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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

Keller Williams kids can Quantum Leap
Have you ever wondered what direction to take next? Or feel like your life doesn’t have a purpose? Keller Williams Kids Care (KWKC) is the next step as a training and coaching company for Keller Williams Realty. KWKC is a nonprofit organization that inspires young adults to shape worthy careers, businesses worth owning and lives worth living. And now, KWKC is calling out all 18-24 year old’s in San Pedro who are exiting high school, attending college, or starting in the work force. International Guest Instructor, Margot Weatherford, will be teaching the “QL: World Changers Belize” event on Saturday, April 23rd at the Banyan Bay Conference Room. Gary’s Keller’s Quantum Leap, (QL) empowers students to live life to its absolute fullest. One of the many definitions of quantum include a sudden, important change. This program is for young adults in the stage of making a lot of life changing decisions, allowing them to live a life of purpose.

Belizean student heads to Harvard!
In the United States, many elite Ivy League universities like Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Stanford are dream schools for many high school students. For Belizean Angel Navidad, the future looks very bright as he will be living the reality of the American dream. Navidad graduated from Bishop Martin High School in Orange Walk in 2013 and St. John’s College in 2015. He excelled in distinct achievements, including winning the Sagicor Visionary Challenge, a ‘STEM’ (science, technology, engineering, and math) regional competition. During the challenge, he was the team leader for the project called “Coconuts for Life”, and the Coconut Ecology Park impressed judges like Russlynn Ali, head of the XQ Super School project. Navidad then traveled to Barbados to represent Belize and “Coconuts for Life” took first place in the challenge.

BTB Appoints The Brighter Group as its European Marketing Representative
Belize’s marketing presence in Europe has been placed under the responsibility of well -established and recognized independent marketing consultancy- The Brighter Group. The firm is one of the biggest independent travel, tourism public relations (PR) and marketing consultancies in the United Kingdom (UK). The English company was recently awarded the European representation and PR contract for the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), following a highly competitive pitch process. One of the main initial priorities of The Brighter Group will centre on the UK, with secondary markets in France and Germany. In recent decades, Belize has been growing its presence internationally as a travel destination, thus, BTB brought The Brighter Group on board to leverage the country’s brand and presence in the western part of the old continent. The Brighter Group was established in 1995, and since then, has worked across every segment of the travel and tourism sector. The company is known for its expertise in public relations, representation, trade marketing, advertising and promotions. The agency has vast experience from inbound to outbound tourism, aviation to hospitality, car rental, trade associations, to ferry and cruise companies. These qualities are sure to provide great additional benefits when implementing a successful campaign.

WWF launches ‘Save Our Shared Heritage’ Global Campaign
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) launched their global campaign under “Save Our Shared Heritage” by the WWF on Wednesday, April 6th. WWF is one of the world’s largest conservation organizations and is active in more than 100 countries. The iconic panda bear on WWF’s logo signifies its mission to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment, while building a future where humans live in harmony with nature. In recent years, Belize has been home to the rising environmental issues such as offshore drilling, deforestation, loss of coral systems, climate change and pollution, which threatens the country’s ecosystems. Currently, Belize’s barrier reef and coastal zone are facing increased pressures from high-density unsustainable coastal developments driven by an increasing demand for tourism. As part of the largest barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere, WWF-Belize addressed the heavy duty task of strengthening the protection of said reefs. In Belize, 40% of the population in coastal areas are protected by coral reefs, mangroves, and sea grass. With more than 17,000 people working in Belize’s fisheries industry, Belizeans depend on the health of the reef for their well-being. The only way to truly protect the Belize Barrier Reef System World Heritage Site and Belize’s coastal/marine environment, is to have a full ban on oil exploration and drilling in Belize’s marine territorial waters.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

The Island That Goes Beyond Environmental Awareness Through Restoration
Blackadore Caye, a wild, unpopulated and unchanged island is now a very popular scenery World Wide for the vast reason that Oscar Winner Leonardo DiCarpio is dedicating his life as an environmental advocate in restoring the island's former beauty with the help of Delos and McLennan. Now, Leonardo’s current project is the wonderful island of Blackadore. A 104 acre that is located at the west of Ambergris Caye and on the east of Belize. Leonardo has spotted the island in 2005 as he went for scuba diving in Belize. The island easily captures Leo’s attention for having this hidden beauty unseen by the public. Leonardo has decided to purchase the island not only to restore but to completely heal it from the abused it has experienced from the past years. Currently, Leo’s plan on restoring the island is in action as they plan to open it on 2018. As he stated, “This project is leading a new way in eco-tourism, development and green building and demonstrates that human development can be truly restorative and beneficial for the environment.” The new Blackadore Caye will feature numerous villas, 48 real estate homes and a private clubhouse. It is also designed with a massive platform that stretches all the way as an arc over the water that is built with artificial reefs and fish shelters located just beneath the arc. Aside from those, a nursery on the island will grow local “marine grass” to support the manatee protection area and mangrove trees will be replanted to increase the islands clean oxygen production.

Lazy Lizard not for Belizeans?
The following is a recent experience which happened to me and I felt needed to be shared with everyone about how staff at lazy lizard treat local customers. Today April 9, 2016 a group of university students took a trip to caye caulker to go snorkeling. After arriving after the tour, a small group of 7 including myself decided to go and eat at "the famous Lazy Lizard". As we sat, we ordered appetizer and main course all together because of the shortage of time. Even though our waitress had a bit of an attitude, we still continued on. 5 out of the 7 girls (including myself) ordered burgers 3 beef, 1 chicken and 1 fish all to be served well done. It was about 10 minutes after the appetizer when the main course came, when the waitress was bringing the food I noticed the color of the burger patty was grey. I opened the burger and took the tooth pick which was served with the burger to investigate the doneness of the burger. The burger was NOT RARE but RAW and still had sightings of blood in it. Bringing the raw food to the attention of the waitress, she gave me the worse attitude saying and quote, "well if it's not done, give me it back". I had then replied that I did not want the burger anymore because it is not what I asked for. After my incident, 3 more of the burgers ordered by my class mates was also not cooked. So everyone else told the waitress she didn't want it after which she did not reply.

Caye Caulker Ocean Academy students to Track and Field Nationals
3 students are going to the Nationals in Track and Field to represent the Northern Division! At the Regional Selection Competition held yesterday in Orange Walk, Sean placed 1st in high jump, Keyla placed 2nd in 200m, Adaly placed 3rd in Triple Jump and is going as an alternate. Wow! Amazing results for a "go slow" island!

Belize and Guatemala foreign ministers meet
Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington who met his Guatemalan counterpart Carlos Raul Morales at the Organization of American States (OAS) headquarters in the adjacency zone, later told reporters that in March a meeting was to discuss the various instances that were troubling the Belizean public in relation to activities in the Sarstoon River. “And at that time of the discussion with the Guatemalan counterpart we had agreed that we will try to meet as quickly as possible after the Easter vacation to try to further the discussion. “So this meeting was to do that and at the same time we decided that we will in fact try to deal with other issues which we have on a bilateral basis between the two countries,” he added. The Guatemalan foreign minister said the meeting is intended to build a “new relation between Guatemala and Belize. “We are aware that we have a goal and the goals is to have the best relation between both countries. We know we have a differendum and the differendum has to be sent to the ICJ (International Court of Justice) but in the mean time we have to build a very good relation between both countries and we have to avoid any kind of incidents between both countries.”

Blind white crab
One of the species found inside the Chiquibul Caverns is the blind white crab. This Belizean dark zone species is highlighted on the BBC Series: Planet Earth

The Ocean Club-Curaco to Belize Rally 2016 at The Placencia
A first of its kind sailing rally from Curaco concludes in Belize at The Placencia Marina.

Welcome to Belize Logan & Paul Mark Dohner !!
We definitely hope you enjoy your Belizean experience!


Girl, 13, said “yes” to 4 men
Two of four men have been arrested and charged with unlawful sexual intercourse and harm after they engaged a 13-year-old girl in sex. The two men — a construction worker, 18, of San Martin, Belmopan, and a security guard, 20, also of Belmopan — were taken to the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court yesterday, where they were remanded to the Belize Central Prison until May 30. Police say that the men took sexual advantage of the girl on separate occasions. According to police, on Sunday, April 3, a businessman of Belmopan and his daughter, 13, went to the Belmopan Police Station, and the girl told them that between November and December 2015, she had sex on different dates with four different men.

Woman nabbed with almost $300,000 at PGIA!
Three persons from the Corozal Free Zone (CFZ), a Mexican businesswoman and two Belizeans were released on bail late this afternoon after they pleaded not guilty in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court to Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) charges of failure to declare funds when leaving Belize. The arraignment began this morning before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser, who read two charges levied against Mexican businesswoman Maria Jose Del Valle Rosado, the wife of Earnesto Alonzo de Miguel, a cigarette importer in the CFZ, who was shot and killed in Chetumal, Mexico, last November. Rosado entered her not guilty plea through the court interpreter, who translated from English to Spanish. The hearing had to be adjourned, however, because Senior Counsel Magali Marin-Young, who represented all three accused, was not yet served with the facts that the FIU is relying on to make its charges against the trio stick.

Judge orders Paumen to pay Modiri $300,000!
The land dispute between Michael Modiri, 57, an Iranian businessman, and Bradley Paumen, xx, an American investor and tour operator, has been playing out in the Supreme Court in civil claims which just ended this week, but there is also a dark side of what transpired between the two neighbors for which criminal proceedings have been initiated by the state against Paumen and three others over a purported plot to murder four individuals, Modiri included. Paumen has been charged with four counts of abetment to murder as well as perversion of justice and conspiracy to pervert justice. He is facing the charges with three other accused persons, two of whom are his employees. They were all released on Supreme Court bail. On Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Shona Griffith issued another court ruling in Modiri’s favor, this time awarding him $150,000 as compensation for the trespass on his land, which has been used for commercial purposes, and another $150,000 as exemplary damages. The awards were issued against Bradley Paumen and his two companies.

Guatemala, belligerent bully, stops SATIIM on Sarstoon!
“Is there a new international directive for traveling in the Sarstoon River?” That was the question posed by the Sarstoon Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) in a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, when the NGO reported aggressive acts by Guatemalan military which demanded that their patrol reports to them first before venturing into the Sarstoon River—part of which is Belizean territory, from the northern bank up to the mid-channel. “The Guatemalan military informed SATIIM on Tuesday, April 5th 2016 that all visits to the Sarstoon must be reported to them. This is a new break/chapter in park monitoring by SATIIM,” the NGO said. Froyla Tzalam, SATIIM Executive Director, told Amandala that she does not want to appear to be anti-government, but the organization, under the advice of Maya leaders, had expressed that the co-management agreement proposed by the Government was not in the community’s best interest, so they did not accept.

A tangled web: Belize law firm & an offshore agent also linked to Panama Papers
Since the revelation last weekend of the Panama Papers, the sensational leak of a bounty of information from the private Panama offshore firm, Mossack Fonseca, the repercussions are not only being felt across the globe, but also here in Belize. As previously reported by Amandala in our Tuesday issue, it is alleged that Lord Michael Ashcroft and several of his associated companies are featured in the Panama Papers as having done business with Mossack Fonseca. Belize Corporate Services (BCS), a subsidiary of Ashcroft’s company BCB Holdings, is reported to have begun using Mossack Fonseca to provide shell corporations for its clients in 2006. According to reports in British media based on the early reviews of the Panama Papers, in November, 2013, Belize Bank International established an account for a new International Business Company whose owners were Messrs. Jurgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca, the Panama firm’s founding partners, and another partner Christopher Zollinger. The new International Business Company (IBC) was called M.F. & Co. (Belize) Limited and cooperated with BCS in creating companies and acting as registered IBC agents in Belize.

DPM Vega comments on illegal fishing and illegal logging in southern Belize
Complaints continue to come to the fore of illegal fishing and logging occurring in southern Belize—and particularly near to Belize’s border with Guatemala at the Sarstoon River, where tensions continue to be high with Guatemala’s insistence that it will exercise sovereignty over what has long been established as Belizean territory. The matter was raised again this morning, when we interviewed a group of environmental activists on fisheries, who indicated that Belizean fishers continue to sound the alarm about illegal fishing in southern Belize. At an event right after that interview, we met up with the minister who holds the portfolios for forestry and fisheries — Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development, Hon. Gaspar Vega. We raised the question of whether Belize is properly exercising its jurisdiction in policing these activities in southern Belize.

Krem Classic winners revised after NADO disqualifications
On Saturday, April 2, the Cycling Federation of Belize (CFB) informed Krem management, race organizers of the 26th Annual Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic, that they had been given the “green light” by NADO (National Anti-Doping Organization) to award the prizes to the winners of the race. However, the CFB noted that it had been informed by NADO of the disqualification of two riders, Gregory Lovell and Byron Pope (due to positive test results for banned substances), who had been previously listed as the 2nd and 3rd place finishers, respectively, in the 2016 Krem Classic. With the disqualification of those two cyclists, it means that all cyclists previously listed beneath them, from 4th downwards, have moved up two places in the official finishing list, thus adding 2 new names to the Top 20 list; and, more importantly, it means more prize money for some of them according to the 2016 published prize listing for the top 20 finishers in the Krem Classic.

What’s up with the PLB and Closing Season playoffs?
We’re in suspense with the Premier League of Belize (PLB). From Monday we have been awaiting the official reports for the last 3 backmatches, which have set the stage for playoffs due to start this coming weekend. Sketchy reports indicate that there have been meetings and meetings at the FFB headquarters up to yesterday; but still there has been no official word as to the purpose or the outcome. At the end of the PLB Opening Season, when we thought we knew the standings and the teams that would meet in the semifinal playoffs, there was suddenly a report of a protested game from early in the first round being awarded to Belmopan Bandits, which drastically affected the standings and the playoff match-ups. In that case, the FFB Appeal Committee had over-ruled a decision by the PLB Protest Board. Is history about to repeat itself?

TIDE Fresh Water Cup 2016 in primary schools
Please be informed that the TIDE Freshwater Cup is introducing its games this season by preliminary games called “PLAY FOR FUN,” between participating FWC schools. The Play for Fun games are divided into 3 clusters: Cluster One: Plays at Bella Vista School field tomorrow, Wednesday, April 6. Teams participating are Bladen, Trio, and Bella Vista primary schools. Cluster Two: Plays at Cattle Landing field on Wednesday, April 13. Teams participating are PG Methodist, St. Peter Claver, St. Benedict, Seventh Day Adventist, Little Flower, and Forest Home Methodist schools. Cluster Three: Plays at a venue yet to be finalized. Games on Friday, April 15. Teams participating are San Marcos, San Pedro Columbia, San Miguel, Silver Creek, Big Falls, Indian Creek and Golden Stream primary schools.

One Young World hosts Belmopan Cricket Day
On Wednesday, April 6, One Young World Ambassadors, in collaboration with the Belize National Cricket Association and the University of Belize Sports and Recreation Department, hosted Belmopan Cricket Day at the Governor General Field in Belmopan. One Young World is a UK-based charity dedicated to empowering young leaders, with over 7, 000 ambassadors across 196 countries. The idea of Cricket Day came about at the 2015 One Young World Summit in Bangkok, when Laureus Sport Ambassador and former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh joined Kate Robertson (One Young World Co-Founder) on stage to discuss the role of sport in development. Together, they vowed to do what they could to make noise about the legendary cricketers that were once the West Indies team. And on April 6, the UN International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, One Young World Ambassadors from 8 different countries in Central America and the Caribbean delivered on that commitment.

Editorial: Change and deception
The Belizean people cannot allow our ruling politicians to impugn the motives and malign the characters of Wil Maheia, the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV), the Northern Territorial Volunteers (NTV), and the Sarstoon/Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM). The fact of the matter is that these brave Belizeans made the point, for all of us to see, that our nation-state of Belize was experiencing the violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity at the Sarstoon River. Since independence, there has been an attempt to drug the Belizean people with cable television, various kinds of narcotics, wild concerts, casino gambling, and violence glorified. Our Belizean culture has been transformed before our very eyes. Meanwhile, the proliferation of electronic media, video appliances, super telephones, and social media have been mixed blessings in that they have surely reduced the amount of time we spend physically mingling with each other. In our pre-independence culture, we were able to mobilize quickly when undesirable developments took place on the foreign affairs (read, “Guatemala”) front. Such developments included the Thirteen Proposals in 1966, the Seventeen Proposals in 1968, and the Heads of Agreement in 1981. The Belizean people took to the streets. You will note that when the Maritime Areas Act controversy took place in 1991, ten years after independence, the Belizean people were confused. Hon. Philip Goldson, in desperation, had to leave the United Democratic Party (UDP) and form the National Alliance for Belizean Rights (NABR).

From the Publisher
When the evangelical Christians in Belize can create a public division amongst the Garifuna people, you know that the evangelicals have become very powerful indeed. How widespread or deep that division is, no one can really say. All we know is that, in defence of Scott Stirm and his videotaped comments condemning core Garifuna ancestral beliefs and practices, the evangelicals were able to bring out at least three of their Garifuna followers, including at least one Garifuna evangelical pastor, to defend Stirm, a white American who is probably a naturalized Belizean. Evangelical Creole Belizean pastor, Louis Wade, has claimed on his Plus TV that they have more such Garifuna evangelicals lined up to testify on behalf of Stirm and against their own people’s traditional beliefs and practices. Those of us who have interacted with the Garifuna people know that their loyalty to each other and to the Garifuna nation is serious and sustained. I have never seen anything so divisive happen before like what is happening today.

What’s the real size of Belize’s economy?
On Monday, April 4, 2016, the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) launched a new survey, aimed at gathering business data through its new business establishment survey of over 4,000 establishments and enterprises across the country, out of an estimated 16,000. The last attempt at a Business Establishment Survey was in 2008 which did not yield the desired results for various reasons, the SIB said. “It is believed that the BES will result in a more robust calculation of the GDP which will reflect more accurately the true state of the economy of Belize. It will lend to more informed policy and decision making for the government, private sector and other stakeholders,” said the SIB in a statement provided to us. The survey questionnaire is broken up into 5 modules with the target industries being agriculture, mining and electricity, construction, trade, tourism, manufacture, real estate, and general/services.

Curfew may be good, but there are “legitimate concerns”
The Southside section of the Police Department, on March 17, under the leadership of Chester Williams, Assistant Commissioner of Police and Commanding Officer of Eastern Division, Southside Belize City, implemented a curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for children under 18 in an effort to curb crime. Williams told Amandala that since the commencement of the curfew, they have picked up about nine children off the Southside streets of Belize City. The female children, Williams said, were taken home and their parents were asked to bring them the following morning, while the male children were held in a nice area that is furnished with a television and mattresses until morning, then their parents and a social worker were brought in. “The parent received a warning letter,” Williams said, “which states the consequences if their child was to be picked up again.” Williams added that as a result of the curfew, there are not many children on the streets late at night.

Baby Brenae Timmons released from KHMH
After thirty-six days, 3 year old, baby Brenae Timmons was released from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital on March 5, 2016, and returned to her family. Earleth Shepherd, Brenae’s aunt, recalled the incident on January 29 that led to Timmon’s hospitalization. A gate (enclosing a compound on which the Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence is located in the Lake Independence area) fell on her niece and caused injuries that could have killed her and changed her family forever, but it was also an opportunity for God to do a miracle, and he did, she said. Shepherd told Amandala that after the accident, her niece was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), where a CAT scan revealed that “the gate had crushed a part of her skull and it was resting on her brain.”

World Health Day — “Step Up, Beat Diabetes”
“Sixty-two million people live with diabetes in the Americas; diabetes is currently the fourth leading cause of death in our hemisphere,” said Dr. Luis Roberto Escoto, representative of PAHO/WHO (Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization), at a ceremony held at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel today to commemorate World Health Day. The theme for this year’s World Health Day is “Step Up, Beat Diabetes”. It is predicted that diabetes will affect over 100 million people in the Americas by 2040 if interventions are not implemented to control diabetes, Escoto said. “The first Global Report on Diabetes from the World Health Organization was launched this week in Geneva and Mexico City, which highlights the urgency of stepping up efforts to prevent and control diabetes,” Escoto went on to state. Citing the first WHO Global Report on Diabetes, Escoto said that the number of adults living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults worldwide. “Factors driving this dramatic rise include being overweight and obesity,” he said.

APAMO Calls for Government support in protection of natural resources
The Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO), in solidarity with its member organization Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM), condemns the aggressive behaviour of the Guatemalan Armed Forces towards community members on a monitoring patrol led by SATIIM in Belizean territory. On a daily basis, our non-government and community-based organizations are undertaking the challenging work of protecting Belize’s natural resources within and outside protected areas, on behalf of the government and people of Belize. With the increasing sensitivity of the bi-national relations between Belize and Guatemala, these organizations operating in protected areas near the border need the support of the relevant government agencies to ensure the deterrence of the ongoing pillaging of our natural resources by non-Belizeans.

House collapses; family of 4 now homeless
A family of four is now homeless after their one-flat elevated lumber house fell to the ground, causing massive structural damages to the house, and destroying the furnishings of the home. Kenrick Young, the father of the family, told Amandala that at about 7:30 this morning, his two children were getting ready to go to school when the house suddenly collapsed. Young said that everything in the house, with the exception of their clothing, was damaged. He is unemployed and needs public assistance in trying to rebuild their home, and to cover immediate living expenses. Kenrick Young can be contacted at 636-2983; members of the public who wish to donate can see him at the remains of the house in the Bailar area on Mayflower Street, off Vernon Street in Belize City.

Husband, executed in front of wife and children, was wrong target, say police
Thirteen days after the senseless murder of Alwayne Cherrington, 27, of Giles Street, who was a husband and a lab technician at the BCVI (Belize Council for the Visually Impaired), Assistant Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, Commander of Eastern Division South, said that Alwayne was killed in a case of mistaken identity. The killer thought Cherrington was someone else, Williams said. Cherrington was sitting with his wife and children in his mother-in-law’s house on Lopez Street when a coldhearted assassin pulled open the door and shot him about 5 times in the head and body at about 7:00 on the evening of Holy Saturday. Williams said that they know who the killer is, but he cannot be arrested as yet because key individuals do not want to give statements, and police do not have the physical evidence to tie him to the murder.

Ditching the queue: Fisheries and Forestry launch e-Gov platform
Two very prominent government departments—the Fisheries Department and the Forestry Department—this morning launched their online application service for permits and licenses in what organizers say opens a new era of e-Governance for the public sector entities. Registered users will also be able to track their application status online, organizers said. Hon. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development, who said that the initiative represents “an important shift in governance,” told the press that they are demonstrating, through the initiative, their commitment to improving services to customers. Vega said that they are starting a new era, and doing business with government will be much easier. The government reps who detailed the system this morning explained why customers won’t have to burn holes in their pockets “running up and down to Belmopan” to, for example, apply for things like forestry permits.

The Reporter

Latest HIV report says men still not getting tested enough
The National HIV/AIDS Program, Epidemiology Unit in the Ministry of Health released its HIV Surveillance Report for 2015 this week. The data in the report was taken from the HIV case-based surveillance system for the period January to December 2015, and the rates calculated using the Belize Postcensal Estimates 2010-2020 of the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB). The report shows that while there are more tests conducted, particularly within the ages 15-39 bracket, the program still fell below its target of 10 percent of the male population. The ministry attributed the continued increase of HIV testing in the number of females aged 15 to 39 to ongoing efforts in antenatal care. There were a total of 31,346 HIV tests done for 2015. Of these 64 percent were female and only 36 percent were males. “As similar patterns have shown in previous years, there is greater HIV testing in the female population, at a ratio of 0.5 to 0.6M:1F; highlighting male/female innovative strategies are needed to engage the male population in HIV testing,” the ministry said.

Charity eye clinic celebrates 10 years serving the west
A charity eye clinic in western Belize is celebrating a full decade of service this month. Dr. Robert Peets and Dr. Pete Jensen travel to Belize annually to hold a week-long clinic, providing free Cataract surgeries, Pterygium (carnocidad) excision, laser eye repair for diabetic retinopathy, and Glaucoma management to the underserved residents in San Ignacio and Santa Elena. This year, the clinic will screen 180 patients and is expected to perform 50 eye surgeries. The work to establish the free eye clinic, which has saved the eyesight of nearly 400 residents of the Twin Towns and the surrounding villages began in 2004. Rotarian André Lopez approached Rotarian and Optometrist Jim Jambour of Ohio, seeking help to establish a surgical eye clinic for the two towns. Dr. Jambour, who for many years had directed an eye-glass clinic in Succotz, recruited Doctors Peets and Jensen and the first surgical Cataract clinic was held in 2005 at the Good Shepherd clinic in Succotz.


Stumbling Across a Dead Body Whilst River Tubing in Belize
I was less than a week into my G Adventures tour of Central America and we’d caught one of the local chicken buses from Caye Caulker to San Ignacio. San Ignacio sits at the junction of two rivers (the Mopan and Macal Rivers) and we were staying at a rustic eco-lodge surrounded by nature near one of the rivers. As soon as we arrived we were given the opportunity to spend an afternoon river tubing, so myself and a number of other people in my group eagerly accepted. We were dropped off, along with our tubes, without any instruction or safety briefing and told to get out of the river at the exit sign on the right-hand side of the river. There were no guides or activity instructors accompanying us down the river which didn’t even cross my mind as we all excitedly rushed down to the river and hopped into our tubes. Off we floated down the river through dense jungle – I lay in my tube looking at the scenery in awe and listening to the deafening hum of insects in the bush. As we made our way down the river we had a fantastic time laughing and chatting about our adventures so far. Just as we approached the ‘exit’ sign, I noticed a stench – what is that smell!? It smelt like a dead animal. My eyes were then drawn to 2 men in official looking uniforms with facemasks on standing on the bank of the river where we needed to exit. What is going on and who are these men? Apparently, the river is used by gangs to transport drugs north to America and there are often fights between the drugs gangs – leading to dead bodies turning up in the river.

International Sourcesizz

Scientists Set To Drill Into Extinction-Event Crater In Mexico
Fragments of rock from this event have been found on Albion Island, Orange Walk... A research team is now working to put a massive drill into the the Gulf of Mexico's seafloor to help peel back 65 million years of history. Their goal: to secure a nearly mile-deep core sample from the Chicxulub crater that's commonly linked to the end of the dinosaur era. "There's a lot of questions about mass extinction events, including all the extinction or kill mechanisms out there," says one of the research team's leaders, Sean Gulick of the University of Texas, Austin. If Gulick and his colleagues are successful, their work could bring insights into a range of topics, from prehistoric biology and planetary geology to Earth's current era of climate change. The impact of a miles-wide asteroid and the end of the Cretaceous period were catastrophic to life on Earth, erasing more than 70 percent of the planet's species, according to the most recent estimations. When it hit our planet, the impact must have looked something like an exclamation point, packing enough velocity and mass to make deep-seated rocks and other materials behave like water splashing in a pond after a stone is thrown into it. Using core samples, the scientists will explore Chicxulub's well-preserved peak ring — the rough circle of hills that's commonly seen rising above flat impact craters on Earth and other planets.

Mainstream coconut craze old news to Caribbean New Yorkers, who have known about its benefits for ages
The news that coconut water is naturally delicious and coconut oil is an invaluable, all-purpose moisturizer and more is not news to Caribbean New Yorkers, who’ve known the benefits for generations. But the wonders of the coconut have recently become big news and big money for mainstream America. Last week, a Wall Street Journal article titled “Coconuts Go Upscale, Boosting Price of Conventional Coconut Oil,” noted that the yearning for coconut products — such as coconut water, dish detergent, teeth whiteners and even medicine — has driven up the price of coconut oil substantially, more than 20% higher in March and more than 50% high than last year’s prices. The Wall Street Journal article focused on the Philippines, the world’s largest producer of coconut oil. Once a major supplier of the palm tree fruit, Caribbean nations — such as Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago — are working to restore the industry in the region.

Three Trends on Public-Private Partnerships in The Caribbean
Many small developing Caribbean states facing climate and social vulnerabilities are struggling to develop high quality, efficient and accessible infrastructure. While private investment in infrastructure is not new in the Caribbean, the governments in the region are increasingly turning to Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) to develop and maintain infrastructure that supports national economic growth and delivers basic services to their citizens. In the context of low growth and global tailwinds, what can Caribbean countries do to invest in infrastructure and spur sustainable and inclusive growth? Here are some new trends on PPPs in the Caribbean: PPPs = a response to a huge infrastructure gap in the Caribbean Many PPP projects have operated successfully for years, delivering high quality roads, ports, airports, bulk water treatment facilities, and electricity generation plants. However, in many cases the complexity of the transaction and lack of capacity within governments has meant long delays in delivering projects.


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