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#519483 - 12/03/16 01:01 AM Today's Belize News: December 3, 2016  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,417
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Specials and Events

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


The San Pedro Sun

Golf Cart theft continues to be a major concern
Police in San Pedro Town are investigating the spike in missing golf carts. In less than a week, three golf carts were reported stolen. One has been recovered in good condition, while the other two were found completely stripped. The first report was on Friday night, November, 25th in the town core area. The golf cart, red in colour and with license plate number 3085, went missing sometime after 10:30PM. Owner Robert Novak reported that he parked and locked his golf cart on Pelican Street, next to the San Pedro Lions Club, when he returned sometime after, his golf cart was gone. A reward was offered for locating the whereabouts of the cart. However, a few days later it was found a couple feet from where it had disappeared, fully intact. The San Pedro Police Department continues seeking the public’s assistance as their investigation continues. Anyone that may have information about the culprit/s are asked to call the police station at 206-2022.

New GST policy aims to ensure businesses comply with the law
The Department of General Sales Tax (GST) has implemented a new policy that will change the registration process for new businesses from now on. The new rule will require any person who is registering a new business to apply to the Commissioner of the GST for a compliance letter prior to visiting the Companies Registry. The norm was implemented in an attempt to crack down on businesses that are not complying with the laws. Recent reports from the GST are that there are many businesses flouting the tax laws. According to Genevie Jones, Supervisor of the Tax Payer Unit, they have officers visiting business establishments countrywide on a random basis to make checks and find out if the various aspects of the GST Act are being complied with. “Failure to comply with GST provisions is a criminal offense,” Jones told the media. A key important aspect of compliance is for a programmable cash register to always be in the establishment. “Businesses must issue a tax receipt or tax invoice to customers displaying the GST certificate at a place where it is visible to the public,” said Jones. Businesses must also keep proper books and records, she emphasized. “Failure to do so, exposes a business to court prosecution.

World AIDS Day Solidarity Walk held in San Pedro Town
Despite a light rain, island residents joined in the annual World AIDS Day Solidarity Walk through the main streets of San Pedro Town on Thursday, December 1st. Organized by San Pedro AIDS Commission (SPAC), the annual event is meant to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS (human immunodefiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome) in the community, while remembering those affected by the disease. The walk, which is also observed worldwide, challenges people to rethink stereotyping others and to be allies to those battling HIV. Shortly after 6PM, members of the community gathered by the Central Park with candles in hand. SPAC President Felix Ayuso and Vice President David Jenkins welcomed and thanked everyone for coming out to support. They emphasized the importance of increasing awareness every year, and to be supportive to those affected.

San Mateo Sub-Division gets LED street lights
Belize Electricity Limited began an aggressive green energy project in July of this year, aiming strongly at replacing 31,000 street lights with LED lights countrywide. The project also benefited certain areas in different municipalities around the country that did not have well lit streets. Thanks to such campaign, the San Mateo Sub-Division in San Pedro Town now enjoys the safety of well- lit streets which bringing a sense of relief to residents. LED lights are considered environmental friendly and very cost efficient. It is expected that with the larger life span and electrical efficiency of these new lights, the consumption of energy will decrease while providing a better range in light coverage. This first phase of the project implemented in San Pedro Town has already seen good results, and with the high tourism season already starting to pick up, other key areas of the island will soon be evaluated for this much-need upgrade.

International Wheelchair Foundation to donate 25 chairs to SP and Caye Caulker
A total of 25 persons from San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker Village will receive wheelchairs on Tuesday, December 6th at a ceremony to be held at the San Pedro Lions Den. The distribution of wheelchairs is thanks to a donation by the Wheelchair Foundation of California in the United States. The event is scheduled to start at 6:30PM, and will include the presence of Mayor Daniel Guerrero and Glenn Perry from the Wheelchair Foundation. According to Brenda Letendre from the Belize Red Cross San Pedro Branch, this is the third time the Foundation has donated wheelchairs to Belizeans in need. The last donation was done in 2009. This year, a total of 260 wheelchairs were brought to Belize to be distributed countrywide through the various Rotary Clubs. “25 of these were destined for both islands,” she said. “We understand that not everyone will be able to attend the ceremony and in that case, we will deliver the chairs to their homes. In the case of Caye Caulker, the three recipients will receive their chairs during the week of December the 5th.”

San Pedro Police and Cadets’ Christmas Drive needs your help
According to PC Juan Choc of the Community Policing Unit in the San Pedro Police Department, the intent is to collect small toys in good condition and non-perishable food items. “We distribute these items to less fortunate families in areas like San Mateo, San Pedrito, DFC among other areas,” said Choc. He added that Christmas is a time of giving and so the police want to give a little back. When donating towards this noble cause, toys can either be new or gently used. The police along with the cadet corp are seeking the cooperation of both the business community and individuals to assist them with the goal of reaching more families this year. “All we need is a little assistance so we can make Christmas possible for others,” said Choc. As usual, all items collected will be separated into Christmas hampers that will be distributed in the days leading up to Christmas.

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Aids Commission Wraps Up Year with Solidarity Walk
Last night, December 1, 2016, the San Pedro Aids Commission held it annual solidarity HIV/AIDS walk in celebration of World AIDS Day. San Pedro AIDS Commission memebers, along with the San Pedro Lions Club members, Leo’s Club members, Miss San Pedro Marisha Thompson, Miss Lions Solani Graniel, Miss Petite Earth International Vivian Noralez, members of the business sector and supporters, walked along downtown San Pedro in observance of World AIDS Day. An all day health fair will be held on Sunday, December 4, 2016 at the Central park from 10:00a.m. to 6:00 p.m. HIV confidential testings will be available also the annual dollar drive. Food, Patries and Drinks will be sold to enjoy in the company of live music by San Pedro’s very own Rompe Raja.

Dive Bands Required for Recreational Use at Hol Chan Marine Reserve
For the past two months, Hol Chan Marine Reserve has been informing stakeholders on the implementation of "Dive Bands" for recreational users to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. The Board of Trustees has decided to implement the user fee for night diving within “Zone A” of the Marine Reserve. The current user fee remains the same and is valid for a full day pass in any recreational zone in the Marine Reserve.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

The Placencia Breeze December 2016
INSIDE December 2016 Pg 3 Christmas in Belize Pg 5 BTIA news Pg 6 Caribbean Beach Cabanas Pg 9 Fire Department / RE/MAX Donation to Police / Placencia Urban Bird Count Pg 11 Added Touch Spotlight Pg 13 Los Porticos and La Dolce Vita Pg 15 & 18 Placencia BTIA Members Pg 16 & 17 Placencia Peninsula Map Pg 20/21 Placencia Peninsula Guide Pg 22/23 Liquor Licenses Pg 24 Placencia Humane Society News Pg 25 Photo Gallery Pg 26 Community Corner Pg 27 Licensed Tour Operators in Placencia / Liquor Licenses Pg 28 Fragment of Hope / Pickled Parrot Art Bar Pg 30 Placencia Peninsula Happenings Pg 31 Calender of Events

Ms. Debbie Drury donates toys to San Pedro
Earlier this week Ms. Debbie Drury from Lake City, Texas, visited Mayor Daniel Guerrero and presented him with a bunch of toys to spread the joy of christmas with the less fortunate children of San Pedro. Ms. Debbie Drury is the president of Market Doctors in Dickinson, Texas, and her along with her Vice-President, Skyler Cornelius, will be having a fundraiser "Toys for Belize" back in their home this weekend in order to bring more toys for the children of Belize. Thank you so much for the toys! We're more than sure the children will be excited!

Meet Ms. Elisa Bol, an activist against Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the Orange Walk District
Elisa is President of the women based cooperative “Creando un Futuro Mejor” (Creating a Better Future), Vice-President of the Hearth Desired Women’s Group, and Secretary of the Guinea Grass Village Council. She is a businesswoman, who over the years has been passing her knowledge and entrepreneurial skills to the women in her community. Elisa holds training conferences for women in collaboration with the Banquitas House of Culture, the Orange Walk Branch of the Women’s Department, and La Inmaculada Credit Union. Three years ago, with the assistance of a Peace Corp Volunteer, Elisa spearheaded a formation of a small cooperative (“Creando un Futuro Mejor”) that rents out tables, chairs, table cloths, and decorations for social events. To be more cost effective, the group builds its own tables and carries out food sales. The cooperative currently has seven women members, one of whom is 19 years old and another is a widow. Although the cooperative, like any other business, has had its economic challenges, it has been growing, and the members of the cooperative plan to invest savings and hope to expand in the near future.

Disability Week in Corozal
On November 29th, Primary Education Students of Corozal Junior College brought awareness in Celebration of Disability Week by displaying a collage of banners at the entrance to the school's compound.

Supa G Playing Falcon Field
Supa G will be performing at Falcon Field Saturday night. Part of the Digicell 4G Tour around Belize. " "SAN IGNACIO & CAYO: BIG BIG 4G LTE PRE-LAUNCH DEVICE SALE & PARTY THIS SATURDAY! (Read Full Post for All Details) Get your 4G LTE Device at unbeatable prices! And Everyone in CAYO is invited to our free party and concert with Supa G, DJ Dalla and others later that evening - where we'll be giving away Free Devices, Free Credit, Free Data & More... Plus get a chance to win $25,000 with every device purchase at our events and in the month of December! It all happens THIS Saturday, Dec. 3rd at the San Ignacio Falcon Field. Device Sale from 11am until 7 pm. Party & Concert begins at 5 pm until......."

FCD at forum in Chajul, Chiapas, Mexico
FCD’s Biologist participated at a forum in Chajul, Chiapas, Mexico with Mexican and Guatemalan partners for the development of a scarlet macaw management and conservation strategy.

Gender Based Violence (GBV) Resources in the Orange Walk District
Northern Regional Hospital, Holy Trinity Street, 322-2072. Counselling Unit, Northern Regional Hospital, Holy Trinity Street. Nurse Becky Tillett, 302-1560 & 302-1561. Domestic Unit, Police Department. Hospital Crescent, Orange Walk Town. WPC. Melanie Anderson & WPC Marilyn Pate, 322-2022...

CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY AT THE CENTRAL PARK 2016

Andy Palacio Tribute Mass at Gulisi Primary School
Celebration of life!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
All are invited to the Annual Corozal Tree Lighting event tomorrow night December 3rd, in our beautiful Central Park beginning at 7 pm!

Channel 7

Flashmob On Front Street?
The 16 Days of Activism to end gender based violence kicked off on November 25th. Today the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children and the US Embassy teamed up to take it to a "whole other level." The staged a flashmob in the middle of Belize City. Now, if you don't know what a flashmob is, it's a group of unassuming folks spontaneously bursting into dance in a public place. Now this wasn't quite that; this was more of a performance in the middle of Albert Street - and apart from stopping traffic, it sure did turn heads! The US Ambassador, Carlos Moreno, the Prime Minister's wife Kim Barrow, the BDF and other stakeholders took the street as a stage, danced to soca music and invited bystanders to join in. We asked them how the flashmob ties in with the 16 Days of Activism and eliminating gender based violence.

Did Hon. Castro Cause BSCFA To Be Fair Trade Blacklisted?
Right now, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association is scrambling to reverse a suspension they received from the international accreditation agency, "Fair Trade." If they don't fix it, the BSCFA could lose about 1.2 million dollars in financial assistance. So, first, here's how Fair Trade works. The UK based agency asks consumers in developed countries to pay a premium on products produced in developing countries. These consumers do this conscientiously with the intention to assist the smaller farmers in these developing countries to improve their standard of living. But, to get Fair Trade certification, there are strict regulations, and they regularly check on organizations to make sure everything is on the level. It was in one of those Fair Trade audits of the BSCFA that they found what is being referred to as "phantom farmers". These are farmers who buy a portion of another farmer's quota, and deliver the cane as if the quota were theirs. So, for example, if a farmer has 1 tonne of cane, and no license to deliver it, they would approach someone with a license for 3 tonnes, who maybe is only able to deliver 2 tonnes. It's a widespread practice in the sugar industry, but under Fair Trade it's a major "no-no." We're told that in a recent report, the Fair Trade Auditors flagged cane farmer Eloy Escalante. For the past 3 years, he had not been delivering cane, but he had a quota, and sold it to Minister Edmond Castro's son.

Brian Brown, GSG Kingpin Cleared of Charges In GSU Search
He's a notorious street figure, but 40-year-old Brian Brown walked free from 8 criminal charges today. In May of 2012, the GSU raided Brown's home on Jimmy Dyer Avenue and found found 307 grammes of crack cocaine, 17 grams of cocaine, a bong used for smoking weed, along with several "catches" of weed, and a bullet proof vest. Brown wasn't there when -police turned his house upside down. Brown eluded arrest for days after the search. But was it his house indeed? That's the question that was put before the court during the trial. The sign on the front said Brown's Enterprises, but Brown claimed he didn't live at the address in question and at the time of the search he had no control of the premises.

Pregnant Mother Expecting Twins Accused of Drug Trafficking
Today in court a pregnant mother who is expecting twins was accused of trafficking half a kilo, or more than a pound of weed. 22 year old Conch Shell Bay resident Carolee Orosco is expecting in February, but police arrested her yesterday on Ebony Street. They said she was responsible for 544 grams of weed found inside a bathroom. Police say Orosco told them she was just using the bathroom of a friend's house, and when police searched it they found the stash of one pound and four ounces of weed. Orosco was charged for Possession of a Control drug with intent to Supply to another. She received bail of $5,000 plus one surety of the same amount which she met by 12 noon. This is not the first time she is being charged for charged for drug trafficking. 2 years ago, she was arraigned on a single charge of trafficking almost an identical amount of weed and in that case it was also found in the bathroom. She is on bail for that offence.

Mediating and Mercy Instead of Arresting and Charging
This afternoon at the Radisson, 36 police officers finished a 5-day training workshop on mediation and conflict resolution. They were being trained by professionals from Riverdale Mediation, a well-respected firm from Toronto, Canada. The training is a continuation of the Canadian Government-funded program known as the Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean, or IMPACT Justice for short. These 36 officers are the first cohort of police trained in alternative dispute resolution. They're being asked to use mediation as a policing tool, instead of the hard knocks approach of simply bringing criminal charges against accused persons. Today, at the closing ceremony, one of the lead facilitators shared with us what the officers learned in their last 40 hours of instruction. Here's what she told us:

Et Tu, Erwin?
There is an intriguing development in the Michael Modiri/Bradley Paumen land fight which continues to play out in Franks Eddy Village. Modiri is still blocking the road across his property, while Paumen's million dollar Dark Night tour company is taking a major hit in the bank book and his hundreds of employees are languishing. Just yesterday, we saw a picture of an email from someone claiming to be Trade Minister Erwin Contreras. We say "claiming" because the minister told us that's not his email address - and indeed our records show him using another similar address for the past few years. It is sent from contreraserwin67@gmail.com, which - again - Erwin Contreras says is someone impersonating him, and it is addressed to darknightcavetubing@gmail.com. The mail is titled Road Declaration, and it says, quote, "Paumen, you will be relieved that the Road Declaration, for your Access Road has enough Support to get signed this week. You can thank Carnival, as they demanded that the Tours sold through Darknight are available for December, Erwin"

Saldivar, Working Up A Sweat On Southern Tour
He may be coming off a Cabinet suspension, but that hasn't caused John Saldivar to break his stride - though, judging from recent, pictures, we'd say it's clear he has broken a massive sweat! This is Saldivar after a rugged two-kilometer uphill hike to the BDF Camp at Machaquilha in the remote southern part of the Cayo district. He was accompanied by CEO in the Ministry of Defence Lieutenant Colonel Felix Enriquez, and BDF Deputy Commander Colonel Steven Ortega. They got to the nearest landing area by BDF helicopter, which then took them to the BDF border Camp at Santa Rosa in the Toledo District. This camp sits on a hill and overlooks two Guatemala settlements: Jalacte and Santa Marta Chacte. After that it was off to another border post at Cadenas near the Sarstoon River. That's where the minister braved the night, and then in the morning, made the steep downhill descent to the river. That's where the Coast Guard picked the team up and they headed to the Forward Operating Base at the river mouth. After that the next stop was Punta Gorda, Fairweather Camp, and then by helicopter to another border post, Tree Tops which overlooks Santa Cruz in Guatemala. After that, the Ministerial delegation took a trip down the new highway to Jalacte, a place where black market free trade and free crossing is the norm.

The Coast Guard Crucible
Crucible: That's the name of the final challenge in the Coast Guards Best Warrior Competition. It began on Wednesday. There are 2 events each day and this morning it started off with the 9 mile March and Shoot and ended this afternoon with what is called the crucible. We stopped by to see how the 6 teams of 8 fought through the grueling obstacle and we also found out why this event is more than just a competition. 48 guardsmen participated, and half of them are first timers. The Coast guard training is not limited to these exercises, they also participate in other competitions such as the End of the World marathon and other sporting tournaments. The winners of this year's Best Warrior Challenge will be announced this weekend during a special lunch.

GSU Gets Gun
The Gang Suppression Unit went on a number of raids in the city yesterday, and their efforts were rewarded with a number of busts. Then officers went to the Conch Shell Bay area, in 2 stash spots, the officers found 559 grams of marijuana - which is one pound four ounce, and an additional 720 grams, which is one pound nine ounces. No one was in the area, and so the items were deposited as found property. The officers then went to Elston Kerr Street, where they searched an open lot and found a gun. The weapon was a 38 revolver, which was loaded with 6 rounds of ammunition. They also found 379 grams, or 14 ounces of marijuana, and because no one was in the immediate vicinity, the items were deposited as found property.

Radical Women And Their Art
The Belizean Women's Artists Collective held its first exhibit today at the Image Factory in Belize City. The small band of female visual artists created pieces centered around the theme word: Radical. They were challenged to interpret the word through art. We spoke to some of the artists about their works... Katie Usher - Artist: "I have a piece her called suffer not the children and it's actually a play on a biblical, I don't know, see how bad my Catholicism is, something from the Bible where it says "Suffer the People Onto Me" and it really spun from the church's response to the UNIBAM case. They were so vocal against love, but yet still every time you open the newspapers of you guys do the news you see all these children being abused and the church kind of silences it, so that's what this piece is about." Minita Concha - Artist: "My artwork is very innovative and I based in upon my experiences as a woman, both good and bad, and experiences of other women, both good and bad. I show a strong contrast, like at the ends of two continuums. Some of the pieces show women being submissive, being held captive by domestic violence, being held in this notion here in Belize that women should be seen and not heard. While some of my other pieces show women being resilient, they're strong, they're very vocal, they're not afraid, they're very fearless. And I do this because I think it's something that I could use to educate other people."

Christmas Tree Lights Up city
December may have just started, but Belize City is already getting into the Christmas spirit. This evening the Belize City Council and Bowen & Bowen held the sixth annual Christmas tree lighting since the renovation of Mule Park in downtown Belize City. Hundreds gathered on Albert Street to see the ceremonial tree lit up, and enjoy the Christmas themed steel pan music. Belize City Councilor Michael Theus told us how lighting up the streets helps with the city's morale. Michael Theus - Belize City Councilor: "This tree lighting, what we have out here. We have partnered along with the Bowen&Bowen group of companies and they are a major sponsor in assisting us in getting what we have here that will be lit shortly. What it does is it basically uplifts the morale of persons coming into the downtown area to do their shopping, bringing their children out, so the varied array of lights on buildings and everything else tells them that Christmas has arrived. This is our little part of getting all of our Belizeans into the spirit, and showing that we care. And we want each and every person to have that same feeling towards each other. The sharing and the caring of this season."

Cuba's Audacity Against The Empire
Tonight, Fidel Castro's ashes are making their way across Cuba to their final resting place in Santiago. It is a 560 miles slow procession, retracing the journey Castor made in 1959 to liberate Cuba. It culminates on Saturday with a mass gathering in Santiago, followed by the internment of his ashes the following day. Belize is represented by the Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber and the Minster of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington. Tonight, we have one more reflection on Castro's place in the long view of history. Though Castro is demonized in the US media - the view in the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa is far different. Nelson Mandela called him "a source of inspiration to all freedom-loving peoples," and Prime Minister Dean Barrow called him "a giant for the ages." Biographer Godfrey Smith who called him the Greatest World Leader of All time put in context what Castro achieved:


#519484 - 12/03/16 01:01 AM Re: Today's Belize News: December 3, 2016 [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,417
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Channel 5

Belize-flagged ship hauled in for fishing violations in Somalia
A shipping vessel tonight remains in the custody of the government of the African country of Somalia for illegal fishing activities. But what does the detention have to do with [...]

Brian Brown escapes G.S.U.’s reach in 2012 house raid case
It made headlines in 2012 when alleged George Street gang figure, Brian Brown, was the target of a raid by the Gang Suppression Unit at a residence identified as his [...]

Pregnant woman charged with drug trafficking
Also in court, a pregnant woman, who is due to give birth soon, was charged for drug trafficking. She is twenty-one year old Carolee Orosco, who appeared before Magistrate, Carlon [...]

Legal advice needed on what to do with green ham
A consignment of fifty thousand pounds of green hams remains in quarantine at the western border after being detained sometime last week by the Belize Agricultural Health Authority. The origin [...]

Edmond Castro says BSCFA at fault for Fairtrade suspension
During the annual general meeting of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association over the weekend, farmers were informed of the recent suspension of the association from Fair-trade. The Association claims [...]

Export slump highlights Belize’s economic woes
Earlier this week we reported on the significant drop in employment and thousands are now jobless even as prices go up as the economy remains in recession. Figures released recently [...]

Chartered accountants confirm Net Vasquez is not one of their own
This evening, the Institute of Chartered Accountants convened its scheduled meeting and discussed the revelations surrounding the nomination of Net Vasquez to the Integrity Commission. I.C.A. had written to the [...]

Arson, electrical causes out in Chateau Caribbean fire as B.T.I.A. sympathizes
While National Fire Service officials promised full details on Monday of its ongoing investigation, News Five has been told that arson and electrical causes have been ruled out in the [...]

Two Guatemalans picked up for illegal gold panning
Two Guatemalan men are serving eight months in jail for illegally entering Belize, specifically the Chiquibul National Park, to mine for gold. The joint work of Police, Belize Defence Force [...]

F.C.D. gets ready for Chiquibul Forest Initiative and Commonwealth Canopy/Maya 2020
A few months ago the Government announced plans to fund four institutions, including the Belize Defence Force and Friends for Conservation and Development, to the tune of sixteen million dollars [...]

Coast Guard continues search for best warrior
The Coastguard Best Warrior Competition continued today; the third and final day turned out to be the most grueling. Coastguard officers were up bright and early to test their endurance [...]

Chamber’s Christmas Expo has all the best deals
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and if you want to get the jump on early holiday deals, the best place to start is the Belize Chamber of [...]

Police gear up for busy Christmas season
The Christmas season is now upon us, it means that the police will be working overtime to keep up with criminals. The Police Department is embarking on an anti-crime campaign [...]

Dancing in the streets for 16 Days of Activism
A flash mob –or the semblance of one – cut off traffic on Albert Street today for a couple of minutes. Drivers and pedestrian were treated to a group dancing [...]

L.A. boy with leukemia bravely helps other cancer victims
A thirteen-year-old Belizean has been making a name for himself through a difficult time in his life. Jayhann Escalante who now lives in the US with his parents was diagnosed [...]

Remembering the great Andy Palacio on 56th birthday
Today would have been his fifty-sixth birthday, but although he has passed his legend lives on. Andy Palacio was not only an ambassador for the Garifuna culture, but also Belize. [...]

Amandala

Belize-flagged trawler, fined US$65,000 by Somalia
Belize earns roughly $12 million a year from foreign-owned vessels flying Belize flags while operating on the high seas in jurisdictions such as Africa, but the operations have often put Belize in the public spotlight over allegations of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, a multi-billion-dollar problem which is on the radar of global authorities. This week, news hit the international press that a Belize-flagged vessel, Greko 1, had been slapped with a US$65,000 sanction after it was accused of fishing in Somalian waters, off eastern Africa, without a valid fishing license. The case also involves allegations of fishing in prohibited areas, forgery of official documents, and fishing with illegal gear. Although the vessel is said to be Panamanian, online vessel registry records connect it with European investors. Since the vessel was built in 1991 for a Greek owner, the matter is also a concern for the European Union (EU), which had a few years ago issued Belize a red card, resulting in sanctions over IUU fishing allegations on the high seas.

Belize suffers continuing recession
–In September, there was an official announcement signalling that Belize is experiencing a recession, a declaration usually made after two successive quarters (or six months) of negative economic growth—measured by the total value of goods and services produced by the country, which represents a tally of all production: from how many bananas were produced to how many cruise tourists visited our shores. Latest reports from the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) indicate that Belize has in fact experienced three consecutive quarters (or 9 months) of negative growth, the first such scenario since the period spanning July 2007 to March 2008—which coincided with the final months of the Musa administration and the initial months of the Barrow administration, as well as the 2008 recession in the United States. Angelita Campbell, Statistician II at the SIB, said that Belize produced $655.4 million worth of goods and services for the third quarter, which spans July to September 2016. This represents a decline of 0.8% or $5.6 million for that period, worsening the contraction recorded earlier this year: 0.2% for the first quarter (January to March) and 1.0% for the second quarter (April to June).

Fisherman, 39, gets 5 years for sexual assault of child, 6
Today was set as the sentencing date for John Leslie, a fisherman who was convicted of sexual assault upon a six-year-old child when his case concluded before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith last Thursday, November 24. After finding him guilty, Chief Magistrate Smith did not mince her words. She told Leslie that he is “a sick and depraved person,” and if he does not know the meaning of those words, he could look them up when he goes to prison. The court had indicated to Leslie that he could bring character witnesses to speak on his behalf. Leslie brought his wife as the only character witness. Pamela Leslie, 31, told the court, “John and I have five children together. He is a very loving father to his children. I have not known John to be any child molester.”

2,045 more Belizeans on the unemployment line
Belize’s unemployment numbers are up, based on latest information released today by Curwen Arthurs, Statistician I at the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB). Arthurs reported that whereas last September reported an unemployment rate of 10.2%, this September recorded an unemployment rate of 11.1%. The jobs created were not enough to meet the rising demand for employment. This represents a partial reversal of what was reported coming out of the last survey, which recorded a fall in the unemployment rate from 10% in April 2015 to 8% this April, with over 8,700 new jobs added. According to the SIB, “….in September 2016, there were a total of 17,952 unemployed persons in Belize. This represented an increase of 2,045 in the number of unemployed persons since September of 2015, despite the addition of over 3,800 new jobs during the period…[which was] the result of an influx of persons into the labour force at a faster rate than that at which new jobs were created.”

Catherine Cumberbatch, 52, is the first woman to be named Chief Meteorologist in Belize
The Ministry of Transport and National Emergency Management has announced changes in the leadership of the Meteorology Department. Former Chief Meteorologist, Dennis Gonguez, who turns 55 later this month, has retired, and Ms. Catherine Cumberbatch, former deputy, has been promoted to lead the team of 28 staff members. Her journey began in 1987, when she joined the team at the class IV level—the bottommost rank—as a weather observer. A graduate of Belize Technical College (BCT), Cumberbatch’s first job at the Met Office was to observe weather conditions every hour in the environs to support aviation. Cumberbatch said: “I grew up in one of the poorest areas of Belize City, on West Street in the Mesopotamia Division, and went to two of the poorest schools. I went to Calvary Temple Primary School and graduated from Excelsior High School. I then went on to the Belize Technical College and I did the Senior Secondary course, and then I went on to Belize Technical College’s 6th Form, majoring in the sciences.”

SSBA basketball playoffs tip off this weekend in San Ignacio
Due to inclement weather, the playoffs were unable to start this past weekend. As a result, the semi-finals will be played this coming weekend, and it will use a single-game knockout format. The finals will also use a single-game elimination format, since the tournament is scheduled to conclude before the Christmas holidays. The finals will tip off on Friday, December 16.

Do or die, FC Belize
Whatever the outcome of the dreadfully late FFB Appeals Board meeting tonight, one thing is for certain: FC Belize can determine their playoff fate on Sunday at the MCC, when they clash with visiting Freedom Fighters FC from Punta Gorda, fresh from a 3-3 draw against Belmopan Bandits and a 3-0 victory over Wagiya. Meanwhile, FC Belize is in a sort of tailspin, with a 2-2 draw with Wagiya, followed by back to back losses, 1-0 to Police United and 2-0 to BDF. With their Mexican striker Hector Martinez injured, FC Belize is scoreless in two games; and they just lost their Mexican sweeper Jordi Lopez to red card in their last outing. Lisbey Castillo, Alexander “Pleck” Peters and their Freedom Fighters from P.G. are coming to avenge their 2-0 loss to FC Belize in their first meeting in P.G. Veteran defender Floyd Jones will have to play “big” for FC Belize in the sweeper position, as their other veteran defender Mark “Kelo” Leslie is still injured. The future of FC Belize may rest in the hands of their youths – strikers Russell Cassanova and Marlon Gutierrez, midfielder Harlan Cassanova, and defenders Francis Arana, Matthew Leal and Andrew Estell.

PLB regular season ends Sunday – 4 clubs in hunt for 2 playoff spots
The double round-robin Premier League of Belize (PLB) Opening Season 2016-2017 comes to a dramatic end this weekend with Week 18 games on Saturday and Sunday. Only the top 4 of the 9 PLB teams will go on to the semifinal playoffs the following week. Belmopan Bandits SC and Belize Defense Force FC are already assured of a playoff spot. The next 4 contending clubs will determine their fates on the field this Sunday.

BDFA Inter-Office results, schedule
The Belize District Football Association (BDFA) Inter-Office football tournament continued with a full schedule of games this week at the MCC Grounds. In the only game on Tuesday night, November 29, RF&G Insurance and Belize Bank played to a 1-1 draw. Kevin Martinez (7’) shook the net for RF&G, while Francisco Briceno (55’) equalized for Belize Bank. Despite the score, the game was awarded to Belize Bank after the RF&G female player was issued a red card and no other female was available for play. The rules state that a female must be on the field at all times. In the opener on Wednesday night, November 30, Belize City Council clipped Smart 2-1, with a goal each from Simon Alvarez (12’) and David McCaulay (70’); while Stephen Baizer (23’) scored for Smart. And in the nightcap, it was Latino’s FC, 1-0, over BWS, with a goal from Yancy Ek (65’).

Che in Guatemala 1954; Che in Cuba in 1959
On Tuesday morning this week on Plus TV, Pastor Louis Wade made some harsh criticisms of the late Comandante Fidel Castro of Cuba. We suspect that during his scholarly lifetime, Pastor Wade has concentrated more on Biblical studies than on the history of the Central American and Caribbean region in which Belize is located. Whether we are Christians or communists, we all condemn slavery unconditionally. Or do we? If we condemn slavery, and its corollary of brutal human oppression, unconditionally, then we should condone any means that are necessary to remove slavery and brutal human oppression. Or do we? Pat Robertson does not. But this is a story for another time. As the United States Declaration of Independence points out, there comes a time in the history of a people when they must take up arms in the pursuit of freedom. The United States comprised thirteen colonies ruled by the kingdom of Great Britain in 1776 when those colonies declared their independence. This is called the American Revolution, which involved warfare against the British colonizers.

From the Publisher
The way the media organs of the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) continue to focus on and hammer Luke Palacio and the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU), it appears that the teachers remain a major, major concern of the UDP leadership. I am fascinated, because the teachers have been back in school for weeks working hard to impart their knowledge to their students. The issue of whether those teachers who went on strike should be paid for the 11 days they were on strike, was a very emotional issue for the UDP when the question first arose. One reason for this is that there were pro-UDP teachers who remained in class, and hardliners in the UDP leadership felt that those teachers who walked out on strike had to be punished, not only to intimidate them with respect to their future decisions, but also to let the administration’s teacher/supporters know that they had benefited because of their loyalty during the crisis.

Vote-buying and democracy
Dear Editor, There is a reason vote-buying is illegal in every democracy — because it usurps democracy and encourages the rule of the well-resourced – - the rich or the 1-percent. Politicians in the developing world find ways to bribe voters without having any problems with the law. The main difference between political patronage of the developed world and that of the developing world is that the developed world caters to large groups, such as elderly, women, disadvantaged groups, etc., while developing world politicians cater to the individual. Developed world politicians offer health care, welfare, day care, while Third World politicians offer short-term employment, materials for houses and direct individual bribes. The policies incentive contributes to the greater good and has a far greater effect to improve the well-being of a particular portion of the electorate, while in countries like Belize, the voting incentives are cosmetic and cater to instant gratification.

GST harassment
Dear Editor, Yesterday, a good friend and brother of mine who is in the same industry as I am was “dragged” to court, according to the media, to answer to charges of failure to properly display his GST (General Sales Tax) certificate in his tortilla establishment. He pleaded guilty and was fined $3,000.00. He further informed me that upon exiting the court, he was approached by certain members of the media advising him that if he didn’t want this matter to appear in the media, that it could be arranged. My friend wisely responded and said, “No, thanks. Let it come to the attention of the public.” He felt that he had been treated harshly, unjustly and in a manner that was completely uncalled for, and so he walked away with his head held up high. I go on record to stand in solidarity with him and also to bring to light this travesty.

The reason for 50% increase in tortilla prices
–It appears that there is an importation monopoly on maseca, the raw material used to make corn tortillas, corn chips and other corn-based products used in the country of Belize. To make masa, which is a key ingredient in tortillas, you simply add water to maseca, which is less labor-intensive than the traditional way of making masa, which involves boiling corn with white lime. Interestingly, multiple sources, including the Belize Bureau of Standards, have confirmed to our newspaper that the country’s major importer of maseca is Eddie Vega, the eldest brother of former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources, Gaspar Vega. According to reports, Vega imports an estimated 80,000 -100,000 pounds or a container loaded with maseca almost monthly from Guatemala through his company, Vega’s distributors, situated in Benque Viejo Town.

Illusive dreams; commitment to excellence, or resignation to failure
When our contingent of Belizean U-17 footballers departed for World Cup 2018 qualifiers in Costa Rica on Tuesday, November 22, their innocent minds were full of dreams, “imagining the possibilities” of success in their first major international outing against the highest level of Central American competition. To those of us who knew better, their dreams were not realistic; but we sent them anyway, and gave them all the encouragement we could to “go deh strong.” We couldn’t lie to them. And there is always a minute measure of chance when eleven meets eleven. So, we stayed positive, and shared our one desire, that they play their hearts out for Belize. And that they did; and we are thankful and proud of their efforts. The results are another matter. We were not disgraced by hugely lopsided scores; but a loss is still a loss, and we shouldn’t feign heartbreak that there were no big “Ws” for our U-17. Not when we know fully well that we sent our boys to the slaughter. Four losses from four games (4-0 to Costa Rica, 3-1 to Honduras, 2-1 to El Salvador, 2-1 to Nicaragua), and last place in the tournament is the result, which is exactly what we knew was the most likely outcome.

Fairtrade suspends Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association
The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) is currently suspended by the Fairtrade inspection and certification body, FLORCERT, after an audit revealed that a Minister of Government was delivering cane to the factory even though there are claims that he is not a registered cane farmer. According to the chairman of the BSCFA Orange Walk branch, Alfredo Ortega, last Tuesday he received the suspension letter from FLOCERT. In an interview with CTV3 on Tuesday, Ortega revealed that when auditors interviewed Eloy Escalante, a farmer who is registered with the BSCFA, “he personally said that he, for the past three years, was not delivering cane in his name and he was not planting and that it was another person delivering in his name and based on that, he personally gave the information, then when they made their analysis in regards to the audit report, then they took it into account and that is why they suspended the Association.”


#519485 - 12/03/16 01:02 AM Re: Today's Belize News: December 3, 2016 [Re: Marty]  
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The Reporter

Integrity Commission named
After several months of delay for not having a chartered accountant, the Integrity Commission has finally been appointed by the Senate after government nominated Mr. Nestor Vasquez to fill the post. Prime Minister Dean Barrow selected Vasquez, who chairs the government-owned Belize Telemedia Limited, and […]

Senate divided on Guatemalan Special Agreement
The Senate, at its last Special Sitting for 2016, on Wednesday in Belmopan, did not ratify the Special Agreement between Belize and Guatemala, nor the Amendment to a Special Protocol, established 15 months ago. The two motions were the only ones of 13 presented that […]

Fire destroys Chateau Caribbean. Cause still undetermined!
One week after a massive inferno destroyed Belize’s iconic Chateau Caribbean, the Fire Department still has not determined the cause of the fire. A fire completely destroyed the major tourism landmark in the posh Fort Point neighborhood of Belize City’s northside early Sunday morning, November […]

Belize celebrates World AIDS Day 2016
Several health sector organizations came together this week to commemorate World AIDS Day 2016. The National AIDS Commission (NAC) collaborated with entities such as the Ministry of Health, Diabetes Association of Belize, Kidney Association of Belize and the Health Education and Community Participation Bureau (HECOPAB), […]

Belikin launches 2016 calendar
Belize has many beautiful women, and so beautiful as those who have graced the pages of the Belikincalenda, prompting admirers of all ages – male and female – to line up patiently to get their autographs from 10 beautiful models, when the Belikin Brewery launched its 2016 calendar at the […]

Fidel Castro dies at 90
Cuba’s revolutionary leader; a dictator to some, a hero to others, Fidel Castro died peacefully in his home at the age of 90 last Friday. His exact cause of death was not disclosed but the polarizing leader had been ailing for some time and had since […]

Countries need to reassess their climate change strategies
Following the Conference of the Parties (COP22) of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (UNCCC), many countries need to reassess their climate change strategies to align with global targets. At COP22 countries which are party to the global climate change arrangement known as the Paris Agreement, […]

Countries set 2018 as deadline for Paris Agreement rulebook
United Nations member countries have targeted 2018 as the year to have all the rules governing the Paris Agreement finalized. Over 190 countries met in Marrakesh, Morocco, this month for the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (UNCCC) and […]

No word on missing Gales Point resident after 11 days
A Gales Point Manatee man has been missing for 11 days and his family, who has been worried and desperately searching for him, now fears the worst. On Sunday November 20, Delroy Andrewin, 43, left his home around 9:00 a.m en route to his farm located […]

Jaguar attacks on farm and domestic animals creating havoc in rural Toledo
Personnel from the Forest Department are in the process of safely removing jaguars from residential and farmlands in rural Toledo because the wild cats have been killing farm and domestic animals. The jaguar attacks over the past few weeks have occurred particularly in two rural […]

Editorial
Since November this year we at the Reporter have counted ten criminal cases which have been nolli-prossed, that is to say, cases which were dismissed because material witnesses have chosen not to work with prosecuting authorities. Four of these cases were for murder. The other six were for various other […]

Blue Christmas for Belizeans Unemployment and cost of living up as economy tanks
Coming into the Christmas season, Belizeans are faced with rising unemployment, increasing cost of living, an economy in recession and even more economic uncertainty as restructuring of the “Superbond” looms. The latest economic data provided by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) on Wednesday showed […]

Twenty-six shiny new trucks for Police Department
The United States Government has made a hefty donation to the Belize Police Department, in the form of 26 new 2017 model Isuzu D-Max pickup trucks. The fleet of vehicles were handed over to the Minister of State with responsibility for Police, Elodio Aragon at […]

Commuters unhappy with new bus rates
Bus fares have been adjusted countrywide for all commercial passenger buses, going up in most areas, much to the dismay and discontent of passengers who commute regularly. Announcements of the price hike had been advertised since September, claiming that effective October, the prices would be […]

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Guns found in Gales Point Manatee
Today the Special Patrol Unit led by Inspector Aaron Gamboa conducted a special operation in Gales Point Manatee where officers found two guns and 6 rounds of ammunition in an empty lot. The items were labeled as “Found property”. © 2016, www.breakingbelizenews.com. This article is […]

BCCI’s 5th Christmas Expo Extravaganza this weekend
The Belize Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) is hosting its 5th Annual Christmas Expo Extravaganza. This year’s Christmas Expo will feature local businesses, which will be offering Christmas cooking essentials and gifts at low prices. The expo takes place tomorrow Saturday and Sunday […]

Belize weighs in on world weed list
Belize, as it turns out, is one of the top 20 weed smoking countries in the world. Number 18 on the list of the world’s top 30 toking towns. The data comes from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Belize is […]

Defense Minister wraps up nationwide tour
Minister of Defense John Saldivar is today wrapping up his tour of BDF installations in the southern part of the country, which completes his national tour of BDF installations countrywide. On Wednesday, Saldivar, accompanied by CEO in the Ministry of Defense Lieutenant Colonel Felix […]

Senate debates UNCAC, Integrity Commission and Guatemalan Special Agreement
The Senate, during a special sitting this week, considered a series of very important motions including Belize’s accession to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), the appointment of the Integrity Commission and the ratification of the Special Agreement between Belize and Guatemala. The Senate […]

Fair weather to continue
The 24 hour forecast is for sunny skies and partly cloudy skies today and tonight. A few showers and isolated thunderstorms are expected. The wind will blow from the east at 5 to 15 knots and the sea state will be choppy. High temperatures […]

Soldier arrested for rescuing distressed woman
Belize City police arrested a BDF soldier and a woman for ‘double riding’ a bicycle, but the soldier and woman claim he was in the process of rescuing her. BDF Soldier, Kendrick Archer, was slapped with a charge of “carrying a person above the […]

Trawler flying Belize flag fined in Somalia
A trawler with a Belizean flag has been fined US $65,000 by Somalia. According to reports, the trawler was accused of fishing in Somalian waters without a valid fishing license. Furthermore, the trawler is accused of fishing in prohibited areas with illegal fishing equipment. […]

Clear the Cane Castro?
The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) is in trouble after an audit revealed that Minister of Transport, Edmund Castro, was delivering cane to the factory without being a registered cane farmer. According to reports, the BSCFA received the letter of suspension last week […]

Aggressive cat caller taken to court
A man accused of viciously beating a 93-year-old man almost a year ago is again in trouble with the law. This time Chester Noralez, 36, is accused of sexually assaulting and using insulting words towards a Sadie Vernon student last week. According to […]

Cool thieves caught chilling in freezer
Eugene Bailey, 39, and Raymond Montes, 43, are in prison after they were found burglarizing Lucky Star Supermarket on Central American Boulevard in Belize City. Acting on intelligence, south side police visited the shop sometime after midnight on November 30. Officers found Bailey hiding in […]

Woman gets six years for drug trafficking
Today marks the first week in prison for a Belmopan woman after she failed to pay fines for being found guilty of drug trafficking earlier this year. Florita Janet Hyde, 30, had been found guilty of two counts of drug trafficking. She was ordered […]

Blogs

Travel on the Horizon – An Adventure Right Next Door
My desire to travel – wanderlust – has really kicked in recently. Call it island fever…call it itchy feet but it’s time to plan a trip. And I think I found the perfect time… My very favorite thing in the world is travel…well…and dessert…but in second place is planning a trip. And last year, my big trip was basically as far away from Belize as I could go. An amazing, once in a lifetime, perspective changing, awe inducing, 10,000 mile trip to Kerala, India. SO…some time has opened up in beginning of January – the planets have aligned – and while I am hardly FLUSH with cash…there is a bit extra AND a country that I’ve been planning to see for a while. And it’s less than 200 miles away. GUATEMALA…on our very border and yet…yet…I’ve only been to the very edge of it. And there is SO MUCH. Colonial cities, active volcanoes where I can toast marshmallows, deep volcanic lakes, rain forest, a Pacific coast called “The Billfish Capital of the World”, hot springs…

The Wild Wild West
It started on a quiet Saturday night. I attended a dinner with the staff to say goodbye to one of our own. We enjoyed food, drinks, and laughs. I went home smiling and soon put on my PJ’s and headed to bed. I awoke at 1:30 am and I was already on the phone. Somehow I had answered while still asleep. I quickly recognised those most familiar words, “Doctora, you have an emergency.” It of course, was Ingrid. She sounded far too chipper, and I soon found out that she was still awake, having not yet been to bed. Within five minutes she was at my door, picking me up in the golf cart to drive me to work. Biking around in the middle of the night would not likely be perceived as “safe”, even by me. As we arrived I immediately recognized the male owner. He is a well known local that makes one of my favorite unique island drinks. He and his wife had returned home from a late night shift to find their small friendly dog having difficulty using its hind legs. After a thorough exam, I gave an injection as well as some medications and home care instructions and we were all headed home once again. By 2:30 am I was putting my head back on my pillow, having difficulty falling asleep after all of the excitement. At 6:20 am the phone was ringing again, this time I looked at the screen before I answered, a number was listed with no name that my phone recognized. As I said hello, the voice at the other end sounded panicked. I knew her right away. She quickly explained that her neighbor’s dog had been attacked by another larger dog. I instructed her to send them to the clinic and rolled out of bed. Pulling a scrub top over my head and exercising my self imposed special right to wear flip flops after hours, I hopped sleepily onto my bike and headed to town. The owner met me minutes later with a small fluffy dog having bite wounds on both sides of her abdomen. All I knew was that the dog who bit her dog was not her own. I quickly realized that I would need help, and so as I sent the owner home, I called for assistance. The dog was soon under anesthesia in order to clean and better assess her wounds.

Fabulously elegant dining at EVOO Euro Bistro
They started with Aji, bringing the concept of Spanish-style tapas to Ambergris Caye with much success. Rain Rooftop Restaurant and Terrace came next, with stunning vistas and delectable cuisine. Now, with the grand opening of their latest, incredible creation, Hugo and Victoria Meyer have truly outdone themselves. EVOO Euro Bistro provides ambiance and style in spades, while the kitchen turns out divine dishes. The Meyers did much research, and found to their surprise that the Euro Bistro concept is a rare one. Luckily for us, they went to work and put forth a beautiful new restaurant that will give residents and visitors a taste of something new and fabulous. As for the name, they choose EVOO which means Extra Virgin Olive Oil which is synonymous to European cuisines. Intimate and refined, EVOO’s 3rd floor location, provides a stunning backdrop to gourmet dining. From the water wall at the entrance, to the show-stopping crystal chandelier in the middle of the room, twinkling prettily under ambient light…mingle in the open, or cozy up to your date at a table for two. What is clear is that a statement has been made. Flair and chic combine to give you a European vibe, while its intimate size lets it truly live up to its bistro title.

Top Travel Photos and Videos of Belize for November 2016
November may have passed, but the memories created throughout the month will surely last a lifetime. While the month presented a few rainy days, it certainly did not discourage travelers from taking a sub-tropical vacation in Belize. The month proved to be very active, with many visitors and locals ziplining among the lush, green giants of the forest, jumping for joy at the marvels of the outdoors, getting a bird's eye view of the surroundings, or simply relaxing along the beautiful coastline. It just so happens that November 19th was the only day that saw a holiday celebrated - Garifuna Settlement Day, which allowed visitors to observe a reenactment of this vibrant ethnic group's arrival to Belize. Travelers got to dance to the rhythmic beating of drums, indulge in delicious Garifuna dishes and experience all things Garinagu. With so many travel related posts on Instagram featuring Belize this past month, it was definitely no easy task choosing our favorites. Thousands of travel photos and videos were taken, that highlighted the beauty of Belize during the past month and here's our list of the Top Travel Photos and Videos of Belize for November 2016:

International Sourcesizz

Just Back From Harvest Caye: 10 Things Cruise Passengers Will Love About Norwegian's New Port
Norwegian plans to have other Cruise Lines Dock at Harvest Caye. 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.

See More Than the Beach in Belize
I had heard that Belize has long stretches of lovely beach backed by magnificent multihued tropical foliage — and it does. I knew that its dense jungles hide intriguing Mayan ruins, some dating back to before the birth of Christ — and they do. What surprised and delighted me during my visit to the New Hampshire-size Central American country was the treasure-trove of other attractions and lists of things to do. Like most visitors I spent some delicious time relaxing on soft sand beaches. I also relived the mastery and mystery of the great civilization of the Mayas. I hiked hidden paths, enjoyed gentle canoe paddles and explored the jungle, rainforests and rivers that encompass inland Belize. Just off its Caribbean coastline, some 200 island cayes (pronounced "keys") bask in the warm waters. Most visitors head for Ambergris Caye, which has exploded in recent years as a diving and snorkeling destination.

UK threatens to cut Commonwealth funding
Just weeks after British Prime Minister Theresa May called on Dominica-born Baroness Scotland, the Commonwealth secretary general, to answer allegations of profligate spending, a new UK government report has warned that the Commonwealth Secretariat is failing in its role delivering taxpayer-funded aid and could lose funding. The Secretariat, headed up by Scotland, was among the worst rated in a review of overseas aid organisations by the Department for International Development (DFID). The report says the Commonwealth Secretariat “requires urgent organisational reform”, saying its performance needs to improve in areas such as transparency and budget discipline. It warns future spending will be linked to “performance improvements”, warning the Secretariat was “unsustainably reliant” on UK funds. The report will add pressure on Scotland’s stewardship of the Secretariat and risk embarrassing the Queen, who is head of the Commonwealth.

17 of the world's weirdest water features
The ultimate shape-shifter, water exhibits its fair share of weirdness. Here are some of Earth's more unusual water features. An underwater sinkhole about 40 miles off the coast of mainland Belize, the Great Blue Hole is considered one of the world's best diving spots. More than 400 feet deep, the collapsed cave is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

15 COUNTRIES YOU SHOULD VISIT BEFORE YOU TURN 30
The oldest, truest axiom of travel is that you never have both time and money. Before retirement, when your knees will be feta, your best shot at traveling big might be those bumpy early years when the world's a swirl anyway. In your teens and 20s, let's be honest, you're not in charge of squat; you don't have kids; you can get eight solid hours even when origamied in a bus seat; you're gastrointestinally fearless; and virtually nothing can kill you even if it tried. So stack a bit of cash, drop the dog at mom's, and get going. The world will still be here in a week, a month, a year. Trust us. No one in their 30s or 40s or 90s stops to wish, Gosh, if only I’d traveled less and put in longer hours at the office. That's the how and the why. For the where, we asked writers who've been around the world twice and lived to tell. Here's what they sent back on how to (mis)spend your youth -- at whatever age you happen to be now.

Videos

  • It’s cool! HIV awareness, 1min. from Island Films

  • Sambai and Brokdong Medley, 10min. Sambai and Brokdong Medley performed by Dih Maroon Kriols and students of Maud Williams High School in Belize City

  • Kriol Punta, min. Kriol version of Punta played by Dih Maroon Kriols. Dih Maroon Kriols performing at Maud Williams High School in Belize City... Hire us this Holiday Season...

  • Andy Palacio, THE STRUGGLE GOES ON, 1960-2008, Dangriga, 4min. "Teaching the world to Punta" I first tuned into punta rock in the garage studio of Caye Records in Inglewood, near Los Angeles. Belizean, owner Patrick Barrow (who plays rhythm guitar for the Babylon Warriors, a reggae group) flipped the switch on a reel-to-reel tapedeck and hit me with some Palacio. Clearly Caribbean, somewhat African, and totally frenetic with tropical dance fever. Punta rock is the kind of electrified yet traditional Third World rhythm that's feeding the world-beat market.

  • Big up Bolo G aka Kenneth Gibbs, 2min. San Iggy Resident sings in Jamaica's Dance Hall Style

  • Open Your Eyes Rugby Belize feature, 10min. Rugby in Belize. Interview with Tony Gillings, featuring Chris Richy, Jason Castillo and others.

  • Ya'axche Conservation Trust launches EcoTourism Belize, 3min.

  • Chernow's hit Belize and Tikal 2014, 8min.

  • Coconut water in Belize with Carlos, 1.5min.

  • Belize San Pedro, 6min.

  • Legacy Rock Band Breaks up, 11min. After 13 years as a group the iconic band which rocked the hearts of thousands of Orange Walkenos, with their music and unique sound, officially announced yesterday that they are calling it quits. Today as we spoke to two members of the Legacy band, they shared with us some of the experiences, of being part of one of the most beloved and successful bands in town.

  • National Special Olympics and Sports, 7min. This morning Corozal Town was invaded by a special group of sports athletes who converged in the northern-most district for the holding of National Special Olympics. While the participation in the sporting games were the highlight of the day, the events were preceded by the arrival of the Flame of Hope and its display through town by our law enforcement officers. We were there early this morning to see the Fame of Hope take off.

  • FLASHMOB, 1.5min. The 16 Days of Activism to end gender based violence kicked off on November 25th. Today the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children and the US Embassy teamed up to take it to a "whole other level." The staged a flashmob in the middle of Belize City.

  • Confetti - Tips for Dressing Christmas Tree, 18min.

  • Traveller's Rum - Drinks for Christmas Seasons / Promotions, 11min.

  • Rotary Club of Belize Community Initiative - Port Loyola Christmas Party Fundraiser, 11min.

  • The Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage discusses recent updates as it relates to offshore oil exploration in Belize, 1hr18min.

  • A flash mob on Albert Street!, 3min. It is a part of the US Embassy's activities for the "16 Days of Activism"

  • Belize Mayan Ruins in 360 VR injected, 4min.

  • BELIZE, Iris Carmen Salguero - Contestant Profile: Miss World 2016, 1/2min. The grand final of Miss World 2016 takes place on Sunday 18th December.

  • The Greg Davis Heirloom Seed Donation Belize, 14min.

  • Snorkeling in Belize Sep 2016, 3min.

  • Harvest Caye, Belize, 6min. We were the first guests and the second guests ever allowed on harvest caye. We did back to back cruises.

  • SNOWBALL FIGHT IN BELIZE??, 10min.

  • Belize It, 5min.


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