of the audit took place [...]

Eastern Division North Cleans Up the Community
Today, key members of the Eastern Division put down their guns and batons, picked up paintbrushes and weed-whackers and got to work. It’s a cleanup timed to coincide with Women’s [...]

Aziatic Touches Down in Belize
Son of Hopkins Vince Lewis, popularly known as Belizean artist Aziatic and the man behind the punta song Chatty Chatty, touched down in Belize today. Aziatic has been working along [...]

U.S.-based Urban Management Meets with Belizean Artists
Meanwhile, Tour Manager and C.E.O. of U.S.-based Urban Management is also in Belize. He’s Belizean American Jeff Christie, whose company focuses on providing high-quality industry services and artist management services [...]

Healthy Living: Gender Equity in Health
International Women’s Day was celebrated on March eighth.  The achievements and the important role that women play in our society are underscored throughout the entire month of March.  Gender equity [...]


Vega Remains In Cabinet But Will Not Seek Elections, UDP Confirms
News that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture Honorable Gaspar Vega would no longer seek reelection as Area Representative for Orange Walk North considered in the past as a sure seat for the UDP, spread like wild yesterday evening just before news time. And while the rumor mill continued to churn up until this morning, right before 10:00am the United Democratic Party issued a press release where they confirmed that First Deputy Party Leader Vega, via a letter dated March 8th, 2016, informed the Party of his decision not to stand again for his Orange Walk North seat in the next General Elections. In the letter addressed to the Party Secretariat Vega states that in view of this early notification of his retirement from electoral politics at the end of the current term, he feels it is right that he not continue as First Deputy Party Leader of the UDP.

Vega Refuses Endorsement For Deputy Party Leader
So why did the head honcho of the north decide to practically end his political career at a time when….according to the grape vines of the party…….he was thinking about contesting the post of leadership of the party? Well….so far there are only speculations and nothing is concrete as the UDP release does not state why Vega took such a drastic decision and why is it that the party decided to accept his retirement in such haste if he is so valuable to the UDP. What we can tell you is that reports are that in his letter to the Party Secretariat Vega states that “It has been established that the party in taking the position of not having another biennial convention for another four years. Because of this position and the fact that I will not be a candidate in the next General Elections, I am convinced that the proper thing to do is to withdraw my application for Deputy Party Leader in the upcoming biennial convention.” Reports are that Vega’s problems commenced when he was removed as Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment and his portfolio was given to appoint Minister Godwin Hulse. Vega was then named Minister of Agriculture. Right after that Vega and Hulse began having office problems. Vega is said to have refused to give up his office at the Natural Resources building, which also houses the Ministry of Agriculture.

Chinese Businessman Attacked At Gun Point, He Clings To Life
A local Chinese businessman is tonight clinging to life at the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital after he sustained several head injuries at the hand of robbers who burglarized his grocery shop at gunpoint. The incident transpired sometime around 7:50 last night while local businessman, Jian Ping Rong and his wife, Xiao Hui Li, were preparing to close their establishment located at the corner of Arthur and Progress Street in Orange Walk Town. The owners of A&A supermarket were approached by two male individuals who had their faces covered with rags; the men who were both armed with a handgun forced themselves into the grocery shop and held the proprietors at gunpoint. Once inside the building one of the men proceeded to empty the cash register of about one thousand dollars in cash while the second robber pistol whipped Jian Ping Rong causing four deep cut wounds to the top of his head. The men then made good their escape through the front door of the establishment. Superintendent Selvin Tillett told our news team about the investigations behind the burglary and assault:

More Witnesses Takes The Stand On Osmar Sabido's Case
Today at 10:00 am the case of the crown versus Osmar Sabido resumed at the Orange Walk Chapter of the Supreme Court. Osmar Sabido who is now 30 years of age is being tried for the murder of his girlfriend in an incident that occurred on February 28th, 2011. The Prosecution which is being represented by attorneys Javier Chan, Shanidi Chell and Jaime Burns, today called two witnesses to the stand, namely Eugenio Gomez, Forensic Analyst who was in charge of the case of Christie Carrasco. Gomez was called as an expert witness to present his findings on trace evidence found on items pertaining to the case that were submitted to his lab. Gomez was asked by the prosecution to describe his findings on several items, including the clothes being worn by Osmar Sabido at the time of the incident and the knife believed to have been used to inflict the fatal wounds to Christie Carrasco, to which the forensic analyst attested that his analysis had positively determined that the clothes and knife contained trace evidence of human blood but that his lab was unable to determine any DNA from the blood found on the time.

Farmers Of San Carlos Gets Ready To Harvest Their Product, Will They Be Able To Sale In Local Market?
Yesterday in our newscast we told you about the farmers of San Carlos Village in Orange Walk who are receiving assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture as well as from the Belize Marketing and Development Corporation with the aim of protecting the agriculture industry, as farmers are currently preparing to harvest and sell their products in the local market. That is expected to take place two weeks from now and while the Ministry of Agriculture is trying to control the issuing of license to sell vegetables as well as the rate of contraband so as to protect the local production of onions, the Ministry of Agriculture has also decided to take measures to address issues concerning the storage of the crop so that farmers are not compelled to sell their produce in a hurry. Fulton Barry Palacio – District Agriculture Coordinator, Corozal: “We are looking directly at production and productivity, the issue of storage that is the other trust that the ministry is pushing in that we feel that as if we strengthened local production then the issue of storage will come up and we want that farmers will be able to storage their produce so that there is no need to rush to sell their products because as it is right now selling fresh is perishable and they could suffer high masses if the prices become saturated so for the market not to be saturated we need to look at production, stage or phase so that there isn’t that overlap.”

Patchakan Celebrates Their Culture And History
This past Saturday members of Jacobs Farm Rehabilitation Centre in the Corozal District carried out their first community outreach program….Patchakan Park Day. The purpose of the event was to highlight the Village’s culture at the same time discovering new talents. Nurse Adela Peterson: “We’ve called this event the Patchakan Park Day, because it is being placed in the park at Patchakan and what we are doing is we are revitalizing the community to come together in one spirit and also to showcase the talent of the people of Patchakan, we did communicate with the House of Culture and they were very instrumental in supporting us so that we could have a successful event today, however we looking forward to collaborate with the different entities that are out there to make this a very vibrant community in the future.”

Re: Today's Belize News: March 11, 2016 [Re: Marty] #512320
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UDP Accepts Vega’s Resignation as First Deputy
With just about ten years in the political arena, Gaspar Vega is hanging up his hat as a politician as he has made it clear that he will not be seeking re-election in the 2020 General Elections. His decision to not only give up the Orange Walk North division but also to step down as […]

Ministry of Culture Comments on Robbery of Tourists
Yesterday we told you of the traumatic experience had by six German and American tourists who came off a cruise ship and were on a trip to the Altun Ha Maya Temple in the Belize District. They were approached by two armed men and stripped of their assets. Today, the Ministry of Culture commented on […]

Youth Council Bi-Election for President and Treasurer
The Department of Youth Services held their bi- elections for the National District Youth Council. The previous elections saw two ties, one for President of the Belize District and Treasurer for the Corozal District. Polls were opened since nine o’clock this morning and a short while ago. The National Youth Council is a youth governance […]

Citrus Loan Still Pending Approval from Central Bank; CBL Allocates Monies for Last Week’s Payroll
Citrus Growers have still not received payment as yet, however, it appears there might be some good news. A release from the Belize Citrus Growers Association states that they were informed by CPBL that Heritage Bank is still waiting for approval from the Central Bank to release the remaining funds. CBL however has indicated that […]

Low Carbon Initiatives Launched
Belize is a supporter and signatory of several high-level international agreements relevant to the integration of sustainable development in national policy and planning and the fight against climate change. In keeping with that commitment the South Pole Group was tasked in putting together a publication of policies and strategies for Belize to continue the efforts […]

OAS Mission Presents Report on Belize’s 2015 Election
Belize held its general elections in November 2015 with an observation mission from the Organization of American States being in-country taking note of the entire process including the operations at the poll stations as well as the counting of the ballots. Four months later, that OAS observation mission has finalized its report which was presented […]

Rural North Farmers Market Produce to Islands
Fruit and vegetable farmers are working with members of the Belize Tourism Industry Association of Belize City, San Pedro and Caye Caulker to put together a plan of action that will seek to have the farmers, specifically from the villages of Maskall, Bomba and Naggo Bank, market their produce to the islands. Area representative Edmond […]

Shop Keeper Believes Neighbors Burnt Down His Home
Augustin ‘Aboo’ Ramos is a resident of Hattiville who owns a small grocery store in his community. On Tuesday night, Ramos woke up to someone at his door telling him that his shop was on fire. Ramos managed to put out the fire before it engulfed the entire building. Love News visited Ramos today and […]

The Guardian

Third raise for teachers and public officers and No tax increase in budget
ve general elections victory. And as had been agreed to with the unions three years ago, the teachers and public officers, all 12 thousand of them will receive their third salary increase in as many years. “The outlay on Wages and Salaries remains the single largest component of Expenditure, and at $374 million for FY 2015/2016 it is responsible for 42 percent of Current Expenditure, which is reflecting of the compounding impact of the multi-year salary adjustment package agreed with the Unions,” stated the P.M. Salary increases began for public officers in 2014 when they received a 6 percent salary increase. Last year they received an 8 percent salary increase in July which was retroactive to April as well as an additional 2% increase which officers received based on merit. The PM said that in effect the third raise will see a cumulative 25 percent salary increase for public officers over the last three years if the annual increments were to also be added in. And while public officers will be receiving their salary increase, PM Barrow was very clear when he explained that government was going against requests to increase the tax base through changes in GST. He explained that, “the technocrats spoke to us about GST, about moving from zero rated to taxable, about moving from exempt to full taxable.

BDF and drug dealers have confrontation in Chiquibul - one man is shot
There was hostile contact between the Belize Defence Force Soldiers and 2 Guatemalan men inside the Chiquibul National Park. BDF soldiers had to shoot a man in self defence because he was firing at them. It happened on Thursday, March 3 in an area of the Chiquibul known as “Cebada”. On a recent fly-over reconnaissance mission, the BDF and the Friends for Conservation and Development spotted several new marijuana plantations popping up along the Western Border, inside Belizean territory. Several BDF soldiers and FCD rangers went in on Thursday on foot, and they managed to destroy 2 of these plantations without incident. When they were traveling through the area, they ended up spotting a third which had a thatched hut on it. This location was about 600 meters in Belizean territory. The law enforcement team approached this hut and they heard the sound of voices coming from inside. The joint-patrol members then had to take cover after someone fired a handgun from inside. They then identified themselves as law enforcement, and fired a shot in the air as warning to these persons. A few moments later, a man reportedly came running out of the hut, and he was armed with a 9mm pistol. That man took aim at the BDF and fired another shot, and that’s when the soldiers were forced to respond with gunfire.

3 San Pedro cops charged with murder
Three San Pedro police officers are on remand at the Belize Central Prison after they were arraigned for the murder of Edwin Ixpatac, 29. The arrests came after investigators reviewed surveilance footage which contained sufficient evidence for police to file charges against three of their own. Ixpatac is a resident of the Cayo District who left his home to seek employment opportunities in San Pedro after his daughter was born four years ago. He has been working on the island as a bartender over the last couple years with his most recent post being at the Holiday Hotel. According to police, on Thursday night, March 3, they received a call from the security guard at Banyan Bay Resort who complained that someone was swimming in the water nearby and behaving disorderly. When the officers arrived, they tried to take him out of the water but he refused. It is not clear what followed but there is enough evidence to suggest that somewhere between the resort and the police station officers delivered a beating to Ixpatac. He was not taken to the San Pedro Poly Clinic until Friday when officers found him unconscious in the cell. Ixpatac died as result of head injuries sustained from a blunt instrument on Monday, March 7.

Deputy = National Deputy?
On Wednesday morning we tried to pull the tongue of a PUP insider and a Johnny/Cordel loyalist, to see if we could have gotten him to answer a question that has been bothering us ever since we heard of the new title of National Deputy. However now we have even more questions after we heard his take on the situation. Now this said gentleman is a ranking PUP so we believe we were speaking to an intelligent fellow who was in the know. Our first question to the gentleman was, what is a National Deputy and is it different from a Deputy? Well after he tried to lead us up a dark trail with some strange nonsense he finally said that the National Deputy was like the captain of a football team who directs plays on the field because the coach is not on the field. By this time we knew we had this fellow just where we wanted, but we decided since we had him cornered we would ask another question.

National Heroes and Benefactors Day Wreath Laying
The National Heroes and Benefactors day wreath laying ceremony took place on Monday March 7th with much pump and circumstance. Formerly celebrated as Baron Bliss Day on March 9, every year in commemoration of the great benefactor Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss, the holiday was changed to include our National Heroes George Cadle Price and Philip Stanley Wilberforce Goldson. On hand for this year’s wreath laying ceremony were, Belize’s Governor General Sir Colville Young, Cabinet Secretary Mr. Carlos Perdomo, Minister Elodio Aragon Jr., NICH President Dianne Haylock, and other dignitaries of the diplomatic corp. It was a beautiful and solemn ceremony which lasted a little under one hour. Sir Colville Young and Mr. Carlos Perdomo each laid a wreath on the Baron’s Grave while Minister Aragon and Ms. Dianne Haylock place a wreath in front of Mr. Goldson and Mr. Price’s portraits respectively.

Benque Viejo archaeological reserve opened
Benque Viejo del Carmen now has a new attraction at its center, with the opening of the Benque Viejo Archaeological Reserve on Thursday of last week. Once a suburb of the nearby flourishing Xunantunich City State, which existed around 700 A.D, the just opened Maya site may have once been the home of an elite leader or warrior; that gathered significant tribute last week with the presence of Ambassadors from Mexico, Guatemala, Canada, Britain and Brazil. Master of ceremony for the opening was Dr. Allan Moore, Associate Director of the Institute of Archaeology, who welcomed all the guests and attendees. At the start of the ceremony, the National Anthem was played by the Benque Marimba Academy from the Benque House of Culture. During the ceremonies, Mayor of Benque Viejo, Hilberto Ramcharan accredited the efforts of Subrata Basu, a US Peace Corps volunteer, who had worked tirelessly for a period of three years to preserve the Maya site. Dr. John Morris, the Director of Archaeology also spoke on Thursday of last week, giving a background to the Benque site and remarked that much effort had gone into making it a central attraction.

Chan Pine Ridge Fair revived
This weekend the village of Chan Pine Ridge in the Orange Walk District was the venue for the Chan Pine Ridge Agri-Cultural and Trade Fair. This fair was started by Mr. Valerio Torres back in 1966 in his farm named Amelia’s Farm. The main events held back then was trading of livestock and agricultural produce as well as horse-racing. It was subsequently moved to the larger Chan Pine Ridge community grounds as it grew over the years. It had stopped for a period of four years and the started again and had been losing its steam which resulted in another pause in 2015. The Area representative for Orange Walk East, Honorable Elodio Aragon Jr., in whose area Chan Pine Ridge falls saw the importance of this fair and decided to revive it along with a committee from the village. So it was that the Chan Pine Ridge 6th of March Committee took on the challenge of putting together a fair like no other ever seen in Chan Pine Ridge. It started on Saturday 5th of March with sporting activities which lasted well into the night. On Sunday it was the official ceremonies which were immediately preceded by a display by the Corozal Community College marching band. After brief speeches by invited guests including Ministers Elodio Aragon and Omar Figueroa, the cultural presentations took center stage. Several cultural groups decked out in colorful cultural garbs performed dances reminiscent of yester-year.

More Infrastructural Upgrades for 2016
The first General Revenue Appropriation Bill of Belize’s only three term Prime Minister was entitled “Stability in a Time of Change”. The budget is more conservative than those of recent years – not because Government cannot afford bold ventures but because there is too much uncertainty ahead. Questions are left to be answered such as how will the sugar industry fair in the changing market; how will the citrus and aquaculture industry rebound from disease; how will the financial sector be affected in the long term by derisking exercises; what does the future hold for the PetroCaribe Initiative and what will be the payment ordered by the court for acquisition of Belize Telemedia Limited, among others. Despite these uncertainties, Government’s infrastructure program continues with $191.9 million budgeted for Capital Expenditure for 2015-2016. Government is proposing to allocate $191.9 million for infrastructure projects in the upcoming fiscal year. According to Prime Minister Barrow, $93.4 million will be locally funded Capital II expenditure and $95.9 million in externally funded Capital III expenditure. “The bulk of our capital program will be allocated toward the upgrading of highways, roads, streets and drains across the country to improve transportation and to make the road network more resilient to extreme climatic changes.”

19th running of La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge
The male team from Koop Sheet Metal was declared on Monday the overall winner of the 19th running of La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge as they made their swift entrance into Belize City. Their total time paddling in the waters of the 170 mile stretch of Macal and Belize River during four consecutive days was 17 hours, eight minutes and 16 seconds, followed behind by only a few minutes at their ending point in Belize City by BTL Cobbs Arm, and Belize Bank Bulldogs, which ranked third place. Champions from Koops Sheet Metal, Henry Cruz, Jerry Canto and Jerry Rhaburn were awarded on Monday evening in Belize City for their well deserved efforts. Some 61 teams of canoeists sped off over the higher than normal Macal River, under the Hawkesworth Bridge in San Ignacio Town at exactly 7:00 am on Friday and at the signaling of a sounding device at the hands of a Belize Defense Force solider. As they made their way downriver to the lower lying wooden bridge, some boats would flip, leaving others to win station prizes along the waterway, which was once used by the Mayas for transport and later on by the various early Belize settlements. Just a night before at the Cayo Welcome Center, an event was held to prepare the paddlers for their long four day journey, from San Ignacio to Banana Bank on Friday (60 miles), from Banana Bank to Double Head Cabbage on Saturday (49 miles), from Double Head Cabbage to Henderson’s Bank on Sunday (36 miles) and their final and shortest journey from Henderson’s Bank to Belize City on Monday (25 miles). Present to lay the foundation for the race at the Cayo Welcome Center on Thursday night was the Hon. Elodio Aragon, Minister of State for Youth, Sports and Culture, who had a special message for young people.

Increase in Social Security pension payments
Come April of this year, persons who have contributed to the Social Security Board and are currently receiving a pension from the institution will receive a 5% increase in their pensions. That increase will see 8 thousand pensioners with the SSB benefit. According to the Social Security Board’s chairman, Douglas Singh, effective April 2016, there will be a 5% increase to pensioners who have contributed to the Social Security Board. Singh says that there are recommendations for an additional 5% increase for April of 2017 but that cannot be done without a change in the wage bands and in order for that to take place there needs to be consultations with the business sector as well as labor representatives in order to have consensus on the matter.

Second National Women Empowerment Rally
It has now been 21 years since the first world conference on women was held in Beijing, China in 1995 and women around the world continue to face some of the same challenges that were identified at that historic assembly. Equal pay for equal work; greater representation at the national decision making table; sexual, psychological and physical abuse; lack of employment opportunities; poor sexual and reproductive healthcare in rural communities and wide scale sexual exploitation are only some of the injustices that continue to plague women in Belize and across the globe. There have been gains in these areas but progress has been slow. This is why women around the world have decided to make a “Pledge for Parity” in celebration of International Women’s Day 2016. Here in Belize, women empowerment activists are celebrating IWD16 by organizing a massive rally on Friday, February 10. The second 20,000 STRONG women empowerment rally will take place at the Marion Jones Stadium this Friday. According to Kim Simplis-Barrow, Special Envoy for Women and Children, “The 20,000 STRONG rally is a women’s movement geared towards empowering and celebrating women. It’s a renewal of the commitment to women by women. It’s a movement with a mission to ignite change in our society; change in how we think about women, change in how we feel about women, change in how we treat women and change in how women see themselves.”

World Women’s Day observed in Belize
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. That’s a book written by American author and relationship counselor John Gray back in 1993. Many of us, depending on who you chose to debate, would believe and go out on a limb to say that men are better than women and vice versa. Those are “fight” talks and could very well lead to hours of heated conversation. If women are indeed from Venus, then for a day, let’s all be citizens of Venus in joining the women of Belize and the world in celebrating world women’s’ day. World Women’s day is celebrated annually worldwide on March 8th and Belize celebrated this important day under the theme “Make It Happen.” In a Facebook video post Belize’s first lady and Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis Barrow said “Let’s keep the momentum building, so that one day our daughters and their daughters can live in a world where there’s no limits on their dreams or obstacles to their achievements.”

Domestic dispute leads to homicide in San Pedro
There was another domestic incident, less than 3 days after the Belmopan murder of Maria Candelaria Chacon. That tragedy occuredwhen a San Pedro man was stabbed to death by his wife. The incident happened on Sunday March 6, sometime after 9 p.m. in the San Pedrito area of the island. 34-year-old Rommel Benedicto Catzim, and his wife, 45 year-old Guatemalan Alida Catzim, had recently moved to a new apartment, but police say that they were known to have a history of domestic incidents. It is uncertain why the two fought on Sunday night, but residents tell the press that the couple had been drinking. They had an argument which escalated quickly when Alida Catzim allegedly pulled a knife and stabbed Romel Catzim to death.

Guatemalan woman found with drugs
Benque Viejo Police were at the Belize Western Border at the Customs Check Point arrival section on Tuesday of this week when their attention was drawn to a Hispanic descent female wearing a grey and white blouse, long black pants, who was carrying a black and purple hand bag with logo BELCORP acting in a suspicious manner. A female Custom Officer retrieved a black plastic bag from inside the BELCORP hand bag and handed it over to the Police, who opened it in the presence of the female. Found inside the hand bag was a transparent plastic bag that contained suspected cannabis seeds. It was shown to the female where she was informed of the offence and cautioned.

Man kills his wife in Belmopan
Belmopan Police have arrested and charged 35 year-old Jaird Jeremais Guerra, a resident of Panama Street, for the murder of his common-law wife, 45 year-old Maria Candelaria Chacon. At this time, police strongly suspect that they had a domestic dispute which led to Guerra chopping Chacon, a mother of 8, to death inside their home. It happened at around 5:30 a.m. on Friday, March 4 at the couple’s home in the Salvapan Area of the City of Belmopan. Neighbours were awoken by the shouts and screams between Chacon and Guerra. Chacon had reportedly been the victim of domestic abuse from her common-law husband in the past, and so, the neighbours suspected that it had been one other such instance. That’s until they saw Guerra emerge from the room, grabbed a machete, ran back inside, and locked the door.

Millionaire’s son cleared of drug charge
One of the heirs to the Roe fortune, Bradley Roe, was in trouble with the law after he was allegedly busted with cocaine near the Ramada Princess Hotel on January. However, the 25-year-old was cleared of the charge on Thursday, March 3, when test results were presented to the court which revealed that the substance was negative for cocaine and heroine. The forensic examination was conducted by the Forensic Laboratory in Ladyville. With that, the prosecutor in the case, Sgt. Claude Pitts, informed Magistrate Carlon Mendoza that he was withdrawing the charge since he had no case without a positive result. Magistrate Mendoza then told Roe that he was free to go. On Sunday, January 3, Police Constable Allan Domingo responded to a report and visited the Ramada Hotel and Casino where onboard a vessel “Charlie 22013” he saw a Hispanic male later identified as Bradley Roe. He was wearing a navy blue shirt, long blue jeans and slippers. PC Domingo approached and informed him that he will conduct a search for illegal drugs and firearm.

San Ignacio Police find 135 pounds of weed and shotgun
A vigilant San Ignacio Police Quick Response Team along with personnel from the Tourism Police Unit, were conducting mobile patrols on the Benque Viejo Road, Cayo District on Saturday of this past weekend when they came upon drugs and a gun. Both teams were making checks in an area known as the San Francisco Road just off the George Price Highway at about 3:15 am, whereupon two male persons dressed in dark clothing were seen in some nearby bushes. However; both men upon seeing the Police, quickly ran off. Checks were made in the immediate area where both persons were initially seen, which led to the discovery of two large parcels in black plastic bag, each wrapped with transparent tape. Both parcels were opened where it was observed that each contained some green leafy substance consistent with being cannabis.

More weed caught in Orange Walk
In last week’s issue of the Guardian Newspaper, we reported on 2 separate marijuana busts made by Orange Walk police. The cops followed up with their crackdown and made another on the National Heroes and Benefactors Day. Acting on Special Branch Intelligence, Orange Walk police intercepted a motorcycle on Monday, March 7, at around 7:45. There were 2 persons on the motorbike, and they were later identified as 35 year-old Genaro Pot and 51 year-old Fortunato Coye. As soon as they spotted the cops, they sped off down Princess Diana Street in Orange Walk Town. The police set chase and managed to catch them before they got far. When the police searched the motorbike, they found 2.26 kilograms - or almost 5 pounds - of marijuana. The officers then detained both men, seized the drugs and escorted them back to the Orange Walk Police Station.

Duck Run
A short story by Kesha Peyrefitte. We living in an urban-bush ghetto, so the canal-breathing, London Bridge walking Belize City slickers don’t have to throw salt in our face and tease we with backwards names like ‘bushy’. We have plenty killings in our little village too. South-siders, we hear, call we village, ‘Little South Side’ and shake them head proudly for it’s our village this month that make Belize the third most dangerous country in the world. This month, there were ten murders in we urban bush ghetto; we belly plenty full with all the wake and funeral food. We had a grand time playing feech and commenting on which girl now ripe for the picking. Me and my best friend Bigs had a hell of a laugh discussing lucky number three under a cohune shed, we name ‘Food Court’, that sell fast food all week round. “You think the tourist magazines go say that in them article? Come to sunny Belize for snorkelling, cave-tubing, zip-lining and a bullet to your brain!” I chimed. “Maybe they go blog about it.” Now, know this about my best friend Bigs. They call him Bigs because he easy 6 feet and change tall and he plenty wide too. Some call him Big Black since he as black as he big. Nobody think to cross him ‘cause he could crush you like a concas.’ And is probably them same big hands that get him plenty females. I see the way he do it. He go in for the kill, by leaning him face in and soon, he rope in the girls and they eating out his hand, laughing like is the first time they flirting.

The budget presentation on Tuesday 8 March gave rise to much discussions on the talk shows this morning, especially at PUPS TV in Belmopan. I was watching them a little while and noticed that the usual demagoguery is fully back into play. Wade did not have his regular co-host today, but he had bob and weave Torres, which resulted in significant losses to Smart since the latter did not need to call in to the show, being on it and all. After tuning in, I set the timer on my phone and in 3 minutes 18 seconds flat Don Silva broke his protracted silence and phoned in to make his usual irrelevant and dim comments. No one listens to or cares about Silva’s opinions anymore, if they ever did. He has turned himself into a windbag; full of obsolete ideas and observations. I can’t even offer criticism on what he said this morning since frankly I don’t even recall what he said. Owner and main host Wade was in his usual attack mode, which today centered on the Auditor General. I submit that this gentleman is on a relentless crusade against all which the United Democratic Party has done, is doing and plans to do, and has allowed this fixation to gain control of his life. Mr. Wade is so filled with rancor for the UDP that he freely throws around disrespect and ridicule on Public Servants who are simply engaged in the administration of our country’s affairs. To him, no Government employee is doing his or her job properly if the job is not done his way.

The failure of public schools
Education can be defined as “the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.” This seems like a basic foundation for what the public education system should be. It certainly would be nice if our public schools taught us general knowledge, helped us develop the powers of reasoning and judgment, and prepared us intellectually for a mature life. Unfortunately, they do none of these things. Currently, the education system accomplishes three things: teaching us irrelevant information, preparing us for the bureaucracy of the college system, and destroying our intellectual curiosity. The saying “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten” is not far off. As students approach high school, the information they learn goes from necessary, like addition, to slightly applicable, like intermediate geometry (while I may use the Pythagorean theorem sometime in my life, I have yet to encounter that time), to just plain unnecessary. For example, sophomore year we were taught the law of cosines, which allows us to find the length of one side of a triangle when we are given the degree of the opposite angle and the length of the other two sides.

Million dollar baby Gismael Aban returns home after life saving surgery
After just over 2 and a half months in Richmond, Virginia, in which he was gifted with life-saving medical treatment, Newborn Gismael Aban, who’s parents are from the Corozal District, is back home in Belize. He was in danger of losing his life due to a birth defect called esophageal atresia. Its a medical condition in which he was born without the tube which connects the mouth to the stomach. Normally, according to the medical experts, this condition causes newborn infants to die a slow painful death in which the baby chokes on his/her saliva. The other situation is that the infant starves to death because he or she cannot ingest food, and therefore cannot consume nutrients. He arrived on Saturday, March 5 at the PGIA to an emotional homecoming. His parents were visibly relieved that their son’s life had been saved. This sort of medical intervention was estimated at approximately 1 million dollars in travel and medical expenses. Gismael Aban’s life was saved, completely expense free. The doctors provided the service pro-bono.

Kitchen at the Octavia Waight Center in San Ignacio Town blessed
A newly completed kitchen at the Octavia Waight Center in San Ignacio Town was blessed by religious leaders over the weekend. Roman Catholic Lay Minister Lawrence Mangar blessed the kitchen on Sunday of this past weekend stating that the work can only be continued with nourishment by the Lamb of God. “The Son of man came not to serve, but to be served,” he said. The Octavia Waight Center kitchen took about six months to complete at a cost of $100,000.00 with funds having largely been raised in partnership with the Gobie Foundation. As it now stands, the kitchen is fully furnished with stainless steel refrigerators, two large stoves, mixers and other equipment. Both the Builder’s Hardware and Benny’s Store also contributed to the kitchen that will now serve our elderly Belizeans.

Progressive Party’s Scanty Protest
How did the Belize Progressive Party make news on Tuesday night? Must have been a very slow news day for every media house in the country to waste time covering 44 people masquerading near the National Assembly building. Robert Lopez, National Campaign Manager of the BPP, said buses came from across the country for a protest on the steps of the National Assembly on Tuesday because “we have lost the Sarstoon. Next we lose Toledo and soon we lose our country.” Lopez and company makes Chicken Little looks like the cooler head in the room. Pseudo-nationalists in the Progressive Territorial Volunteers Party, or whatever it is they call themselves, organized a protest on the most important parliamentary day for the country. On Tuesday, March 8, Prime Minister Barrow introduced the first Budget of this administration. It is a day on which all attention should be focused on the economic health of the nation. There are threats to the economy such as the termination of correspondent relationships with local banks, evolving markets for king crops such as citrus and sugar, crisis in the global petroleum industry and the cost of coping with Climate Change, just to name a few. The people of Belize want to know what is the Prime Minister’s plan to tackle these threats, real threats. Instead, the Belize Progressive Party managed to turn the media’s attention to a non-existent threat.

PUP debt versus UDP debt
It never gets old to compare the debt which has been accumulated both by the past PUP administrations and the current UDP administrations. In his budget presentation the Prime Minister disclosed as much stating that, “at the end of 2015 the external public debt stood at $2.352 billion or 66 percent of estimated GDP, while Government’s total domestic obligations were $0.494 billion or 13 percent of estimated GDP. Total public debt, then, external and domestic, stood at 79 percent of GDP.” He continued explaining that interest payments were met covering $92.7 million, being 10 percent of projected recurrent revenue. He added that $86 million of existing debt was retired through principal repayments. This year he said, “servicing the public debt is projected to cost $100.0 million or about 10 cents of every dollar in recurrent revenue collected by Government.” That is in comparison to 17 cents of every recurrent dollar which went to debt servicing under the last year of the PUP administration. Comparatively it is 40% less in payments. Additionally the public debt as a percentage of GDP has shrunk by 15 percent, from 92 percent of GDP in 2008, to 79 percent today.

Life inside the PUP
During the past few weeks we have heard and seen some strange things from the PUP. They range from Lisa apparently finding out via the nightly television news that she had been fired from the senate by Johnny. Lisa then took to her favorite soapbox Facebook from where she said farewell. The next time we heard from Lisa it was again on Facebook only this time it was a strange image she posted as her cover photo. The image was that of an empty Lighthouse Beer bottle. We immediately began to worry if the loss of her Senatorial job had driven her to drown her sorrows in the beverage. Only time will tell what is going on with her on that one. Another notable thing inside the PUP is that rather public spectacle of a quarrel between the former Belmopan Candidate Jason Andrews and his former convention opponent Oscar Mira. Apparently Mira has made some very serious accusations against Andrews, whereby he is accusing him of stealing some office equipment from the PUP Belmopan Office. Andrews’ only statement so far as we have seen is a comment on Facebook under his name.

More PUP mud! Call the police!
It seems as if though the fallout resulting from the leadership convention has started in Belmopan. According to last Friday’s Channel 7 Newscast , a complaint has been lodge with the Belmopan Police. From what we have gathered, Jason Patrick Andrews the PUP candidate for Belmopan in the last election is now being accused by some PUP Belmopan committee members of allegedly cleaning out the constituency office. The complaint that has been made to police is about the stuff Andrews allegedly took from the office, which they say was donated to the office and not to Andrews himself. The items include a water cooler, a laptop computer, a flat screen TV and other items. Belmopan police confirmed that a report was made a few weeks ago, but the officer commanding said he’s handling it with some level of discretion, because the police were being careful that their department was not being used as a political tool. The following is what the O.C Belmopan told Channel 7 News and we quote:

Rabies and Black Leg disease detected in cattle in Belize
Some nine cattle have recently died in Belize as a result of both rabies and black leg diseases. There have been at least three cases of rabies among cattle in the Orange Walk and Cayo District and several cases of black leg have been clinically diagnosed in the Toledo District. There is now a concurrent infection among cattle with rabies and black leg and from previous years it has been known that in the starting of every year, cattle would come down with black leg. As a result, the Belize Agriculture Health Authority BAHA is now recommending that farmers purchase the vaccines that can be used to prevent both diseases from occurring. BAHA has since been having meetings with the Belize Livestock Producers Association. A specially assembled team has also been meeting with cattle farmers. In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, a team travelled last week to the Toledo District and have been getting positive response from cattle farmers. BAHA strongly recommends for all cattle farmers to vaccinate their cattle against Rabies if they have not been vaccinated in the last year and against Blackleg if they have not been vaccinated in the last six months.

Brandon Smith charged for Illegal firearm and ammunition
Brandon Smith, 18, has been removed from the Belize Central Prison after he was granted bail by the Supreme Court. Smith was on remand for allegedly keeping an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. Police say that at about 8:45 a.m. on February 16 they caught Smith at the corner of Kut Avenue and Amara Avenue in possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition. According to reports, police on mobile patrol noticed the teenager acting suspiciously and advanced to conduct a search on him. The weapon was found in his pants waist. Smith was arrested and charged as a result. Brandon Smith appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith on Thursday, March 4, and was read two firearm related offenses; one count of keeping a prohibited weapon for a homemade firearm and one count of keeping ammunition without a gun license for one cartridge.

Woman released with a caution for drug possession
A mother of four children, Josephine Charlesworth, 29, was granted mercy by Magistrate Carlon Mendoza when she appeared in court on Friday, March 4, to answer to one count of possession of a controlled drug. On Thursday, March 3, police searched Charlesworth’s home at #638 Lavender Street in the St. Martin’s area and found 12.6 grams of cannabis. Charlesworth had a child in her arms when police entered the house and found her with a black plastic bag containing the cannabis. She was escorted to the police station and charged with one count of drug possession.

Jeffery Navarette busted with weed inside Cornflakes box
Jeffery Navarette, 28, was busted by police last Wednesday, March 2, with almost 500 grams of weed stashed inside a cornflakes box. Police intercepted a Joshua Bus in Sandhill Village and asked all the occupants to exit the bus with their belongings. Navarette was holding a black plastic bag in his hand and a knapsack on his back. The officers searched the knapsack and the plastic bag. Nothing illegal was found inside the knapsack but a search of the black plastic bag led to a cornflakes box that contained marijuana. Navarette was detained and taken to the police station where the drug was weighed. It amounted to 489.1 grams, a substantial amount. He was charged with drug trafficking.

Four fishermen charged for undersized conch
On Thursday evening, March 3, the Belize Fisheries Department arrested four Belizean fishermen for being in possession of undersized conch. Cipriano Flores, 49, Freddy Cortez, 31, Yadir Vargas, 21, and Ricky Teck, 18, appeared before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza on Friday, March 4, to face one charge each. Freddy Cortez of Trial Farm Village, Orange Walk, was allegedly caught with 222 fillet conch that did not exceed 2 ¾ ounces in weight. Yadir Vargas of Ranchito Village was found in possession of 68 market clean conch that did not exceed 3 ounces in weight. Cipriano Flores of Sarteneja Village, Corozal District, was busted with 189 fillet conch that did not exceed 2 ¾ ounces. Ricky Teck was allegedly in possession of 299 market clean conch. In court, all four fishermen pleaded not guilty to their charge.

Darrel Gough crashes into House of Culture fence while driving dirty
Darrell Gough, 23, is lucky to be alive after he crashed into the House of Culture fence on Regent Street on Monday, March 7. That is where the luck ends; however, as he is now in trouble with the law for riding extremely dirty. According to police, Gough was driving a car without insurance and he has no driver’s license. Allegations are that on Monday, March 7, police were conducting mobile patrol in the city when their attention was drawn to a vehicle which was seen crashed into the fence of the House of Culture. They then saw a male person exiting the vehicle and holding his abdomen as if in pain. They approached the man and asked him his name and that is when he identified himself as Darrell Gough, the driver of the crashed vehicle. Gough was later asked to produce his driver’s license but was unable to do so. He told the authorities that he has no driver’s license. Police detained him and escorted him to Precinct 1 Police station located on Euphrates Avenue after they discovered that the vehicle was not insured.

Cayo Western Ballaz pulls off upset against the San Pedro Tiger Sharks
The National Elite Basketball competition continued over the last week with a number of games played across the country. On Saturday 5th March at the San Pedro High School auditorium in San Pedro Town, the visiting Cayo Western Ballaz handed the two time defending champions the San Pedro Tiger Sharks its second defeat of the season, when it upended it by the score of 61-58. The top scorers for the Cayo Western Ballaz were Brandon Flowers with 18 points and 6 rebounds; James Milton with 14 points and 15 rebounds and Winston Pratt also with 14 points, 8 rebounds and a steal. For the host team, the San Pedro Tiger Sharks, the top scorers were Andrew Ortiz with 14 points and 6 rebounds; Gene Myvett with 13 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals and Ashton Edwards with 12 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Meanwhile, out at the Stann Creek Ecumenical High School auditorium, the Belmopan Bandits continued on its winning path when it defeated the Dangriga Warriors by the score of 65-60 to improve its record to 4-4. The top scorers for the Belmopan Bandits were Kurt Burgess with 20 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals; Jarrel Velasquez with 17 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal and Nick Brown with 13 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals.

Belize Athletics Association to hold National Track & Field championships
The Belize Athletics Association invites all athletes and track enthusiasts once again to be a part of a National Track and Field Championship event. The event will be hosted at the Marion Jones Sports Complex on the 12-13 March, 2016. All athletes 16 years and older can participate in the events. Registration forms can be obtained from and returned to the BAA via email ( [email protected]) or from our Facebook page (Belize Athletics Association). Cost of registration is $10.00 per athlete.

NEBL All-Star Starters selected by fan votes
The National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) will be hosting its second annual All-Star Night on Saturday, March 19 at the UB gymnasium in Belmopan City. The activities will commence at 7 p.m. with the Wings Stop Skills Challenge, followed by its first ever VIP Wireless Celebrity Game. At 8:30 p.m. the Aguada Hotel Three Point Shootout will get underway, as a new champion will be crowned this year, given that Richard Troyer will not be defending his title. In the All Star game, the North team will try to win its first game, as the South will be defending its crown. The nightcap will witness the Slam Dunk Contest, as home town baller, Jarrel “Bird” Velasquez will be defending his title on his home court.

Edward P. Yorke High School bests Wesley College girls in high schools softball
The Central Region Secondary Schools Softball competition playoff round, which is utilising the International Softball Federation’s Page System, commenced on Tuesday 8th March, 2016, at Rogers Stadium with Semi-final game 1 in both the female and male categories. In the female game played, Edward P. Yorke High School the number two seed into the playoffs handed Wesley College the top seed into the playoffs its first defeat of the competition by the score of 14-9. The winning pitcher was Jasany Westby and the losing pitcher was Kia Flowers. In the male game played, Gwen Lizarraga High School the number one seed into the playoffs won handily over St. John’s College the number two seed by the score of 18-3. The winning pitcher was Devonte Middleton and the losing pitcher was Alwayne Hendy. The Finals is scheduled for Thursday 10th March in both the female and male category, in which the loser from game 1 will see action against the winner from game 2, with the winner moving onto the Grand Final scheduled for Saturday 12th March at the Rogers Stadium.

Belize Defence Force blank the Belmopan Bandits
The Premier League of Belize Closing Season Tournament continued over the last weekend with three games on the schedule. Of the three games that were scheduled to have been played, only two games were played since the Saturday night game at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Independence Village was postponed because of the inclement weather. On Sunday 6th March, at the FFB Stadium in Belmopan, the Belize Defence Force blanked the league leading Belmopan Bandits by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Osmar Duran in the 16th minute of play that gave the BDF the victory. Meanwhile, at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, the visiting Placencia Assassins edged out the host team Verdes FC by the score of 3-2.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Court of appeal dismisses Pastor’s case for sex with teenager
A Pastor who was convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 14 year old girl saw his appeal dismissed and his conviction and sentence affirmed. Julio Cesar Garcia remains behind bars after he lost his appeal this week. The pastor was convicted of two counts […]

Guatemalans charged for Chiquibul shooting but not for weed plantation
Two Guatemalan Nationals, 56-year-old Luis Diaz Alballeros and 51-year-old Francisco Torres Sucup, have been charged by Belizean authorities for the offenses of “kept firearm without a gun license”, “kept ammunition without a gun license” and “aggravated assault”. Those charges were in connection to the […]

Ian Gaynair is player of the week
29 years old Ian ‘Yello’ Gaynair was born and raised in Belize City. He started his football career at a very young age by playing every evening after school. Gaynair grew up playing with different teams like Kremandala, FC Belize, and Kraal Road. While playing […]

Police seek Eric Elrington for robbery and shooting incident
Cayo Police are asking for the public’s help to locate Eric Elrington, who is wanted for a robbery and shooting incident that occurred on Monday night in Unitedville Village. 24-year-old Henry Michael Gordon of Blackman Eddy Village, also in the Cayo District, reported to […]

Early morning police operation nets weed and gun in the old capital
Police with the assistance of its K-9 Unit conducted an operation between the hours of 4:30 and 11:30 this morning which netted a total of 2.5 pounds (1112.5 grams) of cannabis and a firearm in several areas of the old capital. An abandoned lot […]

Fair and warm weather to continue
The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting mostly sunny skies today and partly cloudy skies tonight with little or no rainfall. Winds will be blowing from the East-Southeast at 10-20 knots with higher gusts and the sea state will be moderate to rough. […]

UDP confirms Vega resignation
The United Democratic Party (UDP) Secretariat, via press release this morning, confirmed the resignation of Deputy Party Leader Gaspar Vega. According to the UDP, Vega informed the party of his decision not to stand again for his Orange Walk North seat by way of a letter dated March 8. […]

Gaspar Vega stands down from United Democratic Party leadership
The United Democratic Party (UDP) has confirmed via press release that Gaspar Vega is standing down as first deputy leader. A decision will be made on selecting his replacement at a National Party Council meeting after next Sunday’s national convention in Dangriga. Vega continues […]

Regional management of coral reefs improving; Belize leads the way
On this Meso-American Reef Day, the Healthy Reefs Initiative (HRI), reports that regional management of the Meso-American Reef System has improved steadily. In alternate years, HRI releases “Reef Report Cards”, which presents recommendations for improving reef health, and “Eco-Audits” showing assessment of management targets. […]

Is Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega stepping down?
Reliable reports reaching our newsroom are that Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega is stepping down as deputy leader. According to our sources, yesterday afternoon Hon. Gaspar Vega sent a letter to PM Barrow and the Party Secretariat announcing his resignation as the Party’s Deputy […]


Injured Baby Hummingbirds Safely Land with Tropic Air For Some TLC at Belize Bird Rescue
Just last week, Jeff of Cayo Frances Farm and Fly* and his friend Mike, part-time Ambergris Caye resident, found two unexpected visitors near their front door step at their rental at Barrier Reef Resort (formerly Reef Village) on Ambergris Caye. It was especially strange since just the week before, the two had fished a hummingbird from the lagoon after watching it fall in. That one quickly recovered but these two baby rufous hummingbirds… Oh wait one second…I forgot to tell you, I am HOME! Home sweet home Belize. It was an epic sleepless trip (who knew that it’s daylight the WHOLE way back?) but jet lag, I can only hope, is beginning to wane and Belize is looking GORGEOUS. Let’s continue. Mike and Jeff scooped up the two injured birds – both had missing feathers on their tiny wings and put them in a little shelter on the back patio. The birds responded well to sugar water, lapping the liquid off a flower bud with their long tongues. And, sadly, their mom came to visit, feeding them as well. Hummingbirds, it seems, cannot live on sugar alone – they need protein from insects. Would these birds get better? Would they fly again? Nikki, bird specialist and owner of the AMAZING Belize Bird Rescue just outside of Belmopan was called in.

Cave tubing in Belize
Imagine settling into an oversized rubber inner tube and floating down a river without a care in the world–until you disappear into caves where strange and exotic Mayan rituals were held thousands of years ago. Sound like fun? It should. Tubing is one of Belize’s main attractions and if you specify Nohoch Che’en Caves, you can pick and choose from five different caves, though adventurous souls insist on doing them all! Mother Nature has no dress code here-—but be forewarned: you’re likely to get wet. Just about every travel writer experiencing Caves Branch River tubing comes to the conclusion that this destination reminds them of sailing in and out of big hunks of Swiss cheese. One minute the sun is shining upon your head, and in the next, you’ve got jungle canopy shading your sail. But the fun kicks in once you slip into a surreal world of pitch black caves once explored and used by Mayans for rituals and secret ceremonies. Fun for all ages, there’s nothing quite like tubing. From Belmopan, travel George Price Highway an hour to Mile 37. Drive 6 miles to the reserve entrance. If you’d prefer not to drive (a wise move for vacationers), book a tour that includes a professional guide, transport and a picnic lunch. On the other hand, if you come solo, you won’t starve. Grab a bite at the Canopy Café buffet.

Tastes Like Chicken
You never know when you're going to be tested. And I certainly didn't think I'd be on our recent honeymoon to Belize. During part of our trip we were on Ambergris Caye, a small island near the barrier reef. In Belize, the law says that you must have a guide in the water with you to snorkel the reef. Sounded ok to me. We took a boat out about ½ mile to snorkel and found the reef to be teeming with life. There were more fish, rays and turtles than I've ever seen. During the trip, our guide made an extra stop at a spot where fishermen were cleaning their catch. He'd gotten word there was a big, loggerhead turtle for us to see. And sure enough there was a huge turtle there. As we swam around, our guide got closer to it. Then I noticed the normally gentle turtle getting aggressive, swimming towards the guide. And before I knew it the turtle and guide were in a full underwater fight! It didn't last long but our guide was the loser, getting his hand bitten. He was bleeding bad and needed stitches. As the turtle swam in a loop clearly coming back for more, I got in the boat as fast as I could. I'd never seen a turtle attack and I wasn't going to be his next victim.

The Belize National Agriculture and Trade Show
Originating in 1970 as a traditional display of livestock and agricultural products, the National Agriculture and Trade Show (NATS) quickly became known as a popular place for partying and rocking out to music. In an effort to return the NATS to its roots, the government has quarantined alcohol consumption and commercial vendors to a small section of the event and now the focus is once again on celebrating the agricultural and farming heritage of Belize. Originating in 1970 as a traditional display of livestock and agricultural products, the National Agriculture and Trade Show (NATS) quickly became known as a popular place for partying and rocking out to music. In an effort to return the NATS to its roots, the government has quarantined alcohol consumption and commercial vendors to a small section of the event and now the focus is once again on celebrating the agricultural and farming heritage of Belize. If you prefer the old-fashioned attractions of marveling at enormous ears of corn and prize-winning livestock, then Zone 1 is where you want to head first. If you prefer more of a carnival and fair atmosphere, then Zone 2 is where you’ll want to go. Inside Zone 2 is a special Kids’ Zone, with activities and rides suitable for young children. All of Zone 1 and the Kids’ Zone of Zone 2 are alcohol-free areas. If you want to sip on rum and other adult brews, then head for Zone 2.

The Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 2016
The annual Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge Canoe Race was held over the weekend and needless to say, it was a spectacular 4 days of teamwork, endurance and determination! This year drew 60 local and international teams in 7 different categories ranging from “Male, Female, Masters, Mixed, Intramural, Family and Pleasure,” paddling 170 miles on the Belize River to see who would become “La Ruta Maya Champions!” Every year in March, professional and amateur paddlers from across the globe make the journey to Belize and on to San Ignacio Town in the Cayo District, to take part in this race which starts under the Hawksworth Bridge. From battling through intense currents, challenging rapids and intermittent showers, to even overcoming the occasional “tipping-over” of the canoe; paddler teams of 3 are tried and tested at ever stage along the route. If you were one of the many locals and tourists who caught the race this year at various points along its route through Banana Bank, Double Head Cabbage, Burrell Boom and the finish line at “Bottom Dalla Supermarket” near the Swing Bridge, you were surely part of a memorable experience marked by local food, entertainment, prizes and boisterous cheering by fans who supported their favorite team.

My Belizean Adventures on San Pedro Island, Belize!
Belizean adventures like snorkeling off Ambergris Caye, exploring the local life, and sampling the food scene are real on the Belize island of San Pedro. One thing’s for certain, if you’re considering a vacation here, there are certainly plenty of things to do. One of the many things I loved about San Pedro island was certainly the ease of access to the beach, as well as the very short commute to one of the Caribbean’s best diving spots. Despite Belize being located in Central America and much closer to Mexico than you would imagine, you couldn’t help but feel the laid back vibes that are pretty commonly known across the Gulf of Mexico in the Caribbean Islands much further East. San Pedro Island has evolved over time from a small fishing village to what is now quite the popular tourist destination for travelers coming from all around the world. However, as I walked from my hotel down the sandy paths and onto the brick laid road, it was quite obvious the island hadn’t lost it’s charm.

Epic Adventures You Can Take From Ka'ana Resort Belize
Belize is paradise for the adventure traveler. There are majestic forests for you to zipline through, spectacular barrier reefs for scuba diving and snorkeling, and ancient Mayan ruins and caves to explore. There is an impressive amount of archaeology and caving, exotic wildlife in some of the most pristine jungles in the world, and plenty of options for fitness, history, and culture too. Travelers to Belize will find themselves venturing off the beaten path and immersed in natural history, active adventures and unforgettable experiences. And some of the best adventures are easily organized from our favorite resort – Ka’ana Belize. Adventure activities you can do in Belize. Best Belize adventure. An award winning 5-Star boutique resort in Belize’s Mayan jungle, Ka’ana is a small resort which offers luxury accommodation, adventure tours and all-inclusive packages where guests indulge in personalized service and modern amenities. What kind of things can you do from Ka’ana Resort Belize. This is an upscale outpost for exploring, perfectly located in the midst of everything a Central American vacation could possibly offer. All adventure tours are run privately, never shared, and their guides are some of the best in the country. You’ll find that every adventure is a curated experience that is authentically Belize. The following are epic adventures you can take while staying at Ka’ana Resort Belize. Adventure travel in Belize.

Re: Today's Belize News: March 11, 2016 [Re: Marty] #512321
03/11/16 06:17 AM
03/11/16 06:17 AM
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Marty  Offline OP

Give Back: Pack a Pound assists 2 schools in western Belize!
It is with great pleasure that we announce another successful venture of our Pack-a-Pound Initiative! Our Pack-a-Pound program invites our guests to exchange a pound of luggage to pack school supplies instead of clothing items, or by sending us the items via mail, we then pack them up in pounds and take them to the schools of the villages surrounding San Ignacio and Santa Elena towns. This time our Pack a Pound initiative saw the Chaa Creek team, consisting of our program coordinator Ms Denise Duran, Social Media Admin Jared Bradley and our Driver Allan Chan who is also one of our naturalist guides, make their way past Bullet Tree Falls, Cayo to the villages of Billy White and Duck Run 2. At Billy White Seventh Day Adventist School the team were greeted by Principal Mr. Rick Avella and his wonderful students who had just finished their term exams and were eager to see what the contents of the bags were! Mr. Avella explained the school had just over 100 students and the supplies consisting of: pens, pencils, crayons, water paint, rulers, coloring books, children’s novels and more were well received and would be put to good use.

International Sourcesizz

Visit a Vertical Underwater Cave in Belize
In 1971, famed undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau helped turn Belize into a diver’s paradise when he tagged the Great Blue Hole sinkhole as one of world's top ten diving spots. You'll know it if you see it: a brilliant dark blue pupil 1,000 feet across surrounded by an iris of lighter blue-green, sitting in the middle of the Belize Barrier Reef 43 miles off of the country's tropical coast. How did such a perfect circle end up beneath the crystal-clear water? Blame not one, but four collapses. The Great Blue Hole began its life above water during glacial periods as a dry cavern system full of rock columns and stalactites. It sat on what was once Lighthouse Reef Atoll, a limestone plateau. Until it fell in, that is: According to Frank Gordon Kirkwood, an environmental chemist and Blue Hole expert, four separate geological events occurred between 10,000 and 150,000 years ago. Each time, the ocean level rose, flooding each cavern and causing it to collapse. At the end, he tells, “the roof of the huge round cavern collapsed and the sea level finally rose the rest of the 400 feet to its current level.” Now, it’s considered a vertical cave—and it even looks good from space. That formation process gave the Great Blue Hole its unique color, says Kirkwood. The sinkhole is about 400 feet deep, surrounded by ten-foot-deep water on top of the now-underwater atoll. The deep water looks dark blue, circled by shallower light blue-green water with a sandy bottom spiked with coral. A stalactite gallery sits under 135 feet of water, above several deeper caverns.

Birds, birds, and more birds in Belize
One of the more spectacular birding destinations we visited in Belize was a place called Black Rock Lodge. The setting was stunning! The lodge was in the jungle, situated above a river, with views of soaring limestone cliffs on the opposite side of the canyon. We had breakfast outdoors on an open deck and watched a variety of birds such as red-legged honeycreepers, yellow-throated and olive-backed euphonia and aracari feeding at fruit feeders. After breakfast, we did a bird walk along the river, which yielded many life birds, including an ornate hawk-eagle, crimson-collared tanager, yellow-faced grassquit and white-whiskered puffbird. We also saw fifteen different warbler species for the day. Later in the day, we took a hand-cranked ferry across a river – that was an interesting experience!–and visited Xunantunich, a Mayan archeological site. The ruins and birding were amazing, and we added rufous-tailed jacamar and golden-crowned warbler to our trip list. The thing that impressed me the most at this location were the howler monkeys. It is hard to describe the sounds they produce, and how it carries through the jungle. One day we visited St. Herman’s Cave and the Blue Hole. On another day, we visited Rio Frio Cave, an enormous limestone cavern with a river running right through it – the size of the cavern dwarfed us! Ridgeway’s rough-winged swallows liked these limestone caves, and this was a new species for our trip.

A plane survey of Central America’s last remaining forests
If you were to fly over Central America on a small plane, from north to south, starting in Guatemala and ending in Panama, you’d be able to see isolated yet extensive pockets of green canopy covering the territory. This is exactly what the aptly named “Central American Megaflyover” has been able to document during its 3,100-mile flight that took off on February 26th and is set to end by the middle of March. An additional 1,900 miles will be traveled overland. The crew includes researchers with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in collaboration with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, a government agency with a history of conservation outside of America’s borders. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been working for years with a variety of partners and communities in Guatemala’s Maya Forest in Guatemala to help conserve the forest. The Megaflyover is focusing on the five largest forest blocks still standing in Mexico and Central America: the Maya Forest that straddles Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize, Honduras and Nicaragua’s Moskitia, Indio Maiz-Tortuguero National Park in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, La Amistad International Park in Costa Rica and Panama, and Panama’s Darién Gap. All of these forested areas share a wide variety of plant and animal species, and are home to numerous indigenous groups.

Sexual Relations Between Elite White Women and Enslaved Men in the Antebellum South: A Socio-Historical Analysis
According to former slave Harriet Jacobs, author of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861), “The slave girl is raised in an atmosphere of licentiousness and fear. The lash and the foul talk of her master and his sons are her teachers. When she is fourteen or fifteen, her owner, or his sons, or the overseer, or perhaps all of them, begin to bribe her with presents. If these fail to accomplish their purpose, she is whipped and starved into submission to their will.” Jacobs’ account of the sexual violence endured by slave women is merely one of many. Although it is impossible to know exactly how many black women were sexually assaulted under slavery, such abuse was widespread. Not all sexual encounters between masters and female slaves would be considered rape according to most definitions of the term.1 Concubinage-type arrangements and even long-term romantic partnerships, perhaps most famously that of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings, were known to exist. Yet, many scholars would agree that “even presumably affectionate and long-term relationships must be reconsidered given the context of slavery” (Foster, 2011, p. 459). The enormous imbalance of gender and racial power between the two parties problematizes the notion of a truly consensual romantic relationship between a slave master and his female slave. These so-called consensual sexual partnerships can be seen, like rape, as an exercise in white patriarchal authority.


  • La Ruta Maya 2016 Video, 2.5min. Flying Eye Productions took to the skies to capture its first Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge. Filming live action events proved to be extremely challenging but this was what we pulled together. Enjoy.

  • Belize - The future of energy and sustainability, 10min.

  • Marine life heaven caye caulker belize los mejores destinos del mundo para vacacionar, 3.5min.

  • La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 1st half Day 1, 58min. Follow these tough competitors as they make their way on the Belize River from the Hawksworth Bridge in San Ignacio, past the ferry at Spanish Lookout and under the iguana Creek Bridge

  • , 1min. Well many thanks to Tropic Air Belize for transporting these precious little baby Hummingbirds from San Pedro to Belize Bird Rescue. Here they are having their first nectar feed after arriving. Look for the tiny tongue. These birds drink 15% of their body weight at EACH feed and can consume as much as 80% of their total body weight each day. At Belize Bird Rescue they will also eat fruit flies and mosquitoes to give them the extra protein they need to build healthy muscles and bones.


  • YWCA 60th Anniversary, 30min. on Open Your Eyes...

  • UB Social Work Department on International Social Work Day, 16min. on Open Your Eyes...

  • UWI and National Womens Council on Forum on Gender Violence, 26min. on Open Your Eyes...

  • OAS observer mission delivers report on Belize 2015 general election, 14min. OAS observer mission delivers report on Belize 2015 general election. Ambassador Jacinth Henry-Martin

  • MOJO SPORT FISHING - Caye Caulker- BELIZE, 1min.

  • Belize Trip - Ambergris Caye, 5min. Our amazing trip to Belize with our close friends.

  • Travel to Belize, Caye Caulker, 5.5min. Travel to Caye Caulker in Belize and discover a little caribbean paradise that will make you feel IRIE!

  • Belize'de Suyun içinde sörf keyfi - Latin Amerika Turları, 3min. Suyun içinde sörf keyfi. Suyun üzerinde yapılan sörf görüntülerine hepimizin gözü aşina, peki ya su altında sörf yapılırsa?

  • Yeah lobsters are cool, 15sec. And serve vital ecological functions in a number of marine habitats including coral reefs. This impressive male Caribbean Spiny lobster (Panulirus argus), distinguished by his single swimmerettes on the abdomen as well as disproportionately large carapace and second pair of walking legs, is protected inside the conservation zone and serves as a megaspawner to replenish populations that provide critical income to local fishers as well as amazing marine life encounters for divers and snorkellers. Help protect local fishing and ecotourim by not purchasing undersized individuals or any lobster during the closed season.

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