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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

Second annual Adopt a Bear brings Christmas cheer to hundreds of children
Thanks to the 'Adopt a Bear' project and the generosity of many, on Wednesday, December, 21st more than 200 children in San Pedro Town received Christmas presents. The project, which was created in 2015 by a group of volunteers on Ambergris Caye, has taken the duty of ensuring that the island's less fortunate children receive a gift from Santa. This year the program was organized by members of the charitable organization Raise Me Up, which invited the general public to adopt a bear ornament from the Christmas trees at participating businesses. On each bear, the name of a child with his/her wishes is written on it. By adopting a bear, a person is committed to fulfil the child's wishes. The program suggests that wishes should reflect on educational items, things that the child needs, or something that they really want. Many children followed these criteria, however, according to organizers they could have wished for anything they wanted.

San Pedro Tiger Sharks claim third place in COCABA basketball tournament
The San Pedro Tiger Sharks basketball team are back on the island after representing Belize in the COCABA (Confederacion Centroamericana de Baloncesto) basketball tournament held in San Salvador, El Salvador. The games took place from December 13th through the 18th, and saw the island team bringing home third place after giving their best in a series of four matches against different teams from around Central America. In the first match on Wednesday, December 14th, the Tiger Sharks faced team Corre Caminos from Panama. The game ended in 92-72 win for the Panamanian team. The following day the Tiger Sharks were defeated again by Salvadoranian team Santa Tecla, with a final game score of 105-75. During the third day of the competition, it was clear that if the Belizean team wanted to continue in the competition they needed to a win. On Friday, December 16th, they did just that, defeating team Falcones from El Salvador by an advantage of 8 points. Things began improving for the Tiger Sharks, and the following day they took on Atlantico from Honduras, winning the game by 20 points! The Sharks had made a major comeback and were going for more.

Santander to provide BEL with cheaper power supply
On Tuesday, December 13th, Belize took a major step in becoming self-sufficient in energy production after signing a 15 year agreement between Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) and SS Energy, a subsidiary of the sugar producing company, Santander, located in the Cayo District. This new source of electricity supply to the national grid is expected to continue improving the quality and reliability of BEL's power services nationwide. At the signing ceremony in Belize City, John Avery, Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), explained that the project has been in the works since 2013, when Santander was selected as one of the bidders to negotiate with BEL for power purchase. "Belize has the least capacity for local power production in the first six months of the year," said Avery. "This additional source of electricity will now greatly improve the sustainability of our electricity service." The initial agreement is for the supply of 16 megawatts of power, which is scheduled to start on February 1, 2017. The power purchase agreement for now will be for just 8 megawatts, which is expected to yield between 18 to 25 million kilowatts per hour.

Another spectacular Caribbean Christmas Colors Contest
For the eleventh year, The San Pedro Sun staff toured across San Pedro Town judging colorfully lit houses for their annual Caribbean Christmas Colors Contest. The competition is held to recognize residents who decorate their houses in the spirit of Christmas, and Caribbean Christmas Colors is intended to give back to a community that promotes holiday joy. With brightly lit homes adorned with festive ornaments and twinkling lights, San Pedro residents certainly seemed to be feeling the holidays. On Friday, December 16th, judges secretly drove around looking for those holiday homes. As far as three miles north of Sir Barry Bowen Bridge all the way to the DFC Area, there were lights to be seen, some in obscure locations, while others proudly shone like beacons.

San Pedro RC School receive solar panels to save energy
In a quest to minimize San Pedro Roman Catholic School's (SPRCS) carbon footprint and their electricity expenses, a team of volunteers from California Polytechnic State University (Calpoly) in San Luis Obispo, California USA donated and installed 14 solar panels. According to Project Leader David Goldsmith, the idea of installing solar panels inspired his team to start making preparations as early as February 2016. "We really wanted to help this community, and we thought it would be a great chance for us to do so. This became a reality when the Calpoly Construction Management Department received a grant to fund the project. Then we, through the late Professor Tom Glavinish from the University of Kansas, found out about the project and starting planning our trip here from February of this year. Through our coordination with Eddie Halliday, our electricians, and the school, we were able to install 14 solar panels," said Goldsmith.

Ambergris Today

Celebrity Spotting: Dancing with the Stars Derek Hough in Belize
American professional Latin and ballroom dancer, Derek Hough, has been spotted vacationing in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize this week. He went diving at the Great Blue Hole on Wednesday along with celebrity fitness trainer Mark Harari and father Bruce. The trio have shared Tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts of their vacations which has brought them to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize from exploring the Maya ruins in Mexico and Guatemala on their week-long vacation. Derek, Mark and Bruce stayed at the Palms Oceanfront Suites, went diving the Blue Hole with Ramon's Village Dive Shop, have been spotted having breakfast at Pineapples Restaurant and casual touring the island on their holiday vacation. Since September 2007, Hough has become known for his work on the ABC dance-competition series, Dancing with the Stars, on which he has won a record six seasons. Derek is also is also a choreographer, actor, singer-songwriter, and musician. Mark is a top celebrity trainer for the stars in Hollywood.

Second Annual Adopt a Bear Brings Big Smiles to Hundreds of Children
Reaching out to twice the amount of children from last year gift-giving Adopt a Bear program, the event managed to hand out 345 gifts to children in San Pedro and Belize City this year. Elated children who would otherwise not receive gifts for Christmas, gathered at the San Pedro Lions Den on Wednesday, December 21, 2016, where the gifts were handed out. Huge smiles were seen on children's faces as they got the chance to sit and take a picture with Santa Claus and open their gift. Many received exactly what they asked for thanks to the kind gesture of their sponsors. For the second year in a row, this project has given island residents and businesses the opportunity to make a child's Christmas spirit a lot much better. Children who receive gifts are selected from different organizations throughout the island that included from families who benefit from the Food Bank service, social services and the San Pedro Police Department. This year children from Liberty and King's Homes in Belize City were added to the program.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

A few safety tips from the The Belize Road Safety Initiative!


Poets Corner: Defeat
By Abdulmajeed K.Nunez. The law has lost it teeth The PM is admitting defeat Returning Belize to law and order is an impossible feat Only in Belize Vanessa Retreage Since the people's heads are buried in the sand like ostrich Our people are so naive! Only in Belize Can an attorney general be threatened with no investigation by police? The PM should have defended his colleague Is that the way he defended the other thieves? Despite full compliments of the police A spineless PM will then accept her release In this country there is no peace This was a shameful presentation to the press This shows the PM is gutless

Santa is out in the Eastern Division North
With Police Officers (Fitzroy Yearwood), Cadets and other volunteers. Needy families are being gifted food hampers and toys for the holiday season.

Merry Christmas!!! Our Toy Drive was so much fun!!
It was such a blessing to be able to distribute the donated toys to a village that was definitely in need of smiles!! The faces we saw, the reactions we witnessed, and the tears of joy that were brought, were so worth it! Kids from all angles rushed us as we drove around the village and we are more than sure not one child was left without a toy. We also visited 3 particular families which were directed to us by the area representative, Mr. De la Rosa. One family sadly had a father who has been suffering from tuberculosis for about 2 years,and unfortunately cannot work. His family was left with some zinc, wood, nails and a basket of food. Another family, whose mother was a victim of abuse by her husband has been left with a foot injury and a steel plate permanently left in her leg. Her family was left with toys, big basket of food and medication for her son. Lastly, a mother of 5, had her youngest suffering from dehydration and was on the brink of losing her little life. Doctors even turned her away. We are blessed to announce that the baby is doing SO MUCH better. She was left with toys, baby items, food and some other goodies.

Channel 7

2016 - Can Police Keep Murder From Spiking To an All-Time-High?
It's two days to Christmas and eight days before the New Year - a time for both merriment and family bonding. But hundreds of police officers won't be at home with their families - they'll be on duty - doing their best to keep everyone safe and their property secure. And in 2016, it's been harder than ever to keep people safe: officially there have been 135 murders recorded by police. It's close to a 15% increase over last year, and 2016 is on track to be the most deadly year since 2012. That's more reason than ever to pray for peace and sobriety during the holidays, but either way, the police top brass will have to do some major stocktaking. At a time where there are more uniformed police than ever before, why does violent crime continue to spiral out of control? That's what I asked the Commissioner today:...

Compol Faces Tough Questions About Contraband Cops
But were the police doing their best last week when Cayo police say they were forced to let a Special Patrol Vehicle go with three cases of contraband beer? It's a case we first reported on last Thursday, where the Officer in Charge of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, Richard Rosado led the search of an SPU mobile. The ten police officers in the vehicle were coming off two weeks of jungle duties at tourism and border sites. The police who were conducting the search had intelligence that there were contraband beers and a sack of weed in the pickup. They took the truck in to the station to be searched. And here's where the story becomes unclear. Cayo police say Deputy Commissioner Blackett called from headquarters to tell them to sotp the search and let the truck go. Blackett says he did not such thing. He says he only interceded after the truck had been searched and nothing more than contraband beer was found. He says the officers were coming off a long shift in the jungle and he wanted them to get home. So the pickup was released with the contraband and sent on its way to Belmopan.

Cayo Cops Get Suspect In Murder of Grandmother
There was a major breakthrough today in the investigation into the murder of 68 year old Paulina Urbelina Sanchez. San Ignacio police report that the suspected killer was detained in a pre dawn operation this morning. He will now be the subject of an ID parade by the various persons who saw him enter Sanchez's Santa Elena home on Sunday night.

Chester Norales Re-Arrested For Beating Up Elderly Neighbor
All this week we've been reporting on Chester Norales, the 36 year old accused of beating up and robbing his 93 year old neighbor, Patrick Grant. He was freed of charges of dangerous harm and burglary 4 days ago when they were struck out. But then Southside Commander Chester Williams said he would be re-arrested and charged with the same offences as soon as possible. Well that happened yesterday and Norales appeared today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. She didn't take any plea because the case will be tried in the Supreme Court. He met bail of $3,000, and will reappear in February 2017 for a preliminary inquiry.

Rural Police Confirm Identity Of Jane Doe Nine Days Later
Belize Rural Police have just gotten a positive ID for the Jane Doe whose body was found floating in the Belize River nine days ago. The break in the case came through a lead that LOVE FM got from a radio listener in PG - who provided a basic outline of who the woman may have been, and who she was with. Half an hour ago police confirmed Jane Doe is Michelle Moreira from Punta Gorda. Today, before her identity was confirmed, Officer Commanding for the rural area ACP Edward Broaster told us that they are looking for her common law:... ACP. Edward Broaster - OC., Rural Eastern Division: "Since the information that came from Love FM we have managed to get other information as to exactly where they were staying just prior to the demise of Jane Doe and that is between the Boom Bridge on the highway and we identified an abandon house that Jane Doe and an individual was living in."

Ambassador Shoman Says Guat Regs Were Super-Unknown
Last night, you heard Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington discussing those offensive Guatemalan Fisheries Regulations. They blatantly claim fishing rights over Belizean territorial waters from Punta Gorda, all the way to the Sarstoon River. And while the regulations have been around for almost 15 years, no one in Belize had ever seen or heard of it, until we reported on it earlier this week. But we figured if anyone knew anything, it would be Assad Shoman. He's the country's foremost authority on all things connected to the Belize/Guatemala territorial dispute. We contacted him via email and he told us that he also did not find out about these regulations until this week. Shoman says, quote, "I very much doubt that anyone in government knew about this. Had the Ministry of Foreign Affairs become aware of it, I am sure a strong protest note would have been sent to Guatemala pointing out that the regulation had no effect whatsoever in international law, that it did not in any way affect Belize's sovereignty in the areas... The Guatemalan government should, in accordance with good international legal practices, repeal those parts of the regulations that violate the integrity of Belize's territory as defined in the boundary treaty of 1859 between Guatemala and Britain." End Quote.

Jacqueline Willoughby, Acting President OF NTUCB Maps Road Ahead For Umbrella Organization
Last night we showed you our interview with Marvin Mora, the former President of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize. Even though he was re-elected to serve a second term as President, he has to step aside because the constitution of the NTUCB doesn't allow anyone to serve more than 2 terms on the executive. So, first vice president Jacqueline Willoughby, now finds herself at the helm of the Union umbrella group. Collectively the NTUCB represents the interests of about 20,000 workers countrywide. This evening, told us that they will have to hold a bi-election, so that a new president can be elected: Jacqueline Willoughby - Acting President, NTUCB: "I think it was a serious oversight on the part of the players in terms of who ran the last time. The constitution indicates that once you have served 2 consecutive times on the executive committee who cannot be re-elected. It may have been an oversight on the part of brother Mora and others there to not have remembered that he actually ran already and that just caused him to, well his post immediately became unlawful."

Teenager Allegedly Beaten By Beaton
Twenty-one year old Alexander Beaton appeared in the Magistrate's Court today where he was charged with attempted murder. Beaton was picked up by police after a 17 year old boy reported that two persons robbed him of his possessions, valued at just over $1000, and then stabbed him. Beaton was also charged with dangerous harm, use of deadly means of harm and robbery. He was remanded into custody until February 17, 2016. His alleged accomplice, Elward Mckay was charged with the same offences.

Christmas Comes For Sherla
On last night's news, single mother of four Sherla Adolphus made a heartfelt plea for help. She's the mother of Dean Dawson's children. He was killed in a high profile traffic accident at the end of March. Now, Adolphus - whose sons are aged 7, 6, 5, and 1 - says she can't care for her children and she can't afford to work and hire a baby sitter. It's a sad story at Christmas and it caught the ear of rural Commander Edward Broaster. He made the connection with the Mahitani family, the owners of Delta Store. They want to help 15 families and Broaster thought Dawson surely fit the bill. We found them at Delta Store today:... Murli Mahitani - Delta Store: "The thing is we are more believers in humanity and we feel to help people who can't help themselves, they become destitute you see, because we depend on their business so much and it's time to give them. Besides, my mother had left a certain amount of money after she expired, which we are gradually spacing it and giving it to the people. We intend to help about 10-15 different families."

Sherla Sued Pakeman
And a large part of Adolphus's story is that Dorian Pakeman - the man who knocked down and killed the father of her children - has stopped assisting her. She says that he stopped answering her messages in October, and coming unto Christmas she hasn't heard a thing. Well, what she didn't say is that right around that time, she filed civil suit against Pakeman. On October third, her attorney Nick Dujon sent him a letter notifying him of the civil action. Pakeman - who had been helping her with finances since May was advised that he could no longer assist after she filed suit. Today, Sherla Adolphus conceded that Pakeman did assist her significantly for as long as he could:... Sherla Adolphus - Mother of Dawson's Children: "Yes he supported me quite some time and he told me that he didn't have his job again, so whatever he has he will share with me. Sometime he gives me $50, $100. But I see where he cannot supply my home. So after a while I stop bother him, because I see where he don't have it. I don't know. But I'm not judging him, because he was so kind to me and he promised to help me in whatever."

Police Still Waiting On DPP for Pakeman Directive
Of course, the matter is still not settled criminally. This is the most reported on and scrutinized traffic fatality we've seen in years, and police are still working with the DPP to get it right. Today, the Commissioner explained: As we have reported, there appears to have been substantial tampering with blood samples in this case.

Police And The New Minister
And in other policing news, it's gone nearly un-noticed, but there is a new Minister of Police - and we don't mean Elodio Aragon. He's the Minister of State who took over day-to-day management of the ministry in October. We mean the substantive minister who is now Wilfred Elrington. He took over in the most recent shuffle two weeks ago. While Aragon retains day-to-day control, Elrington is his boss, and today Commissioner Whylie told us that the new minister has been getting has hands-on feel for this important ministry:... Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police: "There are some things as I alluded to will be changed. I am certain that Minister Elrington will give us directions. I know has met with the CEO already and he has indicated that there are some changes that he wants to see done and I am certain that we will be open to those, because ultimately the idea is ti improve in terms of what we are doing and try to increase and enhance safety and security for our citizens." Elrington is an attorney of many years' experience and he has also served as a judge on criminal and civil matters.

Special Lunch for 100 Kids, They Had Turkey, But They Also Have "Beef"
Eastern Division police have been more active than Santa's Little Helpers on Red Bull during this Christmas. They've turned policing into philanthropy, making Christmas special for families across the district. But today Eastern Division Southside did a little more than just gift - giving. They launched a pilot programme called the Youth Mentorship Program - and they did it in style, hosting 100 children for Christmas lunch at the Radisson. Southside Commander Chester Williams explained the ambitious initiative:... ACP. Chester Williams - Commander Southside: "The police youth membership club is an initiative that is geared towards breaking the gang cycle. the time that we will be spending with them, we want to do different topic areas that will be geared towards making them better while at the same time let them learn to put aside their personal differences because as young as they are there are serious beefs in that room as you see right now and we want to help them to overcome those issues and what is unique about the program is that it is not police officers who'll be mentoring them we have people who are volunteering their time on weekends to come in and deal with different aspect of the mentorship program. what we did was that we look at children who are at risk, we look at children who are in school and demonstrating that propensity for bullying or being bullied and in terms of the females, we also look at those who at risk of teenage pregnancy."

Northside Cops Keep Caring
And while that's a southside initiative, on the northside, the officers of Precinct 3 took to the streets to deliver Christmas hampers to residents who really need it. The cops were accompanied by their youth cadets, as well as other volunteers. The division's public relations officer Fitzroy Yearwood told us more... Aside from distributing hampers, Belize City and Ladyville police have been taking members of their community shopping and surprising them at random with monetary gifts.

Police Warn Against False Report
But the cops have lots of regular policing duties too, and rural officers say precious resources were wasted today when a man made a false report in the Belize River Valley. 61 year old Errol Baptist, a chef from Double Head Cabbage village was seen with a large cut wound to the right fore head. He said that he had been robbed. But when police checked the security Camera at the village grocery, they found that he fell asleep on the step, rolled off and burst his head. Polcie say it's a false report, and advise the community if they do this they will be charged for a mischievous act.

How Di Christmas Di Cohn?
It's the deathless question that Belizeans all over ask each other at this time of year: how di Christmas di cohn? Today we got our colleague Giovanni Brackett to ask it in the Belize Streets. And the tireless Brackett didn't stop until he got an answer from everyone: And that's 7News on this, the day before Christmas eve. From all of us here at 7News - we hope you have a safe and blessed Christmas. We'll be taking the Christmas break as well - and ask you to join us back here on Wednesday when we'll have all the news that happened over extra long weekend... So goodnight, have a merry Christmas, and I'll see you back here on Wednesday.

Channel 5

2016 Murder Count Threatens Record; ComPol Addresses Plans to Reduce It
The murder count for 2016 sits at one hundred and thirty-five with just a week to go. It is already a worse figure than 2015 and not far off from [...]

Police Closing in on Naming "Jane Doe"
Police say they are almost sure that they have identified Jane Doe. They have gotten contact information for a family that believes the dead woman found in the Belize River [...]

Dean Dawson's Widow Pleas to Police to Solve Fatal Accident
Earlier this week you heard Police say that while the case of the fatal RTA of Dean Dawson has been lengthy - they are making incremental progress but are still [...]

New Police Outposts in Armenia, Valley of Peace
Today, Belmopan police delivered their version of a Christmas gift to residents of the villages of Armenia and Valley of Peace in the Cayo District. The villages are respectively the [...]

Simone Biles Speaks About Education and Social Media Impact
On Thursday, Simone Biles landed in Belize to much fan-fare courtesy the B.T.B. and other local partners. By now you would know that the world's best gymnast is the adopted [...]

Delta Store and Rural Eastern Division Team Up for Christmas Cheer
Delta Store is giving back and the man in the middle is ACP Edward Broaster. Rural Eastern Division's top cop identified fifteen families to receive a cheque of one hundred [...]

Christmas Comes for Northside Police Hamper Recipients
'Tis the season for sharing, caring and giving and with Christmas only two days away, Santa is still roaming the neighborhoods in the city gifting deserving families. This Santa, though, [...]

A New Beginning? Mentorship Program Targets Southside's At-Risk Youths
How do you solve a problem like gang violence? The Belize Police Department has tried truces, interventions, aggressive patrolling and arrests; the courts, and societal condemnation, but little has managed [...]

Moses Sulph Shares the Spirit of the Season
On Thursday, well-known community activist Moses Sulph, along with a team of volunteers, shared the gift of giving with a group of underprivileged children from the St. Martin's de Porres [...]

Police Say Don't Let Safety Take a Holiday
For the last few days on this newscast, we have been featuring safety tips for Belizeans to avoid incidents and mishaps over the Christmas season. On Thursday, police commander for [...]

God and Faith at Heart of Christmas, Says Catholic Pastor
Christmas is less than two days away and the religious festival celebrating the birth of Christ is being observed across the country by various denominations.� Earlier today, we spoke with [...]

The Evangelical View of Christmas from Scott Stirm
While he has made his name as an activist for Christian and traditional values, particularly when it comes to fighting amorality and homosexuality, Scott Stirm is first and foremost a [...]

Belizeans' Season's Greetings from the Streets
It's less than two days away from Christmas Day and downtown Albert Street was bustling, as residents did their last minute grocery shopping for that traditional turkey dinner, while others [...]

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Guatemala eyes Punta Gorda
Belizeans have expressed outrage over the recent revelation that Guatemala had since 2005 sneakily passed fishing regulations for the Amatique Bay, which includes Belize's southern waters in an area which we have determined to cover an estimated 100 square miles. The map unveiled this week by activist Wil Maheia of the Belize Territorial Volunteers, who received it from Barranco fishers, includes a line that extends from Guatemala's northeastern coastline up to Punta Gorda in Belize, without acknowledging Belize's border with Guatemala. In a statement issued today, the Government of Belize called Guatemala's move "a flagrant violation of international law and Belize's maritime sovereignty." Leslie Col�n, chair of Barranco Sustainable Fisherfolk Coop, told Amandala that on 20th September 2016, eight fishers from the Barranco area were invited to attend a meeting in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, which was attended by a total of 30 fishers-the remainder of them being from Guatemala. The meeting was being facilitated under a bi-national project, Cross-Border Alliance for Healthy Fisheries, by EcoLogic, a US-headquartered NGO with a regional office in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.

Leopold Rhamdas, 41, a security guard at Princess Casino, received a $3,000 loan from the Belize Bank on Tuesday afternoon. However, hours later, he would be robbed of it at gunpoint, after he posted a photo of the cash proceeds from the loan in a pornographic Facebook group. Sergeant Mark Humes of the Racoon Street Police Station told Amandala today that sometime around 3:45 a.m. on Tuesday, they received reports that two gunmen demanding cash stormed Rhamdas' home at the corner of Giles Street and Nicholas Street in the Lake Independence area. One of the alleged perpetrators wore a dark peak cap and the other tied a red shirt over his head as they tried to conceal their identities. According to Sgt. Humes, they have not since detained anyone in connection with the incident, but police are investigating.

Simone Biles in Belize
-Simone Arianne Biles, the 19-year-old world-famous superstar gymnast originally of the USA, but who has Belizean citizenship through her mother, Nellie Cayetano Biles, arrived in her second home, Belize, with fanfare, in answer to a special invitation from the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) to come relax in Belize after her stunning performance at the Rio Olympic Games in August. For the BTB, the social media engagement with Biles, who immediately replied accepting the invitation, is a marketing strategy which has worked well in garnering attention for Belize while the world's attention was fixed on Biles. For Simone, though, she had no difficulty accepting the offer to come to Belize-the only place she fishes, a hobby she has been engaged in, in Belize since she was a little girl, although she officially attained her citizenship two years ago. At a welcome press conference held at the Best Western Biltmore Plaza right after her arrival in Belize today, Biles, a petite Belizean-American 4 feet 8 inches tall, stood tall in conveying her key message to Belizean youth and athletes-that wielding mind over matter leads to success.

Guatemala eyes Punta Gorda
The $8 million Pickwick Belize building on Newtown Barracks in Belize City which eventually became the short-lived Princess Golden Casino was the subject of a lawsuit at the Supreme Court today. The claim, filed by Pickwick against Princess, seeks damages for breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation. Attorneys for both sides made oral submissions to buttress their written submissions before Justice Courtenay Abel, who is scheduled to issue his ruling at 9:00 a.m. on January 20, 2017. This morning, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, representing Pickwick, outlined the claimant's evidence in the civil suit. Pickwick's claim against Princess is for the breach of a 15-year lease and a casino management agreement which the parties had entered. Pickwick contends that the gaming company had signed a lease for their building for use by Princess Golden Casino, but after two years, the casino closed its doors and Princess Entertainment, the parent company, took back its machines and pulled out its staff. The parties had a memorandum of understanding in which Princess had reportedly undertaken to manage the casino on behalf of Pickwick. In court, Princess cited a loss of revenue as the reason for pulling out of the venture.

Citrus growers plan comeback through $6 mil project
A whopping 6 million Belizean dollars-that is how much the Citrus Growers Association (CGA) says it needs to rebound and improve citrus production, which would counter some of Belize's economic challenges by bolstering growth and building the country's foreign reserves. Hard-hit in recent years by citrus greening, a devastating disease, growers want to plant new trees and replace old ones, and they will start to seek investors early next year to help finance the project. Henry Anderson, CGA's chief executive officer, said that the sector is well-positioned to contribute to major export earnings. He told the media today that citrus prices are at an all-time high, with a box of oranges fetching up to BZ$16 on the market. He projected that within the next three to five years, prices will soar even higher and as prices continue to increase, Belize can benefit exponentially.

Pussyfooting with Dean Dawson RTA death investigation
On the night of March 30, 2016, Gardenia mechanic Dean Dawson, Sr., 45, lost his life in a horrific road traffic accident when he was mowed down by an Isuzu D-Max pickup truck that was heading towards Ladyville from Orange Walk. The accident occurred between Miles 22 and 23 on the Philip Goldson Highway, as Dorian Pakeman, the director of the Government Press Office, was making his way home to Ladyville in the government vehicle. Dawson was riding his bicycle on the highway when he was knocked down. A lot has happened between the time of the accident and now, but Pakeman has not been made to answer for the accident which claimed Dawson's life. Today, Monday, Amandala asked Director of Public Prosecution Cheryl-Lynn Vidal about the status of the police's investigation of the Pakeman accident. DPP Vidal told us that she is still waiting for the police investigators to comply with requests that she had made. The file was sent back to the DPP's office without the completion of what she had requested, so the DPP sent it back to the police so they could comply. That was several weeks ago. DPP Vidal told Amandala that Pakeman would be charged as soon as the police comply with her request.

San Pedro High School girls, Ecumenical High School boys win NSSSA 2016 Basketball Champions
Here are the final results and individual awards for the National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA) basketball championships, hosted by Stann Creek Ecumenical High School at the Stann Creek Ecumenical gymnasium on Friday and Saturday, December 16-17. San Pedro High School (SPHS) basketball girls did not win a single game in 6 outings when they represented Belize at the CODICADER Games in Tegucigalpa in September of this year, but it toughened them enough to win the NSSSA 2016 championship. Aliyah Elliot of SPHS won Most Blocks, Most Rebounds, Most Steals, Most Assists and Most Valuable Player awards.

OWFA Amateur League 1st Division Week #9 results and standings
ORANGE WALK TOWN, Tue. Dec. 20, 2016-The Orange Walk Football Association (OWFA) Amateur League 1st Division Tournament continued on Sunday, December 18, at People's Stadium with 5 games played in Week 9 of the competition. In game 1, Progresso United FC bombed Crystal FC, 11-nil, with goals from Wilfredo Lino (2), Dennis Charley (4), Alex Diaz (3) and Zamir Heredia (2). Game 2 saw Progresso FC crushing United Ballers FC, 8-0, with goals from Eric Osorio, Gabriel Perez (4), Eliazar Itza and Mauricio Estrada (2). In game 3, it was San Felipe FC, 6-0, over Chan Pine Ridge FC, with goals from Tani Dominquez (2), Israel Jones (2), Cesar Martinez and Victor Amaya. Game 4 saw Desert Storm FC and Trinidad FC playing to a 1-1 draw. Arnold Henriquez shook the net for Desert Storm, while Travion Martinez hit the target for Trinidad. And in game 5, Sinbad FC won by default (3-0) over Progresso Jrs. FC.

Home fans instrumental in PLB semifinals 2nd leg
The stage is set for the finals of the Premier League of Belize (PLB) Opening Season 2016-2017, and the home fans had something to do with it. In both semifinals 2nd leg over the past weekend, featuring teams that had drawn in all their on-field encounters in regular season, it was the added energy and loud, vocal support of home fans that might have tipped the scale in favor of the victorious home teams, Belmopan Bandits (1-0 over FC Belize) and BDF (2-0 over Police United). The pattern of regular season draw games had continued the previous week in the semifinals, with Bandits and FC Belize ending 1-1 in their 1st leg at the MCC; but was interrupted when Police United won 3-1 over BDF in San Ignacio. But there was a special circumstance in that Police victory: BDF star goalkeeper Tevin Gamboa was visibly hobbled by injury during the whole game, and their outstanding midfielder Osmar Duran could not play, due to a strained muscle sustained during his mid-week training with the National "A" Team. And both would be back in the BDF line-up for game 2 on Sunday at the MCC.

More big station prizes in KREM New Year's Classic
On Friday, December 16, another $1,000.00 prize was added to the list of big station prizes for the Elite Male Category of the 27th Annual KREM New Year's Day Cycling Classic 2017. The official top finishers in the KREM New Year's Cycling Classic 2016, after disqualifications were made by NADO (National Anti-Doping Organization) in conjunction with the

A Christmas gift from Guatemala
Guatemala's Christmas gift for Belize arrived on Wednesday, December 21, 2016, four days before Christmas. It was a set of Guatemalan fisheries regulations, complete with a map, giving Guatemalans the right to enter and plunder waters above the Sarstoon River which have been Belize's territorial waters from the time of the 1859 Treaty between Great Britain and Guatemala. How the gift was delivered is not clear. Belize's electronic media broke the news on Wednesday, but two of the most important Belizean officials where Belize-Guatemala relations are concerned, Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington and Brigadier-General David Jones, claim not to be aware of the "new" Guatemalan fisheries regulations. (NOTE: Subsequent to writing this editorial, we have been informed that these regulations supposedly date from 2005.) When informed of the regulations and the map, General Jones, the commanding officer of Belize's army, expressed immediate, noticeable concern, but Foreign Minister Elrington, as is his wont, was practically blas�. Anybody who knows Belize knows that Christmas is a time of the year when Belizeans are completely distracted and are not interested in matters of state. Perhaps the Foreign Minister was only expressing the seasonal nonchalance, but what we are looking at here, when we look at the "new" fisheries regulations and map published by Guatemala, is the most disrespectful act of aggression by the Guatemalans in our lifetime. We consider it their most disrespectful act of aggression because it was apparently done with willful, cold-blooded, and deliberate intent. In the streets, it would be the equivalent of someone saying to you, "F-k you!"

From The Publisher
I think we Belizeans have to pay some attention to the world around us. It's not as if we can do that much about anything really. We're such a tiny country after all. I can't really argue with those of you who feel that ignorance is bliss, and those of you who say that what you don't know can't hurt you. Maybe it's better your way. When I came of age, the aspect of Christmas that intrigued me was what happened right after the Christ Child was born. Remember, Joseph the carpenter and his pregnant wife, Mary, had to travel the rough road from their home village of Nazareth to the town of Bethlehem. Joseph and Mary were Jews, a people trampled and oppressed by the mighty Romans, and the Roman Emperor, one Caesar Augustus, was carrying out a census to see just how many subjects he ruled. Joseph and Mary couldn't even get a room at an inn when they reached Bethlehem: they had to spend the night in a stable for animals, which is where the Son of God was born, in the Roman colony of Judea. In Judea, the Jews had a King Herod whose power was under the jurisdiction of the Roman governor appointed by Caesar Augustus. Three Wise Men or Kings (The Magi) who, as the Bible tells us, came to Bethlehem from the east in search of the Christ Child whose birth had been prophesied, ran into Herod, who said to them, listen, when you find this new King come back and let me know where He is so that I can go and adore Him.

Let's talk about vaccines
Dear Editor, The Ministry of Health announced their intention of giving vaccinations for HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) to all Standard IV girls in late October, early November. When concern was raised about the merit and safety of such a program, Dr. Manzanero, in an interview on November 10th, said the negative feedback was due to "serious misconceptions". He said that not everything one reads on the internet is necessarily true and it is necessary to document sources. We agree that a lot of things on the internet are untrue. We don't rely on the internet stories; we investigate the sources which include noted doctors and scientists as well as people adversely affected by the vaccine. Dr. Manzanero condemned those raising questions about the vaccine's safety and advises that the source of information should be documented, yet he fails to offer any documentation. He said, "We asked around, as we are one of the last countries to embark on this." Asked around? What is that?

The new geopolitical reality
Dear Editor, As I looked on the news and saw the Russian ambassador to Turkey assassinated and the terrorist attack with a mere truck in Germany, I contemplated the new geopolitical reality of the world, the Caribbean and especially Belize. It is very difficult to fight an enemy that's fanatically committed. The Caribbean is historically and immensely connected to the United States and Europe. They are our number one trading partners. We study in both zones and we have a lot of family and friends that live in both zones. The de-risking is one of the side effects of this global war on terrorism on Caribbean countries, including Belize. De-risking has made doing business in all Caribbean countries more costly and inconvenient. I am certain there will be other detrimental side effects to this international war on terrorism. For instance, travelling internationally will definitely become more cumbersome, and international trade will become more onerous.

Cuba and its Delegation
Dear Editor Amandala, Permit me to congratulate Cuba and its Delegation for the following: "On 19th December 2016, the plenary of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) ratified by a majority of its Member States the Declaration on the Right to Peace as previously adopted by the UNGA Third Committee on 18th November 2016 in New York and the Human Rights Council (HRC) on 1st July 2016 in Geneva. This Declaration was presented by the delegation of Cuba with the support of many other delegations and some civil society organizations. Along the inclusive and transparent negotiation process of the Declaration, conducted by the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) on the right to peace, Ambassador Christian Guillermet-Fern�ndez of Costa Rica, all delegations and some civil society organizations actively participated in the three consecutive sessions of the OEWG in Geneva (2013-2015).

2016 Year in Review: Part I
The past 12 months have seen more than their share of tragedies and controversies-from the gruesome beheading of Pastor Llewellyn Lucas to the striking down of Belize's sodomy laws to a string of scandals surrounding the issuance of Belizean immigration documents and the sale of lands-but the single most important story for 2016 has been the country's persistent troubles at the Sarstoon River, where Guatemala remains defiant in its attempt to annex Belizean territory even beyond the northern limits of their border with Belize. Things came to a head between Belize and Guatemala in April, following the shooting death of a Guatemalan minor who had been found engaging in illegal milpa farming inside the Chiquibul along with his father and brother, in an incident which an independent foreign investigation later concurred was an act of self-defense. However, in response to the incident, Guatemala mobilized its military, and principally the Kaibiles special forces, to Belize's border, eliciting fears of a violent invasion. Further problems were averted, however, after the political leaders of both countries, who were in Washington at the time, discussed the matter. Nonetheless, relations between Guatemala and Belize broke down, and Guatemala withdrew its ambassador from Belize.

This incredible and historical three-part documentary series on Melvan "Majeli" McGregor illuminates a whole new spectrum within Belize's music world. It brings us some much missing pieces in Belize's music history as the legendary Belizean musician unravels the movers and shakers in Belizean music during the 1950's, 60's, 70's, and even the 80's some ten years later as he returned from Ottawa, Canada, playing an awesome horn. Majeli comes back to Belize in 1979 like a Belizean prodigal son to pay tribute to two of his idols, legendary Belizean musicians and saxophonists, Pete Matthews and Bill Belisle, whom he credits for inspiring him to play jazz the way he does and to later pursue his musical career abroad digging deep into the realms of the African-American art form called jazz. While there, Majeli met some outstanding musicians like the African-American jazz maestro, Saeed Abdul Khabeer, a devout Muslim, who took on the musically thirsty Belizean musician and made an everlasting impact on his life.

BTV gravely concerned over Guatemala's official Sarstoon position
The Belize Territorial Volunteers (B.T.V.) expresses its grave concern over the release of an official document by the Government of Guatemala restating Guatemala's annexation of the whole half of Belize's portion of the Sarstoon River. This official Guatemala document was the subject of a report on page 3 of the 18th December 2016 edition of the Amandala newspaper. The B.T.V. is aware that this is not the first official release from Guatemala restating its new approach to the Belize half of the Sarstoon River. What is new is that since early 2015 the Guatemala military forces have been patrolling and exercising, "ownership" and sovereignty over Belize's half of the Sarstoon River. Guatemala has moved from the position of not recognizing Belize's borders to a new and dangerous level in which they have now effectively annexed and taken physical and military control of this portion of territory, which has always been used unimpeded by Belizeans for more than a hundred years.

It's "Corto"! "Maradona" needs our help
A couple months ago, we heard reports of an Over-40 football player who had suffered a stroke, and was thus wheel-chair bound. The story we heard, was that he had just buried his mother, whom he had lived with and taken care of, and was grief stricken on her loss, when, two weeks later, he himself suffered a massive stroke. I heard some guys say it was this short, dread-locked veteran named Michael Sutherland, whom they all called "Maradona," that was often present and enthusiastically involved in the annual Mugger Day event and weekly Over-40 games in Belize City. I have already jumped 60, and am not a regular anymore at these games, so the name "Maradona" did not ring a bell; and the name Michael Sutherland was not familiar to me either, as I only know many football associates by their nicknames. I wasn't sure who the player was, but I sympathized with his plight. Stroke is something else, and, regrettably, it has stricken some fairly young and still active players. One that immediately comes to mind is the late Calbert "Pomo" Usher, who suffered a stroke around 1972, when he was still in his mid-thirties. And more recently, the great Wayne "Hogman" Olivera, who was still active in veteran football games when he suffered a stroke. Yesterday, on KREM Radio's Press Cadogan Show, we received a phone call from the said "Maradona," who explained his plight a bit differently from we had understood it. "Maradona" said he had suffered an injury while playing football, and it caused a pinched nerve that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

The Reporter

Salvation Army distributes Christmas hampers to needy
More than 800 needy families will have a meal to eat over the Christmas holidays, through the decades-old effort by the Salvation Army, to distribute food hampers at Christmastime. The Christian movement started to distribute the hampers on Thursday to communities all over the Belize [�]

New land regulations causing problems for realtors
Responding to a sudden change in the regulation for real estate transactions, the Association of Real Estate Brokers of Belize (ARREB) called an emergency meeting this week to appraise its members of the implications. AREBB President, Hugo Moguel, explained that the meeting held on Wednesday, […]

Plant World Nursery seeking investors
The Citrus Growers Association (CGA) of Belize has partnered with the Legacy Fund to create an investment opportunity for farmers and other stakeholders to invest preferred stocks in a company called Plant World Nursery. The company is a separate legal entity from that of CGA. […]

SSVP donates 200 food hampers
The Society of St. Vincent De Paul (SSVP) St. Ignatius Conference hosted its annual Christmas food hamper drive on last Saturday at its parish hall in Belize City. SSVP donated over 200 food hampers to needy families. The organization hosted fundraising events and sought donations to […]

Do’s and don’ts to having a better night’s sleep
Dietitians and health experts say the foods and other things we consume before bedtime play a major role in the quality of sleep we enjoy. Foods to consume before bedtime Milk and dairy products contain a sleep-promoting substance called tryptophan and are highly-recommended before bedtime. […]

BHS Battle of St George Caye project acquires 20 historical Spanish documents
The Belize History Association's (BHA) project todocument as accurately as possible the events surrounding the Battle of St. George's Caye, celebrated a milestone with the acquisition of 20 original historical documents from Spanish historical archives. Herman Byrd Ph.D of the Belize Archives and Records Service (BARS), Angel Cal Ph.D of […]

US President Obama to sign law strengthening US/Caribbean ties
United States President Barack Obama is expected to sign into law legislation aimed at bolstering United States/Caribbean relations on a wide range of key issues that was unanimously passed in the U.S. Senate last Tuesday. The United States-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act creates an avenue for […]

BNTU and GOB headed to mediation
The Government of Belize and the Belize National Teacher's Union (BNTU) will try to settle the issue of salary deductions through court connected mediation, rather than going to a full trial. Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin ordered mediation when the parties went to court on Friday December 16, […]

Belmopan City Council forges partnership for strategic development
The Belmopan City Council has forged a partnership with an international organization to assist the rapidly-growing city introduce a master plan for strategic urban development, and properly manage the use of existing public spaces. UN-Habitat, which is the United Nations’ human settlement program, has […]

Bus driver gets lifesaving surgery in Cayman Islands
A bus driver with James Bus Line survived a life threatening heart condition thanks to surgeons at Health City in the Cayman Islands. Tyron Coleman had been suffering from coronary artery disease, which restricts blood flow to the heart, and had to undergo cardiopulmonary bypass surgery. Coleman […]

Three dead in Yo Creek accident
A highway collision involving a Tillett bus and a green Ford F-150 pickup left three Yo Creek villagers dead last Saturday night. The crash killed the driver and passengers of the pickup truck on impact. According to police, when officers arrived at the scene they observed […]

Man allegedly murdered by friend over religion
A 27-year-old Belizean mason of San Martin Village was stabbed to death by one of his closest childhood friends in Belmopan City last Friday because of an alleged disagreement about religion. Belmopan police are currently trying to determine the whereabouts of Honduran national Hovard Felipe Martinez, […]

Widowed grandmother targeted by hit man over land dispute
An elderly woman was attacked and shot inside her home at #6 Orange Street in Santa Elena Town last Sunday and reports indicate her murder may have been cause by a bitter land dispute amongst relatives. On Sunday at around 7:30 p.m, 68-year-old Paulina Urbelina Suarez […]

Technology in recent years has found new uses for our Sun. It not only provides us with warmth and light. It not only regulates the rhythm of our lives, creating day and night, applying photo-synthesis to make our crops grow and water vapour to provide rain. Today solar power creates […]

Belize rejects regulations allowing Guatemalan fishers in Belizean waters
By Marion Ali Assistant Editor A newly-released document from the Guatemalan government, suggesting that its inhabitants are permitted, under that country's regulations, to fish unimpeded in certain zones of the Sarstoon River (all the way up to Punta Gorda), has received quick rejection from the Government of Belize (GOB). The […]

BNTU won't budge on Christmas vacation
Despite a directive from the managing authorities that schools should reopen on January 3, the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) is maintaining that teachers should report to work on January 9. "Our position is as it was last week, that our members should have their […]

Belize welcomes Olympian, Simone Biles
Simone Biles, the 19-year-old Olympic gold-medal winning gymnast, who claims strong ties to Belize and is a dual-citizen, was welcomed to Belize on Thursday with a motorcade through Belize City streets. Biles arrived in the country along with her family on an invitation from the […]

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Shooting in Belize City
Reports reaching our newsroom is that a man was shot a short while ago on Raccoon street in Belize City. There is heavy police presence on the scene at this moment. This is a developing story and we will have more details as the information [�]

Police nabs suspect in murder of elderly Santa Elena woman
San Ignacio police have nabbed the suspect who allegedly killed Paulina Urbelina Suarez inside her home in Santa Elena on Sunday night. According to the police the suspect was captured in a pre-dawn operation and is now in police custody. Yesterday BBN reported that [�]

Armenia gets new police station
Today a ceremony was held for the official opening of a brand new police station in the village of Armenia. Village residents have requested increased police presence for some time and the station will ensure a constant presence in the community. Officer commanding Belmopan [�]

Simone Biles - Sober reflections of Belize's dream
The exemplary performance last year of 19 year old Simon Biles at the Olympic games, was celebrated in Belize yesterday after she was invited by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB). Biles visit to Belize will no doubt be a great boost to our tourism [�]

2016 Man & Woman of the year: Luke Palacio, Dorothy Bradley
The end of the year is a time to reflect on and evaluate one's self, accomplishments, flaws and goals for the upcoming year. The year 2016 was a turbulent one and 2017 already promises to hold tougher times ahead. But as the book closes on [�]

Belize votes in favor of LGBT agenda at UN
On Monday at a meeting of the United Nations, Belize's Ambassador, Lois Young, voted in favor of a pro LGBT agenda after UN voting records indicated that she had voted against it.The Belize Action Team led by Pastor Scott Stirm sent out a statement yesterday informing [�]

Documents show former Immigration CEO was paid for vacation while already on leave
It has been widely reported that former Immigration CEO, Candelaria Saldivar, retired from the public service this month after being on paid administrative leave for 19 months. However, while collecting her salaries for staying at home, BBN has seen documents which show that she [�]

Mora wins NTUCB presidency but will not serve
Marvin Mora was elected President of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) for a third straight time on Saturday, however, he will not be able to fullfill his term. He knocked out his challenger, Hubert Enriquez, by a large margin. But Mora will [�]

Belize City man robbed after posting picture of loan cash on Facebook
Belize City resident Leopold Rhamdas reported to police that sometime after 3:00 a.m. on Wednesday, he and his family were sleeping when they were awoken by someone knocking on their door. When he opened the door, two men barged in and one of them [�]

Murder victim's daughter turns herself in
San Ignacio police have reported a breakthrough in the murder of Paulina Urbelina Suarez. Her daughter, with whom she had is reported to have had a longstanding land dispute with, turned herself in to the San Ignacio police station yesterday morning. She is currently [�]

GOB responds to Guatemalan Fisheries Regulations
The Government of Belize (GOB) has issued a press release regarding the purported fishing zones claimed by Guatemala under its domestic legislation and regulations of 2002 and 2005. According to GOB, the maritime spaces of Belize are established by the Maritime Areas Act of [�]


2016: You've Been Good To Me So Far
There are only a few more days left in 2016�and for me, this last holiday week often seems to be a blur. All the planning, my seemingly countless posts about Christmas in Belize and events�POOF. Blink and it will be the New Year. So before that happens I thought I'd say THANK YOU. For reading, for the many messages, for loving Belize. FOR VOTING FOR ME TO GO TO INDIA and for the support during this year of blogging and posting and also loving it here. Well�every day, maybe not every single hour. But, hey, this is real life. There have been a bunch of changes for me - the biggest being my MOVE. From 2 miles south of town (still an easy peasy commute into San Pedro) to 7 miles north�in da bush. It's beautiful up here but man, it's a serious change of scenery.

Simone Biles Calls Belize Her Second Home
I don't know how we ended up inside the Simone Biles motorcade in Belize City yesterday, but somehow during all the chaos we did. When asking to get ahead of it for media shots, a traffic officer directed us behind the police truck in the lead. LOL!! So there we were in the center of it all, in our little orange iTravel-mobile. All we could think of is wave back at the crowd. We were so excited to have met Simone. She is sweet, friendly and always carrying a big smile. Biles has been an inspiration to the Belize youth. She will be addressing students across the country during a motivational speech session at the Bliss Institute of Performing Arts on Thursday, December 29. Simone and her family were welcomed by hundreds in the city. A large crowd waited for her arrival at Battlefield Park in downtown Belize City where the motorcade ended. She was received with loud applause and was presented with gifts and the key to the city by Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley. Later that evening she was hosted by Prime Minister Dean Barrow and family at a private dinner.

A day in a life of caring for Hope
Before I started out as a volunteer at Wildtracks on the manatee team, I naively assumed that all manatees were much alike: gentle seagrass-munching giants. Two weeks later, I have to take back my initial presumption, as I am astonished by how diverse the characters of each of the 7 manatees in rehabilitation actually are. The youngest of the lot, Hope has quite a personality! My first encounter and bonding opportunity with her was during one of her pool changes. She inquisitively investigated me and almost immediately started nibbling on the cord of my swim shorts. The mischievous little manatee calf even managed to regain hold of the cord after I thought that I had safely tucked it away� Currently her intensive care pool gets changed twice a day and during this time one of the caretakers spends exercise (read "quality") time in her larger play pool with her. It is an absolute treat to see her twirl in the water and play with her tennis ball. At times she gets a thrill out of actively chasing the person in the pool with her, while at other times she enjoys hitching a ride. She was born early August, so she is still a little baby! As manatees stay with their mothers until the age of 2, the human foster parents at Wildtracks provide her with plenty of contact, providing important social support, making the pool interactive play dates a vital part of her foster care.

Your Belize Cooking Guide - How To Make Belizean Black Fruit Cake
If you ask any Belizean both young or old what make Christmas a Belizean Christmas, they'll more than likely tell you it's Black Fruit Cake and Rum Popo. In truth, this combination has over the years become two of the most important elements of the Belizean Holidays. Step into almost any household and you'll find mini workstations (typically run by the matriarch of the house), with eggs being beaten, batter being mixed, and milky mixtures being stirred by younger family members. If you're lucky enough to be visiting Belize this Christmas, you should definitely try to get your hands on a slice of Belizean black fruit cake with a glass of rum popo. For those of you who can't make it, we've prepared the following cooking guide on how to prepare these tasty Christmas favorites. Do enjoy!

It's a Slice of Haven at The Truck Stop!
Pizza�Pizza with bacon and mashed potatoes�Too much? How about, not even close! Okay, maybe an anchovy and habanero pizza? Spice and salt�or, how about garlic conch white sauce pizza? Yeah, you can't complain about that can you? Throw in a super crispy, thin crust that's gotten a lovely char (NOT burned�charred to perfection) in a FIERY hot (think 625 degrees) oven. Handmade melty mozzarella that stretches as you bite into each slice� All of this is available at A Slice of Haven, north of the bridge at one of the coolest spots in Tres Cocos, The Truck Stop. They teased us for the longest time, not telling us what new truck was behind the tarp�just that it would soon join Cool Cone, Rasa and Arepa to serve something delicious. Chef Hazni Ghazali, foodie and chef extraordinaire was once again consulted for the pizza delights of Slice of Haven.

Living Rent Free and Earning an Income by the Beach in Belize
Fifty-year-old Sue Vasquez grew up in the harsh winters of the Midwest. She wanted nothing more than a life where she could spend more time with her husband, Carlos, enjoying sun and warmth. "We were drawn immediately to the laidback culture of Belize, and sunny days all winter long," says Sue. Being years away from retirement, and still needing to work, Sue looked into moving to a place where she could work less and be steps from the beach. "I wanted to wake up each morning on the sea," says Sue. After trying several different places, she discovered the small, tropical country of Belize six years ago, and hasn't left since. "I love the perfect stretch of uncrowded beach, right on my doorstep, and the beautiful turquoise water." Sue managed a few different businesses in Belize but always kept her sights on her dream of managing a small resort. Tourism in Belize is growing every year, and after three years, she found her perfect fit. She now manages a boutique micro resort located within Placencia village. It's common here for managers to live right on site, so she now has a brand-new beach apartment where she can see the water from her front door. As this is part of her employment package, she lives there with no rent or bills.

And it isn't even noon yet, on a glorious Friday on Ambergris Caye, Belize
We were walking up the coast to Rose's studio where Moppit and I picked up the Old Moncho 59, our golf cart, for a little Christmas shopping in town. Moppit loves riding in the golf cart. She will jump into almost any golf cart and look at me quizzically, as if wondering why I'm not joining her for a joy ride. Life is pretty simple through the eyes of a dog. I picked up a package this morning that my son Ryan sent to me on Oct. 19 - a bit over two months ago! It contained a pair of glasses and a very inexpensive Chromebook. Duty on that was $150 BZD. Ah, well. At least I can see again. Speaking of which, if you live on Ambergris Caye and recently found a pair of glasses (bifocals) in a black container, they might be mine. Big improvement from the days when I used to misplace a whole golf cart�.. We returned the golf cart to Rose and resumed our walk down the coast, toward home.

International Sourcesizz

Tips for Holiday Travel Safety: Are you #ReadyToTravel?
Traveling overseas this holiday season? Here are a few things to think about before you head out. Follow @TravelGov on Twitter and send us your holiday travel selfie using the hashtag #ReadyToTravel! has information for each country, including entry/exit requirements, safety and security information, travel warnings or alerts, health and vaccination requirements, and special circumstances you may run into while abroad. For example, in Nepal, if you want to go on a hiking expedition (maybe you're trying to summit Everest on Christmas Eve to see Santa fly by?), you are required to register with the Nepal Tourism Board. The country pages on provide this type of specialized information!


  • Christmas message from Manuel Heredia Jr. , 7.5min.

  • BelCampo Belize, 3min.

  • Simone Biles Visits Belize on Christmas Vacation, 1.5min.

  • Monkey time in Belize, 2.5min.

  • Belize 2016, 4min.

  • Tips for a Heart Happy Christmas, 33min.

  • Educational Series - Understanding Superbond Pt 2, 44min.

  • How to make Christmas Centerpieces (Christmas Special), 11min.

  • Santa Claus and Mrs Claus making the rounds in Belize City!, 55min. Belizan Christmas spirit. Do nice! by Will and Dalia Moreno. Just about the sweetest thing I've seen all year.

  • SEASON'S GREETINGS!!!, 4min. Duane Moody and intern Maria Reneau took to the streets of Belize City to capture the spirit of the holidays. From passersby and businesses, they all sent season's greetings to their families and loved ones.

  • Christmas message by John Briceno, 4min. Merry Christmas and may our Lord bless Belize!

  • The father was also a father figure. Father John Maher. S.J. Rest in Peace, 11min. I am Blessed to have had you in my life! You played a huge part in molding me into the man I am today. My life is better because of you! I thank God for you Fr. John L. Maher S.J. Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory!

  • 10 Days in Belize - New Years 2016, 3.5min. "The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Scuba Diving - Belize - Hol Chan Marine Reserve - Night Dive, 6.5min. Night dive in Belize's Hol Chan Marine Reserve approximately 20 fr below the surface. Many exotic sea creatures are featured including octopus, eels, sting rays, star fish, and more.

  • Jordan & Alicia Belize Wedding Film Teaser, 3min. Belize Wedding Films by Jose Luis Zapata Studios.

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