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Today's Belize News: October 22, 2016 #518460
10/22/16 06:12 AM
10/22/16 06:12 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 83,968
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

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

Ambergris Today

Traffic Accident Causes National Blackout, Baby Delivered with Cell Phone Light
Did you know that it was a traffic accident on the George Price Highway that caused the early morning power outage on Thursday, October 20, 2016? Belize Electricity Limited stated that their workers completed the replacement of two transmission structures that were severely damaged in a traffic accident early this morning, resulting in a countrywide power interruption. At 1:29 a.m. yesterday, BEL customers across the country experienced power interruptions lasting 11 minutes to 3 hours when a vehicle was accidentally driven off the George Price Highway near Mile 8, hitting a down guy (cable which holds the pole in place) and causing two transmission line poles to break. BEL immediately activated its restoration plan for impacts on the transmission system.

San Pedro Stands Up for Entire Country of Belize, Stops Seismic Testing
The environmental community thanked the people of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize for their strong show of support and rally against seismic testing that commenced this week in the offshore waters of the country. The island stakeholder’s outcry was significant enough for the Government of Belize to call for a suspension in seismic operations on Thursday, October 20, 2016. In their press release, the Government of Belize (GOB) stated that based on multiple concerns raised by concerned citizens regarding the seismic survey currently being conducted in the deep offshore of Belize, as well as the fact that extensive consultation with a wider group of stakeholders did not occur prior the commencement of the survey, the decision was made to suspend seismic operations until such consultations can be conducted.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Belize Tourism and Health Program Launch
The goal of this program is to improve the health, safety, quality and sustainability of the Caribbean tourism industry thereby contributing to the industry and the region being more competitive and sustainable. This will be done through the implementation of an Intehrated Health, Safety and Environment management approach of combining training, monitoring and response, standards implementation and research to address the critical link between health and tourism. This program was approved by the CARPHA and CTO's Board and fits with its strategic direction of improving health and well-being of the Caribbean people and its visitors.

In an effort to strengthen gender equality and encourage entrepreneurship among Belizean women, BELTRAIDE through its Small Business Development Centre (SBDCBelize), in collaboration with the Regional Centre for the promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises (CENPROMYPE), held a one-day workshop on Entrepreneurship and Gender on Friday, 21st October 2016 at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel. The objective of this workshop was to train the personnel of national institutions who focus on the development of entrepreneurship in women, and to promote their participation in the national entrepreneurship ecosystem. In addition, this workshop aimed to equip participants with techniques and tools that can facilitate the sensitization of gender and entrepreneurship in technical areas of those respective institutions. Participants were drawn from the public and private sectors as well as non-governmental organizations who are at the technical level and are decision makers of the national institutions that provide assistance to woman in Belize.

Breast Cancer Awareness Cancer Walk or Run 2016
Saturday, October 29, 2016. San Pedro.

Central Bank introduces Automated Payment and Securities Settlement System
Belize's monetary authority, the Central Bank of Belize, along with the local community of bankers, is introducing a new Automated Payment and Securities Settlement System (APS3) that they promise will revolutionize the payment of money in Belize. Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Marilyn Gardiner-Usher, cites speed, safety and reliability as the key elements of the system. For the first time, Belize's major banks will be connected, ensuring that both cash and cheque payments will reach you more quickly than ever before - down from a week to the next business day. This is the first step in a series of reforms to the national payment system.

There are 2 boats doing testing!
One is anchored near BZE Port. The other is moving outside English channel now.

Two 20 minute power interruptions 7:00am to 7:20am & 4:40pm to 5:00pm, Sunday, October 23: entire Orange Walk & Corozal Districts
BEL to facilitate works conducted by CFE on their transmission line.

Mr. Sebastian Cayetano at the Corozal House of Culture
It was an honour to have Mr. Sebastian Cayetano at the House of Culture yesterday. He is a founding member and currently one of the Board of Directors of the National Garifuna Council, as well, curator of the Luba Garifuna Cultural Museum in Belize City. Assisting Mr. Cayetano was Mrs. Simeona Zuniga, curator of the Garina Garifuna Museum of Libertad Village. Mr. Cayetano was a special guest at the monthly Corozal Women's Forum, where he educated attendees on the rich history of the Garinagu. It was a wonderful experience for all!

World Food Day celebration
On Friday October 14th, the U.S. Embassy participated at the World Food Day fair hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development at the Belmopan Showgrounds. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Representative, Crispin Blanco, displayed and shared the working relationship between the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) and USDA. He also shared information about USDA’s Mediterranean Fruit Fly (Medfly) program and its significant role in preventing a Medfly infestation of Belize’s agricultural products.

2016 Temperatures in Belize
Temperatures this year have been fairly similar to the typical or average temperatures for Belmopan. The daytime maximum, shown in Red, started higher than normal in January, dipped below normal through February, and then have been closed to the normal, dotted red, most of the year, but are still high in October. The thin line is the daily readings, the heavy line in the 31 day average, ±15 days. ( last 15 days can't average. )

Motorcycle accident in San Pedro
amily members have confirmed that minor is in a critical but stable condition at the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic. A traffic accident on Angel Coral Street has resulted in the injury of a minor. Initial reports are that a golf cart crashed into a motorcycle. Investigations are still on going and no official report has been released.

Cabinet to hear Oceana Belize's offshore drilling memorandum on Oct 25th.
On Thursday October 20th, Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia notified the nation that Cabinet, at its sitting on Tuesday, October 25th, 2016, will be discussing Oceana's draft offshore drilling moratorium legislation. Here is that three page document for your reference. For context, please note that Oceana prepared this draft legislation at the request of the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow following statements to the media in May 2015. This draft legislation was presented to the Prime Minister on June 1st. 2015. Make your voice heard on this national issue.

Sonic Sea 2016
Special Movie Night showing. In spirit of protecting Our Belize Barrier Reef, at The Truck Stop, Sunday 7pm. Followed by community discussion. Come out and support the San Pedro Community in it's stance to No Offshore Oil Exploration. Participate in the discussion after the one hour film.

Appointment of New Director
The Governor General, Sir Colville Young, signed a writ of appointment naming Mr. Kent D. Clare as Director, Financial Intelligence Unit, with effect from 11 October, 2016. The Financial Intelligence Unit would like to advise the general public that all future correspondences should be addressed to the attention of Mr. Kent D. Clare.

The section from Las Terrazas to formerly Journey's End Resort getting major fill
Due to the heavy rains that made this section almost impassable.

Letter: BPP demands that all elected officials in Belize pay-up under POCA
Beyond the growing exposé of corruption that is coming to light concerning the Barrow administration, the Belize Progressive Party (BPP) wishes to remind the people of the systemic reality of just how corrupt Belize’s elected officials are, across party lines. On 19th September, the PUP, by admission of its leader, made a “symbolic” announcement of the intent of their elected representatives to declare their assets. We reminded them that such overtures are not in compliance with their legal obligation under Section 19 (1) a - c and (2) (1) a - c of the Prevention of Corruption Act (POCA). Given that all elected persons are required by law, to declare their assets and for each year they don’t, they are liable to pay a penalty of $100 for every day they are late in declaring assets, in addition to a $3,000 and $5,000 fine for first and second offences, we call on all 111 elected persons to comply!

The Belize Crime Observatory (BCO)
he operational framework for the development of a Belize Crime Observatory (BCO) was created through the Inter-American Observatory Project, which began in October 2011 in the country of Belize. This project was funded through the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program of Canada, and facilitated by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) of the Secretariat of Multidimensional Security of Organization of American States (OAS). The fundamental aim of the project is to strengthen:a) Information Management Systemsb) Strengthen Analysis of Crime and Violence Data c) Improve Public Security in the RegionIn May 2013, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of National Security, with the support of the National Security Council (NSC) agreed to have the Belize Crime Observatory included as part of the larger expanding National Intelligence Framework of the Ministry of National Security; specifically, the BCO would be integrated as a support agency which would provide added value to the Joint Operations & Intelligence Center (JIOC). The BCO will fall under the mandate of the National Security Council Secretariat, and would be staffed by technicians within the NSCS, and supported by the Belize Police Department Statistical Unit.In August 2014, a Technical Cooperation Agreement for the establishment of a Crime Observatory in Belize was approved by the Inter-American Development Bank, and as such, the Ministry of National Security was awarded US$100,000 to further develop the BCO.

Belize Health and Tourism Launch
Combining efforts for a healthier Belize.

European Market Preparedness- Tourism Industry Conference 2016

Channel 7

Sayonara, Northern Explorer Hightails It Out Of Belizean Waters
The MV Northern Explorer hightailed it out of Belizean waters this afternoon, after a muscular pushback from the citizens of San Pedro, and the conservation community. This is video taken by OCEANA at 3:30 this afternoon, and it shows the 250 foot ship travelling at something close to full throttle - seemingly in a hurry to get out of Belizean waters. OCEANA's crew followed it right up to the English Caye Channel - which is the point of departure for ships. It's a sharp turn in events - just yesterday the Northern Explorer was conducting seismic surveys, meaning that it was blasting pressurized air unto the sea floor near San Pedro. But in what has to be called an inspiring show of people power, San Pedranos came out in numbers yesterday to make their extreme displeasure known at a consultation hosted by the Ministry of Tourism. The Area Representative Manuel Junior Heredia got his marching orders from the community and told the Prime Minister that the islanders weren't going to stand for it. So, the government quickly had to wheel and come again, and within two hours announced that seismic operations had been suspended. Government says that it will suspend those operations until consultations can be conducted. With that, the MV Northern Explorer got a directive to cease seismic operations immediately.

PUP Calls For Referendum On Offshore
Well, opponents of those surveys say the facts are clear enough and they are celebrating tonight that people pressure pushed the seismic testing vessel out of Belizean waters. But while the MV Northern Explorer has left Belizean waters, there is still more work to be done for the environmental community. The Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage has urged the government to hold a national referendum and allow the Belizean people to decide whether they want offshore oil exploration or not. The PUP today sent out a statement demanding the same thing, and Senator Valerie Woods explained the Opposition's position. Valerie Woods - PUP Senator: "I think it's very clear based on the release. Back in 2015 the government of Belize did issue a ban or a moratorium if you will on offshore drilling particularly as it relates to the barrier reef system, and in areas that was not specific to that system but was near that system. It was very clear in the government press release back in 2015 that there should be stringent environmental studies for obvious reasons."

Ministry of Education Suggests Holding Back On Docking Pay (For A Month)
Last night, we told you how the Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, made a proposal to BNTU president Luke Palacio suggesting how teachers who were on that eleven-day strike could still get paid. The BNTU and the Ministry would work together to come up with fund out of the union's strike funds and government would chip in the rest. Palacio has responded saying that he needs time to get instruction from his union's council of management. And so government has thrown in a sweetener. Faber now proposes that teachers will get their full paycheck come next week Friday. Here's his plan: Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education: "Just a while ago we decided to delay the withholding of the salaries from this month of October. We would put it off until next month to give the BNTU ample time to answer the proposal that we have put forward. This is also being done because we have a few of the managing authorities, particularly the largest one, I think the Roman Catholic management."

So, Why Not The Strike Fund?
So, as we told you, the premise of Faber's compromise is that the Union must use its strike fund to come up with the amount to pay all the salaries that would have been cut. If they can't meet the entire amount, that's where the Ministry steps in, and the Government will make up the shortfall. Here's how Faber explained that: Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education: "There will be the deductions from the salaries, that has not changed, but yesterday I did write to the president of the BNTU proposing that we might be able to be of assistance to those teachers who were on strike, because we believe that we can assist if the BNTU believes that it can put forward the money that have been withheld as a monthly contribution for the teachers to go into a strike fund. that is our way to make sure that our teachers are comfortable. Especially since the children are at the forefront of whatever it is we are doing here and we believe that there is the need for makeup time to happen. now if it is that teachers aren't paid, especially from the government if the pay is withheld then that question about having teachers go back the classroom to assist overtime to help students to make up time, becomes difficult."

Guatemalan Vessels In Sarstoon Waters Again!?
There is new video tonight showing Guatemalan navy vessels allegedly making incursions into Belizean waters. The first video is from 11 days ago and it shows three Guatemalan vessels which, we are told, paraded around Sarstoon island. Information suggests they were celebrating a navy-man's promotion. Then one week ago on October 15th., another Navy crew came into the Belizean side of the Sarstoon - this one reportedly from a base that is more inland. They were reportedly interacting with an event in the river-side village on the Guatemalan side. They also reportedly made incursions into the Belize side of the river and then blocked a BDF vessel - which is captured in this video. When the BDF vessel moved to avoid the Guatemalans, it was the familiar dance, as the Guatemalans moved to block them again. After this the BDF vessel took another tack, and went to check that no Guatemalan vessel had approached the Sarstoon island.

The Candle That Caused A House To Go Down
Belize City resident Anna Card is homeless tonight after a fire gutted her home at mile 2 and a half on the George Price Highway. She left her home at a little before 8 to run a quick errand, but she left a lighted candle in the house. For that single oversight, she paid the ultimate price because it is suspected, that the fire was caused by that candle. Daniel Ortiz visited her today, and he has her story of loss and lamentation: As you heard, Card says that BEL's accusation caused her not to have power in her home. She started using candles because she couldn't afford to pay the electricity which she says they're accusing her of stealing. Today, we contacted BEL for comment, and a PR representative said, quote, "Whilst, we are not aware of the specific case, typically, if a customer is unable to pay their bill at the due date, a payment arrangement is offered. In cases where customers are found stealing power, they will be disconnected. Once they accept liability, a payment plan is arranged for the power consumed and they are reconnected.

Marlon Castillo To Pay Fine For Friend's Death Whose Family Says Let It Go
Elite cyclist Marlon Castillo was fined today for causing the death of his lifelong friend Ariel Rosado. He pleaded guilty on Tuesday to the lesser charge of causing death by careless conduct and today the court ordered him to pay a total of 13 thousand - a five thousand dollar fine, and eight thousand dollars to Rosado's Estate for his 11 year old daughter. The judge could have fined him up to ten thousand dollars. In an interesting turn, Ariel Rosado's family asked the court for leniency for Castillo. In her mitigation plea, Dorla Rosado made it clear to Judge Lucas that the family of Ariel Rosado was seeking no compensation. They sympathized with him and just wanted to put the traffic death of their son behind them and to remember him for the friendship Castillo and Rosado shared when he was alive.

Hon. Marin Not Moved By Tsunami of Scandals
The Barrow Administration has been trying to keep its head above the tsunami of scandals and shady deals, but a couple party members have gone under. Most prominent among them is Gaspar Vega; he was forced to resign from Cabinet after his son's mega land deal was revealed. Well, Prime Minister Dean Barrow has already expressed sadness and regret following Vega's departure and today we met fellow Norteno, Minister of Health Pablo Marin and he too shared some kind words about his colleague. Marin also told us that although the party is going through a really damning time right now, all the good the UDP has done will somehow outshine the bad. Hon. Pablo Marin, Minister of Health: "It is hard for all of us, Gaspar Vega has been a person who has worked hard for the party, he has helped a lot of standard Bearers in their time of campaign and he has been out there with the public, he is a nice person I can say that but I think his decision is more personal than anything once you encounter that, the public will condemn you , they don't see all the good you have done, they don't see all the good you have done , maybe it was a mistake that happened with his son and it is hard for us also, he is my good good friend. We will miss him."

Faber Comments On Demise of Former Adversary Vega
So, while that's Pablo Marin's position on Vega's fall from grace, what's the perspective of the Deputy Prime Minister on the land scandal? While we had the opportunity, we challenged him on the Prime Minister's handling of the case, and here's what he had to say: Daniel Ortiz, 7News: "The teachers made a moral stance. if I'm to understand them and to be fair, to stand up for good governance and it could be perceived that 'oh the big bad government is punishing them for daring to strike at the gods', when you have a situation with Gaspar Vega whose tumultuous exit is questionable at least." Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education: "Well in your question you assume that there is some kind of letting off the hook for Honorable Vega and I can't agree with that premise. you've heard the prime minister and in fact the minister of lands, Honorable Vanessa Retreage, say that in fact there is an audit of the activities that happened in the ministry of natural resources and that in fact they will continue to pursue that and also the recovery of the monies having to do with the case relating to Mr. Vega and his son."

Marin Not Worried About Senate Probe
Going back now to Pablo Marin, could he like Vega and Saldivar, be next to be disciplined by Daddy Dean? His name does appear in the Audit of the Nationality section of the Immigration Department about 20 times. We asked him if he fears what will come out of the Special Select Committee investigation regarding his actions. Marin told us that he doesn't fear the outcome and that all he did was help his constituents. Hon. Pablo Marin, Minister of Health "I have confidence enough that I have already seek a lawyer to fight my case. Because what I did is sign letters and if I can give you those letters, those letters state you know what can you please help this person and it's not only one particular person. I have a list of maybe 5-6 persons at that moment."

CBB Governor Grant Defends Reserves
And while Marin defends himself, today, so too did the Central Bank. We caught its new governor Joy Grant at a Bank event where we asked her about the state of the official reserves. This is after last week Friday, the PUP declared that Belize's foreign reserves were quote, "dangerously low" after government was forced to pay US$67.5 million to the Ashcroft Alliance. But how low is it? Governor Grant set the record straight. Reporter: "Ma'am, since we have you here, can you address for us Belize's foreign exchange situation? We were told that the government did procure those US dollars to pay the former owners of Belize Telemedia Limited." Joy Grant, Governor of Central Bank: "Yes, we did the payment earlier than the court ask us to do. So that's done. We all know that with Hurricane Earl and with the productive sector, banana, citrus, shrimp - all having a down turn that we are very much engaged in reviewing our foreign currency situation, foreign exchange situation on a regular basis, even maybe more than before. And also looking to projections so that Central Bank will be able to ensure that the payments are there in the future."

New System To Clear Checks, Make Payments And Transfer Funds
We spoke to Grant and her deputy Governor at the launch of the Central Bank's newest project. APS3, or the Automated Payment and Securities Settlement System. It's a new electronic system that will make banking in Belize more efficient. APS3 will cut the time it takes to clear checks, make payments and transfer funds in half by connecting banks to the system. He's how the bank officials put it. Joy Grant, Governor of Central Bank "First, its right for me to recognize the previous governor and the work that he has done. But to say that I firmly believe that for any country to develop has to embrace technology and this is a way for the financial system in Belize to embrace technology so that we become more efficient and hopefully that the cost to the consumer overtime will decrease for transactions that they do now without thinking, but that are important for the running of this economy."

Former Taxman Takes Over FIU
And since Joy Grant has moved from the FIU to the big office upstairs at the Central Bank, who will be the new director of the FIU? Well, former Commissioner of Income Tax, Kent Clare is the man. The Governor General, Sir Colville Young, signed his letter of appointment 10 days ago, and Clare is now in the Director's seat.

Nothing To Doug Singh Stories
So is Clare's appointment the reason all these rumours are popping up about the FIU searching Doug Singh's office and home? We have no idea, but we can confirm that they are only that: rumors. We spoke to Singh today he confirmed that no one has searched his home or business - where operations continue as normal. He says that however persistent, the rumours are baseless and he won't dignify them with a response. He is currently travelling in the far east.

Where Tourism Makes A Difference In Health
When tourists arrive on our shores, it's all about maximizing the opportunity to generate revenue, and of course making sure they have a great time so they keep coming back for every vacation . Well the Ministry of Health and the tourism industry say, it should also be about the health and safety of the tourists during their stay, which in turn will impact the health of Belizeans. And the Tourism and Health Program will focus on this aspect of tourist arrivals. It was launched today at the Radisson and we found out more about how this surveillance program will work. Dr. Lisa Indar, Head - Tourism and Health Program - CARPHA: "Health and safety does impact on tourism. Tourism and vice versa impact on health, safety and security. Our visitors, we want our visitors to come in, but they can bring diseases with them. First cases ZIKA, Chikungunya, H1N1 all came in through a visitor. So we want to ensure that if that happens that we have systems in place to identify very quickly so that we can have appropriate response. So you avoid spread, you avoid negative publicity, you avoid it going into your population and overall you are reducing the impact on your country."

Cops Give Props To Michael Young
Michael Young has passed, but his legacy both in the legal profession and in the social sector endures. Truth is, Michael Young, the social activist was involved in so many different efforts to mitigate violence that even the players in that sector probably didn't know all that he did. From the Crimes Commission to Restore Belize, to the Police Department, he covered all bases - you could say that finding a cure for social ills was his passion. Today the commanders of northside and rural honoured him for supporting and serving on the executive of the People's Coalition Committee. The Charm week runs from November 20th to 27th.

Cops Say Young Death Still A Sudden Death
Police still cannot confirm that Young committed suicide. Today they released his port mortem which simply confirmed what we all know; that he died from a gunshot to the head. But, still, it is being treated as a sudden death. ACP Dezeree Castillo told us why:.. ACP Dezeree Phillips, OC, Eastern Division North: "There has to be a report receive from the ballistic expert as well as that from the forensics in order to conclusively conclude to the determination as to the cause of death." Jules Vasquez, 7News: "So it's still a sudden death?" ACP Dezeree Phillips, OC, Eastern Division North: "Yes." Castillo says that the final report on the cause of Young's death will be a collaboration between the pathologist, the forensic department, and ballistics testing.

Heart Patient Needs Help
Well known James bus line driver, 44 year old Tyron Coleman lies at the KHMH emergency room waiting for a miracle to get him to the Cayman Island for a delicate open heart surgery that could save his life. Today, family members visited our studio to tell us why they are desperate for help: According to studies carried out by Cardiologist Doctor John Gough Coleman has been diagnosed with coronary artery disease. Tyron Coleman is the father of a 7 year old daughter. Any one that would like to help the Coleman family can do so by contacting them at 633 -4772 or at 633- 3436 or you can make deposits to Scotia Bank account 1902322; Belize Bank account, 5514 PG Branch and Atlantic Bank account 211-49-7904.

Channel 5

Central Bank Begins Revolution in Bank with APS3
Faster collection of your pay? Quicker cheque-cashing and depositing? Shorter stay at the bank, or not having to go at all? If you think it’s all a dream, then wake [...]

Belize Still Battling with De-Risking; Does International Community Understand?
Belize continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with its Central American and Caribbean neighbours on tackling the issue of de-risking that is affecting the economies. There has, however, been little [...]

The End of the Cheque?
While early versions have existed since antiquity, the first modern cheque was introduced in 1659. And while it continues to be an important source of handling money, it is rapidly [...]

Regional Program to Monitor Tourists with Health Concerns
Belize, through Ministry of Health and local tourism agencies, officially launched the Caribbean Public Health Agency’s tourism health and safety program to ensure the health and safety of visitors. It [...]

Friends of Michael Young in Police Department Mourn Ahead of Monday Funeral
Senior Counsel Michael Young will be laid to rest on Monday, following a funeral service at Wesley Methodist Church.  While many are still grieving the sudden death of the respected [...]

A Celebration for Survivors of Cancer
Today, the Belize Cancer Society hosted cancer survivors at a luncheon to celebrate their milestone being cancer free. The participants, from various backgrounds, shared their personal stories and the significance [...]

Family of Bus Driver Pleas for Funds to Get Him Life-Saving Heart Surgery
Tonight, a family from Punta Gorda is asking the public for assistance to save the life of popular James Bus Line driver, Tyron Coleman. According to Lovinia Coleman, and her [...]

Teachers’ Salaries Will Stay Intact for October
This week, Minister Gaspar Vega resigned from cabinet after evidence surfaced that his son was superbly compensated for land sold to him which was held privately. Prime Minister Barrow had [...]

Minister of Education Discusses “Tight” Situation
With all the talk of a salary deduction, there are serious concerns about the legality of such a decision.  In fact, the question of whether or not government has the [...]

Having a Baby in the Dark; Ministry of Health Explains Generator Failure
With all these national issues on the front burner, there is another of interest. A baby was delivered at the Western Regional Hospital in darkness on Wednesday night. While the [...]

Another Law Firm Tapped to Represent House Speaker Against Attorney General
House Speaker Michael Peyrefitte filed suit against both the Attorney General Vanessa Retreage and the Auditor General Dorothy Bradley on Thursday. The suit arises from a three volume special audit [...]

Central Bank Claims Foreign Reserves “Healthy”
Last week the Opposition People’s United Party declared Belize’s foreign reserves to be in “crisis” mode following the payment of sixty-seven point three million U.S. dollars as the first of [...]

Western Union in Chetumal? Central Bank Says It’s Not Necessary
Western Union and MoneyGram enjoy much usage in Belize as a means of sending and receiving money quickly and reliably and even cheaper. Of late there have been persistent reports [...]

Kent Clare Named New Director of Financial Intelligence Unit
Before taking up her position as Governor of the Central Bank, former Senator and Ambassador Joy Grant was Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit. Today, the Governor General confirmed the [...]

Marlon Castillo Fined and Ordered to Compensate Ariel Rosado Family
Marlon Castillo is the twenty-nine year old former cyclist who admitted earlier this week to causing the death of his long-time cycling buddy Ariel Rosado. It happened during a traffic [...]

Gaspar Vega’s Resignation Does Not Exempt Him from Investigation, Says Faber
Once the second most powerful man in the country for two consecutive terms, the fall from grace for Orange Walk North Area Representative Gaspar Vega has been steep and sudden.  [...]

Pablo Marin Says ex-Minister Can Still Help Party in the North
And what about Vega? Well, Minister of Health Pablo Marin was rather tightlipped on what he thought of his fellow minister’s departure from Cabinet. But he did say that he [...]

Deputy P.M. Backs Boss Barrow on John Saldivar; No Tempers Flared in Cabinet
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that Minister of Defense John Saldivar had been placed on one week’s leave of absence pending legal advice on a matter involving Saldivar’s [...]

Health Minister Addresses John Saldivar’s Problems
So is John Saldivar in or out? Well, we don’t know that quite yet. Until next week we’ll find out what happens to the long time Belmopan Minister. But how [...]

The Travails of the Caye Caulker Police Barracks: Condemned But Still Standing
As you know, PM Barrow has taken up the mantle as the new Minister of Police.  Tonight there are pressing issues within the Belize Police Department to be addressed.  Officers [...]

G.S.U. At It Again; City Man Charges He Was Beaten Up and Shot with Rubber Bullets
We’ve often reported on allegations of police brutality and how officers attached to the Gang Suppression Unit are accused of using excessive force—breaking into homes and beating up on residents. [...]

Fire Destroys Another Family Home in Belize City
There were fires reported overnight in Belize City and Valley of Peace, Cayo District. The first took place on the George Price Highway after eleven in the evening and destroyed [...]

Who set Valley of Peace House on Fire?
The second incident took place in the early hours of Friday morning and there is very little information as to what caused a house to be set afire in Valley [...]

Re: Today's Belize News: October 22, 2016 [Re: Marty] #518461
10/22/16 06:12 AM
10/22/16 06:12 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 83,968
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP


Teachers’ Wages Intact for October; November May Be Iffy
As we head into the weekend, we can tell you that the proposal still stands that was sent by the Ministry of Education to have the BNTU’s Strike Fund finance some of the teachers’ salaries. Some compromise has been lent to the situation, however as the Education Minister, Patrick Faber has decided to give the […]

Allegations Surface within Belize Workers Union over Bank Accounts
Yesterday we reported of the alleged mismanagement of monies within the Belize Workers Union. Tonight we present you with cheques written out to the Chairman and executive members of the union. Financial statements were obtained by Love News that show between April 13 2016 and October 4 2016, 34 cheques were issued out to Ramiro […]

Deputy PM Says Give the Process a Chance Before Crucifying His Predecessor
A few months ago Patrick Faber took over the seat of the First Deputy Party Leader for the United Democratic Party and the post of Deputy Prime Minister which were both previously held by Gaspar Vega. In November 2015, Vega was stripped of the Lands portfolio and that was given to Senator Godwin Hulse. It […]

Faber Speaks on Mason, John and the Bandits
And while Vega is no longer a member of Cabinet, Minister John Saldivar remains on one week leave at the directive of the Prime Minister. A brief release was sent out from the Government’s Press Office indicating the Government’s intention to investigate the matter between William Mason and Minister Saldivar surrounding the Belmopan Bandits. According […]

Two Fires Destroy Homes in Belize City and Out West
There was a house fire last night just off the George Price Highway that destroyed the home of a couple. Oren Smith, the Station Officer at the National Fire Service gave the media a report on the incident. Fire officials were also called out to the scene of a fire in the Valley of Peace […]

Duo Sustained Injuries Following Altercation
Police in San Ignacio are investigating a chopping incident that occurred at around six o’clock last night on Bishop Martin Street in Santa Elena Town, Cayo District. Reports indicate that upon making checks at the San Ignacio Community Hospital, investigators found two men being treated for injuries. Further investigations indicate that the men, 46-year-old, Felipe […]

3 Adults + 2 Minors Arrested for Robbery
Three men and two minors of Belize City were arrested in western Belize last night after they allegedly held up an 18-year-old student of Santa Elena Town as she walked home on Salazar Street. The student told police that it was around nine o’clock last night when two men approached her and forcibly took away […]

Joint Police Efforts Lead to Arrest for Drug Trafficking
Team work involving the Belmopan Police officers, members of the K9 Unit and the Mobile Interdiction Team has led to the arrest of five individuals following the discovery of fifty four grams of marijuana. A special anti-drug operation was held yesterday morning just before six o’clock and as a part of the operations a residence […]


BNTU “seeking legal advice” on GOB refusal to pay strike salaries
Government has told the thousands of teachers across the country who participated in the BNTU’s industrial action that they will not receive salaries for the days they engaged in a strike in an effort to get the government to adopt good governance measures and address their labor-related concerns. This new development was clearly stated in a memorandum issued on Tuesday from the Ministry of Education to all general managers of government and government-aided primary schools; boards of management and principals of government and government-aided secondary schools; and boards of management and deans of government and government-aided junior colleges. “The Government of Belize/ Ministry of Education will be withholding its contribution toward the salaries for individual teachers for the days when those teachers were on strike. This will apply to all government and grant-aided schools. “In the case of secondary schools, where the managing authority of a school took the decision to call off school in anticipation of the strike action notwithstanding their mandate to keep schools open, the Government’s contribution to salaries, plus any grant amount above that for services will be withheld for the number of days that the school was closed,” the memo said.

Michael Young, SC, dead at 61
This afternoon, shortly after the lunch hour, word began to spread about “a prominent attorney” who was found dead at his home. Within minutes, social media was buzzing with a name. By the time reporters scrambled to Bella Vista in Belize City, where Michael Young, senior counsel and advisor to the governing United Democratic Party, resided, they came upon a street marked off with yellow police markers, and two senior police officers manning its entrance, as scenes of crime personnel, ballistics experts and the police pathologist, were all streaming toward Young’s residence within minutes of each other. One of Young’s neighbors who lives almost in front of where police had set up their marker, blocking traffic, remarked how mannerly her attorney neighbor had always been to her when they passed each other on the short stretch of street. “He was such a gentleman,” his neighbor remarked. An attorney from Young’s Law firm pulled up and police allowed him to walk toward the residence. After a few minutes, he turned back. With television cameras trained on him, he spoke not a word, but the somber look on his face said it all, as he got into his late-model SUV and drove off.

Defence Minister Saldivar “put on 1-week leave”
It made headlines on Monday when Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that former Deputy Prime Minister, former Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and now Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Gaspar Vega, had resigned from Cabinet with immediate effect. It was under Vega’s watch, when he had been the Minister of Natural Resources, that his son, Andre Vega, and UDP crony, attorney Sharon Pitts, walked away with $400,000 each, paid by Government as “compensation” for lands that was already privately owned. Today, the Prime Minister dropped another bombshell — Defence Minister Hon. John Saldivar has been put on one week’s leave of absence. His enforced leave comes as a result of his cozy relationship with a man known as William “Danny” Mason, 46, who is now in prison awaiting trial for the murder of a well-liked preacher, Pastor Llwellyn Lucas, more popularly known as “Pastor Lue.” Police say that they found Pastor Lue’s head hidden in Mason’s pickup.

Another Cabinet reshuffle!
Two days after the former Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Gaspar “Gapi” Vega, the Orange Walk North area representative, resigned from his Cabinet post as Minister of Agriculture, Prime Minister Dean O. Barrow has reconfigured his Cabinet. This Cabinet reshuffle comes one day after teachers returned to the classroom after an 11-day strike, the centerpiece of which was good governance issues, and while the nation’s attention was still riveted on the most recent scandal to come out of the Lands Department. The announcement of the Cabinet changes was made today via a press release, from the Office of the Prime Minister. One of the eight pre-strike demands that the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) had made was the removal of Senator and Minister, Hon. Godwin Hulse, who was appointed to head the Police Ministry about six weeks ago when PM Barrow shuffled his Cabinet.

Belizeans run oil explorer
Uproar over the Government’s decision to allow a Panama-flagged 250-foot vessel to explore Belize’s waters for possible petroleum deposits and threats by a group of angry, vocal Belizeans to form a barricade around the vessel forced the Government of Belize to halt operations this afternoon, with a promise to “suspend” those seismic surveys for consultation, despite resounding calls that Belize should not even entertain thoughts of offshore drilling, perceived to be a threat to the country’s tourism and fisheries industries. Tourism stakeholders argue that tourism is the only thing holding this country together, amid the recession. On Wednesday, tourism stakeholders called out the Government for proceeding with the seismic surveys without consulting them, and they furthermore urged the Government to stop the vessel, which was due to remain here for the next 3 to 4 weeks.

Salvadoran gang leader captured for a third time in Belize
A gang leader of El Salvador, identified as Juan Pablo Lopez, 25, is presently in Belmopan police custody on charges of illegal entry. He is waiting to be arraigned at the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court. Police said that this is the third time that the gang leader has been found in Belmopan. He was arrested on two separate occasions and charged for illegal entry. He was deported back to his country, but somehow, he reentered Belize and returned to Belmopan. Police said that yesterday they were on patrol in Belmopan when, on arriving at the market, they saw the expelled gang leader. He was immediately arrested and Immigration officials were called in.

Belize veterans win Gold at Central American Masters Championships
On Wednesday, October 12, four Master athletes left Belize to compete in the Central American Masters Championships in Track & Field Athletics in El Salvador. They returned on Sunday morning, October 16, with 7 Gold medals, 4 Silver medals, and 4 Bronze medals. The following is a breakdown of the medals garnered (in their respective events and age-range categories): Fred Evans M-70 (male athletes 70 to 74 years): Javelin – Gold; Shot Put – Gold; Discus – Silver; and Long Jump – Bronze. Daland Jones M-60 (male athletes 60 to 64 years): Shot Put – Gold; Discus – Gold; and Javelin – Silver. Lawrence Craig M-55 (male athletes 55 to 59 years): High Jump – Gold; Triple Jump – Gold; and Long Jump – Bronze. Philip Andrewin M-65 (male athletes 65 to 69 years): 100 Meters – Gold; Shot Put – Silver; High Jump – Silver; Long Jump – Bronze; and 200 Meters – Bronze.

Recent line-ups of Belize National “A” Team
Right in the middle of a hotly contested Premier League of Belize (PLB) Opening Season 2016-2017 competition, the Belize National “A” Team has been unusually busy in this month of October, 2016. Belize is already out of contention for a place in the 2018 World Cup Russia, but our neighbor, Honduras is still in the race, and they visited Belize for an International Friendly on Saturday, October 8, in anticipation of the start of their CONCACAF Hexagonal in November. For the Belize team, foreign based players Woodrow West (goalkeeper), Michael Salazar and Nana Mensah were in town for this one that saw West stopping a penalty, and Elroy Kuylen scoring a header off a free kick by Elroy Smith. Honduras emerged 2-1 winners, the go-ahead goal coming late in second half. Still a good outing for the Belize National “A” Team. The Belize line-up for that October 8 encounter at the FFB Stadium included: #27 Woodrow West (G, 31yr), #13 Dalton Eiley (D, 32yr), #3 Trevor Lennen (D, 33yr), captain #8 Elroy Smith (D, 34yr), #7 Ian Gaynair (D, 30yr), #18 Denmark Casey (M, 22yr), #21 Nana Mensah (M, 27yr), #20 Daniel Jimenez (F, 28yr), #5 Elroy Kuylen (F, 33yr), #9 Deon McCaulay (F, 29yr), and #11 Michael Salazar (M, 23yr).

Strike at the MCC; will something good come of it?
We alerted fans a couple weeks ago about problems developing between the players and the management of the FC Belize football team; and it was manifested last night at the MCC, where the FC Belize team refused to take the field for their home game against Belmopan Bandits FC, who were awarded the 3-0 default victory. The win puts the Bandits alone at the top of the PLB standings with 23 points, while FC Belize stood down and endured their first loss by default, in an attempt to let authorities, PLB and FFB, know that they are serious about not continuing to play under the present conditions of management. It is not the first time that a football team has “gone on strike,” that is, refused to take the field for a game at the MCC; but this time was a bit different. Stann Creek Selection 1979: Back in 1979, when the Stann Creek Selection was slated to take on the Corozal Selection at the MCC Grounds in the finals of the Inter-District Competition, there had reportedly been an assurance given to the Stann Creek team that they would be receiving a portion of the gate receipts at the game that Sunday afternoon.

Dion Flowers of Sports in Education Club speaks out for children
I would just like to take this time to express a problem that I notice might be the cause of the corruption and violence in our country. I work with children of all ages in my youth program (Flowers Sports in Education Club), and through this program, I get to know these children on a one-and-one level; and one of their major complaints, is going to the local grocery store to purchase cigarettes and “fonto” for parents and other family members. It is disturbing to me because some of these children get punished when they refuse to go and purchase these items. Isn’t it a crime to sell minors these items? If yes, why is it not being enforced? I believe that this practice is one of the many reasons for our younger generation to go down the wrong road. So, I plea to all – please help us put a stop to this problem!

Editorial: PSU, APSSM – missing in action!
The moment the Belize Ministry of Education announced late Tuesday evening this week that the teachers of Belize, who had just ended eleven days of industrial action demanding good governance, would not be paid for their days on strike, the leaderships of the Public Service Union (PSU) and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM) should have swung into action. After all, the memberships of these two unions, which had been conspicuous by their absence of street support for the Belize National Teachers Unions (BNTU) during the teachers’ strike, had benefited financially from the brave stand taken by the teachers. The water, electricity, and telecommunications unions, under the umbrella of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB), had not benefited financially, because they are not government workers as such, but they too should have moved to back the teachers, as a matter of principle. The corrupt Government of Belize, which has now been caught brazenly embezzling public funds at the highest levels of their Cabinet leadership, absolutely needed to be put on notice that the working people of Belize, the taxpayers of Belize, do not have rings in their noses.

From the Publisher
I have some ideas about what has been going on in the socio-politics of Belize, but it will take me quite some time to fully understand the recent initiatives of the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU). These initiatives of the teachers will be seen by historians, I believe, as monumental in the chronicles of the independent Belize. Dr. Theodore Aranda, whose doctoral dissertation was in the field of education, appeared on Plus TV recently, and I understand that he has called for a constitutional convention. I did not hear him myself, and I have no details. Those of you who have been regular readers of this column know that I have been a fascinated student of the Mexican Revolution which began in 1910 and is considered by some scholars as having lasted until 1940. The teachers of Mexico played a major role in a revolutionary constitutional convention which was held around 1917 or so. This was a truly historic convention in the annals of Mexico. There are some scholars who refer to the period between 1944 and 1954 as a period of democratic revolution in Guatemala. Most Belizeans know very little about the Guatemalan presidencies of Juan Jose Arevalo and Jacobo Arbenz which took place during the period after the overthrow of the military dictator Jorge Ubico, who had ruled Guatemala with an iron hand from 1931 to 1944. I do know that Guatemalan teachers played an important role in that Guatemalan revolution of 1944–54, if we can describe it as such. President Arevalo, in fact, was a teacher.

Thanks for your candor, Gaspar!
Dear Editor, I’m referring here to the resignation of Gaspar Vega, former Deputy Prime Minister of the UDP and the protagonist in the latest scandal to ooze out of the GOB. I actually had to read the report in the Amandala twice, not believing at first the monumental arrogance, ignorance and indeed, criminality—not to mention the implicit contempt for the people of Belize—at the heart of this most recent example of malfeasance by another “Honorable.” It boggles the mind! There are at least three or four people here who should be on their way to Hattieville, but you know that won’t happen. Vega has been quoted as saying, “I am not a normal person in Belize.” Yeah, that’s for sure Gaspar, nothing normal about you — thanks for your candor ! As a recent editorial in this newspaper pointed out, when governments start to believe their own bull…t and stop listening to the people —their employers— various scenarios become possible when dealing with those who are desperate to cling to power.

Chan Pine Ridge to celebrate their “Cabo de Año” under Minister Aragon
Dear Editor, In November of each year many Christians celebrate the day of the dead and the most revered finados, as known to Catholics. In Chan Pine Ridge Village, which forms a part of the Orange Walk East constituency, residents are starting to prepare for their very own cabo de año to commemorate one year of neglect and desertion in the very hands of an individual who promised during his political campaign for general elections to “transform OW East”. Belizeans can vividly recall that this November 4th will mark the first anniversary that Minister Elodio Aragon Jr. was elected by the people of Orange Walk East, including supporters of Chan Pine Ridge Village. It has also been one long, hopeless year that the Orange Walk East constituency and more specifically, Chan Pine Ridge Village has NOT seen or heard from Minister Aragon.

Am I a reflection of the masses?
Dear Editor, I was given an assignment in my Public Administration class at the University of Belize to speak on a public issue affecting the country of Belize. However, I quickly realized that I was not informed enough or equipped enough with the knowledge to speak with conviction on any current issue. This leads to the question, “Am I a reflection of the masses?” Is our culture so confined to us taking care of our homes and excelling at our jobs that we are so consumed with trying to perform these tasks that we do not stop to reflect on national issues? In our defense, I will say that we do huddle in groups at work or pass comments to our family as we watch the nightly news at home. But I am also of the view that when these dialogues end, we do not enquire any further nor seek to learn more about the problem. Instead we opt to arm ourselves with tools to cope with our own reality.

With Or Without You: Belize’s BNTU!
When the words of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King comes back to haunt many of us human beings across this globe that, “silence is betrayal”, we begin to find our bearings that we must take on the challenge to resist wrong, no matter where it is, to stand on the side of the poor, the oppressed, and dispossessed in any society including Belize. And as Dr. King would say, “injustice anywhere, is injustice everywhere.” The present struggle of resistance by Belize’s National Teachers Union, (B.N.T.U), against the Barrow administration and the stream of corruption that has engulfed the Belizean nation state over the three terms of its government has now begun to weaken the bonds of what once appeared to be a strong mandate. It has begun to become a show of declining confidence exemplified by the backbone of the Belizean electorate, a strong union that is an amalgamation of teachers, civil society, and the underserved people of Belizean society. It is in this spirit of resistance that the Belize diaspora organization, BREDAA, joins the voices of dissent against what is clear to see from any angle you look at it: something seriously wrong with Belizean society in terms of “good governance” and service to its full mass of 300,000 citizens (rather than the greedy quest of a few).

When I look through my window, this is the institution I see: Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH)—the #1 ranked children’s hospital in the United States. It is hard to exaggerate what this institution does, and the depths of dedication it has shown to children—not just children of the USA—but also to the children the world over, including Belize. Their motto is: “Until EVERY Child Is Well”. I’ve sat for years in their cardiovascular grand rounds. I have observed a level of commitment to excellence and care that brings me close to tears. I’ve seen it nowhere else! I’ve seen these leading world experts—spend countless hours discussing what’s best for children in their care—often the sickest of them all. Money is not what drives them. Even the 50-yr+ olds (former patients) continue receiving care at BCH! They’ve earned and maintained their No. 1 Rankings for all the the right reasons. Now huge money … 1 Billion U.S. dollars … bigger than the national budget of many small countries, is being invested to expand their services. Some, for various reasons (see attachment), are opposing.

In Reverence of Belize Musicians Past & Present!
The classic, long overdue history of Belizean musicians past and present finally came through Tony Wright’s touching rendition in narratives of Belize’s most celebrated musical artists and musicians of all times in the book, Belize Musicians Past and Present. It was only recently that yours truly luckily got a copy, earlier than was expected, through the kind efforts of my cousin, Elena Babb, who purchased it and sent it through my sister who had just returned back to Los Angeles from Belize for the September celebrations. I started browsing through it almost immediately, and the colorful photos of some of my favorite Belizean artists, bands, and musicians made me smile and brought me back to the days of my teenage musical explorations in Belize when I would receive a top vinyl album through the Belize post office of one of my favorite musical artists or bands from the States. Tony’s acclaimed book of Belize’s musical best touched my heart as the copy touched my hands. Fresh off the press in Belize, the work pulled me deeply in a moment of solitude as I kept reading every story page by page. In reflecting on its content, I can say that Wright has produced a masterpiece of Belizean musical anthology that will be the best Belize will ever see from a homegrown Belizean social revolutionary in a long time.

Belize’s prohibition of industrial hemp is unlawful, outrageous and indefensible
Legal opinions, from top government legal minds in Belize, have been given, and they agree — the cultivation of cannabis for industrial use (fiber and seed) is legal in Belize. Still our top-elected officials and politically appointed bureaucrats continue to ignore the fact that the cultivation of industrial hemp in Belize is legal and could create thousands upon thousands of excellent paying jobs. One of the government’s top attorneys is quoted as saying, “The Misuse of Drugs Act has the definition of cannabis as ‘including any part of the plant of the genus cannabis, any resin obtained from that plant and any product of which such resin forms a base.’ It is submitted that that definition needs to be read in the context of the Single Convention which states at Article 28 that ‘This Convention shall not apply to the cultivation of the cannabis plant exclusively for industrial purposes (fiber and seed) or horticultural purposes.’”

PM Barrow signs commencement order for 13th Senator
The administration of Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow has finally signed a commencement order to give effect to the provisions relating to the appointment of a 13th senator. The appointment of the 13th senator was promised in the campaign manifesto of the United Democratic Party (UDP) leading up to the 2012 general and municipal elections. However, one year after being elected into office, PM Barrow and the UDP had abandoned that promise. In November 2013, when Amandala asked if he would still appoint the 13th Senator, PM Barrow told our newspaper that he wouldn’t, as the Senate would then be controlled by the Opposition and non-government senators. “They would have the power to paralyze the Government. I am very sorry. I was the one who, in fact, put that in a UDP manifesto; this Government pushed it forward in terms of constitutional reform, but I came to realize that it’s a wonderful ideal, but in practice, it will make no sense,” he said.

The Reporter

Ministry of Education vs BNTU, Round 2
The Ministry of Education and the Belize National Teachers Uunion are at odds again, this week, after the ministry decided to withhold salaries for teachers who participated in the 11-day strike. Chief Education Officer, Carol Babb, issued two Memorandums this week; the first announcing that the ministry […]

PM finally delivers promised 13th senator
Prime Minister Dean Barrow fulfilled his 2008 promise to the social partners on Thursday by signing the Statutory Instrument to give effect to the appointment of the 13th senator. Barrow, as promised at his press conference last week, signed the order, which will come into effect on […]

GOB domestic debt financing costs could be $13.5 Million less!
The Government of Belize could save $13.5 Million in interest costs per year and stimulate the economy by reducing commercial banks’ interest rates, which would encourage private sector investment in new businesses suggests Ervin Perez, Managing Director of the Legacy Fund Limited. Perez presented his ideas at a business luncheon […]

COLA lashes out at GOB
Written by M. Sutherland Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), this week, lashed out at the government in support of the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU). The conference was held at the Radisson Hotel in Belize City on Monday where organizations including the Belize Progressive Party(BPP) and the Belize […]

Strike over! Teachers back in school
After 11 days of industrial action, the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) voted to end the strike and resume regular classes for schools. Classes were in full swing as of Wednesday October 19, after the membership of the BNTU called off the strike by majority vote. The […]

Bureau of Standards official says Mexican LPG standards can be used in Belize
The Bureau of Standards is currently reviewing a set of standards which its Mexican counterparts in the Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) industry have shared for possible adaptation in Belize. “We can easily utilize or adapt which are specific within the industry,” Enforcement Officer, Rodolfo Gutierrez […]

New ambassador of Belize to China appointed
Newly appointed Ambassador of Belize to the Republic of China, H.E. Diane Haylock, presented her credentials to H.E. Dr. Tsai lng-Wen at the presidential palace in China on Wednesday. President Tsai welcomed the new ambassador to Taipei and shared her thoughts and appreciation that in recent years the two countries […]

CDC issue level two travel warning for travelers to Belize due to Zika
Due to concerns about the sexual transmission of the Zika Virus, the Centers for Disease Control in the United States updated its travel advisory for US residents traveling to Belize. The CDC advised travelers to Belize, to either have protected sex through condom use, or abstain from […]

Michael Young found dead, apparent suicide
Senior Council, Michael Young was found dead in his home this week, after an apparent suicide. While police are investigating the matter, the department said they found Young in the bathroom of his Bella Vista home around 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday with a single gunshot wound to […]

Camalote bad boys beat up lawman
Police Constable Mark Rodriguez, attached to the Belmopan Police Station, is recovering in the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) from serious injuries two men inflicted on him Sunday evening, while those men have since been charged. The incident happened at Serenita Bar along the George […]

San Pedro resident shot on Barrier Reef Drive
Lincoln Robinson Sr., a 43-year-old resident of the San Mateo area in San Pedro, was killed last Saturday as he was walking home. Robinson was reportedly walking on Barrier Reef Drive when he was approached by a male individual who shot him at a point blank range to the right […]

Close family friend charged for the murder of Lincoln Robinson
Written by M.Sutherland Following the brazen murder of 43-year-old Lincoln Robinson Sr. on Saturday morning in San Pedro, police have since arrested and charged one person in connection with the crime. On Monday police charged Deshawn Goff, a resident of the DFC area of the island, for Robinson’s murder. The […]

This has been a dark and ominous week for our Prime Minister Dean Barrow. The disclosure that his Minister, Mr. Gaspar Vega has had a hand in a rigged plan to stiff the government of Belize for some $800,000 has cut voters to the quick and taken a heavy toll […]

Public outcry halts seismic testing
The Government of Belize, in response to fierce public outcry from environmental and tourism stakeholders, has suspended seismic testing in Belizean waters until proper consultations have been conducted. On Thursday morning, Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia addressed a group of concerned stakeholders at the Sun […]

Second Cabinet shakeup amid wave of scandals
Prime Minister Dean Barrow, after a Cabinet reshuffle in the wake of growing government scandals, is now the Minister of Finance and Home Affairs, which includes the Police portfolio. On Monday, PM Barrow, in response to a question from the media, stated that he had not considered who would replace […]

Lands scandal forces Vega out
Prime Minister Dean Barrow, on Monday, at a press conference at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel announced that former Minister of Lands, Gaspar Vega would resign from Cabinet. Barrow, flanked by current Minister of Natural Resources Vanessa Retreage and MNR CEO Sharon Young, made the announcement following a […]

Blackout baby
Staff at the Western Regional Hospital delivered a baby in darkness, aided only by a candle and cell phone flashlights in the wee hours of Thursday morning as the country experienced a nationwide blackout. At around 1:30 a.m., on Thursday, the lights went out across […]

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

FIU has new director
A press release was issued this evening informing that the Governor General, Sir Colville Young has signed a writ of appointment naming Kent D. Clare as Director of Financial Intelligence Unit, with effect from 11 October, 2016. “The Financial Intelligence Unit would like to […]

Ministry will defer salary deductions until end of November
The Ministry of Education today issued a memo informing all managing authorities that the deduction of 11 days pay for teachers who participated in the strike will be deferred until the end of November. The memo states: “in an effort to give managing authorities […]

PUP supports Referendum on offshore drilling
The People’s United Party (PUP) has issued a press release supporting the call for a national referendum on offshore drilling in Belize. “The PUP reminds the public that on the 1st December 2015, the Belize Cabinet adopted a ban on offshore oil exploration in […]

Belize’s banking system revolutionized
The Governmnent of Belize recently appointed former Minister Senator, Joy Grant, as the Governor of the Central Bank of Belize. Grant has already began to revolutionize the country’s banking system with the introduction of an Automated Payment and Securities Settlement System. However, the Central […]

Belize’s growing reputation as a contraband haven
With its laxed customs regulations, Belize may have developed a reputation as being a regional hub for contraband cigarette trade. Insight Crime, an online publication that investigates organized crime in Latin America and the Caribbean, described how the well organized contraband ring works in […]

Belizeans represent at WOMEX 2016
A delegation of Belizean musicians are attending the World Music Expo (WOMEX) 2016. The event is being held in Santiago de Compostela, Spain where thousands of musicians have gathered for WOMEX, and an official delegation from Belize is among them. This year the event […]

Reformed gang leader brings positive message to Belizean youths
While Belize’s young people remain the group most affected by unemployment, poverty and crime, the Department of Youth Services (DYS) has always found positive reasons to celebrate our Belizean youth. This year is no different as young people ages 14-29 will be celebrated across […]

Will the outcome of the US Elections affect Belize’s national security?
Within Central America, drug dealers have continued to establish drug trafficking routes from South America to North America. The country of Belize plays a pivotal role for the transshipment of drugs and as a safe haven for criminals and laundering crimes, mainly because of […]

Another shooting in Belize City; One man shot to the left foot
A Belize City man, Darren Young, was shot last night on the south side of Belize City. Young was shot to the left foot at the corner of Elston Kerr and Antelope St. Police information is at this time limited but Young has been […]


Belize just says ‘No’ to offshore oil — again
After two weeks in the States, we came home to the disturbing news that the Government of Belize has authorized oil exploration within six-tenths of a mile of the MesoAmerican Barrier Reef. This is startling because the people of Belize spoke by referendum two years ago and rejected off-shore oil exploration. And just last year the government placed a moratorium on off-shore oil exploration and the sale of oil leases. The barrier reef is a designated World Heritage site, meaning it merits the attention, care and protection of the entire planet. It is the longest continuous barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere, extending the length of Belize and into Mexico to the north and into Guatemala and Honduras to the south. Why the government would suddenly spring this on its own people is baffling. All I know is that in a country where tourism and the gloriously beautiful reef and sparkling necklace of cayes accounts for 50 percent of the incomes of the citizens of Belize, offshore oil exploration is an insane road to go down. It especially doesn’t make sense in the volatile oil markets where a barrel of oil is barely past the $50 mark and price is at the mercy of an Emir oil magnate with a head cold . . . or a U.S. presidential election . . . or the collapse of a South American economy . . . or a bad winter and leaky pipes in Western Canada.

Papa Du’s 105th Birthday
Last week Saturday we were treated to a truly time transcending experience. A charming old man who is affectionately known as “Papa Du” visited The Lodge at Chaa Creek for a pre-birthday celebration lunch with his family. He was accompanied by four generations of his family who all cheerfully explained their relation to Papa Du. Papa Du was celebrating his 105th orbit around the sun which was going to be on Monday, October 17th, 2016 – an awe-inspiring number, especially to someone only a quarter his age. Mr Mick and Papa Du recalled stories from over 40 years ago (in Mr Mick’s case) and even further back from his youth. Tales on what life was like in Cayo over sixty years ago and what it was like working in the logging industry at the time. Papa Du was surrounded by his family who all spoke about and recalled memories around him.

How to Choose Your Belize Travel Destination
You’ve been anticipating your next family vacation and have untiringly conducted hours of intense research online for an ideal getaway. Finally, your search has led you to the marvelous country of Belize and now you’re eager to get there and experience the tropical paradise. While you will still have items such as selecting flight dates and times, packing your luggage and securing sufficient finances on your to-do list, we advise selecting your travel destination in Belize first. Belize is a small but beautiful country, with various mainland and island destinations (that offer their own unique experience) for travelers to choose from. To aid in making your “Destination Decision”, we’ve prepared a guide to help you learn more about the various Belize destinations to where Maya Island Air flies:

Buying a Dream Home in Belize: 7 Steps to Follow
Our Beloved Belize, “Land of the free by the Caribbean Sea” is one of the most desired destinations for vacation and retirement. Owning your dream home in Belize was once a dream but now it can become a reality with Atlantic International Bank Ltd. (AIBL). Let us partner with you in bringing your dreams to life and finance your dream home. In contrast to what many credit applicants may believe the process of achieving a home loan does not start by an Application Letter. The process of qualifying for a home loan begins with the creation of your credit history. Your credit history is a record of your credit behaviour and it is only one part of the determining factors of your ability to get a loan. Take care of your credit report.

International Sourcesizz

Travel: Bliss in Belize
The other day, my son Matt texted me from college with an unsolicited, stray thought: “Belize was so much fun.” Such wistfulness, and four months after the fact. Now, that’s a good vacation. My husband, Mike, and I decided on Belize for a family trip abroad after looking at the expense, multiplied by four, of Ireland or Vietnam. We wanted to go somewhere exotic enough to lure our young adults into a week with Mom and Dad. I knew very little about Belize before booking round-trip tickets for $400 per passenger. Here are just a few things I would learn from Fodor’s, websites and – best of all, of course being there:

Rethink On Seismic Surveying In Belize Following Outcry
Officials in Belize agreed to suspend the seismic portion of offshore oil exploration an after an outcry from concerned citizens, national civil society groups and international conservation organisations and their supporters. Nadia Bood, WWF’s Belize reef scientist, said: The survey began on Wednesday, 19 October, a day earlier than had been publicly announced, and was scheduled to reach just over one kilometre from the country’s fragile World Heritage site. However, the government of Belize on Thursday instructed surveyors to “cease seismic operations immediately.” “Our reef is a source of pride and a rallying point for Belizeans. Tourism operators, fishers, divers and conservationists recognise its natural value and the benefits that it affords our economy.”

College of Education and Human Services collects books for Belizean students
The College of Education and Human Services is developing a Books for Belize project to supply children’s literature to schools in Belize. The program is an outgrowth of the Belize Teaching Experience that began in 2007 and allows students seeking teacher certification to teach for three weeks in Belize during the student teaching semester. “Students who teach in the primary schools have been dismayed by the lack of children’s literature available to teachers and students,” said Bonnie Higginson, regents professor emeritus in the College of Education and Human Services. She said the situation was amplified when she traveled to Belize to conduct literacy workshops for 200 teachers who were excited to learn about the innovative teaching strategies, but she said the strategies would be ineffective without the proper resources.

Just Back From Harvest Caye: 10 Things Cruise Passengers Will Love About Norwegian's New Island
We've just spent a day at Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line's new purpose-built port, and we're impressed. Nearly four years in the making and still a month from completion, the island, located in southern Belize, is receiving its final polish as local workers finish paving walkways, installing fixtures and training for cruise passenger-facing jobs. Although Harvest Caye was designed specifically to receive cruisers, it doesn't feel forced. When it officially opens its gates to its first ship -- Norwegian Dawn on November 17 -- passengers won't find high-end jewelry stores or pushy shore excursion vendors hawking tours. What you will find is a glittering oasis that's well thought out, easy to navigate and eco-friendly. Don't call it a private island, though. What differentiates Harvest Caye is that, like Grand Turk, Amber Cove or Mahogany Bay, it's not necessarily an extension of your cruise. When you visit, you'll find the island staffed by Belizean locals, rather than the ship's crew, and you'll have to pay for lunch, just as if you ate ashore in any other port that's not a private island. Although nothing official is in place just yet, Norwegian also plans to allow other cruise lines to use the port once it's up and running.

River of Life team to travel to Belize
The Destination Belize Mission Team from River of Life Community Church in Elkhart is traveling to Belize Nov. 5-12 to restore and renovate the childhood home of a famous Belizean pianist and composer, Frankie Reneau. Pastors Jim and Jenny Duncan purchased Frankie’s childhood home several years ago and had it moved to their mission property in Boston Village. When completed, the home will serve as their personal residence, a guest house, and a music studio for their School of Music. The public is invited to help fund this project by going to the Duncans’ GoFundMe account and making a donation.

The End of the Cheque?
hile early versions have existed since antiquity, the first modern cheque was introduced in 1659. And while it continues to be an important source of handling money, it is rapidly being phased out in many countries. Could Belize be next? With the advent of the Automated Payment and Securities Settlement System, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Belize, Marilyn Gardiner-Usher, says it’s coming. Marilyn Gardiner-Usher, Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Belize “There is one payment instrument – the cheque, which I don’t have a problem with – that will be coming on in the next three weeks. Why I say I don’t have a problem with bringing that on in the next three weeks is I really want people to try to use our electronic funds transfer instruments and services via apps. These are much more efficient than cheques; we are going to keep cheques as an option; but we want to reduce its use.

Western Union in Chetumal? Central Bank Says It’s Not Necessary
Western Union and MoneyGram enjoy much usage in Belize as a means of sending and receiving money quickly and reliably and even cheaper. Of late there have been persistent reports that Belizeans have found a way to get around the issue of a shortage of US dollars. Some seeking U.S. currency are bypassing using local branches of these exchange services and instead directing the funds to be obtained in Chetumal, Mexico, for instance. It is an issue that is just coming to the attention of the Central Bank. Governor Grant took the opportunity to reassure Belizeans that there is no need to take your money abroad. Joy Grant, Governor, Central Bank of Belize “I have not heard of any problem, but I certainly would never tell anyone to go and put their money across the border; we have a very secure system in Belize; this is where you should be doing your banking; but to any specifics of t…

Nature up close: Whale sharks
Isla Mujeres is a small island 13 kilometers from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. When the Spanish first came to the island they found a number of goddess images, so they named it Isla Mujeres, the Isle of Women. Many of the images were of the goddess Ix Chel, the goddess of making children. She was also important to the physicians and shamans as the goddess of medicine. The island of Cozumel, near Isla Mujeres, was an important pilgrimage site for Mayan women hoping to have a fruitful marriage. I first visited Isla Mujeres in 1978 to celebrate getting my M.S. in biology. We snorkeled a lot and enjoyed a week of getting sunburned and eating seafood. If I had had a clue there were whale sharks in the surrounding waters, I would have been begging some boat captain to take me out to see them. Now that I do know they are there, I am planning my trip. Whale sharks, in my estimation, are the most amazing fish on earth. They can grow to over 40 feet in length, making them the largest fish in the world, and second only to whales in size. They have thousands of tiny teeth which serve no function, and filtering pads that work to filter small organisms (such as plankton, fish eggs and small fish) out of the water. Some whale sharks have learned to suck small fish out of fishermen’s nets. Because of their feeding method, they are no danger to humans.

The Crime That May Keep Me From Ever Traveling To Belize
I’ve never visited Belize, a hole in my travel game that I’ve often considered a crime owing to all that is decidedly uncommon there. Earlier today, though, I learned of an actual crime that’s going down in Belize right now that may keep me away forever. Allowing seismic testing for offshore oil exploration. That the Government of Belize should green light such a measure is worrisome enough on its own, considering the harmful effects such testing will undoubtedly have on the country’s fragile, and to-date, spectacular reef system, the second largest in all the world behind only Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Even more worrisome, though, is the fact that the Government of Belize apparently went ahead and allowed this to happen without consulting those who stand to loose the most as a direct result of the seismic testing – its own citizens!


  • BCCI Update on Nationnal Issues, 40min. on Open Your Eyes...

  • Kuylen Salads, 35min. on Open Your Eyes...

  • "We Pretty Baad", 4min. Janelle Chanona said it best "We Pretty Baad" referring to the beauty of Belize and its People, while defending our Natural Heritage as Belize put a stop to seismic testing yesterday. Awesome speech by a true teary-eyed Belizean Environmental Activist.

  • Message from the Department of the Environment - Impacts of garbage during flooding events, 1min.

  • Portofino Beach Resort in Belize, 1.5min. We're committed to creating special experiences for our guests. Here's a peek into a day at Portofino Beach Resort in BELIZE. When will you come and give us a visit?

  • PAW Animal Sanctuary Pause Hostel Caye Caulker, Belize, 11min. Meet Madi the woman behind PAW Animal Cat Sanctuary in Caye Caulker Belize. PAW is the only Cat Sanctuary in all of Belize. It has saved the lives of over 30,000 cats through their program of free & low cost spay & neuter & rescue/adoption & rehabilitation programs. INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING? You can help with this mission check out our website to APPLY To help our mission to feed & care for our animals please help us by sponsoring a kitty HERE

  • Belize Barrier Riff, 1min. The moment when Belize announced that the government would suspend seismic testing.

  • Grace & You With Chef Dwain Sausage Spring Rolls, 29min. on Open Your Eyes...

  • Creating A Safe Space Agenda, 19min. on Open Your Eyes...

  • If Yuh Love Ah, 29min. on Open Your Eyes...

  • Lionfish Jewelry Can Help Save the Ocean, 1.5min. National Geographic grantee Erin Spencer dives into this week’s Today I Learned with one of the leading threats to biodiversity: the invasive lionfish. Originally from the Indo-Pacific region, lionfish were introduced to Florida’s coast in the 1980s. They have since spread throughout the western Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. These “vacuums of the sea” feed on native fish species and wreck ecosystems important to biodiversity and local economies. Lionfish are prolific breeders. With no natural predators, and the ability to reproduce every four days, a lionfish and its offspring can produce 8.1 quintillion eggs in just three months. That’s a lot of caviar! Spencer explains how some coastal villages have found an innovative way to take their ocean back: jewelry. Women living in these communities are turning the lionfish’s beautiful, venomous spines into unique fashion accessories that tourists crave, and this increase in demand incentivizes fisherman to pull more lionfish out of the ocean.

  • Liberty Children's Home-Ladyville Belize,8 min.

  • Mennonites history of Belize,51 min.


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