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Today's Belize News: December 10, 2016 #519649
12/10/16 01:29 AM
12/10/16 01:29 AM
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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, and other specials

The San Pedro Sun

Wine De Vine hosts reading of “A Wager of Wills”
Wine de Vine was the place to be for an evening of wine and literature. On Tuesday, December 6th, Samantha Alchin, author, was on hand at the wine store to present her novel, “A Wager of Wills”. Alchin met with readers and fans, signing copies of her book and answering questions about the writing process. Alchin began writing the novel at the age of 16, finishing it three years later. She set it down for a while, only returning to the pages to edit. The final version was launched on September 29th, and is now available on – both in paperback and on Kindle, as well as Barnes & Noble, Nook and other literary sources. Lots of research, learning and unraveling the mystery of the times, as well as sheer imagination, went into Alchin’s first published book. The author herself has had quite the adventurous life. Alchin grew up on a farm in Africa with an adventurous family. When it was time for a new adventure, she and her parents and siblings set sail aboard a 33-foot catamaran. As she describes it, “a chance meeting and a spark of romance and a year later, we are in Belize on the island of Ambergris Caye – and my sister is in her wedding dress, sailing to shore, walking down the dock and saying her vows beneath a palapa, surrounded by azure waters.”

Belize Signs the United Nations Convention against Corruption
As the world observed “International Anti-Corruption Day”, the Government of Belize (GOB) signed onto to the United Nation’s Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). In the absence of Prime Minister Right Honorable Dean Barrow, Acting Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber officially signed the UNCAC treaty on Friday, December 9th, making Belize the 184th country to sign this convention. After discovering an array of scandals within the GOB, the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU), along with citizens of this country and other organizations demanded action from the government. Hon. Faber, in the presence of the UN Resident Coordinator Christian Salazar Volkmann, officials from the Government of Belize and members of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, signed the treaty making Belize a signatory of the UNCAC.

#StrongwithKat Fundraiser yields tremendous community support
On Friday, December 2nd and Saturday, December 3rd, Reef Radio, along with Sagebrush Church and the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) organized and hosted a successful #StrongwithKat fundraiser to raise funds to assist San Pedrana Katherine Portillo. Portillo and her husband Pavel Ythjall were both involved in a serious car accident on December 5, 2015, which resulted in Portillo being paralyzed. This fundraiser united the community of Ambergris Caye, and saw many members selflessly give towards Portillo’s medical expenses. On December 2nd, while Sagebrush Church hosted a dollar drive at the Central Park, Reef Radio hosted a radiothon to ask the public for donations. The following day, the SPTC hosted a successful “walk/run” to show their support for Portillo. From 5:30AM, participants gathered at the Boca del Rio Park to begin their journey from the park to Belizean Shores and back. At 10AM, the Central Park was the designated area to also raise funds through a food and raffle sale. In total, close to $21,000 was collected, and Councilor Flora Anconca is in the process of exchanging the funds to send to Portillo who is receiving care in the USA.

Sabrina Solano of Hopkins wins International title of Reina Garifuna del Caribe
The first ever Reina Garifuna del Caribe (Miss Garifuna Caribbean) pageant was held in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala on Saturday, December 3rd. Planned by the Friends Association for the Development of Izabal, along with the Guatemalan Ministry of Culture and Sports, the event was part of an effort to bring unity among the Garinagu within the Caribbean movement, and assist with the preservation of Garifuna culture. The pageant featured contestants from Belize, Guatemala and Honduras competing at Malecon Cultural Park. After the competition, Sabrina Solano of Hopkins Village, Belize, was crowned the Reina Garifuna del Caribe 2016-2017. Kaylin Mejia of Dangriga also represented Belize, and she took first runner-up in the pageant.

SPHS’ Male and Female Basketball teams win northern regionals!
There’s no doubt that San Pedro has talent, especially when it comes to sports. With the help of Coach Paul Kelly, the San Pedro High School’s (SPHS) male and female basketball teams came back to La Isla Bonita as Regional Champions. Both matches were played on Saturday, December 3rd at the Multipurpose Complex in Orange Walk Town. The female basketball team consisted of team players: Princess Bailey, Baybee Lopez, Rebecca Barkhouse, Ariene Benguche, Jucely Rosalez, Ada Cordova, Aliyah Elliott, Sophie Guan, Lisandra Novelo, Aaliyah Pilgrim, Sueny Vasquez, Karina Ayala, Laisha Gamez, Joshana Soberanis, and Natividad Cawich. Playing for the male basketball team were: Leonard Lopez, Tyrese Arzu, Zimmer Perez, Guillermo Nunez, Christian Orellana, Robert Palacio, Tyrese Martinez, Tyreek Azu, Jahson Salgado, Glendford Cadle, and Zian Bulnes.

Belize Barrier Reef celebrates 20 years as World Heritage Site
The Belize Barrier Reef System (BBRS) has been on the endangered list of the United Nations Education Science and Culture Organization’s (UNESCO) World Heritage Site since 2009, which has been of much concern to Oceana Belize, Belize Tourism Board, the Belize Tourism Industry Association, The Toledo Institute for Development and Environment, the World Wildlife Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Belize Audubon Society, APAMO and the Fisheries Department. On Tuesday night, December 6th, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development partnered with these agencies in celebrating the 20th anniversary of World Heritage Status with a televised forum at the Belize Institute of Performing Arts in Belize City. UNESCO’s Belize representative Orlando Medina recalled how Belize marine conservationists had begun the groundwork at a workshop funded by UNESCO in 1993 that led to UNESCO awarding the BBRS World Heritage Status in December 1996.

Belize seeks to strengthen and formalize its dollar in Mexico
The Belize Consulate at the bordering Mexican City of Chetumal has announced that they will be seeking ways in standardizing the exchange rate from Belize dollars to Mexican Pesos. If this is achieved, it is expected that the commercial activity between Belize and Mexico could see an increase of up to 40%. rAccording to Jorge Valencia Gomez at the Belize Consulate in that city, they will be engaging the local authorities of the State of Quintana Roo regarding this topic. Gomez also indicated that there are many other topics for discussions, including tourism and trade between the State of Quintana Roo and Belize.

Hol Chan Marine Reserve introduces the use of dive bands
The administration of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve (HCMR) has been working with their stakeholders on the new implementation of ‘Dive wrists Bands,’ for all paying visitors at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. The introduction of the wrist bands will have no effect on the current user fee, which remains at $20BZ, and is good for a full day pass in any of the recreational zones within the reserve. According Miguel Alamilla, Manager at HCMR, the introduction of the wrist bands was necessary after the expansion of the reserve. “The wrists bands will provide us with a better understanding of who all visit the different recreational areas of the reserve. The bands will also be good for night dives,” he said. “We have increased the number of park rangers in order to cover more surface area, and provide the necessary service and assistance to visitors and tour operators.” The wrists bands are made of a waterproof material, and are colored-coded, each day of the week will have its own assigned color.

Leslies win first place in Wahoo de Plata Fishing Tournament
Father and son Martin and Jody Leslie competed in the Fifth Edition of the “Wahoo de Plata” International Fishing Tournament in Mahahual, Quintana Roo, Mexico. From Friday, December 2nd to Sunday, December 4th, the Leslies represented San Pedro on their boat ‘Arsenal’, competing against 12 other boats from different municipalities across Quintana Roo and Belize. With a passion for sport fishing and competion, the dynamic duo reeled in two prizes overall. They brought in the heaviest wahoo at 46.52 pounds, claiming first place. Second and third place went to Luis Contreras Castillo. The Leslies also took third place for the total accumulated pounds of wahoo. According to Captain Jody Leslie, the win was not without its challenges. “At first we were discouraged because our fishing was halted on Saturday. Our friend’s engine shut down and after attempting to find the problem, we spent three hours towing them back to Mahahual. Despite not being able to catch wahoo that day, no one beat the wahoo we caught the previous day. My dad and I never gave up, and I’m very happy about the win,” said Leslie.

Ambergris Today

Paddle Boarding with Man's Best Friend
Dogs dig, run and frolic on the beach, swim in the sea and chase cats up coconut trees, but who's to say that they cannot jump on a paddle board and have a great time on Ambergris Caye, Belize. Here is one happy dog enjoying a relaxing time while admiring the clear waters around it. Its owner doing all the hard work. It's a beautiful day in paradise, why not go out there and enjoy it as much as you can.

20th Anniversary of Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System as a World Heritage Site
In commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System as a World Heritage Site a special forum was held on December 6, 2016, to celebrate, discuss of its importance and what more needs to be done to for its protection. The forum took place in Belize City at the Belize Institute of Performing Arts. In December 1996, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (BBRRS) was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The BBRRS being the largest barrier reef complex in the Northern and Western Hemisphere, also represents the second largest barrier reef system in the world. The Belize Barrier Reef is home to many species of fish, coral and other marine life found nowhere else in the world.

Violence against Children Must Stop Now
The National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) joins the nation in mourning the tragic loss of another innocent Belizean child. It is truly a tragic outcome. Media reports about the questionable circumstances surrounding the tragic death of baby Janeeka Campbell leaves the NCFC with grave concerns and a number of questions. The death of any child is regrettable. Sadly, the recent results of the Belize Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2015 indicate that children below the age of five experience the most severe forms of violence against them. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that parents have all the support they need to raise happy and healthy children. Together, with its partners the NCFC continues to work on strengthening the support that Government and NGOs give to families. However, as citizens one needs to remember that “it takes a village to raise a child”.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Peace Corps looking for volunteers with Pedagogical skills: Literacy Intervention Specialist (Belize)
Do you have expertise early childhood literacy, literacy intervention strategies, designing educational materials, delivering effective teacher training for literacy? Are you interested in helping the Ministry of Education in Belize develop and implement its national literacy initiative? Peace Corps Response seeks 4 Literacy Intervention Specialists to volunteer in Belize for 7 months to further this initiative. Won't you consider sharing your skills, expertise and enthusiasm with us? APPLY TODAY! Be here in May.

Belize Social Investment Fund Continues to Empower Teachers, Students & Parents with Skills Training to Achieve Educational Excellence
Teachers, students and parents will receive Certificate of Completion at a ceremony scheduled for 1:00 pm at Chunox Saint Viator High School, Corozal District on Friday December 9, 2016. Teachers, students and parents were trained in multiple disciplines that are of critical significance in relation to capacity building under the Human Resource Development sector. Teachers are now equipped with Business Computer Applications coupled with enhanced educational leadership skills, and competencies, which will significantly contribute in making a positive educational impact in nurturing the development of students. Students were trained in Marketing designed to improve decision-making, productivity and efficiency. Parents received training in Computer Skills in the area of Basic Computer Skills.

FIU's money laundering workshop
Money Laundering/Terrorist Financing (ML/TF) National Risk Assessment (NRA) is a process of identifying and evaluating the money laundering and terrorist financing risks in a particular jurisdiction and analyzing the main sources and drivers of the risks in order to develop effective and risk-based policies and actions, and allocate the available resources in the most efficient way to eliminate, control and mitigate the identified risks.An increasing importance is being placed on the assessment of ML/TF risks by the FATF since national strategies, policy decisions and actions must correspond to the risks faced by each jurisdiction and this will lead to effective implementation of FATF Recommendations. Revised FATF Recommendations have a stronger emphasis on ML/TF risk assessment at country level and a risk based approach (RBA). However, assessing ML/TF risks is a challenging task due to multi-dimensions of these unique crimes and lack of data and information in many jurisdictions.

BAFFUprinted publication launch
When: Monday 12th December 2016 at 10:00am Where: Image Factory Art Foundation, Belize City, Belize. The Image Factory Art Foundation announces the public presentation of BAFFUprinted magazine. BAFFUprinted is an independent magazine published by The Image Factory Art Foundation in Belize. Since June 2014 a small team of five art activists have collaborated to produce nine electronic editions featuring the works of over 300 artists, writers and poets. This effort has accumulated over 900 pages of an unprecedented art record for the country Belize. The 1st printed publication is a careful compilation of the 9 electronic editions. BAFFUprinted publication is edited by Katie Usher, Kyraan Gabourel, Briheda Haylock, Rasheed Palacio and Yasser Musa The magazine is a 48 page,9 x 12 inches, full color document and is for sale at $20BZ.

Rapidito's Sassie Barge Schedule
Just reminding everyone that Rapidito's Sassie Barge is now doing daily runs! We will be in Belize City from 6:30am through 5pm to receive your cargo Monday through Friday and deliveries will be done the following day in CC. Please give us a call if you need more information @ 206-0083 or 671-8300. We look forward to serving you

La Isla Carinosa Academy visits Belmopan
LICA standard 6 students had an educational experience we will never forget. Belmopan, we visited the National Assembly building, took picture with Mr. Speaker, sat in the meeting, visited Belmopan market, and visited Our Lady of Guadalupe High School. It was a remarkable experience.

Senior Citizen Christmas Dinner Dance in San Pedro
Seniors! Please join the San Pedro Lions for this annual holiday celebration. Monday December 19th! We look forward to celebrating with our seniors!

Government of Belize and United Nations sign United Nations Multi-Country Sustainable Development Framework (UN MSDF)
Minister of Foreign Affairs Honorable Wilfred Elrington and the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Belize, Mr. Christian Salazar Volkmann, signed the United Nations Multi-country Sustainable Development Framework (UN MSDF) at a brief ceremony held in Belize City on the 7th of December 2016. The United Nations Multi-Country Sustainable Development Framework 2017 - 2021 is a strategic framework that represents the United Nations collective and coherent response to addressing the common development challenges of the English and Dutch Caribbean. It provides a common platform for development cooperation to Belize that is strongly rooted and linked to national priorities. By signing the UN MSDF, the Government of Belize and the United Nations System (UNS) in Belize reaffirmed their commitment to fully support the framework’s implementation process in efforts to realize the country’s long term development goals as expressed in Horizon 2030 and Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy.

Belizean Kevin "King Kosa" Raeburn helping Kevin Gates go platinum
For all the days I been home in Belize grinding when things got so hard and people told me doing music was a waste of time n I thought about giving up am jus glad I never did, I would of never live to see accomplishments only few ppl believed and understood my capabilities. Am not a Rapper Im an Artist, Songwriter, Engineer and Producer. when am not working on my Projects am still working hard. Glad to be apart of this album and others successful artist albums.

Uval Torres 50th Birthday Party - Orange Walk
Here are a few highlights we captured in Orange Walk for Mr. Torres's 50th Birthday Party.

Channel 7

Capital Cops Puzzling Over Baby Janeeka's Death
Last night, we took you to St. Matthew's Village in the Cayo district for an inside look at the life of 1 year-old toddler Janeeka Campbell. She's the baby who was found unresponsive at her home on Tuesday. A post-mortem confirmed that she didn't die of natural causes, but what did cause her death? Well, at this time, the investigators still have strong reasons to believe that neglect or abuse contributed to the tragedy. Today, Belmopan's Commander, Senior Superintendent, Howell Gillett told the media that the medical language used by the pathologist is unclear to police. He told us that the officers intend to seek clarifications from the medical examiner, and they intend to consult with both the Department Human Services, and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions: Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett, OC, Belmopan Police: "We have some medical terms that we're trying to work around because what I understand as I've read it is it's hemorrhaged due to head and chest trauma. This Monday we'll try to arrange a meeting with the pathologist to get some more detailed explanation in simpler terms as to what cause the death. Also what we want to verify is the fact that we want to find out if the injuries that were observed during the post mortem, are consistent to the statements that we have thus far which are saying that the child might have fell from the veranda unto the steps and otherwise.

Chopper By Her Stepson, Consuelo Lopez Showing Improvement
Yesterday we told you about Consuelo Lopez, who was brutally attacked by her stepson Linsdale Flowers. Around 10:00 that morning Flowers assaulted his stepmother with a machete at their home in Belize City. Lopez received serious injuries to her arms and head before police arrived and arrested Flowers. Doctors currently have Lopez in a medically induced coma in order to reduce the physical and mental trauma. We spoke to her daughter, Gloria Flores today, who told us that while her mother is still critical her future seems favorable... Gloria Flores, Daughter of Victim: "Right now she's in an unconscious state. They have her sedated, trying to get her relaxed so that no kind of swelling or internal bleeding starts to occur. She hasn't had any so far. So that's her stage, she's breathing on her own and she's fighting." Alex Courtenay, 7News: "So right now she's in a medically induced coma?" Gloria Flores, Daughter of Victim: "Yes she is."

Rt. Hon. Musa Makes A Motion For Hon. Julius
PUP Cayo South representative Julius Espat wasn't at the House of Representatives today. He stayed at his divisional office sitting out the first session of an indefinite suspension. Espat never showed up at the House as he said he would on Tuesday. He backed down off the hard talk yesterday when he said that he would simply be dressed and waiting for the call to "come on down" to the House Meeting. But that call never came, because the PUP's Senior Parliamentarian Said Musa's effort to introduce a "privilege motion" never got off the ground. Here's how Musa tried to float it, and how the Speaker Mike Peyrefitte swatted it down:... Rt. Hon. Said Musa, PUP Fort George: "The question, and this is important Mr. Speaker, a vital matter that goes to the heart of what happens in this house. Every decision, every resolution certainly a fundamental one like suspending a member, has in the final analysis to be voted on even though there's no debate, as the rules call for, there has to be a decision of the house. In other words, the question should have been put and the house should have voted without the debate as the rules say. That did not take place so it is our view respectfully, Mr. Speaker that the suspension of the member from the service of the house was therefore highly irregular and I'm saying the standing order was not followed."

Leader of The Opposition Speaks For Hon. Julius, Government Side Supports
And while that wasn't the only attempt to get the Honorable Espat back into the house. While Musa tried to slide it in with Parliamentary finesse, party leader John Briceno opened up the sitting with a shot from the heart. Here's how that went:... Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition: "I am appealing to you, to the acting and to the whip of the UDP, the honorable member from Mesopotamia - we've had some discussions in trying to find a way how to resolve this as quickly as possible." Hon. Micheal Finnegan, UDP Party Whip: "This matter was being dealt with by me and the senior member from Fort George division. But the whole matter came to a halt because they wanted to go beyond the house and the matter was taken to the Supreme Court. I believe that if the matter did not go there, this matter would have been resolved by now." Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez, UDP Port Loyola: "And for me, I want to make an appeal to this honorable house for to settle this thing as quickly as we could and Mr. Espat needs to understand that this is the national assembly and your behavior, I don't think like what the court decided, doesn't run the rules here."

UDP Party Whip Wants Hon. Espat Back In House
And one of the consistent voices of moderation on the government side has been UDP Party Whip Michael Finnegan. Now, in Parliamentary language, the whip is to ensure discipline in the legislature, but Finnegan has been conciliatory on this occasion. In an interview outside the House Chamber he told us why he wants Espat back in the House:... Hon. Michael Finnegan, UDP Party Whip: "I think we are parliamentarians elected by the people. I think we should show magnamity in all various ways and we must rise above the fray and how the whole situation happened back in August, man, in my view it was unkind to the house of representatives and I would never want to see another elected member of parliament taken out the house by the security forces of this country and even though you may disagree with the speaker, you have got to show respect for the chair." Jules Vasquez, 7News: "But ultimately you want to see Julius Espat in this house?" Hon. Michael Finnegan, UDP Party Whip: "Of course, because the people elected him."

At Last, Government Signs UNCAC
Belize is now the 184th country to sign on to the United Nations Convention against Corruption known as UNCAC. Acting Prime Minister Patrick Faber signed the treaty today in the presence the UN Resident Coordinator Christian Salazar Volkmann, Minister of State Dr. Carla Barnett, and members of the Belize Chamber of Commerce. Signing onto the UNCAC was one of the key demands that the teachers made to the Barrow Administration as part of their 11-day strike for good governance. The signing ceremony was planned for today, to coincide with the observance of the International Anti-Corruption Day. Prime Minister Dean Barrow, as the head of Government, was to have signed, but because of health issues in the US, he authorized Patrick Faber to do so in his place. Only the Government Press Office was invited to observe the event in Belmopan. Here's what Acting Prime Minister Faber told them about the significance of the signing:

Speednet Wins Major Judgment Over PUC, saving Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars
In 2011 Speednet, better known as, "Smart" sued the Public Utilities Commission. Speednet claimed that the PUC was overcharging them for the licensing of the 238 channels they use to provide phone calls, texts and data usage to their customers. The dispute is that the PUC was charging the telecommunications company almost $800,000 for the licensing of the channels when they should have actually been charged $1,400. So, why was there such a big difference in the charges? Well, according to Speednet's attorneys, the problem was with the usage of the word channel, which was defined ambiguously in the PUC's regulations. The PUC was billing Speednet for the usage of voice channels, while Speednet insisted that they should be charged for radio frequency channels, which are cheaper. Today the case, which has been appealed twice, came to a definitive close with the CCJ ruling in favor of Speednet. Via teleconference the Court issued a judgment saying when the regulation is unclear, their ruling should favour towards the person paying the fee over the governing body. Both parties broke the judgment down for us at court today...

San Pedro Supervisor Accused of Sick Crime
Tonight, 62 year-old Ernesto Caliz Sr., a Supervisor at the San Pedro Town Council, is out on Supreme Court bail after being remanded on a charge of sexual assault. He is being accused of fondling a 3 year-old child. Caliz was arrested and charged last week Saturday, after a complaint was made that he fondled the female toddler. He was arraigned on Tuesday in San Pedro, and the magistrate denied him bail. He was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until his next adjournment, on January 6th of next year. But, his attorney got a hearing before Justice Adolph Lucas today, who granted bail of $5,000.

Castro Urges Bus Standees Not To Pay Full Price
Transport Minister Edmond Castro was challenged about the new bus fares at today's house sitting. The question for the minister came from the Corozal Southeast Representative Florencio Marin. He asked about the fares in the north, which increased more than any other part of the country. Now, they are still paying 12 to 14 cents per mile just like everyone else. But, that increase seems more drastic because bus operators in that area passed up the last opportunity at a fare increase in 2010. So now there's a double increase - and, understandably, commuters are feeling the pinch. Castro said Marin's questions displayed a lack of empathy: Hon. Edmond Castro, Minister of Transport: "Because you are not concern about those poor people in the south that was paying 28 - 29 cents a mile. That's none of your concern for poor black people to be paying $11 to go 40 plus miles. When you know for sure travelling on a bus from Belize City to Belmopan which is 50 miles - you can't ask anyone to pay even $10. What I am saying is your concern is only about the people in the north. So I am telling you member from Corozal Southeast that in order for them to be moving people back and forth from Corozal, Orange Walk to Belize City at 7 cents a mile in 2010 and 2015 and now 2016 - at 7 cents a mile. You have to be running something else, something has to be happening - it's impossible."

Finnegan Still Has Cheer To Give
We also got a chance to ask Mesopotamia area representative Michael Finnegan about Christmas Cheer. Government is giving out very little of it this year: $8,000 thousand dollars each to UDP representatives, we are told. In areas like Belmopan and Cayo central that works out to less than one dollar per voter. But in the relatively small Mesopotamia division, Finnegan says he's going to share up those funds with his constituents. That's because his nephew Shyne Barrow is going to sponsor the toys for the kiddies party. Finnegan says he'll use the resources form his Housing Ministry to help with Christmas cleaning:...

Cordel Hyde Alleges Vega Family Land Scandal
And while Finnegan had fun with that one - it was no laughing matter in the House today when PUP Shadow Minister for Natural Resources Cordel Hyde exposed another Vega family land scandal. Hyde pointed to a usual scheme where 50 adjoining pieces of land were acquired by persons who immediately flipped them over to Vega family members. One of the "flippers" is Hilmar Alamilla - the same Vega henchman who flipped the controversial parcel of land along Haulover Creek to Andre Vega. Hyde gave the broad outlines of the Vega family land scheme:.. Hon. Cordel Hyde, PUP Shadow Minister of Natural Resources: "It was probably 4 years ago that the member from Orange Walk North and it's a pity he is not here today, told the world and country; he said "I am not a normal person in Belize" and we laughed. We took him likely, but these folks are very serious folks. I have in my possession Mr. Speaker, 50 land documents from inside the fabled land department. Land transactions that revealed a meticulously orchestrated move to get land from government, pass it on to ordinary people, who then flipped it to the former minister's family. In his capacity as minister he transferred based on these documents 55 parcels of land to 40 plus persons. The lands are all adjacent to each other and those persons in short order, in a few weeks, sometimes in a few months then flipped that land to 3 members of the former minister's family. I am allowed to do that?"

Make Like Mannequins In Belmopan
I'm sure you have heard or seen YouTube videos of the ALS ice bucket challenge. It might seem crazy pouring a bucket of freezing water over someone's else head...well the Mannequin challenge might seem even more bizarre. But that's the new thing right now in America and a team from the US Embassy staged their own today in Belmopan at the market as part of 16 Days of Activism. We were there to capture it this morning. H.E. Carlos Moreno, US Ambassador: "The objective here was really to highlight the 16 days Against gender based violence and we are trying to use creative ways to sort of highlight this stuff wearing orange and ribbons and the mannequin challenge is something that came up in the last 2 or 3 months in the US and I am kind of wondering how Belizeans will react to it but as you can see when we had the first 45 seconds of stop motion everybody was watching us and the signs promoting stopping violence , don't hit me and so forth , I think it is a good message if nothing else that people will take away from this is that this is an issue that people need to be aware of and we have chosen thins creative way to bring it to the fore."

Real Pine Means Real Christmas
During the holiday season most homes are decorated with an artificial Christmas tree. Those trees tend to last several Christmas-es, but for some, a plastic pine tree is like a slim Santa Klaus - it's just not right. Teophilla Brakeman is one of those people, and her family has a long standing tradition of providing real pine trees to those who want that pine comb flavor in their living room. We spoke to her a Constitution Park in Belize City where she is selling her trees... Brakeman was originally stationed at Battlefield Park, where he parents used to sell trees, but the City Council told her that he stock was too big for the park. City Council helped her to relocate and Brakeman insists that her stock of trees will not disappoint.

Kind Wins Rotary Raffle of Motorbike
The Rotary Club has several philanthropic initiatives, one of which is to completely eliminate the Polio virus. Today Polio is still present in three countries, so in order to raise funds to fight the virus, the Rotary Club of Belize held a raffle. The grand prize was a brand new motorcycle, which and the winner was the young Nate Chen. Nate and his family received the motorbike in a small ceremony today. We spoke to them and the current president of the Rotary Club of Belize and Sunrise, Victor Usher Jr. about the raffle and where the proceeds are going. While Nate is too young to fully enjoy the new motorcycle, the other members of his family say they will put it to good use.

Shower of Broken Bottle Glass on Street
This morning Central American Boulevard was blessed with showers…not of rain, but of Coca Cola and broken glass. A truck full with morning deliveries turned off Fabers Road onto the Boulevard when it's back door, which wasn't fastened properly, flew open. The momentum launched dozens of crates of Coke onto the street. A clean up crew quickly arrived on the scene and got to work clearing the debris from the middle of the street.

Castro Says Sorry For "Retarded" Comment
Turning back now to today's house meeting, the speaker gave a special provision for Belize Rural North Representative Edmond Castro to make a statement on the adjournment. And he didn't want to make a statement as much as he wanted apologize for saying that our Daniel Ortiz was acting quote, "retarded". Castro said he'll never use that word again:.. Hon. Edmond Castro, Minister of Transport "Raise the issue of a matter of what I have said sometime during the course of this week to a reporter Daniel Ortiz, reporting for channel 7. In that interview, Mr. Ortiz was asking me the same question over and over again maybe about half a dozen time and I said 'I am here to apologize' and I apologized to him the following day. I told him one or two good words about his journalism skills as well, but I said to him 'man, brother Ortiz, this is the reason why you always get yourself in problem. Stop asking me the same thing over and over again as if though you are using-', I'm ashamed to say it but if I use the 'r' word they might think I'm saying another word. I said 'stop asking me the same thing as though you are retarded'."

Briceno Alleges Voter/Immigration Fraud To Steal Election
And while Castro apologized in his adjournment remarks, John Briceno used his address on the adjournment to blast the government for what he characterizes as election fraud. The Leader of the Opposition says that he last night received a list of two thousand new citizens who were naturalized just in time for the 2012 election:... Hon. John Briceno, PUP Leader: "I was given 64 pages of names of people who got their nationality between October 2011 to February 2012. Over 2,000 nationalities were issued just before the election. Here we have the names Mr. Speaker and I can give you a copy so you all can see. Over 2,000 just before the election." "When we did an analysis 822 Guatemalans got their nationalities; 366 from El Salvador; 330 from Honduras; 62 Chinese and then we have from all over the place. We have from Bangladesh, Spain, Ukraine, Ghana, Pakistan, Vietnam, Brazil, Romania - from all over the place these people got their nationalities. There was no proper vetting and no proper process was followed. In 2012, in that last election the UDP got 62,641 votes."

New Treasury Bill Ceiling Raises Opposition Eyebrows
And while those were the hot button political issues of the day, one of the main bills that generated strong debate was the Treasure Amendment Bill - which will allow the government to issue up to 1.3 billion dollars in treasury bills. That figure has been going up all this year, and Briceno called it an addiction to borrowing:...

Sarstoon, The New Norm
And finally from today's House Sitting - we continue with Defence Minister John Saldivar. Early on in the meeting he was asked what is the status of Belize's sovereignty on the Sarstoon River. He gave a synopsis of what we take to be the new normal: that regular Belizeans should expect a Guatemalan patrol shadowing them upriver:...

Re: Today's Belize News: December 10, 2016 [Re: Marty] #519650
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Channel 5

Another Vega Land Scandal; Massive Swap of Farmland in Carmelita
The final session of the House of Representatives for 2016 kicked off this morning in Belmopan. Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber took the reins for the first time with the [...]

2012 Elections Stolen? 2,000 New “Citizens” May Have Swung It, Say Leaked Papers
Were 2012’s general elections stolen? The United Democratic Party prevailed by the slimmest of margins, winning sixteen seats to fifteen for the People’s United Party. In several constituencies, the vote [...]

Speaker is the Grinch; Julius Espat Kept Out of House for Christmas
Cayo South Area Representative Julius Espat will be kept away from the precincts of the National Assembly in Belmopan for the foreseeable future. Today, he faced a warrant for his [...]

Defiant Espat Vows to Resist as Colleagues Try Intercession
While the first attempt at returning Julius Espat to his seat in the House was unsuccessful, Espat’s fellow parliamentarians seemed to miss him somewhat, as the House was largely well-behaved [...]

UNCAC Signed; Acting P.M. Pays Tribute
United Nations Convention against Corruption was signed today inside the cabinet room in Belmopan to coincide with Anti-Corruption International Day. The acting Prime Minister Patrick Faber penned the document which [...]

Belize Not Looking Good for Superbond Deal But It’s Not Over
Prime Minister Dean Barrow returns home this weekend following meetings with bondholders in New York to negotiate a third restructuring of the Superbond.  Reports of Belize’s gloomy economic outlook have [...]

CCJ Hands Final Victory to Speednet in Battle with P.U.C.
A decision was handed down today by the Caribbean Court of Justice that has a significant impact on the telecommunications landscape. The Public Utilities Commission suffered a major blow when [...]

Speednet Saves Big with Court Victory
According to Chief Executive Officer Ernesto Torres, the company stood to lose as much as five million dollars had the CCJ upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal.  As [...]

P.U.C. Considers Amendments to Regulations
While the decision has cleared Speednet from having to pay such exorbitant fees, attorney Fred Lumor, who represents the PUC, says that other telecoms providers, including B.T.L., will benefit from [...]

Police Need Medical Clarity on Baby Janeeka’s Death
The death of two year old Janeeka Campbell continues to baffle police. The toddler died on Tuesday night, but the motive for her death is still under review between police [...]

Department of Human Services To Look at Possible Child Neglect
Initially, the mother was detained for questioning and the police were looking for the father, who was brought in to the Belmopan police custody on Thursday. Statements were recorded from [...]

G.S.U. Charged with Manhandling San Ignacio Couple
A couple from San Ignacio is alleging police brutality at the hands of a former GSU officer.  Shawn Gardener and her common-law husband are accusing the policeman of roughing them [...]

Transport Minister Explains New System for Bus Fares
It has been over a month since Belizean commuters have seen bus fares go up in most of the country. They have complained that there is no justification, since fuel [...]

Belize’s Rebecca Rath On the Road to Miss Universe
The road to the Miss Universe Pageant to be held in the Philippines started in September for Rebecca Rath. Known as Bex, the twenty-three-year-old beauty from Dangriga, has been preparing [...]


Belize Signs UN Convention against Corruption
Today is International Anti Corruption Day and Acting Prime Minister Patrick Faber signed the treaty making Belize a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The announcement that Belize would be signing on to the UNCAC came in October this year after pressure from the social partners, particularly the Belize National Teachers Union. In […]

Police Updates Media on Baby’s Death in Belmopan
On Tuesday evening, 23 month old baby Janeeka Campbell was rushed to the Western Regional Hospital from Saint Matthew’s Village after she apparently stopped breathing. Before doctors could attend to her, she was pronounced dead on arrival. Police got involved and bruises were observed on Janeeka’s upper body. That led Belmopan Police to suspect foul […]

NCFC Expresses Concern Over Recent Deaths of Children
Yesterday, the National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) joined the nation in mourning the tragic death of baby Janeeka. Chair of the NCFC, Pearl Stuart, told Love News that the committee is seriously concerned about the levels of violence that children in Belize are experiencing. The NCFC is calling on the public to collectively […]

Accused Sexual Molestor Gets Bail After Charged for Assaulting Toddler
Sixty-two year old Ernesto Caliz Sr, a supervisor at San Pedro Town Council charged with sexual assault on a three year old girl, was offered a bail of five thousand dollars today by Justice Adolph Lucas after his bail application was heard. The bail was offered on the condition that Caliz is to appear before […]

Flitches of Rosewood Found Illegally Harvested
More than thirty thousand feet of illegally harvested Rosewood in flitch form was confiscated by the Forest Department on Wednesday. The pile of rosewood was found at a wood works factory in Benque Viejo Town and forest officers reported that there was no official marking and documentation for the wood. As a result, the rosewood […]

Amendment to Treasury Bills Debated in House Sitting
Elected Government officials met at the National Assembly today for a Sitting of the House of Representatives in Belmopan. Today’s Sitting marks the first such meeting that Prime Minister Dean Barrow has been unable to attend thus leaving the Deputy Prime Minister, Patrick Faber to represent him. The meeting was called to order just after ten […]

Musa Makes Special Appeal for Julius Espat
After being suspended from the House of Representatives on August 26, 2016 former Prime Minister, Said Musa presented what was termed a privileged motion aimed at having Espat reinstated to the House. The motion ended up in an exchange between Musa and the Speaker of the House, Michael Peyrefitte. JULIUS AT HOUSE IN OUT We […]

Documents Reveal an Abundance of Land for German Vega Imports
Time and time again the Lands Department has been referred to as a hot bed of corruption and today more revelations came to light. Area Representative Cordel Hyde spoke at length on the suspicious activity where several family members are acquiring large parcels of land and immediately selling them to specific individuals including German Vega […]

Opposition Questions About Utilities, Transport and Sports
Item number eight on the agenda for today’s Sitting of the House of Representatives entailed questions from the Ministers. In this segment the elected Parliamentarians presented questions on various matters ranging from health to lands and public utilities. Area Representative for the Lake Independence division addressed the issue of lack of electricity in some rural […]

Figueroa for Deputy House Speaker
In light of the promotion of Minister Edmund Castro to a substantive minister, the post of Deputy Speaker of the House had become vacant. Today, during the Sitting of the House of Representatives the elected official for Cayo North, Omar Figueroa was nominated by the Deputy Prime Minister, Patrick Faber and seconded by Minister Frank […]


Two men walk from 2011 Independence Day murder of boy, 9
On September 21, 2011, gunfire rang out shortly after the Independence Day parade had passed the junction of Victoria and North Front Streets, and as a result of that shooting, Joshua Abraham, a nine-year-old standard 2 student of Holy Redeemer Primary School, died from a gunshot wound. The murder sent shock waves throughout the city, marring the festive spirit of the 30th Independence anniversary. Police hastily arrested two suspects who were eventually indicted for the early afternoon murder – which was witnessed by several persons, three of whom gave police witness statements. The statements are what the Crown would rely on to secure a conviction. That, however, is a purely theoretical construct of how the criminal justice system is designed to function in its role of protecting society from its law-breaking members.

Did domestic abuse lead to husband’s murder?
Speculations are that a Corozal man was awakened from his slumber by a chop in his forehead, and when he tried to shield his face, he was chopped multiple times on his hands and back. Even with those machete-inflicted wounds, however, Armando Pelayo, Jr., 36, refused to die, and was thereafter shot in the back at close range with a 9mm gun. Corozal police have not yet confirmed that the victim was chopped first and then shot, but they did confirm that he had been shot and chopped. According to Corozal police, the incident occurred sometime around 2 a.m. today, Thursday, when the victim was home alone with his 20-year-old common-law wife in their G-Street home in Corozal Town.

Economy “imperiled,” GOB tells bondholders
In a press release issued on Tuesday, December 6, the Government of Belize invited holders of its 2038 bonds to weigh in, on new proposed terms “in order to put the Bonds on a sustainable footing.” The release came as an official delegation headed by Prime Minister Dean Barrow was in New York, trying to advance negotiations to ease debt payments due to spike in 2017, as the Government tries to stave off a possible default on next February’s payment of US$13.5 million. “Obviously, the acceptability of any particular approach to holders will depend on the precise financial terms of the amendments. That said, the views of holders on the structure of the amendments would be useful at this stage,” the Government said in a release published on the website of the Central Bank of Belize.

Big rosewood bust in Benque
Rosewood is still being plundered in Belize, despite a recent action to impose higher trade restrictions under the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Today, the Forest Department reported that it had made a major bust in Benque Viejo del Carmen Town, where it crow-footed 30,000 board feet of unmarked rosewood, apparently destined for export. Dr. Colin Young, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development, told us that information provided to him indicates that currently, rosewood flitches fetch between US$10 and US$14 a board-foot, with the higher price being paid for value-added products. The bust was made yesterday, Wednesday, December 7, when officers of the Forest Department conducted a site inspection at a woodworks factory in Benque, according to an official release. It said that officers found over 30,000 board feet of illegally harvested rosewood in flitch form.

19-year-old chops stepmother and neighbor
A woman and her neighbor were both chopped by her stepson at her home on Louise Bevans Street in the Port Loyola area this morning. The stepmother, Consuelo Pop, 52, was chopped in the forehead, her shoulder and her hand, while her neighbor, D’Angelo Figueroa, 23, was chopped in the upper back. Pop and Figueroa were rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH). She was declared to be in a critical condition, and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, where she is fighting for her life. Figueroa was admitted to ward in a serious condition. Dinsdale Flowers, 19, who lives with Pop, was arrested on the scene and is expected to be charged with 2 counts of attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, and grievous dangerous harm, among other charges that will be brought against him.

Candelaria Saldivar retired — paid over $100,000 for doing nothing
Amandala has confirmed from official sources that Candelaria Saldivar, 47, former Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry responsible for Immigration, was last week sent a letter notifying her that she is being placed on early retirement, following a decision by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, under whose portfolio the Ministry of the Public Service falls. We understand that Saldivar, the sister of Defence Minister John Saldivar, is being put on early retirement under the Pensions Act; the reason cited to us is the rearrangement of the Immigration portfolio to achieve efficiency, although our source conceded, when we mentioned it, that Saldivar was not put on administrative leave as the result of the reshuffling of portfolios. As Amandala readers will recall, it was reported that a high-ranking government official had complained about Saldivar’s “management style,” and her then boss, Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse, had said that Saldivar was moved to preserve harmony.

10 & Under reg. season ends on Saturday at Yabra Field
he 10 & Under Grassroots Football Competition, hosted by Yabra/City Boys, held its fourth week of games this past Saturday, December 3, at the Yabra Field, where all 5 teams in the competition saw action. (There were originally 6 teams in the tournament, but 1 had to drop out due to over-age players.) In the opener on Saturday, City Boys won, 1-0, over Carlston FC, on a goal by Michael Martinez. Game 2 saw Ladyville Rising Stars with the 2-0 win over Face of Belize, with a goal each from Zakir Ramclam and Daejon Jones. And in a back match, Carlston FC dropped Reality Youths, 3-0, with 2 goals from Ali Ryan Flores, Jr. and 1 from Akeem Flowers.

BDF and Police, an old rivalry
It’s an old rivalry that goes way, way back. The Police team, under Sergeant Duncan, was the first to take part in the Belize City football competition back in the early 1970’s. When the Paramilitary, and then the BDF, came on stream a few years later, it was natural, as a part of building moral in the soldiers, for Captain Charles Good to lead his men into competition on the MCC. The BDF was the first to achieve success in the Belize City competition, at one time in the early 1980s representing the City in the National Competition. Recruiting from across the country, the BDF squad was consistently one of the fittest teams in the then amateur tournaments, and always a step ahead of their Police brothers in the standings. And later in the semipro league (which began in 1991), it was BDF that first claimed a championship; actually, they three-peat between 2009-2011. Meanwhile, Police had not even entered the semipro league yet.

CYDP Peace Cup quarterfinals end Saturday; Survivors through to semifinals
The Conscious Youth Development Program (CYDP) Peace Cup 2016 football tournament is in the middle of its quarterfinal playoffs. Two teams had already played game 1 in their best-of-2 games quarterfinal series, where Survivors defeated Ebony Lake, 4-1. In games played this past Saturday at the MCC Grounds, Survivors and Ebony Lake played game 2, the final leg of their quarterfinal series; while 6 other teams paired off in their quarterfinal game 1. In the quarterfinal opener on Saturday, Kelly Street FC and Ladyville FC drew, 1-1. Kadeem Myers netted for Kelly Street, while Kevin Young scored for Ladyville. Next, it was Yabra/City Boys FC with the 2-1 win over Tut Bay FC. Yabra goals were by Dalton Cayetano and Kzron Patnett, while Carlos Lino got the goal for Tut Bay. The third game of the day saw Coast Guard over Hattieville United, 3-1, with goals from Duran Addier, Steven Martinez and Orvin Wade; while Marcus Lewis scored for Hattieville United.

The Bandits are coming to town; old Belize City vs new capital
The odds are clearly in favor of standings leader and defending Premier League of Belize (PLB) champions, Belmopan Bandits SC, presently sporting 8 players on the National “A” Team of Belize. But the ‘ballers from Belize City are not intimidated. After a turbulent mid-season slide, including a forfeited home game to the Bandits, and back to back losses to Police United and BDF, former two-time champions (2006 and 2007) FC Belize pulled out a big win last Sunday at the MCC against Freedom Fighters of Toledo, which catapulted them into 4th seed in the PLB playoffs, and a clash with #1 seed Belmopan Bandits SC. In their only meeting on the field this regular season, in Week 1, they held the Bandits to a 0-0 draw on their home turf at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium.

Editorial: Freedom and foolishness
To the best of our recollection, it was in 1987 that the first official case of AIDS was recorded in Belize. Since that time, thousands and thousands of our citizens have died of this dreaded disease, most of them in the prime of their lives. AIDS has indeed been a terrible scourge in The Jewel, and the family members of victims are often so traumatized that they very seldom admit the true cause of death. They will say “pneumonia,” or “respiratory failure,” or even “diabetes.” This type of deception even takes place in the mighty United States of America, where the newspaper obituaries for younger deceased often do not specifically mention cause of death, or refer to the said pneumonia or respiratory failure. When AIDS first entered communist Cuba, Fidel Castro, as brilliant and as forceful as he was, immediately understood the very grave danger this new disease posed to his island population and to the delicate Cuba economy. He employed draconian measures against AIDS, including the frightening quarantine. Compared to Belize, Cuba won its fight against AIDS, while maintaining a liberal sexual lifestyle.

From the Publisher
When I was a child, my mother told me, on more than one occasion for sure, that my great great grandmother, the one Elizabeth “Betsy” Kingston, of Sittee River, had been a “coal black woman.” In British Honduras in the 1950s when I was growing up and attending primary school, it seemed to me that, at least in the capital city, it was basically “Creoles” and “Spanish.” There were also “coolies”, which is how we referred to East Indians. I can’t recall meeting any “Caribs” at Holy Redeemer Boys School, but they must have been there. I did meet older Caribs at a hostel in the Holy Redeemer School backyard in the northern section. These included Harry Servio, Greg Arana, and Callistus Cayetano. They were attending St. John’s College, and when I began SJC I met more Caribs.

Editor Amandala: Sir, Ten years ago, when it was clearer than ever that it would be impossible to end the Guatemalan territorial claim by negotiation, the Belize Government and Opposition did everything possible to pressure Guatemala to agree to submit the case to the International Court of Justice. After much effort, and with a little help from our friends, we succeeded in that objective, although it was not until 2008 that they agreed to sign the Special Agreement to send the case to the ICJ based purely on international law. Still they found excuses to not hold the required referendum on the agreed date in 2013, but now they have taken the measures to allow their government to call the referendum.

Africans always say they owe an unpayable debt to Cuba. But Fidel said the reverse: Cuba owes a huge debt to Africa, for the African men and women who were brought here as slaves and whose descendants helped to build our nation and gave their lives for independence and for the Revolution. The biggest and most important Cuban liberation operation in Africa was called CARLOTA, after an African slave woman who gave her life in the first slave uprising in Cuba. The first Cuban combatants in the long struggle for freedom and independence in Africa was a group of some one hundred men led by Che Guevara in the Congo, in 1965. Since 1961, barely two years after the triumph of the Revolution, Cuba had collaborated with half a dozen African liberation struggles, and in 1962 Cuba sent a shipload of guns—US weapons captured from the Bay of Pigs invasion—to Algeria, and the ship brought back dozens of wounded guerrillas and orphaned children. In 1963, over 50 health workers went to Algeria, the start of an unprecedented program that continues to this day, with tens of thousands of doctors having provided free lifesaving services to Africans.

Illusive dreams… and lessons
In a page 51 article in our issue for Sunday, December 4, titled “Illusive dreams; commitment to excellence, or resignation to failure,” we made reference, in the page 53 completion of the article, to our Jamaican counterparts playing a number of international friendlies as part of their preparation. (Unfortunately, due to a mix-up, the story was not printed.) We applaud the FFB’s efforts (as evidenced in their release in our last mid-week issue) to secure international educational opportunities for our U-17 players. But we insist that, without the requisite international friendlies, our teams will always be under-prepared for the competition in regional tournaments. While there may be individual opportunities abroad for some of our talented youth, a continued reluctance or inability to realize international friendlies for our national teams cannot be equated with a commitment to excellence. Our Caribbean counterparts can do it, in Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Cuba and Haiti, for example. Why can’t we?

100 Guatemalans gold panning in Chiquibul
Two Guatemalans were recently detained while panning for gold in the Ceibo Grande Creek area, located in southern Chiquibul National Park, 9 kilometers away from Belize’s western border with Guatemala; but reports from Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) indicate that the total number of Guatemalans panning for gold inside Belize is now at an estimated 100, after what appeared to have been a cooling off period. FCD’s Executive Director, Rafael Manzanero, told Amandala that in addition to the apparent uptick in illegal gold panning, chainsaws were recently heard on at least two occasions at the adjacent protected area, the Caracol Archaeological Reserve—which was the first evidence of illegal logging in the area since the murder of Special Constable Danny Conorquie by Guatemalan loggers in September 2014. No one was arrested in those illegal logging incidents.

The Reporter

World Bank and FIU to hold money laundering workshop
The World Bank is preparing to hold a three-day workshop with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), on Money Laundering/Terrorist Financing (ML/TF) National Risk Assessment (NRA). Through the workshops to be held from December 13-15, the World Bank will set up working groups and give training […]

Belize signs on to UNCAC
Following through with the Prime Minister’s promise in October, the Government of Belize, today signed on to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Deputy Prime Minister signed the Convention this morning, making Belize the 184th country to sign on to the Convention. Faber signed […]

Cost of living up in October, says SIB
Belizeans had to pay an average of 70 cents more for goods and services during the month of October, according to the latest data released by the Statistical Institute of Belize. The SIB released its Consumer Price Index on Wednesday, which showed an average over all increase […]

Julius Espat loses case against House Speaker
People’s United Party’s (PUP) Cayo South Representative, Julius Espat, this week lost his case against Speaker of the House of Representatives, Michael Peyrefitte. Espat, who has been on suspension from the House since the Speaker ordered the police to remove him on August 26th, has […]

Christmas cheer scarce, but not absent
The bounty of Christmas cheer that Belizeans are accustomed to since the United Democratic Party (UDP) took over government in 2008 has dwindled over the years, and the economic hardships have made spreading yuletide greetings from Government difficult. The ham and turkey hampers being distributed […]

Gas leak responsible for fire at Chateau Caribbean
The Belize Fire Service (BFS) explained this week that a leak in a butane line caused the fire that destroyed the historic Chateau Caribbean Hotel. Station Manager for the BFS, Orin Smith, explained that the gas line which was connected to the main stove, was […]

New Taiwan Ambassador says Taiwan will explore energy-saving/climate change-related projects with Belize
The new Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Belize, H.E., Charles Liu, says his country hopes to explore more energy-saving and climate-change-related areas with Belize in the future, in light of climate trends. This follows the diplomat’s donation, last month, of scores of […]

Nestor Vasquez defends role on Integrity Commission
Senator Eamon Courtenay is calling for the removal of Nestor Vasquez from the role of Chartered Accountant serving on the Integrity Commission, saying that Vasquez lied to the Senate. But this week Vasquez refuted Courtenay’s claim. On Monday, Courtenay wrote to the Leader of Government […]

Belize prepares to accede to UNCAC: PM will be absent
Prime Minister Dean Barrow will not be in the country when Belize signs on to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) on Friday December 9. The Government’s Press Office announced earlier this week that Barrow will not return to Belize until Sunday December 11, […]

Belize Barrier Reef celebrates 20 years as World Heritage Site
“Outstanding!” is the word the UNESCO World Heritage Site Committee used to describe the Belize Barrier Reef System when it accorded the reef World Heritage Site status in December 1996. The Belize Barrier Reef was born to stand out, so why should we waste efforts […]

Teen chops up step mother, but why?
A south side Belize City woman is fighting for her life at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), after her step-son violently attacked her with two machetes on Thursday morning. The KHMH listed 54-year-old Consuela Pop as critical on Thursday after her stepson, 19-year-old, Dindsdale Flowers chopped […]

Man murdered on busy city street in broad daylight
Emmerson Skeyers, 26, had just walked from his house through Taylor’s Alley to a Chinese-owned shop at the usually busy corner at Cemetery Road and West Street at around 1:30 Sunday afternoon when someone shot him dead. Police say the gunman sat in a white […]

Drunken man passes out, has throat cut
A man was butchered by his friend last Saturday while he slept on a bench under a bus stop in San Roman Village, Stann Creek District. According to police reports, around midnight 30-year-old Gabino Choc was in the company of a friend, taking a couple drinks […]

Mentally challenge man manually strangled in Teakettle Village
A 19-year-old mentally challenged handy man was strangled to death last Saturday morning and his body thrown behind a warehouse in the Arizona area of Teakettle Village. According to reports, on Saturday December 3, Belmopan police were called out to the scene where officers found Abner […]

Now that the Supreme Court has decided not to entertain a motion of censure against the Speaker of the House for his suspension of the Member for Cayo South, Mr. Julius Espat, it is time to put an end to this stand-off. Mr. Espat was expelled and physically removed from […]

Parents investigated in baby’s death
Belmopan police are investigating the disturbing death of one-year, eleven-month-old, Janeeka Campbell, whose bruised body suggests she may have been beaten to death. The mother, a resident of St. Matthew’s Village, is in police custody while investigations continue. A post-mortem completed late Thursday confirmed that […]

Two men walk from 2011 murder charge
When seven-year-old Joshua Abraham was shot and killed on Independence Day, 2011, there was an angry wave of outrage and resentment that one so young should become the victim of gangland violence. But this week in the Supreme Court the two men accused of causing […]

Armed Gunman caught at court
Security around the Magistrate Court complex sprang into high alert Thursday morning after a 19-year-old youth, John Charles Orosco, was caught with a loaded .38 calibre Special pistol in the waistband of his pants. Orosco was hanging around the courthouse, but there was something about […]

Re: Today's Belize News: December 10, 2016 [Re: Marty] #519651
12/10/16 01:30 AM
12/10/16 01:30 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 79,924
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

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Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Newsletter to change Belize launched
The Belize Progressive Party (BPP) in its latest attempt to educate Belizeans on matters of national interest and to effect change in our system of governance launched the Progressive newsletter a few days ago. Volume 1, Issue 1 of this monthly newsletter focused on […]

“No protocol”, Saldivar says
According to the Minister of Defense, John Saldivar , the Belize Defense Force (BDF) officers continue to access the Sarstoon island freely and there is no protocol in place for Belizeans to traverse the disputed area. Saldivar stated that Belizean civilians can visit the […]

House Speaker says Julius must apologize; Julius says NO
At today’s Sitting of the House, Speaker Michael Peyreffitee said that Julius Espat must apologize to the House. PUP Fort George Area Representative Said Musa asked that Espat be reinstated to the House today. Musa said that four months have passed since he was […]

More land scandals involving Vega
PUP’s shadow minister for the Ministry of Natural Resources, Cordel Hyde revealed at today’s House Sitting, that he has land documents from transactions involving three relatives of former Deputy prime minister of Belize, Gaspar Vega. According to Hyde, the revelation involves a 1600 acre […]

Castro apologizes for R word
At today’s Sitting of the House, NEMO Minister Edmund Castro apologized to 7 News reporter, Daniel Ortiz after calling him “retarded” during an interview last week. Castro was asked about questionable business transactions now affecting the sugar industry, and in an attempt to deflect […]

Disgraced Former Deputy PM misses house meeting
At today’s Sitting of the House, former Deputy Prime Minister of Belize Gaspar Vega was notably absent. This is one of a couple notable absences in recent times since Vega resigned as UDP’s Deputy Party Leader and the land scandal involving his son surfaced […]

“Krismus Eena di Paak” starts December 15
A new holiday event entitled “Krismus enna di paak” is a three-day party in downtown Belize city. It all takes place at the Battle field park starting on Thursday, December 25 and goes through to Sunday, December 18 from midday to 10 p.m. The […]

Workshop held on money laundering risks
A national money laundering risk assessment training workshop will be held from December 13- 15 in Belize. Money Laundering/Terrorist Financing (ML/TF) National Risk Assessment (NRA) is a process of identifying and evaluating the money laundering and terrorist financing risks in a particular jurisdiction and […]

Questions remain in baby Janeeka’s death
The cause of 1-year, eleven-month-old baby Janeeka Campbell’s death remains unclear after the completion of a post-mortem examination on Thursday. Campbell, as it has been widely reported, was found unresponsive on Tuesday with multiple bruises over her body. The mother has been detained and police have […]

Belize SIF trains Education stakeholders in Corozal
Today at 1:00 p.m., teachers, students and parents will receive Certificates of Completion at a ceremony at Chunox Saint Viator High School, Corozal District . Teachers are now equipped with Business Computer Applications skills coupled with enhanced educational leadership skills, and competencies, which will […]

Wildlife Conservation Day 2016
Sunday December 4 was observed as Wildlife Conservation Day and Oceana celebrated those fishermen who make a conscious effort to protect marine wildlife by choosing sustainable gear over destructive gear such as gillnets. The handing over of a gillnet to Oceana by the fishermen […]

Belizean activists banned from entering House of Representatives
A group of Belizean activists were banned from entering the National Assembly building this morning. Henry Gillett, Paul Ferguson, Raymond Rivers and Giovanni Bracket are among the activists that were not allowed to enter the House of Representatives. The ban was put in place […]

Belize becomes the 184th country to sign UN convention against corruption
Belize has officially signed the United Nation’s Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). The signing took place this morning at the Cabinet Room in Belmopan and was witnessed by members of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Minister of State in the Ministry […]

Fair weather to prevail
The 24 hour forecast is for sunny skies and partly cloudy skies today and tonight. A few showers and isolated thunderstorms are expected mainly over the South and coastal areas. The wind will blow from the east to northeast at 10 to 20 knots and the sea state […]


Christmas Displays on Ambergris Caye & An Afternoon In Town
Yesterday I headed to San Pedro to document some of the tropical Christmas displays around town. There have been some great ones in previous years that I wanted to seek out but didn’t find… At Giovanni’s Chetumal boat terminal last Christmas The fun Belikin tree at Market Basket at Grand Caribe. And then the one WAY up north at gorgeous Tranquility Bay Resort – 14 miles north. I certainly wasn’t going to make it up there! And I didn’t make it across to Caye Caulker to see if this tree has gone up. While many Christmas ornaments and displays in Belize involve LOTS OF GLITTER, this simple displays are just beautiful. But don’t get me wrong…when I go into Belize Bank and join the line? I LOVE the glitter explosion. Here’s what I saw this week… Our town tree.

Wild Mango’s chef-owner is back in Victoria House kitchen
Why is Amy Knox of the popular San Pedro restaurant Wild Mango’s walking around in a Victoria House T-shirt you ask? It is more than sentimentality. Amy first made her mark on Ambergris Caye as chef at Victoria House with a celebrated cuisine that drew fans to what then seemed like the southern extreme of civilization. And like any inventive chef she eventually struck out on her own with the downtown San Pedro bistro, Wild Mango’s. Her celebrated success followed her, as did her penchant for combining surprising and satisfying flavors into substantial salads and burritos. Today, Wild Mangos is well established among the most popular restaurants in San Pedro and Amy Knox is headed back to where it all began. Janet Woollam, managing director at Victoria House, acknowledged that Amy is back in the kitchen — as a part-time consulting chef.

From jungles to beaches: Ring in the New Year in Belize!
As the New Year approaches, we tend to start debating as to where we will be when the clock hits twelve on December 31st. Home with family? A party with friends? A romantic dinner with that special someone? Those are the most common options, but if you find yourself visiting Belize during this holiday, we have some very unique places where you can ring in the New Year. Let’s face it, the typical ‘party until the sun rises’ for the New Year is not for everyone. Some people just want to relax in a comfortable setting with friends or family and enjoy a casual celebration. If this is the time you’re motivated and ready for a fresh start, choose wisely where to ring in the 2017! Happy New Year to you, and may your 2017 be filled with adventures and memories in My Beautiful Belize!

Belize Snorkeling: An In Depth Guide
The Caribbean sea boasts some of the clearest waters with the most diverse and colorful sea life. But all this beauty is lost upon us if we cannot witness it. Luckily, Belize snorkeling is one of the most enjoyable activities to be had in our warm waters. PADI operates skin diving and snorkeling certifications where you learn all the ins and outs of snorkeling and skin diving to make you an absolute pro. Luckily, unlike scuba diving, there’s no need for a certification to be able to just dive right in! Awesome Snorkel & Dive Tour operators Many beach resorts offer snorkeling from their concierge desk, chances are if you’re already staying at one such resort to embark on the tours directly from them. If your hotel/resort doesn’t offer snorkeling, however, you could try one of these cool spots:

I was so goddamn excited to finally step foot in Central America that I was convinced I’d fall in love with Belize. Everyone I’d spoken to about Belize had named it their favourite country in the region. The beaches looked gorgeous, the ruins looked secluded, and even the jungles looked inviting. I couldn’t wait to get there. Another lesson I’ve learned from travel is that things rarely go to plan. It was on the bus to Belize when I received news that the book I’d been pretending to write for several months had attracted the attention of a publisher. Suddenly, my plans for the country seemed daunting and ambitious. How was I going to properly see all that Belize had to offer if I now had to knuckle down and try to score a book deal? I filed the email away in the back of my mind for several days and pretended everything was still normal. I spent my time in San Ignacio exploring Xunantunich and Cahal Pech, then travelled into Guatemala to watch the sun rise over Tikal. At this point, I had a 50,000-word stream of consciousness manuscript on my laptop that I wouldn’t even show to Dave, let alone a big time New York City literary agent.

You Better Belize It: Best Things To Do In Belize
For my 25th birthday, my boyfriend secretly planned a trip to beautiful Belize. Best present ever. Before the vacation, I hadn’t really heard much about the country. Now, it’s on the top of my favorite destinations list due to its natural beauty, adventurous activities, and laid back island vibe (bonus: English is the main language so navigating the country is relatively easy). I highly encourage all Travel Belles to put Belize on the top of their bucket list. When you visit, be sure to complete the following activities for an unbelizeable experience! While the mainland is beautiful, the network of Caribbean islands off the coast of Belize offer gorgeous beaches, island culture, and access to the reef. My home base was Ambergris Caye, which is definitely worth checking out. The island’s main town of San Pedro has amazing restaurants. Front Street is more touristy but has excellent seafood, while Back Street has local Belizean cuisine for a steal. The best beach, with pure white sand and shady palms, is in front of Ramon’s Village Resort. When you get hot from soaking up the sun, walk down to Palapa Bar where you can float in a tube in the ocean and have buckets of beer lowered down to you from the dock. Seaside service, anyone?

Next Stop, Belize
In early February 1976 the call came and we were to deploy to Belize as trouble was brewing from the next door neighbor Guatemala! Our job on this tour would be to give support to the Harrier Jump Jets and build safe hides for them on the sides of the main runway at Belize City Airport! When we flew out from UK we used an RAF VC 10 Jet, it was a very comfortable flight but a bit unusual as the seats all faced backwards! We stopped in Newfoundland for fuel and a meal then on to the Bahamas then onto Belize. It was a long flight but we were comfortable unlike the C130’s which most troops flew out in! Upon landing we had to go through customs an Immigration then we went out to the transport but were greeted by loads of lovely ladies of every shade and color that you can think of! This gave us the idea that this tour could be fun! We went to the Airport Camp and were allocated and our Accommodation was the Half round Nissan Huts which are usually storage buildings but they were OK and had about 30 beds in each of them and ceiling fans, pure luxury! The Cook House was good and the Naafi (Naval Army Air Forces Institute) Bar OK Also!

The State of Belize- A Design To Fail by
Belize is a small country, with a relatively small population and comparatively undeveloped even within the regions of Latin American and Caribbean countries. What Belize lacks in size and development, it makes up in resources and attractions. Belize is abundant in resources such as fertile land, minerals, bountiful sea, waterways, intelligent people, exuberant culture and history. Unfortunately, however, Belize economic state is a casualty of generations of greedy and unconscionable colonizers and politicians who still enjoy little oversight and a “docile” population that genuflects conformity over rebellion. The country of what is today Belize was once a thriving Maya civilization until the British settlers (pirates) invaded in the early 1600’s. The birth of British influenced Belize was one of bloodshed, piracy, kidnapping subjugation and wars leading to enslavement, divisiveness, colonization and eventual independence. During British rule, the British extracted the rich resources from Belize and transferred the wealth to the British Empire. Today, the privilege few extract wealth from the citizenry through bloated contracts and exclusive deals. The British evidently had no development plans for Belize. The poor structures, absentee land ownerships and lack of re-settlement of British families to Belize were all evidence of an extraction of wealth policy firmly in place. The British continued to the manipulate the people and divide the nation with centuries of indoctrination and colonization through a British system of formal education, law and politics. The system inherited by Belize was designed to keep British supremacy and British rule enduringly intact even in their absence. Look around in 2016 Belize and you see a second coming of outside landowners and business owners as the Belizean people remain poorly paid workers and consumers .

International Sourcesizz

A Mermaid Vacation In Belize Is The Best Way To Kick Off 2017
If the cold weather has you down or the holidays just don't feel as magical as they used to, it's time to book a whimsical vacation suited for, well, mystical creatures: Mermaids. Sirenalia, an Austin-based "mermaid production company" (yes, that's real), is planning its annual Tropical Mermaid Retreat to Belize in February 2017, and all aspiring mermaids are welcome. For the ultimate escape, however, a few minutes swimming underwater won't cut it -- you need to book it to Belize. 2017's Tropical Mermaid Retreat will be broken up into two parts: Tobacco Caye (February 2-7, $1150) and Caye Caulker (February 8- 12, $1250), though all ten days can be attended for $2400, which includes the island-to-island flight. Profits from the retreats will be donated to Belize's Ocean Academy, which helps local children complete their education with an emphasis on environmental conservation, though mermaid classes are currently not offered as part of the program.

Belize and creditors kick off restructuring talks
Talks between Belize and creditors over a potential restructuring of the country's US$530m 2038 bond kicked off in New York this week, according to sources close to the matter. At the meeting, officials from the Central American country indicated that they intend to move quickly to ease their debt burden, which weak growth, large fiscal and current account deficits have made harder to service. A potential restructuring would be the third in a decade for Belize, which first consolidated its external debt into a so-called superbond in 2007 and then restructured that note by issuing 2038 bonds in 2013. The government now hopes to amend the terms of the 2038 notes through a simple consent solicitation.

CCJ rules in favour of private telecom company in Belize
The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) yesterday ruled in favour of the private telecommunications services provider, Speednet Communications Limited, reversing a Belize Court of Appeal ruling that had favoured the regulator, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The four-member panel of judges ruled that Speednet Communications Limited had proved its case and ordered the PUC to refund the BZ$792,000, less the lawful licence fee of BZ$1,400. The dispute between the parties arose out of a difference in interpretation of the relevant regulations which set out the licence fees of BZ$100 per ‘channel’. According to the PUC, the term ‘channel’ referred to ‘voice’ channel while Speednet Communications argued that it meant ‘radio frequency’ channel, which would mean that BZ$1,400 would be the appropriate fee.

First marine climate change report card for the Caribbean in the works
The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) has been working with other Caribbean agencies and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), a marine science and technology agency sponsored by the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The agencies are preparing the first ever marine climate change report card for the Caribbean, under the Commonwealth marine economies programme funded by the UK government. Peter Murray, CRFM’s programme manager – fisheries management and development, is a part of the working group that met in Belize this week to review the major themes being assessed, as well as the “hot topics” emanating from those themes. “The CRFM is trying to ensure that the issue of climate change as it relates to the fisheries sector comes to the fore... because the CARICOM heads of government have put fish and fishery products among the priority commodities for CARICOM. It means that things that affect that development are important to us and so climate change is of primary importance,” Murray said.

How the ancient Maya brought sharks to the jungle
The peoples of Classic Maya civilization were obsessed with sharks. Images of shark-like monsters appear in Maya cities throughout the regions known today as Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala—even deep in the continent's interior, where people never saw the ocean. Now one archaeologist has suggested these mythic symbols may have been based on real experiences Mayans had with sharks, as well as a brisk trade in shark jaws and giant shark tooth fossils. Shark teeth have been found in some of the earliest Maya sites in the interior, going back to 100 CE. Some are perforated, as if they were worn as jewelry. Others seem to have been attached to weapons or used in bloodletting rituals. Sea monsters with shark-like features appear on pottery and the walls of ceremonial buildings. An ancient Maya creation story features the Maize God defeating a shark in battle and sometimes being born from the creature's toothy jaws. The question is, how did sharks become such an important part of the culture in landlocked cities? Writing in the journal Antiquity, James Madison University anthropologist Sarah E. Newman explains that coastal Maya peoples probably hunted sharks. Because sharks sink when they die, their teeth sink with them—so shark teeth among the Maya almost certainly came from the spoils of the hunt. There are accounts from Europeans who witnessed sixteenth-century Maya in the Yucatán hunting sharks using remoras, or suckerfish, to snag the great fish from their canoes. Others used massive hooks baited with chunks of meat.

Private island life
There’s nothing quite like a private island. It conjures up fantasies of exclusivity, indulgence and luxury on a personalized hideaway. Position this prime real estate in the blue-as-blue Caribbean Sea just off the coast of Central America's southern Belize and you have a winner. That's exactly what Norwegian Cruise Line has done with its latest entrée in the world of private islands with a tropical dazzler called Harvest Caye. Norwegian may technically own the 15-hectare crescent-shaped Harvest Caye, but if you arrive on one of the cruise line’s ships for the day you’re encouraged to treat it as you own private enclave. That’s exactly what my wife and I and our 14-year-old daughter do as we step off the Norwegian Getaway.

How The Caribbean’s Top Court Is Going High-Tech
A suite of new high-tech court management systems are to be adopted by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). The CCJ will be one of the first adopters of a set of technology-enabled systems for electronic filing of court documents, case management and court performance measurement, the court announced. The region-wide initiative aims to ensure that courts across the Caribbean have access to the software and training needed to strengthen their operations and improve service delivery, the release said. A pair of pilot projects are scheduled to take place soon in Belize and Grenada, the release said. It announced the establishment of a not-for-profit corporation called Advance Performance Exponents Inc. (APEX), which will coordinate the new technology-driven solutions and services for Caribbean courts. “With APEX, courts can take greater advantage of modern, web-based and mobile technologies to improve the quality of their services to the public, and increase the efficiency of judicial officers,” said Sir Dennis Byron, President of the CCJ.

Cayo District: Pick your adventure in Belize's 'Wild West'
Excellent and informative Lonely Planet article all about the adventure found here in Cayo. So much to do. Mountain Equestrian Trails get a good mention. "The Mountain Pine Ridge area near San Ignacio is a few degrees cooler than the humid lowlands and offers some excellent hikes to waterfalls and caves; highlights include long-drop Thousand Foot Falls, and Rio on Pools, where you can take a dip in a series of waterfall-fed swimming holes... There are few better ways of exploring the jungles, riverbanks and Maya mountains than on horseback. Luckily for lovers of the graceful equines, Cayo is well set up for horseback riding regardless of your experience. In the Mountain Pine Ridge area near San Ignacio, Mountain Equestrian Trails is the premier operator where you can saddle up for half or full day rides, but the big news for horseback riders are the five and seven-day mountain and jungle riding packages, featuring birdwatching and Maya ruins and staying at the remote ecolodge."


  • Today, on the heels of International Anti-Corruption Day, the Government of Belize signed on to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, 6min.

  • Captain cooking lunch - Belize - November 2016, 1/2min. Sitting on the back of the catamaran while our captain bbqs some lunch.

  • BELIZE 2016, 10min. Official recap of Chris & Barry's Dirty 30s in Belize. 11/10/2016 - 11/14/2016

  • Wedding: Kris and Amanda Benton Belize November, 26, 2016 featuring Toby, 12min.

  • U.S. Embassy Belize 16 Days of Activism Campaign against GBV: Message from Survivor and Activist, 3min.

  • James Edward Funeral, 30min.

  • TALK AH DI TOWN DECEMBER 1, 2016, 21min.

  • The Belize Road Safety Project, 4min.

  • Miss Belize Rebecca - Journey to miss Universe 2017, 27min.

  • Belize National Dance Company - Christmas Concert, 20min.

  • Burk It Down Jenny - Low Budget Christmas, 20min.

  • Launch of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, 8min. Testimonial from Ms. Michelle Silva

  • Spotted Eagle Ray - Belize 2016, 1min.

  • Nurse Sharks - Belize 2016, 1/2min.

  • Swimming with giant turtle, nurse sharks and sting rays in Belize, 1min.

  • Belize Adventures 2016 - Travel Video, 4min. Join me for a look into my 2016 Placencia, Belize adventure. I spent 9 days in Belize from the end of November and into early December. Visiting the Mayan ruins of Nim Li Punit and Lubaantun. Scuba diving with sharks, spotted eagle rays, hawksbill sea turtles and lobsters. Eating great food and lounging around the pool. A great trip with some of the family and lots of memories.

  • Belize Coral Reef, 4min.

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