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#521540 - 02/11/17 01:06 AM Today's Belize News: February 11, 2017  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,651
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

I will be unable to do the daily news tomorrow, Sunday morning February 12th. I will return on Monday morning.


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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

Sailors complete Sailing Program from Adelle’s International Outreach Programme
On Sunday, February 5th, the San Pedro Sailing Club (SPSC) awarded each of its newest sailors from Adelle’s International Outreach Programme. Emmanuel Avilez, Stephanie Avilez, Junior Avilez and Angel Aliva received a certificate of completion for the Optimist Level 1 sailing program. They were congratulated by Adelle Paz, director and founder of Adelle’s International Outreach Programme. In the summer of 2016, Paz approached the SPSC leadership to see if there was any way to join forces with the sailing club to teach interested young Belizeans in the outreach program how to sail. Since the beginning, one of the SPSC’s goals has been to teach young Belizeans, specifically San Pedranos, who would not otherwise have the opportunity to learn.

Caye Caulker’s Lobster Festival is ON!
On Sunday, February 5th, the San Pedro Sailing Club (SPSC) awarded each of its newest sailors from Adelle’s International Outreach Programme. Emmanuel Avilez, Stephanie Avilez, Junior Avilez and Angel Aliva received a certificate of completion for the Optimist Level 1 sailing program. They were congratulated by Adelle Paz, director and founder of Adelle’s International Outreach Programme. In the summer of 2016, Paz approached the SPSC leadership to see if there was any way to join forces with the sailing club to teach interested young Belizeans in the outreach program how to sail. Since the beginning, one of the SPSC’s goals has been to teach young Belizeans, specifically San Pedranos, who would not otherwise have the opportunity to learn. In a release shared via Facebook, the committee explained the situation. “We were contacted by several prominent organizations, including the Belize Hotel Association (BHA) and Belize Tourism Board (BTB). In addition, we were contacted by Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. himself, asking how he could assist so that we wouldn’t have to postpone one of the most iconic festivals in Belize.

Islanders join San Pedro Cancer Society during Cancer Walk
On Thursday, February 9th, the San Pedro Cancer Society held their seventh annual candlelight awareness walk. Residents, local business representatives and visitors met at Central Park shortly after 6PM to support and join the solidarity walk. The event was held to honor those who have lost the fight, continue to battle or have overcome cancer. Participants walked through the main streets of San Pedro Town, ending where they started: at Central Park. A moment of silence was held to remember those who have succumbed to the disease. Gonzalo Muñoz, President of the San Pedro Cancer Society, thanked everyone for their support and time in joining the cause. He reminded everyone that the society is ready to assist the community in any way they can.

Discovery of new shark species in Belize emphasizes need for conservation
It has been confirmed by the Belize Fisheries Department that a new shark species has been discovered in Belize. The new species has not been officially named as yet, but it has a very close resemblance to Bonnethead sharks, which is a smaller species of Hammerhead sharks. The discovery was made after samples were taken from a landing site in Belize through an on-going shark data collection, monitoring and research program conducted by shark specialists from Florida International University (FIU).

Introducing the 2017 Reina del Carnaval contestants
The fourth annual Reina del Carnaval Pageant is set to take place on Saturday, February 18th .The San Pedro Carnaval Committee, along with Flora Ancona’s Carnaval Group is proud to introduce the five lovely contestants for this year’s event. Vying for the crown are 40-year-old Vicky Marin, 38-year-old Mary Magaña, 48-year-old Arabella Hernandez, 37-year-old Anna Young, and 50-year-old Audrey Moya. The pageant is scheduled for 8PM at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium. Organized by Ancona’s Carnaval Group, the event also serves as a fundraiser for their comparsas costumes and other expenses as they prepare to take part in San Pedro’s annual carnaval, slated for Friday, February 24th. The pageant will start with an opening dance, followed by talent performance, swimsuit, evening gown and even a question and answer session.

Forest Department Leads Effort to Update National Threatened Species List
A workshop to update and modify Belize’s ‘Threatened Species List 2005’ took place after key stakeholders met at the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center on January 31st. The Forest Department, through the involvement of more than 25 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.

Ambergris Today

Belize Launches “Maya - Hidden Worlds Revealed” Exhibit in Dallas
On, February 9th, the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) and the Science Museum of Minnesota held a press conference to launch an exhibit entitled "Maya - Hidden Worlds Revealed". This press conference was followed by a VIP opening ceremony at the Perot Museum of Science. This traveling exhibition is a collaboration between the NICH and the Science Museum of Minnesota. The exhibit contains 235 artifacts, of which 80% are from the National Collection of Belize. This includes small jade items, chert artifacts, obsidian blades, as well as more recognizable pieces such as the Buena Vista Vase.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Employment opportunity, Caye Caulker
Good day! Rapidito Construction Depot is looking for a male driver. Must have a valid drivers license and experience in driving cargo / delivery trucks. Serious inquiries can contact the office at 206-0083 to set up an interview. Thanks!

The Belize Tourism Board and JG Black Book Presentations in Long Island
Yesterday's meetings was with Altour and Creative Travel International.

Mount Carmel Primary School students learn about archaeology
Today, we traveled to Benque Viejo, where Mount Carmel Primary School students learned about archaeology, the importance of protecting Belize's cultural heritage, and what to do if and when they see someone looting or destroying the country's national treasures. What an amazing group of motivated, curious, and eager to learn students! Thank you, Archaeology in the Community program and the Institute of Archaeology (NICH) Belize, for such a great program and partnership!

Ms Fiona Hsu and the Face Painting Crew
We never got to thank Ms Fiona Hsu and the Face Painting Crew who were at the Belize City House of Culture for the Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project's Community Outreach Engagement on January 14th. We are in the process of planning our next Engagement to be held on March 18th 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We are planning on inviting Ms. Fiona and the Face Painting Crew again, hopefully they will be able to make it. Thank you Ms Fiona and the Facing Painting Crew!

Senator Courtenay Aborts Senate Inquiry to Join Ashcroft Alliance in Washington on Another Case Against Belize
The Government of Belize (GOB) informs the public that yesterday there was a hearing in Washington, D.C. of yet another Ashcroft Alliance case against the nation of Belize. GOB notes with dismay and repugnance, that Ashcroft's Belize lawyer, People’s United Party (PUP) Senator Eamon Courtenay, traveled to Washington on Wednesday, February 8, and was together with Ashcroft's U.S. lawyers yesterday at the D.C. hearing. This case concerns the infamous Universal Health Services (UHS) hospital secret loan and Government guarantee deal that the then PUP Administration made, on behalf of its crony owners of the UHS hospital, with Ashcroft's Belize Bank. It was in connection with that same deal that the PUP diverted Venezuela grant funds to the people of Belize for a low-income housing scheme, to pay Ashcroft. Those funds were subsequently recovered through official court action by the current administration in Belize.

Six Belmopan City Entrepreneurs Complete SBDCBelize Training
Six young business persons from the Garden City of Belmopan this morning received certificates after completing a four-day training program on entrepreneurship conducted by the Small Business Development Centre, Belize (SBDCBelize), a Unit of BELTRAIDE. The training for the young entrepreneurs will allow them to effectively operate their business kiosks at Independence Park, Belmopan. This is a joint initiative by the Belmopan City Council, the Caribbean Local Economic Development Project (CARILED), and SBDCBelize. As part of the initiative, the Belmopan City Council will conduct a series of events at the park, which in turn will open business opportunities for those operating the kiosks. Initially, the entrepreneurs will rent the kiosks from the City Council, but plan to have a business of their own in the not distant future.

Miss Belize arrives Home. As representing Belize at Miss Universe
Greeting children on her arrival

Love Fair 2017 in Corozal
Come out on February 14, 17 for a Oceana Belize and DSY love fair.. 9am-2pm, Corozal Central Park

UPCOMING FUNDRAISER FOR MEDICAL EXPENSES IN SAN PEDRO
Join us at Paradise Theater on February 11th for el show de Dari Dario. Comedian and Imitator from Veracruz Mexico. A little laughter is just what the doctor ordered. Two presentation one at 7:00 PM and another at 9:30 PM. Tickets are now on sale. Buy yours at Flowers Salazar and Associates or at Reef Radio.

Channel 7

Fin Sec Acknowledges; Tax Increase Coming
Yesterday, the Ministry of Finance met with the Belize Chamber of Commerce and others within the business community to discuss the upcoming budget. Government is consulting with the social partners on ways to balance public finances which would not require increased taxes. Well this afternoon, it was the Labour movement's turn to speak with the Government on their budget recommendations. Those discussions continued at the Biltmore all the way up until 4:50 this evening. Financial Secretary Joe Waight stepped out to grant us an interview before the meeting concluded. This evening, with just weeks to go before the reading of a new budget, the Fin Sec finally addressed the matters squarely - after months of evasion by other officials. Here's how he put it: Joseph Waight - Financial Secretary: "We need to show an adjustment effort combine in region of, it's measured in percentage of GDP and what we are aiming is to do an effort that will be about 3 percent of GDP, roughly about a hundred and 5 million dollars that is through efficiencies, through some tightening of reductions in expenditure and through some adjustment in taxes."

Unions Recommend Cost Saving Measures
So, what do the Union Leaders have to say about the best way to handle this upcoming budget? Well, they granted us an interview just an a hour and a half ago, and we air it mostly unedited. Here's what the Presidents of the NTUCB and the Public Service Union had to say: Jacqueline Willoughby - NTUCB: "Well generally what we did was actually call on government to say if you're going to have austerity measures, let everybody be onboard. So that we have to look at how we diversify agriculture, how we put in policies for procurement, how we do better tax enforcement rather than just introducing new tax laws, how do we enforce what we have, how we bring the informal sector into the formal sector, how we increase our exports - stop bringing things that we already have here and encourage our people to have subsistence farming and that kind of thing." Daniel Ortiz, 7News: "Ma'am, are your membership like the rest of the public, very concern that taxes have to be increase and no matter what sort of austerity measures we take, there is only so much you can do and you have to increase income in order to cover what the fiscal deficits are." Jacqueline Willoughby - NTUCB: "That almost sounds like double-barrel question, but while I agree with you that we have to increase income, we have to raise the revenue. I'm not sure that I will totally agree with you that we must increase tax. But of course I am sure it's a discussion on the table. Albeit, the response we received today is, it is something that's being looked at, but it's not something that have actually been decided."

William Mason's Wife Acquitted
It's been 3 months since we've last reported on the case of Pastor Lu who was decapitated in July of last year. Since then, the accused mastermind, William "Danny" Mason, has been in jail along with the men police charged for murder and kidnapping. Mason's wife, Melissa Ferguson, was charged in connection to the kidnapping, but tonight she is free and clear. That's after a adjournment at the Magistrate's Court today when the police prosecution told the Chief Magistrate that they are withdrawing the conspiracy to commit kidnapping charge that they brought against her. In August, she was arraigned on the charge because the police said that they had linked her the kidnapping of Pastor Lucas and his fellow kidnapping victim, David Dodd. She's been on bail since August, and so today, when her case went back before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, police prosecutor, Assistant Police Commissioner Chester Williams, was expected to update the court on the status of their case against her. But, instead, Williams told the Chief Magistrate that the Director of Public Prosecutions has directed that they withdraw the charge against her.

GOB's War With Senator Courtney Continues
For the past 2 days, the UDP has been in attack mode against PUP's Eamon Courtenay, and tonight, the war of words continues. This evening, the Government sent out a release noting that the Ashcroft alliance had yet another hearing in the US Supreme Court in their suits against Belize. That happened yesterday, and the Government release says, quote, "GOB notes with dismay and repugnance, that Ashcroft's Belize lawyer, People's United Party (PUP) Senator Eamon Courtenay, traveled to Washington on Wednesday, February 8, and was together with Ashcroft's U.S. lawyers yesterday at the D.C. hearing." End quote. The Government's release says that this case concerns the Universal Health Services Hospital Loan which the Musa Administration made secretly with Ashcroft's Belize Bank, on behalf the owners of the hospital. The release says, quote, "It was in connection with that same deal that the PUP diverted Venezuela grant funds to the people of Belize for a low-income housing scheme, to pay Ashcroft. Those funds were subsequently recovered through official court action by the current administration in Belize." End quote.

Wesley's Vice-Principal Acquitted Of Drug Traffficking
He was a Vice Principal accused of doing the unthinkable: trafficking drugs at school. And with that the reputation of highly regarded educator, 36 YEAR OLD Melvin Hewlett was brought into serious disrepute. Well, tonight, his legal ordeal is over: he has been acquitted of drug trafficking. On November 30, 2015, police alleged that Hewlett and another man were seen engaging in a drug transaction in front of the Wesley College Compound. It was a well known drug dealer, and the GSU had allegedly set up a sting for him to pick up drugs drugs from Hewlett. Police claimed Hewlett threw an object over the compound of the Wesley College fence. Police took Hewlett back to the area where the object thrown and found crack cocaine. Hewlett said that a man who owed him money came to see him and that's when police pulled up. Hewellet says it's the man who threw something over the school fence when police pulled up.

Belizeans Americans Went Out to Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed
As we told you last night, the show: Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed opened in Dallas, Texas last night. Our 7News team was there and so was a surprising showing of Belizean - Americans. About 40 of them came out to see the show - which is the most that has attended at any of the five previous stops that show has made in Minnesota, Boston, Denver, San Diego or San Antonio. Jules Vasquez was there and he spoke to a few of the very proud show goers: Kay Burn - Belizean Living in Dallas: "We are so excited to be here and it's an experience that I can't wait to get in there and see what it's all about. I am so happy to be here." Samantha Patnett - Belizean Living in Dallas: "Very proud and excited and will definitely tell friends so they could come and see the exhibit." Mary Ritchie - Belizean Living in Dallas: "I'm extremely proud to represent Belize today and to have this exhibit to showcase to the world and showcase other people that may not be familiar with the Mayan culture and it just puts us on the map."

An Arrest Under Stricter Forestry Penalties
Yesterday Belmopan Police arrested Marco Tulio Garcia for being in possession of logwood without a valid logging permit. This arrest comes just days after the Forest Act was amended to implement stricter penalties for illegal loggers. However, those changes will not go into effect for another few weeks. We spoke to the Cheif Forestry Officer, Wilber Sabido, who told us that Garcia got away. According to Sabido, Garcia will be charged $1000 for this offense, which is the previous maximum penalty. Had the new laws been in effect, he would have been charged anywhere between $1350 and $4050. Sabido told us that the new laws will be fully implemented by the 20th.

Getting Food Safety Right
We have reported several product recalls over the years like the imported Blue Bell ice cream in 2015 as well as other food items and medications. We don't have control over the manufacturing of these imported items and all we can do is take these hazardous goods off the store shelves. But our local manufactures have control over their operations and can ensure that their products are safe for consumption. BAHA along with Beltraide's ExportBelize Unit organized a session that focused on the importance of implementing strict food safety standards. I took closer look at the manufacturer's role in consumer protection. Here is that story. 30 manufacturers and exporters attended today's session.

Bex's Return: Fit For Queen
After representing Belize in the Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines, Rebecca Rath finally returned home today. Our news team went out and followed the festivities to celebrate her return, Alex Courtenay reports...

The Significance of The Judgment Against Predatory Pawnshops
Earlier this week we told you about the landmark Supreme Court judgement which brought down the Hamme Ron one Orange Walk Pawn Shop for taking advantage of its customers. Justice Sonya Young found that Payday Advance and EZ Loans Pawning had taken advantage of their customer Janine Vega by charging her interest of 10 percent per month, or 120 percent per annum. The judge called this "excessive.."harsh and unconscionable". Today the attorneys who took on this benchmark case and others held a press briefing to discuss the importance of the judgement for other folks who are being taken advantage of by pawnshops:..

The Immigration Department's Hunt For Nationality Files
For the past few 2 days, we've been showing you portions of this Wednesday Senate Hearings on Immigration, and we've mostly been featuring former CEO Candelaria Saldivar Morter, who was in charge of the Immigration Department. Well tonight, still, we have a little more from the CEO in which she disclosed details of an extensive inventory check of the nationality files at the Department. It occurred from October 8 to the 18th of 2013, around the time when Arthur Saldivar had revealed that he had come in possession of a throve of nationality files which were labelled with the word "to be destroyed" or "destroyed". This was during that period at the Immigration Department when the Won Hong Kim scandal was raging, and the suspicion at the time that there was an attempt by unknown personalities in the Department to cover their tracks. Well, that inventory check revealed that there were missing nationality files for 164 persons. Here's the Senate discussing that with the former CEO, since it forms a part of the Auditor General's report:

Who's Job Was It At Immigration To Weed Out Forgery?
And here's our final piece of former CEO Saldivar's testimony. This is that part of the hearing where the Senators were asking her about the assertion by Former Immigration Director Ruth Meighan and Former Nationality OIC Gordon Wade that they don't check for fraud or forgery in the application documents they receive. Here's what she had to say about that one: Hon. Elena Smith, Senator: "When the files got to her, she was not supposed to verify anything, she was just supposed to either look at what is there, check and either recommend or return for further work that probably needed to be done, So as the CEO, could you recall that, let's say for example, in her case, recommending visas, that she was not responsible for verifying information, she was just responsible for...?" Candelaria Saldivar-Morter: "If you approve anything, you will confirm that all the information and all the requirements are met. That is what you do before you do any kind of approval - that all the requirements are met."

Police's Youth Basketball Cup
Today the Eastern Police Division South celebrated the opening of their Youth Basketball Cup. The initiative, which started last year, was created in an attempt to diffuse relations at risk youths in the South side. We spoke to the event's coordinators ACP Chester Williams and Bowen & Bowen's Jason Badillo about its importance to the community... The tournament was held at the Haynes Basketball Court on Mahogany Street.

The 2017 Valentine Classic
The Digicell Valentine's Classic used to be a one day race, but now it has become a tour. It's a major proving ground for elite cyclists in the run-up to the Cross Country. The mini tour starts this weekend and Cycling President Dion Leslie told us more:.. Four foreign cyclists are registered out of the 50 or so riders participating.

Channel 5

Melissa Ferguson Free; P.I. for Husband Danny Mason et al is February 21st
The time is drawing nearer for William Alexander “Danny” Mason and his accused cohorts to learn their fate. A preliminary inquiry into the indictable charges of murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to [...]

G.O.B. Claims Eamon Courtenay Abandoned Senate Hearing for Ashcroft
The United Democratic Party issued a first salvo on Wednesday of this week against Senator Eamon Courtenay. Today, smack in the middle of an ongoing hearing unearthing corruption in the [...]

Higher Taxes? It’s Inevitable, Says Financial Secretary
Try though they might, Financial Secretary Joseph Waight was typically blunt in speaking to reporters today at the conclusion of consultations on the budget with the unions.  And Belizeans should [...]

Another Extension for Superbond; FinSec Says There’s “Some Progress”
The Government of Belize has once again extended the Consent Solicitation Offer to bondholders for its terms on the proposed re-negotiation of the 2038 Belize Bonds or Superbond. The offer [...]

Government Spendthrift, Says Chamber of Commerce and Business Bureau
News Five has seen a copy of the Government’s working document for its ongoing budget consultations with the trade unions, civil society and the business community.  It proposes an increase [...]

Time to Cut Out Contract Officers, Businessmen Say
Another concern for the business community is the size of Government’s wage bill, bloated by three years of salary adjustment for teachers and public officers, which is now sitting at [...]

Is the Government Serious About Change?
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Belize Business Bureau have proposed a raft of ideas to help fix Belize’s economy, including emphasizing economic growth, reducing leakages and holes [...]

Pawnshops on Notice After Major Supreme Court Judgment
A precedent-setting judgment in the Supreme Court, issued on Monday, has put key restrictions on moneylenders inclined to exact excess monies from their desperate and overburdened customers. Supreme Court Justice [...]

Substance of Judgment Safe in Event of Appeal, Says Attorney
Today’s interview with Perera and Arthurs widely covered the issue of pawnshops’ and moneylenders’ activities in Belize. While so-called “loan sharks” operating without a license are illegal as of law, [...]

Unions Join Call to Get Tough with Government
As we told you earlier, the trade unions and civil society took their turn with the Government’s budget team today at the Belize Biltmore Plaza hotel. At its end, the [...]

FinSec Says Belize Did Not Give Up Sovereign Immunity for Superbond
In making arguments against the Central Bank (International Immunities) Act, Senator Eamon Courtenay said on January thirtieth in the Senate that Belize did a similar thing to the Accommodation Agreement [...]

Alrick August Fights for Life at K.H.M.H.
Shooting victim, twenty-three-year-old Alrick August remains in a critical condition, clinging to life inside the Intensive Care Unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.  On Wednesday night, August was shot [...]

The Puerto Azul Scam Through the Eyes of Former Investor Daniele Pistolesi
Daniele Pistolesi, a former investor in the failed Puerto Azul project, has been speaking exclusively to News Five about his role in exposing it as a massive scam and Ponzi [...]

Rebecca is Back and Thanks Her Country for Support at Miss Universe
She travelled to the Philippines to compete in the most prestigious Miss Universe pageant, within months of becoming Miss Belize. It has been a journey of immeasurable experiences for the [...]

Dolores Balderamos Garcia is Now a Senior Counsel
Attorney-at-Law, Dolores Balderamos Garcia has been appointed Senior Counsel.  The appointment came today before the Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin who highlighted her stellar contribution through her years of practice and [...]

Muscle Mania Comes to Bliss
On Saturday, the eighteenth of February, the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts will come alive as bodybuilding athletes from across the country will converge to compete in the Spiez [...]

Da’ville to Rock B.T.L. Park for Third Anniversary of Remodeling
There is an activity to look forward to this weekend. Jamaican artist Da’ville touched down in Belize on Thursday as the featured artist for a concert this Saturday at the [...]

LOVE FM

Consent Solicitation Statement Further Extended
Tonight there is news of yet another extension of the consent solicitation by the Government of Belize. Initially, the Consent Solicitation Statement aimed at restructuring the 2038 Bonds was scheduled to expire on February 3, 2017. That was extended to today, Friday, February 10, 2017 and now it has been further extended to Tuesday, February […]

Eamon vs Barrow: Who Wronged Belize?
On Wednesday the United Democratic Party called for the removal of Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay as a Senator. This after they say Courtenay’s action is an outright betrayal of Belize’s national interests and comes in extreme conflict with the Senatorial seat he holds. This stems from the fact that Courtenay in his capacity as attorney […]

Melissa Ferguson Freed of Conspiracy Charge
47-year-old, Melissa Ferguson was at the Belize City Magistrate’s Court today in the company of her attorney, Richard Bradley where the charge of conspiracy to commit kidnapping was dropped. For context, Attorney Bradley gave us a recap of how the charge came about. According to Ferguson, the last seven months have been stressful for her […]

A Historical Ruling Creates Precedent Against Moneylenders
A recent case surrounding a money-lending agency and a resident of Orange Walk has marked the first documented ruling coming out of the courts in this regard. It is a ruling that was handed down earlier this week where PayDay and EZY Loans Pawning were ordered to give back a 30-acre property that was taken […]

Rebecca Rath Comes Home from the Philippines
Miss Belize Universe, Rebecca Rath returned home today. Rath represented Belize at the Miss Universe Pagaent held late last month in the Philippines. Upon Rath’s arrival, a motorcade was held which ended at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts where a press conference took place. Rath shared her experience. Rath spoke of what she […]

Continuing the Fight Against HIV/AIDS in Belize
HIV/AIDS remains an issue in Belize and the Ministry of Health will face some challenges in the coming months as several funding agencies from abroad have and are pulling out of Belize. Love News spoke to Director of Health Services, Dr Marvin Manzanero on the current situation and the statistics of HIV in Belize. Dr […]

Health Officials Prepare for Arrival of Dr Etienne of PAHO
Ministry of Health is preparing to welcome the Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr Carissa Etienne who is expected to arrive in the country over the weekend. Director of Health Services, Dr Marvin Manzanero spoke to Love News on the director’s itinerary whilst in Belize. According to a release out of Washington […]

Female Attorneys Take Silk Before Chief Justice
Two female attorneys were elevated to Senior Counsel status this morning in the courtroom of the Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin. Both Dolores Balderamos Garcia and Robertha Usher-Magnus took silk just after ten o’clock when they exchanged their junior robes for silk court attire. Supporting the motion for Balderamos-Garcia was Senior Counsel Lisa Shoman while Denise […]

Suspect in Rape Case Nabbed in Ladyville
Ladyville Police have caught up with a suspect in a rape case who has been on the run for over two months now. 29-year-old, Adam Meighan was picked up in the Ladyville area earlier this week and was charged with rape. Love News understands that an additional charge of robbery was handed to Meighan just […]


#521541 - 02/11/17 01:07 AM Re: Today's Belize News: February 11, 2017 [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,651
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Amandala

“The Laad” is my shepherd … I shall not want!
In an undated press release sent out yesterday from the Secretariat of the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) calling for the removal of the Opposition People’s United Party’s Senator, Eamon Courtenay, the UDP said, “We believe that his action is an outright betrayal of Belize’s national interests and comes in extreme conflict with the Senatorial seat he holds. We therefore call for his immediate removal from the Senate.” The government’s call for Senator Courtenay’s removal from the Senate was triggered by a constitutional challenge he filed at the Supreme Court registry on behalf of the Ashcroft group of companies, which are seeking enforcement from US courts for an arbitral award of US $50 million – by any means necessary, including the reserves of the Central Bank, held in the US. The Government’s newspaper, The Guardian, of Sunday, February 12, 2017, said that “…on February 3 … Claim 66 of 2017 was filed by Courtenay and Coye LLP …”

Father of 4 shot 8 times on Western Avenue
The future of four children all under age ten hangs in the balance because their father, who is their sole bread-winner, is in an induced coma in the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH). Alrick August, 23, a sales representative at the Transparent BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) call center, was on Western Avenue walking towards his home on Electric Avenue sometime before 9 p.m. on Wednesday when he was accosted by an armed assailant. He was shot five times in his chest, twice in his left arm and once in his neck. He was rushed to the KHMH and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in a critical condition. One of his lungs has collapsed and his ribcage was fractured.

Magistrate fined Woman Police Constable $25 for noise near court’s holding cell
Recently appointed magistrate, Norman Rodriguez, who was called to practice at the Belize Bar shortly after he became a magistrate, yesterday summoned a Woman Police Constable (WPC), who is responsible for the public area of the court’s holding cell, to appear in his courtroom. There was noise coming from the cell block area, and so Magistrate Rodriguez cited the WPC for contempt of court and fined her $25 plus $5 cost of court. He ordered the WPC to pay the fine by Friday, February 10. Magistrate Rodriguez’s decision to cite the WPC for contempt of court sent several officers of the court scurrying around to find out the meaning of contempt of court as it relates to the Laws of Belize.

Economy imperiled, GOB tells businesses
The national budget is due to be presented to Parliament in a few weeks, and whereas a draft budget book has not been prepared, preliminary figures for the $1.2 billion budget were tabled today at the first external consultation held by the Ministry of Finance for this budget cycle. This afternoon, government officials met at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza in Belize City with members of the business community, and they are due to meet tomorrow at the same venue with representatives of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB). Hon. Dr. Carla Barnett, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, told Amandala after today’s consultation with the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and the Belize Business Bureau (BBB) that the presentation “…focused on our analysis of the economy; our analysis of the government’s fiscal performance; what we need to be trying to achieve in the next fiscal year. And we sat down with the business community to get their ideas firstly on how the present economic context affects them and also any suggestions that they may have in terms of revenue and expenditure measures.”

Government playing games with re-registration and re-districting?
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) revealed that it has, “closely followed the publicized process of the Senate Select Committee Hearings into the Auditor General’s Special Audit Report on the Passport, Immigration and Nationality Department, 2011-2013.” “Through this medium, we wish to place on record our tremendous concern regarding the matter of voter registration as a result of what can only be described as wanton distribution of questionable/illegal Belizean Nationality Certificates,” the statement continued. The statement went on to mention that, “The imbedded ‘culture’ of the Passport, Immigration and Nationality Department has for far too long, allowed thousands of unqualified individuals to hold Belizean Nationality. Those unqualified persons were then subsequently allowed participating on what should have been free and fair elections."

Decriminalization law for up to 10 grams of ganja lags behind after 5 years
In 2012, Belize began to seriously look at changing its laws to decriminalize the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana—about a handful of what is locally known as ganja—in a process which is still going through legal fine-tuning five years later, even as more youths are finding themselves in trouble with the law over the use of the drug. Whereas the proposal is not to make the use of marijuana legal, it proposes to introduce a system of nominal fines for the possession of very small quantities of the weed. Almost two years ago, in February 2015, a team tasked with coming up with decriminalization proposals launched its report; and our newspaper was informed that laws would soon be approved.

Bandits and Police draw 0-0 in Week 2 back match
Last night at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, Police United FC and Belmopan Bandits SC played to a 0-0 draw in a Week 2 back match which was originally scheduled for last Sunday at the Norman Broaster Stadium. Police United moved their home game to Belmopan for the mid-week back match. Two other rained out games remain as Week 2 back matches: Freedom Fighters FC vs Verdes FC at the Victor Galvez Union Field in Punta Gorda, and Wagiya FC vs FC Belize at the Carl Ramos Stadium in Dangriga. The only Week 2 game played as scheduled saw home standing BDF FC registering a 2-nil win over Placencia Assassins FC at the MCC Grounds on Sunday, with second half goals from Brian Martinez (81’) and Raymond Ramos (87’).

Belize City Primary Schools Football Tournament under way at MCC
The “all in a rush” Belize City high schools football tournament climaxed yesterday evening at the MCC Grounds, but before the female championship game kicked off, the primary schools female and male tournament had already gotten under way with two games played earlier at the same venue. Eleven female teams and seventeen male teams are participating in this year’s Belize City Primary Schools Football Tournament. And, believe it or not, with games scheduled daily from Monday to Friday, the regular season is scheduled to be completed by Monday, February 27. How this is accomplished, is by separating the teams into small groups, and playing a round-robin format in each group.

SCA girls and Gwen Liz boys are CSSSA 2016-2017 football champions
There were no big surprises at the MCC yesterday in game 2 of the Finals for both females and males in the Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) 2016-2017 football championships. Defending back-to-back female champions, SCA girls were the clear favorites going into yesterday’s game 2 of their finals series against Ladyville Technical girls. SCA had posted a decisive 2-nil win in game 1 on Monday, with goals from Jodi Pott and Gabriela Mendoza; and yesterday, they sealed the series with a first half goal from Charlize Hunter, to win 1-nil and claim the championship with an aggregate 3-0 score. Ladyville Tech girls tried their best, which is all their coach, Daniel “Sundance” Smith could ask for; but the better team won. With the victory, SCA girls are now three-peat CSSSA football champions, and will go on to represent the Central Zone in the national tournament next weekend in San Pedro. SCA coach Mario Rodriguez is to be commended for achieving major skills development and a structured game that bodes well for the future of female football in Belize.

NEBL “In the Paint”
The Dream Ballers couldn’t have found a more inopportune time to visit the defending champion Hurricanes than tonight, when the teams meet at the SCA Auditorium. The Hurricanes, despite their (1-2) record, are riding high following last week’s impressive win against the Western Ballaz from Cayo, who, ironically, defeated the Dream Ballers about 2 weeks ago. And, if that isn’t enough assurance for a successful showing tonight, then certainly, the fact that they have been dominant in their head-to-head match-up with the Dream Ballers, winning three of four meetings since the inception of the NEBL in 2014, certainly should provide the required impetus for a sure win. Conversely, the Dream Ballers go into the game playing .500 ball with a (1-1) record, with their only win to date coming on the road against Belize City No Limit. Historically, they have not had much success on the road, having an all-time record of 9-13 since entering the league in 2014. The Dream Ballers offensively scores about 76.5 ppg, while allowing close to same. Obviously, they will need to slow down the pace and play to their strengths, which is controlling the defensive glass, which ultimately should limit second chance opportunities for the defending champs.

Waiting for instructions …
It is a somewhat optimistic proposition for you to expect the same person who enslaved/colonized you to teach you how to liberate yourself. European-controlled education amongst formerly enslaved/colonized societies, such as Belize, has not served to liberate the native peoples. Instead, what such education has done is to create an elitist class of natives whom Frantz Fanon referred to as the “national bourgeoisie.” Remember now, when the Europeans began to educate us natives, the intention of the Europeans, apart from converting our ancestors to European religious beliefs and practices, was to create a class of trained natives who would be loyal to the Europeans and lower the Europeans’ cost of administration in their occupied territories. The bottom line, historically speaking, was that the European was a conqueror, and we African and Mayan descendants have never reversed that conquest militarily. In our quest for Belizean self-rule after World War II, we Belizeans sought to reverse European conquest politically, which the Europeans permitted, granting us self-government and independence in 1964 and 1981, respectively. It is clear today that we did not reverse European conquest economically, and one of the reasons for this is that the educated national bourgeoisie, led by the attorney/politicians of the PUDP, have enriched themselves, their families, and their cronies, and left the masses of our people in poverty and ignorance. Thus and meanwhile, the question of liberating ourselves militarily in Belize has never been asked, much less answered.


Griga showed me a lot of love on Sunday afternoon (big up, Bastic), and it was all about the incredibly gifted Pen Cayetano, and a decision he made. It was a bold and daring decision, but Pen is an artist, and this is how artists are – bold and daring. I met a couple brothers I’d been kinda estranged from, and it felt really good to link with them. There were dignitaries – one from Guyana, another from Jamaica, yet another from Punta Gorda, who attended. There were a couple officials from a certain organization which I understood to be conflicted; that organization had not been a part of the planning or the program. I surely appreciated their presence. Bless up, NGC San Ignacio Branch. Big up, David Ruiz from Benque. Blessings on the Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble. It will take a while for me to digest all the vibes and give you a sense in writing of Pen Cayetano’s tribute. I must immediately mention how valuable for the process were the commitments made by Dr. Ted Aranda and Cynthia Ellis-Topsey. They added a lot of credibility to the program before it even started. Two or three weeks ago, I had asked Adele Ramos if I should prepare a speech, or just speak extemporaneously. She said, extemporaneously, because that would be from the heart. I basically followed her advice, but as Sunday, February 5, drew closer, I began to make notes to which I intended to refer, to keep me on track.

Drums of my Fathers
Dear Editor, On the occasion of Black History Month and the tribute to Evan X Hyde, I made it my purpose to beat the rains and the three-hour drive from Benque Viejo to Dangriga this past Sunday. I had intended to bring over some of my students of Belizean Studies class, yet was successful in coercing only but one. One is good enough, I surmised, thinking of the ripple effect as we cut into the rolling hills through the Hummingbird Highway which, I am sure, has seen better days. The nice stretch close to Belmopan is suddenly interrupted by potholes and broken pavement which was difficult to notice in the heavy rains that poured down into the valley. Though the narrow one-lane bridges remain an attraction of a bygone era, the dilapidated state of the railings, as well as the absence of road markers, present a hazard to the driver. Past down the intersection to the Southern Highway, we made a stop to buy some boiled corn from three school-aged children who were soaked to the bone, yet seemed to care less. We made the business transaction in Spanish while they responded in Creole. As we savored our corn sprinkled with salt and lime, we pulled aside giving time for the rains to lessen. We drove into Dangriga shortly after midday. The “drums of my father” at the entrance of town brought back memories at the MOE Planning Unit in Belmopan where I first met Roy Cayetano and got to know about his famous piece which portrays his love for the Garifuna culture.

Race, immigration and Belize’s black population
Let it be known that in the beginning the settlement that was to emerge as Belize, was fundamentally made possible by the sweat, blood, tears, labor, suffering, heroism and resiliency of the black man and woman. In 1804 at the height of the Haitian Revolution a boat filled with our Haitian brothers and sisters appeared off the coast of the Belize settlement. They had requested permission to land, but the white British slave owners who administered the settlement refused this request and the boat was ushered away under arms. Despite their rivalry and quest for dominance in the so-called New World, this action by the British colonizers was in line with the European colonial powers in isolating and punishing the Haitians for setting the wrong example of liberation of the enslaved. This also set in motion what was to become a Belizean anti-black immigration policy and attitude that lingered from settlement to post- independence Belize. While the black Haitians were rejected and turned away from settling in Belize, during the American Civil War of 1861-1865, white, Southern, racist, Confederate slave owners from the United States were allowed to resettle in what was then known as British Honduras (Belize).

Immigration officers escape justice for “Citizen Kim” passport hustle
Former CEO in the Ministry of Immigration, Candelaria Saldivar-Morter, appeared in front of the Senate Select Committee today, Wednesday. Even though her brother, Cabinet minister John Saldivar, had at one point held responsibility for Immigration, she frankly told the committee that the results of the audit into the Passport, Visa and Nationality Departments done by the Auditor General were not surprising, as, “a lot of things were unusual at the Immigration Department.” The committee did not hesitate in asking her about the actions taken by her in the case of Won Hong Kim (Citizen Kim), a Korean national who received a Belizean passport and nationality certificate while in a Taiwanese prison at the time when she was the CEO in the Immigration Ministry. Kim had never entered Belize, contrary to what his documents had claimed. Accusations were made against former UDP Minister Elvin Penner, believed to have been Kim’s chief facilitator. The evidence against Penner was so damning that it cost him his political career.

The Reporter

“Bex” is back
Belizeans gave a warm, cheer-filled welcome home today, to Ms. Belize Universe, Rebecca “Bex” Rath. Rath returned from the Philippines today, having been the first Ms. Belize to participate in a Ms. Universe pageant in 10 years. She arrived shortly after midday at the Phillip […]

PM’s wife speaks at world cancer day summit
Kim Simplis Barrow, wife of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, represented Belize at the International Atomic Energy Association’s (IAEA) World Cancer Day panel discussion, held in Vienna, Austria. Barrow, a cancer survivor herself, joined Princess Dina Mired of Jordan, and Amadou Diarra of the International Federation […]

BNTU calls for voter re-registration
The Belize National Teacher’s Union (BNTU) is calling on the Government of Belize to ensure that it holds a voter re-registration exercise as soon as possible. The BNTU said this week that it has been following the Senate Inquiry into the Auditor General’s Special Audit […]

Pass the blame continues – senior officers say “Da no me!”
As the Senate Inquiry into irregularities at the Immigration and Nationality Department continues, more senior officers are predictably distancing themselves from liability, including former Immigration Services head, Edgar Cano. Cano testified before the Senate Special Select Committee this week, that he wasn’t in office when […]

Conservation NGOs equipped with fire fighting gear
Recent hurricanes have knocked down a significant number of trees within Belize’s forest reserves, and while the management organizations try to harvest as much as the timber as they can, the remaining dead trees present a major fire hazard for forest fires during the dry season, which is already upon […]

BPP calls for support to demand re-registration
The ongoing senate inquiry into the immigration scandal has uncovered a host of irregularities at the department. The gaps in the nationality procedures have sparked widespread concerns and backlash among citizens and political parties for an immediate re-registration process so as to update the voters list. […]

Belize attends environmental ministerial meeting
Environmental Ministers from Central American countries recently met in Costa Rica on February 2-3, including the Belizean Minister Dr. Omar Figueroa. The main objective of the meeting held by the Central American Commission of the Environment and Development (CCAD), was the handing over of the Pro-tem […]

Belizean doctors headed to San Salvador for specialization
Seven Belizean doctors will be specializing in various areas of medicine through a collaboration between the governments of Belize and El Salvador. Under the program, 21 doctors from the public health system will go to Universidad de San Salvadaor, for specialization. The doctors will specialize in areas […]

Threatened species list to be updated in Belize
Local, regional and international experts in wildlife conservation are currently working on updating Belize’s national threatened list for terrestrial wildlife. A technical workshop held at the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center on January 31 involved key stake holders such as the Forest Department along with […]

New hammerhead shark species found in Belize
Shark researchers have discovered a new species of shark in Belize. Researchers from Florida International University (FIU) were conducting DNA sequencing on bonnet head sharks, a species of hammer head sharks, when they made the discovery. The bonnet head shark is found in the Caribbean, Latin America, […]

BAHA tries to contain rabies outbreak
The Ministry of Health issued a strong advisory to livestock farmers last week to vaccinate their cattle livestock as a way of protecting their herd from the ongoing spate of rabies cases affecting various parts of the country. The ongoing Bovine Rabies disease outbreak is currently […]

Western Avenue shooting leaves one critical
A 23-year-old Belize City man is listed in critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) after he was shot on Western Avenue on Wednesday night. Alrick August was shot multiple times to the chest, neck and left arm as he walked along Western […]

UNO gestation robbed in broad daylight
Two men robbed the UNO gas station on Youth for the Future Drive this week, making off with more than $15,000. Just before 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, the robbers, armed with a black 9mm pistol, ambushed the station manager, who was on his way to make a […]

Man remanded for sex with minor, while police search for Ladyville rapist
A Belmopan man was remanded to prison after it is alleged that he had sexual intercourse with a minor, meanwhile Ladyville police are looking for a rapist who attacked a female while she was walking home on the Philip Goldson Highway on Friday night. A 43 […]

Elderly man robbed and murdered on Philip Goldson Highway
On Monday morning at around 4:00 a.m., the body of a man was discovered between miles 19 and 20 on the Philip Goldson Highway. Police investigations indicate that the victim was robbed and murdered. The body was later identified as 44-year-old John Ortiz, a father of […]

Editorial
By now it must be clear to all that Mr. Michael Ashcroft and Belize are locked in a life and death struggle. He wants Belize to pay his company $100 million dollars in principal and interest accrued over seven years, and Belize has quite rightly refused to do so. This […]

Arbitration battle rages on
As GOB mounts a new legal battle in US courts, the UDP is calling for the ousting of the PUP’s Eamon Courtenay from the Senate on grounds that he put Belize in great economic danger by defending Michael Ashcroft’s enforcement of a US $50 million […]

La Ruta Maya race must go on
Despite concerns that the Haulover Creek may not be accessible in time for the annual La Ruta Maya river challenge, Environment Minister, Dr. Omar Figueroa says the race must go on. Figueroa told the Reporter that a team of personnel from various relevant ministries will […]

Belizean bombshell graces London magazine cover
Draped in a velvet Marc Jacobs dress, Belizean blogger and beautician Joyjah Estrada, recently graced the cover of #LOVEME17 British Style magazine, photographed by famed reality star, Kendall Jenner. The 22-year-old Belizean beauty was chosen for a photo shoot with Jenner, the younger sister of […]

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Senator Courtenay Aborts Senate Inquiry to Join Ashcroft Alliance in Washington on Another Case Against Belize says GoB
The Government of Belize (GOB) has issued a press release to inform the nation that yesterday there was a hearing in Washington, D.C. of yet another Ashcroft Alliance case against Belize. The GOB press release notes with dismay and repugnance, that Ashcroft’s Belize lawyer, People’s United Party (PUP) Senator Eamon Courtenay, traveled to Washington on Wednesday, February 8, and was together with Ashcroft’s U.S. lawyers yesterday at the D.C. hearing.

Santa Elena man missing
Reports reaching our newsroom is that a man from Santa Elena Town, Cayo is missing. Family members of sixty five year old Alberto Requena are seeking the public’s assistance in locating him. Requena’s niece posted on social media that he was last seen on Tuesday night. The public is asked to contact the nearest police station or his niece at 660-1606 or Edwardo Requena at 607-7439.

NICH launches “Maya – Hidden Worlds Revealed” Exhibit
Yesterday, the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) and the Science Museum of Minnesota held a press conference to launch an exhibit entitled “Maya – Hidden Worlds Revealed”. The conference was followed by a VIP opening ceremony at the Perot Museum of Science. This traveling exhibition is a collaboration between the NICH and the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Ferguson walks!
Melissa Ferguson, wife of alleged murderer, kidnapper, fraudster and extortionist William Mason, today walked out of the Belize City Magistrate Court free from charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping in the case of Pastor Llewellyn Lucas. Lucas’s head was found in Mason’s truck last July. However, up to this date his body has not been found. Mason had developed a cozy relationship with several high profile government ministers, including John Saldivar, who he was seeking to establish business relations with.

Gunshot victim needs blood
Alrick August, 24, lies in bed at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after being shot as many as eight times on Wednesday night. His family, however, told us today that he is in need of blood. Persons with O negative or A negative blood willing to assist the father of four can contact 670-5363.

Eclipse, full moon and comet to light up the sky tonight
Belizean stargazers are preparing their telescopes to spy on a rare phenomenon that will light up the heavens tonight. Early this evening, a rare event will light up the sky. The February full moon will be accompanied by an eclipse and a comet. A penumbral lunar eclipse will begin. A penumbral lunar eclipse is when the sun, moon and earth all line up and cast a strange effect on the moon.

Brother of Minister Sedi Elrington remains on the RUN
We could not reach Minister of Police and Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington, for comments on his brother Dr. Errol Elrington, who remains a wanted fugitive in the United States. He has been on the run for almost 4 years now after an arrest warrant was issued for Errol Elrington, M.D., for racketeering, Medicaid fraud, and health care fraud in October 7, 2013.

Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival to be held this weekend
The Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival is happening again this weekend February 11 and 12. This is the 14th annual art festival. The public is invited to come and enjoy Belizean culture through a variety of mediums. For over a decade the Placencia Sidewalk Arts Festival has brought together Belize’s top artists and those people, local and foreign, who appreciate the work they do so well. This year’s festival, through the sponsorship of Naïa Resort and Spa, will be adding a new dimension to the annual event.

Increase in moisture expected
The 24-hour forecast is for sunny skies with cloudy spells this afternoon and cloudy at times tonight and tomorrow morning. Showers will be isolated this afternoon and then increase mainly along southern and coastal areas late tonight into tomorrow morning. The wind will blow from the east to northeast at 10-20 knots. The sea state will be choppy to moderate.

Blogs

Lobster Season Is In The Final Days: The Tasting Menu At Casa Picasso
I don’t know how to break this gently so I will just say it. And show it. THERE ARE 4 DAYS LEFT IN LOBSTER SEASON 2017. Lobster season in Belize closes – no trapping, no sales, no lobster – from February 15th to June 15th for the mating season. So it was particularly serendipitous that I received a lovely invitation from two visitors to dine at one of San Pedro’s favorite dinner spots – Casa Picasso. I would have my last tastes of lobster in the very best way possible – as the star of CP’s Thursday night tasting menu – AND I would cross off a bucket list item! Quick observation: CP has a super comfortable bar area and small outside garden – both separate from the main dining room. This is a great spot to treat yourself to drinks & tapas or a meal. Party of one. Don’t sound shocked. Enjoying delicious food, chatting with the hosts and the bartender, sipping a cocktail by yourself can be a really great evening.

The Maya among us
In 2012, it became abundantly clear that a lot of people around the world had no clue that Mayas are still living among them. I will never forget the look on a young man’s face when I confirmed that indeed, the Mayas do exist. It was a novelty for him, and being that it was the much-buzzed about ‘2012: end-of-the-world”, his curiosity led to asking, “How do you live?” I take that question and add to it, “How do we continue our traditions and way of life in a modern society?” The answer is a bit complex, as we are now far-flung through the corners of Belize, and many other countries around the world. One thing we have in common, beside our language, is our love for home, Tanah. I was born and raised in San Antonio Village in the Cayo District. The westernmost district is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes, and in my humble and biased opinion, San Antonio is nestled in one such spot: a valley ringed by mountains as far as the eye can see, homes dotting high hills and dirt roads snaking every which way. The population is primarily Yucatec, and I am fortunate to have been born in the era of one of the most famed healers, Dr. Elijio Panti. I also grew up with the Garcia Sisters, who had their brush with fame with their slate carvings and art. In fact, one sister continues pushing for tradition and preservation of culture, lobbying alongside other villagers to honor Dr. Panti with a medicinal trail/reserve. Another group of hard-working artisans have taken on the magnificent art of pottery-making, using the help of a New York University professor to create bowls and figurines in homage to our ancient ancestors’ styles. We speak our Mayan language, conversing wherever we meet, be it in the center of the village, or on this very island where I now reside. We can pick each other out, bound by a common thread…and we talk and reminisce.

Where Ever You Go There You Are
I was recently engaged in a conversation with someone about how funny it is that tourists and future expats think that it’s all a laid back, hammock rocking lifestyle here when in reality, many of us expats find that we’re even busier than we were back home, especially ones that work and volunteer. With all of the events, fundraisers, and parties that are always going on, most of us are often doing double duty on the hamster wheel between work, fun and helping our community. For most right now, it is a highly busy period between work, volunteering and special events. As we muddle through being pulled in several directions at once and experiencing another wave of social events it is important to maintain quiet time. Often easier said than done with the length of people’s to-do lists. I chose the title “Where Ever You Go There You Are” from a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It is a great example of making the choice to become an expat before you are ready to retire and any struggles that may come along with it. Work is work no matter where you live and when you live on an island in a country that often gets referred to as the “Wild West” you can bet there will be challenges in balancing work, play and true island style relaxation.

A Crash Course in Navigating Belize
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from our trip to Belize. This tiny Central American country has about 350,000 residents with about an equal number of tourists who visit each year, many from North America. Tucked under Mexico’s Yucatan and surrounded by Guatemala, I assumed it was somewhere between the two: one part tourist enclave, one part dusty roads and wild jungle. Luke and I decided not to stay on the popular cayes near Belize City: Ambergris and Caulker. Instead, we set our sights about four hours south to Placencia Village, a place that appeals to slightly more intrepid travelers, yet has drinkable tap water. We left our home in Minneapolis at 3:45 a.m. and landed in Belize City around 1:30 p.m. We shuffled like zombies through customs and immigration. Then we found our way across a blazing hot parking lot to the car rental office where we were given a battered Renault Duster for the week. The attendant handed us directions and $4 to pay the exit fee, and away we drove – into the great unknown. We were expecting chaos, but instead, found driving conditions to be rather humane. The roads (we followed) were paved and fairly well maintained. And we quickly caught onto the local customs for sharing small, two-lane highways. Say you’re quickly approaching a slow-moving work truck ahead of you. The truck will slow down, put on its right-hand blinker and pull over as far as possible to let you safely pass. We did the same thing if we noticed someone hauling ass behind us. The system works beautifully and I vote we practice the same behavior in Minneapolis.

Best Time to Visit Belize
Belize has gained a reputation for being one of the most beautiful countries in the world. With its diverse culture, exotic wildlife and lush landscapes the country continues to lure thousands of visitors to its shores every year. There is so much to see and do in Belize and you might ask yourself when is the best time to visit belize and experience all it has to offer? Every month holds endless possibilities and adventures! There are some months, however, during which specific activities occur in the country that will allow you to experience events unique to Belize. Here is a breakdown of the best time to visit Belize:

Belize On The Rise As A Spring Break Destination
Although Belize certainly looks and feels like an exotic vacation destination for spring break, it's actually just a few short hours' flying time from the United States thanks to a bevy of affordable non-stop options from leading airlines like American, Southwest, United, and Delta. Whether your idea of the perfect spring break is enjoying the nightlife on a gorgeous tropical island or getting lots of fresh air and sunshine as you explore a pristine jungle, there is truly something for everyone in Belize.

VOGUE SAYS PLACENCIA BELIZE IS A MUST-VISIT CARIBBEAN DESTINATION
Published on February 3, 2017, a new article from Vogue, the lifestyle and fashion magazine, entitled "The Must-Visit Caribbean Destination You've Never Heard Of" lavishes plenty of praise for the verdant beauty and genuine friendliness of the Placencia Peninsula. Highlighting the astonishing variety of the food, the exciting discoveries of ancient Maya ruins, and the abundance of adventure opportunities on both land and sea, the Vogue article is sure to entice legions of readers to come visit Belize, the Caribbean destination that they've "never heard of." The recommended destinations and excursions in the Vogue article include hiking through the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in search of jaguars and black howler monkeys, snorkeling at Laughing Bird Caye, visiting a cacao farm, and diving with whale sharks in the waters off of the Silks Caye Marine Reserve and Gladden Spit atoll. Originally published as a weekly newspaper in 1892, Vogue is now one of the top lifestyle and fashion magazines in the world. Vogue is currently published in 21 international editions and has a monthly circulation of over 1.3 million copies. Vogue was purchased by Condé Nast in 1905 and has been helmed by the legendary Anna Wintour since 1988.

International Sourcesizz

Frommer: Dumbing down the cruise experience
The recent tendency of the cruise lines to eliminate port stops in actual cities inhabited by local residents — replacing those ports with stops in phony, artificial "private islands" or "private beaches" — has now escalated. By creating a phony island for their passengers on Caribbean cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line has given us the phony island to end all such fakes. It's called "Harvest Caye," and it's a separate small island developed by the cruise line, reachable by a 15-minute boat ride from the mainland of southern Belize. Passengers are disembarked on Harvest Caye, from which they walk under a canopy shielding them from the sun to the various facilities on this private island. If travelers want to experience the real Belize, they could take the boat ride to the mainland, but I would assume that this further trip primarily is for people signing up for an escorted sightseeing tour of the mainland. I am guessing that few passengers would board that boat and, after arriving, walk close to 3 miles to the Placencia Village on the mainland. Rather, the facilities on the private island are designed to keep passengers rooted there, spending money at the various enticing comforts and attractions of Harvest Caye.

CALYPSO ROSE BLOOMS ....wins World Album of the Year at French ‘Grammys’
The first woman to win the Road March and Calypso Monarch titles, Linda McArtha Monica Sandy-Lewis, better known as Calypso Rose, performed her smash hit, “Leave Me Alone”, yesterday at the prestigious Victoires de la Musique awards in Paris, France, mere minutes before receiving the award for Album of the Year in the World Music category. “Praise be to God Almighty for this wonderful and historic achievement!” she told the Express via telephone, just after receiving the award last night. “I am overjoyed to bring this back to Trinidad and Tobago! “I want to thank my agent, Jean-Michel,” she said onstage after receiving the award. “I want to thank my Government of Trinidad and Tobago and all my fans...they have kept me going with the beautiful music and the vibrations I give them! I want to thank Stonetree Records from Belize and Ivan Duran. I want to thank you all... May God bless you...and you know something...I am the Queen of France right now!”

Caribbean Destinations Charted Strong Visitor Growth in 2016
Leisure travel to the Caribbean performed strongly in 2016 and is poised for continued positive growth in 2017, said leaders of the region’s largest tourism and hospitality groups this week. Caribbean destinations recorded 29.3 million land-based, overnight visitors in 2016, the region’s seventh-consecutive year of growth and its highest-ever total said Hugh Riley, secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), in a press briefing Thursday. Caribbean arrivals increased 4.2 percent year-over-year compared with 2015 and the region’s 2016 visitor growth exceeded the 3.9 percent global tourism growth for 2016 reported by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), said Riley. Additionally, Caribbean cruise passenger arrivals grew an estimated 1.3 percent, totaling approximately 26.3 million in 2016. The Caribbean remains the cruise industry’s number one area of vessel deployment. Riley and other CTO officials attributed the region’s overall growth to the strength of its primary visitor source market. “The performance in 2016 was primarily supported by sustained economic growth in the U.S.,” said Ryan Skeete, CTO’s director of research.

Videos

  • Miss Belize Rebecca Rath returns to the country to a welcome by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2min. Welcome home Bex!

  • 15 Days in Belize + Cuba (2017), 2min. Our itinerary for the curious: Day 1: Flight from Los Angeles to Houston to Belize. Shuttle to Parrot Nest in San Ignacio.

  • MUCH NEEDED PEDESTRIAN RAMP INAUGURATED IN THE LOUISIANA AREA, 6min.

  • BSI ASR WEEKLY CROP REVIEW 2017 - WEEK 9, 3min.

  • BELIZE NOW Episode 9, 32min. New amendments to the Forest Act announced, Ministry of Foreign Trade discusses C.S.M.E Labor Market Information System, and the National Council on Ageing breaks down to celebrate its birthday. These stories and more on this week’s edition of Belize Now.

  • Madi Snorkels the Belize Barrier Reef, 2min. With the threat of offshore oil exploration in her country, this 11 year old blogger feels the need to do something outstanding to raise awareness on the importance of our Reef.

  • Belize Vacation, 5.5min. Great 5 day trip to see a bunch of beautiful sites on the beach and inland to see the ruins.

  • , min.

  • Belize 2017 B, 5min.

  • Belize 2017, 7min. Flyfishing for Bonefish, Permit and Tarpon in Caye Caulker Belize 2017.

  • Amazing kids in Santa Elena, Belize, 3min.


  • Links
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    Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!


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    Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
    White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
    Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
    We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
    Lil Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
    Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
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