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Today's Belize News: February 3, 2017 #521360
02/03/17 01:03 AM
02/03/17 01:03 AM
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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and other specials


The San Pedro Sun

Beloved local activist and Sanpedrano Felix Ayuso found dead inside his home
On Thursday, February 2nd, at around 6:45PM, San Pedro Police confirmed the death of 43-year-old Felix Ayuso. The body of the deceased was discovered at his home in the San Juan Area. Foul play is suspected in Ayuso’s death, as police have confirmed external injuries to the body. According to reports, Ayuso’s body was discovered by a family member who was inquiring of his whereabouts. Ayuso was last seen on the afternoon on Wednesday, February 1st. Due to the state of the body, at press time, Police believe he died on Wednesday, February 1st. Ayuso is a well-known member of the island community. He served as the President of the San Pedro AIDS Commission, and was an invaluable part of the San Pedro traditional Carnaval Comparsas. He was the proud owner of JoSe’s Salon, where he tended to local and international customers with much talent. His generous spirit and involvement in community service made him well-known across the island. Survived by a son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, and a host of family and dear friends, Ayuso will surely be missed.

GOB passes bill to immunize Central Bank reserves
On Friday, January 27th, the Government of Belize (GOB) held an emergency sitting of the House of Representatives and introduced a bill to protect the Central Bank of Belize reserves. The move by Prime Minister Dean Barrow was considered to secure the reserves from Ashcroft Alliance, who is seeking enforcement to have the Belize Government pay US$50 million dollars in arbitration awards ordered by US Court. The bill, known as ‘A Bill for an Act to restate for greater certainty the immunity of the Central Bank of Belize for legal proceeding with other states,’ is expected to criminalize any attempt to enforce access to the reserves. At the House Sitting last week, the bill breezed through the session, and even though the Opposition only had a first look at it, they pledged their full support.

Second annual ACES Gala fundraiser held at Crazy Canucks
On Saturday, January 28th, Ambergris Caye Elementary School (ACES) hosted its second annual gala fundraiser at Crazy Canucks. Organized by ACES’ board of directors, the dinner gala included generous donations by local restaurants, live music by Daryl Kennedy, and lots of items up for auction and raffle. All proceeds collected go towards ACES costs of operation. Established in 2010 under the current management group, ACES is a non-profit community school – not a private school – that offers quality education for 116 students, of which 10 have special needs. 2017 projects for ACES include hooking up to the community sewer system as well as a construction remodel for a two-story building. Guests at the event had the chance to buy tickets and drop them in to any of the ‘fish bowls’ representing fantastic prizes. There were packaged items such as “Queen for a Day” which included massages, fun tiaras, champagne, and even maid service, while the “Blame it on Buffet’ basket came complete with a bottle of tequila, margarita glasses and a blender. Fish Bowl tickets sold at six for $5 and 12 for $10, and at such a deal, hundreds were sold! There were also incredible packages for both a silent and live auction, with artwork, dive and snorkel packages, fishing adventures, overnight stays and more.

National Bureau of Standards seeks transition to statutory body
After receiving a grant for US$280,000 from the Caribbean Development Bank, the Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) is looking at the possibility of transitioning from a governmental institution to a statutory body. The BBS hopes to accomplish this change through the establishment of a national quality infrastructure and technical regulation regime. The first step to such accomplishment has been an assessment of standards currently in place and the preparation of a draft plan. This plan is intended to bring Belize up to par with the rest of the region, as well as internationally, in its testing, sampling and inspection capabilities. The draft was created with the assistance of the private firm Quality Systems Solutions and Initiatives. Sheryl Anderson, Managing Director of the firm explained that discussions have been on-going to determine Belize’s current status relating to standards, along with the country’s strengths and weaknesses. “We are looking at the gaps within the Belizean society, because there is a particular standard all countries need to be pegged to,” said Anderson. “So we are looking at the specifications, at where Belize is right now.”

SPTC will continue efforts to control the Zika situation
Recently, the Belize Tourism Industry Association’s (BTIA) Caye Caulker Branch hosted health officials from the Ministry of Health (MOH) to hold aggressive campaigns regarding the prevention of Zika. In the neighboring island of Ambergris, San Pedro Town is also on board to fight the virus. Zika, which is a virus transmitted by an infected female Aedes aegypti mosquito, was declared a global epidemic in 2016. After an initial outbreak in Caye Caulker, the SPTC took all the prevention measures to ensure that San Pedro had a defense plan. With the dry season in place, the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) is prepping to restart its efforts in eradicating the virus. Although the Pescador fire and Hurricane Earl were unexpected, we are refocusing on starting our campaigns and spraying for this New Year,” said Jorge Aladana of the SPTC. He further stated that the SPTC supports mosquito eradication, and the council spends roughly $100,000 annually for vector control. “When you look at the vector control, the SPTC spends $100,000 just to assist the MOH yearly. We even provided our public health inspector with a golf-cart so he can have transportation while conducting these campaigns. We do not have our own vector control team, but they mobilize from Belize and come to San Pedro. The SPTC provides transportation, lodging, and even food. During the rainy season (June to November), the SPTC pays for the workers to do fogging in cycles. They either do it at dusk or dawn for three days straight, every seven days. However, if it rains, it interrupts the cycle,” said Aladana.

Surveillance cameras installed at SPHS
In an effort to heighten school security measures, San Pedro High School (SPHS) has installed three surveillance cameras around the campus. The suggestion was initially proposed by former Officer in Charge of the Coastal Executive Unit, Superintendent Sandra Bowden to not only enhance security, but serve as a reference tool whenever a school issue is being investigated. According to SPHS Principal Emil Vasquez, the cameras are the school’s first step to becoming a safer campus. “The majority of schools are moving in this direction and for security purposes, we are trying to have extra eyes. This comes by no surprise because I mentioned it to the student body from the beginning of the school year. When you have over 600 students in a school, 30 teachers are not enough to keep an eye on everyone. We need to know what is happening around the school,” said Vasquez. With approved funding from the school board, the camera systems ensure general safety and security for the school administration and students during schools hours, along with after-school extracurricular activities and programs. The presence of cameras also serves as a crime deterrent, preventing theft, vandalism, and illegal activities such as drug or alcohol use.

Ambergris Today

First International Hockey Tournament This Weekend
Yes! Belize does have a Hockey Club. It formed about 7 years ago and is made up of Belizeans and expats from Canada, the USA and England who normally play on the Tennis Courts at the San Pedro Fitness Club. This Saturday, 4th February 2017, an International Hockey Tournament will be held at the San Pedro High School Auditorium commencing at 4pm and finishing at 8.30pm. Entry is FREE and there will be a food stall and bar with local beers and rum drinks costing just $4. The play offs and finals will be at 3pm on Monday, 6th February at the High School. (NOTE: There will be no bar or food available on Monday) This Tournament came about at the behest of The Withrow Park Hockey Club from Toronto in Canada playing this Saturday as The Tropical Knights. They dared to challenge the San Pedro Buccaneers to do a battle on the field of hockey - winner takes all!

Belize Forest Department Looking After Threatened Species
Key stakeholders met at the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center on Tuesday, 31st January 2017, to modify and update the Threatened Species List 2005. The Forest Department, through the involvement of more than twenty-five local, regional and international experts and wildlife conservation representatives, is presently updating Belize’s National Threatened Species List for terrestrial wildlife. As a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Belize’s efforts to update the list is only one of the many activities underway to ensure that Belize meets its global commitments and contributes towards the global Sustainable Development Goals to secure the survival of threatened species, maintain biodiversity, and improve wildlife conservation efforts.

Sandwhich Boards and Street Closures for Construction Notice
The San Pedro Town Council hereby requesting all businesses that the use sandwich boards as a medium to promote their business, to kindly do so on their own premises. All sandwich boards on public property, including the beach, should be removed and relocated inside the perimeters of the property where the business is located.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

SBDC Workshop: INTRODUCTION TO DEVELOPMENT FINANCIAL STATEMENTS-ACCOUNTING PART II
resented by: Mr. Charles Gladden, Accounting Lecturer, University of Belize. BTEC Training Room, ITVET Compound, Free Town Road, Belize City. Workshop Date: 9th February, 2017. Time: 9am to 12noon. This course targets individuals who are seeking a better understanding on the basics of accounting in order to interpret financial statements. It is ideal for individuals who are accountable for public funds but are not accounting experts! Basic terminology and normal account balances are covered. Please note: No computers are used in this course. Cost: $40.00 Includes snacks and refreshments.

BTEC AWARDS CERTIFICATES ON TOURISM BASED TRAINING
The Belize Training and Employment Centre (BTEC), a unit of BELTRAIDE, on Wednesday, 1st February awarded certificates to 66 persons after completing a tourism based Job Preparedness Training in Belize City, which was held from 11th –27th January, 2017. The Job Preparedness Training, had the participation of one of the largest groups, and was made of two components: soft skills (attitudes and behaviors) and technical skills (industry specific). This is the first time in Belize City that BTEC executed training in three technical areas: Front Desk, Introduction to Bartending and House-keeping/Janitorial. Sixty-six persons (66) completed the training with over 98% completing successfully and the remaining 2% receiving certificate of participation. Each participant was required to sit a Pre-test in English, Customer Service and Basic Tourism Facts.

National Council on Ageing Anniversary
This year marks the 14th Anniversary of the National Council on Ageing. The NCA was established in 2003 following Cabinets approval of the Belize National Policy on Older Persons. This year the council will be celebrating its anniversary during the week of February 6-10th 2017. The anniversary activities will open with an intergenerational flash mob on Tuesday; February 7th, 2017 at the Belmopan Market Square. The flash mob will feature participation from our Senior Steps group, schools and organizations that support the council’s work. The flash mob highlights the importance of active and healthy ageing which is a key component of the council’s work. It is also an opportunity to show case the talent and vitality of older persons in a new and creative way.

SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY
The OAS Department of Human Development, Education and Employment and the Instituto de Ecología-INECOL-in Mexico herein offer the online course: “DIPLOMADO INTERNACIONAL EN LÍNEA SOBRE RESTAURACIÓN DE ECOSISTEMAS Y SERVICIOS AMBIENTALES”. The deadline for receiving the hardcopy of your online application at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NEMO Building, Belmopan has been established at February 15, 2017 for short-listing and forwarding to OAS Washington, D.C. The online application form must be completed on-line and can be accessed at: http://www.oas.org/en/scholarships/professionaldev.asp there you will find the announcements of the PDSP courses, click on the one you are interested in, go through the end of the page, then you’ll find the “Continue” button which will direct you to the online form that you must fill out.

BEL Electrical Power outage - Sunday 6am - 7am
Much of the western highway, from Democracia to Unitedville so all Belmopan and many side areas.

10th NRM Symposium Abstract Call
The 10th annual Natural Resource Management and Research Symposium is approaching, and they are doing a call for abstracts. The deadline for submission is February 24th. "The Mesoamerican Society for Biology and Conservation-Belize Chapter (MSBC) in partnership with the Ya’axché Conservation Trust (Ya’axché) and the Global Trees Campaign (GTC) are organizing the 10th installment of the annual natural resource management and research symposium under the theme “Science Based Management for the Sustainable Use and Conservation of Belize’s Natural Resources”. This year’s symposium is an effort to maximize the impact of knowledge sharing by combining the 2nd Global Trees Symposium and the 10th NRM symposium. The Global Trees Symposium is an effort to highlight the importance of rare and threatened tree species and the management practices that can ensure the survival of these species in the long term. The 10th annual Natural Resource Management and Research Symposium welcomes abstracts for both oral presentations and posters discussing research, case studies, lessons learnt, and practical applications related to natural resources management and research in Belize."

'Maya - Hidden Worlds Revealed' exhibit
The 'Maya - Hidden Worlds Revealed' exhibit moves to the Perot Museum in Dallas Texas. Institute of Archaeology personnel is also taking part in the installation of this well-received exhibit.

MICRO-LEVEL RESPONSIBILITY FOR BLACK BOYS
Excerpt from my book: INSIGHTS INTO GANG CULTURE IN BELIZE. By Nuri Muhammad. I was recently reviewing a study/research examining the child rearing practices of the various ethnic groups of Belize, both in the urban and rural areas, done by a David Smith, back in 91/92. This study, as far as I know, was never published except for some preliminary findings that were handed out by NOPCA back in 1993. The study revealed that there are distinct patterns of child rearing among the ethnic groups of Belize, influenced by historical, socio-economic and environmental factors. For example, Smith points out that the cuddling period for the Mestizo child is much longer than for the Creole child. This prolonged cuddling period where the child received continues affirmation affected the early self-esteem of the growing child positively. Children, on the other hand, who experience continuous harsh criticism from an early age, displayed very low self-esteem. At first glance this research would seem to suggest that Creoles are harsher with their children than Mestizos, until you take into consideration other factors, like the urban/rural divide and other socio-economic factors affecting those polled. The Creole in the rural areas had a longer cuddling period than those Creoles polled in Belize City and as a result their children were better adjusted than those in the city. However, the Mestizo in the urban area still had a longer cuddling period than Creoles in the urban areas. Their cultural retention of parenting survived the pressures of urban living; at lease at the time of this study.

EXPORTBelize, BELTRAIDE Collaborates with the Belize Bureau of Standards to host review of National Rum Standard
EXPORTBelize, a unit of Beltraide, in collaboration with the Belize Bureau of Standards facilitated a session for the review of the Belize National Standards for the specification for Rum. Present, were representatives from the four major rum companies in Belize which included: Travellers Liquors Ltd., Cuello’s Distillery Ltd., L&R Liquors, and Noble Spirits. The session started with a presentation about the Belize Bureau of Standards and the standards development process. A presentation about Regional Trade and Development was also made by a representative of the Directorate General for Foreign Trade, which covered recent developments in the regional rum industry. The session culminated with a section by section review the standard document with participants providing inputs for possible update of the standard.

Passing of Carolina Sermeño Verde
Mayor Daniel Guerrero, the San Pedro Town Council and Staff would like to extend its deepest condolences to the Sermeño/Verde family and friends on the passing of Carolina Sermeño Verde. Carolina was a warrior and sure gave a good fight. May her soul rest in peace.

Chiquibul Toyota Expedition
The Chiquibul Toyota Expedition is set for 29th and 30th of April, 2017. To get the details on how to help protect the Chiquibul by being on the Expedition contact: Ryan Marin at ryan@belizediesel.com

Birding in Belize
When u find your Comfort Zone{Birding} nothing can make your day or life anymore interesting.

Joy Estrada is on the cover of Love Magazine. You GO, girl!
JOYJAH is on the cover of LOVE MAGAZINE!!! I'm still full of all sorts of emotions trying to wrap my head around this... but lets take a moment and just look what God did y'all. This entire experience has been more than amazing from the day I posted my application for #loveme17 to now.. I've been blessed with so many amazing hearts across the globe supporting me and my big dreams, my Belizean family was especially a HUGE part of this journey, y'all made sure I was SEEN throughout the competition. You can ask Zulie & Brandunn i cried happy tears every day before I even knew I was one of the top 20 finalists be photographed by Kendall. I already felt like a winner. Every single day I had the sweetest posts, heartfelt prayers & direct messages in my inbox. From people I barely even know but they followed my journey and genuinely loved/believed in me, I could tell they wanted me to WIN! Little did they know I already felt like a winner.

Channel 7

Trouble in Paradise? Norwegian Cruise Ships Divert From Harvest Caye
This morning, it raised a lot of eyebrows within the Tourism Industry when - for the second time in as many days - a Norwegian Cruise line ship called the Norwegian Dawn, didn't go to NCL's Harvest Caye to make the scheduled call. This morning, instead of taking its 2,200 guests to NCL's private cruise port off Placencia, the Norwegian Dawn diverted to the Fort Street Tourism Village in Belize City, after making hasty arrangements with the Management to add them on the list of calls today. The same thing happened yesterday when the Norwegian Getaway, another ship carrying 4,000 guests, didn't make its scheduled port call at Harvest Caye on Wednesday. So what's wrong at Harvest Caye? We tried to get a comment from the BTB, but they didn't respond. One group of people who weren't complaining, however, were the local tour operators who could make money from tours with the Norwegian Dawn's passengers - who are known to spend more than Carnival's cruisers. So, the appearance of an NCL ship in the Belize City harbour today, was a sudden and unexpected stroke of good fortune. This evening, we spoke to Tom Greenwood, the President of FECTAB, about the real time effect of the Dawn's call in Belize City:

Conch Shell Youth Says Police Chased Him From His Home
Tonight. a resident of the gang warfare ridden Conch Shell Bay Area says the police have made him known he is not welcomed in the area. Joshua Gillett says he can't go home because he claims the Southside Commander Chester Williams told him he will be locked up if he does go home. Today, the 19 year old Gillett - who says he is a fish scraper told the media of his plight:... Joshua Gillet - West Collett Canal Residence: "This morning, Mr. Chester Williams stated to me that I can't go in my own area where I live which is 46 West Collet Canal, because right now a gang war is happening right now and he told me until there is peace then I could come back. Now I don't understand why he is chasing me out of my own area where I make my own money because I am a fisherman. When I can't go to the sea, I scrape fish right at the market. Other people from other area where used to hang out there was told not to come back. I am the only one who lives at the area who they chased, they actually chased me from my own house like Mr. Williams want me to live on the street. I don't know what he want."

Ashcroft Alliance Will Challenge New Law To Protect Reserves and Gov't Property
The news in the House and Senate between last weekend this week has been the bipartisan support for legislation seeking to insulate the country's reserves and governments assets, and firewall them from being claimed in any lawsuit by the Ashcroft Alliance. As we have reported, the Alliance is trying to recover 50 million US dollars which a US Court upheld as arbitration awards due to two Ashcroft Allied companies: British Caribbean Holdings and Belize Social Development Limited. The government of Belize says it won't pay a cent to them because Belize's highest court - which is the CCJ - has rejected the agreements. Well, the Alliance today made official what everyone expected; they will make a constitutional challenge of the new law. A release says that Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited - which used to be named BCB Holdings…"intends to bring a claim in the Belize Supreme Court to challenge the constitutionality of the Central Bank of Belize Act and the crown Proceedings Act." It continues, quote, "the effect of the legislation is a clear attempt to intimidate and restrain Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited from pursuing its right in judicial proceedings that the government has lost."

Casino Workers Say Gambler Went Berserk
A Casino goer has been charged for firing his weapon inside the Casino. Yesterday morning around 1:38, 59-year-old businessman Canlin Su allegedly assaulted 2 on-duty workers at the Placencia Casino near the Plantation area on the Peninsula. Su, who was the only customer at the time, reportedly threw coffee on the 2 workers and walked out. But that wasn't the end of the scenery. Su allegedly came back with his weapon. Workers say he banged on the Casino door and fired a shot in the air. Police have since confiscated his licensed 9mm Luger Pistol with a magazine containing 11 live rounds. Canlin Su - who is from Maya Beach - has been charged for discharging a firearm in public, common assault and aggravated burglary.

Car Dealer Wants to Get Rebecca a Ride
Rebecca Rath represented Belize in the Miss Universe pageant last Sunday. Although Rath did not win, or even make it into the Top 13 semifinalists, the support she received from her fellow Belizeans was incredible. Many citizens called for a parade to be held in her honor when she returns home next week, while others, such as Emil Torres, wanted to gift her with a brand new car. Torres, who is the manager of Caribbean Motors, came up with the idea to provide Rath with a new Haval SUV - which a line carried by his delaership. The idea was to raise funds through public donations to purchase the car, and then hand it over to Rath. Howver, since starting the initiative on Tuesday, Torres has received a lot of negative feedback. Many people feel that he might be using the initiative as a marketing ploy, while others feel that the money would be better spent elsewhere. We spoke to Torres today, and gave him a chance to explain exactly what he wants to come out of this effort... Emil Torres - Caribbean Motors: "The idea came up of course because a lot of people that know me knows that I deal with vehicles. Vehicles are my industry that's what I know. It's my career, it's what I eat breath and sleep. Fortunately and unfortunately at times. So it's only natural that I if came up with an idea or wanted to do something it would have had to steam off from what I know. You can't expect me to want to donate a house or a laptop or a motorcycle. I don't deal with those things."

Radisson Constructing Pier For The Long Run
The Radisson Fort George is the flagship hotel in Belize City's, while its pier is one one of the few very long piers extending out from the city's coast. And they have paid dearly for that. The pier was wrecked during both Hurricane Richard in 2010, and Hurricane Earl in 2015. And so now, the hotel has come up with a design which should withstand storms and last decades. Jim Scott, the Radisson's General Manager, told us more... Jim Scott - Gen. Manager/CEO, Radisson Fort George Hotel: "It's going to be built back a lot stronger, a different design, slightly wider but I think the most significantly difference is it's going to be built out of cement totally and it's going to be a lot stronger that it was before which was PVC cement piles with wooden planks, wooden braces. This is going to be all cement. So it's going to be a lot stronger. It's totally built by Belizean company. One contractor and its moving along. With hurricanes there is a lot of situations where there could be damage. If it was just water surge and wave action I think Roque was real accurate, but if there was a large barge or boats that might hit it in a storm situation, sure there should be damage but this one is pretty strong. There is no wood to knock on but knock on the sea wall."

The Grilling of Gordon Wade
In last night's news, we brought you excerpts of the sworn testimony from Gordon Wade, the Senior Immigration Officer who once was in charge of the Nationality Section of the Immigration Department. It was the very first time he had given any public comment, and possibly the first time that he was even filmed by the media, since his name started getting called back in September and October of 2013, when the Elvin Penner/Citizen Kim passport scandal first broke. We showed you how he took questions from the Senate Select Committee on the Won Hong Kim scandal, and described the encounters with the UDP ministers who were in and out of Immigration Department pressing influence. He also confirmed that there was a rush before the 2012 General Elections in which 2110 applicants got nationality. Well, one other part of yesterday's hearing which we didn't get to show you was Wade's testimony, which points fingers away from himself and to the front-line Immigration Officers below him, for the fraud and forgery which allowed for visitors to illegally acquire Belizean Nationality.

Baron Gets Off Fondling Charge
26 year old Baron Anderson, a sailor residing at 55 John Smith Street, Belama Phase 2, was acquitted of a charge of sexual assault today by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. The complainant, Charlotte Roches, a cashier at Raccoon Street Police Station, testified that at 9:30 on New Year's night in 2015, Anderson grabbed her private parts while she was playing a machine at Golden Casino, on Newtown Barracks. Anderson, testified and admitted that he was at casino standing beside Roches while she was playing the machine but he denied that he sexually assaulted her. He said that he and Roches had a relationship for over 6 months and that it was he who gave her the money to gamble. He said that it was only after Roches lost all the money he gave her and he refused to give her more that she assaulted him.

Chinese Belizean Caught With High Grade Weed
Belmopan police have charged A Chinese - Belizean man for trafficking in high grade marijuana. Belmopan police searched the Zhubin Deng's home on George Price Boulevard around 1:45 this afternoon. They found over 1 pound of they type of marijuana known as Oaxaca ("Wahaca") - which is said to be imported from Mexico. Deng will be taken to court tomorrow.

5 Pounds Of Product
And city police also made a bust of high grade weed - about 5 pounds of it. This morning the Special Branch, the Strike Team and the k9 unit searched an abandoned lot in the Fabers road extension area. They found just under 5 pounds of high grade marijuana. This drug is believed to be for a known drug target operating in that area. It was deposited as found property.

Landlord Put Tenant's Business In Street
47 year-old Vanzie Lamb, a landlord from Barracat Street, is out on bail tonight following an allegation from one of his tenants that he burglarized her. 20 year-old Tahira Theus, reported to police that sometime between January 15 and January 31, Lamb broke into her room - which she was renting from him - and stole several of her belongings to a total value of $1,000. Police investigated the report, charged him with burglary, and today, he was arraigned before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer. He pleaded not guilty and explained to the Senior Magistrate that he didn't burglarize her room. He said that Theus owed him $275, which was two months' rent, and she made no attempts to pay him. Lamb said that he broke the lock on her door and put her belongings outside. Lamb was released on bail of $1,500, and he must return to court on April 5.

Cops and Community Converse
Crime on the south side of the city has been a a problem for decades, and anyone who's studied it at any length will know that more cops, more guns, and more patrols won't solve it. But can the community create its own solution? That's what the South Side police are exploring with a series of meetings with residents of the Collet and Albert areas. Meetings were held on Tuesday and Wednesday nights of this week, and South side Commander Chester Williams, today discussed the success of those meetings and the initiatives coming our of them...

Making Mediation Matter
The police also outlined ongoing intervention initiatives to steer at risk youths away from violence and gangs. Williams told us what police are trying to achive... Williams says that his department hopes that these mentorship programs, plus additional police presence will help to quell the violence in the area.

UDP Finnegan Friendly with PUP Julius
When PUP Cayo South Representative Julius Espat was ejected from the House of Representatives on August 26th, it made the the worst kind of history in the nation's parliament. After that, he held more than a handful of press interviews and other engagements to publicly plead his case that he was wronged by the former House Speaker, Mike Peyrefitte. And while he left with a bang, he came back without even a sound - Espat slid right into his seat, smooth as a slide in a slide projector. He gave one thank you to his sponsor Michale Finnegan and got on with the business of the house - end of a very complicated story. Yesterday Finnegan told us he's glad Espat is back:... Espat earns a salary of about 1,300 dollars monthly as a parliamentarian and he lost that salary for four months.

BEL Gives to The Seniors
Wouldn't it be great if BEL gave everyone a discount on their bill ? Well, if you are one of the 1,110 Belizean senior citizens randomly selected by BEL, then you will be getting that discount. It's part of their Golden Citizen program. Senior citizens are randomly selected countrywide for the discount program based on criteria: you have to be a Belizean 65 years or older, you must have one active account and it must be registered in their your name and residence. In a press release Ivorine Bulwer, Executive Director of HelpAge Belize, endorses the program saying, " (it) is an indication of the Company's appreciation for those who have contributed to the growth and development of the Belizean Society." This year's recipients doubled the 2016 figure.

Channel 5

Caribbean Investment Holdings Will Challenge New Anti-Arbitration Laws
Mere days after the Central Bank of Belize (International Immunities) Act and the Crown Proceedings (Amendment) Act were rushed through their stages at the National Assembly; they are under challenge [...]

Police and Residents of Conch Shell Bay Hope to Solve Deadly Feud
Gun violence in the area of Conch Shell Bay in the Old Capital has seen a sharp spike since the start of the year. Murders and shootings connected to feuding [...]

Police Address What Happened to Latest Shooting Victim
As we said, on Monday night, twenty-one-year-old Jaheel Goodger was shot during a brazen attempt on his life as he rode through Conch Shell Bay.  His assailant has since been [...]

Kareem Musa: G.O.B. Has No Excuse for Re-Registration
The Opposition People’s United Party was first off the mark in condemning a proposal by the Elections and Boundaries Commission to postpone the timing of re-registration of voters to after [...]

B.N.T.U. and Ministry of Education Complete Court-Ordered Mediation
A court ordered mediation between the Belize National Teachers Union and the Ministry of Education has concluded.  Although the outcome of that process will not be made public, News Five [...]

Sinaloa Cartel General, Operating in Southern Mexico and Northern Belize, is Arrested
A senior drug operator for the Sinaloa cartel controlled by the ‘El Chapo’ Guzman has been caught by Mexican police.  Roberto Najera Gutierrez, a.k.a. ‘La Gallina,’ is said to be [...]

A Reward for Rebecca after Miss Universe Appearance
Miss Belize Universe Rebecca Rath…does she deserve to be gifted a brand new late model vehicle, despite not placing in the recently held Miss Universe Pageant?  It’s an initiative that [...]

How to Get Your Own Belizean Island on eBay
It is not clear how many of Belize’s cayes and islands are privately owned, although quite a few have come up in the news recently as sites of tourist developments. [...]

At Senate Inquiry, Ex-Nationality Chief Discusses Use of Economic Citizenship
The Auditor General’s Report states that despite economic citizenship being ended in 2002, “replacement nationality certificates were fraudulently backdated and fraudulent nationality was given under the guise of registration and [...]

Who Else Benefited from Access and “Culture” at Immigration
Prominent Ministers of Government, from former Minister of Immigration John Saldivar to Edmond Castro, have been named as being frequent visitors to the Department of Immigration in the time of [...]

Directors Took Process for Granted, Gordon Wade Claims
Also part of the “culture” at the Immigration Department was a tendency to take everything at face value – if the preparatory work had been done at the lower levels [...]

Aggravated Assault on Cops or Police Brutality on Youth Following Weed Drop?
A Belize City mother is alleging that her son, Dean Nembhard Junior, is yet another victim of police brutality and that she has videos showing police taking advantage of him. [...]

Heavy Fine for Weed Find on Partridge Street
A Crooked Tree resident will have to pay up to ten thousand dollars to the court after being found guilty of drug trafficking two hundred and thirteen grams of marijuana. [...]

Smart Belize Hurricanes Find New Shelter, Hope for Winning Ways
The 2017 National Elite Basketball League tournament began in January of this year and a total of seven teams: San Pedro Tiger Sharks, Belmopan Bandits, Dangriga Dream Ballers, Cayo Western [...]

King’s Park Versus Yabra in First Ever Rugby Sevens Game
On Saturday, for the first time in Belize, two teams will be competing in a Rugby-Seven match.  The sport started in the nineteenth century by William Webb Ellis, who in [...]

The National Library’s Health Fair
The National Library hosted a one day health fair today – it wasn’t held in 2016, but they say that the initiative is an annual one.  A number of local [...]

Regular Training to Improve Services at K.H.M.H.
On Wednesday we spoke with Dr. Adrian Coye, the C.E.O. of K.H.M.H.  You heard him talk about the works being done to the operating theatre over the next couple months. [...]

CTV3

Another Rise In Fuel Prices
Just last week consumers received some much needed release as the prices in fuel saw a small reduction, but those low prices were short lived as fuel prices will see a hike effective midnight. So…if your gas tank is running near empty, our advice to you is to fill up because at midnight tonight the prices for Diesel, Premium and regular gasoline will see a marked increase at the pump. Regular gasoline will see an increase of eleven cents going from nine dollars and sixty four cents to nine dollars and seventy five cents while diesel will rise by fifteen cents raising from eight dollars and ninety five cents to nine dollars and ten cents. But the highest increase will be seen on Premium gasoline which will rise by forty four cents going from nine dollars and ninety nine cents to a whopping ten dollars and forty three cents. Of course the increase is yet to be announced by GOB.

Pedestrian Ramp Completed By Solomon's' School
Earlier in the week we told you about the works being carried out by the Orange Walk Town Council to construct a pedestrian ramp in front of the Salomon’s Seven Day Adventist School, a project, which the school and surrounding residents have been advocating for since the tragic accident which claimed the life if nine year old Gerardo Lopez in late 2015. Today we visited the construction site where we caught up with Mayor Kevin Bernard who told us about the project’s progress thus far. Mayor Kevin Bernard – Orange Walk Town Council: “I am happy to see that the work has been completed here there are some minor little touches that needs to finish; the painting, the necessary signage as I mentioned this morning on Despierta Belice, we have already the sign and we want to make sure that coming to the approach to the pedestrian ramp there is enough reflectors on both ends that people can be aware that you must come to a stop at the pedestrian crossing we are definitely happy and I know the residence in the area”

Senior Immigration Disputes Ruth Meighan Statement
Yesterday, Former Officer in Charge of the Nationality and Permanent Residence Sections of the Immigration Department, Gordon Wade, appeared before the Senate Select Committee and attempted to distance himself from any wrongdoing cited in the Auditor General’s special audit for the period 2011-2013. Wade, flanked throughout the entire proceedings by his attorney Andrew Bennett, explained that his job was to vet documents before they were approved, that is, to ensure that the required files for nationality had been received and filed before he passed on the application with his recommendation to the Director of Immigration. Wade’s testimony was that he always ensured that the required documents were reported as received. When this was not the case, he would not approve or submit to the Director but with caution notes. This is significant because in her testimony last week Former Director Ruth Meighan had cast doubt and suspicion on the officers below her, who she blamed for passing falsified documents and files for her to approve. Here’s some of Meighan’s testimony, followed by Wade’s.

MOW Messes Streets In Orange Walk East, Who Is To Blame?
Since the beginning of 2017 the Orange Walk Town Council made a commitment to the residents of Orange Walk East to work on streets in the area which are in desperate need of repair. Although the council has been keeping with their mandate, and commenced works in the lower Louisiana Area, their work was halted when the Ministry of Works entered the area, to also work on these streets. While this seemed like a good thing, to have GOB helping with road rehabilitations, it soon proved not to be, as the streets have been left in an even more deplorable condition. Today when we spoke to Mayor Kevin Bernard about the current condition of the streets, he expressed grave concern. Mayor Kevin Bernard – Orange Walk Town Council: “I want to make it known that I’ve said to the operations manager that I will send a letter to the ministry of works here in Orange Walk that they must cease and deices from touching any more street in this town because if that is the type of job that they are going to do to create mess, chaos, and havoc for the people living in those areas then it is best they go out and fix sugar roads and this is what they need to do I don’t want them to touch any more of our streets what I want them to go back and fix the mess that they have created because we cannot allow our residence that deserve better than that.”

More Street Works Coming To Orange Walk
Since taking office in 2012 the Orange Walk Town Council has been hard at work in improving infrastructure in our Town and have successfully rehabilitated a total of 35 streets across town in addition to five drainage projects and cemented 8 intersections. But the work does not end there for Mayor Bernard and his team and more street works are in the books. Today we spoke to Mayor Bernard who gave us a rundown of what those works are. Mayor Kevin Bernard – Orange Walk Town Council: “Right now in terms of our infrastructure project we have WASA is working on Tate Street they are changing their pipelines immediately as soon as they finish we are going to see the paving of both Tate Street, Progress and by that time WASA would have already been working on Arthur Street which we should see also two coats paving on those roads, we have also made a decision that there is a section of Progress Street, that junction just by Crystal that T that links to Democracia and then in that area it keep breaking up and then heavy equipment use there and so we are looking at the possibility to cement that intersection during the project so there will be some inconvenience when those works start and I ask the patients of those residence again all this is for the enhancement of our town to improve our infrastructure.”


Re: Today's Belize News: February 3, 2017 [Re: Marty] #521361
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The Guardian

Prime Minister Barrow secures Belize’s reserves and Courtenay betrays his Lord!!!
Senator Eamon Courtenay, who some describe as the least liked person in politics, delivered a critical blow to the Ashcroft Alliance on Monday, January 30, when he voted to seal the country’s assets from the reach of “predators” like his Sith Lord. Before voting in favour of the bill, Courtenay said, “No one - absolutely no one in this chamber - myself included - will vote against a bill that seeks to give further immunity to the assets held by the Central Bank. No one.” With those words, he drove a dagger deep into Ashcroft’s back. “Et tu Brute!” It was the final and most painful blow in an attack that started three days earlier, Friday, January 27, when Prime Minister Barrow introduced the Central Bank Immunity Bill. Prime Minister Barrow kept close to his vest the intention of passing the Central Bank Immunity Bill through the House of Representatives on Friday, January 27, which “restate for greater certainty the immunity of the Central Bank of Belize from legal proceedings in other states”. The bill passed with unanimous support from members of the House, Government and Opposition, and makes it tougher for the Ashcroft Alliance to go after the country’s assets abroad as payment for arbitration awards upheld by U.S. Courts. It was not announced until Thursday, January 26, that there would be a Special Sitting of the House on Friday. Only Cabinet officials were aware of the intent to introduce the bill in order to prevent the alliance from learning of its existence and launching a preemptive strike.

Brother cops charged for beating 19 year old
Brothers, 28 year old Kenrick Steven Gamboa, and his younger brother, 24 year old Akeem Rashaad Gamboa remain in police custody after being arraigned on Wednesday evening at the Belize City Magistrate’s Court in connection with the alleged beating of a Belize city youth, 19 year old Michael Crawford. At 4:00 on Wednesday evening the brothers who were unrepresented and who are police officers residing at #6683 Police Street, Belize City were both read a charge of grievous harm. Allegations are that on Saturday, January 28, 2017, they intentionally and unlawfully caused grievous harm to Michael Crawford. While both were charged jointly for that offense, the older brother, PC Kenrick Gamboa was charged alone for the offense of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon to wit, a firearm upon Micahel Crawford.

Voter re-registration to be done next year
The Elections and Boundaries Commission has decided that the re-registration of voters will take place in 2018 after the Municipal Elections. The Commission will also carry out a redistricting exercise to try to balance the 31 constituencies, so as to try to reduce the disparity in their respective sizes. The Opposition, PUP, on no proper basis, are interpreting this postponement as something sinister, blowing it out of proportion. Back in August of 2016, the Prime Minister first indicated in a House Meeting that the Government was minded to postpone the 2017 re-registration until after the 2018 municipal elections. The Elections and Boundaries Commission and the public officers from the Elections and Boundaries Department have had some time to consider the wisdom in that course of action, and they have found great merits in it.

Aragon Tours National Forensic Services
The new strategy to deal with crime which will be unveiled shortly by the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Elodio Aragon Jr., is a multi-pronged approach which will incorporate the input of several governmental organizations. One such agency is the National Forensics Services which is headquartered in Ladyville. On Monday January 30, Aragon toured the National Forensics Services and met with the staff to abreast himself with the capabilities and needs of the Service. In a presentation which lasted over an hour, Hon. Aragon was brought up to speed with where the NFS finds itself at present and was also presented with the challenges faced by the various sections of the NFS. In an interview with the Guardian Honorable Aragon explained us the purpose of his tour, “I am visiting the Forensic Center, looking at where we are. You know, where the forensic lab is in terms of the people that deal with the chemistry, the biology, and the people who are dealing with the firearms and crime.”

Kareem should start re-registration in Caribbean Shores
The adage goes that if you spit in the air it will fall on your face. Maybe Kareem Musa should take this into consideration the next time he decides to be the mouthpiece of the PUP on the upcoming re-registration exercise. He is heard commenting publicly that there is some great need for the re-registration exercise to take place this year. What he fails to tell the public is that like many other PUP politicians, there are persons registered in his division who do not live there. If he is so interested in doing a re-registration maybe he should start in his constituency. There is one Pulu who lives in Pinks Alley or Magestic Alley who is registered at some house on Tenth street.

BDF soldier accused of sexual assault
Kevin Chun, 22, a soldier of the Belize Defense Force is out on bail after a female police corporal, 42, reported that he sexually assaulted her at a bar in Ladyville Village on Friday night, January 27. In a report to police, the corporal said that at around 10:20 p.m. on Friday she was conducting special duties at the Cocktail Bar on Wood Pecker Street in Ladyville with PC Morrison when they were notified that a young man was inside giving trouble. The officers responded to the distress call and the bartender pointed them to a short man standing near the bar. This individual was later identified as Kevin Chun, a BDF soldier. Chun had a beer bottle in his hand and was swinging it back and forth as if he was going to throw it at the bartender. The corporal rushed over to Chun, took away the bottle and told him to relax. While standing in front of him, Chun suddenly felt someone’s hand pressing on her vagina. When she looked down she saw Chun’s hand and she slapped him. The officer arrested Chun and escorted him to the Ladyville Police Station where he was charged.

Arthritis suffering grandmother of Majestic Alley charged for weed
Beverly Whylie, 59, dragged herself to court with her walking stick on Monday, January 30, to face a single charge of possession of a controlled drug, 23.9 grams of cannabis, which she was allegedly busted with during an early morning police raid of her home at #3 Pinks Alley on Monday. According to police, at about 10:15 a.m., PC Shamir Mai and other officers attached to Eastern North side Strike Team were on mobile patrol when they stopped at Whylie’s residence to conduct a search for illegal drugs and firearm. During the search, PC Mai said he looked under a sofa set and found a bag containing 60 separate parcels of cannabis. The person present inside the house at the time of the search was Beverly Whylie. She was escorted to the Queen Street Police Station where the cannabis was weighed in her presence and amounted to 23.9 grams.

Child drowns in a well in Belmopan
Members of the Maya Mopan family of Lorena Duarte are still mourning the drowning of her youngest child Edwin Lorenzo Duarte, which occurred on Saturday afternoon of this past weekend in Belmopan. The energetic child fell into an open well, the main water supply source of his family; as the other family members were washing clothes and attending to other chores. Edwin Duarte was taken to the Western Regional Hospital, but too much water had already flooded his lungs and he passed away.

David Enriquez to stand trial in Supreme Court for theft
Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith ruled on Friday, January 27, that there is sufficient evidence against David Elroy Enriquez, 39, for him to stand trial for three counts of theft in the April 2017 Session of the Supreme Court. Enriquez will be on trial for allegedly redirecting almost $500,000 in Government subvention for the Toledo Community College to a private account. Enriquez appeared in the Belize City Magistrates Court with his attorney Oscar Selgado on Friday for a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith. Prosecutor in the case, Inspector Egbert Castillo, submitted as many as ten witness statements and nine documentary evidence which will be used against Enriquez at the Supreme Court trial. The Treasury Department discovered that money set to be deposited in specific accounts were redirected to others. Allegations being made against Enriquez are that on January 12, 2014, he dishonestly transferred the sum of $47,638.71 from the Treasury Department to a Belize Bank account registered under the name Seine Bight Community Training Program.

Coast Guard makes weed arrests on Turneffe Island
Justin Flowers, 22, pled guilty to drug trafficking in court on Monday, January 30, when he was arraigned in the Belize City Magistrates Court along with two other men and a 13-year-old minor. According to police report, on Saturday, January 28, they received a call from Coast Guard personnel about four individuals who they caught on Turneffe Island in possession of cannabis. The Coast Guard personnel said he placed the four persons, Elijah Usher, 18, Justin Flowers, 22, Stanley O’Neil, 23, and a minor, 13, all of Tibruce Street, under arrest after he was on Turneffe Island and saw them with two transparent plastic bags which contained cannabis. They were turned over to police who detained them and weighed the cannabis in their presence. It amounted to 862 grams. They were all charged with drug trafficking.

Two guns off the streets
Belize City police have removed two guns off the streets of Belize City. They report that on Sunday January 29th they conducted a search in an abandoned lot on Oleander Street in the St. Martin’s de Porres area where they found a .38 revolver with two live rounds and three expended shells. No one was found in the area and the gun was deposited as found property.

Jamaal Warrior remanded for burglary
The infamous criminal figure Jamaal Warrior, 23, is behind bars at the Belize Central Prison on remand for a charge of burglary. Allegations are that on Sunday, January 29, he broke into the home of Sharon Peters at #10 Albert Street West and stole a Skyler curling iron valued at $150, an extension cord valued at $20, a bracelet valued at $80, a Sony Ericson cellphone valued at $75, a pair of ankle socks, a plastic snake, a set of playing cards and other personal belongings amounting to a total of $438. Warrior was unrepresented when he was escorted to the Belize City Magistrates Court on Tuesday, January 31. He was read a single charge of burglary by Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith. Warrior pleaded not guilty and told Chief Magistrate Smith that he was beaten badly by the police officer who arrested him.

Carl Lino gets 3 ½ years for unlicensed firearm
Carl Lino, 24, will have to serve 3 ½ years behind bars after he was found guilty of keeping an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. Lino was set to stand trial on Tuesday, January 24; however, he decided to plea guilty to the charges. With that, Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith remanded him to prison until Friday, January 27, while she went over the decision of whether or not to impose the recommended five year sentence. On November 12, 2014, Lino allegedly tried to kill George Street associate Andrew Tate who was shot once in the head. Police responded quickly and intercepted Lino who they shot once in the thigh after he opened fire at them. Police apprehended him and found him in possession of a .38 revolver firearm loaded with several rounds of ammunitions. Tate survived the injury and Lino was charged for the incident.

Nolle Prosequi in case against Patrick Menzies
Crown Counsel Sherigne Rodriguez had to withdraw charges of attempted murder against Patrick Menzies, 35, on Thursday, January 26, when Justice Adolph Lucas refused to grant an adjournment to March so she could get one of her main witness in the country to testify. The trial against Menzies for the attempted murder of police officer Delwin Casimiro and Natasha James commenced on January 24. Rodriguez had called five witnesses to the stand, including the two alleged victims, before requesting the adjournment. Inspector Dennis Myles is out of the country and will not return until March 18, 2017. He is the officer who recorded witness statements back in 2011. Two friends went out to a function at the Princess Hotel and Casino on Saturday, June 4, 2011, Deacon Rodney Lino and his friend Patrick Menzies. By the end of the night, the men claimed that an accidental bump ended in them being beaten by men who turned out to be police officers. Lino and Menzies claimed police brutality and reported the incident but police’s version of the story was different as a policeman was ran over and almost lost his life.

San Pedro Tiger Sharks wins again in Elite Basketball play
The 2017 National Elite Basketball League competition continued over the last weekend with a number of games across the country. On Saturday 28th January, 2017, out at the San Pedro High School Auditorium in San Pedro Town, the former champions San Pedro Tiger Sharks continued its dominance of the young season so far when it won handily over the defending champions the Smart Belize Hurricanes by the score of 85-75. With this win, the San Pedro Tiger Sharks have improved their record to 3-0 while the defending champions the Smart Belize Hurricanes have dropped to 0-2. The top scorers for the San Pedro Tiger Sharks were George Williams with 27 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal; Ashton Edwards who scored 21 points to go along with 1 assist and a steal; Raul Roches who tallied 16 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists and Kurt Burgess who scored 9 points but pulled down 14 rebounds while dishing out 5 assists to go along with a steal.

Ahmadiyya U-19 Basketball League opens
The 2017 Ahmadiyya U -19 Basketball League opened on Sunday 29th January, 2017, at the Gateway Youth Centre in Belize City. The U-19 league has 10 teams participating and will run for eleven weeks. All 10 teams will be in competition every Sunday with the first game commencing at 9:00 am. On Sunday 29th January, in the first game played, Raising Stars won over Spartans by the score of 47-25. The top scorer for Raising Stars was Aaron Young with 28 points and for Spartans the top scorer was Wayne Bennett with 9 points. In game two, Truckers won handily over Bombers by the score of 49-18. The top scorer for Truckers was Justin Bailey with 14 points and for Bombers it was Jaron Alvarez with 4 points. In game three, 3rd World won over Police Street by the score of 38-33. The top scorer for 3rd World was Adrian Hall with 8 points while Everald Tablada top scored for Police Street with 15 points.

Belmopan Bandits open in winning form in defence of its national title
The Premier League of Belize opened its Closing Season Tournament on Saturday 28th January, 2017, with a single game on the schedule. In the game played out at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the defending champions the Belmopan Bandits, opened defence of its national title in winning form when it blanked the visiting FC Belize Team from Belize City by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Elroy Smith. The competition then continued on Sunday 29th January, 2017, with three more games on the schedule. At the MCC Grounds, the national sub-champions the Belize Defence Force also opened in winning form when it blanked Wagiya by the score of 6-0.

Central Region high school football competition enters playoffs
The Central Region Secondary Schools Football Competition has now entered its playoffs with two games on Monday 30th January, 2017. In the first game in the male Quarter final round, St. John’s College eliminated Edward P. Yorke High School by the score of 2-1 to advance to the semi-final round. The goals for St. John’s College were scored by Eric Rodriguez and Carlos Guerra, while Kevin Najera scored for Edward P. Yorke High School. In the second game in the Quarter final round, Wesley College eliminated Sadie Vernon Technical High School by the score of 5-0. The goals for Wesley College were scored by Kermit Sutherland (2) Godwin Neal, Bernard Bailey and Jaylyn Thomas. The male Quarter Final round then continued on Tuesday 31st January, 2017, with two more games. In the first game of the afternoon, Anglican Cathedral College eliminated Maud Williams High School by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Darrell Flowers.

Belize Softball Federation to holds Umpires’ Training
The Belize Softball Federation will be holding an Umpires’ Training from February 15-19, 2017, at Rogers’ Stadium in Belize City. The Umpires’ Training will be conducted by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Softball Division Chief Umpire Robert Stanton. Robert Stanton has been the WBSC-Softball Division Umpire in Chief since 2008 and has led over 40 Certification Seminars for umpires. The training will include theory (classroom) and practical (field) as well as a fitness test and a written exam. The federation is extending an invitation to all softball umpires and those interested in umpiring to register for the up-coming Umpires’ Training.

HIV/TB “Creating an enabling environment for key populations” Workshop for media in Belmopan
The National AIDS Commission, with the sponsorship of the United Nations Development Program UNDP as a part of the Global Fund Project for HIV, TB and Malaria, held a one on one session with the media on Monday of this week at the George Price Center for Peace and Development in Belmopan. A major goal of the encounter is to create an enabling environment for key populations affected by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus HIV and TB in Belize. HIV Consultant Martha Carrillo shared with us the status of HIV at the Global and local levels. UNAIDS reports that there were 36.7 million persons living with HIV around the world in 2015, from which 1.1 million have died. Some 78 million have been infected since the start of the HIV pandemic and 35 million have died. At the world level, the good news is that some 17 million people are now accessing antiretroviral therapy. In Belize, 239 persons were HIV positive in 2015 with the majority being males.

BAHA urges livestock producers to vaccinate against rabies
The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health and Belize Livestock Producers Association informs all livestock farmers to vaccinate their livestock against the ongoing Bovine Rabies disease outbreak. The disease is currently being detected in the Corozal, Orange Walk, Cayo and Toledo Districts and is expected to continue affecting unvaccinated herds throughout the entire country. The disease is also being found in sheep and therefore farmers are being advised to vaccinate their cattle, sheep and horses against rabies

Belize’s export option for economic growth
The Directorate General for Foreign Trade (DGFT) hosted a workshop on a strategy for boosting exports in Belize on Friday morning of last week in the National Emergency Management Organization NEMO training room at the NEMO Headquarters in Belmopan. Among the conclusions from that session was that a faster than normal real Gross Domestic Product growth for Belize would have to be export driven. The workshop was facilitated by the renowned Professor Victor Bulmer-Thomas of the University College of London. Professor Bulmer-Thomas, through the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), has done much academic work on Belize and Central America trade relations from which his analysis is derived. He had made a similar presentation at the IDB Headquarters in Belize in May of last year. In addition, Professor Bulmer-Thomas is the co-author of the book “The Economic History of Belize”.

7 Belizeans to study medicine in El Salvador
As part of cooperation between the Government of Belize and El Salvador, 7 Belizeans will get the opportunity to study medicine in that country. Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin along with the Ambassador of El Salvador to Belize, Hon. Luis Carabantes Palacios met with the recipients of the medical scholarships which are offered through the government of El Salvador to Belizean doctors to pursue specialty areas in Medicine. Minister Marin was happy to meet and express gratitude to the successful applicants for their interest and support to pursue areas which are not common in Belize. From the seven recipients, three will take up General Surgery, two in Psychiatry, one in Pediatrics and one in Internal Medicine. The program was made possible through the cooperation from the Minister of Health of El Salvador, Violeta Menjivar.

Forest Department leads effort to update national threatened species list
Key stakeholders met at the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center on Tuesday, 31st January 2017, to modify and update the Threatened Species List 2005. The Forest Department, through the involvement of more than twenty-five local, regional and international experts and wildlife conservation representatives, is presently updating Belize’s National Threatened Species List for terrestrial wildlife. As a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Belize’s efforts to update the list is only one of the many activities underway to ensure that Belize meets its global commitments and contributes towards the global Sustainable Development Goals to secure the survival of threatened species, maintain biodiversity, and improve wildlife conservation efforts. According to the Forest Department’s Wildlife Manager Edgar Correa, this update of threatened species is essential to identifying emerging threats and potential impacts on priority species, as well as pinpoint effective forest protection measures necessary to safeguard wildlife.

Belize improving ties with Mexico
On Monday, the Embassy of Mexico in Belize was delighted to receive Rosa Elena Lozano Vázquez, Secretary of Economic Development of the State of Quintana Roo. A press release from the Mexican Embassy indicates that her visit included meetings with Hon. Erwin Contreras, Minister of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investments and Commerce, and with Hon. Tracy Panton and Amparo Masson, Minister of State and Vice Minister of Investments and Commerce, respectively. These meetings were aimed at identifying trade and investment opportunities between Mexico and Belize, and also offered an opportunity to analyze the impact a prospective trade agreement between the two countries could have on increasing bilateral trade.

Punta Gorda day a massive success
There was a massive celebration this past weekend as Punta GordaTown in the Toledo District commemorated its 122nd Anniversary under the theme “PUNTA GORDA, THE EPITOME OF PRISTINE BEAUTY, HISTORY AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY, STRIVES TOGETHER FOR A PRODUCTIVE AND GREATER COMMUNITY”. The celebration kicked off last Thursday evening, January 26, 2017 with a panel discussion at the public library with contributors sharing historical accounts and perspectives on Punta Gorda “then and now”. Friday, January 27 was observed as Municipal Green Day featuring members from all sectors of the community wearing GREEN as a symbol of peace and growth. Also on that day, there was Municipal History Hour from 9:30 until 10:30 in the morning.

66 complete professional training
There are sixty-six more Belizeans who have successfully completed professional development courses offered by the Belize Training and Employment Centre (BTEC) and are now applying those newly acquired skills at their place of employment or are looking for a workplace to show off what they have learnt. Forty-six youths completed the Front Desk Training Course, thirteen individuals (young and old) completed the House-Keeping Course and seven completed the Advance Bartending Training. The courses ran from January 11 to 27 and on Wednesday, February 1, Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Development, Hon. Tracy Taegar-Panton, and General Manager of Enterprise and Innovation at BELTRAIDE, Melanie Gideon, joined the successful participants at a graduation ceremony at BTEC’s Enterprise Training Room on the ITVET compound in Belize City.

Retrospectively - Alternative Facts
Over the past few days, Belizeans have observed from a distance the change of political power further north in the United States. One of the interesting side shows to it was the emergence of the term “alternative facts” as used by a senior official in the new administration to justify information that, to put it nicely, did not correspond to reality. In fact, there were some in the US media who immediately pointed out that the term alternative facts simply means falsehoods and lies. While that may just be American politics at its best, or worse, depending on one’s perspective, we must quickly realize that we are not exempt and certainly not immune from this type of deception as there are so many persons right here in Belize who all too frequently try to use “alternative facts” to mislead the Belizean public. In no case has it been more obvious yet insidious as in the case of the many so-called and self-proclaimed experts, critics and spin masters of the opposition who have tried to inflate the cost of the settlement on the nationalization of BTL.

Prestigious Canadian scholarships to help Belizean students tackle issues of coastal resilience
Scholarship applications are now open to prospective Belizean students to study in Canada next year as part of a prestigious scholarship program being offered by Vancouver Island University (VIU) that aims to build resilience in coastal communities in Belize and Canada. The program, funded through VIU’s Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship program, is designed to increase cooperation among Canadian and Belizean scholars and community organizations that are working on issues of community resilience in coastal areas, including: • Capacity to foster sustainable economic activity, particularly tourism. • Management of water in coastal zones, including drinking water. • Developing and managing parks and protected areas in or near coastal communities. • Coastal communities’ responses to climate change. • Sustainable aquatic foods and local agricultural production. VIU is currently hosting five top Belizean students who were awarded QEII scholarships last year to pursue their Masters degrees in Community Planning and Geographic Information Systems.

Senior Immigration officer Gordon Wade appears before Senate Commission
Gordon Wade, the Senior Immigration Officer who was in charge of the Nationality Section, has had his first day before the Senate Select Committee. He was called to give an explanation on the portion of the Auditor General’s report on Immigration, which calls out what was supposed to have been careful and critical examination of Nationality applications. The audit report shows a different snapshot from 2011 to 2013, where many applicants managed to get visas to visit Belize. After that, in a few short weeks, months, and sometimes a few short days, these same applicants were able to get nationality long before they qualified for it under the law. He was the chief officer who should have ensured that persons like this did not get forwarded in consideration for nationality.

Why wait until next year for re-registration?
To listen to the higher-ups in the People’s United Party speak, one would believe that they were preparing themselves to be canonized as saints. They of all the people in this country have the nerve to be accusing others of stealing elections. Their latest wolf’s cry is to be calling for a RE-REGISTRATION of electors. In this latest attack they have been saying that the United Democratic Party stole the last General Election and that the UDP intends to steal the Municipal Elections coming up in March of 2018. The voice we have been hearing on this one is none other than their leader Johnny and perhaps the soon to be leader, Kareem Musa, the son of Said Musa. Now the older Musa has been winning elections in the Fort George Constituency for a long time and he has faced six opponents in seven elections. He has won all 7 of those elections every time by margins of 500 to 700 votes. Prior to him winning the margins of victory were between 75 to 150 votes except for 1961 when it was a blowout.

WORDS OF LIFE with Barry Fraser
Over the past few weeks, we have been looking at parts of the letter the Apostle, Missionary, and prolific letter writer Paul wrote to the believers in Rome. These ancient words are timeless in their practical instruction for us today! Let’s look at what Paul said about love in action. In Romans 12:9-13, Paul declared: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need, Practice hospitality.”

There is a New Catholic Bishop
Dangriga native Father Lawrence Nicasio has been appointed to lead the Catholic Diocese in Belize. He’s taking over from outgoing Bishop Dorick Wright, who has been locked in a prolonged struggle with severe illnesses, including kidney failure. Bishop Christopher Glancy was consecrated in 2012, and he was brought in as an auxiliary to help Bishop Wright in managing the affairs of the church, while Wright managed his health complications. Bishop Wright will go into early retirement at age 71, and Bishop Nicasio will replace him. Bishop Glancy will remain as the auxiliary Bishop. Speaking about his predecessor, Bishop Nicasio told the press that even though kidney dialysis is a physically taxing ordeal for most people, Bishop Wright “stays strong”, and is “always ready to chat”. Published information from Catholic Church says that Bishop Nicasio holds a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, USA. He also holds a Masters degree in Divinity from the Kenrich College Seminary, from the same archdiocese. He was ordained as a priest in 1989, and he has served the church all over the country.

The Belize Times

Barrow’s Dirty Voters List
The Dean Barrow Administration is actively seeking to delay a registration of voters, due by law on July 1, 2017, because they say the next general elections are too far away. They’re flip-flopping away from their excuse the last 2 postponements, which was that the country was too close to general elections. The Opposition Party is asking for it to be done, and demanding that the Government follow the laws of the country, but the ruling party is stubbornly sticking to its decision even though the last re-registration exercise was 20 years ago. The Elections and Boundaries Commission reports that there are currently over a 198,000 registered voters in Belize. There is proof that the Opposition has provided in the past that there is fraud within the voters list. However, the latest bit of evidence came last week from former Immigration Director Ruth Meighan who conceded that just before 2012 General Elections there was fraud committed for Belizean nationality where UDP politicians and agents were rushing in to get nationality for persons who didn’t qualify. That fraud on nationality certainly transferred over to the voters’ list, and that was how the UDP managed to steal the 2012 elections.

Party Unity in OW
On Saturday the National Party Council of the People’s United Party met in Orange Walk Town. This was the first quarterly meeting for 2017 of the second highest governing body of the PUP, which includes the members of the National Executive and delegates from all thirty one constituencies. True to his leadership style of reaching out to the people, the Party Leader Hon. John Briceño endorsed having the NPC outside of the Party Headquarters in Belize City, and has pledged to rotate the venue throughout the country. Welcoming the delegates to Orange Walk was Mayor Kevin Bernard who spoke of the work of the Town Council and the challenges they have faced having to deal with a vindictive central government. Despite that he said that with the support of the people he and his Council have gotten the job done, paving streets, renovating parks and providing quality service to all residents of Orange Walk Town. He called for all sections of the Party to awake to action to rescue Belize from the grips of this oppressive UDP regime.

Belize’s Star Shines Bright
Tonight there is no word on whether the government of Belize and the Belize Tourism Board will acknowledge Rebecca Rath’s achievements in Manila. There has been no press release after Sunday’s Miss Universe pageant, as there was after US Olympian Simone Biles won gold in the Olympics. There has been no talk of a motorcade or of the keys to the city being handed over. As one, the collective heart of a hopeful nation fell on Sunday night as Miss Universe host Steve Harvey called out the name of the last semi-finalist. Our representative, Rebecca Rath, did not make it to that round. For hours the social media circuit buzzed with frenetic activity, Belizeans crying foul. The reality, though, is that by her very presence and activity in the run-up to the pageant, Rebecca Rath provided Belize with amazing positive publicity. For weeks this young Belizean captured the hearts of international media outlets, and Belize was named prominently in them. She may not have won, but she represented Belize proudly and well.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Late night murder in Belize City
BBN has confirmed that a man was gunned down on Iguana Street Extension in Belize City just before 10 pm tonight. The victim is identified as Mark Jones. Police are currently on the scene conducting their investigations.

San Pedro activist found dead
Confirmed reports reaching our newsroom is that a well known San Pedro resident was found dead earlier tonight in his home in the San Juan area. San Pedro police are yet to release further details and as such BBN could not confirm if murder is suspected or if the death is due to natural causes. BBN will have an update as soon as the police issue an official report. Update: The victim is identified as forty three year old Felix Ayuso, a hairdresser residing at the corner of Jew fish and Seaweed Street in the San Juan area of San Pedro. He was found motionless in his bed with several stab wounds to his body.

Tribute to Evan X Hyde organized by Pen Cayetano and Family
On Sunday at 3 p.m., the Pen Cayetano studio gallery is celebrating Black History month with a special tribute to the Evan X Hyde, the publisher of The Amandala Newspaper. Speakers included on the agenda are Cynthia Ellis-Topsey, Dr. Theodore Arnda and Evan X Hyde, himself. The art exhibition is being led by Pen, Ingrid and Mali Cayetano. Following Hyde’s return to Belize following his studies in the United States, he was one of the chief founders of the 1969 United Black Association for Development (UBAD) which focused largely on black empowerment.

Chinese Businessman goes berserk inside Placencia Casino
A Chinese businessman who went berserk inside the Placencia Casino is at this time in police detention facing charges. According to police reports, yesterday officers responded to reports of shots being fired at the Placencia Casino located in the plantation area on the Placencia Peninsula. On arrival they saw 59-year-old Canlin Su, Chinese businessman of Maya Beach area in possession of a firearm in front of the casino.

PUP preparing to fight UDP
The People’s United Party (PUP) is seeking to recall the United Democratic Party’s embattled Orange Walk Area Representative, Gaspar Vega. At the Party’s first National Party Council meeting for 2017 it was indicated that the challenge will be launched exactly 18 months after Vega secured his victory in the 2015 General Elections. Additionally the party took the opportunity to lash out against the government for its third restructuring of the country’s Super Bond. According to the PUP, it appears that GoB still cannot get it right after its third attempt.

Two Police officers jailed for beating teenager
Yesterday two Belize City cops, Kenrick and Akeem Gamboa (brothers) appeared in court after they were charged for beating a teenager. The nineteen year old teen told police that on Saturday he was socializing at a home on mile four when the two officers gained entry and attacked him. According to the teen, one of the men pointed a firearm on his direction and fired several shots to intimidate him.

National Council on Ageing celebrates 14th Anniversary
Today marks the 14th anniversary of the National Council on Ageing which was first established in 2003 following Cabinet approval. Events to commemorate the anniversary will begin on February 7th at the Belmopan Market Square with a flash mob featuring various supporters to showcase the talents, creativity and youthfulness of older persons. On February 9th the council will have an anniversary review in Belize where it will evaluate its progress as it continues to press for older persons to be a part of the National Agenda.

National Threatened Species List to be updated
Yesterday, the Belize Forest Department issued a press release informing the public that key stakeholders met at the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center on Tuesday, January 31st, 2017 to modify and update Belize’s Threatened Species List. The Forest Department, through the involvement of more than twenty-five local, regional and international experts and wildlife conservation representatives, are collaborating to update the country’s National Threatened Species List.

Blogs

Black History Month is being held in Dangriga
Around the world the month of February is celebrated as the Black history month where the the people who migrated from Africa to the other side of the world Honduras, Belize, United States and other countries who observe Black History Month are a culture to represent their culture background. On February 1st, 2017 the United States commenced its observation of their Black History month. Belize has many challenges when it comes to celebrate this month especially. when no one is really involved or though making their culture Black History Month recognize in Belize. Earlier this year a press release was taken out that their will be having an event in Dangriga. To represent the Black History Month in Belize. A celebration that will take place this Sunday February 5th, 2017 in Dangriga. Renowned Garifuna artist, Pen Cayetano, and his family will be organizing a special observance of Black History Month for 2017, and the musician and painter will be preparing for a showcase that will be displaying a centerpiece of the observance this year in February, for a special tribute to Evan X Hyde and the United Black Association for Development (UBAD) a black power movement which Hyde and his peers led in Belize in the 1960s. The launch of Black History month by Pen will be scheduled to commence at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 5, 2017 at the Pen Cayetano Studio Gallery at 3 Aranda Crescent in Dangriga Town.

San Ignacio to Host 15th Annual Belize Archaeology Symposium
On June 28-30, 2017, the Belize National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) will host the 15th annual Belize Archeology Symposium at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel in San Ignacio, Belize. This year’s special topic will be “The Origin of Ancient Maya Lifeways and Society: Preclassic and Early Classic Developments.” Admittance for the symposium is $10 BZD for residents and $20 BZD for non-residents. Registration will open at 7:30 AM on each day of the symposium. Pre-registration is heartily encouraged and attendance is by invitation only. For more information, contact the Institute of Archeology at 822-2106 or by email at research@nichbelize.org.

World Cancer Day: Belize Focuses on Increasing Access to Care
Belize, a country of just 330,000 inhabitants and limited resources, is bringing cancer care to the fore. In the run up to World Cancer Day —taking place on 4 February 2017— First Lady Kim Simplis Barrow is speaking up for change and is campaigning to increase access to cancer care, based on recommendations from the IAEA. “I am a cancer survivor because I was one of the lucky ones,” Simplis Barrow said. “For many in Belize, this is not the case.” In October 2011, Simplis Barrow found out she had breast cancer and managed to receive treatment abroad. Cancer patients in Belize who do not have the means to be treated in another country have little hope, Simplis Barrow said. Even many of those who manage to find treatment abroad do not survive because their diagnoses are given too late or because there is no follow up treatment available locally. Her aim is to make sure Belize establishes a cancer care facility where Belizeans can be treated.

JOB FAIR: You are invited TODAY Corozal!
The 2017 Harvest Season is here! Join us at our job fair to explore our employment options! We have 100's of vacancies available. Be sure to bring the following: 1.) Your Resume 2.) Copy of Your Social Security Card 3.) A Current Police Record 4.) Any diplomas/certificates and/or additional qualifications you may posses.

Digicell number scam alert
BTL informs our customers that the Company investigated the recently reported issue of random international calls to DigiCell Numbers. In most instances customers would see a missed call registered on their call log. Most reported number prefixes was from +675. We have since blocked these numbers to immediately eliminate fraudulent action. DigiCell customers are advised and urged not to answer or return any such missed calls from unknown international numbers and or to block them immediately.

BEL Awards 1,110 Golden Citizens with Electricity Bill Discounts
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) is providing 1,110 senior citizens countrywide with discounts on their electricity bills for 2017 through the Company’s Golden Citizen Program. Ms. Ivorine Bulwer, Executive Director of HelpAge Belize, which endorses the program says, “BEL’s services to improve the quality of life for older persons in Belize is an indication of the Company’s appreciation for those who have contributed to the growth and development of the Belizean Society.” The random selection is made annually from qualifying account holders who are Belizean Citizens, 65 years of age or older with only one active electricity account registered in their name at their residence. Since the launch of the program in 2012, the number of awardees has been increased annually, with this year’s total more than doubling the 500 selected in 2016.

Belize Scholarship Opportunities
NIIED is excited to announce the application guidelines of the 2017 Korean Government Scholarship Program for Graduate Degrees. For the year 2017, we will invite 670 international students from 156 countries, for degree (Master's & Doctoral) and non-degree research programs. Please visit www.studyinkorea.go.kr for more details. http://www.studyinkorea.go.kr/en/main.do → Scholarships → GKS Notice (currently posted on no. 320) Check the guidelines carefully for further information such as the eligibility requirements, required documents and directions to submit the application. The deadline will be decided by each office that accepts the application documents, i.e. the Korean Embassies or selected universities. Please make sure to check their separate announcement for the deadlines.

Summer Family Travel to Belize
Adventure vacations are the latest and greatest ways to share once-in-a-lifetime memories with family—to bond with busy kids and spend uninterrupted time with the people you love most. At Caves Branch Jungle Lodge, you get everything but the same-old, same old resort experience. Come during the summer months and you’ll even enjoy affordable rates. Here are just a few activities you and your kids can share at Caves Branch Jungle Lodge, where adventure is so more than just a word! -After scaling waterfalls, finish off with the best fun ever --jump into the pool below, laughing and screaming as Dad takes video images of every splash-down. -Float through a primitive jungle and into a series of caves on tubes to see everything from lush plants to ancient crystalized interiors guaranteed to grab the attention of the most petulant teens. -Challenge everyone in the family to a safe, unforgettable zip line experience, sailing across treetops like action heroes conquering a leafy green canopy.

International Sourcesizz

La humillante derrota de México
Great history - the Mexican troops were defeated in 1842 by the Republic of Yucatan which was a country back then. The Republic of Yucatan includes what's today Campeche, Yucatan and Quintana roo. This win was in large part thanks to the Mayas. This the reason why when many Mayas move from the war to what would become Belize they called us Yucatecos.
Existen en la historia nacional, de todos los países, silencios que no muchos se atreven a romper. Anécdotas que recordarlas duele y es preferible no enseñarlos a las nuevas generaciones. Algunas veces estos hechos van en contra de la propia historia oficial y equivale a una blasfemia mencionarlos. En el caso mexicano existe un acontecimiento en particular que son muy pocos los que lo conocen. Estoy hablando de la guerra Mexico-Yucateca que se tuvo su haber entre los años 1842 y 1843. Para esos años la República de Yucatán ya se había establecido como nación independiente y se aproximaban a una de sus más grandes hazañas: su victoria sobre la nación mexicana. Después del triunfo de la revolución de Santiago Imán y de la obtención de su independencia el 16 de mayo de 1841. Y una de sus principales preocupaciones fue la defensa de la pobre nación. Para eso los yucatecos importaron armas desde Estados Unidos, Francia e Inglaterra.

Scientists report possible new hammerhead shark species
Researchers in Belize believe they've discovered a new species of hammerhead shark. At first, scientists thought they were examining a bonnethead, a small hammerhead species found in the United States, Bahamas, Caribbean and Latin America. But DNA analysis suggests the shark is a separate species. Because the bonnethead is currently considered a single species with a wide distribution, scientists with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature classify it as a species of "Least Concern" for risk of extinction. But if the bonnethead is in fact two species with more localized distributions, that classification could change. Though the hammerhead specimen looks like other bonnetheads, DNA analysis suggests it's part of a group that stopped breeding with bonnetheads from the Bahamas, Mexico and the United States several million years ago. Since then, the group has accumulated enough genetic differences to warrant classification as a unique species.

Videos

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  • Xunantunich Archaeological Reserve- Mayan Ruin- Belize 2016, 1.5min. And yep! I was out of breath! We had already went up so far already.

  • BELIZE BEST SNORKEL TOUR EVER, SHARK AND RAY FIGHTING, 7min. En: Catching sharks, rays and moreys, turtle and the best tour guide on the world, if u want to touch sharks and rays don't doubt with LA gaviota tours, free drinks and food is this full day tour, Spanish: El guía de la gaviota tours es el mejor puedes tocar tiburones, rayas, tortugas, peces etc... comida y bebida a bordo y es imprescindible...

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  • Belize Trip 2015, 30min. Dive trip to Belize! Splash Dive Center made sure we had a great time even on bad weather days! Stayed at Jaguar Reef in Hopkins and Itza Lodge at Lighthouse Reef. Lots of turtles, sharks, eaglerays! Blue Hole was incredible

  • Xunantunich - Mopan River Ferry Crossing - Cayo DIstrict Belize, 6min. Crossing the Mopan River by Ferry on way to see the Mayan Ruins @ Xunantunich. November 2016.

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