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#522692 - 03/31/17 06:46 AM Today's Belize News: March 31, 2017  
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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

Invest 90-L being monitored for early hurricane activity
Since Sunday, March 26th, the National Hurricane Center has been closely monitoring the first Invest 90-L, which is sitting east of the Bahamas, for its potential to develop into a subtropical storm. Although the Atlantic hurricane season does not officially begin until June 1st, meteorologists are wondering if the season will get an early head start. The forecast charts indicated that Invest-90L is a low pressure system that has no threat to landmass. However, if this system does become organized to earn a subtropical or tropical storm status, it would take the first name in the 2017 list; Arlene. Other tropical storm names are: Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince, and Whitney.

SPTC Softball Tournament advancing to playoffs
There is only one more set of games before The San Pedro Town Council Softball Tournament advances to the playoffs. On Sunday, March 26th, softball fanatics once again showed up to the Honourable Louis Sylvestre Sporting Complex to support their favourite team seeking a spot. The first game of the day was between Extreme and Sea Star, with Extreme winning 9-7. In the second game, Quality Reef was declared the winner via default, as most of the Atlantic Bank team did not show up. The third and last game of the day had similar results. After Tuff E Nuff did not show up, Team Rusties were declared victorious by way of default.

Arson suspected after fire engulfs apartment building in Caye Caulker
During the inferno, which threatened to spread to other nearby houses, local residents joined the fire fighters to battle the blaze. A bucket brigade was formed, while other residents dampened the surrounding areas near the fire. Fortunately, the fire was contained and no damage to other areas was reported. According to the management of the apartment building, they were not offered insurance, because wooden houses on the Cayes do not qualify for such coverage under some insurance companies. The Sun contacted two of the major insurance companies in the country, and they indicated that insuring wooden homes on the islands is doable. Both companies explained that an inspection of the wooden property is the first step before the structure can be insured. They also indicated that the price is higher than the fee charged for a concrete building.

Tiger Sharks defeat Belize Hurricanes and Western Ballaz
The Pepsi National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) action continued this weekend, as the San Pedro Tiger Sharks defeated two of their opponents, Smart Belize Hurricanes and Cayo Western Ballaz. With only three weeks remaining until the playoffs, the Tiger Sharks are once again in first place with 16 accumulative points, while Belmopan Bandits have 15 points and the Western Ballaz have 14 points in the league. As each upcoming game becomes critical for all teams, this weekend’s games will likely determine which teams will earn a spot in the playoffs. Games will continue on Thursday, March 30th at 8:30PM, when the Orange Walk Running Rebels play Belmopan Bandits at UB Gymnasium in Belmopan City. On Friday, March 31st at 9PM, Dangriga Dream Ballers will face the Cayo Western Ballaz at Sacred Heart College in San Ignacio Town. On Saturday, April 1st at 9PM, San Pedro Tiger Sharks will take on Belize City No Limit at San Pedro High School, and Smart Belize Hurricanes will play Dangriga Dream Ballers at Ecumenical College in Dangriga Town.

SPHS celebrates Drug Awareness Week
Under the theme, “Put a cap on drugs”, San Pedro High School (SPHS) celebrated its fifth annual Drug Awareness Week. On Monday, March 27th, a special assembly was held at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium, where students learned about substance abuse, and were encouraged to make positive choices. Mistresses of Ceremonies Iran Gomez and Giselle Balam welcomed all guests and students, and the SPHS music group played a flute rendition of the National Anthem. After Pastor Clive Welsh gave an invocation, Andre Perez, Chairman of the Board at SPHS, gave the opening remarks.

BWS repairs faulty water breaker to address low water pressure issues
Between the high influx of visitors and residents, demands for running water has increased. Over the past few weeks, San Pedro Town residents have been complaining about low water pressure. In response, Belize Water Services (BWS) scheduled an interruption to replace a faulty breaker on Wednesday, March 22nd, seeking to regulate water pressure in time for the Easter holidays. The interruption affected the entire town of San Pedro, and BWS notified its customers that the scheduled work would produce low pressure, possible outages, or cause water discoloration. The breaker was fixed by 5PM on the same day, and BWS claims pressure was fully restored island-wide.

Ambergris Today

Belize’s Cacao Industry Promoted In Chocolate Capital Of The World
Embassy of Belize in Brussels Promotes Belize’s Cacao Industry in the ‘Chocolate Capital of the World’ - On March 28, 2017, the Embassy of Belize in Brussels hosted a promotional event aimed at generating interest in importing Belize’s high-quality cacao beans and encouraging investments in the expansion of cacao production and processing in Belize. H.E. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize to Belgium and the European Union, made a presentation on the industry’s history, capacity, and potential to important players in Belgium’s chocolate industry, including some of Belgium’s prominent chocolatiers.

Misc Belizean Sources

mzz

Lions Club Annual Easter Pancake Brunch
Family fun for everyone!

Embassy of Belize in Brussels Promotes Belize’s Cacao Industry in the ‘Chocolate Capital of the World’
On March 28, 2017, the Embassy of Belize in Brussels hosted a promotional event aimed at generating interest in importing Belize’s high-quality cacao beans and encouraging investments in the expansion of cacao production and processing in Belize. H.E. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize to Belgium and the European Union, made a presentation on the industry’s history, capacity, and potential to important players in Belgium’s chocolate industry, including some of Belgium’s prominent chocolatiers. The Embassy of Belize also took this opportunity to showcase the variety of cacao-based products manufactured locally in the country, including chocolate bars, cocoa powder, cocoa tea, and liqueurs.

Rotaract Week 2017 Community Service Projects
Rotaract celebrated 49 years this month, and the 3 clubs in Cayo have been doing lots of community service projects.  Thanks, Rotaract, for all you've been doing for Belize over the decades!  Today the Rotaract Club of Benque Viejo re-painted Pedro Mena Park as few weeks ago it was vandalized. We want to thank the Rotarians that came from Cristo Rey to do community Service, also the neighbors that’s assisted in the painting. The Rotaract Club of Belmopan is gearing up for their Duck Race fundraiser, and they worked with UB for to do a blood drive.  They represented Rotaract well at Earth Hour.   The Rotaract Club of San Ignacio helped refurb the Iguana Creek Primary School, and has been an active participant in the National School Refurbishment Project, with funding from Westrac.   The Rotaract Club of Benque also held their Rota-Copa football tournament.

Junction of Almond Street and Angel Coral Street Closed for a week, San Pedro
Please be advised that WASA will be working at the junction of Almond Street and Angel Coral Street, this will require the junction to be closed to all vehicles from the 30th March for a period of 6 to 7 days. Please follow the diversion signs and directions given by the Traffic wardens. Please take extra care during lunchtime when the children are leaving school. Thank you for your co-operation.

CATTLE RABIES ADVISORY
Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) informs the general public, but especially cattle producers, that paralytic rabies continues to affect cattle in the Cayo, Corozal and Toledo Districts. The Authority’s surveillance programme has resulted in detections of rabies in sheep and also in a vampire bat, in addition to the high number of detections in cattle. The disease is known to be transmitted by the vampire bat. Therefore, humans, domestic animals and wildlife are susceptible and at risk, especially in the known outbreak areas. Prevention and control measures are being implemented throughout the affected districts, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Belize Livestock Producers Association. These measures also require assistance from the general public:

Belize’s Ombudsman Announces New Website
The Office of Belize’s Ombudsman is pleased to announce the launch of our new website. The new site offers a fresh new look, easier navigation, comprehensive information, and links to other relevant authorities and institutions. The new website also facilitates making a complaint and rating our service online. Our main goal in designing this new website was to offer you, the user, a quicker, easier way to obtain updated information about Belize’s Ombudsman and the complaints process and to actually make a complaint. Please visit our new website at www.ombudsman.gov.bz, and explore links to our annual reports, legislation, forms, Facebook, contact information, and other useful websites.

Health Forum Discussion for World Health Day
The Ministry of Health Belize will be conducting a Health Forum Discussion on Friday, April 7, 2017 to commemorate World Health Day. The forum will be held under the theme "Depression: let’s talk". The event will be held at the Princess Ramada Hotel in Belize City from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. For more information, see flyer and joint press release below from the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization.

The sun has set on Mr. Noel Escalante
His battle with cancer was an occasional update on his Facebook page while he chronicled and posted his favorite photos of Old Belize along with those he took himself. He never complained about the pain which was more of an explanation as to why he wasn't sharing the world and giving us history lessons as much. You may not have known him but you can still see the world through his eyes on his page. Condolences to his family and friends.

Beyond the Horizon: 2017
The United States and Belize are collaborating to bring free medical services events to Belize through the Beyond the Horizon: 2017-Belize exercise. The first such free medical services event starts in Ladyville on April 9. Our medical planning officers met with local officials yesterday at a planning meeting for the upcoming medical services event that will be in Ladyville April 9-13 and April 17-21. Maj. Samantha Madsen and Capt. Mark Bennett, both from the Utah National Guard, speak with Dr. Melissa Diaz, primary healthcare coordinator for Belize District during a town hall March 28, 2017, at Price Barracks, Belize.

Belikin price hikes
The Public Notice comes from the truck stop and all other bar businesses. in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye.

Frydays Opens today
The new restaurant in Pescador Drive (middle street - where Reef Restaurant used to be) officially opens this Friday . What's is called? Fridays. What's the cuisine? Fish and chips (now that will mean something to the Brits out there). Whose is it? Pedro - of Pedro's Hotel - that's who. Only one more thing to 'say'. Thank goodness it's Friday soon!

Norwegian Cruise Lines Recruiters are looking for 200 individuals
When: Friday, March 31st, 2017. Time: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Where: BTEC Office, ITVET Compound, Freetown Road, Belize City. Interested Persons must: Be 18 years old or older. Possess a minimum of 6 months work experience. Have a clean Police Record. Have a valid Belizean Passport. Job Opportunities Available in Housekeeping; Restaurant & Bar and Kitchen Staff.

Beyond the Horizon 2017
The U.S. Army and the BDF are teaming up again this year in the Beyond the Horizon project, where they'll be doing community service projects in Cayo and Belize. "Beyond the Horizon 2017 has started! We officially begin our construction projects on Monday. We will be building school houses and medical facilities in Belize and Cayo districts. Here are some phots and explanations of our projects. More will be added as we contine our mission."

University of Belize lecture series
A sincere thank you to everyone who was able to take part in this educational event of nationalism; be sure to look out for the second segment of the Museum of Belize in collaboration with the University of Belize lecture series 2017. #NationalSymolsLectureSeries:The Coat of Arms and the National Flag of Belize#Educationalpatriotism#BelizeanNatioanlism

Paradise Theater playing this weekend
The Bye Bye Man, House on Willow Street, Monster Trucks, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Channel 7

Senior Cop Committed to Prison For Owing Bank
Tonight a senior police officer is in jail at Hattieville. He's ASP Mark Stevens, the second in charge of the Dangriga Police Formation. Police had to serve a committal warrant on the senior officer because he owed a local bank a little over fifteen thousand dollars. As we understand it, the matter had been pending for some time, and when Stephens was unable to work it out, the bank took out a warrant against him which Police had to act on. So, yesterday, they picked up Stephens and committed him to jail. He'll remain there until he can settle his affairs with the bank. It's a double dose of embarrassment for the Dangriga formation because as we understand that the Officer In Charge is also out of commission. Superintendent Roy Joseph will go before the public services commission next week to face a charge of theft. It is alleged that he stole a thirty horsepower Yamaha engine. We'll keep following that case.

Fort George Tourism Zone Stakeholders Take A Stand
Trouble's brewing in the Fort George Tourism Zone. As we told you last week, stakeholders aren't happy with the plans to move them into the memorial park. It's part of a wider plan to clean up the scene in front of the Fort Street Tourism Village. That's where tour guides, hair braiders, craft vendors, and cab drivers have to jostle for the tourist dollars trickling out of the Village. For over a decade now, the BTB and the City Council have been trying to normalize that environment, but it's a fluid dynamic, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution. And now, one more variable has been thrown into the mix: that's the residents and overnight tourism interests in the area. They say that cruise tourism has wrecked the neighborhood and brought down their property values, and the experiences of overnight guests. And, now, they have all joined up to say a collective no to the Memorial Park plan. They held a press conference at the Radisson today where Radisson Manager Jim Scott says the cruise tourism interests have it all wrong:...

MOFA Says IT Won't Comment On What It Hasn't Seen
Last night we gave you the details of a leaked document from the Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We've seen the document from Breaking Belize News, and translated it ourselves. It's a progress report from a consultant, named Edmundo Rene Urrutia Garcia, the former Guatemalan Ambassador to the UK. He was part of the planning for Guatemala's push toward the International Court of Justice. The worrying part of the report is that he participated in an analysis and recommendation on a referendum about oil exploration in the subsoil of Belize. This suggests that the Guatemalans may be entertaining ideas to conduct oil exploration in Belize. And the consultant also participated in talks for a proposal for a resolution with the inclusion of Belize into the official map of Guatemala.

Cops and Media Call A Truce
Today, media practitioners and news editors met with the Commissioner of Police at the Raccoon Street Police Station. They gathered to try and end a three week impasse between the Police Press Office and the media. As we've been reporting, the media launched a boycott of all police events three weeks ago. The gripe at that time was that the new police - media protocol which was proposed on January 11th, 2017 was not working, and that it needed to be revised urgently. That protocol should have been reviewed 6 weeks after implementation, but that meeting never happened. Well, it wasn't so urgent for the Commissioner who finally committed to a meeting today, 11 weeks later.

How Seriously Do You Take Cyber Security?
Belize will hold its first national cyber security symposium from April 24 to the 27th. It's four weeks away, but the PUC which is organizing the event wants to create awareness from now. And that's because cyber security - or the lack of it - affects everyone who logs on to the internet, whether it's on your cell phone, tablet, PC or laptop. Consultant Bevel Wooding explained how this issue affects everyone:.. Bevel Wooding - Cybersecurity Expert: "This forum was actually designed first to create our very stark frightening understanding of what the real state of Belize's cyber readiness is, the truth of it, you are going to have people talking about the statistics, which sites are vulnerable, which areas are under attack right now. This is not a PR and marketing forum to boast about all the wonderful things I'm doing to strengthen my network or my business. This is to primarily deal with the issue of understanding the nature of the threat at a global level, understanding the issues that surround the particular vulnerabilities of the Caribbean region and then drilling into the specifics of what is happening here in Belize right now with a threat assessment that allows businesses, governments and the individuals understand what they need to do now in terms of protecting themselves and their investments online."

National Symbols Examined
If you were at the Bliss Center yesterday, it would have felt like Independence Day in March. That's because the flag was hoisted on stage - with all the official formalities by the BDF. It was done as part of a lecture on national symbols - with the flag being yesterday's theme. Now the flag has gone through a number of changes to where it is now - from the removal of the union jack in the coat of arms, to the addition of a Mestizo Belizean man in place of one of the black men. Courtney Weatherburne has more details on the significance of the lecture.

Plugging In Drop Outs Through The Internet
The Ministry of Education is working with the Commonwealth of Learning to prepare a model for local open school. The basic idea is to have online classes for that portion of the population which needs adult and continuing education because they've dropped out of school. The Ministry has a huge problem on its hands because there's a significant percentage of the youth population who cannot fond a place in high school, or who drop out before getting a high school diploma. So, the solution being looked at is education over the internet. In a 3-day workshop, the Ministry of Education's Adult and Continuing Education Services Unit has been sitting with managers of the Technical vocation and education schools, as well as those evening division schools countrywide to figure out how it would work. Their focus is on the policy management for potential open schools. We stopped by to speak with the coordinators and here's how they explained it:

Making Early Childhood Education Matter
And from adult and continuing education, we turn now to early childhood education and development. Apart from being women's month, March is also child stimulation month. Early childhood education is that phase of early life for a child, from birth to the age of 5, where the child's appetite for learning is at its most ravenous. All this month the Ministry of Education had been organizing activities to remind parents and teachers that early childhood education is important to the child's overall scholastic achievements later on in life. The Ministry held a fair at the BTL Park, and we stopped by.

Brian Back Before The Court
Today, 29 year-old Brian Armstrong appeared in the Magistrate's Court, and was charged with a single count of robbery. The incident occurred on Tuesday when, according to police, Armstrong and an accomplice entered a bus parked on Magazine Road armed with a firearm. They robbed the bus driver, Ernesto Escobar of a school bag which contained various personal items and the keys to the bus. In court today, Armstrong pled not guilty to the charges, but because the alleged robbery was committed with a firearm, the Magistrate could not offer him bail. Armstrong was remanded to prison until the end of April. The second culprit is still at large.

Belizean Cacao Inna Belgian Chocolates?
Belgian Chocolates are some of the most well loved and sought after brands in the world, and now they're being encouraged to use Belizean cacao. A government release reports that Belize's Embassy in Brussels led by European Union Ambassador Dylan Vernon hosted a promotional event to generate interest in Belize's high-quality cacao beans and encouraging investments in that sector. Vernon made a presentation on the industry's history, capacity, and potential to some of Belgium's prominent chocolatiers. They also showcased a variety of Belizean produced cacao-based products including chocolate bars, cocoa powder, cocoa tea, and liqueurs. The release reports that "one concrete follow-up activity from the event will be an exploratory investment mission from Belgium to Belize in 2017."

New Directory Celebrates Reef
BTL officially launched it's 2017 Directory today, and revealed the image on its iconic cover. This year's cover is a photo of Belize's barrier reef taken by well known photographer, Tony Rath. The cover shot was selected in a collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund to highlight the importance of ensuring the Barrier Reef keeps its status as a World Heritage Site. Ingrid Juarez, BTL's Senior PR Rep. and WWF's Country Representative, Nadia Bood, told us more about the latest edition of the directory... Ingrid Juarez, Senior PR Rep., - BTL: "Every year BTL partners with Yello to unveil and launch a new directory cover. This year it's featuring the barrier reef which was in partnership with WWF. This picture was taken by Tony Rath. The barrier reef as you can see, every year the directory features a new natural heritage/treasure of Belize. It's raising awareness of what we have in Belize and what we have to offer. The fact that this natural heritage is going out so, it's something so unique and beautiful which we are sharing with our wider Belizean population. It's something that showcases what we have to offer as a country."

Making Education Audiovisual
Starting today the students of the University of Belize Faculty of Management will be able to attend classes in a newly upgraded audio visual classroom. The room was inaugurated today by UB faculty and representatives from BTL, who sponsored the renovations. We spoke to the Chair of UB's Faculty of Management and Social Sciences, Gilroy Middleton Jr., and BTL's Senior Brands and Events Rep. Ellen Borland about the event... The university has a few other similar projects in the works.

No Joke: Comedy Show Comes To Bliss
If you've ever watched a comedy special on TV or online and wished you could enjoy the jokes in person; you may just get your chance this weekend. "Belizeans Got Jokes Too" is a stand up comedy show premiering tomorrow night at the Bliss. Some of Belize's most well known comics and social media stars will come out and do their best to have you rolling in the aisles. We spoke to a couple of those comics today, and they told us what you can expect... And while the show promises to be entertaining, it is not for all ages. The show is "R rated", so parents might want to leave the kids at home.

Belize Among Worlds Fattest Countries
Belize is in the world's top 20 fattest countries. This is according to an article in the Daily Telegraph, aBritish Newspaper which gets its information from the CIA's World Factbook. Belize is ranked number 15, right after the Bahamas and Barbados. Topping the list are a cluster of Pacific islands led by American Samoa at number one, Nauru and the Cook Islands. Belize is one of four Caribbean Countries son the list, and the only Central American Country.

PACT Gives Grants
Last night, we showed you how the Government explained that it passed that PACT Bill in the Senate on Monday even though the Senate blocked it with the help of the 13th Senator for the first time. Well, while that debate was raging in Belmopan on Monday, the Protected Areas Conservation Trust was holding its annual investments award ceremony. It's an event where the Trust publicly unveils which non-governmental organizations have been chosen to receive funding for conservation purposes. This time around, PACT is disbursing 1.1 million dollars under its new category system: the single and multiple investment categories. The keynote speaker for this award ceremony was Dr. Omar Figueroa, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, and Sustainable Development. Here's and excerpt of his remarks:

Less GOB Cash For Cops?
All this week, we've been showing you the Senate's robust debate on the 2017-2018 budget. It was the first Senate Meeting where the Government Senators were out-numbered, but in the end, the budget passed because Church Senator Ashley Rocke casted the deciding vote in the favor of its approval. It's a hard-time budget, and the Barrow Administration is going to cut government spending in many areas. On Monday we asked Police Commissioner Allen Whylie if that means cuts for his Department. Our look at the budget say that spending will be reduced by as much as two-thirds at the police training academy. Does that mean that there will be no recruit intake this year? That's what the media asked the ComPol:

A FESTIVAL OF CUTENESS
But budgets cuts won't affect the preschoolers festival of the arts, because that event runs on 90% talent, and 10% cuteness. We leave you with more highlites from this Saturday's Belize Rural show tonight… Enjoy, and join us back here tomorrow.

Channel 5

Tourism Zone Residents Complain About New Measures by B.T.B., CitCo
More traffic, more noise, more chaos and significantly less profits, as residents, businesses and tour operators are livid that the Belize Tourism Board is once again proposing a shakeup of [...]

Vendor Complains She Can’t Afford Rental Fee
The proposed three-hundred-dollar rental fee, according to retailers using CitCo’s booths, will further cripple their already weakened bottom line.  Patricia Madril has been selling food within the zone for the [...]

Mayor Sympathizes, Will Work Out Issues
Late this evening, we got a response from Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley, who told News Five that there has been a deviation from the initial tourism master plan for [...]

Barton Middleton – Conman or Conned?
Did Barton Middleton act as an agent in the very lucrative visa services industry between 2011 and 2013?  He has been accused of such by no less than Patrick Tillett, [...]

Police Restore Media Relations with Conditions
The logjam between the Belize Police Department and the media has been broken.  This morning, representatives of various media houses met with Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie and four jurisdictional [...]

Ladyville Fights Illegal Dumping
A recent fire in the Ladyville community has brought into sharp focus the ongoing issue of illegal dumpsites that have been popping up through the village on the Philip Goldson [...]

New Operator to Replace PASA for Management of Disposal System
In early January, PASA Belize Limited shut down operations at the solid waste transfer stations and sanitary landfill. All operations within the central corridor—from San Ignacio/Santa Elena to San Pedro [...]

Expansions Planned to Solid Waste Management System
As we told you earlier, solid waste management is everyone’s business and there is need for enforcement of the law, specifically as it relates to violation of illegal dumping and [...]

Victim Pulls Out of Child Molestation Case
Tonight, a San Pedro security guard in his mid-sixties accused of molesting an eight-year-old girl is a free man. Sixty-seven-year-old Jose Romero walked from the serious offense for carnal knowledge [...]

Accused Child Rapist Free after Case Falls Apart
Another case of sexual abuse against a minor was disposed of in court today.  After he was accused of molesting a child since the age of eleven, in August of [...]

Manslaughter Accused on Bail Goes Missing
Twenty-five-year-old Saul Ortiz of San Ignacio Town is missing. Since earlier this week, he hasn’t been seen by his family and his mother reported him missing on Monday.  Ortiz, if [...]

Governor General to Consider Final Assent to PACT Amendment Bill
Governor General Sir Colville Young will, in the next few hours, consider affixing his assent to the PACT (Amendment) Bill, General Revenue and Appropriation Bill and ten others brought from [...]

A.G. Says G.G. is Constrained by the Law, Not the Senate’s Wishes
Can the Government safely ignore the consideration of the Senate in deciding to pass on the PACT (Amendment) Bill to the Governor General? Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte refuted our suggestion [...]

New House by Hand in Hand Ministries
A single mother of six children was officially gifted with her brand new home today. The Port Loyola resident and her family were selected by the Hand in Hand Ministries [...]

Researcher Hails Efforts to Adapt to Climate Change in Sarteneja, Monkey River
Norwegian researcher Marianne Karlsson today issued the results of her thesis project about adapting to climate change in two seaside fishing communities at either end of the country. A few [...]

The B.T.L. Telephone Directory is Here!
The new telephone directory was released today. The 2017 edition features a cover shot by renowned local photographer Tony Rath and was done in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund.  [...]

Scotia Bank Plans Relief Drive for Majestic Alley Families
On Wednesday you saw the families affected by the Majestic Alley fire collect their cook tops and other donations to help them rebuild, in the wake of Friday’s inferno.  Businesses [...]

Celebrating Early Childhood with Outdoor Expo
Since the beginning of the month there have been a number of activities across the country commemorating child stimulation month. The purpose of observing child stimulation is to create public [...]

Healthy Living Speaks to Belize’s Sole Neonatologist
In Healthy Living tonight, we introduce you to a neonatologist.  Now, neonatology is a medical field that is not common in Belize but it is certainly a specialized one. Doctor [...]

CTV3

House Goes Up In flames In Orange Walk
Tonight there are two house fires to report here in Orange Walk. The first happened last night on Riverside Street and has left one woman without a home. Sometime after 7:00pm the Orange Walk Fire department received a report of a fire in progress, today when we spoke to Fire Chief, Miguel Medina, he told us that upon arrival at the scene the small pimento house, which belongs to Margarita Melendez and was being occupied by forty eight year old Emerita Ramos, was completely engulfed in flames and the roof had already caved in. According to Medina, officials were able to quickly contain the blaze but regrettably nothing could have been saved.

Middleton Tell Committee They Have Bigger Fish To Fry
Yesterday the country was introduced to Barton Middleton otherwise popularly known as “Mr. Middleton” when he appeared before the Senate Select Committee hearing. Middleton according to two investigations carried out, the first by the Immigration Department, and the second, by the Auditor General, was named as the immigration agent who assisted businessman Patrick Tillett in obtaining visas for sale at $6,000 each. Tillett accused Middleton of fraud when despite collecting handsomely, Tillett was given visas that were improperly issued and later found to have been stolen from the Western border.

Corozal Police Confiscates Nine Pounds Of Marijuana
This morning, Corozal Police removed a large stash of marijuana that could have possibly ended up on the streets of the northern town. Police say that they searched an abandoned lot in the Altamira Area and found four packages containing a total of 4,185 grams of marijuana. If you’re good at math and conversion, you’ll know that this just over nine pounds of weed. What we don’t expect any of our viewers to know is that the found drugs has a street value of about $10,000.

Media Meets With High Commanders, There Is A Soft Break-Through
Representatives of the Belize media Corp met this morning in a two-hour session with the Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie and other high ranking officials of the Belize Police Department. As a result, a media boycott of police events has been suspended to allow for a try-out period of a new police/media relations model. In the media’s view, progress has been made but it does not signify a breakthrough. That’s because, although Assistant Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams has been asked to supervise the Police Public Relations Office to ensure that the media receives information on a timely basis, the Commissioner of Police must still approve any interviews or briefings. This will be done on a case by case basis. Concerns were expressed about this stipulation as opposed to the media approaching commanders directly. But the model will be reviewed on April 28th.

Fire In Carmelita Village Is Reported As Arson
The second fire incident was recorded this afternoon in the Carmelita Village and has been classified as a case of Arson. While information surrounding this latest fire is very minimal what we can tell you is that this pimento structure was set on fire by a Carmelita resident sometime after one this afternoon. As you can see the structure received minimal damage to the front side as neighbors were quick to assist in containing the fire.

Belize's Economy Declined By 1.2% For Last Quarter Of 2016
Preliminary estimates issued yesterday by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB), shows an in-depth look at the Gross Domestic Product for the last quarter of 2016- that is from October to December. During this period figures show that Belize’s economy declined by 1.2 percent with primary and secondary activities down and tertiary activities slightly increasing. The total value of goods and services produced in Belize during the fourth quarter declined by almost $8 million, from $675 million in 2015 to $667 million in 2016. Preliminary estimates indicate that for the entire year 2016 the country’s level of production was 0.8% lower than that of the previous year.

LOVE FM

“Mr Middleton” Makes First Appearance at Senate Inquiry
In the last few weeks of the Senate inquiry, the name, ‘Mr Middleton’ has been noted in several instances. The strange thing about this was that at the time when his name was popping up … no one knew the true identity of this man. That is, until about two weeks ago. All indications up […]

Senate Inquiry: Alleged Visa Agent Fears For His Life
As you heard, the Senate Committee was not able to get much out of Barton Middleton, the alleged visa agent for Patrick Tillett. In fact, Senators got a lot of “I don’t recollect”, “I don’t recall” and a simple “no” to the questions they posed to Middleton. The committee believes that Middleton was not fully […]

Middleton Does Not Recall Involvement In Missing Visa Foils Saga
Some may say that Barton Middleton was a very reluctant and uncooperative witness after hearing his testimony before the Senate Select Committee today. When asked about the statements made by previous witnesses such as Immigration Officers Inez Cassanova and Mark Tench, Middleton would not deny or accept the allegations but would rather say that he […]

PACT Amendment Bill 2017 – Not Delayed or Blocked
Yesterday we spoke with the Senator for Government Business, Godwin Hulse who explained the passing of the Bills in the Senate on Monday as well as the PACT Bill 2017 that was very much opposed. We told you that the Bill has been delayed but according to Attorney General, Michael Peyrefitte, that is not the […]

Sugar Prices and the Challenges Ahead
Over the past few days we have reported on the impending challenges that nations exporting sugar to the European Union may or will face as the EU cuts its imports this year. Since the announcement was made, stakeholders in the Belize sugar industry have made efforts to prepare for the price cut. In an interview […]

Government Signs Contract for 5th Road Project
A contract valued at just over twenty million Belize dollars was signed onto yesterday in Belmopan for the Fifth Road Project that will see the continued upgrading of a portion of the Philip Goldson Highway. The contract encompasses two sections of the highway as explained by the Minister of Works, Rene Montero who led yesterday’s […]

Family of Six Gets New Home Following House Fire
Belize Electricity Limited and Hand in Hand Ministries partnered to build a house under the Ministry’s Building for Change Program. That house was handed over this morning to Shirley Flowers who lost her house and all her belongings to a fire in January 2016. After qualifying under the program, the project got underway and saw […]

Elderly Man Freed of Rape Charge
Sixty-seven year old Jose Romero, a security guard of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, was freed of a charge of carnal knowledge today in the court of Justice Adolph Lucas when a nolle prosequi was entered, indicating that the prosecution cannot proceed further with the case. Crown Counsel Sheringe Rodriguez, who represented the Crown, entered the […]


#522693 - 03/31/17 06:46 AM Re: Today's Belize News: March 31, 2017 [Re: Marty]  
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The Guardian

Second phase of Philip Goldson highway to start immediately
On Tuesday March 28, the Ministry of Works and Cisco Construction signed on to a contract that will see the upgrading of the second section of the Philip Goldson Highway from Buttonwood Bay to the Haulover Bridge. The contract which amounts to BZ $20,899,031.40 will see the repaving of the road including widening it to accommodate 4 lanes of traffic. Additionally the shoulders will be widened with sidewalks and drains being installed as well as a median and an auxiliary lane for bus parking at designated areas of the road. Lights, signs, reflectors and road markings will also be installed along with other security features. According to Francis Woods from Cisco Construction, work has already begun at this time it being concentrated in putting in place underground infrastructure for Belize Water Services Limited, Belize Telemedia Limited and Belize Electricity Limited.

Belizean Artists tell music users Pay to Play
The Belizean Society of Composers Authors and Publishers (bscAp) held a press conference on Tuesday March 28 to tell anyone who uses Belizean music that in order to play their music they must pay. Started in 2011, and having membership of the big names like Jackie Castillo, Super-G, Ernestine Carballo, Ivan Duran and others, it is just over the past few months that the organization has taken flight and began a public awareness campaign with a simple message ‘Protect music’. And under that theme Belizeans artists are now demanding that those who use their music must pay for it.

Marcial Toledo killed policeman for his wife
Marical Toledo, the 47 year old Honduran National charged with the murder of police officer Marvin Locke, was remanded to the Belize Central Prison on Monday, March 27, 2017. When he was transported to the prison, he was denied entry. Toledo was not transported with his medical forms and so was denied entrance until Tuesday March 28, 2017. Toledo, who sustained injuries during the stabbing incident, was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where his injuries were treated. Toledo’s children, Lilian and Dilfio, expressed their concern for their father’s mental and physical status. They claim that the injuries Toledo sustained have affected him detrimentally.

Mike and Requena are not representing
The UDP government presented its 10 budget earlier this month and on Thursday and Friday, it was debated. While the PUP representatives expected that it would have been a budget that would have placed undue hardships on the Belizean people it was not as expected. While there is no boasting that all is good with the economy, there is some belt-tightening that is being done. But even as that takes place, government was careful not to cut into pro-poor programs or impose undue taxes on the people. It was with that kind of background that we saw Said Musa rise in the house and catalogue the litany of failed projects under his administration that cost us and continue to cost us hundreds of millions of dollars. He triumphantly beat his chest claiming that the PUP built houses and the UDP wrote them off.

CITCO and Relief Providers Hand Over Supplies to Fire Victim
This afternoon the Belize City Council invited representatives of the thirteen families who lost their homes and belongings in the March 24 Majestic Alley fire to City Hall for them to receive supplies from the Ministry of Human Development and the Belize Red Cross. The Director General of the Belize Red Cross, Lily Bowman, prepared packages that include a 25 pound cylinder gas tank, a set of pots, pans and utensils and a medicated net to keep away mosquitoes and other pests. Bowman said, “The City Council has been doing a real good job at leading the response and we are happy to join and do our part.”

Attorney General Participates in ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly at the European Parliament in Brussels
Senator and Attorney General of Belize, the Honourable Michael Peyrefitte, represented Belize at the 45th Session of the African, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) Parliamentary Assembly and the Inter-sessional meetings of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) held from the 21st to 24th March 2017 in Brussels, Belgium at the European Parliament. The Honourable Senator also represented Belize at the Caucus of CARIFORUM parliamentarians and Brussels-based Ambassadors held on 24th March, and hosted by the Vice President and Foreign Minister of Guyana, the Honourable Carl B. Greenidge.

High School in Belmopan recipient of a sizeable sum
A high School in Belmopan was the recipient on Tuesday of a sizeable sum from the Nation of Japan. On the 28th of March of 2017 the representative of the nation and people of Japan presented the Principal, Ms. Barrette Belisle, and Our Lady of Guadalupe High School O.L.O.G.H.S with a monetary grant in excess of over U.S. $83, 000.00. Mr. Hideki Shinozaki, Second Secretary /Director of Economic Cooperation was the honored guest. Shinosaki presented the grant to the O.L.O.G.H.S. and was given the opportunity to address the students, teachers, Board Members, Members of the P.T.A. and other invited guests.

CariSECURE in Belize to tackle the crime problem in the Caribbean
On Monday March 27, 2017, the CariSECURE along with USAID and the UNDP held a tour opening ceremony and luncheon at the Princess Ramada Hotel. A group of delegates from within the southern and eastern Caribbean had the pleasure of visiting Belize under the primary objectives of observing crime and data management. Persons that spoke at the event were Juliet Solomon, UNDP Barbados and the OECS; Karen Bernard, UNDP Belize; Nathan Bland, from the U.S. Embassy, and the Hon. Elodio Aragon Jr., Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs. Solomon, who also acts as a team leader and Citizen Security Specialist, described some of the objectives and issues to be addressed including the presence of youth violence and crime within the southern and eastern Caribbean states, including Belize.

Hon Edmond Castro and Hon Godwin Hulse main speakers at Maskall Village Fair
Main speakers at the first ever Agriculture and Trade Fair in the village of Maskall on Sunday March 26 were Minister of Transport and National Emergency Management Hon Edmond Castro, who is also Area Representative for Belize Rural North; and Minister of Agriculture Hon Godwin Hulse. The event was held in conjunction with Maskall Village Day, organized by Love FM and Beeline along with the Maskall Village Council. In his address at the opening ceremony, Minister of Agriculture Hon Godwin Hulse remarked that the event was timely, and he said their newly adopted motto at the Ministry of Agriculture, “LET’S GET GROWING”, fits well with Belize Rural North Area Representative Hon Edmond Castro’s mission which is, “CLEAR THE LAND”. Put them together, he explained, and you have is a full plan of action: “CLEAR THE LAND and LET’S GET GROWING.”

Major works transforming Cayo
There has been significant improvements in roads, bridges and community public spaces in the Cayo District for the period 2016 to 2017. Minister of Works, the Hon. Rene Montero, reviewed these achievements last Friday in the National Assembly Chamber during his support of the proposed estimate of revenue and expenditure 2017 to 2018. According to the Hon. Rene Montero, in Cristo Rey the community center has been rehabilitated. In Santa Elena the former building that was the Belize Marketing Board has been transformed into a health clinic. Hon. Rene Montero assured that he is now actively lobbying for the clinic to be properly staffed with the required medical personnel and equipment. In terms of infrastructure, the low lying bridge that connects San Ignacio to Santa Elena was reconstructed at a cost of $233,690.89. The good news now is that the pedestrian cable bridges at both Calla Creek and Branch Mouth, (both damaged by Hurricane Earl) are being restored at a cost of $176,776.00.

Celebrating Women’s Month
In celebration of Women’s month, the National Council on Ageing with the support of the Western Health Region held a one day Sexual Health and Ageing Workshop for women 50 and over on Wednesday at the George Price Center for Peace and Development in Belmopan. The comprehensive sexual health session discussed normal changes that occur as women age and tips on how to maintain good sexual health and educate on sexually transmitted infections. “We are talking about the general biological changes that a woman’s body goes through as she ages, we were also talking about safer sex, and protecting yourself and maintaining good health as you become older,” says Ix Chel Poot, the Executive Director at the National Council on Aging.

Defence Minister salutes women
On Friday March 24, Minister of Defence Hon John Saldivar addressed a gathering of women who work within his ministry and departments under his command. The event was organized as part of International Women’s Month activities under the theme, “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. In his remarks, Hon Saldivar stated, “It is really nice to have a special time for women where they are glorified to the point of being honored, awarded and appreciated. I hope this builds awareness and acknowledgement of the woman’s contribution to life, society, family and work; we salute her strength, resilience and sacrifice. Women empowerment lies in honoring yourself and treating yourself with respect.

Ebenezer and Trinity Methodist schools receive donation from CITCO
Councilor Hyacinth Latchman-Cuellar, through the portfolio for Women and Children, delivered cash donations to the Standard Six teachers of Ebenezer and Trinity Methodist Schools on Tuesday, March 28. The contribution is to be used for Standard Six students gearing up for the Primary School Examinations this month and May. The idea to make donations to students preparing for PSE came from the Council’s Children Advisory Board which is comprised of children in the upper level of primary schools and lower levels of secondary schools across the city. In this project, the Council will hand over funds to eight primary schools. The total amount to be donated is just over $6000.

Better sporting facilities in Faber’s Road
The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture through the National Sports Council (NSC), the Eastern Police Division (South) and the Collet Community teamed up to enhance the safety of youth who wish to participate in sporting and recreational activities. Through a cleanup and lighting project, the residents of Faber’s Road Extension are now enjoying their basketball court and football field. The National Sports Council assisted in installing lights on the fields to promote healthy evening and night recreational activities. Additionally, the NSC embarked on an extensive cutting and cleanup of the football field, the basketball court and surrounding areas. The basketball court will be resurfaced over the next few weeks.

Magistrates receive training on Forestry and Fisheries Crimes
On Wednesday, March 29, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) hosted Magistrates of the Belize Judiciary, the Belize Fisheries Department, and the Belize Forest Department at the Best Western Biltmore Plaza for a session. A session was previously held on March 28, 2017 at the George Price Center in Belmopan. The purpose was to disseminate information and gather feedback to build a better understanding on the status of current forestry and fisheries department crimes. Another aim was to strategize on effective procedure to deter the illegal activities that threaten species and ecosystem sustainability.

Calaney Flowers walked free from murder and attempted murder
On Friday, March 24, 2017, Calaney Flowers, charged with murder and attempted murder, walked free from the charges at the end of trial by judge before Justice Troadio Gonzalez. Flowers was charged with the murder of her estranged boyfriend, Lyndon Morrison, and attempted murder of his new girlfriend, Sochyl Sosa. Flowers was represented by Richard “Dickie” Bradley who successfully disproved the case. Sosa was the crown’s only eye-witness against the defendant. According to the judge, Sosa’s oral testimony along with the prosecution’s evidence was only circumstantial. The judge was compelled to free Flowers of the charges as he felt there was no intention to kill either Morrison or Sosa.

Busted with 4- 16 gauge cartridges
On Monday, March 27, brothers Joel and Kristian Rios appeared in court where they were arraigned before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza. They were each charged with keeping unlicensed ammunitions. They were unrepresented and pleaded not guilty to the charge. The brothers were remanded to the Belize Central Prison where they are awaiting their application for bail. The bust occurred on Friday, March 24, on a farm located on Salt Creek Road in the Ladyville area. On March 24, 2017, the Ladyville police received information of a stabbing incident through the same road. Upon arrival, the police met with a male person who gave his name as Joel Rios. Rios claimed to have gotten in an altercation with his brother Kristian. The police began searching the property where they came upon a wallet and cartridges. The police asked if he had a license for the ammunition to which he replied that he didn’t.

Alberto Cuellar accused of obtaining property by deception
On Monday, March 27, 2017, Alberto Cuellar was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith where he was read two charges of obtaining property by deception from Merlene Rios. Cuellar, who was unrepresented, pleaded not guilty to both charges. The first incident occurred on February 14, 2017. Cuellar claimed to be selling an iPhone 7 and received $1,000 from Rios. On February 24, 2017, Cuellar again claimed that Rios would receive an iPhone 7 in exchange for an additional $800.

Nine fishermen fined for possession of undersized conch
On March 28, 2017, nine fishermen from various parts of the Corozal district pleaded guilty to possession of 1,162 undersized conch. Three of the nine were charged more than once for separate counts of the same charge. The charge was read before Magistrate Norman Rodriguez. He expressed how seriously he took the charges and fined the men. On March 25, 2017, the Fisheries Department conducted an operation on the Lighthouse Reef . The Northern Fishermen Cooperative along with three vessels were searched by Fisheries Officers which led to the discovery of 1,162 undersized conchs. The fishermen charged are Eder Patt, Nagiel Baptist, Fidel Roberto Chulin, Hipolito Goroscia, Hilario Teck, Melvin Marquez, Roberto De La Cruz, Alvaro De La Cruz, and Jose Monzon.

Accused of obtaining property by deception
On Friday March 24, Landrew McDonald appeared in Magistrate’s Court before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith where he was charged with two counts of obtaining property by deception. McDonald, who was unrepresented, pleaded not guilty to the charges. McDonald was charged after Sadie Ford alleged that on November 8 and November 19, 2016, he obtained $200 and $400, respectively, in cash from her.

Randy Green survived only three months after being set free of murder
During the weekend of 8 murders countrywide, Belize City Police from Eastern Division North had to return to the same city block where the double murder of Byron Marshall and Nelson Noralez happened. That was only 13 hours later where they found 30 year-old Randy Green, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Those injuries claimed his life less than 30 minutes later. Police say that on Saturday, March 25, at around 3:36 p.m., they responded to a shooting incident at a carpentry shop off Kelly Street. That’s where Green had been gunned down by an unknown shooter.

Rodney Mahler charged with use of deadly means of harm and grievous harm
On Friday, March 24, 2017, Rodney Mahler, a 42 year old taxi driver, was arrested and charged in connection to a shooting that occurred in February of this year. In a police report, Clint Geban told them that he was walking down a street which he did not know the name of when a car drove next to him. A man he identified as Mahler exited the vehicle and shot him in his arm. Mahler, who was unrepresented, was brought before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith where he was charged with use of deadly means of harm and grievous harm. Given the nature of the charges, Mahler was denied bail and was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until June 3rd, 2017.

Jose Romero walks free from carnal knowledge charge
On Wednesday March 29, Jose Romero, a 67 year old security guard at San Pedro, was freed of a charge of carnal knowledge against him. Romero was represented by Senior Crown Counsel Simeon Sampson before the court. On February 11, 2010, an 8 year old minor and her mother reported to San Pedro police that Romero had sexual intercourse with the minor against her will. Romero was charged with one count of carnal knowledge.

Second brother killed in the same spot
Selvin Bahadur, a 43 year-old Belize City resident of Jones Street, was shot and killed in front of his home during the very violent weekend. For his family, old wounds are opened up once again because Bahadur’s younger brother, 22 year-old Michael Lopez was murdered in the same location less than a year ago. Bahadur’s murder happened on Sunday night, March 26, at around 10 p.m., and according to police, he was riding his bike home. He was but a stone’s throw away when he was ambushed by a gunman who fired shots at him. One bullet hit him in the head, and though he was rushed to the KHMH for medical treatment, he passed away about an hour later.

Felicito Sho walks from rape charge
On Wednesday, March 29, 2017, the prosecution in a rape case against Felicito Sho requested an adjournment in the matter however it was denied. Judge Lucas denied the request and the prosecutor was forced to enter a nolle prosequi. None of the prosecution’s witnesses showed up to court to testify against Sho and Lucas was forced to free Sho. In May 2013, a 16 year old girl reported to the police that she was at home sleeping when she was awakened and raped. At the time she identified the attacker as Felicito Sho. In that year, evidence suggested that Sho was molesting her since she was 11 years old. Sho was not charged until August of 2013.

Teen kills teen in Cristo Rey
Two members of the same family had a confrontation last Saturday in Cristo Rey, Cayo, resulting in the death of one of them. Sometime around 6:30 pm, San Ignacio Police responded to an incident in Cristo Rey Village, where 16 year old Rosendo Pop was stabbed. The unemployed Guatemalan was stabbed on the left side of the chest. Pop was stabbed by a 17 year old, Victor Galeano, who is now in police custody. Several other persons were along with Pop, when the incident occurred.

Marcial Toledo charged for murder of police officer, Marvin Locke
On Monday, March 27, 2017, Honduran national Marcial Toledo was brought before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith. He was charged with the Sunday, March 26, 2017 stabbing murder of Nervin Locke, a police officer. The incident occurred at the Raccoon Street Police Station, where Locke was working. Toledo was unrepresented in the court and refused to give a plea or his version of events. Police at the Racoon street police station were taken by surprise on Sunday at around 3 when in their very presence one of their own was stabbed. Police constable Nervin Locke was rushed to the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital where he was treated for stab injuries to the abdomen and chest. He later succumbed to his injuries.

Two men executed after a night of gambling
Belize City Police in the Eastern Division North are trying to solve a very strange double murder which claimed the life of 59-year-old Nelson Noralez, and 34 year-old Byron Marshall. The community grieves for the death of Noralez, while the family and friends of Marshall can’t understand why this family man was killed. The incident happened on Saturday morning, October 25, at around 2:30. Police and family members say that Noralez and Marshall were heading home from a poker game. Reports are that Noralez had won a small quantity of cash at his last game of the night, and so he and his good friend were heading home. Police didn’t give away any specific information of which of the two men was on the bike, but there are reports that they were double riding.

Majestic Alley burns
On Friday evening ,just about the time most of us were either preparing to leave work to go home for the weekend, or while some of us sat in front of our television set, viewing the Budget Debate, the residents of the Majestic Alley (Pinks Alley) Hutment, were watching their lives change before their very eyes, as a fire raged through their apartments. It is not the first time that these persons have seen their apartments go up in flames though. According to what we have ascertained so far, it is the third fire to affect these poor residents of Majestic Alley. In many cases some of the residents are third, fourth and even fifth generation residents of this area. So some of them may have experienced all three fires. We have heard various accounts of what happened, what the response of the Fire Department was. As usual there have been the accusations that the fire trucks did not have water upon arrival at the scene of the fire. It is a fact that the fire trucks don't carry large capacity tanks. They carry about 300 gallons of water, which would be expended in 2 to 3 minutes. The way we understand it to be is that the fire fighters would arrive with 2 fire trucks .

In Guyana, BDF officer is Number One
Officer Cadet Francisco Choc of the Belize Defence Force (BDF) was awarded the best student overall in the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Standard Officers Course (SOC). Choc, who hails from Dolores Village in the Toledo District, also received the Sword of Honour and Best in Fitness and Military Knowledge. The Standard Military Officers Course is a commissioning training for new army officers in Guyana and other Caribbean countries. It is an intensive programme of leadership and command methods in military skills and tactics, physical fitness, military law and national policy.

Maskall water system now complete
With a loan of just under a million dollars, the Government of Belize through the Social Investment Fund has just about completed the construction of a new water system in the village of Maskall. The new system which saw its ground breaking on March 9, 2016, took almost exactly a year to complete and it will now be inaugurated in April. Maskall had long had a water system which has been inadequate to supply the community and under the lobbying of Area Representative for Belize Rural North, Hon. Edmund Castro, finances were secured and a 40 thousand gallon water reservoir was constructed. It is complemented by a 10’X10’ pump house and new water distribution lines. The system will serve the entire village of Maskall providing water for over 1,500 residents.

Middleton the ‘NO MAN’
On Wednesday, the witness that apparently everyone was waiting for to make an appearance before the Senate Special Select Committee, finally appeared. That witness was the now infamous Mr. Barton Middleton. While he showed up, initially it appeared that the only thing he was prepared to do was to present himself. He apparently has only a few words in his vocabulary. To most of the questions he was asked, his answer was either "no" or "I don't recall," both of which seemed interchangeable at times .There was also an occasional "yes" mixed in between. One of his more notable revelations was when he had gotten surgery for a tumor that was at the back of his head. Apparently according to the answers he gave the surgery appeared to have cost him to lose portions of his memory. The funny thing is that it seems the surgery had destroyed only the portions of his memory that dealt with visas and anything related to immigration. Apparently the surgery appeared to have made him forget things that happened after the surgery too.

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; …”

Nine Belizean nurses to be certified as registered dialysis nurses
The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is pleased to announce that through the joint efforts of Belize and Taiwan, five nurses from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital have been certified as “Registered Dialysis Nurses”. In the coming weeks, another four from La Loma Luz Adventist Hospital will be certified. The accomplishment was made possible by the Nurses and Midwives Council. The nurses were chosen through the “Capacity Building Project for the Prevention and Control of Chronic Renal Failure in Belize.”

A New Senator Bembe
After listening to the anger of Senator Valerie Woods-Smith, we are of the opinion that she is now the holder of the title Senator Bembe. To hear her shout at the top of her voice, is sort of Elitist or Yolanda Shakron like. We suspect that in her house she wears the pants and we don’t mean PINK TIGHTS. However in the Senate all members are of equal stature and should be treated as such. No member needs to be screaming at the top of their voice in order to be heard. As a matter of fact, it is outright disrespectful to the other Senators and to the offending Senator’s high office. From the tone of her voice to the angry look on her face to the way she treated the President, to the smirk on her face as she was directed by the President on how senators should behave left a lot to be desired. We don’t know if her behavior is an attempt to try and portray herself as some sort of people’s champion who is getting ready to venture into electoral politics, as has been a part of the public discourse for some time now.

How will the Caribbean Sugar industry move forward
Friday, March 24, 2017 marked the end of a two-day workshop in Jamaica at the JAMPRO Offices. The industry presented its position for the future of Caribbean sugar to the ministers of CARICOM. The workshop convened on the advice and support of the Caribbean Council, the CARICOM Secretariat, and JAMPRO. It was funded by the EU, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, ASR Group, and the Inter-American Development Bank. Karl James, Chairman of the Sugar Association of the Caribbean, commented that the changes in sugar policies in Europe mean that there will be a fall in our sugar princes in the European region. The EU’s quota management for sugar will end September 30, 2017. A fall in prices is expected towards the international sugar price and a decrease in sugar imports from the ACP, with particular impact on Caribbean producers. The EU export market is currently our largest which means that the effects will be felt in our own region.

Conservation symposium to be held in Belmopan
The Mesoamerican Society for Biology and Conservation-Belize Chapter (MSBC) in partnership with the Ya’axché Conservation Trust (Ya’axché) and the Global Trees Campaign (GTC) are organizing the 10th installment of the annual natural resource management and research symposium. The Hon. Omar A. Figueroa Minister of State with Responsibility for Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development is expected to be the keynote speaker during the March 30 to 31st event at the Jaguar Auditorium, University of Belize in Belmopan.

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. An important part of the Tuxtla Mechanism of Dialogue and Cooperation is the Mesoamerica Project, through which member countries work to foster cooperation efforts and leverage international resources that contribute to promoting sustainable development for the benefit of the 226 million inhabitants of member countries.

Tarique Flowers capture first Annual Ernest ‘Jawmaine’ Meighan Mount Hope Classic
The Cycling Federation of Belize held the first Annual Ernest ‘Jawmaine’ Meighan Mount Hope Classic on Sunday 26th March, 2017. The 116 miles event started from in front of Leslie’s Import to Mount Hope and then back to Leslie’s Import on the George Price Highway. The event, which was held in the memory of elite cyclist Ernest ‘Jawmaine’ Meighan, attracted some 53 riders from the Elite, Masters and junior categories. At the end of some 4:57:30, it was Tarique Flowers from the Benny’s Megabytes Elite team that captured 1st place. The second rider to cross the finish line was Quinton Hamilton who is unattached and he was followed by Keion Robateau of Westrac Alliance and he was followed by Josyln Chavarria Jr. of Digicell 4G Elite Cycling Team and he was followed by Jose Choto of Imani’s Team to round off the top five finishers in the race.

San Pedro Tiger Sharks maintain lead in NEBL
The National Elite Basketball League regular season is fast coming to a close with three more games played over the last weekend in which the league’s leading San Pedro Tiger Sharks won two of its two games played. On Saturday 25th March, at the San Pedro High School Auditorium in San Pedro Town, the league leading San Pedro Tiger Sharks stop the Cayo Western Ballaz express by the score of 87-76 to improve its record to 7-2. The top scorers for the San Pedro Tiger Sharks were George Williams with 23 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal; Douglas Valley with 18 points, 3 rebounds and an assist and Kurt Burgess who contributed 17 points to go along with his 9 rebounds and 3 assists in the win. Meanwhile, the top scorers for the Cayo Western Ballaz were Richard Troyer with 22 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and a steal, Gene Myvette with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists and a steal and Daniel Nolberto with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal.

Belmopan Bandits top seed into the Premier League of Belize Closing Season playoffs
The Premier League of Belize 2016-2017 Closing Season tournament continued over the last week of play with a number of games on the schedule. On Sunday 26th March, at the MCC Grounds, the defending champions and the top seed into the next round of play, the Belmopan Bandits humbled the tough Belize Defence Force team by the score of 4-0. The 1st goal of the game was scored by Elroy Kuylen in the 13th minute of play to give his team an early 1-0 lead. The lead was further extended when Nelson Chaparro scored his team’s 2nd goal of the game in the 26th minute of play for a 2-0 lead. The first half of the game ended 2-0 in favour of the Belmopan Bandits.

Belize Softball Federation to holds Umpires’ Training
The Belize Softball Federation will be holding an Umpires’ Training from April 5-10, 2017, at Rogers’ Stadium in Belize City. The Umpires’ Training will be conducted by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Softball Division Chief Umpire Robert Stanton. Robert Stanton has been the WBSC-Softball Division Umpire in Chief since 2008 and has led over 40 Certification Seminars for umpires. The training will include theory (classroom) and practical (field) as well as a fitness test and a written exam.

Hummingbird Elementary girls, Wesley Upper School boys Hummingbird Elementary boys lead in primary schools volleyball
The Belize City Primary Schools Volleyball competition continued on Tuesday 28th March, 2017, with two more games at the Stars Gymnasium in Belize City. In the game played in the girls’ competition, Belize Elementary School won over St. Joseph Primary School by the score of 25-12 and 25-12. In the boys’ game played, Belize Elementary School also won over St. Joseph Primary School by the score of 25-15 and 25-10.

“… we’ve got to complete the process… Boundaries have to be agreed upon...”
Adele Ramos wrote:”… amid an unfounded claim by Guatemala over half (and up to all) of Belize’s territory.” In case anyone missed the point, she reiterated:”… Guatemala takes a vastly different position, claiming half of Belize’s territory and asserting in official communications that it reserves the right to claim all of Belize.” Evan X Hyde made it abundantly clear what he “was setting out to do: write creatively as a professional.” Interesting that he should use those words when the very definition of creative writing specifies going outside the bounds of normality. ‘Creative writing is any writing that goes outside the bounds of normal professional, journalistic, academic, or technical forms of literature, typically identified by an emphasis on narrative craft, character development, and the use of literary tropes or with various traditions of poetry and poetics. ’I want to make it very clear that he is totally wrong to try to apply creative writing techniques to the extremely important national issue of Guatemala’s unfounded claim.

Let’s go fly a kite!
It is typical for March to be thought of as kite flying month. With the approach of Easter, the lovely weather, and fresh breeze, why not? March has optimal kite flying weather to satisfy the desires of little boys and girls who want nothing more than to raise their kites everyday. The kite flying experience boosts our culture as well as our nostalgia. I didn’t grow up as an enthusiastic kite flyer myself but I was always excited to see the little children in my neighborhood pull out their intricately designed kites and take them to the heights of the sky. So far in 2017, I have seen maybe 10 kites being flown, and I feel even that is a stretch. I am certain that I am not the only one who has missed the sight of beautiful handmade kites filling the blue Easter skies. I cannot be the only one who wishes that that part of our culture would grow year by year rather than lessen.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

UDP National Executive meeting in Dangriga ends in violence
Earlier this week a meeting of the National Executive of the United Democratic Party (UDP), was disrupted and ended a short while after it began. Two factions of the UDP, at least one representing the John Saldivar camp, squared off in an incident that left one man injured.

Media boycott of police comes to an end
After a meeting this morning between police and media representatives, the ongoing boycott came to an end. It was agreed that ComPol Allen Whylie, still has to approve requests for briefings or interviews. When the ComPol is unavailable, his Deputy Russell Blackett will be tasked with such decisions.

Paralytic rabies affecting cattle in Belize
Today the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) issued a statement informing the general public, but especially cattle producers that paralytic rabies continues to affect cattle in the Cayo, Corozal and Toledo Districts. According to BAHA, their surveillance programme has resulted in detections of rabies in sheep and also in a vampire bat, in addition to the high number of detections in cattle.

Belize’s Ombudsman launches new website
The Office of the Ombudsman today announced the launch of a new website. The new site offers a fresh new look, easier navigation, comprehensive information, and links to other relevant authorities and institutions. Visit the new website at www.ombudsman.gov.bz.

Man missing in San Ignacio was charged for murder in 2015
BBN has learned that Saul Jeovani Ortiz, 25, the man from San Ignacio Town that went missing this week was charged for murder in 2015. Ortiz was charged in April of 2015 along with two others for the murder of Coast Guard Officer, Aurelio Montero Jr of Bullet Tree Falls, Cayo District.

Young man missing in San Ignacio Town
Rosa Emilia Ortiz of Kontiki area, San Ignacio Town reported to police that on Monday March 27, at 6:30 a.m., her son Saul Jeovani Ortiz, 25, of the same address left home en-route to work at a residence in the Kontiki area and has not returned home since. She told police that at 9 a.m. on the same date, she received a call from his employer informing her that Saul never reported for work.

Belize, Scarcity of technical skills and services
Belize is a developing melting pot of born Belizeans mixed up with immigrants from Central American republics and from far away as China, India, Pakistan, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Nigeria and the Phillipines. Since we do not develop enough of our own appropriately….immigrants are taking a larger share of the demand for technical services.

Fishermen fined $10,000 for illegal conch
Nine fishermen escaped jail time after they were busted with 1,162 undersized conchs. The men: Naigel Baptist, Eder Patt, Melvin Marquez, Fidel Roberto Chulin, Hipolito Gorosica, Roberto De la Cruz, Alvaro De la Cruz, Hilario Teck and Jose Monzon.

ComPol expected to meet with media
The Commissioner of Police (ComPol) and senior brass of the Police department are expected to meet with the media at 10:00 this morning to discuss the way forward in regards to the media boycott of police events. The meeting comes on the heels of one of the most violent weekends since the start of the year when the new media-police policy was introduced.

Cop killer’s kids claim harassment
Marcial Toledo, 49, was remanded to prison yesterday after he was accused of fatally stabbing police constable, Marvin Locke. Toledo was struck to the head with a cement block by an officer who tried to subdue him. According to reports, he was transported to prison yesterday but he was denied entry because he had no medico-legal form to certify his injuries.

PUP pushes to recall Gaspar Vega’s seat
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet Minister for the United Democratic Party (UDP), Gaspar Vega, continues to make headlines. During last week’s house meeting, he was again absent. Our newsroom noted that he has been absent for the last six sittings of the House but is still receivinghis salary as an Area Representative.

PUP slams GOB over police budget cut
The Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) issued a press release yesterday noting that in the 48 hours following the junior Minister of Police’s presentation revealing that the budget for his Ministry had been cut by $2 Million, seven murders were reported.

Fair weather to prevail
The 24-hour forecast is for mostly fair and warm weather to continue with sunny skies today and partly cloudy skies tonight. The wind will blow from the east to southeast at 10-20 knots. The sea state will be choppy to moderate.

Blogs

The many ways to celebrate Easter in Belize!
The long Easter Weekend is a holiday we all eagerly await – four days to do as you wish. As an international holiday, Easter brings an influx of travellers to Belize searching for a relaxing getaway. For the newer generations, Easter mostly means sun, beaches and parties. But that’s not all Easter has to offer. For Roman Catholics, it is the holiest of days, and in Belize where there are strong religious roots, many municipalities hold elaborate festivities to celebrate the religious aspect of the holiday. One such destination is Benque Viejo Del Carmen Town in the Cayo District. Each year, residents of this town recreate Jesus’ journey to Mount Calvary where he was crucified. Held on the afternoon of Good Friday (Scheduled for Friday, April 14th this year) and titled “The Way of the Cross”, this event has grown into an elaborate show of Catholic faith. The town prides itself in making The Way of the Cross feel as authentic as possible. Hundreds of locals and visitors alike flock to Benque to witness this spectacle.

A Boat Trip on YOLO: Great Snorkeling, Food & Drinks and Crystal Clear Water For Miles
You have probably seen YOLO before. A large motorized catamaran designed and built here on Ambergris Caye, YOLO is meant for having a good time. Just this week, my friend and I headed out on a tour with the crew – snorkeling at Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley (the most popular trip for visitors to Ambergris Caye for good reason) and then to a “chill spot”. A huge blue shallow sandy-bottomed heaven at the very south tip of the caye. To park…and drink (I tried many fresh juice spritzers)…and play some volleyball and watch the sting rays drift by…

FULL HEART…..EMPTY GAS TANK!
So last night, I’m driving the golf cart home to the south end of town, having been at a friend’s house north of the bridge. For those unfamiliar with the island, the north end and south end are basically determined by the toll bridge as you enter town. Anyway, when leaving the north end, you cross the toll bridge into town. As I slow down, a mother and young son were standing beside the road. Mom has a large bundle near her feet and is obviously preparing to sell here handmade wares to tourist downtown. We make eye contact, I smile and she yells, “can we have a ride please?” Obviously, I’m headed across the bridge and with only one road; hard to say I’m not heading her way. Of course, jump in! The adorable young boy jumps in the front seat with me, while mom loads her huge bundle on the backseat. Yes, she’s headed downtown, just let me know when you want off. A few short minutes and I learn he’s five years old, will start to school this year and has a big sister.

Tinder Fishing
Of course I was so excited I could not want to write this post before instantly sharing my good news on tacogirl.com facebook page. Today marks a super cool special moment in time – a long time dream has been realized. I came up with a great definition and got my word ‘tinder fishing’ accepted to Urban Dictionary – second one on the page and rising in likes. If you like what I wrote please click like to help me get to the top of the page.

COST OF LIVING IN BELIZE
Though Belize isn’t the cheapest country in the Western Hemisphere, it takes less to live well in Belize than in most places in the U.S., Canada, or Europe. Your monthly cost of living will be most influenced by what you pay to rent. If you own your own home, you’ll get by on less per month. Rents vary quite a bit from region to region. The rents on the cayes, and in Placencia—which are Caribbean tourist hot spots—can be up to double those in the non-touristy areas. If we were to consider an expat couple renting in Punta Gorda, they could find a one-bedroom apartment for $400 per month. In comparison, a couple that rent will have a higher cost of living on Ambergris Caye since beachfront rentals usually run $1,000 per month or more for a two-bedroom unit. And yet, some expats manage to live on less than $1,500 per month, especially if they own their own home. Here’s a sample monthly budget for two people living and renting on Ambergris Caye:

International Sourcesizz

John McAfee wants Morgan Freeman to play him in Belize biopic
REMEMBER IF YOU CAN all the excitement that we got into earlier this week when we heard that there is a John McAfee movie being made. We had in mind one of the greatest movies since Invasion USA with Chuck Norris, albeit one with Johnny Depp in it. The inclusion of the certified Hollywood star had us slightly concerned that this might be a bit of a fancy pants, vanilla take on the McAfee story. Today our excitement has ramped up a little. Not only have we stumbled across a copy of what might be some ramblings about the script, but we have also read that John McAfee wants to challenge racial perception and have Morgan Freeman play him in the movie of his life. "I have been frequently compared to Hunter S. Thompson and I have seen Depp's magnificent portrayal of Thompson," said McAfee to Newsweek. "I think Depp is as good as Javier Bardem, John Turturro, Mickey Rourke or Morgan Freeman [to play the part]. I am not joking about the latter. I pray for a time when the skin tone is not a factor in character choice. From what I know of Freeman, his character closest matches mine."

More uncertainty for Caribbean sugar producers
In just six months, sugar producers in the Caribbean Community will be forced to confront a major new challenge linked to a decision by the European Union to end decades of fixed quotas for exports from the region. The Caribbean, along with Africa and the Pacific—the so-called ACP Group of Nations—had, back in the mid-1970s, negotiated a system of fixed quotas and guaranteed prices for raw sugar exports from the three regions consisting of former European colonies, but now time is about to run out on the quota system. The new regime will kick in at the beginning of October and is expected to trigger a gradual reduction in the amount of raw cane sugar from the Caribbean, putting pressure on the four remaining countries that still produce and export the product to the EU and U.S. markets. How many factories and estates will survive the new operating regime remains to be seen, industry officials say.

20 Surreal Experiences You Need on Your Bucket List
Throughout our lives, we’ll experience moments when we look around in a state of utter disbelief and awe. It’s those pinch-me-I’m-dreaming moments that we’ll remember forever, and these 20 experiences are certainly unforgettable. 2. Diving the Great Blue Hole Just off the cost of Belize lies the world’s largest underwater sinkhole. Despite its ominous dark blue color, seasoned divers flock to it for a chance to experience one of the world’s most eerie dive sites – think gloomy hues, enormous stalactites and silhouettes of reef sharks circling nearby.

Population status of Morelet’s Crocodile in the Chiquibul Forest, Belize
Morelet’s Crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) is a medium-sized crocodylian found from Tamaulipas, Mexico, southward to Belize and Guatemala. Once propelled to the brink of extinction by overharvesting and poaching, protective measures for its conservation have allowed populations in certain areas to recover. Information on the status of this species in southern Belize was lacking, and the following article describes a monitoring survey conducted in Chiquibul Forest, Cayo District, Belize. Chiquibul Forest, located in the southwestern region of Belize is home to various endemic flora and endangered species such as jaguars, scarlet macaws, and tapir, and encompasses the largest cave system in Central America. The 1st in-depth scientific study of the unique population of Morelet's crocodiles within Chiquibul Forest, led by the CRC, is now published- so what's part of the take home message?

Videos

  • This is how the juice from the sugar cane is extracted..., 1min. Maya day, Blue Creek

  • Early Childhood Development Expo at BTL Park!, 1min.

  • San Pedro Belize: Sharks and Blue Hole, 5min. Cette vidéo traite de Belize V1

  • Road to Caye Caulker, Belize for Kiteboarding trip, 5min. On a way from a cold and snowy New York to warm and sunny Caye Caulker, Belize. Flew with American Airlines ($500 per person) with a golf bag ($25 each bag) with a kite gear. Flight from New York to Miami and Miami to Belize. Taxi from Belize airport to the boat station ($25). Took an express 40 minutes boat ride to Caye Caulker Island ($15 one way). Arrived to the paradise and ready to kite.

  • Go Slow On Caye Caulker, Belize - Ep. 021, 7min. Where to go in Belize? What about Caye Caulker. Go Slow on Caye Caulker. In this video we give you a short impression of our 4 day trip to 'La Isla Bonita', which it sure is. We fell in love with the go slow vibe, variety of restaurants and beautiful underwater life.

  • Bezkresne, dzikie głębiny Wybrzeże Scuba diving Belize, 46min. (1080p, 2016) Majestatyczne rafy koralowe, tajemnicze jaskinie i szczeliny, a pośród nich piękne, rzadkie i zagrożone gatunki zwierząt. Opowieść o fascynującym świecie stworzeń żyjących w oceanach.

  • SAN ANDRES HOUSE IN THE COROZAL DISTRICT BURNS DOWN, 3.5min.

  • SIRDI MEETS WITH CANE FARMERS… SOIL ANALYSIS RESULTS ARE REVELED, 8.5min.

  • TALK AH DI TOWN MARCH 30, 2017, 26min.

  • You Better Belize It! Island Living and Ancient Pyramids of Belize - Travel With Kids, 28min.

  • Belize Turtle Snorkel 2017, 3min.

  • Live to dive Belize, 7min.

  • Belize's jungle adventures, 4min.

  • Protected Areas In Belize, 6.5min.

  • Madi Swims the Belize Barrier Reef, 5min.

  • Nelita Castillo’s Testimony, Belize, World Health Day 2017 – Depression. Let’s Talk., 3min. Depression is a common mental disorder that affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. The risk of becoming depressed is increased by poverty, unemployment, life events such as the death of a loved one or a relationship break-up, physical illness and problems caused by alcohol and drug use.

  • Feeding Tarpon at Caye Caulker, Belize (20+ tarpon), 1min. I went on a boat and we went to Caye Caulker in Belize and after we walked around we got back on the boat and went over to this place where there was over 20 tarpon and we feed them some blue stripped grunts that we caught.


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