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#519851 - 12/17/16 01:07 AM Today's Belize News: December 17, 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, and other specials


The San Pedro Sun

Dental volunteers return to Ambergris Caye
For the second time in this year, Doctor Pierre Boumerhi and a team of dental volunteers from Pennsylvania, USA visited La Isla Bonita to provide a week of free dental services. The kind dentists were stationed at the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II from Monday, December 12th to Friday, December 16th. During that week, starting from 8AM to 11:45AM and 1PM to 5PM, the group of volunteers provided their services to hundreds of island residents, including children. Many people in San Pedro Town who do not have proper access to dentistry services or cannot afford it, benefited from the group’s generosity. Some of the services provided included teeth cleaning, cavity fillings, fluoride applications and tooth extraction. The Polyclinic was also provided with a donation of useful dentistry supplies for their dental room. Currently the Polyclinic counts with a dental facility, however, it operates with limited resources. The recent donation of provisions is expected to boost the service of the dental clinic.

Increasing number of Manatee deaths by boat collision
The Antillean manatee is an endangered species in Belize. Unfortunately, death reports of these large mammals are increasing annually. On Tuesday, December 6th, a seven-foot manatee was found dead at the mouth of the Placencia Lagoon, and was later transferred to the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic (BWRC). After being examined, it was determined that the manatee died due to a collision with a boat. The manatee received eight propeller cuts across its entire back. Of the eight, three penetrated into its body cavity, which led to broken ribs and ruptured kidneys. One of its lungs ruptured as well, causing fatal bleeding. As one of their largest patients so far, the manatee’s weight exceeded the clinic’s scale, and the mammal’s weight was undetermined. BWRC stated that this accident could have been prevented if the boat captain respected no wake zones, and looked out for these large mammals moving. The San Pedro Sun contacted Belize Manatee Conservation Program Coordinator Jamal Galvez for some figures relating to the manatee population, and for comments on the latest manatee loss. “I won’t say that the number of manatees are decreasing or increasing, but we estimated to have around 1,000. Whenever manatees are hurt or injured, it is of grave concern to me. However, the number of manatee deaths has increased over the years. Some of these deaths can be avoided if the public used more caution. Hitting a manatee with a boat and leaving it there is unacceptable. It is the public’s duty to contact us for help. Maybe if we were contacted, we could have offered this manatee some assistance, and it could have been saved,” said Galvez.

Ambergris Today

Belize Receives International Road Safety Award for Decreasing Road Deaths
The Government of Belize, on December 13, 2016, received the prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award. Accepting the award on behalf of the Government and People of Belize was the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum, Ms. Yvonne Sharman Hyde and the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Works, Mr. Errol Gentle, based on their leadership role to move road safety to a higher integrated level in the region. This award was presented in The Lancaster Suite, Savoy, The Strand, London.

Caye Boy Author Releases Third Children's Book
Caye Caulker resident Jessica Wigh is excited to announce the third and latest edition in the “Caye Boy” series of children’s book. Following her first two books “Caye Boy: Barefoot Adventures of an Island Child” and “Caye Boy and Kite Day,” The Caye Boy series follows the daily lives of two island children and celebrates growing up in Belize. “Caye Boy Visits the Jungle” takes the storyline to the mainland, where the island boys get to experience the adventure of being in the Jungle, visiting the maya ruins, waterfalls and local farms. All three books are written by Jessica Wigh. A book signing will be held on Sunday, December 18, 2016, from 12-2pm at Belizean Arts Gallery located at Fido’s in San Pedro Town. Everyone is invited, especially the children.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Wildtracks Update
Yesterday, a joint operation by the Forest Department and the police resulted in the confiscation of a young howler monkey from hunters trying to sell him - in Belize, catching, keeping or selling primates is illegal. This young monkey, five months old at the most, has just been transferred to Wildtracks. However.... he should be with his mother, in the wild. She would be able to do a much better job of rearing him than we can. He needs her milk, he should be in the forest, learning to be a wild monkey. Whilst we may not be able to replace that experience, we can ensure he has the best possible chance to return to the wild - integrating him with other howler monkeys and moving through the different stages of the Primate Rehabilitation Programme, building his social and climbing skills towards his eventual release.

Belize Archives Project on Spanish Accounts of the Battle of St. George’s Caye reaches a New Milestone
On 7th, September, 2016 a panel of researchers from Belize and Quintana Roo, Mexico gave a presentation entitled “Spanish Reports on the Battle of 1798: Preliminary Findings,” at the Bliss Institute as part of the September Celebration activities. The lecture was a report on a project which begun in 2012 to transcribe over 1000 pages of manuscripts from the Spanish Archives in Seville, Spain that were donated to the Belize Archives in the 1990s by a Spanish archaeologist, Juan Luis Bonor. The 18th century records provide first-hand accounts of the Spanish activities at the Battle of St. George’s Caye.

Prime Minister Departs the Country on Personal Leave
The Office of the Prime Minister informs the general public that the Rt. Prime Minister Dean Barrow left the country today, December 16, on personal leave with his family. The Prime Minister is scheduled to return to Belize on Tuesday, December 20, 2016. The Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Patrick Faber will act as Prime Minister during Hon. Barrow’s absence.

New Year's Eve Countdown at Central Park
Join us to bring in the New Year 2017! The San Pedro Town Council presents the New Year's Eve Countdown at Central Park on Saturday, December 31st - starting at 10 PM! All the way from St. Maarten in the Caribbean, we bring to you DJ OUTKAST! And joining him after is the Caribbean Roots Band from Corozal! There will be party favors and a SPECTACULAR FIREWORKS DISPLAY! Don't miss out!

Annual Christmas hampers from Belcaribe Communications
Belcaribe Communications Services will hand out some two hundred and two packages of Christmas supplies to the neediest families as well as toys. General Manager Sandra Mahler says this is their way of spreading cheer in this Christmas season. Some, like recently bereaved Shakira Young, the mother of murder victim Tyler Savery, say they will use their gift to share with others.

Job Vacancy: Caye Caulker Traffic Control Administrative Clerk
Deadline Tuesday December 20th.

Seashore Drive - Christmas Laser Light Show

1st Chiquibul Challenge Marathon
Join the race for conservation and participate or sponsor the first Chiquibul Challenge Marathon! Run or walk a half marathon (20km), or go for the full distance (40km) in one of the most beautiful and pristine places on Earth. Learn more about the challenges for Chiquibul and contribute to its conservation. Half Marathon Entrance Fee: $150BZ National or Resident/$150USD International Participant Full Marathon Entrance Fee: $200BZ National or Resident/$200USD International Participant Ranger Challenge: We're challenging Belize's Protected Areas Management Organizations to enter their fittest rangers to square off and decide which organization has the fittest Rangers in Belize! We encourage Protected Areas Management Organzations to seek sponsorships for their rangers. Limited sponsorships will be offered by the Chiquibul Challenge Marathon organizers for conservation organizations.

Holiday Safety Tips from the Belize Police Department
Season’s greetings to all. As we approach the final week before 2016 Christmas , The Belize Police Department share some safety tips to make your holiday more peaceful and safer; whilst shopping, at home/leaving home, and driving/drivers. Be safe and have a festive season Belize.

DEFENCE MINISTER CONGRATULATES & AWARDS COAST GUARD
Minister of Defence Hon. John Saldivar yesterday presented a number of awards to members of the Belize Coast Guard at their End of Year Award Ceremony and Christmas Luncheon held at the Coast Guard Headquarters on the George Price Highway just outside Belize City. In his address to members of the Belize Coast Guard and invited guests, Hon. John Saldivar remarked, “I especially want to congratulate each and every member of the Belize Coast Guard for the work that you’ve done over this year, and the work that you continue to do; and for the commitment that you have to our country and to preserving our sovereignty and our territorial integrity. This year has been a great year for the Security Forces of Belize.” Hon. Saldivar also took the opportunity to congratulate the Belize Defence Force, whose Commander, General David Jones, was present at the occasion. Also speaking at the ceremony was Coastguard Commander Admiral John Borland, who assisted the Minister in presenting the awards.

Bahamian motivational speaker visits Belize
Bahamian born, international motivational speaker, corporate trainer, talk show host, bishop of motivation and author, Spence Finlayson, was the featured speaker in Belize City, Belize, for the Anglican Diocese of Belize Cursillo Retreat recently. Finlayson, a cursillista and a member of St Barnabas Anglican Church in Nassau, spoke on the topic “Developing Leaders” and was enthusiastically received by all of the participants from the various Anglican churches of Belize. Cursilllo focuses on showing Christian lay people how to become effective Christian leaders over the course of a three-day weekend. The weekend includes talks given by priests and by lay people. The major emphasis of the weekend is to ask participants to take what they have learned back into the world on what is known as the fourth day.

Scholarship Opportunity for the upcoming EMT Class!
Belize Emergency Response Team

BEL Submits Proposal to PUC to Maintain Electricity Rates
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) has made a submission to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), proposing that the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) is maintained at $0.3699 per kWh for the remainder of the Annual Tariff Period: January 1 to June 30, 2017. The Company is also proposing to simplify the tariff basket for all Industrial customers into a single “Industry” classification. If approved by the PUC, medium and large manufacturers and processing plants as well as others engaged in value-added production will benefit from a new rate structure that will lower their electricity bills over time. BEL’s submission made on December 10, 2016 is in fulfillment of its Mission “to provide reliable electricity at the lowest sustainable cost, stimulate national development and improve the quality of life in Belize.”

Channel 7

Deputy Commish Says SPU Cops Were Smuggling Contraband, But Not Weed
Last night we told you about the credible report we received that Cayo police had intercepted a pickup attached to the Special Patrol Unit. It was suspected to have a sack of weed onboard, and contraband beer. Reports we received from San Ignacio say that Cayo Cops took the truck to the station to be searched, which is when a senior police officer called to tell them to release the truck, pronto. Well, today Deputy Commissioner Russell Blackett told us that he and another senior officer did make such a call, and he makes no apologies for it. He says San Ignacio police had already searched the truck and they didn't find any weed. He adds that 10 officers from the SPU had just been brought in from one week of duties at tourist sites in Cayo - and they needed to go home. He says that they did have three cases of contraband beer, which was confiscated after they left Cayo. Reports we got said that Blackett had told Cayo police not to search the Nissan Navarra pickup - but says that is a lie. He says police took the vehicle to the station where the driver handed the officer in charge of Cayo the key, so that he could freely search the pickup. Blackett says he called 20 minutes later when no marijuana was found but the truck was still being held.

Caretaker's Body Found in Remote Cayo
Last night we told you about the very initial reports of a body found in a remote area of the Cayo District. Well, tonight, police have confirmed that it is murder. They say 60 year old caretaker Manuel Armando Medrano was killed by strangulation on the farm where he worked. His body was found wrapped in a blanket in an area one mile behind Ontario Village on the Young Gial Road. Police say there were no signs of robbery or theft - and they have no motive and no suspect. Medrano is a Belizean from Buena Vista. A post mortem was conducted on site and his remains were handed over to his family members who live in San Ignacio.

BTL Says It's the First Telecom In Central America Or Caribbean With 4GLTE Advanced
It's been active for a few weeks now, but BTL officially launched its 4G LTE Advanced service today. Now, if you're scratching your head like…but didn't they launch 4G exactly four years ago - on December 14, 2012? Well they did launch something called 4G - but that was actually more like 3.5 G HSPA. And so while the marketing people may have kind of rounded it off, this time you can believe the hype: the new 40 million dollar 4G LTE switch is at the cutting edge of global telecommunications. According to BTL and HAUWEI execs., this is the first 4G LTE Advanced switch in the region. The difference there is the word "ADVANCED" - and at the launch this morning we found out what it means:... Nestor Vasquez, Chairman, BTL: "Here we are on the 16th day of December 2016 making good on our commitment to provide Belize with the most modern, reliable, advanced mobile network in the entire Caribbean and also in Central America. Because neither the Caribbean nor Central America has the 4G LTE Advanced, that's the difference."

BEL Asks PUC To Keep Rates Stable
And while BTL is keeping data charges the same, BEL says it wants to do the same for electricity rates. The company has proposed to the PUC, proposing that the Mean Electricity Rate should be kept at 36.9 cents per kilowatt hour for the first half of 2017. That's the average rate, but BEL is proposing some relief for Industrial consumers - who would benefit from a new rate structure that should see lower electricity costs over time. Of course, that's just the proposal, the PUC, as regulator, still has to approve it. BEL made its submission on December 10th, and the regulator will reply next week.

BNTU And Minister Will Seek To Mediate Differences About Cutting Strike Pay
All this week, we we've been telling you about the school managers who are insisting that classes resume January 3rd after the Christmas break. That will allow the schools to make up 4 days lost in October's 11 day teachers strike. The Ministry and the Managing Authorities say that this is the best formula to reach the mandatory 180 school days. The teachers union - on the other hand - says that teachers aren't prepared to cut their Christmas break short to do this. Today, we got a chance to speak with the Union about that stalemate, but, first, we'll you why they were back in the Supreme Court. Their lawsuit against the Ministry to stop the pay cut had its first procedural hearing today. There is an injunction in effect which is restraining the Ministry of Education from cutting the teachers' pay for those 11 strike days. The attorneys for both sides went back before the Chief Justice to inform the judge that they will attempt to settle this dispute out of court. At the last hearing, the Chief Justice suggested mediation and today, both parties showed up to court to say they will try. BNTU's attorney, Eamon Courtenay told us more:

When To Return After Christmas Holidays? BNTU Says It Might Not Return At All!
So, what's going to happen after the Christmas break? Will teachers show up for class on January 3rd, as the Managing authorities and the Ministry wants? Or, will they do their own thing and return to class on January 9th? The BNTU has already told its members to ignore the Ministry and the Managing Authorities and return to school on the ninth. So, given that the Association of Managers for Primary and Secondary Schools, and even the Catholic Bishops have said that classes resume early, will the teachers show up? That's what we asked their attorney, and here's how he put it: Eamon Courtenay, SC - Attorney for BNTU: "All of that is very interesting, because nobody is talking to the teachers. As I understand it, the government who doesn't employ teachers is interfering in the teachers' conditions of work. The education rules are very clear about when holidays are to be held. There's no doubt about that and the teachers are entitled to their holiday. In so far as the fact that there are days to be made up, that is not a matter for the government, for the chief education officer, or for the minister of education, that is the matter for the teachers and the managing authorities."

Neighbor Versus Neighbor Murder in Belmopan
There's been a late evening murder in Belmopan - and it is a case of one neighbor killing another. It happened about 45 minutes ago in the San Martin Area of Belmopan. According to PLUS TV, there was a quarrel between two men who are neighbours, on Guyana Street near Parque de Las Americas. That ended with a stabbing which killed one of the men. The man who stabbed him reportedly fled the scene driving a pickup. The victim didn't die immediately, but succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. We'll have more on this on Monday's news.

Family Loses Everything to Blaze
Instead of putting up a Christmas tree and buying and wrapping gifts, Nikita Haylock and her family have to go searching for a place to live after their Reggae Street home burnt down last night. The fire is believed to have started on the lamppost near the house. The blaze spread quickly and destroyed everything. Fortunately, no one was inside the house when it started. We spoke to a resident who stood helplessly by as the fire consumed the house. We also spoke to Haylock's mother who told us this is her daughter's second hard hit. Malcom Mattews, Resident: "We saw the fire. The first thing I saw in the air was smoke and after that I saw flames. I got excited then I got stupid because I wanted to see but I was afraid to come out. I was way at the top." Therese Leiva, Mother: "The information I got on the fire last night, I was at home about 7:20 because we prepared my next granddaughter to go to the Christmas school event at All Saint's school. My daughter called me about 20 past 7 the same time while I was preparing and she told me her house is on fire. I said 'what? how is that?'."

Harvest Heaven
As we told you last night, the media was taken on an all day tour of Harvest Caye yesterday. We gave you just a small preview last night - but tonight we have the story of all the attractions at Harvest Caye, and why Norwegian is banking big on this hundred million dollar investment:... Colin Murphy - Senior VP., Destinations & Strategic Development, NCL: "When I'm here, I'm usually the only guy that doesn't actually have much to do so I walk around and I talk to the passengers and I would guess that speak to a thousand passengers a day and response has been overwhelmingly positive. I hear comments like best port ever, best port on this Itinerary, wish we had more time. So it's been overwhelmingly a positive reaction from passengers." Daniel Ortiz reporting: On the Ground at Harvest Caye, it is very easy to see why any tourist who lands here, may immediately want to spend his or her entire day right in this location. All around, it is a paradise, conducive to fun, rest, and relaxation. With so much to do and enjoy, more than likely, you'll want to stay longer.

Tom Wilson's Side Of the Story
So, NCL's ships will go almost exclusively to Harvest Caye to ensure the greatest revenue stream for that Island port. While that has city tour guides already feeling the pain, last month we spoke to Andrew Caliz - a Toledo Tour Operator who also says he's been boxed out. Caliz owns Big Falls Extreme Adventure on the Rio Grande River in Big Falls Village. He had connected with Tom Wilson's H2O Tierra to rent out his riverside property. But the deal fell through, and H2O Tierra ended up renting from the Big Falls Lodge, further up the Rio Grande. Yesterday we asked Wilson if he gave Caliz a raw deal:... Tom Wilson: "Contrary to what he might have said, we actually worked for Mr. Caliz for more than a year and a half trying to come to an agreement to utilize his site there at big falls. He had an investment there yes, BTB actually contacted us and asked us to please try and work with him. We started more than 2 years ago negotiating on Mr. Caliz to use his property. We invested quite a few thousand dollars putting together a contract agreement. Also we surveyed out the area that we would be using so that we could actually use a legal description in the contract."

PM On Personal Leave
Prime Minister Dean Barrow was away last week, dealing with official business and a stomach ulcer. This weekend, he's taking a break, going on personal leave with his family. The PM left the country today and returns on Tuesday, December 20. Deputy Patrick Faber will hold over as Prime Minister until his return.

GSU Found Weed In Spare Tyre
Today the GSU made a sizeable weed bust in the rural Belize District. It happened in Lord's Bank where they stopped and searched a Mercury SUV driven by 35 year old Dean Edward CAIN. He was accompanied by 39 year old Alston Sydney ADOLPHUS. They are both city residents. The GSU found 8 parcels of weed stuffed in the spare tire. The parcels weighed a total of 4.1 kilos or 9 pounds. Both CAIN and ADOLPHUS were arrested and charged for Possession of a Controlled Drug with the Intent to Supply.

Junior Messenger
Last night on the news, we showed you an interesting slice of the Senate Inquiry into immigration irregularities. They discussed the section of the report dealing with yesterday, the portion of her report addressing allegations against Heredia came up. You'll remember it as the section on the Visas where according to the Auditor General, Manuel Heredia signed for 52 visa foils. The Auditors did not follow up to find out what happened to those visa foils, so yesterday, we asked Heredia about it. He said that he was only the messenger, and delivered them to the Immigration Officer in Charge in San Pedro: Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism: "You know the type of person that I am. My integrity, my transparency. If you know that it's easy to answer. First of all it violated natural justice right, because I will accuse you of anything I have to summon you to answer if indeed what I will put out in the public what evidence is there or I should be able to defend myself at least and to put to the short of that - we are already filing for an injunction against to be put aside and I am sure that already the auditor general is having seconds thoughts about her report. If you listen to the last one, 'I didn't know this, I didn't know the other' and I am sure that at the next one there will be harder questions put to her that at the end of the day that will be put aside or squashed."

Integrity Commission Accountant Still On Track
At the last senate meeting in November, the opposition was objecting strenuously to the Prime Minister's partisan nominees to the Integrity Commission. Accountant and UDP Trustee Nestor Vasquez came under extra scrutiny because PUP Senator Eamon Courtenay said that he wasn't a member in good standing of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. Courtney tried to bring back a motion to block his appointment at yesterday's house meeting. But the President Li Mark Chang rejected it because a matter which has been voted upon cannot be brought back at the next session. So then what is the status of the accountant nominated to serve on the integrity commission? That's what we asked the leader of Government business, Godwin Hulse:...

Political Postcards From the Edge
Defence Minister John Saldivar has been busy since being re-instated from a Cabinet suspension, but he's not to0 media friendly - so often, when he has events, we only get pictures, sort of like postcards from the political edge. That's surely the case fro yesterday's Coast Guard Christmas Luncheon and End of Year Award ceremony. Saldivar presented various awards to outstanding officers and concluded happily, quote, "This year has been a great year for the Security Forces of Belize."

No Apologies For Weed Smoking/Dealing
A drug peddler's paradise. That's how police described this residence in King's Park, but the people living there, the people selling the drugs don't think the name fits. Over a dozen adults and children live there, and it's also where you can buy small quantities of weed. You may also remember it as the place where the Prime Minister's niece, Candice Anderson was shot. Over time, several of the adult residents have been arrested and charged for drug trafficking, but they say the $10,000 fine and three years in prison makes no sense, especially when they've never been busted with more than a quarter pound of weed. We spoke to Harlee Kelly, one of the residents today, and she explained why the constant police presence at their home borders on harassment...

Helping With Hampers
Today several organizations in Belize City did their best to spread the Christmas spirit throughout the community. One of them is BELCARIBE, which held its annual Christmas hamper donation event. The company, along with partners Smart and Puma, put together hampers full of useful items for families whose children are sick, or were lost through gun violence or fires. We spoke to BELCARIBE's general manager, Sandra Mahler and Smart's Marketing and Product Development Manager, Josue Carballo about the event...

On the Twelfth Day, Darell
The Belize City Council also held its own Christmas event today. As an end to the Council's 12 Days of Charity, the mayor and some of his councilors held a Christmas lunch at the BTL Park for residents of the Sister Cecilia Home. Here's what Mayor Bradley had to say about the lunch and the success of the 12 Days of Charity.

FCCA for Kids
The Florida Caribbean Cruise Association and Norwegian Cruise Line also held a Christmas party today - but instead of the aged, they invited the young. Deserving children from 8 schools gathered in the Tourism Village to celebrate the holidays with the staff of the Norwegian Pearl. The kids were treated to food and drinks as well as toys courtesy of NCL. The Norwegian Pearl's Entertainment Director, Juan Carlos Sanchez, told us more... Juan Carlos Sanchez, Dir., of Entertainment - Norwegian Pearl: "Right now we are having our annual gift giving program which is a collaboration between Norwegian Cruise Lines crew members as well as the FCCI making sure that we are giving back to our community." Alex Courtenay, 7News: "Who is benefitting from this? You know you are giving away toys, who are you giving them to and where do the toys comes from?" Juan Carlos Sanchez, Dir., of Entertainment - Norwegian Pearl: "Basically it's benefiting the children. We have 8 different schools that are very well represented in today's event and all of the toys and the gifts that were collected are through the efforts of the staff and crew of Norwegian and of course the FCCI as well."

Channel 5

Mediation ordered in BNTU case vs GOB
The Ministry of Education and the Belize National Teachers Union will enter into mediation in the days ahead, to resolve the standing issue of teachers salaries post the eleven-day strike [...]

On school holidays, who’s talking to the teachers?
As far as Managing Authorities are concerned, their position is clear.  At a meeting held on November second with ministry officials, it was unanimously agreed upon that classes should resume [...]

B.N.T.U. steadfast: return to school on January ninth
According to career educator Adelaida Guerra, trade unionist and claimant in the case brought against government, B.N.T.U.  is quite clear on its position based on the existing Education Rules.  Acting [...]

Government must stick to the rules
Courtenay says that government is treating teachers with disrespect and that the Education Rules must be adhered to by the Ministry of Education, as well as the Managing Authorities.   [...]

Update on the Murder in Buena Vista
The decomposing body of a sixty-year- old man was discovered on Thursday at his farm a couple miles away from Buena Vista Village in the Cayo District. When Manuel Medrano [...]

Welcome to Harvest Caye: Alcatraz or Paradise?
Almost four weeks after officially opening its multimillion dollar cruise tourism investment on Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line formally invited members of the local media to visit the exclusive island [...]

Is there still time to stop Net Vasquez appointment to Integrity Commission?
There have been seven persons recommended, but not yet appointed, to the Integrity Commission. It has been fifteen days since the names of Marilyn Williams for Chairman; Armead Gabourel; Lisbeth [...]

Defence Minister restates position on Sarstoon access
At the August House meeting, area representative for Fort George Said Musa asked Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington whether citizens of Belize can now freely travel on the Belizean [...]

P.U.P.’s welcome Longsworth in House; Peyrefitte in Senate
Thursday’s meeting of the Senate was the last for Vanessa Retreage, who steps down at the end of the year from her powerful portfolios of Attorney General and Minister of [...]

Senators debate the bill for B.I.L.
During Thursday’s meeting, the Opposition People’s United Party questioned additional government spending for work by Belize Infrastructure Limited, the special purpose vehicle designed by Government to spend Petrocaribe monies on [...]

Public officers on suspension over fake Danny Mason birth certificate
Four employees of the Vital Statistics Unit have been sent home on suspension by the Public Services Commission, for two months. Their offense…? Major misconduct in allegedly causing the preparation [...]

Cops catch teens trying to rob Western Pines house
News Five was informed this morning just after nine-thirty of a burglary in progress at a home in the Western Pines area of Western Paradise Village, Belize District. We arrived [...]

Hungarian embezzler sent home by Special Branch
According to San Pedro Police, sixty-two-year-old Maria Nagy Sandorne Dobria, also known as Maricska, was handed over to Hungarian police by Special Branch Division of the Belize Police Department on [...]

Christmas fun in Ambergris – but watch out for golf cart thefts
Golf carts are the hot items for thieves on San Pedro and police say that drivers need to ensure that they lock up their carts. When we spoke with Assistant [...]

The Battle could have gone differently, Spanish documents show
In early September we told you about the preliminary findings on the St George’s Caye Battle from the Spanish perspective. A local team made up of historians, Archives and NICH [...]

A Christmas party by the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association
Primary school students from across Belize City were treated to a special Christmas treat earlier today, thanks to the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association.  The F.C.C.A. hosts an annual Christmas party [...]

Sharing the spirit of Christmas with Bel-Caribe Communications
Jesus of Nazareth admonished his followers during his time on Earth to never forget the least of us, saying, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers [...]

CTV3

More Visa Irregularities
Still on the topic of visas, the hearing took time to look over the process of distribution by Foreign Service offices. The Auditor General’s report cited that there were a number of irregularities in the processing of visas by embassies and consulates. One particular issue was the fee related to visa applications for foreigners from the People’s Republic of China. According to report, the $8,000 repatriation fee charged to Chinese nationals was suddenly discontinued. Senator Mark Lizarraga – Representative for Chamber of Commerce and Industry: “Did you find instances where the fees that were allocated on the law were not charged?” Carla Faber, Head of Audit Team: “Yes we did found instances.” Senator Mark Lizarraga – Representative for Chamber of Commerce and Industry: “And did you find evidence or documentation to support that the 8000 repatriation deposit was being followed, that provision for the 8000?” Carla Faber, Head of Audit Team: “That was discontinued.”

LOVE FM

CJ Orders Mediation for BNTU and Government on Salary Deductions
Last month, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin allowed an injunction filed by the Belize National Teachers Union against the Government of Belize. That injunction sought to stop the Ministry of Education from withholding the teachers’ salary for the month of November. The teacher’s got their salaries but the Ministry still wants to dock the salaries of […]

BNTU Not Ready for Early Re-Opening of School
Other than fighting off the Ministry’s intent to dock the teachers’ pay, BNTU is also fighting not to go back to the classrooms on January 3. According to the Ministry of Education, managing authorities of both the primary and secondary levels agreed to make up the time loss by cutting Christmas and Easter vacations short, […]

Hulse Disputes Briceno’s Statements on Sugar Industry
On Wednesday we told you of concerns expressed by Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno, as they relate to the sugar industry. According to Briceno the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association expressed concern over what was referred to as the high handed attitude of the leadership of BSI\ASR. BSCFA strongly believes that there must be […]

Heredia Named for 52 Visa Stickers
The Special Senate Select Committee held its last meeting for the year on Wednesday. Members of the committee delved deeper into the findings of the Auditor General’s Special Report. During this week’s public hearing, Tourism Minister, Manuel Heredia was mentioned. According to what the report says, Minister Heredia received fifty two visa stickers and the […]

Net Vasquez and the Integrity Commission
Upon the announcement of having Nestor Vasquez head the Integrity Commission there was much opposition coming out since it had been noted that he was not a member of the Belize Institute of Chartered Accountants which is one of the requirements. When we had spoken to Senator for Government Business, Godwin Hulse, he had indicated […]

Media Gets Personal Tour of Harvest Caye
Yesterday, the media was invited for a tour on Harvest Caye in the Stann Creek District. Love News was a part of the tour and we spoke to Colin Murphy, the Senior Vice President of Destination for Norwegian Cruise Line who says that they offer tourists a hundred percent Belizean style experience. One of the […]

Making Fish and Seafood Ready for the World
Discussions are alive and although the progress has been slow the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) has expressed optimism when it comes to the introduction of region wide laws, rules and regulations geared at making fish and seafood from the Caribbean not only ready for world trade but also safe for local consumption. According to […]

PM and Family Take Personal Leave
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has left the country on personal leave with his family. The Prime Minister is scheduled to return home on Tuesday, December 20. Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber will be Acting Prime Minister during the Prime Minister’s absence.

GSU Gets Nine Pounds of Marijuana in Belize Rural
The Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) were in the rural areas of Belize District at around midday today when they were led to a black SUV through the Lord’s Bank Road in Ladyville. The team conducted a search on the vehicle and its occupants when they came across eight parcels; all containing marijuana. The parcels were […]

Telemedia Launches 4G LTE Internet
The Belize Telemedia Limited has launched its 4G LTE Data Service countrywide and has had many of its consumers boasting of the new high speed internet that they have been experiencing. Today, the company did an official launch at its Church Street office in Belize City. According to the Executive Director for BTL, Anwar Barrow, […]


#519852 - 12/17/16 01:07 AM Re: Today's Belize News: December 17, 2016 [Re: Marty]  
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Amandala

Hungarian fugitive nabbed in San Pedro
A Hungarian woman, Mària Nagy Sàndorné Dobria, 62, aka “Maricska,” has been flown back to her home country, where she could face millions in fines for a multi-million-dollar pyramid scheme that went belly-up, reportedly resulting in losses to over 1,000 people who invested on the promise of high returns. Officer in charge of the San Pedro Police Station, Henry Jemmott, told Amandala Dobria had been in Belize for about 7 to 8 months, and Belizean authorities began to investigate her some months ago when they were alerted that a fugitive was in town. They were able to confirm with photographs that Dobria is the woman who has been on Interpol’s wanted list, after a request from Hungarian police.

When will primary and secondary school classes resume?
As teachers and students prepare to depart their classrooms in light of the Christmas season, there is great uncertainty and even confusion as to when they are required to return to their classrooms. On Monday, the Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Carol Babb, wrote the managing authorities of primary and secondary schools informing them that classes will resume on January 3. “Please be reminded that classes begin on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 for schools. I look forward to your cooperation in ensuring that teachers, parents and students are aware of the date for the opening of schools in 2017,” her letter concluded. However, the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) subsequently released a statement which contradicts Babb’s position. In their release the BNTU encouraged its members and teachers to enjoy their full three weeks of Christmas vacation afforded to them through Education Rules and then return for school on January 9, 2017, which is the original date, for resumption of classes on the academic calendar.

Unidentified woman found floating in Belize River in Burrell Boom
An unknown female of Creole descent, believed to be 30 to 35 years old, was found dead at about 10:30 this morning in the Belize River about 3 miles downstream from the Burrell Boom Bridge. A man who was in a boat saw the corpse and quickly called police. ACP Edward Broaster, Commander of Eastern Division Rural police, said that police were dispatched to an area behind the Los Lagos community on the Belize River and saw the body of a dark-complexioned female about 5 feet 5 inches tall. The body had several cut wounds, including to the back and head. The body was taken to a medical school at the Burrell Boom junction, where a post-mortem examination was conducted. At the conclusion of the autopsy, conducted by Doctor Mario Estradabran and his team, Dr. Estradabran certified the cause of death of the woman to be “traumatic cranium insophalic injuries due to chop wound.” The body could not be identified due to the advanced state, of decomposition.

Father of 11 murdered on farm in Buena Vista
The decomposed body of a Guatemalan farmer was found on a ranch a couple miles from Buena Vista this evening, off what we are told is the Young Gial road leading to Valley of Peace. Police have not officially disclosed the name of the farmer. An onsite post-mortem will be conducted tomorrow to certify the cause of death, after which the corpse will be buried. Today, in an interview with KREM, Carlos Medrano, the eldest son of the farmer, said that they all became worried when they had not seen or heard from their father in three weeks, so his younger brother came to the farm to look for him, and not finding him in the house, began to look for him on the ranch. When he came to an area by the river, he found the corpse, wrapped in a sheet which was covered with cohune leaves. The upper part of the body was decomposed.

More on the Vega family land scandal
In August 2012 when word broke that Lands Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega had been gifting his family prime government land at dirt cheap prices, he defended his actions by saying, “I am not a normal person in Belize. I work much harder than a lot of other people.” The proud Vega would go on to resign from Cabinet in October of this year when his son, Andre Vega, walked away $400,000 richer from a questionable land transaction which occurred while the senior Vega was Minister of Lands. With his resignation, many believed that Vega’s name would not pop up again for such things, but it has quickly resurfaced, as a result of revelations made by PUP Deputy Leader Cordel Hyde during the house meeting of December 9. Hyde revealed that 1,600 acres of farmland outside Carmelita, in the Orange Walk District, were systematically transferred into the hands of three members of the Vega family only weeks after Minister Vega issued them. In some cases, the lands were transferred to the Vega family even before they were, officially transferred from the Ministry.

The next Speaker of the House – Laura Tucker Longsworth
Laura Tucker Longsworth will make history as the country’s third appointed female House Speaker in the House of Representatives. Since assuming office in 2008, Prime Minister Dean Barrow had previously appointed two male attorneys for the post of House Speaker. However, Longsworth has no legal background training; instead, she has much nursing experience. She is a founding member and President of the Belize Cancer Society (BCS), which she represents on the Non-Communicable Disease Commission in Belize. Additionally, she chairs the National AIDs Commission and is Chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee for the Nurses and Midwives Council of Belize.

End of the road, or ticket to the Big Dance!
It’s “do or die” this weekend in the Premier League of Belize (PLB) Opening Season 2016-2017 semifinals game 2 on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, as two more teams will exit the competition, and two will earn the right to take center stage next week in the championship finals series. Belize City fans have been treated to a healthy serving of playoff action in this PLB season, with both city-based teams in the semifinals. But they still want more; they would like to see some finals action for Christmas. There are no guarantees on Saturday night at the Isidoro Beaton, but come Sunday afternoon, all roads will lead to the MCC Garden. Police United are in the driver’s seat. It will be a tall mountain to climb, but our BDF soldiers are undaunted by the 2-goal deficit; and fans can expect them to live up to their motto: “Shoulder to shoulder!!” and from whistle to whistle!!

OWFA Amateur League 1st Division 2 results
Five games were played on Sunday, December 11, at the People’s Stadium in Week 8 of the Orange Walk Football Association (OWFA) Amateur League 1st Division 2016-2017 competition. In the opener, Desert Storm, Jrs. FC won, 2-1, over Chan Pine Ridge FC. Goal scorers for Desert Storm were Brian Westby (23’) and Arnold Henriquez (49’), while Adial Carrillo (29’) scored for Chan Pine Ridge. In game 2, Progresso FC got the 3-0 win over Progresso, Jrs. FC, with all 3 goals credited to Eliazar Itza. Game 3 saw Progresso United FC defeating San Felipe FC, 4-1, with goals from Hector Carlos, Jr. (28’ & 43’) and Dennis Charley (78’ & 88’); while Roy Cawich (2’) tallied for San Felipe. In game 4, United Ballers FC bombed Crystal FC, 4-nil, with goals from Edwani Munoz (1’ & 85’), Raheem Eagan (45’) and Enrique Lopez (70’). And in game 5, Travion Martinez exploded for 5 goals (7’, 11’, 38’, 56’ & 59’), to lead Trinidad FC to a 5-0 win over Sinbad FC.

Yabra 10 & Under Grassroots reg. season completed; semifinals this Saturday
The Yabra 10 & Under Grassroots Football Tournament 2016 completed its regular season on Saturday, December 10, at Yabra football field with 2 games played. In the opener, Face of Belize won, 1-0, over Reality Youths, on a goal by Nazeeh Jenkins; and in the nightcap, it was Carlston FC and Ladyville Rising Stars playing to a 0-0 draw. With the completion of regular season, the top 4 teams (See standings below.) advance to the semi-finals, which take place this coming Saturday at Yabra field.

Big station prizes in KREM New Year’s Classic
KREM Radio manager Michael Hyde today released some of the major station prizes already secured for the Elite Male category in the upcoming 27th Annual KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic 2017. The reigning Elite Male champion is Belizean Joel Adan Borland. Major Elite Male station prizes announced so far include (location – amount – sponsor): San Roman Village – $2,000.00 – Freetown Drug Store; Shell One Stop, Orange Walk – $1,000.00 – Hon. Johnny Briceno & Jaime Briceno; Maskall Junction – $1,000.00 – Hon. Edmond Castro; Mile 11 – $1,000.00 – National Concrete Products; Coke Factory Cut-off at Mile 9 – $1,000.00 – Powerade.

Editorial: Belizeans of The Year
With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that the re-colonization of Belize may have begun only a few months after our political independence in September of 1981. The re-colonization of Belize, certainly a case of cultural, entertainment, and intellectual colonialism, began with the introduction here of American cable television in 1982. (The change of Belize’s school holidays in 1964 from April and May to June and July, apparently in order for our school holidays to coincide with the summer holidays in the United States, was overlooked at the time and that change has still not been properly calibrated by Belizean nationalists. All Belizean families which can afford it for decades have been sending their children to America’s inner cities for summer vacation. Before 1964, our children spent the long holidays in the countryside, at the cayes, and in the coastal villages of Belize. Belizean children used to learn to love Belize during the old time holidays. These days, our children become seasoned in America.) The effects of the re-colonization were especially devastating to the two generations of Belizeans who have grown up since cable television, and who had no knowledge of the pre-television Belize. The effects of the re-colonization were exacerbated by the spraying of Belize’s marijuana fields with paraquat in 1985, almost immediately followed by the introduction of crack cocaine.

From the Publisher
Theoretically, I’m supposed to wield a lot of power at Kremandala. After all, I am the chairman of the board. In real, everyday terms, however, I don’t have that much of a say. My children know how to use their authority, either as individuals or in tandem, to sidetrack, delay, or plain ignore me when it suits them. What can I say? I’ve reached that point in my life when a man looks back and considers how things have been, how they unfolded, how good or bad it was, and how it might have been otherwise. What I see now, what I did not see when I was a young adult, is that we young Belizeans thought much of ourselves and our people back then in the 1960s and 1970s, and the reality has turned out to be different from our perception. I remember that in August or September of 1964, the new, co-educational Sixth Form opened at St. John’s College (SJC) in two, adjoining, one-flat, ferroconcrete buildings which the Landivar Jesuits had used for many years to house the so-called internos. The internos were upper class students from Central and South America whom their wealthy parents sent to SJC to attend high school, primarily so they could learn English.

Michael Peyrefitte as Attorney General worries me
Dear Editor, The thought of Michael Peyrefitte as Attorney General really worries me. Will he know what to do? Back in 2005, my husband-to-be Leonardo Caretella was in the Belize Central Prison and I had only been in Belize for two years and had not learned how Belize functions. Leonardo had suggested I might try to get him a pardon. Mr. Pitts had already told me there was no chance. However, I was talking with the collection of ladies that I travelled with on the bus to visit our loved ones. One lady suggested that I should try Michael Peyrefitte, as he was the up and coming young lawyer. So, I went to see Mr. Peyrefitte, paid him my $1,000 and heard his advice. He told me to go and see Francis Fonseca, the then Attorney General, as he was the one who could give pardons.

Adolphus Rosales says NO to ICJ
Dear Editor, As in the past, I ask that you favour this article with the utmost of importance. It is an advice to our Government, Opposition and my Belizean people in general: “NO INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE”. Guatemala is NOT a country that respects and abide by its words and agreements. Some may say that Guatemala did not “ratify” the 1859 Treaty Convention. While that may be so, when an agreement is made between two or more “Contracting Parties” and whether it is made verbally or in writing, it has the force of law; and in the case of the 1859 Treaty Convention between England and Guatemala, it was made in writing. I quote the last two paragraphs which are as follows: a) In witness whereof, the respective Plenipotentiaries “have signed and have affixed thereto the Seals of their Arms”.

ICJ maybe, but now is not the time
Dear Comrade Editor, I write in response to Assad Shoman’s Letter to the Editor of December 6th, 2016, “Now is the Time”, published in the Amandala of Sunday, December 11th, 2016, in which he put forward a position for submitting the Guatemalan Claim to the ICJ for a determination “once and for all”; and in response to those Belizeans who maintain that we should not submit the Guatemalan Claim to half our territory to the ICJ, as we could possibly lose what we presently own and enjoy as a result of risks inherent in such litigation. I will address Assad’s letter first. Assuming that I agree with the position of submitting the Claim to the ICJ, I humbly submit that “Now is Not the Time” to do so. This is so, among many other things (social, political, economic) that will require further elaboration, as the actions of our Foreign Minister to date, except maybe for his grudgingly delivered address to the UN General Assembly earlier this year, inspire very little confidence in the Belizean people that we are being wholeheartedly and vigorously represented at the diplomatic level with Guatemala.

Let us protect and preserve our sovereignty and territorial integrity!
The purpose of this article is to invite the Prime Minister of Belize to reflect on the defense of our sovereignty and territorial integrity which has been a burning issue reverberating throughout this country. The vast majority of Belizeans are crying out to the government to give it priority and to address and act on the matter urgently. In addition, this article serves to invite the Prime Minister of Belize, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Security to become aware of the seriousness of the incursions that have been made and are being made by vessels of the Guatemalan armed forces into Belizean territorial waters, such as the Sarstoon River. This article also seeks to echo the need to further strengthen the national spirit of Belizeans and to promote the courage and heroism of our forefathers. Most importantly, however, this article aims to give a clear and objective overview of how we can resolve, once and for all, the territorial dispute between Guatemala and Belize.

The Mayas, Cenotes and the Holy Cross
THE CASTE WAR OF YUCATAN by Nelson Reed. The cenote itself was insignificant from a practical point of view. It lay in a dell, tucked between steep, rocky hillocks, a grotto perhaps fifteen feet deep and eight feet wide, the floor of the chamber filled with several feet of water that maintained its level despite heavy use. But the inconvenience, the low, dark entrance, the small size, and hidden quality were exactly the features that appealed to the Maya imagination, characteristics that would make this a “virgin” cenote par excellence. There was, in fact, a larger and more useful cenote a half mile to the east. It would be natural to find a cross at such a “virgin” place, and there was one here. It was only three or four inches long, lightly carved in a mahogany tree that grew at the edge of the grotto — the work of a wandering hunter or, some say, of Jose Maria Barrera. It was the original “Little Holy Cross.” This would also be a natural place for the survival of celestial voices, lying as it did among the least assimilated of the Huit Maya, beyond the frontier, deep in the jungle, safe from the eyes and ears of the white man. If there was a speaking cross, Barrera used it; if not, he adapted one, using traditional means. A wooden cross was produced, displayed on a platform of poles that stood on the slope of a hill just to the east of the grotto.

Opposition criticizes motion to raise ceiling of treasury bills and notes to $1.3 bn
Belize’s domestic debt, which the Government has reported at $746.2 million as of September 2016, could exceed a billion dollars by next year, with the further issuance of treasury bills and notes by the Government of Belize in the months ahead. Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber on Friday introduced a money motion in Parliament to raise the ceiling of treasury notes and bills to $1.3 billion, which would allow the Government of Belize to settle next year’s compensation bill to the former owners of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), a group of companies controlled by British billionaire Michael Ashcroft, to the tune of another $180 million, for a total exceeding half-a-billion dollars. The issuance of a new batch of Government paper, which is mostly taken up by domestic banks—and potentially Ashcroft’s own local bank—was strongly criticized by Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) leader, Johnny Briceño. He said that what the Government is asking Parliament is to “allow them to be able to print money through the Central Bank so they can continue their insatiable appetite to spend money…”

The Reporter

Decomposed body discovered in Buena Vista village
An apparent murder victim was found badly decomposed at a remote farm in Buena Vista Village, Cayo on Thursday afternoon. Reportsindicate that around 1:00 p.m, Belmopan police were called out to the scene of an apparent murder where officers found 60-year-old Armando Medrano. He was […]

BEL security guard held up for gun
A security guard at Belize Electricity Ltd. headquarters near mile 2 1/2 of the Philip Goldson Highway in Belize City was held up and robbed for his gun on Thursday afternoon. According to police, two armed robbers rushed the security guard stationed at the gate […]

Belize loses arbitration appeal
An appeal filed by the government of Belize in the US Supreme Court to review an arbitration settlement for US $19 million has been rejected. After months of consideration, the U.S. Solicitor General asked the Supreme Court to refuse GOB’s appeal on the arbitration award […]

Still no answers in baby Janeeka’s death
One week after baby Janeeka Campbell’s death due to mysterious circumstances, there are still more questions than answers and police still cannot say if anyone will be charged for the death. According to doctors who conducted the autopsy on the child’s body, she suffered blunt […]

Love FM Christmas Parade 2016 sets new high
Belizeans thronged Belize City streets to see the annual love FM Christmas parade on Saturday afternoon, December 10, and the 2016 edition set a new standard; it was bigger and better in every way. So much so that many who had seen the parade at […]

UB girls get self-defence training
The young women of the University of Belize struck a blow for women’s right with their protest march “Don’t Call me Baby” protesting street harassment a month ago, and in further activities for the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism against violence against women, the […]

Taiwan helps fund Belize online license and permit system
Belizeans will soon be able to apply for a license or a permit online through theBelize Electronic License and Permit System(BELAPS) being implemented by the Central Information Technology Office (CITO) in Belmopanwith financial assistance from the Republic of China on Taiwan. BELAPS is part of […]

World Bank helps FIU in anti-money laundering risk assessment
The Government of Belize has been seeking ways to assure the United States’ government that the Belize banking sector has a clean bill of health with regard to transactions involving the profits of drug trafficking, and to assure U.S. authorities that Belize banks do not […]

Editorial
The reason being given for the unexpected and premature withdrawal of Ms. Vanessa Retreage, Attorney General and (since September 2016) Minister of Natural Resources from the Barrow Cabinet is unreal and unreasonable. Announcing her resignation and replacement at a press conference in Belmopan on Wednesday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow explained […]

Cash strapped GOB authorizes $1 Billion credit
In the midst on an economic recession, growing public debt, pending arbitration settlements and efforts to restructure the 2038 Superbond, the government of Belize recently introduced legislation which will in effect give it the ability to print more than $1 billion in Belizean currency. The […]

Christmas cut short
Students’ and teachers’ Christmas holidays have been cut short by one week following a decision from the Association of General Managers of Pre and Primary Schools to re-open classes on January 3. The decision comes after the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) had avised its […]

Woman murdered and dumped in river
Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a woman whose mangled body was found floating in the Belize River this week. Officer Commanding Belize Rural Eastern Division, Assistant Commissioner of Police Edward Broaster explained that a boat captain discovered the body around noon […]

PM shuffles Cabinet again
Prime Minister Dean Barrow put a brake on the rumor mill by confirming that Attorney General Senator Vanessa Retreage is leaving office at the end of the year. Barrow answered the flood of speculation, saying Retreage had given a one-year time limit for her service […]

The Belize Times

BARROW SCREWS BELIZEANS!
As we go to press, the Belize Times has been able to confirm that representatives of the IMF are currently meeting with officials from the Ministry of Finance, and the discussions are not positive. Even worse than that, very highly placed sources tell us that government is struggling to meet its wage bill for this month. Traditionally in December public officers are paid their 15th salaries and then their end of month salaries one week after, before Christmas. But accounting officers are reportedly being told to advise staff that it is unlikely they will receive that second pay before the end of the month. In a press conference held on Tuesday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow in trademark fashion glossed over the situation, stating that “while acknowledging that there is a problem that must be addressed, I don’t think it is quite fair to give the impression that the sky is falling.” Perhaps Mr. Barrow was referring to that particular patch of sky over his Seashore Drive mansion or the pieces of sky over privileged members of his Cabinet, but it is abundantly clear that the situation is dire and there will be extremely difficult days ahead for normal Belizeans.

Document Proves that Guatemala Has Annexed the Sarstoon
In a document which has just come to our attention and which outlines travel allowance from January to August 2016 for officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, there is a very troubling affirmation. The document makes reference to a trip of Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Carlos Raúl Morales to Washington, D.C. between March 14 and 17 this year. This is the meeting where Belize and Guatemala got together with the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) to discuss the way forward in resolving the age-old territorial dispute and funding for the OAS Office in the so-called Adjacency Zone. During that meeting, according to this document, they set out what steps would be followed to obtain funding not only for the office but also for the separate referenda to be held in both countries on whether or not the differendum should be submitted for final resolution to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

BEWARE FAKE COPS
A group of robbers dressed as police officers concocted a daring robbery by setting up a fake checkpoint which helped them to fool their victims into thinking they were law enforcement. The incident happened at around 6:00 p.m. on Monday, December 12, at mile 20 on the Phillip Goldson highway. Four employees for Travellers Liquors Limited, including salesman Armando Perez, were on their way to Belmopan. They were moving a cargo of their company’s merchandise when they spotted what they believed to be a legitimate Police checkpoint. There were 2 persons, in Police uniforms standing near a homemade checkpoint sign. They only had one traffic cone, but one was dressed in the khaki shirt and blue pants police officers use. The other was dressed in the black battle dress uniform. Believing that these individuals were legitimate Police, the employees pulled up the cargo truck next to the checkpoint sign. That’s when one of the two Police look-alikes requested to see the driver’s license for the driver. When he produced it, the fake cop pulled out a gun and ordered the driver of the vehicle to pull the truck over to the side of the road. When they complied, the men ordered them to get out of the vehicle, and they were forcibly locked into the back of the truck at gunpoint.

A Hotbed of Vegas – Land Grab was Family Affair…
When presented with evidence of blatant corruption in the Ministry of Natural Resources involving his former Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega and his family, Prime Minister Dean Barrow did as expected, stating – “I don’t know that there is any need for an investigation. If the facts are as you say and as the honourable member for Lake Independence recited, then that is to be condemned out of hand. There’s no need for any investigation.” Apparently, that is to be the end of that if the Prime Minister were to have his way. But it is unlikely that the documents showing that then Minister of Lands orchestrated a scheme to acquire a 1600acre parcel of land near Carmelita will go away anytime soon. More than fifty land transfer documents are ample proof of what was simple and unadulterated, brazen corruption. Those documents show residents of Orange Walk close to the then Minister being given title to 25-acre parcels (in most cases) – all connected – and then those persons immediately transferring those parcels to German Vega and Sons Imports Limited, owned by the then Minister’s brother, or directly to the then Minister’s wife, Marilene Vega. In some of those cases persons transferred the parcels of land to German Vega who then immediately transferred them to Marilene Vega.

THINK ABOUT IT!
It was an insult to Fidel Castro for Dean Barrow to send Patrick Faber to represent Belize at the funeral services in Cuba. Patrick Faber may be the Deputy Prime Minister in a UDP government but, like his government, he knows very little about the achievements of the great leaders from the Caribbean nation of Cuba. And worse he cares even less about the ideas that have held the people of Cuba together for so long. When Fidel and his comrades including the awesome guerrilla warrior Ernesto “Che” Guevara overthrew, by military means the USA puppet/dictator Batista, they were faced with a nation and people in crisis. Tourism had brought exploitation and prostitution to new levels. Cubans were by and large uneducated and illiterate. There was no healthcare for the masses. No housing project and a culture of poverty and dependency. Under Fidel Cuba has long been the top nation in the world for its literacy and healthcare programs which benefit every Cuban. Despite a crippling and brutal total embargo by the US against Cuba, Fidel brought his people to economic self-sufficiency.

That Proverbial Creek
On Friday, at a sitting of the House at which Prime Minister Dean Barrow was absent, Lake Independence Area Representative Cordel Hyde made a shocking revelation, backed up by pages and pages of evidence. Not for the first time, there was proof in the offering that Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega had abused the powers of his office as Minister of Natural Resources. Not for the first time, members of his family were named and implicated in what can be considered no less than outrageous, blatant and unabashed corruption. There can be no other way of looking at what was obviously an orchestrated play to place more than 1600 acres of land outside Carmelita in the hands of the Vega clan. Fifty-five parcels of crown land sold for a pittance to affiliates of Minister Vega and then reacquired by the Minister’s brother and his wife – a shameless family affair and another contemptible act by Vega to enrich himself and his family members while he was Minister of Lands. But what happens now? Allegations against the former Deputy Prime Minister have been rampant and supported by evidence. Just one such instance was enough to warrant his resignation from Cabinet, though he refused to resign as Area Representative of Orange Walk North. There certainly has been no contemplation of criminal action by Prime Minister Dean Barrow.

Police United Leads PLB playoffs
The Police United are leading the Premier League of Belize football playoffs with 3pts from a 3-1 win over the Belize Defence Force at the Norman Broaster Stadium on Sunday, while the undefeated Belmopan Bandits drew 1-1 with FC Belize at the MCC Garden. Police United’s Carlton “Fubu” Thomas scored their 1st goal in the 22nd minute, Daniel Jimenez added a 2nd goal in the 38th minute, and Byron “Barrow” Usher delivered a 3rd goal in the 49th minute to lead 3-zip; until Shane “Chucky” Flores scored the BDF’s only consolation goal in the 91st minute. In Belize City, FC Belize’s Mexican import Hector Martinez headed the ball away from Bandits’ goalie Shane Moody Orio and into the net in the 35th minute to lead 1-zip at the half.

Wesley College Boys Win CSSSA Basketball Championship
The Wesley College boys won the Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) basketball championship with 2 back to back wins in the finals against the Gwen Lizarraga High School boys at the SJC gym last Wednesday and Friday, December 9. In Game 1 of the Finals on Wednesday, the Wesley boys blew out Gwen Liz: 47-34, led by Tevaun Lennan with 15pts. Kerdell Tench added 10pts and Xylon Belgrove and Gregory Buckley put up 8pts apiece. Gwen Liz’s Kenyon Requena and Trey Gentle scored 11pts apiece; Jarrell Westby added 9pts and Kenneth Buckley and Ivan Cacho threw in a bucket apiece. In Game 2 on Friday, the Wesley boys won 60-47 vs. Gwen Liz, led by Elden Gladden with 14 pts. Joshua Bradley and Tevaun Lennan scored 11 pts. apiece, while Xylon Belgrove added 8pts and Gregory Buckley had 6pts.

ACC Girls Win CSSSA Basketball Championship
The Anglican Cathedral College girls won the Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) basketball championship by 2 back to back wins in the finals against the Wesley College girls at the SJC gym last Wednesday and Friday, December 9. In Game 1 of the Finals on Wednesday, ACC won 36-3 vs. Wesley, led by Shandra Palacio with 16 pts., and Zaria Jenkins added 12 pts. Gianni Fortune scored 4pts, and Bria Gabourel and Kailah White threw in a bucket apiece. Wesley’s Taliyah Hyde scored 3pts. In Game 2 on Friday, ACC bombed Wesley 44-11, led by Zaria Jenkins with 32pts and Shandra Palacio added 8pts. Gianni Fortune scored 4pts. Wesley’s Taliyah Hyde scored 3pts, Marcelina Williams added 4pts, and Cherish Wade threw in a bucket.

Questions to Ministers
Would the Member for Queen Square and Prime Minister please confirm or deny reports that his Minister of Natural Resources was threatened by a family member of his former Deputy Prime Minister? Would the Member for Queen Square and Prime Minister please confirm or deny reports that the IMF is in Belize City to oversee the retrenchment of an unspecified number of public officers early in 2017? Would the unelected Senator and Minister of Forests please confirm or deny reports that the son of a colleague and former Minister has received a forty-year logging contract in the Sibun Reserve? If so, can he say when and by whom that license was approved? Before she leaves office, could the unelected Senator and Minister of Natural Resources please state her connection to a company called Aviation Alliance Limited, and also confirm or deny reports that the company is owned by the son of her political boss?

MoE and BNTU on Warpath Again
The Belize National Teachers Union is once again standing up to the Ministry of Education. The union is encouraging its members to take their full Christmas vacation, and to work with their schools’ managers to come up with their own schedule to make up the 11 days lost in the October strike. The Ministry is attempting to short the hardworking teachers of 4 days of their Christmas Vacation, while at the same time stripping those teachers of 11 days of salary. Christmas Vacation usually ends on January 9, when teachers and students are to return to class. To make up the days, the Ministry made a decree that classes will start on Tuesday, January 3rd. They also want to short the teachers and the students 2 days of their Easter holiday by extending classes up to April 11. Education Minister Patrick Faber and his management team have consistently ignored the teachers who have been trying to negotiate for another way of making up the school days. They have workable plans which will lessen the burden by increasing the school day by 1 or 2 hours. Instead of hearing them out, the Ministry is attempting to interpret the school rules in its own way so that it can take action.

Retreage GONE…Barnett is 3rd Lands Minister in 13 Months
For weeks rumours of the imminent departure of Attorney-General and Minister of Natural Resources Vanessa Retreage had been circulating. This week it became clear that the rumours were credible and on Tuesday, the announcement came at a press conference in Belmopan. The explanation came from Prime Minister Dean Barrow who stated, practiced smirk in place, that it was simply a matter of Retreage’s one-year contract with government coming to an end. But just as credible as the rumours of her departure were the rumours that Retreage had come under fire from senior members of Cabinet – allies of disgraced former Minister Gaspar Vega who were angry that documents proving Vega’s corruption were being leaked. There were also reports from high-level UDP sources that the brother of Gaspar Vega, German Vega, had made threats against Retreage which she got wind of.

Rosewood Again!
So you thought that when our precious Belizean rosewood was placed on Appendix II of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 2013 that we had solved our rosewood problem. Who can ever forget the grand fiasco in which family members of prominent UDP Ministers were deeply involved; it is no wonder it took so long to do something about it. The rosewood Minister at the time was so frustrated that she burned the illegal rosewood to make sure the rosewood Dons would not get it. Well, the problem only went quiet, it never went away. Even after the rosewood became a protected species, residents in southern Belize continued to observe and also report illegal rosewood being harvested throughout Toledo and Stann Creek. But it appeared no one was able to or maybe interested in dealing with it. Supposedly no one knew who was cutting, who was buying, or where it was going.

WHAT A BLOODY ECONOMIC MESS!!!
By: Norris Hall. When the Prime Minister of Belize was in the American capital last week, some of Washington’s investment bankers were not too pleased about the purpose of his visit. When he called on their doorsteps, he and his entourage went begging for an extension for the repayment of a $1.1 billion debt. This does not include the accumulated interest. The bankers had twice agreed to further underwrite this consolidated loan. When he took office he successfully re-negotiated the repayment arrangements made by the previous government. But his government began to renege on their payments because of a self-made debt crisis caused by the mismanagement of the national economy. It is on the precipice of total collapse and exacerbated by an absence of any clear cut policies and the well-established institutionalized corruption.

Port Loyola Housing for the Poor! Really???
By Gilroy Usher, Sr.  “Port Loyola Housing for the Poor” – that’s one of several large signs on a huge, yellow, concrete, three storey building at the Cor. Central American Blvd. and Cemetery Rd. in Belize City which Port Loyola Representative “Shoes” told the media he gave to his daughter. The name of the business gives the mistaken belief that things will happen to make life better for the small man and woman of the area. Documents at the Belize Companies Registry in Belmopan show that Port Loyola Housing for the Poor was registered as a limited liability company on July 21st 2008, with two Belize City residents – Martha Davis registered in Port Loyola at #7286 Reggae Street and Manuel Malic who is registered in the Collet Division at #4 Lakeview Street as the owners of the business. Port Loyola Housing for the Poor is a profit making operation. The main source of its revenue is allegedly secret government contracts for a wide range of activities. As a limited liability company only the things that are directly owned by the establishment can be used to settle its debts.

GOB Falling Asleep at the Economic Wheel
By: Eduardo Santos. The current financial crisis is yet another crisis that has shaken our economy and forced the government and financial institutions to ponder once again the overall working of financial systems. The crisis which began in the US and then spread to Europe, has now affected the livelihoods of almost everyone in the world including Belizeans. In addition to easy lending of money, the impacts include securitization and changing nature of banking, excessive use of derivatives, inflow of easy money, improper financial regulations concerning spending, inconsistent government policy and weak oversight. These reasons were also the cause for the inflation within our already fragile economy. One of the main causes of the economic turmoil was the borrowing of cheap money from the PetroCaribe Funds, especially with its lax interest rate as set forth in the agreement. This led to substantial increase in the current account deficit which in turn, caused macroeconomic imbalances within our economy. These imbalances interacted with the flaws in the Government of Belize’s fiscal policies to put great stress on the financial intermediation process.

Thinking Out Loud
As I write this article early in the week, my emotions are caught somewhere between anger and hope, with some frustration thrown in for good measure. Everybody knows that this is my favourite time of the year. It serves to bring out the child in me, because children can find joy in the simplest things. Christmas makes me want to be a better person, to see smiles on the faces of my family and friends, to do good for the people of this town. But that good feeling has been damaged by a callous action which makes me very angry. Just one day after we celebrated as a community our annual tree-lighting ceremony, our tree was deliberately destroyed by fire. As I write this details are still sketchy, but Police have detained and released two persons responsible. For some reason unknown to me at this time, these two men came to Orange Walk and set our tree on fire. Despite being told that there were witnesses on the scene, I am informed that the men were released because of a lack of witnesses.

Did Alleged Murderer Commit Suicide?
San Ignacio Police are currently investigating the sudden death of a man from Yalbac Village which is allegedly connected to a murder on Sunday. According to official reports, Police were called to the village just before 5:00pm on Tuesday and found the body of Maximiliano Williams lying off the main road with a gunshot wound to the chest. A 16-gauge shotgun was found beside him. Police had been seeking Williams for questioning in the murder of another man from the same village, farmer Melecio Gonzalez. That incident happened at around 8:30pm Sunday night. Police were summoned to the village in the Cayo District where they found the farmer lying dead in his own crops. Preliminary indications indicated that he had been bludgeoned to death.

Electrician Minister Confused About Pharmaceutical Bill
The Belize Times recently shared the comments of Health CEO Dr. Ramon Figueroa explaining the reason behind the short tender for pharmaceuticals from September 2016 to March 2017. That is when he revealed that the Ministry “had an incredibly outstanding bill above and beyond the approved budget for last year for pharmaceuticals. Actually it was for this financial year.” He disclosed that “outstanding was about $23/$24 million…It really went through the roof. Before that it was pretty much stable.” The matter was put as a question to Ministers inside the House of Representatives at the last meeting on Friday December 9th and Minister of Health Pablo Marin closed off his response with the quote: “without data you are just another person with an opinion; with limited data, you are just another confused person.”

Another Vega Land Mess…NSV vs. BTL
The scandal of how 1,600 acres of land in Carmelita made its way to private owners and then on to former Minister Gaspar Vega’s brother and wife is slowly being digested by the Belizean people. But it is clear that even while the recent revelations are certainly bad enough, they are only the tip of the iceberg. There is another mess caused by what appears to be a Vega family land hustle spanning years, and one of Vega’s nephews is currently suing BTL over a piece of land in Hopkins Village. That land is lot #1004 in the village, and BTL was granted a lease in November 2010 for 7 years, and given the option to extend up to 30 years if they so wished. BTL placed their cellular phone tower there, along with other hardware required to run their telephone services in the village. They were under the impression that only they had claims to this land, since their lease expires next year.

Cop Charged for Human Trafficking
A Police Constable attached to the Benque Viejo deh Carmen Police Station has been charged for human trafficking offences after a patrol of his colleagues busted him with an SUV-load of undocumented Salvadorans. According to Police, they intercepted the vehicle but had no idea what they would find when they stopped it. According to San Ignacio OC Supt. Richard Rosado, “”Police and a team of volunteer special constable were conducting anti-crime patrols within the Santa Elena Town area and upon reaching in front of the Ministry of Works compound on the George Price Highway, attention was drawn to a black heavily tinted SUV vehicle bearing no license plates. The said vehicle then overtook the police mobile and the police subsequently intercepted the vehicle. Police subsequently approach the said vehicle and notice that there were 8 persons in the vehicle with the driver.”

CCJ Orders PUC to Return Speednet’s Money
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has handed down a major victory in favour of Speednet Communications Ltd. (parent company of the telephone brand SMART) and against the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in an appeal of a case filed in 2011. The PUC has thus been ordered to return to Speednet $790,600. As outlined by the CCJ in a release, the dispute arose out of a difference in interpretation of the relevant regulations which set out the licence fees per ‘channel’ at $100. The channels (contained in the 14 Point-to-Point links that Speednet applied for in 2010) were used to provide call, SMS and data service to customers. According to the CCJ, the cost should have been $1,400. They agreed with Speednet that they were using the cheaper “radio frequency” channel as opposed to “voice” channel.


#519853 - 12/17/16 01:08 AM Re: Today's Belize News: December 17, 2016 [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
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Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Corner store in San Ignacio robbed
Reports reaching our newsroom is that Corner store, a Chinese grocery shop in San Ignacio, was robbed shortly before 4 p.m. today. BBN could not confirm the amount of money stolen. However, it is confirmed that cash, an iPad and a phone was stolen. No […]

Defence Minister awards Coast Guard officers
Minister of Defence John Saldivar yesterday presented a number of awards to members of the Belize Coast Guard at their End of Year Award Ceremony and Christmas Luncheon held at the Coast Guard Headquarters on the George Price Highway just outside Belize City. In his address […]

BEL proposes to maintain electricity rates
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) has made a submission to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), proposing that the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) is maintained at $0.3699 per kWh for the remainder of the Annual Tariff Period: January 1 to June 30, 2017. The Company is […]

Senate debates government motions
The Senate met in Belmopan yesterday to consider several motions and bills tabled at last Friday’s sitting of the House. Among them, the Senate debated government’s motion to increase the ceiling on Treasury Bills to $1.3 Billion. Several senators, including those representing the business […]

Belize compiling comprehensive records of St. George’s Caye battle
On September 7, a panel of researchers from Belize and Quintana Roo, Mexico gave a presentation entitled “Spanish Reports on the Battle of 1798: Preliminary Findings,” at the Bliss Institute as part of the September Celebration activities. The lecture was a report on a […]

PM Barrow departs country on personal leave
The Office of the Prime Minister has issued a statement informing the general public that Prime Minister Dean Barrow left the country today on personal leave with his family. The PM is scheduled to return to Belize on Tuesday, December 20, 2016. The Deputy […]

Hattieville man arrested for keeping firearm without gun license
A man in Hattieville village, Belize District was arrested yesterday around 10:30 a.m. for keeping a firearm without a gun license. According to reports, police were conducting a mobile patrol on Mahogany Heights Road where a search was conducted on Ian Earson Young Jr., […]

Black Orchid throwing Brukdown celebration
The Black Orchid resort, located just outside the village of Burrell Boom, will be hosting the first of its December “Brukdown” jam events this coming Sunday starting at midday. The event will feature the best of Creole culture including a delicious array of local […]

New speed bumps in Santa Elena
The Bishop Martin Neighborhood Watch Committee (BMNW) had requested that bumps be installed in key areas in Santa Elena. Perez and Orchid streets were main concerns for the group because seven accidents have occurred in the area recently. The streets are also located directly behind […]

Security at BEL’s Corporate Headquarters robbed of firearm
The security at Belize Electricity Limited’s (BEL’s) Corporate headquarters located on the Philip Goldson Highway was robbed around 2:30 this afternoon. Two assailants approached and overpowered the security guard at the front gate of the corporate headquarters and stole his fire arm. The company […]

Blogs

CAYE CAULKER HUMANE SOCIETY
Barefoot veterinary medicine at its best.

Holy Pizza Truck Stop!
by MADISON PEARL. This is a blog that I have been wanting to write for a long time, but I felt like it was missing something. Something like PIZZA! The Truck Stop is an amazing kid friendly place up north here on Ambergris Caye. It has lots of yummy food and fun activities like corn hole, horse shoes, giant Jenga and they even have family friendly movies on Friday nights. The best part is that we don’t even have to go somewhere else to eat, it’s all there! They have “food trucks” which are just shipping containers with kitchens in them. Cool! They have wings, cheesy fries & ice-cream! Gluten free? They can hook that up too! I know cause my grandma is allergic to gluten and she can’t eat just anywhere. Here’s the yummiest part of this experience… you ready? PIZZA!!! They recently added a new “food truck”. Its called “A Slice Of Haven” They have so many different toppings like, mash potato and bacon pizza, conch pizza, and of course the classic pepperoni and cheese pizza. We got a chance to talk to the chef and learn some cool stuff. He said that in New Haven they say “Fresh Muzz” instead of “Motzerella”. They make thin crust pizza and it cooks super fast in this really fancy brick oven; I think it gets as hot as 600 degrees . Seriously, I timed it at like three minutes!

Come together: Pier 366 dining is a communal affair
The focal point of Pier 366 is the communal table. Some nights during the week, it will be used as the Chef’s Tasting Table, to which the personable and pleasantly efficacious Garfield Victor will bring his insider’s take on the fare being served. It is a fun experience. Every time Chef Garfield came out trailed by staff bearing deliciousness I kept thinking, “Man, Forest Whitaker should play him in the ‘Pier 366’ movie. They share that gentle bear demeanor and instant likability. It starts at the entrance, where the ever-changing catch-of-the-day board lists the evening’s fare and prices. In Belize dollars. You can pick off the board or from the iced-down display inside the restaurant. Your host will suggest a number of ways to prepare your fish — blackened, grilled, Jamaican jerked, Asian-styled “En Papillotte,” fried and Creole — whew! And after your selection you can retire to the gazebo lounge swings with a drink or head for your table.

Driving directions from San Ignacio to Placencia, Belize - specifically to Caribbean Beach Cabanas!
San Ignacio is a little trickier than smaller villages in Belize - but follow the signs to the Western Highway. You can go on either bridge, as you can see on the right of this map. You can see the road marked Western on the far right. Follow the Western highway headed east, towards Belmopan. You will turn right onto Hummingbird highway. Hummingbird Highway is by far the prettiest part of the drive. You will wind through hills and towns, up and over bluffs, and through the Mayan mountains. As you approach Dangriga, you will see a Shell Gas station on your right. The turn off of the Hummingbird Highway and onto the “Southern Highway” is just ahead. Turn Right onto the Southern Highway. You should see signs for “Punta Gorda” and/or “Placencia”. Follow the Southern Highway for about 35 minutes, and then you’ll approach a round-a-bout. Here, follow the signs to Placencia. It’s the “left turn” in the round-a-bout. You are now on the road to the Peninsula.

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 :)

8 Things to See and Do in Belize in 2017
With a diverse landscape that includes the second-largest barrier reef in the world, pristine rainforests, and jungles teeming with wildlife, it’s no wonder that Belize is one of the most exciting adventure destinations to visit in 2017. The only country in the region where English is the official language, Belize is a natural paradise where more than 500 species of birds, four types of big cats, and monkeys thrive. All major airlines, including United, Delta, American, and Southwest offer non-stop flights to Belize, making it easier and more affordable than ever to visit Belize in 2017. Here are eight things you can see and do in Belize in 2017: 1 – Paddleboard along the Southern Belize Barrier Reef. 2 – Explore Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. 3 – Paddle, Snorkel and Explore the Reefs and White Sand Cayes of Glover’s Atoll. 4 – Explore the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave. 5 – Exploring the rich coral reefs and white sand cayes of Lighthouse Atoll. 6 – Visit Hopkins Village. 7 – Go Fishing. 8. Snorkel and Scuba Dive Belize’s Blue Hole.

Truck Stop’s Taste of Haven makes pizza taste like heaven
Ben Popik’s Truck Stop on Ambergris Caye has a new food truck, called Slice of Haven. Just opened on Wednesday. That is no misspelling. This is New Haven-style pizza, a favorite of Casa Picasso and food truck impresarios Jackie and Adam Feldman, who created the Truck Stop’s other two restaurants, Rasa (Southeast Asian/Malaysian fusion) and Arepa (Central American fare). Their favorite Connecticut pizza joint was Pepe’s, where the crust was thin and slightly charred and the toppings were so fresh you want to slap them on the cheek. Taste of Haven pops out 12-inch pies that would make Pepe’s proud. “The crust is charred,” emphasized Jackie as we waited at the big spool table for our first sampling, “not burned.” That is a distinctive characteristic of New Haven-style pizza — the char. Also, the crust is thin and slightly moist, not doughy and chewy. According to Hasni Ghazali, the brilliant chef who helped the Feldmans set up all three food trucks, the dough ferments for 24 to 48 hours before it becomes pizza.

International Sourcesizz

The lionfish invasion: A call to arms?
A battle is brewing in southeastern U.S. waters, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea: it’s the lionfish against all comers. With voracious appetites and virtually no predators, these invasive fish are damaging reefs and fisheries. Oblivious to their enemy status, the lionfish are winning this war — for now. The quest to remove this unwelcome guest is spawning inventions that range from underwater robots to fish traps armed with special recognition software. While testing for these devices is still underway, the innovators and marine managers are hoping that technology can turn the tide against lionfish. “It’s the inverse of every fisheries management plan you’ve ever heard of,” says Corey Eddy, a marine biologist who studies lionfish around Bermuda. “Usually we’re trying to minimize the pressure on fish populations so they can rebound. Now we’re saying, let’s start wiping them out.”

THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA (TAIWAN) DONATES USD 109,000.00 FOR THE ICT PROJECT TO THE GOVERNMENT OF BELIZE
The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is pleased to announce that H.E. Ambassador Charles K. Y. Liu will present a cheque of USD 109,000.00 to the Ministry of Finance and the Central Information Technology Office (CITO) of the Government of Belize for the bilateral ICT Project on December 14th, 2016. This 5-year project – the BELAPS (Belize Electronic License and Permit System) - aims to assist Belize in boosting the efficiency of its existing import-export licensing and permit issuing processes. Following the first contribution in September, these two donations totaling USD 218,000.00 demonstrate Taiwan’s continuing commitment to help Belize expand e-Governance initiatives throughout its government system.

Do you want to be a Foreign Service Officer? Take the test!
The Embassy of the United States of America announces that applications for the position of Foreign Service Officer (FSO) are now being accepted from U.S. citizens by the Department of State. One of the first steps in becoming an FSO is to take the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT), which is offered worldwide at various locations and only to U.S. citizens. The FSOT will be offered in Belize at the U.S. Embassy in Belmopan on Tuesday, January 31 and Wednesday, February 1, 2017. The registration deadline for candidates intending to test overseas is January 25, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. If you are a U.S. citizen and are at least 20 years of age and interested in serving as an FSO, please visit the Department of State website at http://www.careers.state.gov/ for information on eligibility, application, registration, testing, and more career information.

Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism hosts training in fishery sector sanitary controls
A two-week training covering “Food safety in the fishery sector” and “Fishery products laboratory testing” was delivered to 30 inspector and laboratory analysts from 15 CARIFORUM countries during the period 28 November to 9 December 2016, by four international experts. The training, which covered inspection, control and testing in the fishery sector, was based on eight operational manuals developed under a project funded by the European Union (EU). The training was organized by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM). Food safety hazards, best international practices in fish inspection at each stage of the supply chain, controls in aquaculture, and traceability as well as modern approaches to laboratory testing and accreditation were among the key areas addressed. Particular attention was paid to explaining the sanitary requirements for exporting fishery and aquaculture products to the EU and markets in other developed countries. Practical work helped the participants to understand the role of rapid and field testing, to enable better decision-making on the safety of fishery products.

Antarctic 'pole of ignorance' finally addressed
The last major unknown region on Earth has just been surveyed: the South Pole. Although the Americans have had a base at the bottom of the planet for decades, what lies underneath the thick ice there has been a mystery. Now, European scientists have flown instruments back and forth across the pole to map its hidden depths. As well as finding previously unknown valleys and mountains, the team says it has acquired important data that will have uses far from Antarctica. Much of this data is still being processed, but already the team can confirm the existence of a vast basin that appears to play a key role in controlling the flow of ice towards the ocean. "It's an over 1,000km-long basin that extends from the Weddell Sea right down to the pole," said British Antarctic Survey (BAS) team-member Dr Fausto Ferraccioli. "It's really one of the major features of the Antarctic continent and it's likely to have very large significance because it underlies some of the fastest flowing ice streams in this region."

College of the Ozarks group spends Thanksgiving serving in Belize
A group of College of the Ozarks students, faculty, and staff spent their Thanksgiving break serving others in Belize the week of Nov. 12-22. Over the course of the trip, the group built a library and provided books for it and taught a discipleship curriculum for elementary students. The group also hosted three conferences — one for pastors, one for women and one for health care professionals. These conferences were based on community building, rest and renewal.

Garinagu organization and political growth in Belize - Part 4
Garifuna women in Belize have also achieved becoming public servants as both local and national representatives. It is known that, in the terms starting from 1963-1972, Venancia Petillo served as the first Garifuna woman to be elected to become a Town Board Councillor in the Toledo District representing the PUP political party. She was also the first Garifuna woman to become a senator. Dorris June Garcia from Dangriga served as president of the Senate, representing the UDP political party 1984-1989. Garcia reached a milestone becoming the first Garinagu appointed to the position of president of the Senate. Another Garinagu woman obtained a prominent position. Sylvia Flores, from Dangriga served as mayor of Dangriga, and speaker of the House during the 1998- 2003 term. Flores also served as an area representative 2003-2008 and as minister of defence and national emergency management (2003) and minister of human development and women (2005).

Videos

  • Channel 5 25th Anniversary Interview - Stewart Krohn , 5min. The man with the vision that started it all.

  • Channel 5 25th Anniversary Interviews, 6 all together wifh people critical to the development of Channel 5

  • Journey To Nohoch Ch'en, 29min. In early 2015, a team of 22 explorers set out into the far reaches of Belize's treasured Chiquibul National Forest on a mission to reach the never before explored Nohoch Ch'en Sinkhole - a massive bowl with sheer limestone walls dropping 500 feet below the jungle, and breathtaking views. Join the crew as they discover the extraordinary and mystical features of Nohoch Ch'en, ranging from it's incredibly unique gradient of ecosystems, the rare and endemic species living inside, and an unknown ancient history left by the Maya people... Nohoch Ch'en is but one of many amazing features of the Chiquibul, but it is not without it's threats. Deforestation and incursions from over the border threaten this beautiful land, and it is up to the governing rangers of FCD (Friends for Conservation & Development), and all of us to protect it.

  • Generous Church Belize, 2min. from East Lake Community Church

  • Belize 2015, 3min.

  • A túlélés törvényei - Belize, 43min. Man vs. Wild

  • Miss World Belize Contestant Profile, 1min.

  • 1971: Modern kids, 4min. You can keep your Pokémon, your Wi-Fi devices and your 'video' games! Back in BBC Archive's day we had Clackers. Good, old-fashioned, potentially deadly Clackers.

  • Boo's Belize 40th 2016, 12min.

  • Chaltunha Hostel San Ignacio - Hotel in San Ignacio, Belize, 3min.

  • Mary Rodriguez (San Pedro Sun) Tandem Jumps with Skydive San Pedro, 7min. On Thursday, December 15, Mary Rodriguez from San Pedro Sun jumped with our tandem instructor Max from our Belize dropzone, located in San Pedro Town on the beautiful island of Ambergris Caye.

  • Herping Belize Part I, 7.5min. Reptiles and amphibians are not the only fascinating creatures found in the rainforest. You wont want to miss this journey through Belize, even the amazing walking batfish was found!

  • Belize City Peace Poster Contest Video Presentation 2016-2017, 2min. PSAST Project in Review & Award Ceremony 14 December, 2016 9:30am - 11:30am at Bliss Centre, Belize City

  • Belize 2016 Compilation - GoPro Hero 3 1080p, 8min. ust a few clips compiled from our trip to Belize this year - what a magical place. Kudos to everyone who was part of this special trip.

  • Three days of Guided Fly-fishing in Belize with Hardcore Fishing Charters, 6min. Flyfishing in Placencia Belize with Hardcore Fishing Charters. Nick Ross my buddy in the pic and me tall guy. Had an amazing 3days with Hardcore Fishing Charters!!!

  • Bird Migration Patterns - Western Hemisphere, 1/2min. Our latest SOS dataset maps out the migration paths of 118 species of terrestrial birds in the Western Hemisphere. These paths, represented by the moving dots, are overlaid on the average daily surface temperature of the Earth. By combining these two datasets, it's easy to see the seasonal migration patterns.


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