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#519568 - 12/07/16 01:00 AM Today's Belize News: December 7, 2016  
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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

The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage provides update on offshore oil exploration in Belize
An update on the controversial situation regarding offshore oil exploration in Belize was held at the SunBreeze Hotel in San Pedro Town on Friday, December 2nd. Hosting the informative public meeting was the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, who along with members of the Belize Tourism Association Industry (BTIA) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), discussed the most recent development of this issue of national importance. The public meeting was attended by a handful of concerned island residents eager for an update. Coalition and Communication Officer Jacinta Gomez commended them for having made history in the country after they stood against the government on October 20th. “People power exist, and it does make a difference when we all come together to fight for a worthy cause,” said Gomez. “The San Pedro community got together and made a change for the entire country.”

SPHS celebrates Founders Day in grand style
Founder’s Day was celebrated at San Pedro High School (SPHS) on Monday, December 5th. The occasion commemorated the key individuals who helped establish the high school in 1971, while also celebrateing Former President of SPHS Rafael Angel Nuñez’ birthday. The day’s events also included acknowledging the athletic achievements from both the male and female basketball team, as well as the male and female volleyball teams. The assembly took place at the Rafael Angel Nuñez Auditorium, from invited guests, students of First to Fourth Form, teachers, and were in attendance. Al Felly (deceased) played a significant role in founding SPHS, and guest speakers Celi McCorkle, Martha Guerrero, and Rafael Nuñez spoke about Felly’s dedication that helped SPHS strive to this very day. A short burial ceremony followed after, and invited guests were able to witness Nuñez bury Felly’s ashes amongst the school plants. After a few musical and dance performances, students cheered as the female and male basketball players were awarded with trophies after recently winning the regionals. The male volleyball team was also awarded with medals and a banner, while the female volleyball team received certificates from CODICADER (The Central American Council of Sports and Recreation).

Ambergris Today

Threefold Celebration at San Pedro High Founder's Day
December 5 is an annual celebration at San Pedro High School and this time around the student body and staff celebrated Founder's Day. It was in observance of former Principal Angel Nuñez's birthday and also celebrated the life of Al Felly, the biggest benefactor of the institution. Al Felly became on love with San Pedro and San Pedro High School since the 1970's and contributed immensely to the growth and well being of the school and the island. Before his death earlier this year, he and his family's wish was for part of his ashes be spread in the grounds of the school. On this occasion that honor was fulfilled and his remains now lie near the entrance beside a plaque that reads: "HERE LIES PAPA FELLY IN HIS ISLAND IN THE SUN". It was a touching celebration with testimonials by Celi McCorkle, co-founder and chair lady of the Board, Martha Guerrero also co-founder and lifetime supporter and charlady, and Angel Nunez, co-founder and first Principal for 37 years. A student body of 660 and staff, as well as the Mayor of San Pedro Danny Guerrero, witnessed the celebration and partook in enjoying Papa Felly's favorite song, Island In The Sun.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Founder's Day at the San Pedro High School
On Monday, December 5, 2016, Mayor Daniel Guerrero was invited to a special occasion of Founder's Day at the San Pedro High School. Every year in December, the San Pedro High School celebrates founder's day, where the students prepare presentations such as skits, dances and musical performances for the founders and invited guests. This year, was a special Founder's Day event since they present founders along with the entire student body, SPHS staff and invited guests witnessed the memorialization of SPHS ' biggest benefector, Mr. Al Felly, or as he was dearly known as Papa Felly. The official ceremonies initiated with a flute rendition of Belize's National Anthem by the SPHS choir, followed by the School's Song performed by the same.

International Volunteers Day Celebrated
On this very special day when the great work of Volunteers is especially mentioned, The Belize Red Cross would like to take the opportunity to say a special THANK YOU to ALL our Volunteers across the country. Without them we would never be able to reach almost 75% of the entire population of Belize with our different programs and services. It is because of them that the National Society continues to be an organization of compassion and service to all those marginalized and vulnerable people living in our midst and who almost never have a voice. Thanks to the Volunteers for being that voice for them, always looking for different ways to meet their needs and to advocate on their behalf for improved living conditions and alternative livelihoods. The Belize Red Cross, together with all its Volunteers will continue alleviating suffering and promoting a culture of non-violence and peace wherever it is needed.

Saving the Manatee: sometimes there are losses
Sad picture and news snippet... We rarely have time for boredom at BWRC and yesterday was no exception with the necropsy of this 7 foot manatee to determine its' immediate cause of death. This patient was too big to fit on our scale but she must have been the largest patient seen at the clinic facilities in Central Farm so far (previously that was the 7.5 foot 138 pound, hooked American crocodile seen in 2015). Thanks to the whole BWRC team for joining in on this respectable workout and sorry for the sad news. Why did the manatee die? Due to a severe boat strike with 8 propeller cuts across it's entire back, three of which penetrated into its body cavity and leading to broken ribs, rupturing kidneys and one lung with fatal bleeding. How can this sort of accident be prevented? By respecting no wake zones and watching out for these gentle giants. Manatees are slow moving and need our protection

3rd Annual Sarteneja Community Day!
The Sarteneja Fishermen Association Invites Everyone to their Sarteneja Community Day on December 16th! There will be a 6-A-Side Football Marathon starting at 8:30 a.m., Displays of Informational Booths (Lionfish, Jewelry, Conservation, Coral Reef, Manatees, Monkeys, Books, Embroidery, Honey Bees & Marine Life). For those wanting to perform for Talent Night, please register before December 14th (Register at the Library). This event is Organized by local NGO's and community groups based in Sarteneja.

Would YOU run to the end of the world to end violence against women and children?
We are proud to share that these two Embassy colleagues, Claudia Membreno Swasey and Michelle Carrasco, recently ran the End Of The World Marathon (Run Belize; Placencia End of the World Marathon and Half Marathon) in Placencia!

NATIONAL CONSULTATIONS ON THE CARICOM REGIONAL STRATEGY AND IMPLEMENTATION PLAN FOR SERVICES
The Directorate General for Foreign Trade in collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat is hosting national consultations in Belize on the Draft Regional Strategy and Implementation Plan for the Services Sector, which has been developed under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). The two-day consultations will be held on 7th and 8th December, 2016 at the Ramada Princess Hotel and Casino, Belize City with participation by both the public and private sectors. CARICOM Secretariat officials along with Public Sector representatives will engage in discussions on the regional strategy and implementation plan for priority services sectors which is aimed at identifying priority needs of several services sector including: ICT, Professional Services, Health and Wellness Services, Cultural and Entertainment Services and Tourism Services.

Christmas Edition of ART IN THE PARK
Row, row, row your boat to the Corozal Central Park this weekend. It's the Christmas Edition of ART IN THE PARK. Come out and enjoy this special night with your loved ones at the Central Park on Saturday December 10th. This Corozal Daily would like to wish a Merry Christmas to everyone at home and abroad. Peace Belize!

Rotary Donates 18 Wheelchairs
The Rotary Club of San Ignacio donated 18 wheelchairs to the Rotary neighbors next door. "Our club has a longstanding wheelchair program working with clubs in the US. John Acott has led the donation efforts for many years. 18 chairs were donated to the Tikal Peten Rotary Club in Flores. The handover took place between the two border posts. 9 of the wheelchairs will be distributed in the Flores/Santa Elena area and the other 9 in Sayaxché, which is a town about 1 ½ hours south of Flores. It is an interesting place as you cross a large river on a huge car and truck ferry, powered by a tiny outboard motor at one corner."

Community Outreach in southern Peten
FCD’s Executive Director met with the Consulate of Guatemala, Mr. Edgar Chan to discuss Community Outreach needs in the rural communities of southern Peten.

Meet Ms. Terese Brechin, an activist against Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the Corozal District
Terese Brechin is the coordinator of Festive Creation, a local women's group in the Corozal District in Northern Belize. The mission of the group is to empower women who are going through hardship. Terese holds training sessions for women at her house in Corozal Town. Since its inception in January, the women have undergone skills training in fruits preservation, financial management, and have participated in an informational session with the Social Security Board (SSB) about enrolling as contributors to the SSB system. Products that are made by the women are sold to retail and wholesale businesses in the Corozal District. The group’s main support agency is the Women’s Department. Terese and the group have organized a series of trainings on GBV issues. She is proud of the women she works with and considers them dynamic and determined. "If each one of us teaches each other to do things and to help ourselves, I believe we will do so much for our society," emphasizes Terese.

Channel 7

Hon. Julius Rejected By Supreme Court, Speaker Urges Conciliation, Espat Ready For War
In August it made the worst kind of history when PUP Cayo south Representative Julius Espat was forcibly ejected from the House of Representatives. And while the rough handed removal from the house floor provided those indelible images, the fact is he is still on suspension from the House. He hasn't received his pay as a representative from September, and he is not welcome on the premises of the National Assembly. So, Espat went to the Supreme Court, asking for relief. In a matter heard by the Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, he claimed that the Speaker misused his authority, and failed to follow the procedure for a suspension. Espat claimed his constitutional rights were violated by these abuses and oversights, and asked to court to remedy it - basically by telling the Speaker and the National Assembly Clerk Eddie Webster how they should have handled the matter.

GOB Will Sue Andre Vega and Sharon Pitts
Andre Vega and Sharon Pitts - they both got huge compensation payouts from the Ministry of Natural Resources when the Lands Department gave them title for parcels of land which were already privately owned. It's a transaction and subsequent scandal which effectively ended the cabinet tenure of former lands Minister Gaspar Vega - who is Andre's father. But, that wasn't the end of it, because on October 31st the Ministry of Natural Resources wrote to Pitts and Vega demanding that they refund the compensation money within one month. Well, the news tonight is that they didn't - and so, next week, the Solicitor General is expected to file suit against both Pitts and Vega.

The Curious Case Of General Jones' Home Burglary
He's the commander of Belize's Army - but tonight even Ladyville Police have questions about Brigadier General David Jones. They want to know why he didn't complete a statement he was making about a burglary at his residence at Price Barracks. Police sources tell us that on Saturday Jones dictated about one quarter of a police statement - and then said he had something to do, and would return. But he hasn't and police say that he is presently not cooperating with them. Police don't have the full details on what transpired. The burglary happened on Friday night and reports say thirty thousand dollars in cash were stolen from a drawer. We are told that a firearm and some more cash were in another drawer but those were not stolen.

PUP Senator Stridently Against GOB Pick For Integrity Commission Accountant
Last week Wednesday we told you about that fiery Senate meeting in which the Integrity Commission was appointed, among much other government business. This is supposed to be the watchdog keeping elected politicians honest while they are in office. But, even before the Commission starts doing its work, the members are already embroiled in controversy. The complaint is that all the Prime Minister's appointees, who were approved by the Senate last week, are UDP friendly, or outright UDP allies. So, their objectivity is being questioned given that they are part of the mechanism set in place to curb corruption within the UDP Government. Nestor Vasquez, the Integrity Commission's accountant, has come under particular scrutiny because it was revealed that up until last week, he was not a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in good standing. Added to that is the fact is that the Prime Minister chose him over another accountant named by the Institute. The Opposition is now on a full court press against Vasquez, and their lead Senator Eamon Courtenay has written to Godwin Hulse, the Senate's Leader of Government Business.

Police Say Abner Was Strangled, Not Bludgeoned
Last night we told you about gruesome Teakettle murder of 19 year old Abner Vasquez. Vasquez's body was found at 7:15 Saturday morning in the back yard of a vacant house. Vasquez was apparently attacked sometime between Friday night and early Saturday morning. When we spoke to residents in the area where Vasquez's body was found they claim they did not hear or see anything because they were all at a football tournament in the Arizona area of the village. Now as we told you, there was dent in a patch of dirt where Vasquez's head was bashed in, but according to the post mortem results, he wasn't bludgeoned to death, he was manually strangled. This raises more questions as to what happened and police are still investigating this case. IN terms of the motive, police have their own information, they say that the accused believed Vasquez stole drugs from him and that is why he was killed. But police are still looking for the attackers. Vasquez's aunt told us that there will be a candle light Vigil on Tuesday at 6 starting at his house to where Vasquez was found dead.

Candelaria Saldivar's Long Departure
She had a good long run, but 7News has learned that former CEO Candelaria Saldivar has been terminated from the public service. Saldivar is the sister of Minister John Saldivar and has been CEO in multiple ministries, but it seems she had difficulties getting along with her heads of department and members of staff. She was placed on Administrative leave with full pay and benefits - but government couldn't find a senior position to put her in and they were contemplating retirement in the interest of the public service. We are told that went through last week. Much was made of the fact that while on administrative leave Saldivar continued to collect her annual 60 thousand dollar salary, and all allowances for a year.

Superbond: The "Sob Story" GOB Giving Bondholders
Last night we told you about how the Prime Minister went to New York on Superbond business along with Economic Ambassador Mark Espat, and Financial Secretary Joseph Waight. The press release from the Government was very vague, but it did say that he was to "attend a meeting... in connection with the Superbond." As has been widely reported, government is trying to get the bondholders to restructure the Superbond for a third time because Belize cannot meet the step-up payments under Superbond 2.0. Well, we've gotten a copy of the powerpoint presentation the Government made to the superbond holders. It's dated, "November 2016", and it outlines the financial picture of the country from the Government's perspective. It's a 22-slide presentation filled with all the figures, but a few parts which caught our attention starts on page 8. It reads, quote, "There has been a precipitous decline in economic activity in Belize over the past 2 years. Overall growth fell from a robust pace of 4.1 in 2014 to 1.0 in 2015. Earlier forecasts for 2016 suggested a further decline below 1% growth, but the economy contracted by 0.5 in the first half of the year." End quote.

Complain About Cayo Cop
On Saturday, San Ignacio police arrested Kurt Morgan and his common law wife Shaun Gardener. Police searched the couple on Burns Avenue, while a friend of theirs smoked marijuana. Both Morgan and Gardener had charges against them dropped in the Magistrate's Court yesterday when their friend pled guilty to possession. But even though they have been cleared in court, the common law couple says they've been mistreated. According to them, one police officer, who is an often criticized former GSU officer, used excessive force during their arrest. Morgan came to our studio to tell us more... Kurt Morgan, Says GSU Abused Him: "What happened this weekend on Saturday night was that he came to conduct a search on me and I gave him to conduct this search. When he finished, he found nothing on me. My common-law wife asked him what's the problem and he said he didn't want to hear anything. She told him 'but you are harassing my common law husband' and he said he didn't give an F about that. He hit her in the face, grabbed her, threw her on the ground and told her that he's going to take her to the station too and hand cuffed her from behind. He man handled her and took her to the vehicle and tried to push her in, but he could get her in from the front so he took her and dragged her to the back and stuffed her in the back of the vehicle."

Will Can Sugar Be Crushed By Beet Sugar?
Last night, we brought you extensive coverage of the opening of the 2016-2017 sugar season, which is off to a great start. They are trying to mill 1.4 million tonnes of cane by the end of the season. But, it will be the last crop before the European Market is set to change. At the end of September of next year, the European Union will lift all restrictions they had on European Beet Sugar, which will allow beet farmers to compete directly with sugar milled from sugar cane. Now, the European farmers are producing at a very high rate of efficiency, which far outperforms Belizean cane farmers. Come October 2017, they will be able to flood the market with as much sugar as they can produce, which will drive the price of sugar down. So, is Belize's Sugar Industry ready for the shock that could inflict? Well, you saw how the farmers reacted when the world price of sugar dropped last year, and so, we asked the new Minister about his predictions for that huge, impending transition. Here's what he told us:

Harvest Caye And Overnight Tourism: Can They Coexist?
Norwegian Cruise Line blacklisted 7News from the opening of Harvest Caye, but there's hope for the local media: we're told that the Tourism Board is planning a media trip for to the Forbidden Island. That's supposed to happen next week Wednesday, so let's wait and see. On the peninsula itself where overnight tourism has been thriving, Harvest Caye is seen as both a blessing and a curse. Yes, jobs and opportunities have been created, but all the streams of revenue and earning opportunities are rigidly controlled by Norwegian. The question now is whether overnight tourism and cruise tourism can co-exist on the same peninsula. That's what we asked Stewart Krohn. He's been an outspoken critic of the Harvest Caye project from the get-go, in fact, he once called it crack-head economics. But, it's on the peninsula to stay now, and so we asked him how he and others who've invested millions in overnight properties will live with it:...

Was Guate Drug Bust In Belizean Waters?
This weekend, Social Media in Belize and the local press in Guatemala lit up when news of a 45 million dollar cocaine bust was made in the area of Belize's Sapodilla Range. The Guatemalan Navy intercepted a boat which was filled with about 1,637 kilos, or about 3,608 pounds of cocaine. Onboard were 4 Hondurans, 34 year-old Walter Orlando Portillo, 26 year-old Jose Miguel Andrade Saldivar, 42 year-old Zablo Amilcar Portillo, and 21 year-old Jeyson Julian Avila Suazo. Belizean experts say that it happened in Belizean territorial waters, but the Guatemalans say that they were caught in the Caribbean Sea. Here's Guatemala's Vice Minister in charge of Anti-Narcotics giving a press briefing on the drug bust. We've provided English subtitles for our non-Spanish Speaking viewers:

The Wonders Of A Writing Workshop
Artistic expression - whether it is in the form of a poem, a quote, a short story, or a painting, should come naturally, but for some creators, they need some inspiration or just the right guidance to develop their unique voice and style. And that is where Andre Habet and Mackenzie Smith come in. They will be hosting a 2 day writing workshop to help about 20 artists with this process. Now you won't suddenly emerge as the next Derek Walcott or Ernest Hemmingway after the workshop, but you should be able to better express yourself through writing. The facilitators are not in the country so we spoke to Habet's cousin who is also involved in this initiative. He told us more about a new creative center he will be launching and discussed the focus of the writing workshop. The writing workshop will take place on Saturday December 17th and Monday the 19th at the Bliss Center. There will also be a writing tour in the city on the 16th. If you would like to participate , you can submit your applications online of drop them off at Brothers Habet on Barrack road. You can go to youarethejewel.webpress.com for the application forms.

From Chile With Love
Since Hurricane Earl, Belize and NEMO have received several donations from various governments to aid in recovery and prepare for future disasters. And yesterday, Belize received support from a little known friend, Chile. Minister of NEMO, Edmund Castro received $50,000 US dollars from the Chilean government to aid in the recovery of the agriculture industry, specifically the small farmers affected by the hurricane. Chilean Ambassador, Maria Inez Ruz, handed over the donation. Ambassador Ruz was also in Belize to attend a seminar discussing the diplomatic relations between the two countries. Belize and Chile signed a joint communiqué underscoring areas of cooperation.

Gun Man in Belmopan Court
Belmopan police today convicted a man for possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition. Joseph Montero was convicted of one count of possession of unlicensed firearm and 3 counts of possession of unlicensed ammunition. He escaped a jail sentence, and was fined $2000 dollars for the firearm and $1500 for the ammunition. If he defaults on payment, he will serve 1 year in jail.

Who's the Phone Snatcher?
And Belmopan police want to know if you can help them identify this man who strode into a Belmopan business yesterday. He seemed like he was absently looking for someone - but there was no one at the receptionist's desk. He looked around, and looked around and figured it was safe, and then he snatched a phone on the receptionist's desk and darted out. Belmopan police are asking the public to help them identify the cellphone snatcher.

Channel 5

Friday Showdown at House as Julius, Thwarted in Court, Vows to Return
There could be a showdown almost equal to the titanic battle that proceeded on the afternoon of August twenty-sixth coming on Friday, December ninth. Cayo South area representative Julius Espat [...]

Opposition Leader Will Respect Court Decision; Speaker Makes Final Decision
Following the decision of the Supreme Court, News Five caught up with Leader of the Opposition John Briceño to get a reaction on the ruling.  While admittedly disappointed, he says [...]

Eamon Asks Godwin to Overturn Net Vasquez Appointment to Integrity Commission
Turning to a another contentious issue for the Opposition…Lead P.U.P. Senator Eamon Courtenay is making a direct appeal to his opposite number, Godwin Hulse, to step in and remove Nestor [...]

Should Veteran Net Accept Appointment?
In the Senate’s debate over appointing Vasquez to the Integrity Commission, Senator Courtenay had objected to the appointment mostly on the ground that Vasquez’s long-standing service at now-state-owned enterprise Belize [...]

The Pitch for Superbond 3.0 is Not Appealing to Bondholders
The Central Bank today issued an official Government statement inviting comment from bondholders on possible structures for amending the financial terms of those instruments in order to put the Bonds [...]

Should Julius Espat Return to the House on Friday?
And our question for tonight is: Do you believe Julius Espat should return to the House on Friday? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or [...]

Another Questionable Land Deal: Did ex-Lands Minister Buy Back Divided Parcels from Owners?
Is there another land scandal involving disgraced former Minister of Natural Resources Gaspar Vega bubbling below the surface?  News Five has caught wind that shadow P.U.P. Minister of Lands Cordel [...]

Still No Response from Vega on Haulover Compensation
Gaspar Vega stepped down as a member of the Barrow cabinet on October seventeenth.  His resignation came amid scandals involving his son Andre Vega and attorney Sharon Pitts in separate, [...]

No Cheer, Blue Christmas: Christmas Cheer is Not On for 2016
There are no hams and turkeys to be given away this year, at least not from your local area representatives.  That’s because the annual Christmas Cheer Program, a Yuletide feature [...]

A Visit to the Naia Resort and Spa
Naia Resort and Spa – that’s the newest and certainly very plush resort in the peninsula where mass tourism is getting a significant boast with the opening up of NCL’s [...]

Taiwanese Ambassador Charles Liu Visits News Five, Talks About Projects
In early November, Ambassador Benjamin Ho of Taiwan completed his mission in Belize. Within days, his successor arrived in country in the name of Charles Liu.  Liu is a senior [...]

Ambassador Liu Pledges More Help in Education
Taiwan has been a generous partner making significant contributions to Belize in areas of education, infrastructure, agriculture and culture. Ambassador Liu says that the many programs already in place will [...]

Chile Donates to Help Farmers Afflicted by Hurricane Earl
There was some boost to the bilateral relations between Belize and Chile. On Monday in Belmopan, Minister of National Emergency Management Edmond Castro received a donation of one hundred thousand [...]

Godwin to Exporters: Don’t Bypass New Quarantine Facility
On Monday while in the North, Minister of Agriculture Senator Godwin Hulse opened Belize’s mandatory quarantine treatment facility at the northern border in Santa Elena, Corozal District. It is part [...]

An Introduction to the Sugar Industry Management Information System
The Sugar Cane Production Committee has admitted that it is tough to police transactions between farmers of sugar cane and non-farmers. A recent case is the Eloy Escalante affair, where [...]

How B.S.I. Will Steer Industry through 2017 E.U. Price Cuts
As we reported on Monday, sugar farmers in Corozal and Orange Walk are bracing for direct competition next year with European sugar beet farmers. Beginning in 2017, the quota secured [...]

Getting Ready for Christmas with Chamber’s Expo
The fifth edition of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Christmas Expo Extravaganza took place over the weekend in Belize City. Thousands of Belizeans made their way to the [...]

CTV3

Caledonia Resident Charged For Rape
This afternoon, Corozal Police escorted 35 year old Roger Alcoser to the Magistrates Court where he was formally arraigned on charges of rape of a minor and unlawful sexual intercourse. Alcoser, who is a Belizean national from Caledonia Village is accused of committing the crimes on Sunday about 12:30am. The specifics of the case are being withheld from the media and public since the alleged victim is a minor, a child that had only just celebrated her quinceanos, we’re told. Alcoser was detained that same day and held in custody as Police officials carried out their investigation. In Court, he was informed that the law does not give bail to persons charged for unlawful sexual intercourse. He was therefore remanded to Hattieville prison until March 3 next year.

No Christmas Cheers This Year, GOB Admits Economy Is Grim
The Barrow Administration’s plans for a third Superbond renegotiation has intensified with Prime Minister Dean Barrow returning to New York this week to hold further discussions with bond stakeholders. The Government’s team, led by senior advisor Ambassador Mark Espat, Minister Carla Barnett and Financial Secretary Joseph Waight have compiled a document to be presented to bondholders. That 22-page document paints the bleakest, grimmest picture on Belize’s economic state and outlook we’ve ever seen admitted by the Government. The document is split into two main sections that look at economic conditions in the country and the Government’s inability to meet its debt obligations under the terms of the Superbond. Even the overview which isn’t part of the substantive presentation speaks of “Belize: An Imperiled Economy” in its title. Perhaps it sets the tone for what stakeholders shouldn’t expect when they probe further. In the report, the Government puts forth economic data showing economic decline since 2012. It shows that the projected 5-6% GDP growth in 2014 never realised, and while a nominal 1% growth was predicted for 2016, the fact is that there will be a deep economic shrinkage.

Will SIMIS Eliminate Phantom Farmers?
For the past week we have been reporting on the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association suspension from Fairtrade which came after an audit was conducted by FLOCERT and turned up a major non- compliance in the association. The problem stemmed after Former BSCFA member Eloy Escalante was flagged for what is referred to as "phantom farming”. He no longer produces cane, and according to reports, in an interview with Fair Trade Auditors, he admitted that he hasn't been doing so for 3 years. Instead, he entered into a business arrangement with Minister Edmond Castro, who is in the sugar cane business. Under the arrangement, Castro's family could deliver cane to the factory under Escalante’s license. As the 2016/207 Sugar Cane crop season came to a start stake holders in the industry collaborated to set up an accounting system called, SIMIS, or Sugar Industry Management Information System, which they believe will greatly assist in correcting the situation of ‘Phantom farmers’.

IDB Continues Assisting Caribbean Victims
Back in the month of August Hurricane Earl made landfall in Belize causing widespread damages across the entire country resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. Following the aftermath of Earl a number of organizations both locally and internationally joined hands to offer assistance to the victims that were greatly affected by Earl. Among the list of organizations is the Inter-American Development Bank which took the initiative of organizing four separate events during the months of September and October. As a result of the fundraisers, the IDB managed to obtain a sum of $10,850 US Dollars which was doubled by the IDB. However, given the fact that the fourth and final fundraising event was held after Hurricane Matthew had made its way into Haiti, half of the funds of that particular event which amounted to $1,600 were donated to the victims of Haiti leaving the IDB with a total of $18,500 US dollars.

The system of Corozal Railway System
Students and members of the public gathered at the Corozal Junior College conference room this morning for the second part of the Corozal House of Culture’s lecture series titled “Perspectives of the Past”. Today’s presentation featured well-known British-born researcher Alan Baker who spoke on the railway system in Corozal. Unless you were born in the 1930s, it is likely you are scratching your head, wondering what we’re talking about. But arduous research has discovered and recorded evidence of this transportation phenomenon in our midst. We asked the research expert, where the railways were located. Alan Baker, Researcher: “From my research I’ve found that the line was about a mile and a half from the House of Culture or the customs House as it used to be in those days and there were three lines in total; one went up to the hill by towards Santa Rita Hill there the other used to run along the coast along Tony’s Inn and the third line used to pass Finca Solana passing down the Methodist School along the coast road. The one from Tony’s Inn was mainly coconuts and the husk which would then ship to the UK, the one on top of the Hill by the Santa Rita ruin was a sugar mill I think it was owned by Mr. Romero and that was used for sugar and they used to put 200 pounds bags sugar on the wagon and pushing the down the hills and that was gravity feed and the other one was towards Finca Solana was also used for spices and coconuts.”

LOVE FM

House Speaker is Up For Continued Discussions with Area Rep Espat
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin struck out the case brought by Julius Espat against Michael Peyrefitte. Espat is the PUP’s Area Representative for Cayo South and Peyrefitte is the duly appointed Speaker of the House of Representatives. On August 26, Espat was named and suspended from the House. He refused to go and officers, on the […]

Senate Misled in Naming Integrity Commission Chairman
The appointment of Nestor Vasquez as a member of the Integrity Commission was highly criticized by Senators during the last Senate Meeting. So much so that Senators questioned his integrity. According to the Orders of the Day for the November 30 Senate Meeting, Vasquez was appointed to the Integrity Commission as a member of the […]

Austerity Measures Remain Uncertain as GoB Presents Report to Bondholders
March 2013 saw the Barrow administration applauded by many after renegotiating the Superbond that came into effect by the Said Musa administration during the period 1998 – 2008. That renegotiation reportedly saved Belize almost half billion dollars. Fast forward three and a half years later and Prime Minister Dean Barrow is having talks with creditors […]

SolGen to File Court Claims Against Vega and Pitts in Land Compensation Matter
On November 4, the Government of Belize issued a release saying that they are now demanding that Andre Vega and Sharon Pitts return the four hundred thousand dollars each that they received in land compensation. In speaking with PUP’s Shadow Cabinet Minister for Lands, Cordel Hyde, he says that the Government is well aware that […]

Shadow Minister Questions Land Compensation Payments
Earlier this year the People’s United Party presented its Shadow Cabinet. The Shadow Cabinet is a list of representatives from the opposition who would be keeping a close watch on specific ministries of Government in an effort to demand accountability and transparency. Yesterday Love News spoke with Area Representative, Cordel Hyde who holds the shadow […]

Gas Leak Takes Down a City Landmark Structure
On Sunday, November 27, the country, especially Belize City residents, were shocked when it was learned that Chateau Caribbean Hotel was destroyed by fire. After more than a week of investigation, Love News has confirmed the cause of the fire. Station Manager for the National Fire Service, Oren Smith, told Love News that there was […]

Preparing for the Anti-Corruption Convention
In just three days Belize will become a party to the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The official documents will be signed on Friday, December 9 and that piece of paper would mean that the Government would have to promote and strengthen measures in order to prevent and combat corruption in an effective and efficient […]

Cop Interdicted for Village Brawl
Police Constable Jaime Gongora has been placed on interdiction after being accused of police brutality. Police Gongora is accused of badly beating Hugo Noh of Guinea Grass Village in Orange Walk a couple of weeks ago. It is alleged that both men were drunk and got into a brawl in front of Zhen Zhen store […]

Teakettle Fined for Unlicensed Weapon and Bullets
32-year-old Joseph Montero of Teakettle Village, Cayo District, appeared before Belmopan Magistrate Emerita Anderson and was convicted of one count of possession of an unlicensed firearm and three counts of possession of unlicensed ammunition. He was fined two thousand dollars for the firearm and one thousand five hundred dollars for the ammunition. If he defaults […]


#519569 - 12/07/16 01:00 AM Re: Today's Belize News: December 7, 2016 [Re: Marty]  
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Amandala

$45 mil cocaine bust
Guatemalan police and naval authorities reportedly landed a major drug bust this past Saturday which resulted in the confiscation of 1,637 kilos or 3,608 pounds of cocaine valued at 172 million quetzales (or roughly BZ$45 million) in what they have identified as “international waters.” However, a report carried by Prensa Libre, which includes a map of the location, shows the location as the Sapodilla Caye range in Belize, and specifically the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve, indicating that the bust actually occurred inside Belizean territory. We were able to plot the coordinates, which place the incident inside Belize’s territorial waters—not inside “international waters,” as Guatemalan authorities have said.

Belize exports down by over $100 mil so far this year
Belize continues to import far more merchandise than the goods it exports for consumption on the world market, with the ratio of merchandise imports to domestic exports standing at over 4 to 1. The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) reported this week that earnings from Belize’s major exports continue to be lower than they were at the same time last year, with a few exceptions—the most notable one being orange concentrate, which has been attracting better prices on the world market. SIB Statistician, Tiffany Vasquez, reported this week on the country’s external trade position as of October 2016. She noted that while Belize had imported $1.6 billion worth of goods for the period January to October, domestic exports totaled $364.3 million. Domestic exports fell substantially by 24%, while merchandise imports fell marginally at 4%.

Dale Tillett, poet and tour guide, murdered at 44
The last thing Dale Tillett, Sr., did on Friday night was to read one of his poems, “Cutting a black man’s life in half,” which condemned violence, at the Bricks Bar and Grill on King Street in Belize City. However, almost as soon as he stepped out into the mean streets of Belize City, his life was cut short by the same violence he decried in his poetry. Tillett, 44, is no stranger to Belize City’s violence, as almost 5 years ago, he buried his son, Dale Tillett, Jr., 19, after he was shot in the head inside the then popular Palm Island night club in Belize City. According to police reports, at around 3:45 on Saturday morning, they responded to a shooting incident on Hydes Lane in Belize City, where they saw Tillett, Sr., also known as “Blinds,” with apparent gunshot wounds in the right side of his neck.

Sleeping farmer’s throat slashed at bus stop
Gabino Choc, 30, a farmer of Santa Rosa, Stann Creek District, and the father of two children, had his throat slashed while he was sleeping at the bus stop in San Roman, the neighboring village, at about 2:30 a.m. on Sunday. A second man who was also sleeping under the shed at the time told police that he was awakened by the commotion and saw their fellow villager, known to them as “Mencho,” cut Choc’s throat with a machete. Mencho then also chopped the other villager on his arm and leg, and then ran away. Police, when they arrived at the scene, found Choc lying under the bus stop, with a large cut wound to his throat. He was already dead.

Ministry of Health fell asleep at the wheel
The Ministry of Health may owe an estimated 25 million dollars to ten companies from which it procured low quality pharmaceuticals that have been possibly jeopardizing the health of Belizeans for an indefinite period of time. In an exclusive interview with KREM’s Marisol Amaya last week, CEO in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ramon Figueroa, said, “I can’t say with certainty that some of the providers gave us medication and items that did put the population at risk. What I can say, is that because we were not enforcing those standards, there is a high possibility that that could have happened.” According to Figueroa, in most cases the providers of the country’s pharmaceuticals held certificates from the parent companies of the products, but lacked general certificates of manufacture and certificate of quality for items for which they had bid.

Almost 8,000 active businesses; over 1,000 closed
Of the nearly 8,000 businesses operating in Belize, almost three-fourths are sole proprietorships, and about half employ between two and five workers, according to preliminary results of the first business establishment survey conducted by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB). Jefte Ochaeta, Statistician I, said that businesses reported an expense-to-revenue ratio of about 70 percent, meaning that of every dollar earned in revenues, 70 cents went to covering their various expenses. Wages and salaries paid to employees accounted for 13 percent of total expenditures across all industries, the survey found. Roughly 73% of the respondents, who filled out part B of the survey, offering financial disclosure, said they make less than $75,000—which is the business tax threshold. Among the wholesale and retail businesses, almost 8 in 10 said that they make less than the threshold.

Chief 40+ Race results
Here are the results from racing held yesterday for the Weekend Warriors (WW) 40 Years + category. The race went from Leslie’s Imports to Mile 31 and back, for 58 miles, as they prepare for the upcoming Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic. 28 riders started, and 24 finished, in the following order: 1st place Palas Joseph (Lampaz, 2:43:10); 2nd Isaiah Willacey (Santino’s, st); 3rd Ryan Willoughby (Caribbean Tires, 2:46:59); 4th Kirk Sutherland (Digicell-4G, st); 5th Mark Gentle (FT Williams, st); 6th Jack Sutherland (Digicell-4G, st); 7th Santino Castillo (Santino’s, st); 8th Alvin Card (invitee, st); 9th Mike Phillips (Lampaz, st); 10th Colin Maheia (FT Williams, st); 11th Daniel Cano (Santino’s, st); 12th Ruthford Cunningham (Spinnaz, st); 13th Clarence Tescum (Santino’s); 14th Stephen Bisset (Lampaz); 15th Andrew Brown (Kulture Megabytes); 16th John Burns (Digicell-4G); 17th Kaya Cattouse (C-Ray); 18th Ian Abraham (Smart); 19th George Abraham (Bel-Cal); 20th Dean Belisle (Bel-Cal); ...

5 teams have punched their tickets to the SSBA finals; 6 teams to go
On Friday night, in game 1, Belmopan Shock (#2) defeated Lady Warriors (#3), 49-16, in the Female division. With the win, Belmopan Shock has advanced to the championship game, and will face their rivals, Benque Queens, in a rematch of last year’s finals. Belmopan Shock was led by Kaylani Reid, who netted 13 pts, and Jada Brown and Enid Dakers, who tallied 10 pts each. Shanice Mendez and Glenda Torres were the top scorers for Lady Warriors with 5 pts each. In game 2, the Under 23 division was a nail-biter, as Belmopan narrowly edged McRoe Lions, 62-60. Akeem Watters had the game winning field goal with 0.5 seconds remaining, while finishing the night with 19 pts. Brandon Flowers had the game high with 20 pts, and Karl Williams sank 18 pts. Jamaal Augustine was the top scorer for McRoe Lions with 17 pts, and Francis Arana netted 16 pts. In the nightcap, Police Stars (#2B) faced off with Tuff Enuff (#3B) for the third time this season, splitting the regular season match-up, 1-1.

OWFA Amateur League 1st Division Week 7 results and standings
The Orange Walk Football Association (OWFA) Amateur League 1st Division Football Tournament 2016 continued with Week 7 games on Sunday, December 4, at People’s Stadium. In game 1, Progresso United FC dropped United Ballers FC, 3-0, with goals from Hector Carlos (15’ & 66’) and Alex Diaz ((61’). In game 2, it was Progresso FC, 7-2, over Chan Pine Ridge FC. Shaking the net for Progresso FC were Eliazar Itza (38’, 48’, 67’, 84’ & 87’), Gabriel Perez (43’) and Erick Osorio (88’); while Chan Pine Ridge goals were by Adial Carrillio (33’) and Nayin Reyes (55’). Game 3 saw Sinbad FC edging Desert Storm FC, 1-nil, on a goal by Edgar Cardenas (58’). In game 4, Jose Cassanova (2’) gave Crystal FC an early lead, but San Felipe FC came roaring back with goals from Harvey Cruz (15’, 75’, 89’), Israel Jones (49’) and Victor Amaya (80’ & 90’) for the massive 6-1 victory. But there was no consolation goal in game 5, as Trinidad FC bombed Progresso Jrs. FC, 6-0, with goals from Ryan Rios (3’), Travion Martinez (12’, 30’, 48’ & 72’) and Jose Guy (89’).

“Fire on the Barracks!”
The red-hot race to the PLB playoffs ended yesterday with Week 18 games to end the regular season in the Premier League of Belize (PLB) Opening Season 2016-2017. And of the 4 teams which have qualified to the playoffs, two are based in Belize City, and will be playing their home games at the MCC Grounds. So, it’s been quite a while, but city fans will be treated to back-to-back weekends of “Fire on the Barracks,” as FC Belize and then BDF FC host their semifinal games at the historic Garden. The only Saturday night game in Week 18 saw standings leader Belmopan Bandits SC play to a 0-0 draw with visiting BDF FC at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium. Both teams had already secured playoff berths, so the result only lent speculation to their possible meeting again in the finals.

Fighting for survival
In this age of proliferating nuclear weapons and international terrorism, it is more true today than at any previous time in humankind’s history that no one knows what tomorrow will bring. We human beings live from day to day, and for the vast majority of us that life involves fighting for survival. Over the past weekend, Belize Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Dean Barrow, and his two key financial advisors, Financial Secretary, Joe Waight, and Economic Ambassador, Mark Espat, flew to New York City for the second time in a week to see what they can do about restructuring the nation’s superbond payments. This newspaper is honored to be the leading such publication in the nation of Belize, and this has been so for the last 35 years. The editorial is a weighty exercise in this newspaper, and we do not take it lightly. At the same time, we all understand that what Belizeans enjoy of constitutional democracy here concentrates power in the hands of the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) and its executive Cabinet. At the end of the proverbial day, this newspaper’s editorials, then, are of no constitutional consequence or value, except when they spark some thought in the minds of the Belizean people, or in the minds of some important group of Belizean people, such as our teachers.

Belize Defence Force Math (101)
I write as a concerned parent of an officer of the Belize Defence Force, who wakes up on a daily basis to serve and lead the men and women, who are charged with protecting the sovereignty of our nation. Leadership is going the extra mile to look after the welfare of your subordinates and seeking the required relief at all costs. So what if the leaders themselves needed that same courtesy extended to them? What is equality? It is the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and OPPORTUNITIES. Equality is not existent in the Belize military; it is merely a principle taught to the soldiers on paper but not practiced in reality. Lieutenants in the BDF are required to pass a series of tests to be promoted to the rank of Substantive captain; six (6) tests within 8 hours and the rough conditions under which they are required to perform make it even more challenging. The passing mark was once 70%, which is the universal passing mark in graduate level education, but after calls to the “BIG MAN” it was changed at the last minute after officers rejoiced over their passing.

On the road with Fidel
I am in Santiago de Cuba, the Crib of the Revolution, as it is known, named The Heroic City years after the Revolution. It is from a balcony on a central plaza here that Fidel first addressed the Cuban people on V-day, January 1st 1959. Fidel’s ashes arrived here yesterday, after beginning its journey on Wednesday from Havana. The cortege followed the route, in reverse, of the March of Victory undertaken in 1959 by Fidel and the guerrilla forces from Santiago to Havana. The small caravan, with Fidel’s ashes in an urn carried in a trailer behind an army jeep, passed through all the towns and villages the caravan had traversed in that historic journey, so that most Cubans had the chance to bid their last respects to the physical remains of their leader. It passed the night next to the remains of Che Guevara at the monument in Santa Clara, the following night in Camaguey and the next in Bayamo, Granma, before moving on to Santiago on Saturday. It was amazing to watch how Cubans of all ages, colours, creeds and occupations lined the roads, villages and towns, most quiet, crying, waving Cuban flags or the flag of the 26th of July Movement, many shouting slogans as the ashes passed by, the most popular being one that had sprouted the day after his death, which I saw by chance as I watched television.

Unruly Don, yu gaan lee bit to early fih mih, but yu di rest – Samron Pott
Jose Antonio Pott was born in Kingston, Jamaica on November 23, 1970 to Jennifer Webb Graham and Gregorio Feliciano Pott. He is brother to Roberto, Natalie and Omar. Husband to Samira, father to Jodi, Samron and Sakir. Friend and family member to many. Roberto asks “What are we to do without our convener, planner, philosopher, ice breaker, fire starter and analyst?” It is impossible in only a few minutes to fully convey the essence of a man, but I will try. To capture for example: the loyal son, the devoted father, the loving husband, the endearing sibling, the considerate friend, the thinker, the great conversationalist – the compassionate soul. This afternoon in this spiritual space we come to celebrate this natural mystic flowing through the air, a roots man with a vibration who made all our lives better.

Fidel and African Americans
When the Cuban Revolution triumphed in 1959, blatant, legal racism was still very much alive in the US of A. Martin Luther King was well known, loved by black people and persecuted by the FBI. The civil rights movement was just getting strong, and still had a long way to go. When black people in the US learnt of how Cuba had been equally racist before the Revolution and that Fidel had changed all that, they naturally felt an attraction for him. As Bill Fletcher Jr. put it, “For many of us in Black America, Castro represented the audacity that we have desired and sought in the face of imperial and racial arrogance. When it came to matching words with deeds on the topic of racial equality, the most stalwart leader of the Western hemisphere, over the course of the 20th century, was Fidel Castro”. This admiration for Fidel was evident during his legendary stay at the Theresa Hotel in Harlem in 1960, where he was jubilantly hailed by hundreds of Harlemites on the streets outside. Several civil rights leaders visited him there, among them, famously, Malcolm X, with whom Fidel exchanged views for some time, and both men clearly appreciated each other’s ideas.

Discourses with no substance of objectivity
The leaders of Belize entertain the people with a whole lot of discourses that appear to have profound meaning, but in which there is no substance or objectivity, since, up to now we can listen often to the word alleviate instead of eradicate when the situation of poverty and unemployment is mentioned. Here is where we can see the same low level of seriousness that is manifested in the national anthem and flag. Belize, as a member of the United Nations, is a democratic country that purportedly practices liberty, and freedom and opposes discrimination against women. Yet, there is a lack of a rational explanation from the corresponding authorities in connection with the two men portrayed in the emblem of the national flag. It has become part of the dead words syndrome like that of the 1981 preamble to the Constitution of Belize.

Landowner blocks traffic through his property in San Luis
An angry land owner of San Luis, on whose land the main road connecting San Roman to San Luis was constructed, blocked vehicular traffic for about three hours this morning when he closed off both sides of his land, bringing traffic to and from the villages to a standstill. Orange Walk Police and an official from the Ministry of Works and the Lands Department intervened, and an agreement was made with the irate land owner, who then removed the barrier from his land and traffic resumed. Teofilo Chi, the landowner, said that if he is not given compensation, he will seek the services of an attorney and take action. In an interview on CTV 3 News Orange Walk today, Chi said that when the road was being constructed by the Ministry of Works, he told them that they were constructing the road through his land. He was told to go to the office, which he did several times, but he was ignored. So, he then decided to close his property.

The Belize Times

NOT SO FAST! – WHY IS GOB APPEASING GUATEMALA?
Why now? Why are we being asked to ratify these agreements at this time? What is the rush?” These were but a few of the questions which Members of the Senate asked publicly when the Leader of Government Business, Senator Godwin Hulse, tabled the motion for the Senate to Ratify the Special Agreement between Belize and Guatemala to submit Guatemala’s Territorial Claim over Belize to the International Court of Justice. That was the motion tabled with another asking the Senate to ratify the Amendment of the Protocol to the Special Agreement. The Compromis was first signed in 2008, while the amendment was signed in 2015. In that amendment, both countries agreed that instead of going to simultaneous referenda, each country could choose the option to hold their individual referendum on separate dates. PUP Senator Eamon Courtenay reiterated the commitment which the Opposition People’s United Party has to holding a referendum and having the people of Belize decide whether or not Belize should go to the ICJ to settle Guatemala’s unfounded claim over our country. He stressed that the PUP does not believe that the current relations between Belize and Guatemala are conducive to the process. Presenting in the Senate, he said, “now is not a convenient time for a referendum on this matter. Guatemala continues to behave in a hostile manner toward the Government and People of Belize.” He then recounted recent incidents of aggression by Guatemala which Belizeans are well aware of, including Guatemala’s complete rejection of the vindication of Belizean law enforcement.

NOT SO FAST! – WHY IS GOB APPEASING GUATEMALA?
“Why now? Why are we being asked to ratify these agreements at this time? What is the rush?” These were but a few of the questions which Members of the Senate asked publicly when the Leader of Government Business, Senator Godwin Hulse, tabled the motion for the Senate to Ratify the Special Agreement between Belize and Guatemala to submit Guatemala’s Territorial Claim over Belize to the International Court of Justice. That was the motion tabled with another asking the Senate to ratify the Amendment of the Protocol to the Special Agreement. The Compromis was first signed in 2008, while the amendment was signed in 2015. In that amendment, both countries agreed that instead of going to simultaneous referenda, each country could choose the option to hold their individual referendum on separate dates.

Barrow’s Bogus Commission
The Barrow Government’s concept of an Integrity Commission is obviously one dominated by hard-core UDPs, a couple who probably are not exactly sure of the definition of Integrity. When the names were called late last week, it became immediately clear that this administration has absolutely no intention of putting together any real Commission to watchdog its conduct. In the Senate meeting, the UDP Government Senators forced through the appointments of Marilyn Williams, Armead Gabourel, Lisbeth Delgado, Wilmot Simmons and Nestor Vasquez, who sits so many Government controlled boards. The only two Opposition-nominated members are Melissa Balderamos and Claudette Grinage.

City Landmark Up in Flames
Police and Fire Department investigators have still not determined the official cause of a devastating fire which claimed one of the city’s most outstanding colonial landmarks, the Chateau Caribbean Hotel and Restaurant on Marine Parade. Just after 8:00am Sunday flames were observed in the upper floor of the building and fifteen hours after when the last fire-fighter left the scene, the entire building was gutted. Fortunately, there are no human casualties from the catastrophic blaze. The Belize Times has been informed that there were guests in two rooms who managed to get out with their bags when they heard the ruckus. As well, there were guests in the dining area but they got out unharmed. Staff members have suggested that the fire may have started in the kitchen, but investigators are not ready to release any information beyond the obvious. According to Fire Chief Ted Smith, “On arrival the upper section of a three-storey structure was engulfed in flames. The fire department immediately went into operations and tried to extinguish the fire.”

2,000 MORE BELIZEANS JOBLESS – Inflation UP…Exports DOWN…Unemployment UP…Economy Contracts!
Today the Statistical Institute of Belize confirmed more bad news for Belize with the release of third quarter figures. For the third consecutive quarter the economy declined, this time by 0.8%. According to the fact sheet, “during the three months from July to September the country’s total production declined by 0.8% when compared to the same period in 2015…for the first nine months of the year, the country’s level of production was 0.7% lower than in the first nine months of 2015.” In the primary sector the decline was sharp, 24%, with marine exports reporting a 61% decline and banana shipments falling by 14%. While the government has continued to boast about its employment figures, the official statistics show that was a lie. According to the SIB, unemployment rose to 11.1% in September 2016, a sharp jump from September 2015. According to the findings of the Labour Force Survey, “in September 2016there were a total of 17,952 unemployed persons in Belize. This represented an increase of 2045 in the number of unemployed persons since September of 2015.”

When the Bubble Bursts
About a week ago one of the hosts on the UDP’s morning show commented that the best is here with this administration, a play on the government’s slogan going into 2015 elections. He went further to say that he can’t understand why people can’t see it – “it’s like people are living in a different country,” he stated in all seriousness and apparent disbelief. How do you reach people like that? They live in the same country we all do, watch the same news, see the same conditions and hear the same alarm bells ringing loudly, but they are so blindly loyal to the party they serve that they lose all sense of reality. Somebody asked a week ago – how do we get the message out to the people…the message that 2016 was a terrible year for the country and 2017 is going to be a whole lot worse? You would think that those who feel it would know it. Is it that this administration steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that the sky is indeed falling? Consecutive IMF country reports have painted the bleakest picture, stating repeatedly that the government’s wage bill is too high and debt is unsustainable. This isn’t idle chatter. The IMF continues to advocate for taxation, not because taxes are a first resort but because it is one of the last, when a government has been unable or unwilling to rein in its spending and practice fiscal responsibility. Retrenchment isn’t the first recommendation of the IMF, but the government has absolutely refused to control its wastage of taxpayer monies.

Trinidad FC & Progresso United Win in OW 1st Division Football
Progresso FC, Progresso United, Trinidad FC, Chan Pine Ridge and Desert Storm each posted big wins in Week 6 of the Orange Walk Football Association’s amateur league tournament at the People’s Stadium on Sunday. In Game 1, 2 goals by Eliazar “Toto” Itza gave Progresso FC a 2-0 win against Sinbad FC. In Game 2, Chan Pine Ridge won 2-1 vs. Crystal FC with goals by Adiel Carillo in the 24th minute and Juan Rodney in the 89th minutes. Crystal’s Alberto Cassanova scored in the 56th minute.

Galen Eagles Win 2016 ATLIB Basketball Championship
The Galen University Eagles won the 2016 Association of Tertiary Level Institutions of Belize (ATLIB) basketball championships at the UB gym on Saturday. In Game 1, the Galen men won 68-52 vs. Wesley Junior College, led by Lisani Lambey with 16pts. Kevin Brown scored 15pts, Raul Roches added 9pts and Karym Coleman – 8pts. WJC’s Russel Humes led with 19pts, Tyrone Anthony hit 4 treys to score 16pts, and Raymond Gongora Jr. added 7pts. In Game 2, Galen sealed the championship with a 27-22 win vs. the Stann Creek Ecumenical Junior College Falcons. Galen’s Lisani Lambey scored 8pts and Kevin Brown and Raul Roches added 5pts apiece, while Bryton Codd put up 4pts and Roman Alvarez hit a long trey. SCEJC’s Nayib Casimiro led with 10pts, Irakeem Lewis hit 2 treys and Deon Castillo and Luwani Cayetano threw in a bucket apiece. In Game 3, SCEJC won 2nd place.

UB Girls Win 2016 ATLIB Basketball Championship
The University of Belize girls won the 2016 Association of Tertiary Level Institutions of Belize (ATLIB) basketball championships at the UB gym on Saturday. In Game 1, the UB girls blew away the Wesley Junior College girls: 30-15 led by Jinelle Pott with 10pts. Kafira Gill and Joeline Williams added 4pts apiece, and Alvree Mortis, Loren Henry, Yolanda Shal and Ana Gonzalez put up 3pts apiece. Wesley’s Jhane Samuels scored 6pts while Archel Wright had 5pts and Doraine Linarez – 3pts. In Game 2, UB ran over the Stann Creek Ecumenical Junior College girls: 25-15; led by Joeline Williams and Jinelle Pott with 6pts apiece. Ana Gonzalez added 5pts, Gianne Cayetano scored 4pts and Loren Henry and Gisel Lodge threw in a bucket apiece. Ecumenical’s Jurshia Zuniga scored 7pts and Kaycelie Augustine hit a long trey to add 8pts.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Guatemalan authorities bust drug traffickers in Belizean waters with cocaine valued at $45 million
Four Honduran nationals are in trouble after Guatemalan authorities busted them with cocaine valued at $45 million in Belizean waters. The Prensa Libre reported that the bust occurred on Saturday, December 3, 2016 in international waters. However reports from the Ministry of Defense is […]

Julius Espat’s case struck out in court
Today, Chief justice Kenneth Benjamin struck out the case that was brought against the Speaker of the House Michael Peyrefitte by Cayo South Area representative Julius Espat. The Chief justice informed the parties that the courts could not impede the business of the House […]

Belizeans walk away with 1st and 2nd Place in Garifuna Pageant in Guatemala
On Saturday, Guatemala held its first annual Reina Garifuna del Caribe (the Miss Garifuna Caribbean) pageant. It was held at the Malecon Cultural Park in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. Asociacion Amigos para el Desarrollo de Izabal in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Sports […]

BDF Commander reportedly robbed
There are reports that burglars made off with $30,000 in cash from the home of BDF Commander, David Jones. The incident allegedly took place at the Commander’s Price Barracks home while he was out of the country. Jones is yet to comment on the […]

NEMO gets US$50,000 from Chile
Yesterday, Minister of National Emergency Management Edmond Castro received a donation of US $50,000 from the Government of Chile for the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) to assist with ongoing hurricane recovery efforts in the Agriculture Sector, specifically for small farmers impacted by Hurricane […]

Belize’s dollar to be formalized in Mexico
According to Quintana Roo Hoy, Jorge Valencia Gomez, Belize’s consul in Chetumal informed that it will seek to formalize the official listing of the Belizean dollar in Mexico. Formalizing the Belizean currency would increase the commercial activity between the two countries by up to […]

Not everything sweet for cane farmers
Yesterday marked the start of the new sugar crop to be ready in the next six months. However, according to cane farmers the future of the 1.3 million tonnes of sugar is up in the air. According to the farmers, if they start the […]

Police find marijuana and 16 gauge shotgun without serial number in Crooked Tree
Police in Crooked Tree village found a 16 guage Arrigton and Richard brand shotgun without serial number, and a black plastic bag containing 76 grams of marijuana on December 3, 2016. According to reports, police conducted the search in an overgrown area on the […]

Mainly dry weather to prevail
Mostly warm and dry weather is expected to prevail over the next 24 hours with sunny skies and partly cloudy skies today and tonight. Showers will be isolated and there is a possibility for an isolated afternoon thunderstorm inland or in the North. The […]

Corozal gets new quarantine facility
The Belize Agriculture and Health Authority (BAHA) and the Ministry of Agriculture are tightening up quarantine regulations in the northern border of Belize. Yesterday, a new quarantine treatment facility was inaugurated in Santa Elena, Corozal. The new facility will ensure that proper procedures are […]

The Irony of the Protected Areas Conservation Trust
“In 1996, Belize was considered a pioneer with the passing of the PACT Act. Today, the protected areas landscape continues to take shape and expand. Currently there are 103 protected areas that form a vast national protected areas system (NPAS), with categories that encompass […]

Blogs

Orange Walk’s 6th Tacos Fest – delicious!
Belizeans who love good food all headed north to Orange Walk Town on Sunday, November 27, for the 6th annual Tacos Festival at the Banquitas House of Culture. The tacos came in all flavors and were made of “cochinito pibil”, grilled beef, pork and chicken. The variety and selection; you couldn’t possibly eat it all, but you were welcome to try! There was Baeza’s tacos of cochinita and chicken on corn or flour tortillas, or in toasted tortillas, Tere’s fried tacos, ‘San Francisco’ Mexican tacos, Haty’s Shmacum chicken tacos, Tortas & Tacos with Autenticas Carnitas Estilo Michoacan,Tacos al Pastor, tacos with tortillas hand-made on the comal. Nobody watching their figure or their diet here! A hearty few accepted the challenge to show their tacos- eating prowess ina contest to see who could eat the most tacos with pepper! There were cash prizes to be won for those with the cast iron stomach to hold it all down! No points if you threw up, that’s a disqualification!All that salty food worked up a thirst, and there was also Caribbean Sunrise natural orange juice, Pepsi and Presidente Beers to wash down all those tacos!

Running Errands On Ambergris Caye – There is No One Stop Shopping
There are many reasons that the closest Walmart to where I live is in Mexico. Belize is a small country and the import duties are high to very high- it makes no sense for the big chain stores to move in. Well…not really... So I wanted to give you a look at my daily list of errands – and how they get done. Ordering on the internet isn’t really an option (LONG delivery time + duty applied) and drive through just don’t exist. My trip to town (7 miles now) starts out something like this… List clipped into the steering wheel on the golf cart. I must stay “on list” but often I forget a few, add on a few and spend a good amount of time just chit-chatting. It’s the best way to get the scoop. My errands now include a bit of provisioning for Cayo Frances Farm & Fly which has a full December of welcoming guests. And some fundraising efforts, including #DollaADive, for BelizeKids.org. Woohoo!

Belize Gets Represented at National Geographic World Legacy Awards 2017
The World Legacy Awards (WLA) is a collaboration between the National Geographic and ITB Berlin that seeks to honor companies, organizations, and destinations that drive positive transformation of the tourism industry. With categories like “Earth Changers”, “Sense of Place”, and “Destination Leadership”, the WLA’s aim to spotlight the best of the forward thinking best. This year, The Lodge at Chaa Creek has been chosen as one of the three finalists for the “engaging Communities” category of awards. The Engaging Communities category is given to an applicant who aids in the direct and tangible economic and social benefits that improve local livelihoods. This includes training, capacity building, fair wages and benefits, community development, health care and education endeavors.

Everybody is Talking About Kakaruchi’s Grill?
What a kickname right; but Enrique has been living in San Pedro, Belize for 34 years now and all the locals and many visitors know him working in the tourism service industry. He is an accomplished bartender/mixologist, creating award-winning cocktails at the country’s signature Taste of Belize competitions and at San Pedro, Ambergris Caye’s Lobster Fest!! Hands down, he is one of the best! Who would have thought that Kakaruchi knew how to cook? The ‘island buzz’ is loud and with only a couple of weeks since opening, people have great things to say about Enrique’s cooking and the cool spot that is Kakaruchi’s Grill. Curious, we dropped by to experience ourselves.

12 Unforgettable Adventures You Could Never Do on a Cruise Stopover
It’s true, booking your vacation escape of a Cruise Ship can provide a lifetime opportunity for any traveler, but do cruise vacationers realize that they are missing out on a lot in stopovers? Let us analyze things for a second… With an explosive growth in Cruise Tourism over the years, Belize has seen a rapid increase in its Tourist arrivals, bringing welcomed revenue to the country. However, while millions of visitors arrive on shore annually, the majority of them do not get to experience the true essence of Belize and only scrape just the surface of this magnificent jewel because of the time restrictions on their stopover. Considering that a cruise is meant to be relaxing, many find it strangely hectic given such a short time on land. Tourists are finding that a typical Caribbean cruise vacation does not give you enough time to know Belize at an intimate level. We take this opportunity to share with you the wonderful things/attractions/tours YOU are missing out on when on a cruise vacation.

Post renovation and ready for high season at CBC!!
We are thrilled to have reopened, including our brand new Villas! If you are headed here, enjoy these images of the renovations to our units, the new pool and tiki area, and grounds!! Renovations on Cabanas: new doors, new roofs, all new paint inside and put, new tile floors, upgraded cushions, new hammock, new art and kitchenware, renovated kitchen and upgrades to all decor, brand new spa baths! Note guests enjoy luxury robes, resort beach towels, and welcome basket with lots of complimentary gifts :) New Villas! Villa Playa and Villa Mar are exceptional....Mexican-style Villas with wraparound lower veranda overlooking pool, with hammock and adirondack chairs, modern, sleek beach furnishings, and rooftop decks with cushioned loungers, and bar table with palapa umbrella!

8 Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling
Wash Your Hands, Visit a Travel Clinic, Carry a Medical Kit, Prevent Bug Bites, Get Enough Sleep, Stay Hydrated, Exercise, Use Common Sense.

FROM WHITE SANDY BEACHES TO CASCADING WATERFALLS – ALL IN A DAY!
One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about living in Belize is how small the country is. If I so choose, I can be on the Caribbean Shores for the Sunrise, cascading the waterfalls at noon, zipping through the canopies by mid afternoon, and back on the island, just in time to enjoy the glorious sunset. In the past, this came with some restrictions. Most of the times, our guests would have to spend an overnight to enjoy these adventures. However, we were recently invited to experience the towering waterfalls of the Mayan Mountain – Macal River in a one day experience. Our journey commenced around 6:30AM, when we met up at Tropic Air to be on the 7AM flight. At the airport, we were greeted by Oscar of Balaam Eco Adventure, our host for the day. I was looking forward to going on this new adventure!! After a short 13-minute flight, we landed in Belize City and were greeted with a large smile from our driver Onil; He’s quite a character. After a light breakfast, we are on our way. We drove to Benque Viejo, where the access point to the Rio Frio Waterfalls is located. The 2 hour drive to Benque is very scenic. As you make your way along the Western (George Price) Highway, you get the chance to experience the various eco systems that exists within our environment. Beauty unfolds as the flat lands turn into valleys, and the valleys turn into mountains. Roaring rivers bordering the highway alert you that you’re almost at your destination.

International Sourcesizz

Concluye el torneo de internacional pesca de Mahahual “Wahoo de Plata”
Captain Jody Leslie of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Captures Top Boat Prize at Wahoo Fishing Tournament, Mahahual, Mexico. Congratulations!!! En representación del presidente municipal, Luis Torres, el secretario general del Ayuntamiento Roger Peraza Tamayo, asistió a la clausura y premiación del Torneo de Pesca Deportiva Internacional 2016 “Wahoo de Plata” V edición Mahahual, Quintana Roo. El primer lugar fue para la embarcación Arsenal del vecino país de Belice, a bordo del capitán Jody Leslie, al capturar un Wahoo de 46.52 libras; segundo y tercer lugar para la embarcación Another Toy, de Luis Contreras Castillo con un Wahoo de 41.34 libras. El encargado de la política interna felicitó a nombre del edil capitalino a los ganadores y participantes del Torneo de Pesca “Wahoo de Plata 2016”, sobre todo al organizador de la V Edición Carlos Pérez Zafra, por promover el turismo mediante la pesca deportiva. En su mensaje, Roger Peraza Tamayo, señaló que la pesca deportiva forma parte de una tradición en el municipio de Othón P. Blanco, por tanto seguirán contando con todo el respaldo del gobierno que encabeza Luis Torres.

Mexico Will Soon Accept Belizean Dollars As Payment
Jorge Valencia Gomez who is part of the Belizean Consulate in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico has released a statement to Mexican and Belizean Press informing that Belize and Mexico will be officially formalising the Belizean dollar throughout Mexico. By officially formalising the Belizean Dollar, businesses throughout the entire country of Mexico will be able to accept payments in Belizean Dollars instead of just a very select few in Chetumal as the current situation is.

Creation of robot bee to pollinate crops
Scientists at the Polytechnic University of Warsaw have created the first robotic bee designed to pollinate artificially; a miniaturised drone that is able to find a flower, collect its pollen, and transfer it carefully from the male to the female flower to fertilise it. This robotic insect has already been successfully tested in the field and its ability to pollinate is offered as a "hopeful alternative" to address the steady decline in the world bee population, as stated by its creator, engineer Rafal Dalewski. "Last summer, we carried out a test and we already have the first seed obtained through this artificial pollination, so it has been proven that our robot can do almost the same as real bees," explains Dalewski. Dalewski, however, acknowledges that he has not been able to design a drone that can produce honey, "although technology development is moving increasingly fast and can at times be surprising," he jokes.

World religions map
Fastest growing. see key in upper right, (small)

Belize's Caribbean Sea an island paradise
My new private island in Belize's Caribbean Sea is blessed with 4 hectares of palm-fringed white sand beach. It also has a gorgeous 5,000-sq-metre pool with swim up bar -- the largest in this Central American country. As well, there are four other bars and restaurants serving everything from blackened fish to classic cheeseburgers. Diversions run the gamut from parasailing, speed boating and ziplining to stand-up paddle boarding, mangrove tours and simply lounging at the beach and pool. Of course, I have to share this tropical paradise with 4,399 other people because it's Norwegian Cruise Line's private island called Harvest Caye.

Inside the Bizarre Movement to Make John McAfee Cyber Czar
On Monday afternoon, as Donald Trump continued finalizing his cabinet from his transition base atop Trump Tower, a group of thirty demonstrators gathered below to make a very specific recommendation: “That Donald Trump put America first and name John McAfee, the most qualified expert, to be our nation’s Cybersecurity Czar.” The event was part of a public campaign organized by the hacking collective Anonymous, aimed, oddly enough, at “securing America from Hackers.” For the remainder of the day, the protesters alternated between chants of “Make the internet safe again” and “We want McAfee,” as they distributed flyers highlighting the software magnate’s unique qualifications to confused passersby. While not all of the protesters were affiliated with Anonymous, the requisite Guy Fawkes mask was worn by nearly everyone.

Lionfish War: Who is Winning?
This is a question I asked a number of people and organizations while I visited different booths at the DEMA Show last month. The answers tended to point to the lionfish winning with the environment even mankind being on the losing end. There are coral reefs where the native fish have all but disappeared. These native fish are important to feed a good portion of the world’s population. Fisherman in some areas are seeing catches so small they can not feed their families. The lionfish are seldom caught using traditional fishing methods. So while they are plentiful, they are not helping to feed the families. While the overall picture does not look good, there are so bright points. The dive operators in the Grand Cayman’s in cooperation with the local government have turned the tide against the lionfish in many areas. They each dedicate a day to remove lionfish at different reefs. This concentrated effort has brought the numbers down to the point that the native fish are living long enough to become bigger than the lionfish can eat. That itself is a feat as the lionfish has the ability to stretch its mouth and stomach to eat larger fish. The lionfish is not currently entrenched in the waters around Belize and Honduras. There are divers who are slowing down the invasion by removing as many as they can.

Videos

  • The crocodiles of San Pedro were having a Sunday Funday, 1/2min.

  • Caye Caulker Village Council Public Meeting, 20min.

  • How to Play Jonkunu (Wanaragua) - with Warasa, 5min. Tis the season of "Jonkunu...

  • Talking Belize International Film Festival 2016, 47min. In case you missed it! Here's is the Mek Wave & Lik Road episode featuring a stimulating discussion of the festival as well as filmmaking in Belize, featuring Belize Film Commissioner Nigel P Miguel, NICH communications officer Holly Edgell, and several participants.

  • Marines Teach Infantry Tactics to Belize Soldiers, 3min.

  • CCIC Idea Generation Session in Belize, 4min. The Caribbean Climate Innovation Center's Project Manager Carlinton Burrell provides his take on Belize Caribbean GreenTech Startup Bootcamp in Collaboration with Beltraide Idea Generation Session

  • Belize, Spring Break 2015, 3min. St. Georges Caye.

  • TALK AH DI TOWN DECEMBER 1, 2016, 40min. Chat about Fidel Castro

  • United Nations Anti - Convention (UNACC) Working Group, 35min.

  • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Seminar Hosted in Belize, 26min.

  • Belize cave tubing and nature hike adventure September 2016, 3min. Our stop in Belize while cruising on NCL getaway. We did the nature hike and cave tubing excursion. Too much fun!

  • 4K - The Lazy Lizard, Caye Caulker, Belize Dec 2016 (at the split), 6.5min. Belize was the last country for me to visit before I could say I have been to every country in the Americas. I have a few more videos of Belize to upload when I get can get a decent internet connection.

  • Carnival Sunshine Zipline Belize, 7.5min. Zipline and Cave Tubing excursion in Belize on the Carnival Sunshine 2016.

  • Portions of the 20th Anniversary Commemoration of our World Heritage Site, 3min.


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