Footballer killed in San Pedro
Family members, friends and fans of 31 year-old Melvin Almendarez, a San Pedro Football star better known as “Catracho”, were stunned to find his body in the Mosquito Coast area, South of Ambergris Caye. He was discovered with a gunshot injury to the head, injuries to the face, and abrasions to the chest.
On Friday, May 6, 2016, at around 10:30 p.m., residents living on the southern outskirts of San Pedro Town heard the sound of a gunshot. They reported the incident to the police who responded shortly thereafter. They searched the area, and found Almendarez dead across from the lagoon belonging to Belize Consolidated Water Services. At this time, very little is known about the murder because it happened late that night, with no witnesses coming forward as yet.
Ryan Alvarez to stand trial for murder
Ryan Alvarez, 25, will go to the Supreme Court to face charges of murder and attempted murder upon Edward Robinson, 56, and Jamil “Lado” Betancourt, 33. A preliminary inquiry conducted on Friday, May 6, before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser determined that there is a prema facie case against Alvarez for the charges.
At around 7:49 a.m. on October 17, 2015, Robinson left his home to socialize with a group of people at the corner of North Creek Street. Jamil Betancourt was also in the area at the time. Shortly after Robinson joined the group, two men came upon the group and started firing at them. Betancourt and Edward Robinson were the only two persons injured from the group. By the time the gunshots ceased, Robinson was dead. Betancourt was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial where his life was saved. Betancourt is believed to have been the intended target with Robinson being collateral damage.
Police bust “Balls” with weed in his brief
Police were on mobile patrol in Southside Belize City around 12:30 on Saturday afternoon, May 7, when their attention was drawn to 51-year-old West Street resident, Raymond Gladden, also known as Balls. He was acting suspiciously; therefore, the officers decided to approach and conduct a search on him. Before the search, one of the officers asked Gladden if he had anything illegal to declare and he said no. During the search, the officer found a transparent plastic bag hidden inside the right side of his underwear. The bag contained marijuana. Gladden was arrested and taken to the police station where the marijuana was measured in his presence. It amounted to 36.2 grams.
Frank Brown to stand trial for attempted murder
A preliminary inquiry conducted on Monday, May 9, resulted in a commitment for Frank Brown, 39, to stand trial in the Supreme Court of Belize for the attempted murder of Albert Castro, 31.
The charge stems from a shooting incident that occurred on Monday, June 30, 2014. Just after 3 a.m. that morning, taxi Driver Albert Castro was in his green Mazda car, in the company of a female passenger, and had just driven off the Western Highway into Fabers Road. That’s when a gunman on bicycle rode up and opened fire on the vehicle. Two of the shots hit him in the head and he was immediately rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for surgery. His female companion escaped the attack unharmed. Castro was admitted in a critical condition at the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. Doctor’s managed to save his life.
Belmopan Police visit Camalote to ease tensions
Belmopan Police continue to be at the ready to render assistance to the Village of Camalote in the Cayo District following the shooting death of two related individuals. Officer in Charge Howell Gillett met with residents from Camalote Village last Thursday in an attempt to “to allay their fears, reduce tensions, update the progress of the investigation and give assurances that the Belmopan police is doing all within its power to bring closure to the case.”
Two men were shot and killed in Camalote Village on Sunday night May 1, 2016 about 7:23 pm. Twenty four year old Akeem Thimbriel a Belizean electrician of Camalote Village was observed suffering from gun shots to both arms and chest on that Sunday night. His cousin, Shawn Lopez, a Belizean from nearby Teakettle Village, had also received gunshot injuries to the upper body and had succumbed to his injuries on that same Sunday night. The scene was visited and processed where four 9mm expended shells were recovered from the scene.
Guinea Grass carpenter busted with crack cocaine
A Guinea Grass resident was sentenced to three years at the Belize Central Prison after he was convicted of trafficking crack cocaine on a Sarteneja Bus. This charge stems from an incident that occurred almost two years ago, May 27, 2014.
Special Branch Police were following the then 51-year-old Augustine Jovito Pott on surveillance for a while when he was busted with 43.3 grams of crack cocaine inside his left shirt pocket. Sgt. Christine Avila stopped the bus heading from Sarteneja to Belize City and took Pott off. She then conducted a search on him and found a black plastic bag containing three transparent plastic bags with white puffy substance suspected to be crack cocaine.
Rueben Price walks from Steven Perez’s murder charge
Another old murder trial concluded in an acquittal after a trial by judge ended in the accused gun man walking free. Attorney for Rueben Price, 23, Simeon Sampson, made a no case submission on behalf of his client who was being accused of the June 2011 murder of Steven Perez.
Police say that at around 9 p.m. on June 26, 2011, Perez was walking at the corner of Dolphin and Iguana Street when a gunman approached and shot him in the head. There was no eyewitness to the murder but according to police, Price confessed to the crime saying he borrowed a gun and shot Perez over a girl. However, during the voidaire, when Price took the stand he claimed he confessed to the murder because of police brutality. Price told Judge Traodio Gonzalez that he was beaten badly and tasered so he confessed to the murder.
Bulgarian credit card thieves caught in Belize
The Belize Bank has agreed to sit down and talk with the legal representatives for Jeorgi Petrov, 28, and Halid Yuksel Aptula, 25, the two Bulgarians accused of a massive credit card scam. Oscar Selgado, attorney for Aptula, said the Belize Bank has agreed to sit down with them and hear them out. “They have not offered anything to us; we are making an offer to them. I will not say what the offer is,” said Selgado after his client was arraigned on Tuesday, May 10, for theft.
Petrov and Aptula were arraigned in the Belize City Magistrates Court for one count of theft on Tuesday. According to the facts of the case, on Saturday, May 7, the men visited the Belize Bank ATM on Albert Street and withdrew $500 from an account at the bank that does not belong to them. An employee of the bank, who was already aware that the bank was looking for these men, alerted police and the men were detained. Police conducted a search of the men’s apartments and confiscated 1,100 fake credit cards, 250 blank plastic cards, two Nova laptops, $2,100 in Belize currency, two cellphones and a Honda Civic four door car.
Teenager charged for murder of Troy Cole
A youngster, Ryan Thompson, who turned 18 on Saturday, May 7, has been charged for the cold blooded execution of Troy Cole, 26.
Troy Cole was riding his bicycle towards Curasow Street from Central American Boulevard at around 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 4, when he was attacked by a gunman. Reports are that he struggled with his attacker who carried a gun. Cole was unable to disarm his attacker and he was shot twice to the upper part of the body. Though he was in front of a health center, Integral, Cole had to be rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial where he later succumbed to his injuries.
A ride against Cancer
Data shows that over the past 40 years there has been a warming of between 1.6 to 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit along the coast and interior of Belize. Experts say this is extremely alarming, considering the fact that the globe warmed by only 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over this period of time. Meaning, Belize is warming faster than the globe. This is disturbing news because Belize, being a low lying country, is extremely vulnerable to the effects of rising sea levels and other climatic shocks. It is with this in mind that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change launched the Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership on Wednesday, May 11, with Belize’s strategy for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
FCD reports that gold is still being extracted from Chiquibul
The search for gold in the Chiquibul continues with unimaginable impacts. The idea that gold is found in veins further upland has made Guatemalan gold hunters [oreros] devise ways to reach to those more solid deposits. Even before FCD entered unto a co-management agreement in 2007, the Government of Belize had provided gold concessions in the Chiquibul. Those concessionaires, including Boiton Minerals, who remains the only one with an active concession, have been investigating and searching for the veins and main gold deposits. Guatemalans have also been on the search for these deposits.
On the 16th April 2016, Juan Che Zuc of El Naranjon was detained and he reported that people were now taking away the stones and that these were being crushed either away from the streamside in the nearby camp or back at their villages.
New Magistrate in Belize City
A new magistrate was sworn in at Court #4 in Belize City on Friday, May 6. Emmertice Emmerita Anderson, originally from Roaring Creek Village, was sworn in by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin as the newest Magistrate of the Court.
After graduating from high school, Anderson worked as a Secretary at the Police Training School in Belmopan. She later took up employment in the airline industry and eventually left to work at Tan Sahsa Airlines. Anderson studied law at the Cayman Island Law School between 2009-2012 where she obtained an LLB (Hons), accredited by the University of Liverpool in England. In 2012, after achieving her LLB, she went into business before leaving to further her studies at the Norman Manley Law School. There she obtained her CLE in 2015.
Pittsology 101 - The Dishonorable Guatemalan President edition Vol. 1
It is my opinion that Guatemala’s greatest chance of succeeding in their quest for our territory would be through an armed confrontation. For them, having a minor shot and killed by our soldiers, although justified due to the circumstances, is ‘Gold’. They may have gotten irritated since we haven’t swallowed any of their baits set in the Sarstoon area. Our elected leaders have remained responsible in speeches and interviews as it relates to the dispute. We have been perfectly diplomatic.
The incident justifies their aggressiveness – locally. They have accomplished a defacto referendum of some sorts, by banking on the emotions of every Guatemalan. They have, by the way, completely excluded the fact that an adult was also shot. They have failed to explain why their citizens were on our side of the border, why minors were away from school and also well inside our territory.
Belize Athletics Association to host Time Trial
The Belize Athletics Association informs all track athletes that it will be holding an Open Time Trial on Saturday 14th May, 2016, at the Marion Jones Sports Complex beginning at 9:00 am.
The events will be” 100m, 200m, 400m, Long Jump, Triple Jump, Javelin, Shot Put and Discus.
The association informs that all ages compete at the same level.
San Pedro Tiger Sharks force a game three in basketball championship
The National Elite Basketball League will play host to its third and final game in the 2016 championship series on Friday 13th May, 2016, at 9:00 p.m. The final game will be played at the Belize Elementary School Gymnasium in Belize City.
The third and final game has become necessary when the 2-time defending champions the San Pedro Tiger Sharks on Saturday 6th May, defeated the league’s top team the Smart Belize Hurricanes by the score of 101-88 in front of a packed San Pedro High School Auditorium on San Pedro.
The 2-time defending champions, the San Pedro Tiger Sharks jumped out to an early 8-0 lead, with rookie sensation Douglas Valley scoring 7 of the 8 points. The visiting Smart Belize Hurricanes was able to close the lead in the first quarter of the game, trailing 17-13, with the San Pedro Tiger Sharks maintaining its lead at the end of the first quarter at 34-28.
CONCACAF Women’s Football Day is set for Saturday 21st May
The planned event to commemorate the day will be held at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in the City of Belmopan.
CONCACAF Women’s Day is geared at creating a significant opportunity for girls and women to play the game, and to provide an even stronger platform to raise awareness for women’s growing participation in football. CONCACAF has created the Women’s Football Day as a unique initiative to encourage greater participation from females while showing how the sport can have a positive impact on education, health and development.
Crooked Tree Government School girls capture National Primary Schools Softball Title
The National Primary Schools Softball competition took place on Friday 6th May, 2016, at the Marion Jones Stadium in Belize City.
In the girls’ championship game, Crooked Tree Government School representing the Belize District defeated Aguacate Roman Catholic School representing the Toledo District by the score of 7-3 to capture the National Primary Schools Softball Title. The winning pitcher was Ashanti Gillett and the losing pitcher was Neria Cal.
In the third place game played between Independence Primary School representing the Stann Creek District and St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic School from Esperanza Village, representing the Cayo District by the score of 9-1. The winning pitcher was Reah Ardon and the losing pitcher was Hadie Vernon.
In the first game in the semi-final round, Aguacate Roman Catholic School edged out Independence Primary School by the score of 6-5 to advance to the championship game. The winning pitcher was Neria Cal and the losing pitcher was Aaliya Coe.
Martial Arts Federation hosted No Gi Jujitsu Tournament
The Martial Arts Federation of Belize on Saturday 7th May, 2016, hosted a No Gi (uniform) Jujitsu Tournament at the St. Mary’s Parish Hall in Belize City. The event was the first of its kind in the country and was attended by twenty three athletes male and female ranging from ages ten to adulthood.
The coordinator of the event was Leon Guild, who is the Chief Instructor of the Red Dragon Martial Arts Academy, and he explained that the significance of hosting ‘No Gi’ tournament is since people wears normal clothing and do not walk around with a Martial Artist’s uniform all day; participants get an opportunity to evaluate street applications of techniques learnt formally in their dojos.
Teachers day changed to a parade, is BNTU broke?
The Wednesday night TV newscasts were all dominated by the leaked cellphone footage of the Guatemalan Military stopping the BDF from patrolling the Sarstoon Island. With guns at the ready and the tensions at an unusual high, the critics of the Barrow Administration are still calling for the 30-day civilian ban on the Sarstoon River to be lifted.
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize and the PUP were the first to agitate for the law to be repealed, and now the Belize National Teachers Union has joined. On Monday, May 9, National President, Luke Palacio, and Executive Secretary Keisha Young-Flowers, hosted a press conference to announce that the plan of holding the pre-planned activities for Teachers Day have changed. Friday, May 13, will now be used to hold a rally in Belize City.
Its supposed to be a continuation of the Stand Up for Belize Campaign, which was launched by the BNTU on April 15 in Benque Viejo. The full plan has not been revealed as yet, but among the activities will be a parade by the teachers through the principal streets, followed by a gathering at a chosen location, and then public speaking on the topic.
24 new firefighters join the ranks
On Thursday May 5th, the fire department graduated 24 firefighters who will be joining the ranks of the service across the country. At the ceremonies, Johnny Cardinez was recognized as the valedictorian while Rudolph Mcfoy came in second. Sherwin Gallego was recognized as the fittest in the intake while David Trujillo was recognized for being the most disciplined.
The firefighters underwent a 15 week rigorous training exercise where they learned all manner of fire fighting techniques both in theory and in practice. After the ceremonies the new firefighters demonstrated what they had learnt by displaying a ladder rescue as well as an accident extraction demonstration. Looking on was minister of state in the fire service, Hon. Edmund Castro. He said that with the intake and new focus on procuring equipment, “no longer will we have the stigma that they are not well equipped or well trained.”
Mothers Day in Orange Walk East
What would this world be without mothers? Indeed a mother is the epicenter of anyone’s existence and in recognition of this fact, Honorable Elodio Aragon Jr. paid homage to these most beautiful creations of God.
On Saturday May 7, he held a celebration to pay tribute to the mothers of Orange Walk East, where more than seven hundred mothers attended this special event which was held at the Louisiana Football field in Orange Walk East. The night featured entertainment for the mothers including serenading from a Mexican Mariachi Band and Captain Roby. It was a beautiful festivity during which the mothers were also treated to drinks and food and were eligible to win any of the thirty prizes which were raffled at the event. The celebration started at 5:00 p.m. sharp and went well into the night until the last prize was raffled around 10:00 p.m.
Elena Smith wants to internationalize an issue that has already been internationalized
“I believe that we are sometimes a little bit too reactive, we need to learn to be proactive. Guatemala has done what we should have been doing a long time ago because when you look at it now it is out there that Belize is aggressing Guatemala or that we are killing Guatemalans in our country and that is not true about our country, we are not a people who are killers, we are not mean people and so I do believe that as a government we must do as much as we can as quickly as we can to internationalize this issue because it is one that alone we cannot deal with. We need support from other countries to help address this issue so we must go that way and internationalize the matter.” - Senator Elena Smith, Interview on Love FM May 9, 2016.
BTL Acquisition Award not yet Finalized
The Permanent Court of Arbitration Tribunal has not yet issued its final award on the acquisition of BTL shares by the Government of Belize (GOB). The draft decision from the Court was released to the parties in confidence and GOB had been awaiting the final ruling before publicizing the details. However, since some details of the draft decision have been circulated to the media, GOB feels obliged to put out a statement.
What has been issued is a draft of the Court’s findings on the valuation of the 45,199,961 BTL shares which were nationalized by the Government in August 2009. Under the draft findings, they have determined the value to be BZ$5.60 per share. This compares to the $10.23 being claimed by the former shareholders and the $1.44 which GOB had originally offered.
Refugee program reactivated in Belize - social partners represented
Contrary to reports from several media houses on Government’s reactivated refugee program, the facts have proven that there is plenty of oversight, screening and vetting involved in the process. Since Prime Minister Barrow revealed that Government has reactivated the Refugee Elegibility Committee, which has been dormant for years, certain media houses have resolved to return to their roles as 21st Century Chicken Littles. Channel 5 reported that as many as 200 refugee applications are being processed each week. Plus TV’s morning show host, Louis Wade, says the refugees are gang members from El Salvador fleeing “prosecution not persecution” because the authorities are clamping down on them. These fear mongers have pasted filth all over a great humanitarian initiative that would have earned Belize great credit in the international community. Now Belizeans have great reservations in regard to the program because of the narrative that has been presented. Government finds itself in the reactionary position once again and the first response came in the form of a press release issued on Tuesday, May 10.
PUP following Mejia to the Sarstoon
The PUP appears once again to be using the Belize \ Guatemala issue as a political football. Having not been able to harness any type of traction in almost THIRTEEN YEARS, they are now resorting to one of their old whipping horses. The Belize\Guatemala issue has always been a card that they have pulled out as a Trump card to try and slowdown the UDP's forward movement. So for them to do so at this time came as no surprise to most Belizeans. PUP just don't have an issue to fault the government on so they are trying to create one.
On the Friday of the Labor day week end, the government passed an S.I. that effectively prohibits Belizeans from entering the Sarstoon River for reasons other than their lawful everyday business. Even those persons who fall under the category of person who use the river as part of their regular routine must first get prior approval from the BDF Commandant's office. And upon entering they MUST check in with our security forces stationed there so as to verify that they are there for their normal usage of the river. Some of those such persons would be those fisherfolk from places like Barranco and those persons who use the river as a transportation route to conduct their daily routine.
Special Envoy’s tribute to Dr. Jane Usher at Helpage gala
Helpage Belize honoured Dr. Jane Usher in its first Citizen Recognition Gala. Special Envoy for Women and Children, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow had the pleasure of addressing the gala. Here’s an excerpt from her remarks on the amazing accomplishments of Dr. Jane Usher:
“Dr. Jane Ellen Mary Usher nee Price is a Belizean grand dame. A woman who is owed much recognition and gratitude for all the nation building work that she has done and continues to do even at the very tender age of 98. Just a casual perusal of her biography or even if you were to just recall what you were taught in primary school social studies, it is patently clear that Ms. Jane is one of the matriarchs of political, economic and social life in Belize.
Ms. Jane has served in two of the three branches of government. In the executive branch as a Deputy Minister; sitting as the lone female voice in a Cabinet of men. She also served in both chambers of the legislative branch as both a government and then opposition Representative in the lower house. She was the President of the Senate in the upper house.
UB discusses ICJ referendum
The University of Belize through it’s Faculty of Education History Department hosted a discussion on the ICJ Referendum with students on Wednesday May 11 at it’s Jaguar Auditorium at the central campus in Belmopan. The session included a presentation facilitated by Ambassador Stuart Leslie of the International Boundaries Unit. The presentation was followed by a panel discussion. Panelists included:
Paul Morgan - Activist,
Elroy Awardo - Curator, George Price Center,
Melanie Smith - Lecturer of Sociology,
Charlee Hutchinson - UB History Student.
The discussion was organized to provide students the opportunity to learn the history and current proposals to resolving the Guatemalan Claim. Attached are some images from the event
Man charged for robbery of top cop in Benque
Benque Viejo Police have arrested and charged Bryan Geovanny Corado, a 21 year old Guatemalan tour guide of Barrio Fallabon, Melchor de Mencos for the crime of Robbery. This follows an incident on the 14th February 2016 where Police Superintendent Selvin Tillett was robbed at gunpoint of a 2014 Mazda BT-50 pro Pickup, valued at $55,000.00. The vehicle had been parked on Humble Street Benque Viejo Town, in front of Selvin Tillett’s house when the robbery occurred.
Since the robbery, police have been able to recover and return the vehicle back to Belize.
Psychiatric evaluation ordered for John Dawson
John Dawson, 22, a labourer of Scotland Half Moon Village, was arraigned in the Belize City Magistrates Court on Friday, May 6, for aggravated assault upon two police officers. According to reports, Dawson assaulted Charles Sosa, PC Darrell Usher and Detective Joseph Pook with a steel rod.
Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith read the charges to Dawson but before she could proceed she became concerned about his mental state. Noticing that Dawson was suffering from injuries to the head and body, she asked him how he sustained the injuries. Dawson told the Chief Magistrate that he saw when the demon’s finger (referring to Darrel Usher) pulled the trigger and shot him in the head. Dawson was talking nonsense and behaving oddly. Chief Magistrate Smith asked the prosecutor if he was also thinking about getting a psychiatric evaluation for Dawson. She asked Dawson another question. “Are you on medication?” to which Dawson replied, “There are 10,000 herbs in the forest and of all of them I only take one.”
Carpenter’s daughter from Cayo missing
A female teenager from the Cayo District has been reported missing. A Belizean carpenter of Progresso Village in the Cayo District, Melvin Mejia, reports that on Saturday of this past weekend his 14 year old daughter Kimberly Mejia of the said village left home and has not been seen nor heard from. The Belizean teenager left her home around 4:00 pm. She is of fair complexion, stands about 5 feet 2 inches in height and weighs about 120 pounds. Kimberly Mejia also has long black hair, uses eye glasses and has a small scar over the right side of her eyebrow. The Public is asked if they know the whereabouts of Kimberly Mejia to call the nearest Police station.
Xaibe Roman Catholic School won the National Primary Schools Boys’ Softball Competition
The 2015-2016 National Primary Schools Boys’ Softball championship was played on Friday 6th May, 2016, at the Marion Jones Stadium in Belize City.
In the championship game, Xaibe Roman Catholic School representing the Corozal District defeated Carmelita Government School representing the Orange Walk District by the score of 11-4 to capture the national title. The winning pitcher was Loronzo Nas and the losing pitcher was Steven Chiac.
In the consolation game played, Camalote St. Jude Roman Catholic School representing the Cayo District defeated St. Luke Methodist School representing the Belize District by the score of 9-7 to take third place. The winning pitcher was Carlos Beardall and the losing pitcher was Christopher Hower.
In the first game in the semi-final round, Carmelita Government School won over Camalote St. Jude Roman Catholic School by the score of 12-9 to earn the first spot in the finals. The winning pitcher was Steven Chiac and the losing pitcher was Carlos Beardall.
Issue #32 of The BELIZE AG REPORT is online here!.
Click HERE to download the PDF
Deforestation in Belize: Why Does the Agriculture Sector Need Standing Forests?
Belize has lost more than 770,000 acres of forest since 1980, which is almost equivalent to the area of the entire Belize District. According to a report published by CATHALAC (Spanish acronym for Humid Tropics Water Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean, based in Panama), between 1980 and 2010 approximately 25,000 acres (more than 7 times the area of Belize City) of forests were cleared every year in Belize. According to another study produced by Belizean expert Emil Cherrington, in 2013, 33,000 acres of forest were lost in the Jewel, and in 2014 that number rose to 36,000 acres, which shows an increase in the deforestation rate. That trend has continued during the last 2years. CATHALAC and University of…
To the Editor
Dear Editor, We felt to express our deep appreciation that Belize has not been accepting genetically modified (GMO) crops into the country. We understand that through modern biotechnology, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are being created that may use animal, virus, or bacteria genes to alter DNA or genetic material in vegetables and other things. These alterations are impossible to achieve from natural pollination or crop breeding, and must be produced in sophisticated genetic laboratories. The resulting “organisms” are then patentable property of the large corporations creating them. Someone has coined a thought provoking an alternative term for GMO: “God move over”. In other words, do humans consider themselves wiser than our all-wise omnipotent Creator? Are human beings better able and…
Green Banana Recipe Competition
Green Banana Recipe Winners! In our February Belize Ag Report (issue #31), writer Harold Vernon challenged readers to enter original recipes using green bananas in a contest. Harold’s plea for Belizeans to eat this very neglected, nutritious, tasty and cheap starch source stimulated some excellent recipe entries. Below find the winning recipes. More recipes are included in our online version. The contest winners for the most original and best tasting recipes are Miss Paige Dietrich of Unitedville, Cayo District, and Mrs. Deborah Harder of Upper Barton Creek, Cayo District, Youth and Adult categories, respectively. Each receives a $50.00 prize. Thank you, Sally Thackery, Belize Ag Test Kitchen Supervisor and kudos to Harold Vernon for your instigation and prize donation. Thank…
Restoration of the San Ignacio Town Clock
Working on various community projects focused on refurbishing the San Ignacio Police Station in 2014, I became curious as to why the San Ignacio Town Clock wasn’t working. I recalled that when I emigrated to San Ignacio in 1982 that it did work. I began to ask citizens why the clock wasn’t working. Many said they didn’t know or cited its age as the probable cause. Unsatisfied and more curious than ever, I finally got some information from “Jr” Simmons, owner of the venerable Hy-Et Hotel, on the corner of West Street and Bullet Tree Road. He said that the clock and four or five others just like it were gifts from Great Britain to the soldiers of British Honduras,…
Update on the Sugar Industry Management Information System (SIMIS)
In March 2016 a total of 74,258.87 acres of sugar cane fields under production have been verified in the northern sugar belt of Belize. From data collected it has been analyzed that cane variety B79474 remains the most dominant variety accounting for 60% of total area under production. This is followed by B52298 representing 17% and Belize Barbados Varieties (9 BBZ varieties) account for 4% of total area verified. All other varieties are reported as small quantities and available in more detail on the SIMIS database and represented on pie chart. Another valuable item of information collected was the spatial distribution of sugar cane fields regarding the actual size of each parcel. Data shows that small parcels between 0.1 to…
Importance of Biological Control and its Role in Managing Huanglongbing (HLB) in Belize
Figure 1: Adult Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and nymphs (Warnert, 2013) [above] Contributors: Ing. Helen Theresa Choco, Manuel Garcia, Veronica Manzanero-Majil The presence of the Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP), a tiny insect about 4 mm in size (figure 1) was first detected in Belize in 2005. Later, in 2009, the presence of Huanglongbing (HLB) (formerly citrus greening) was confirmed in Belize. ACP is the most efficient vector responsible for the spread of HLB in the Americas. Considering the potential gravity of HLB based on experiences from other countries, the Citrus Research and Education Institute (CREI), the research arm of the Citrus Growers Association (CGA) in collaboration with the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA), the…
Sweet and Sour Dreams
March 2015 ( not April Fools day) we are reading in the news that a thousand year old Anglo Saxon recipe found in the British Library that is actually ninety percent effective in the eradication of the superbug MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus). Following the directions to the letter, scientists concocted a stew of onions, leaks, and garlic, stewed in vintage wine and cows’ bile in a brass vessel for nine days to an amazing success. It may appear to be improbable that, after all, this time we are finding simple ingredients have the power to cure devastating diseases, but perhaps we need to pay more attention. For centuries folk healers around the world have claimed that God created plants…
Introduction of the African Bee to South America and Belize
The African honeybee (Apis mellifera adansonii) is a native of Africa, occupying roughly ¾ of the continent, from the Sahara Desert in the north to the Kalahari Desert in the south. In 1957, 26 swarms of African bees, held for scientific breeding studies in a apiary near Rio Claro, Brazil, escaped, starting the “Africanization” of bees and establishing themselves as feral swarms occupying now the whole of South America (except what seems to be their climatic limits south of 32o S. on Northern Argentina), Central America, Mexico and the states of Texas, California, New Mexico and Florida and parts of the Caribbean. The African bee has the same number of chromosomes (16 in drones and 32 for the queen) as…
Back in 1976, citrus farmers in southern Belize were in need of agricultural lime (ag lime or white lime) in order to improve the pH levels in their soils. As result of numerous tests being done in limestone deposits in the Spanish Lookout area, Mr. Abraham L. Dueck discovered high quality lime that has come to benefit the farming industry tremendously over the years. Forty years later, the company he started is still in business, managed by his son Milton; Limbe delivers its agricultural lime to a host of farmers, including citrus, banana, corn, teak, and many others. It is also widely used in the aquaculture industry. Agricultural lime, or white lime, is essential to soil because it increases the soil’s…
Understanding Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt)
“Do you use chemicals on your vegetables?” is a question that the farmer selling directly to the customer is likely to hear. Often the farmer answers, “Only when necessary” or “No, I am organic”. For questions like this, it is hard to give an accurate answer because most farmers whether organic or not, use some form of chemicals on their farms. Some farmers that are strictly organic must avoid certain chemicals but are still likely using some “natural” forms that are considered non-toxic. The scientific definition of a chemical is any basic substance that is used in or produced by a reaction involving changes to atoms or molecules.It is evident then, that chemicals include many things which may be harmful…
Considering Potassium and Manganese in Soil Fertility for Potatoes
Many growers feel that producing good yields of potatoes must involve the application of large amounts of fertilizer right under the seed row. The perception is that potato roots do not spread out much, and that they tend to grow straight down below where the seed is placed. This does show to be the case in many fields where potatoes are grown, but such limited root growth is actually abnormal compared to what should and does happen on potato fields with adequate levels of fertility. In fact, when soil fertility reaches the level it should be for growing potatoes, the plants send out roots that even spread across the middles, growing right on past roots coming from the next adjacent…
Remembering Mr. Anil Sinha
Mr. Anil Kumar Sinha’s name is synonymous with CARDI, the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute he served for 34 years as an agricultural scientist, first in Guyana for a year and then the agriculture sector of Belize from 1983 until his sudden death on 20 February 2016. He was appointed the country representative for CARDI in 1989 and served as the CARDI representative on many technical and advisory boards, including the Pesticide Control Board as chairman. What a legacy he has left! His stewardship and accomplishments advanced Belizean agriculture far more than his breeding and development of cereals and grain legumes adaptable to the tropics. His efforts at partnering with other organizations, countries and Belizean farming communities for the…
Soils of Belize – The Toledo District
My last article left us at the northern boundary of the Toledo District. The soils of the Toledo District have all been formed under conditions of higher temperatures and higher rainfall. The dominant landform is the Maya Mountains and associated foothills that create the largest number of drainage courses of the 7 watersheds. This district has the largest number of rivers that are relatively fast moving and are broken up into many sub-units or tributaries. The mountains form a barrier that collects moisture from the coast and create conditions of condensation as rain and serious flooding. The floodplains of the Monkey River, Deep River and Golden Steam constitute the Northern Coastal Plain while the Rio Grande, Moho, Temash and Sarstoon…
How Sweet It Is Making Ice Cream at Western Dairies
Standing in line is not always a bad thing, especially if you are in line to buy ice cream at Western Dairies (WD) in Spanish Lookout and have not decided among 24 flavors which one(s) to buy. Behind the scenes are 6 busy people packaging the ice cream into 3 gallon, 1 gallon, ½ gallon, quart, pint, and 5 oz.cup size. The 3 gallon size is the best seller; it is the size that restaurants, resorts, and WD ice cream shops buy to serve their customers. Vanilla, chocolate and cheese cake seem to be the favorites sold in that size. However, vanilla counts for 35% of all sales. The newest product is an ice cream bar, vanilla ice cream coated…
Fire – Useful or Harmful Vegetation Management Tool for Belizeans
Fire, in the case of burning vegetation, consists of many processes and characteristics operating at various temporal and spatial scales that can result in even more diverse outcomes in terms of impacts on the biosphere. Relatively few terrestrial ecosystems have not been directly affected by fire, at one time or another, with both positive and negative outcomes. Today, due to the global scale of intentional and unintentional burning of native vegetation and agricultural crop residues, the overall biosphere is being affected more adversely than positively. Of course, as everyone knows, fires can be either started by humans purposely or accidently, while conversely natural wildfire in native plant communities can occur annually or with frequencies of greater than centuries. However, for…
Climate Change Impact on Agriculture
Adaptation measures to climate change and variability were the focus of a forum in February when the stakeholders of the agriculture sector and livestock producers met with representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forest, Fisheries, the Environment and Sustainable Development (MAFFESD); Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA); and National Climate Change Office (NCCO). The participants developed specific recommended adaptation measures for both direct effects (changes in rainfall and temperature) and indirect effects (changes in pests, diseases and soil fertility) on agriculture crops and livestock. The measures recommended for excessive rainfall and flooding unclude: Drainage infrastructure, systems and mechanisms Well-designed and drained road infrastructure Available rainfall forecasts Relocation of animals and annual crops The measures recommended for drought include: Irrigation,…
Birding in Belize – A Visitor’s Perspective
Slaty-tailed Trogon observed near duPlooy’s Jungle Lodge [above] In February, my wife and I traveled to Belize for the primary purpose of bird watching, but our vacation also included snorkeling the barrier reef and visiting ancient Mayan ruins. Shortly after arriving in Belize City, we took a short flight on Maya Air over to Caye Caulker Island where we spent the next three days bird watching, relaxing, and walking, as our primary means of transportation on the island were our feet! Spending time on Caye Caulker was thoroughly enjoyable and stress free; the pace on the island was slow and pleasant. Being an avid birder, I particularly enjoyed the variety of Caribbean specialty bird species we observed on Caye Caulker…
Wildlife Impacts from Changing Landscapes
With Belize’s growing population, spreading urbanization and expanding agricultural footprint, inevitably there are impacts on wildlife as portions of their habitat are cleared for new houses, roads, milpas and large-scale agriculture. Whilst large tracts of wildlife habitat are protected in central and southern Belize by the protected areas that provide critical environmental services such as water supply, flood control and protection from landslides, the wildlife of coastal and northern Belize are more limited in the provision of safe havens from land-use change. The gradual loss of wildlife across the landscape is going unnoticed. One species that makes an interesting case study is Belize’s charismatic Yucatan black howler monkey, better known as the baboon or saraguato, one of Belize’s two species…
Belize Livestock Producers Association Holds 38th Annual General Meeting
On March 19th, 2016, the Belize Livestock Producers Association (BLPA) convened for their 38thannual general meeting (AGM) at their headquarters at Mile 47 ½ George Price Highway. Ranchers gathered from all over Belize, and those renewing their membership found a special price of $25.00 annual dues in effect for the day. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Environment and Sustainable Development Mr. Jose Alpuche, always a welcomed attendee, made a short presentation noting that a reduction of the entry tariff [of cattle] into Mexico and the Government of Belize’s (GOB) cooperation “will provide a foundation for you ranchers to build upon”. He also noted that we need to attach “a proper value on the cattle…
Climate Change, Land Use, and the Future of Water in Belize
The reality of climate change has many of us questioning how the change in weather patterns will affect the agriculture industry. Not only have we seen a marked difference in the length of wet and dry seasons and when they occur during the year, but we’re noticing more extreme weather behavior in terms of flooding and drought. These abnormalities lead us to wonder what the long-term effects of increasing average temperatures will be. The answer is not easy to pin down as it depends on many factors, such as how much average temperatures rise and how much more forest cover is converted to other land uses. Because so many people are interested in knowing how climate change will affect different…
Pro-Organic Belize Visits Pesticides Control Board – Understanding Pesticide Labels
On March 11th, 2016 a delegation from Pro Organic Belize (POB) met with Pesticides Control Board (PCB) staff at the PCB headquarters at Central Farm, Cayo District. Present from PCB were Pesticides Registrar Ms. Miriam Serrut, and PCB team members, Ms. Jenelle Canto, Mr. Selvyn Molina, Mr. Nonanto Canto and Mr. Ginnel Ozaeta. Nearly all of Cayo’sPOB members joined their “delegation”, such was the interest level in learning more about how pesticides become registered and how to understand their labels. Belize recognizes 5 grades of pesticides, which are graded by hazard classification, shown in color, using the World Health Organization (WHO) Acute Oral Toxicity Tables for chemicals. Of the 2 reds and 1 each of yellow, blue and green classes,…
Homemade Health – Parasites
Headaches, pain, joint inflammation, nausea, weight loss, vision problem, cancer, even death. What do these symptoms have in common? All can be caused by parasites. Parasites are organisms that cannot live independently of their host. They are much more common than you may think. In a documentary made by National Geographic called “The Body Snatchers,” they reported, “in fact, parasites have killed more humans than all the wars in history.” . Dr. Hulda Clark writes that all cancers are caused by parasites. I don’t know if that’s true, but the subject is serious enough to warrant investigation. While this is an unpleasant subject, even repulsive to some, it is a problem that can affect everyone. Parasites can enter the body…
Spanish Lookout Commercial and Industrial Expo 2016
The Commercial and Industrial Expo held at Countryside Park in Spanish Lookout every other year continues to draw large crowds. The fourth annual expo, held on February 26 and 27, had 15, 500 attendees, 1,000 more than Expo 2014, who came from every district in Belize. For the 1,000 students who came by the busload on Friday and the crowd on Saturday it was a fun time of horseback riding, ATVs, boating, buggy and “train” rides, jumping on the trampoline, and enjoying a great variety of delicious food. The number of booths also increased from 130 to 140 with 15 new exhibitors. Although there was an increase in livestock showing, probably the largest category of exhibitors was car dealerships with…
Beautiful tropical breadfruit trees are very well-adapted to Belize’s growing conditions including the rainy season; however, they can get water-stressed, resulting in partial defoliation in the dry season months but the tree continues to grow and bear fruit. The breadfruit tree has an exotic, lush tropical appearance due to its very large, lovely, lobed leaves. Breadfruit, (Artocarpusaltilis) is in the plant family Moraceae. There are both seeded and seedless breadfruit varieties. Other cultivated Artocarpus species include Artocarpuscamansi, known as breadnut; A. heterophyllus, jackfruit, and A.integer, champedak. Another relative of the breadfruit called dugdug is A. mariannensis, and the popular marang is A. odoratissimus. The seeds in all Artocarpus species may be boiled or roasted; they are both starchy and delicious.…
Belize Ag Youth Reporter Visits Miss Chrissie’s Whiz Bang Chicken Plucker
This is not a fiction article, although from the title it might be about a farm beside “Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory”. Belize Ag Youth Reporter Nick Roberson*, is fascinated and curious about all aspects of chickens and other domesticated fowl – guineas, turkeys, ducks, geese, he loves them all. Nick is always ready to accompany Belize Ag writers out on any chicken story. So when Ms. Chrissie Tupper announced to a few friends that she acquired a brand new Whiz Bang Chicken Plucker, imported from the USA and ready for assembly at her farm behind the Tuppers’ restaurant, Cheers With a Tropical Twist, at Mile 31 on the George Price Highway, Belize Ag planned to check it out. March 23rd…
Antibiotics Off The Menu
The Belize Bureau of Standards commemorated “World Consumer Rights Day 2016” in Belize on March 14th at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel by hosting a seminar with the theme Antibiotics off the Menu. The World Health Organization has identified the over-use of antibiotics in animal feed as a world crisis. The event focused on the risks of antibiotic use in the poultry, pig and cattle industry. “The widespread use of antibiotics is used to control, suppress or to kill micro-organisms,” stated Armando Cowo, manager of the Belize Poultry Association. Mr. Cowo urged the use of antibiotics to be limited and used only “when it is absolutely necessary.” He recommended that farmers use best practices by keeping barns and animal lots…
POB Speaker Abram Harder
“The biggest mistake people make when planting a tree seedling is to plant it too deep,” said Abram Harder, speaker at the Pro-organic Belize (POB) April meeting. That statement riveted the attention of the 23 people who came to hear him and exchange information with other attendees about growing trees and plants with “low input”. Abram went on with specific instructions: find the tap root and plant the tree so that the soil is only 1 inch above it, never deeper, then clean it around the stem and mulch the tree well. He said that manure from either chickens or cows can be used as fertilizer but the important thing to remember is to keep it away from the trunk.…
Wild Squash or Wild Pumpkin (Sikil)
Belize has a number of indigenous foods that are increasingly being neglected. One such fruit (vegetable) is the “sikil” C. lundelliana; origin: Mexico, Guatemala, Belize. Sikils, about the size of a husked coconut, are white with green striations. All the people I have sampled recently cannot remember the last time they had eaten this highly nutritious food. It is usually grown without pesticides. All persons reported that they cooked it (to death) with meats. None reported eating it raw. All squashes can and should be eaten raw to obtain maximum benefit. This squash makes the best coleslaw I have eaten when julienned and/or complimented with fresh tomatoes and fresh cheese for a simple salad. Please tell us how you prepare and…
The 2016 Wine and Chocolate will be held on Friday, May 20th at The Lodge at Big Falls in Big Falls Village. The Saturday, May 21st event will be held on Front Street in Punta Gorda town and Sunday, May 22nd will be at Julian Cho Technical High School at Dump Area, San Antonio Road. Contact [email protected] or call 722-2531. The University of Belize College of Agriculture at Central Farm (UBCF) will host prominent soil fertility expert Neal Kinsey for the 3rd time in Belize, on February 27th –March 1st 2017 (the 2016 course was held earlier in Feb 2016). The upcoming course will be a new course to Belize; the 3 day Intro 2 course begins with a day…
Yam – A Gentle Giant of Tropical Roots
In January my husband told me we have several yams waiting to be dug, and we should start using them before the potato crops come in, here in Barton Creek. I asked why he didn’t tell me sooner. Soon afterwards a large, brown, muddy, knobby specimen appeared on our back porch; it must have weighed 10 pounds. But my husband said it was only half of the smallest one and these grew up as volunteers and uncared for! Yam, not to be confused with the smaller and unrelated sweet potato and also not to be confused with the wild yam, a herbal source of estrogen, is surely one of Belize’s under-appreciated foods. A vine that would thrive climbing up a…
Agriculture Prices At A Glance
Breaking Belize News
Trio Village cacao growers get $250,000
An agro-forestry pilot project to organically grow cacao is helping 200 villagers from Trio Village in the Toledo district adapt to Climate Change, with US $250,000 in funding from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) program. They are farming 960 acres within […]
Tropic Air rated safe
The self-styled “Airline of Belize”, Tropic Air says it has been rated safe following a successful completion of the International Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA) of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The ISSA evaluates safety practices and management in flight and ground operations, maintenance, […]
Belize District Chinese businessmen charged over conch
Chinese businessmen from Caye Caulker and Ladyville respectively were in court today accused of being found in possession of undersized market-cleaned conch. 38 year old Dong Sheng Zheng, proprietor and businessman of the Caribbean Chinese Restaurant located in Caye Caulker on January 7, 2016, is […]
“Boyfriend” accused of sex charge
25 year old Anderson Portillo, a Salvadoran national, was sent to jail on remand, accused of entering an unlawful sexual relationship with a 15 year old girl who claims he is her boyfriend. Portillo was read two indictable offenses of unlawful sexual intercourse with […]
Boyd Lopez pleads guilty in City accident
Last February 18, 70 year old Marie Knowles was knocked down and eventually died when teenager Boyd Lopez drove a vehicle without holding a license. Today Lopez, 20, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless conduct as opposed to manslaughter by negligence before Justice […]
Belize District schools take part in financial literacy fair
For several years now the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has partnered with Pricewaterhousecoopers and Peacework to promote and teach financial literacy to Belize’s students. In the Belize District, summer classes have been held and now financial literacy and entrepreneurship form part of […]
BTL reports uptick in revenue
Belize Telemedia Limited’s chair of the executive committee Anwar Barrow and other executives of the state-owned company yesterday afternoon briefed the media on its preliminary earnings for this year. Those have reached 1 hundred 57 million dollars, up 13.8 million from last year. Barrow […]
Progresso man being investigated for $11,000 scam
Police are investigating an incident reported by a 71-year-old female resident of San Estevan Village in Orange Walk District, who told officers that a man she knows as Cecilio Mesh, obtained money from her and then disappeared. Mesh, a Progresso Village, Corozal District resident, […]
Two pounds of weed found on bus
During an early morning police check point at mile 40 on the Philip Goldson Highway yesterday, officers found two pounds (888 grams) of cannabis inside a pink and black school bag. The bag was on a bus heading to Belize City from Orange Walk […]
Generally fair weather affecting most of the country
The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting sunny skies with a few cloudy spells today and partly cloudy skies tonight. Most parts of the country will experience little to no rainfall, except for the extreme South where a few showers along with possible […]
San Ignacio Benefits, Additional Tours and a Happy Anniversary
Tropic Air has again successfully completed the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA), which is an internationally recognized evaluation of the safety practices and management of the airline. The assessment focuses on key areas within an airline such as flight and ground operations, maintenance, cargo, security and aeronautical safety. It promotes high industry benchmarks, and allows for expanded partnership opportunities with other airlines.
Tropic Air joined IATA’s ISSA Registry in 2015, and was the second airline to be registered. It is also the first airline to complete the renewal assessment, which will now be valid for two years (until 7 May 2018).
“We are very pleased to receive the ISSA registration, and it is a very proud moment for us to have demonstrated that our airline operates according to the most stringent standards in our industry segment. Successfully completing the assessment is a testament to the rigorous work put in every day keeping customers and each other safe”, said Steve Schulte, CEO of Tropic Air.
The Next Truck Stop Farmers’ Market & Farm House Deli Readies For the Crowd
After closing for a week of much needed time off, the Truck Stop is again open and today, announced the monthly return of the HUGELY popular Farmers’ Market.
And by hugely popular, I mean a grab-fest reminiscent of Black Friday at an Arkansas Walmart except that no one was hurt (in fact everyone was quite orderly and good natured) and the products were not flat screen tvs or Tickle Me Elmo’s but DEEEEE-licious goodies.