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#522658 - 03/30/17 05:36 AM Today's Belize News: March 30, 2017  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,785
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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

Nearly 1K lionfish caught at Caye Caulker’s 2nd annual derby
Caye Caulker’s second annual Lionfish Derby put a dent in the population of Belize Barrier Reef’s most damaging invasive species. On Saturday, March 25th, participants brought in large amounts of the voracious predator, to be tallied and even cooked for sampling, at the popular Barrier Reef Sports Bar and Grill. This year saw almost double the amount caught last year, as a whopping 964 lionfish were removed from the local waters by the nine teams that signed up for the challenge. Among the participants was San Pedro’s Sagebrush Dive Team, who once again did great in the competition. The tournament included the following categories: Most Lionfish caught Scuba Diving, Most Lionfish caught Free Diving, Largest and Smallest Lionfish.

Blue Water Grill makes generous donations in March
Through their monthly donation effort, Blue Water Grill (BWG), along with their sister businesses, The Phoenix and Wine De Vine, raises funds to assist the San Pedro community in many great ways. Thanks to the generosity of donors, March saw San Pedro High School (SPHS) receiving new laptops, Oceana in Belize receiving a sizeable check, and Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II receiving their long-awaited ultrasound machine. SPHS Teacher Paul Kelly said that the new laptops will definitely benefit the school, especially for students enrolled in the San Pedro Adult Continuing Education (SPACE) program. “With over 900 students at SPHS, San Pedro Junior College, and SPACE, these computers will also really become handy for all students. However, I noticed that the majority of the SPACE students work in the construction field. Instead of them just working in that industry as a laborer, I believe these students can become more than that. They could become more acquainted with technology and be the mastermind behind the construction,” said Kelly.

San Pedro High School holds successful Science Fair
San Pedro High School (SPHS) students showcased their knowledge during their annual science fair on Friday, March 24th. The Angel Nuñez Auditorium was filled with 38 project booths that focused on this year’s theme: “Knowledge is Power”. The fair opened with Master of Ceremonies Francisco Quiroz establishing protocol and welcoming everyone. After an opening prayer from Pastor Clive Welsh, the gathering National Anthem and school song. SPHS Principal Emil Vasquez then gave a brief welcome address, while Science Teacher Ricardo Sedacy introduced this years’ judges: Jason Lanza, Jose Acosta, Melina Chan, Shane Sebastian, and Calbert O’Brian. With the fair officially opened, judges, teachers, parents, and visitors came to view the various science projects from 10AM to 2PM. The students eagerly explained their hypotheses, science experiments, observations, research and conclusions. The groups demonstrated creativity, presenting various projects ranging from chemistry, engineering, solar science, physics, and biology. The long periods of investigating, planning, and experimenting certainly paid off, as the judges had a difficult task choosing the winners.

Ambergris Today

Belize Lionfish Hunting Best Marine Experience According To Food And Travel Mexico
The lion fish is considered the second greatest threat to the coral reef and the Caribbean's ecological balance due to its voracious appetite and the lack of natural predators. In order to protect the marine ecosystem and their own livelihoods, fishermen and dive professionals in Belize began hunting lionfish in 2002. Now lionfish expeditions have become increasingly popular throughout the country, in an effort to save the reef, and also because it has become a delicacy. The lionfish meat is tasty and has gained popularity in many local restaurants in Belize, This Caribbean delicacy is also shipped commercially from Belize to the United States. as the demand is growing in the U.S market. Currently many high-end restaurants in New York City, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Houston are serving lionfish on their menus.

Johnny Depp Will Play John McAfee In Upcoming Biopic Movie
Oh no, not again! First Showtime released the documentary ‘Gringo: The Dangerous Live of John McAfee” about his bizarre and scandalous life of tech millionaire John McAfee in Belize. Now it has been announced that A-list celebrity Johnny Depp will play the role of McAfee in a new and upcoming biopic. I guess that Belize has had enough of John McAfee and we don’t need to be reminded of all the mess he made and left behind, but once again there is another movie about him and Belize coming out. This time, According to Deadline, the Pirates Of The Caribbean Star will play McAfee "as he takes a... magazine writer on a darkly comic Apocalypse Now-like tour at his Belize compound, a trip filled with paranoia, machine guns, sex and murder”.

Drug Plane Found In Northern Belize
On Monday 27th March 2017, based upon information received from authorities in Guatemalan, Civil Aviation along with the Anti-Narcotics Unit visited an area in Northern Belize. There they observed a white with burgundy and sliver trim Piper PA-23-250 aircraft with tail number N6769Y.

Misc Belizean Sources

mzz

February 2017 External Trade & Consumer Price Index & 2016 4th Quarter GDP Estimates
The latest figures on consumer prices released by the Statistical Institute of Belize show that, on average, prices for goods and services regularly purchased by households in Belize were 2.3 percent higher during the month of February 2017 than they were in February of 2016. The All-Items consumer price index stood at 105.1 for the month, an increase from 102.7 during the same period last year (see Figure 1). Higher prices were recorded across the three largest categories, namely ‘Transport’, ‘Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages’ and ‘Housing, Water, Electricity Gas and other Fuels’, which together account for almost two thirds of all household purchases.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Heads Delegation to Sixteenth Summit of Tuxtla Mechanism in Costa Rica
A delegation headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon Wilfred Elrington, participated in the XVI Summit of the Tuxtla Mechanism for Dialogue and Cooperation held on March 29th, 2017 in San Jose, Costa Rica. The Political Declaration adopted by the Heads of Government and their representatives reaffirmed the importance of this regional space for dialogue and cooperation between the countries of Central America, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Mexico.

Countrywide tour with members of Water Boards
The Honorable Hugo Patt, Minister of Rural Development, along with his staff are conducting a countrywide tour with all members of the Water Boards to discuss the expectations, roles and responsibilities of each Board.

PACT Amendment Bill to be Presented to Governor General for Assent
In the sitting of the House of Representatives on Friday, March 24, 2017, the House passed the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (Amendment) Act, 2017 to vary the rate of the conservation fee collected from every non-Belizean departing from any air border; to apportion such fees between the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) and the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Pursuant to Section 80(1) of the Constitution of Belize, a “money Bill means a public Bill, which in the opinion of the Speaker, contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters, namely, the imposition, repeal, remission, altercation or regulation of taxation; …”

Belize Protectors Association at the Baker to Vegas Challenge
We take this time to congratulate the Belize Protectors Association Team who competed and placed 3rd in the Baker to Vegas Challenge in Las Vegas this past weekend. Congratulations and job well done!

5-A-Side Football Tourney, Male & Female
5-A-SIDE Fanatics here you go! Set up your teams! Mark your calendars! IT'S ON!

Congrats Belize Protectors
On behalf of the Belize Protectors, Law Enforcement Officer, we are pleased to share our team competed on Saturday 25th March with approximately 300 teams and a total of 25 athletes per team for the Baker2Vegas 120 miles relay competition. Our officers placed an overall impressive 3rd place compared to 6th place overall last year! Congratulations Team Belize, you made us proud!

Fun Run 2017
Its a family event and its happening this Saturday. Join the fun for a good cause at the different locations country wide. Special Olympics Belize is having a fun run! Come out to show support or purchase a t-shirt for a child.

Letter: A response to the legal opinion on the Guatemalan claim to Belize
Attorney David Fine and editor Evan X Hyde, as a Belizean I commend you for writing this extremely powerful legal opinion on Belizean rights to our country. Also, Mr Hyde for publishing this needed article in his Amandala newspaper to educate our people on this ongoing never ending false claim Guatemala has been stating for centuries over our nation Belize. I would like to see more Belizean legal scholars express their legal opinions on this issue like you but such is not the case. This article gives many Belizeans like myself the confirmation that, without any doubt, Belize belongs to Belizeans. However, there are many Belizeans who are asking this question: if we are so convinced that this is true, then why go to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to reaffirm this fact?

Ocean Academy Presents: 2nd Annual Ubuntu Event
Tuesday April 4th, 10am-3pm, Palapa Gardens, Caye Caulker

Belize Amateur Golf Association "Hopkins Pirate Scramble"
One day only, this Saturday, April 1, at Roaring River Golf Course! Open to everyone, although you must be able to play some golf. Find a partner (or let us know and we can pair you with another player) and play in this fun event with lots of Prizes. Victor Ludorum Player of the Year Points available for our members. $60 Members, $75 Non Members, includes Green Fee and lunch after golfing. Some people have not heard of a pirate scramble before this tournament. The details of the format are as follow: Teams 2-player teams in foursome groupings. A 3 person team may be formed in the event of uneven numbers. Tee shots - Must use the tee shot of each team member equally, i.e. 8 each in 2 person team or 5 each in 3 person team

"Belize Art Shop:" Franzwah Estrada
In this fourth feature on the "Belize Art Shop" featuring the hard hitting Belizean Photo Journalist, Franzwah Estrada, who has been no stranger in the Los Angeles Belizean Community where he lives and work as an artist in photography and film, we here at Belizean Legends want to honor this brother for his many years of incredible work and contribution to the development of the Los Angeles Belizean Community. Estrada's work stems extensively across a wide spectrum of culture, politics, and entertainment, and can be seen more vividly through the awesome photo essay here where he captured the passionate moments of mostly Belizean women in protest against the insidious Guatemalan claim of Belize on May 5, 2016 at the Guatemalan Consulate on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. A true Belizean nationalist in his photography and artistic revolution, and also as a Garifuna artist and spokesman, Estrada's work takes no prisoners as the outstanding artist is known for his outspoken posture in depicting the truth about the images he presents and his defense of his unorthodox style of "shoot what you see".

Corozal Junior College EXPO and Trade Show 2017
See you on Friday, March 31st, 2017 for our annual expo.

The International Festival of Culture
May 5th, 6th & 7th 2017, Centennial Park, Benque Viejo Del Carmen.

Channel 7

Mystery Man Bart Middleton Appears
Last week, we showed you how the Senate Select Committee finally learned who the mysterious "Mr. Middleton" is. He's Barton Middleton, a private citizen, businessman, and allegedly, a "fixer", well-known in certain circles. After the Senate Committee began digging into the 8 stolen visas of November 2012, his name was called repeatedly as the moving hand in the theft of 6 of those visas. The most explosive testimony against Middleton came from UDP insider Patrick Tillett. Tillett went before the Senate saying that he briefly ran a visa procurement service for Chinese Nationals who wanted to visit Belize. He said that he was contracted to get 6 visas for some "Chinese clients", and he was paid $6,000 each, to a total sum of $36,000.

Middleton Says His Life Was Threatened
So, as you saw, from early on, Middleton established himself as an untrustworthy witness. That trend continued into the afternoon session, with Middleton giving the same answers as he did in the morning. It was not until Business Senator Mark Lizarraga asked him an usual question that things got more interesting. The Senator asked him if he had been threatened so that he would not cooperate. Quite surprisingly, he said that, indeed, he had been. Here's that moment of the hearing for you to decide whether he's telling the truth or not: Hon. Mark Lizarraga - Senator, Business Sector: "I need to ask you this question and I need for you to think seriously about it before you answer it. Have you been threatened Mr Middleton by anybody?" Barton Middleton - Implicated in Visa Theft: "No sir."

GOB Unfazed By Senate Rejection Of PACT Bill, Will Push On
Yesterday we told you about the Senate's landmark vote to reject a money bill that had already been passed by the House of Representatives. Independent and opposition senators thought that by voting down the bill, it would be delayed by one month. But today the Government said that's a misguided interpretation of the powers afforded to the Senate in the Constitution. Government issued a press release today stressing that the Senate has no influence over the assent of a money bill after it has been passed by the House. The press release also states that there will be no delay in the bill's assent, despite the Senate's reservations. We spoke to Attorney General, Mike Peyrefitte, who laid out the law, according to government...

Drug Plane Landing Area Still A Mystery
Police have released the details of the suspected drug plane we told you about last night. They confirmed that the Civil Aviation Department along with the Anti-Narcotics Unit received information from Guatemalan authorities which led them to a Piper Aztec which had landed in an area in Northern Belize. The report does not specify where in Northern Belize, but these planes are known to land on sugar roads. Civil Aviation certified it as air worthy, and they flew it to the PGIA - where it was parked when we visited yesterday. The police say, quote, "The Anti-Narcotics Unit along with civil aviation is currently investigating the circumstance of the plane being in Belize."

What the Guat Consultant Says
Last night, we told you about a late breaking story of a leaked document from the Guatemalan Foreign Affairs Ministry, which indicates that the Government of Guatemala wants to include the Sarstoon in one of their official maps. We've been provided with the document from Breaking Belize News, and we've since translated it. It's actually a progress report from a consultant, who signed a contract with the Guatemalan Foreign Affairs Ministry back in January. the consultant is a former diplomat and his contract will last up until the end of this year. This report covered his work from the period of January 17 up until January 31, 2017. This consultant notes that he had been participating activities in Guatemala for that country's push toward the International Court of Justice. That included meetings with the Guatemalan Government's Sovereignty and Dominion Unit, the Guatemalan Foreign Minister, and the country's Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

When Conchs Go To Court
We have reported on countless illegal fisheries busts – including the over 3,000 undersized conch we told you about last night. There has also been a number of reports on forestry offenses especially illegal logging. But there is more to these cases than just the initial confiscations – there are the charges, fines and more importantly, the court proceedings. And today at a Magistrate's information session held at the Biltmore, the coordinators discussed the importance of collaboration between the magistrates and both the fisheries and forestry departments. Courtney Weatherburne has more details. We apologize for that break in transmission- due to a system failure. We resume with our story on the magistrate's training. For the first quarter, the fisheries department has seized about 5,000 individual undersized conch. That number includes the 3, 300 that were confiscated last Friday. The persons caught with illegal catch are charged, fined and penalized. The fines range from $100 to $500. But according to Fisheries Officer Mauro Gongora, those fines aren't stiff enough.

SIB Confirms GDP Contraction For Fourth Quarter
It's no secret that Belize's economy is in recession and today the Statistical Institute of Belize confirmed that Belize's Gross Domestic Product contracted again in the last three months of 2016. It's the first time since 2011 that the fourth quarter has seen a contraction in economic growth. Some say it's also the first time in decades that Belize has experienced four successive quarters of economic contraction. Today the SIB explained why the GDP is down again: Angelita Campbell - Statistician II, SIB: "Belize produced goods and services totalling 666.7 million dollars for the period October to December 2016. What that indicates a decrease of 1.2% or roughly 7.9 million dollars in production. This graft shows the fluctuation in terms of percent value. In 2012 we had an increase of roughly 2.9 percent then in 2013 fourth quarter as had Banana showing a decrease of 30 percent and that was mainly due to the effect of Hurricane Earl and the exit of a major banana farm."

Inflation Soared In Feb Due To Travel Costs
And while beer production is down, inflation is up. That means goods and services regularly purchased by households in Belize cost 2.3 percent more during the month of February 2017 than in February of 2016. As the SIB statistician explained, the increase was driven mainly by rising transport costs: Jacqueline Sabal - Statistician II, SIB: "There's a very large increase in transport. In February 2017 compared to February 2016. Food prices did decrease as you can see but not enough to bring down the all items index. Transport by air played a major role in the movement of the transport index. Across all municipalities everyone recorded an increase in consumer prices. Belmopan recorded the highest inflation rate at 3.5 percent with Dangriga not too far behind at 3.3 percent."

Exports and Imports Sag
And Belize's external trade profile was also not encouraging. Here's the breakdown: Stephanie Vasquez - Statistician, SIB: "The largest changes in imports for the period were observed in the following categories. The machinery and transport equipment category which accounted for 58 million dollars of Belize's import in January to February 2017 fell by 13 million dollars as Belize imported less telecommunication equipment, 4 cylinder vehicles and agricultural equipment than it did in January to February 2016. Good destined for export processing zones which amounted to 4 million dollars for the first 2 months of this year dropped by 6 million when compared to the same period of last year going to reduced imports of gaming machines, shrimp feed and containers.

USAID Support for Crime Legislation
On Monday national security representatives from the Eastern and Southern Caribbean arrived in Belize to begin a three day study tour. The tour, which is funded by The United States Agency for International Development, will provide the regional delegates with important knowledge and strategies for crime prevention. The project is designed to reduce the main causes of youth related crime through better developed legislation. Here is the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Elodio Aragon, with more on the event... Hon. Elodio Aragon Jr. - Minister of State, Home Affairs: "It is indeed a gratifying feeling to see that Belize was chosen as the country for this technical exchange and as the vanguard in this CariSecure project aim towards strengthening evidence based decision making for citizen security in the Caribbean.

City Council Puts Order To Fire Recovery Effort
The 51 persons spread across 16 families who were dislocated in last week Friday's Majestic Alley Fire continues to get help. Today the City Council coordinated a joint relief effort with the Red Cross, The Department of Human Services, CEMO and private sponsors to give the fire victims a comprehensive care package. Councillor Phillip Willoughby told us more. Folks, again, We apologize - we're trying to stabilize that system failure, please bear with us: Again we pick up our story about the city council's effort to assist fire victims: Phillip Willoughby - City Councillor: "Well today we finalise some of the relief efforts via several agencies that donate to the fire victims from the Pink's alley fire. Red Cross donated the box and the labelling on the side, pots and pans and the lights to be utilised on the stoves that were donated via NEMO courtesy Minister Castro and his ministry, they got the cook tops and the gas tanks.

BEL and Hand In Hand Come Through, Boots Doesn't
And in another fire story, today a family of 6 that lost their home in a fire over a year ago has a new place to live thanks to BEL and Hand in Hand Ministries. The house came complete with electrical and plumbing systems already installed. Shelly Flowers, the mother of the family, talked to us about how grateful she was for the donation, and also told us about her dissatisfaction with how long it took for her to get one... We reached out to Boots Martinez for a comment earlier today and he reminded us that Flowers actually lives in the Queen Square, which means that her area rep. is actually Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Despite this, Martinez told us that he already provided a house to the family; the one directly behind the new building, where Flowers' sister, with whom she has been living for the past year, currently resides.

How The Protectors Did It
Yesterday we told you about the triumphant return of the Belize Protectors, who placed third place in the Baker to Vegas challenge last weekend. The team is made up of law enforcement personnel, who have been training for the 120 mile race since July. They placed third over almost 300 other teams from around the world. We spoke to the team about their accomplishment earlier today... The Belize Protector's rise through the ranks in almost record break. In only two years since first entering the competition, the team has moved up almost 270 ranks, and is considered a major contender for first place next year.


#522659 - 03/30/17 05:36 AM Re: Today's Belize News: March 30, 2017 [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,785
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Channel 5

Barton Middleton, Before Senate Committee, Claims He Fears for His Life
The sole witness present at today’s public hearing of the Senate Special Select Committee on Immigration was Barton Middleton. His appearance is the culmination of long weeks of interrogation of [...]

Alleged Immigration “Agent” Can’t Say Why He is Being Framed
Before that big reveal, Middleton displayed a severe case of amnesia through much of this morning’s testimony, apparently unable to recall much of anything that happened to him in the [...]

Barton Middleton Denies Involvement in Visa Foil Scandal
Though he may be forgetful of events, Barton Middleton is well aware of why he was called to Belmopan today. No less than four persons – Immigration Officers Mark Tench, [...]

Is Brain Tumour to Blame for “Mr. Middleton’s” Forgetfulness?
In the course of his testimony, Middleton claimed to have gone to surgery at the Corozal Hospital for a tumour growing at the base of his brain. When we checked [...]

Middleton Tells Off Senate Committee over Jurisdiction
Barton Middleton, if not a hostile witness, was certainly a reluctant one. He spent much of his testimony denying meeting or closely knowing the likes of Mark Tench and Patrick [...]

Gov’t Rushes PACT Bill to G.G. Despite Senate’s Disapproval
On Monday, the Senate defeated the PACT Amendment Bill in a significant first for the upper house, when a majority of parliamentarians voted against the proposed law.  The government is [...]

Business Senator Calls for Legal Review Due to “Uncharted Waters”
There may be basis for the Government’s actions in the Constitution, but does that make it right? Senator for the Business Community Mark Lizarraga told News Five this afternoon in [...]

Drug Plane Recovered in Northern Belize
A small aircraft remains parked at the apron of the Philip Goldson International Airport after it was transported from northern Belize. The white with burgundy and sliver trim Piper PA-23-250 [...]

SIB Reports: Exports Down in Fourth Quarter; Citrus Boom Not Felt Yet
The Statistical Institute of Belize confirms today that exports are significantly down. In the case of citrus which once placed as the number one export that industry has plummeted to [...]

Fuel Goads Inflation Forward
Fuel prices, as motorists would know, have shot up considerably, jumping almost twenty percent during February 2017.  The most notable increase was in the cost of diesel fuel which went [...]

P.U.P. Calls for Renewed Fight on Crime; Hits G.O.B. on Budget Cuts
The People’s United Party says it is gravely concerned by the government’s seemingly flippant inattention to the spiralling crime.  Earlier today, the P.U.P. issued a release noting that the government [...]

Business Senator Disappointed by Budget: G.O.B., Public Service Can Do Better
There was a possibility, with an odd number of Senators now seated and any tie-breaker removed from President Lee Mark Chang except in specific circumstances, that the General Revenue and [...]

Emergency Management Hands Out Supplies to Majestic Fire Victims
NEMO, CEMO and other partners handed over supplies to families who lost their homes and belongings in the Majestic Alley last Friday. The families have been receiving assistance since the [...]

New House for 2016 Fire Victim
Belize Electricity Limited and Hand in Hand Ministries partnered to build a house for a deserving family in Belize City.  Shirley Flowers, a single mother off Boots Crescent in south [...]

Ministry of Health Wants More Talk About Depression
The theme of next week’s World Health Day observance is “Depression – Let’s Talk.” It’s easier said than done, considering how many suffer from a depressive state and keep it [...]

What Not to Do When Reporting Suicides
As recently as the early 2000’s, it was still considered a crime in Belize to attempt to kill yourself. Those who have succeeded seem to be tainted in the eyes [...]

Ministry of Education Plans for ‘Open School’
Today, the Ministry of Education and the Commonwealth Of Learning launched a policy management open school workshop. The purpose of the three-day session is to enable administrators and managers to [...]

Open School Program to be Expanded in Belize
The concept of open schooling actually began at Gwen Lizarraga High School Even Division back in 2009. The workshop, however, will ensure that administrators of the evening division and ITVETs [...]

Englishman Dan Thompson “Runs the World” for Cancer Research
Dan Thompson, a cancer research advocate, has embarked on a run around the world for a good cause. Thompson visited Belize on Tuesday to run a leg of his journey [...]

CTV3

Barton Middleton Fears For His Life
The Senate Select Committee hearings which have been investigating serious allegations of wrong-doing and irregularities within the Immigration Department via its public hearings took a very strange and serious turn today when one of the individuals involved in one of the scandals, the much spoken about “Mr. Middleton”, testified before the Committee and claimed that he is fearful for his life; and therefore, would not be able to provide information. The statement left the Committee and members of the media on the gallery shocked, to say the least, and also triggered an early end to what was one of the least productive hearings since the Committee commenced in November last year. We say least productive because “Mr. Middleton”, whose name is actually Barton Middleton, and who has been named in multiple hearings as the privately-hired Immigration agent who traded visas that were deemed stolen, was apparently determinedly non-cooperative with giving helpful answers, claiming the ever-popular line: “I do not recall”. We’ll have more on this, but first to his claims of fear. The matter arose after two hours of cross-examination, when Senator Lizarraga asked Middleton if his life was under any kind of threat. This is how that exchange went:

Inflation Rate Is Up For February 2017
The Statistical Institute of Belize today published its latest statistics on prices and external trade for the country of Belize. First we take a look at the consumer price index for which the report shows that prices increased, on average by 2.3 percent for the month of February 2017 as it stood 105.1, compared to 102.7 in February 2016. For the first two months of the year 2017, an inflation rate of 2.3 percent was recorded. Higher prices were recorded across the three largest categories, namely ‘Transport’, ‘Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages’ and ‘Housing, Water, Electricity Gas and other Fuels’, which together account for almost two thirds of all household purchases.

PUP Calls On Government to Act Now Against Crime
Following the reports of a bloody weekend which resulted in a total of eight murders in our jewel including the death of a police officer who was viciously attacked in front of the Racoon Police Station in Belize City, the People’s United Party issued a release articulating their grave concern and alarm on the crime situation in Belize. The release indicates that the Opposition is displeased with the government’s decision to cut the Police’s budget by $2 million as it clearly shows GOB’s inattentiveness and negligence regarding the escalation of crime in our country due to the fact that last year, the country recorded the second highest murder rate in a period of five years. The release also added that while the budget was presented, there were no allocations to the prosecution arm of the police or state and a reduction in the Judiciary’s allocation was witnessed.

Exportation Plummets In February 2017
As we told you earlier in the newscast today the Statistical Institute of Belize issued its latest statistics for the month of February 2017 including exporting figures which continue to decline. Domestic exports for February 2017 totaled $25.8 million, a 12.9 percent or $3.8 million decrease when compared to exports for the month of February 2016. A steep fall in citrus sales during the month was the primary cause of the overall decrease in Belize’s export earnings. Citrus exports, comprising mainly of orange concentrate, dropped by 45 percent or $3.9 million, from the $8.7 million noted for February 2016. Additionally, sugar exports for the month fell by $1.5 million, as exported quantities of that commodity dwindled by over half. (Show Ex trade fig 3)

Importation Also Declines On February
Turing over to Belize’s total imports for the month of February 2017, it was valued at $140.4 million representing a significant 13.1 percent or $21.1 million decrease from imports during the same month in 2016, which totaled $161.6 million. (Show Ex trade fig 1) For the second month in a row, imports were down across most categories. ‘Machinery and Transport Equipment’, was the category with the largest recorded drop for the month, which fell by $10.8 million, from $42.2 million to $31.4 million. Goods imported into the ‘Commercial Free Zones’ amounted to $21.1 million, a decline of $6.8 million when compared to that of last February, with cigarettes, handbags and shoes being among the diminished items. (Show Ex trade fig 2)

Middleton Claims Amnesia
At this point, the Senate hearing ended. It was one of the most difficult for the Chairman and Committee members because Middleton took on the nature of a hostile witness and even though he swore under oath to tell nothing but the truth, he was clearly cagey, super cautious and conspicuously concealing something. In the past three hearings, Middleton has been identified and fingered by not less than four persons, including three Immigration Officers for playing some role in the case of handling visas that went missing from the Western Border. For former UDP Belize City Council financial controller Patrick Tillett, Middleton was the Immigration agent who he hired and paid $3,000 to get visas and ensure that they were processed. Today, when asked to respond to the allegations directly, Middleton claimed they were all false and that he doesn’t even know Tillett.

Suspected Drug Plain Landed In Northern Belize
Police tonight continue to investigate another suspected drug plane which made its landing in Belize. On Monday March 27th, with the assistance of Guatemalan Civil Aviation, Belize police managed to intercept a CESSNA Piper Aztec single engine plane abandoned in northern Belize, allegedly on a cane road. The exact location of where the white with burgundy and sliver trim Piper PA-23-250 aircraft with tail number N6769Y was found is yet to be revealed by authorities. While no drugs or passengers were found inside the aircraft at the time of the discovery, the plane had made an illegal landing, since it had no flight plan for Belize - clearly indicating an illicit mission.

Senator Salas Disagrees With PM On Statutory Bodies Not Being Accountable
When the controversial PACT amendment bill was introduced by the Prime Minister on March 13, the rationale given by the PM was that the finances of the Statutory Bodies needed to be better Policed by the Government of Belize. The implied translation of this was clearly that the Statutory Bodies which include the Protected Areas Conservation Trust, PACT and the Belize Tourism Board, BTB were not being fully accountable. That’s a serious accusation and as you would expect, the NGO Senator Osmany Salas could not agree.

LOVE FM

Working at Cyber Security and Internet Governance
In the past weeks, the media has shed light on an increasing problem stemming from internet use. We have seen cases where teenagers and adults have fallen victim to hacking and cyber bullying. The issue is growing and with it grows concerns not only from the public at large, but from the business sector and […]

$100K From GEF to Rio Blanco
Two organizations in rural Toledo are being given grants totaling one hundred thousand dollars. Paul Mahung has the story. PAUL MAHUNG “

Japanese Government Gifts High School $160K
The Government of Japan has gifted more than eighty thousand US dollars to Our Lady of Guadalupe High School in Belmopan. Correspondent Fem Cruz tells us more. FEM CRUZ “

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Belize economy declines by 1.2% in 4th quarter
For the first time in five years, Belize has seen a decline in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fourth quarter of the year. This week, the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) released the statistics for the 4th Quarter GDP 2016, showing a decline of 1.2 percent (almost $8 million) when compared to the same period in 2015. The SIB’s data showed that the country’s economic activity declined from $675 million in 2015 to $667 million in 2016.

“Mr. Middleton” scared for life, can’t remember anything
The elusive Barton Middleton, whose name has become synonymous with the Senate inquiry into allegations of corruption at the Immigration Department, faced the Select Committee today and said he feared for his life. “Nothing is ever as simple as it seems,” he told the committee. According to Middleton, he fears for his personal safety and security. He reported seeing strange cars following him since the start of the hearings.

Police investigating suspected drug plane that landed in northern Belize
On Monday, March 27, 2017 based upon information received from authorities in Guatemala, Belizean authorities visited an area in northern Belize. Upon arrival, they observed a white with burgundy and sliver trim Piper PA-23-250 aircraft with tail number N6769Y.

CARI-SECURE tours Belize’s Crime Observatory
Yesterday, key figures in security from the different Caribbean countries gathered in Belize City to observe the systematic and technical functions of the information management systems within the country’s criminal justice system. This was an initiative of the newly launched CARISECURE Project, a project aimed at “Strengthening evidence based decision making for citizen security in the Caribbean”.

NICH launches series of lectures on National Symbols of Belize
The Museum of Belize, in the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) is launching the first of a series of lectures focused on the National Symbols of Belize. The lectures, which begins today with the National Flag and Coat of Arms, are done in collaboration with the University of Belize. Today’s presentation included presentations from the University of Belize, as well as from the Director of the Institute for Social ND Cultural Research, Nigel Encalada.

PACT Amendment Bill to be presented to Governor General for assent despite Senate voting against it
This week, the Senate voted against the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (Amendment) Bill on its second reading making legislative history. The amendment bill proposed to introduce a development fee to be collected from any border administered with support from PACT – an important bill to help increase revenue in Government’s 2017/2018 Budget .

Start demanding sanitary food!
Belizeans, for better or worse, depend heavily on fast food restaurants all over the country. Fast food restaurants offer the convenience of speed and low cost, with the downside of being a less than optimal healthy alternative. To this end, Chinese restaurants in particular, have benefited greatly from Belizean consumers. Apart from rice and beans, fried chicken is close behind in the national dish race.

San Ignacio rappers release new music video
The song- 1 I Want was recently released by the 501 Prince’s, a group of young rappers from San Ignacio Town. The 501 Prince’s consists of: Amir Frutos, Tyromae Tyler Vasquez, and Deon Harris aka “Genuine”. The rappers told BBN that the track is their first music video for this year and the remix was done by “Genuine”, their in-house mixer.

Johnny Depp to play infamous John McAfee
According to PC Tech Authority, Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp is set to play millionaire programmer turned suspected murderer John McAfee. Depp will reportedly play McAfee as he takes a “magazine writer on a darkly comic Apocalypse Now-like tour at his Belize compound, a trip filled with paranoia, machine guns, sex and murder”.

Belizean DJ to showcase Belizean talent at birthday bash
Popular and International Belizean DJ, Richie Galvez who is loved by many fans at home and abroad for his prodigious skills in mixing music will be using his birthday to promote Belizean music and artists from all around the country. Galvez’s birthday is tomorrow, March 30th and he has organized the event at the Double O’s compound in Belmopan City.

Police intercept suspected drug plane in northern Belize
Yesterday, Belize police intercepted a CESSNA Piper Aztec single engine plane in northern Belize. According to 7 News Belize, police acted on a tip from Guatemalan Civil aviation and it is suspected to be a drug cargo plane.

Issuance of Fishing License
The Belize Fisheries Department issued a release reminding the public that it will cease the issuance/renewal of fisher folk and vessel licenses for the year 2017 by April 14th, 2017. Fishers are advised that they must be in compliance with the following:

Blogs

Appreciating the West Indian Manatee!
I haven’t seen a single manatee in the wild in my entire life, and it’s not for trying! Nevertheless, I love these gentle mammals and on their day, I’ll share some facts to raise awareness and help protect them so that more people get the chance to see a manatee in the wild! (Including me, someday…) Belize is home to the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus), an endangered species, and they are protected by law. They play an important part in our country, from contributing to Belize’s rich biological diversity to providing a diverse opportunity for tourism.

Spring Break For the Non Traditionally Aged on Ambergris Caye: A Golf Cart Bar Crawl
We are in the midst of Spring Break season. And on Ambergris Caye, rather than a Cancun or Daytona Beach situation, that means families and smaller groups of young people. The island is bustling with all sorts of visitors looking to escape a winter that is lasting a bit too long up north. A little while ago, I received an email from a reader who has visited the island before. He was returning with a bit group of his friends to rent a gorgeous house in a gorgeous area and celebrating birthdays. Not exactly 20 co-eds packing into one small hotel room in South Padres Island and slugging shots all day and night. Well…not exactly. Bar crawl at Crazy Canucks San Pedro Belize Adam asked me for a proposed golf cart bar crawl. Heading from south of town to north. They were staying at this BEAUTIFUL house and certainly wanted to end up there. They were also celebrating some 50th birthdays!

Belize’s Chaa Creek listed as a National Geographic World Legacy Awards 2017 Winner
Receiving this award has been a great honor to all of us here at The Lodge at Chaa Creek. Engaging communities has been at the core of our ethos since our doors officially opened in 1981. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, to each member of our team, the owners of one of the most highly rated Eco Lodges in the world, and to all our guests past, present, and future for their invaluable support.

Looking for an retirement in Belize? Corozal is a lovely quite relaxed place
Corozal Town is a town in the nation of Belize, capital of Corozal District. Corozal Town is located about 84 miles north of Belize City, and 9 miles from the border with Mexico. The population of Corozal Town, according to the main results of the 2010 census, is 9,871. Corozal was a private estate before becoming a town in the 1840s, mostly settled by Mestizo refugees from the Caste War of Yucatán. Much of the town was built over an ancient Maya city, sometimes known as Santa Rita; this may have been the original Pre-Columbian town called Chetumal. Corozal is the country’s fourth largest populated district, with 20,335 residents. and home to a growing community of North American and European retirees.In 2010 the American Association of Retired Persons, the AARP, ranked Corozal a top retirement destination. The article describes Corozal: “The Corozal district, a few miles’ drive from the Mexican border, is far more affordable. Corozal expats live a laid-back life, with year-round outdoor play (boating, hiking, swimming, diving), but are still only minutes from the malls and cineplexes of Chetumal, the capital of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.”

Uxbenka Mayan Ruins in Belize
Although Uxbenka is small, its compact nature gives visitors a chance to see another side of ancient Maya life beyond gigantic pyramids and vast causeways. Translated from Mayan, Uxbenka means “ancient place” as it has been used for ceremonies for centuries. At Uxbenka, it’s possible to see how the Maya used terracing to tame the jungle wilderness, including an artificial hill that the Maya built for religious ceremonies. The site is still being excavated but it is possible to explore the main plaza along with a series of smaller squares. Six buildings have been reclaimed so far along with seven carved stelae and 13 uncarved stelae. Uxbenka is located just outside of Santa Cruz village in Belize’s southern Toledo District. Uxbenka is still in the process of being excavated, so it isn’t officially open to visitors. Nonetheless, it is possible to visit this site. The best way is to head to the village of Santa Cruz in Toledo District and then find the water tower. The partially excavated portions of Uxbenka, including seven carved stelae, are just a short distance away.

International Sourcesizz

Meet the Brave Bodyguards Protecting Belize’s Scarlet Macaws From Poachers
The Scarlet Macaw’s last, best defense against wildlife poachers doesn’t look like much: just a ramshackle collection of tarps, makeshift tables, plastic five-gallon buckets, jungle hammocks, and a cook fire, hidden in the dense understory of a tropical hardwood forest near the fraught and uncomfortably porous border between Belize and Guatemala. It’s taken us hours to get here—the first leg an overland journey from San Ignacio in the Cayo District of western Belize, haggling our way through military and ranger checkpoints and bumping over red dirt roads that are more rock and ravine than actual thoroughfares. But reaching the banks of the Macal River was merely the first step. The trip upriver took us another hour or so, the labored whine of the skiff’s outboard motor following us as we passed hundreds of drowned trees jutting skyward from the water and verdant riverbanks. Egrets, cormorants, and Anhingas eyed us suspiciously while a Double-toothed Kite wheeled overhead. The water was glassy flat, the current so sluggish that the river seems caught in stasis. At one point, Roni Martinez, a Belizean bird guide and one of two founders of Scarlet Six Biomonitoring Team, pointed out a tapir on the far bank. At first it looked like any other dead log—and then it lumbered up the incline and disappeared into the forest. (Editor's note: Scarlet Six Biomonitoring Team changed its name to Belize Bird Conservancy after this issue of Audubon magazine went to print.)

Belize regulator IFSC warns against forex broker Premium Point Market
Belize financial regulator IFSC (International Financial Services Commission) has issued a warning regarding retail forex brokerage firm Premium Point Market, operating from website premierfxmarket.com. It has come to the notice of the IFSC that an entity calling itself Premier Point Market is falsely claiming to be registered in Belize. The representation made on the broker’s website to that effect is inaccurate and misleading. The IFSC confirms that Premier Point Market is not registered as a company nor licensed by the International Financial Services Commission of Belize or any other competent authority in Belize to engage in any type of trading business.

Engineering in Belize
Eight students with W&L’s Engineering Community Development club traveled to Belmopan, Belize to build a bio-sand water filter for a local high school. The students spent a week working with a local organization called Belize BaseCamp, which matches missionaries and volunteers with jobs. The W&L group worked on the site of a former church that is being turned into a high school. They built a bio-sand filter, which uses natural materials and beneficial bacteria to mimic how the earth itself filters water when it rains. This is the second such filter that W&L students have built in Belize; W&L groups have also built bio-sand filters in Guatemala. “The trip to Belize was incredible for two major reasons,” said Walker Brand ’18. “One, our work down there has the potential to positively affect the lives of an entire village for years to come, and two, the group of students that went on the trip were a blast to hang out and collaborate with. I will cherish the memories we made and the virtue of the work we did for the rest of my life.”

ENR MidAtlantic Names Moguel to List of Region's Best & Brightest
Belizean, Gregory G. Moguel, has been selected as one of the Top Young Professionals in the construction industry by Engineering News-Record MidAtlantic. Gregory G. Moguel, PE, ENV SP, NACE CIP II, has been selected as one of the Top Young Professionals in the construction industry by Engineering News-Record MidAtlantic. Moguel is a construction services project manager for Gannett Fleming and leads the design and construction of water and wastewater infrastructure. He has been with the firm for 10 years.

Videos

  • U.S. Embassy Belize Campaign- Be Bold For Change and Show Cyber Respect, 1.5min. Check out the U.S. Embassy's video on cyber violence featuring Mayor Khalid Belisle!

  • Beautiful Caye Caulker, 1.5min. I just wanted to share this short video about this lovely island! Will be back for sure

  • Afternoon session of senate select committee inquiry, 25min. Barton Middleton suffers memory loss: he does not recall being at the Immigration Department in Belmopan but he knows for sure he didn't take any documents to the office. He says that Patrick Tillett lied about paying him $3,000. He does not have any friends or knows what the word "friendship" means when asked about his relationship with Miss Casanova who was stationed at the Immigration Department: he does not recall being regularly in her company and vehicle as she has testified.

  • BSI ASR WEEKLY CROP REVIEW 2017 WEEK 16, 3min.

  • Run The World Gold Challenge Dan Thompson, 29min.

  • Shakera Young Annual Light Our Hearts Women's Rally, 31min.

  • Income Tax Department - Income Tax Procecdures, 25min.

  • Belize Rare Birds, min.

  • WWF Belize Directory Video final, 2min. Madison Pearl on the ref

  • Belize Meat Pie Man, .5min.

  • Eladio Pop, .5min.

  • Belize Drumming, .5min.

  • Full Day at WAYO'S Beach Bar San Pedro-Belize -Ambergris Caye 2017- Wayo Not Drinking?, 5min. What a day at Wayo's Beach Bar in San Pedro, Belize looks like. Wayo and his wife along with their great staff are always welcoming and a pleasure to spend time with. If you are in San Pedro stop by cold drink and say hello. Wayo also has a quaint beach front resort called Aqua Vista next door. Great drinks, great owners, great staff, and always a great time!

  • BRYN MAWR College visits IZE Belize South Water Caye 2017, 11min. Filmed March 7th Location : South Water Caye IZE Belize Smithsonian Institute Marine Field Station

  • Caracol Temple Complex, Belize - January 2017, 2.5min.

  • Spring Break 2017 Belize, 4min. The Williams 2017 Spring Break trip to Belize. Scuba Diving, Hiking, Parasailing, and more!

  • In the Middle of 400 Acres of Pristine Belize Jungle, 2min.

  • BELIZE!!!, 13min.

  • Belize, 3min. 15th anniversary trip to Belize

  • Scuba Diving in Belize, 12min. Scuba Diving with Scuba Sensation in Caye Caulker, Belize. Esmeralda, South Point, and Spanish Bay. Lionfishing, turtles, eels sharks, rays, puffer fish and more

  • 2017 Mayflower Mural - Belize City, 1min. Mayflower Community Revitalization Project a DYS/Love Foundation Partnership Location: Corner of Vernon Street and Mayflower Street, Belize City

  • Our Day In Belize City, 3.5min. A compilation of short clips i took throughout the day.

  • Brittle Star ~ Belize, 1/2min. Brittle star found in Belize


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