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Today's Belize News: August 31, 2017 #525527
08/31/17 07:02 AM
08/31/17 07:02 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 81,141
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP


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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

Ambergris Caye has a new Health Inspector, Christina Sanchez-Martinez
As of August, 1st, Christina Sanchez-Martinez, a native of the Stann Creek District, officially became the island’s new health inspector. She recently took over the post held by Horris Patten. Martinez is no stranger to the island, having been on Ambergris Caye as a health educator before. She is happy to be back in her new capacity, and looks forward to working together with the island residents to create a cleaner, healthier place to live and work in. The senior public health officer has been in the Ministry of Health for 14 years. During this time, Martinez has been stationed in the Belize District, thus, her close relation to Ambergris Caye. She has a strong background in health education, following the completion of her public health training at the University of Belize. “As a health inspector and health educator in the Belize District, I reached out to almost every community promoting health programs, thus, Ambergris Caye is not new to me,” said Martinez.

No exceptions made for duty-free biodegradable products: foam products get tax exemption
Across the country many business and organizations are working together to ‘Go Green’ by switching to biodegradable products in an effort to tackle excessive garbage. Non- biodegradable products like plastics, bottles, Styrofoam, and aluminum accumulate on land and in the ocean, causing harm to the planet’s ecosystem. While these conscientious businesses and organizations are doing their part to protect environment, the government of Belize is not providing the necessary help to support the movement. Recently the Government of Belize (GOB) passed a statutory instrument to give zero rated status to foam products instead of biodegradable options. Environmentalists are now calling for GOB to increase taxes on non-biodegradable products that are harming the environment, rather than relieving them from taxes.

Blue Ventures educates islanders on the impact of lionfish on the marine ecosystem
On Wednesday, August 23rd a meeting was held at the San Pedro Lions Den which was organized by Blue Ventures Organization. With the goal of educating the public on the impact of lionfish to the marine ecosystem, the conference motivated everyone to create a market-based approach to lionfish control. Attending the meeting were restaurateurs, tour guides, fishermen, conservationists as well other members of the community. Over the years the Blue Ventures Organization has developed many strategies to reduce the amount of lionfish in the marine ecosystem. With a female lionfish laying up to 2 million eggs per year, these strategies are not enough. The large amount of lionfish in the marine ecosystem have a direct negative effect on the fish biomass.

Misc Belizean Sources


July 2017 External Trade & Consumer Price Index, 2nd Quarter 2017 Gross Domestic Product
For the month of July 2017, Belizean households saw the prices of goods and services which they regularly purchase rise by 0.6 percent, on average, when compared to the same month in 2016. The All-Items Consumer Price Index for the month stood at 104.4, an increase from 103.8 in July of 2016 (See Figure 1). For the first seven months of 2017, a year-to-date inflation rate of 1.4 percent was recorded. During the month of July 2017, Belize’s imported goods were valued at $154.1 million, down by 8.4 percent or $14 million from the $168.1 million imported in July of 2016. The Statistical Institute of Belize’s preliminary Gross Domestic Product estimates for the second quarter of 2017 showed that, during the three months from April to June of this year, the country’s overall level of economic activity increased by 1.1 percent when compared to the same period in 2016. The total value of goods and services produced in Belize was $737 million, up almost $8 million from $729 million in the second quarter of 2016. For the first half of the year, the country’s level of production was 1.1 percent higher than in 2016.

Community Baboon Sanctuary Women’s Conservation Group Grant
On 23rd and 24th of August 2017, the Community Baboon Sanctuary Women’s Conservation Group (CBSWCG), the recipients of a Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) Small Grant entitled “Promoting the Community Baboon Sanctuary as an Eco-Tourism Attraction,” hosted a two-day symposium under the theme “none but ourselves,” at the Natural History Museum headquarters in Bermudian Landing village The CBSWCG, in 2013 completed its 5-year management plan that articulated key goals necessary for the proper management of the Sanctuary as well as the development of the Belize River Valley (BelRiv) area. While the CBSWCG recognises previous community development efforts by both governments and civil society organizations over the years, it also notes that most of these efforts have been unsuccessful primarily due to lack of coordination and communication amongst the entities involved as well as the high levels of duplication of efforts.

Office of the Prime Minister Requests Police Investigation into Allegations of Fraud Brought Forward by Amy Forte
The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) confirms that the Prime Minister has received, in his capacity as Minister responsible for the Lands Department, a letter from Attorney Deshawn Arzu Torres on behalf of her client Amy Forte. That letter makes clear that Ms. Forte was never aware of Minister’s Fiat Grant no. 175 of 2009 in her name; and that Ms. Forte did not sign any conveyance to anyone of the land to which the Grant related. Ms. Forte and her attorney have further provided to the Prime Minister a preliminary certificate of a handwriting expert asserting that the signature purporting to be Ms. Forte’s, and which appears on a Deed of Conveyance of the said land to Andre Vega, is not genuine. This is notwithstanding the fact that a JP “authenticated” Ms. Forte’s signature.

Belize Fishing Report, August 21st - August 27th
Not too many anglers in the lodge with the threat of Harvey looming last week. Everyone that decided not to let the threat change their plans had an excellent week of fishing. There were plenty of bonefish to be had by all. Lucky for us Mother Nature was kind. We hope our friends along the Gulf coast are safe and their lives aren’t disrupted too significantly. We are thinking about you guys. Stay Safe!

Dr. Kelly Dittmar inspires women of the Toledo District to play a greater role in politics
I met some incredible women in Punta Gorda today at a roundtable with women leaders, and then at the University of Belize - Toledo District. One more talk tonight and then on to day 3 with U.S. Embassy Belize.

Summer Arts Program 2017, the Museum of Belize
To wrap up our Summer Arts Program 2017, the Museum of Belize (NICH) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture's Horticulture Unit embarked on a Community Outreach initiative by extending our program highlighting Ti-Tai basket weaving and gardening to the children of the Dorothy Menzies Child Center. In this initiative, some participants of our Summer Arts Program 2017 were able to learn life skills and garner camaraderie in sharing their newly learned talents with the children of the Dorothy Menzies Child Center. Also in the spirit of sharing and in the season of 'Back to School', Director of the Museum of Belize and Houses of Culture Mr.Alexis Salazar, handed over four (4) school bag hampers for four deserving students at the Dorothy Menzies Child Center.

Summer Arts Program 2017, the Museum of Belize, II
Here are some images from our Summer Arts Program 'Gardening and Art' workshop which was done in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture's Horticulture Unit in bringing back the tradition of urban/backyard gardening to Belize City fused with abstract art (painting). The Museum of Belize would like to thank all our participants who made this initiative possible and especially the Ministry of Agriculture's Horticulture Unit for teaching our youths the fundamentals and best practices of growing vegetables and herbs in an urban area.

Kudos to Corozal House of Culture on their murals project
Beautiful mural by Corozal Street Art Movement(CSAM) member Elvis Eddie Aldana at Her Majesty's Prison historical landmark on 2nd Street South. We are so delighted to have Mr. Aldana with us, instilling his artistic knowledge with our members! Visit the House of Culture to learn more about CSAM.

Unauthorized Neurobión ® 50 mil Syrup Bottle Found Circulating in Belize
The Ministry of Health would like to inform the public of an unauthorized Neurobión ® 50 mil syrup 240ml bottle that has been found to be circulating in the Belize market. Investigations conducted by the Ministry indicate that this Neurobión ® 50 mil has NOT been granted an importation permit for entry into Belize and we believe that the quality may be compromised. The product has been removed from the establishments where it was found and we continue to remain vigilant for any unauthorized product that may be present in the country. Product Details: Product Name: Neurobión ® 50 mil (Vitamins B1 + B6 + B12), Batch Number: 05496, Expiry Date: Nov/2020, Stated Active Pharmaceutical ingredient: Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, Hydroxocobalamin, Cyanocobalamin and Lidocaine Chlorhydrate. Stated Manufacturer: Merck.

Belizario Sanchez passes away
Mayor Daniel Guerrero, the San Pedro Town Council and Staff would like to extend our most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Belizario Sanchez. Sanchez was an employee of the San Pedro Town Council. He was a very hard working individual and always willing to help. He will be greatly missed, especially at our sporting events. May his soul rest in peace.

Orange Walk September Celebrations Calendar of Events 2017

Mr and Miss Cultural International Maya
Tonight at the Central Park the delegates of Mr and Miss Cultural International Maya will be doing cultural presentations starting at 7 pm

River and Beach Clean Up
Show your patriotism this September and your love for our beautiful Belize by helping us rid the pollution and trash! The global and annual River and Beach Clean Up is happening countrywide this year on Saturday September 30th 2017. Be a part of Belize's solution, not pollution! For more information contact Jacinta Gomez at [email protected] or call our office at 822-2792.

Channel 7

Prime Minister Orders Investigation Into Land Fraud Involving Andre Vega
Tonight, there is a whole lot happening with that piece of land which Amy Forte says was fraudulently conveyed to Andre Vega with a forgery of her signature. First, her letter to the Prime Minister has prompted him to act - which is a big reversal from the position he took two weeks ago, when he famously said of the shady land deals involving the Vega's: "what it is, is what it is." Well, tonight he's telling the police that what it is, is likely a forgery and that they should investigate, IMMEDIATELY. A statement issued from the Prime Minister's office at noon today says, quote, "the Prime Minister has received a letter from Attorney Deshawn Arzu Torres on behalf of her client Amy Forte. That letter makes clear that Ms. Forte was never aware of Minister's Fiat Grant no. 175 of 2009 in her name; and that Ms. Forte did not sign any conveyance to anyone Ms. Forte and her attorney have further provided to the Prime Minister a preliminary certificate of a handwriting expert asserting that the signature purporting to be Ms. Forte's, and which appears on a Deed of Conveyance of the said land to Andre Vega, is not genuine. This is notwithstanding the fact that a JP "authenticated" Ms. Forte's signature."

PUP Calls on PM To Investigate Vega For Misfeasance And Expel Him From UDP
And into this hot, steaming mess enters the PUP to play some world cup level political football. The party had a press conference at its Independence Hall headquarters today to demand that the Prime Minister take decisive action, beyond just telling the police to investigate. Opposition Leader John Briceno says it is an act of misfeasance and government should investigate it as such: Hon. John Briceno - Leader of the Opposition: "I condemn yet again the corruption in the government of the United Democratic Party under the leadership of the Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, we Belizeans have witness an obvious act of misfeasance in public office which occurred at the lands ministry. The fact that the prime minister removed Gaspar Vega from the Ministry of Natural Resources is not enough. The fact that Vega was allowed to resign from cabinet is still not enough. I'm aware of the statement coming out of the prime minister's office but this action comes way too late and does not go far enough. We in the PUP demand that the prime minister take the following immediate actions."

The Case For Forgery Involving A JP
And, Briceno says the PM also owes the press and the public a more thorough explanation than the one he gave at the House Meeting 12 days ago. Now, the Forte land deal wasn't exposed yet, and he was commenting on the one involving the Vega's, the Banos's and lands on Ramsay Caye. But - to hear Briceno tell it - the PM was blowing everyone off with his dismissal. Hon. John Briceno - Leader of the Opposition: "I place on record our utter dissatisfaction with the prime ministers dismissive comments to the press and ask about the recent revelations of yet another Vega land scheme. I suspect that the prime minister knew all along what was taking place that is why he was trying to dismiss it and try not to answer it and almost gave you like the middle finger to the Belizean people that he is not going to do anything about and he didn't even want to look at the files. "

Mosquito Caye Was The Prize
And while the personalities involved are all from the Orange Walk area, the island involved in this case is off San Pedro. Mosquito Caye - according to Briceno - was the prize all along:.. Hon. John Briceno - Leader of the Opposition: "Now this Mosquito Caye land swap is an obscene UDP scam designed to reward Vegas with their own private island located right next to Leonardo De Caprio's Black adore Caye. It was never about Mr. Henry and Ms. Forte and Guzman, it was never about them. I'm not even sure if Guzman and Henry got that, I don't know who they are, I haven't spoken to them but at least Ms. Forte was brave enough to come forth and say she didn't get this land, so it was not about them it was about the Vegas, it was about compensating them. Once this land was passed over which they knew was private land because there was already a case about it then he then decided..."

Chamber Says PM Must Encourage Thorough Investigation
Today the Chamber of Commerce weighed in on the issue with an obliquely worded statement grandly titled "Underscoring the need for the rule of law." It says, quote, "The constant media reports of the many corrupt schemes employed at the Ministry of Natural Resources are appalling. Despite evidence of blatant abuse of office for personal gain, the Prime Minister has commented that he doubts there is any "actionable illegality." With due respect to the office, it is not for any Prime Minister to make that determination. Corruption accusations must be subjected to the same judicial scrutiny to which any other criminal accusation would be subjected.

Briceno Urges PM to Live Up To Promise of 2004
And continuing along that line of calling on the Prime Minister to act decisively to cut off corruption, the leader of the opposition today reminded him of one of his most famous quotes from way back in 2004 when Barrow was leader of the opposition. we have his original statement from our archives followed by Briceno's comment today Hon. John Briceno - Leader of the Opposition: "He promised the people of this nation before 2008 that he was not going to tolerate not a single whiff of corruption and that the minute you smell corruption that he was going to act swiftly. Now here we have a case where he's not only smelling corruption but now he has the proof. Now the prime minister will tell you well he is no longer in my cabinet but I want to point out to the prime minister Mr. Vega is still seated in the front row..."

Customs Officer Charged For Manslaughter In Contraband Search Gone Bad
Three weeks ago, 30 year old Dwayne Almendarez was shot by a customs officer - and he died a few days later. Alemndarez got into a dispute with a joint law enforcement team at a contraband checkpoint in Yo Creek village. As we've been reporting, those encounters when law enforcement officers search busses with contraband have been showing increasing signs of volatility - and this one ended up with a man dead. And, tonight, in what may be a first, the customs officer is being charged for causing Dwayne Almendarez's death.

Three Men Charged For Patchakan Maim
3 men have been charged in for a grisly chopping incident in the Corozal District. It happened on Saturday night around 11:50. Police responded and found 23 year old Diego Ek in a bad way, he had been chopped to his feet and hands. Well this morning in the Corozal Magistrate's court 20 year old Cesar Gomez was charged with maim he is the one accused of chopping Ek. His brother, 25 year old Walter Gomez was charged with abetment to commit maim. He is accused of giving the machete to his brother Caesar and 28 year old Luis Cob was charged with common assault for threatening Ek. Magistrate Arana did not take a plea from the men, advising that she will await the guidance of the Director of Public Prosecutions since maim is an indictable matter for the Supreme Court, but the other charges are matters to be heard at her court.

Teenaged Minor Charged For Downtown San Pedro Execution
On last week Monday's newscast, we told you about the brazen daylight murder in San Pedro's Downtown. That happened 10 days ago, and today, police reported that they've charged someone for it. He's a 16 year-old minor, and because it is a murder charge, it is expected that he will be arraigned at Magistrate's Court at the earliest convenience, and he will be remanded. Police found the 16 year old in the San Mateo area. He is originally from Orange Walk and has been on the island for a few months.

Island Cops Got Another Gun
And, San Pedro police are keeping up the pressure. This afternoon around 12:45 in the same San Mateo area, police found a .40 pistol along with 3 live rounds. No one was present at the time of the find so it was deposited as found property. This is the fourth gun found on the island in a little over a week.

Thieves In The Temple At J Witness Church
There were thieves in the temple at the Jehovah's Witness Church on Cemetery Road in Belize City last night. Burglars broke in and stole assorted electronic items valued in the thousands of dollars. We spoke to one of the Church elders about it. Abel Vera - Congregation Member: "Between Monday night and Tuesday morning we had a burglary at the Kingdom Hall here, they actually cut the burglar bars for the windows for one of the halls and they gained access to the hall and they burglarize mostly electronic equipment, amplifier sound system that we use when we have meetings, computers that we use to show the videos and thing for our meetings. This is not the first time that they tried the attempt, they actually gained access one time before so I think the target the place. We are installing a brand new alarm system to deter the burglaries and soon we will be putting a camera system in."

Police Looking For Causes Behind Recent Flare-Up In Violence
And while San Pedro police have been cracking down after a string of murders, what are Eastern Division police doing to reclaim the peace in Southside Belize City? Well, today. Southside commander Senior Superintendent Mark Vidal told us that he and his officers are doing all they can include engaging the gang intervention team. But another important factor in finding a solution to the rash of violent crimes and murder is to understand what is causing it. Here is what Vidal had to say on that: Sr. Supt. Mark Vidal - OC, Southside Commander: "I think generally there are certain areas that are a little bit tense obviously because of the frictions that are occurring between rival gangs but we intend to do everything that is necessarily to bring that to a halt and we will. This September festivities will attract a number of people and unfortunately will attract people who have nefarious intentions so we will certainly address those and we will address them."

No Charges Yet In Murder of Father of Five
And of course one major part of addressing crime is solving cases. Police are having some difficulty laying charges in the murder of Gilroy Martinez. He is the father of five who was killed near his home in the Jane Usher area on Monday. As we had told you police had detained 2 persons, but Vidal says they have been released. Sr. Supt. Mark Vidal - OC, Southside Commander: "We have made some inroads but not enough that we can move forward with charges. But there are other information we are working on and certainly as it develops you will see something in that regard as it comes to any"

No Clues For Newborn Baby Discarded In Canal
Another case police are having trouble with is the discarded new born baby that was found on East Canal on July 20th. Vidal told us this case isn't as straightforward as you might think. Sr. Supt. Mark Vidal - OC, Southside Commander: "There are a bit of challenges with that investigation as you know it is not a simple get statements and move forward there are other things with it. As you know there were certain items recovered from a house so we are waiting for a response in that regard and there are other things that needs to be done there have been persons of interest detained but they have to be released, we can't hold them forever so as the investigation continues we a can bring back those people and then once they are brought back and we have enough those people will be charged."

PUP Leader Says Good Riddance To Carlos Raul
As we've been reporting for the past two days, Guatemala's Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales was fired on Sunday after he refused to do President Jimmy Morales's bidding and expel the head of a UN backed agency. But Carlos Raul - who is married to a Belizean - won't find much sympathy in Belize where he only has one public friend - and that's foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington who sings his praises without apology. Today the Leader of the Opposition had no kind words for him:..

Zabaneh: Lost A Hundred Mil At Mayan King
On last night's newscast, we showed you the first on-camera comments that Stann Creek businessman John Zabaneh granted after the US Treasury Department removed him off their list of drug kingpins. You heard him say that his attorneys are reviewing his case to determine if he can sue the US Government for the tremendous losses he and his family suffered. He estimates that figure to to be in the vicinity of 100 million dollars in losses over 5 years. Perhaps the most striking example of the real time effects of the kingpin designation is the Mayan King Banana Farms. It was one of the most successful agro businesses in the south, but the US sanction struck like a hammer blow, sending it into the depths of complete ruin.

GDP Shows Modest Growth In Second Quarter
And Maya King is big part of Belize's Gross Domestic Product. Since the Kingpin designation put Belize's most productive banana farm out of commission, Banana exports have struggled. Today, the news from the Statistical Institute of Belize was that the GDP grew modestly in the second quarter of the year, even though Banana exports were down. Here's a clip from their press conference outlining the figures, and posting to a few key developments in the economy: Angelita Campbell - Statistician II: "For the second quarter of 2017 Belize produced goods and services totaling 737 million dollars, an increase of 8 million dollars when compared to the same period of last year. For the first 6 months of 2017 we saw an increase of 1.1 percent or 16.5 million dollar increase when compared to the same period of last year. We have an increase in agriculture hunting and forestry of 4.2 percent of 3 million.

Trade Imbalance Decreased In First Six Months
Turning now to external trade, for the first 7 months of the year, imports were down, and exports were up - which reduces the trade imbalance. Here a few key areas that went up, and down: Tiffany Vasquez - Statistician II: "For the period January to July 2017 Belize's imports were valued at 1.05 billion dollars, this is a decrease of 5.3 percent or 59 million when compared to January to July of 2016. Falling imports within the category of machinery and transport equipment was the primary cause of the overall decline in imports."

Minor Inflation in July 2017
Turning now to the Consumer Price Index, prices in July of 2017, were only slightly higher than one year ago - including the sky-high price of gasoline and diesel. Here's how the numbers people put it: Jacqueline Sabal - Economic Statistics Department: "The inflation rate for the month July 2017 stood at 0.6 percent. This means that on average prices were higher than they were in July of 2016. The inflation for the first seven months of the year 2017 1.4 percent in comparison to the same period of last year the 0.7 percent decrease in the food and non-alcoholic beverages category was solely due to a decline in food prices. "

MOH: Say No To Neurobion
IF you take a multivitamin suspension named Neurobion, the Ministry of Health says you should stop doing so now. A release says that an unauthorized bottle of the multivitamin suspension has been found circulating around the Belize market. they say It is packaged in a 240 ml bottle that has syrup in it. According to a release, quote, "The ministry conducted investigations that discovered the Neurobion 50 mil was not granted an important permit for entry in Belize leading them to believe that the quality of the product may be compromised. The product has been removed from establishments."

Forget Beating Swords into Ploughshares, How about Turning Bicycle Parts into Guns?
The bible talks about beating swords into ploughshares, meaning turning weapons into tools for work. Well in Belize, it's more like turning bicycle parts into guns! This afternoon at 3:00, Ladyville police saw a man standing on the step of a shop acting suspiciously. Police searched him and found part of a bicycle with a rubber handle adapted to be used as a firearm. The 26 year old was detained pending charges.

PUP Not Ready For Vega Recall
Earlier on in the news, you heard the leader of the opposition waxing poetic about why the UDP Party Leader Dean Barrow must expel former Deputy Leader Gaspar Vega from the party. But, the opposition has avenues it can also use to remove Vega as area representative in Orange Walk. They can force a recall vote and if Vega is as unpopular as they claim, it shouldn't be that hard. Today, Briceno came quite a bit short of supporting a recall effort; he said, though, that they would be willing to engage in a symbolic effort:…

Who Will run For PUP Mayor?
But it's nonsense to talk about a recall right now when the PUP appears to be struggling to attract top tier candidates for its municipal slates in a few key areas, like Belize City. The UDP had a "buff" city convention on Sunday which featured hotly contested races - while no one seems to have any clue who the PUP will feature as its Mayoral candidate for the city. We asked the PUP Leader about it today:.. Jules Vasquez: "When will the PUP name or select or nominate its City Council slate for Belize?" Hon. John Briceno- PUP Leader: "We are working on it and we are taking our time because we want to ensure that we get the best possible team to represent the party."

Does PUP Leader Stand By Hon. Julius?
We also asked the opposition leader about the recent Julius Espat walkout from the House of Representatives. He walked out and his party didn't follow. Today, the party leader said respect to the honourable Julius, but they've got work to do:.. Jules Vasquez: "Much has been made of when Julius Espat left the house two weeks ago, he walked out in an anger, I don't want to say a tantrum, but he was upset when he walked out and he seemed to have spoken to you and if one can read lips he seemed to say ‘Weh uno gwen do?' and then you seemed to have said ‘We a meet you up' or something to that effect. What was that exchange about and was that an indication that the PUP have become somewhat fatigued with Mr. Espat's tantrums and histrionics?"

Sr. Supt. Vidal Feels Media Taints Meet And Greet Sessions
Now back to police news, the 7 August murders certainly has the city on edge…well what better way to try and calm residents than to go out on a meet and greet in the hottest of the hotspots. We caught up with Commander Vidal and his team in the Conch Shell Bay area. But Vidal took a different angle at today's session, he started off by saying that we the media don't really help the situation when we attend these sessions. He didn't ban us but just hinted that we should give the police and the residents some space and alone time. Sr. Supt. Mark Vidal - OC, Southside Commander: "There has been this talk about no meet and greet, the meet and greet have continue, one of things though I think from having spoken to the residents not only here but they are a bit intimidated by the media presence in getting some information. I have personally visited some areas alone..."

Solar For San Carlos School
When school opens next week, many kids and teachers will be dragging their feet to their classrooms after this long summer break. But the students and staff at San Carlos Government School will be rushing to get back. That's because Programme for Belize installed a solar panel system at the school. Now this school has been operating without electricity for years and today the system was finally declared complete. Executive Director for Programme for Belize Edilberto Romero told us about the significance of this project not only for the school but for the community.

PFB Gives Schoolkids Scholarship
And beyond that San Carlos Solar Panel Project, Programme for Belize also has 6 other students excited to go to back to school after they were awarded with a 1 year Scholarship to high school. Romero told us more about this scholarship initiative. We also spoke to the recipients about how this scholarship has given them a major boost in their academic journey. Edilberto Romero - Executive Director, Programme for Belize: "Now the scholarship today we are awarding 6 scholarships, it is funds we got from the Massachusetts Audubon Society we got a grant and it is raised through birding people who go birding in their parks and pay for it."

Fam Trip Finale
For the last two days, we've been showing you highlights of the FAM trip that the BTB organized for the press, so that we can't try to entice you to become a tourist in your own country. But, just how much did BTB pay, and did they get value for money? We have the answer in our final our final story on the trip:

Re: Today's Belize News: August 31, 2017 [Re: Marty] #525528
08/31/17 07:02 AM
08/31/17 07:02 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 81,141
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Channel 5

G.O.B. Cancels Mosquito Caye Land; Initiates Investigation into Document Forgery
We start tonight with important developments in the case of Amy Forte, a Belmopan resident who wrote the office of Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources Dean Barrow on [...]

Too Late, Andre Vega Says He Will Give Up Land and Blames Agent and J.P.
This evening, News Five obtained a letter sent by Andre Vega’s attorney, Estevan Perera, to C.E.O. in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Sharon Ramclam Young. Basically, the son of the [...]

P.U.P. Goes after Vegas for ‘Get-Rich’ Scheme with Lands
This afternoon, the People’s United Party registered its disgust with the latest revelations. In a forty-five minute press conference at its headquarters, Independence Hall, leader John Briceño assailed the Prime [...]

What Did P.M. Know and What is Status of Vega Lands
As the Prime Minister contended in our interview after the House meeting of August twenty-first, the transactions detailed in a prior set of leaked documents involving the Vegas appeared to [...]

Reform Must Be More than ‘Window-Dressing’
So what needs to be done differently to address the ‘hotbed of corruption’, as the Prime Minister himself termed the Ministry of Natural Resources to Belizean-Americans in Los Angeles in [...]

Vega and Darlene Padron Must Go!
Briceño also discussed the role of various Vega family members and acquaintances in roping off the Lands Ministry for their personal grab-tub, most notably former National Estate Officer and Justice [...]

Manslaughter Charge for Customs Officer Who Shot Dwayne Almendarez
The fatal shooting of thirty-year-old Dwayne Almendarez on August fifteenth, in Yo Creek Village, has resulted in a single charge of manslaughter being brought against a customs officer earlier today.  [...]

Leads Scarce in Gilroy Martinez Murder Investigation
On Monday, we reported on the murder of thirty two year old Gilroy Martinez of Curl Thompson Street in Belize City. Martinez was shot in the head around eight on [...]

1 Month Later, No Movement in Dead Baby Find
No one has been charged for the discarding of a baby boy in the east canal of Belize City. The discovery of a dead baby with its umbilical cord still [...]

Economy Stalls; Imports and Exports Down While Cost of Living is Up
Figures released by the Statistical Institute of Belize show that economic activity slowed down to some extent in July.  Goods and services went up slightly, while imports and exports registered [...]

Chamber of Commerce Says Land Hustle Must Be Investigated
Back to the issue of fraudulent land transactions….The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry issued a strong release today condemning the corruption at the Ministry of Natural Resources. It says [...]

Chamber Supports Expanded PAC Committee, UNCAC Implementation
Despite the signing of the UNCAC last December, corruption continues to be pervasive. Usher calls on all stakeholders to come together and put in place a mechanism to keep all [...]

P.U.P. Getting Ready for CitCo; Tells U.D.P.’s Butt Out
Following his press conference, Opposition Leader John Briceño was questioned on several other burning national issues. The United Democratic Party this past Sunday held a contested convention for the post [...]

P.U.P.: Bye, Carlos Raul!
In Guatemala, the Constitutional Court has upheld its provisional ruling that President Jimmy Morales cannot expel Ivan Velasquez, a veteran Colombian prosecutor who leads Guatemala’s International Commission against Impunity, known [...]

Jehovah’s Witnesses Lose Equipment to Burglars
Overnight on Monday, a burglary was reported at a house of worship in Belize City. Enterprising thieves broke into the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses on Cemetery Road and stole [...]

Meet KTV the Remix Finalist Cheng “Hano” Lin
On Tuesday night, four finalists in KTV, the Remix, brought their ‘A’ game to the stage in the last round of competition to determine who will walk away with ten [...]

Meet and Greet is Back; Media Not Allowed?
It’s been weeks since the media has been invited to a meet and greet organized by the Police Department. But today, we found out from the Regional Commander for Eastern [...]

Police Clamp Down for September; Mediators Involved
There were simultaneous meet and greets taking place all over the south side of Belize City. While we caught up with Senior Superintendent Vidal on Lindo’s Alley, officers were also [...]

Mayflower Youths Trained in Food and Hospitality Service
Ten youths from the Mayflower area in Belize City received their certificates in food preparation and hospitality training today after concluding a summer program with the ITVET through the Department [...]


Police To Investigate Land Fraud Allegation, File To Be Sent To The DPP
At the center of the biggest land controversy the country has probably ever seen is father and son Gaspar Vega and Andre Vega. The son, we have learnt, wrote to the Ministry of Natural Resources today through his attorney Estevan Perera, claiming that the land transaction was done through an unnamed land agent who prepared all the documents, got signatures and simply delivered to him for his signatures. Now, we’ve heard of notorious visa and immigration agents, but land agents is a first. Vega, in his letter, indicates that considering the evidence that has come to light, he is prepared to relinquish his rights to land which he was eventually given by the Government in exchange for the Caye Caulker lands.

Customs Office Charge For Manslaughter For Death Of Almendarez
Thirty nine year old customs officer, Rudolf Williams, appeared today before the Orange Walk Magistrates court to face a single charge of manslaughter following the shooting death of thirty year old Dwayne Almendarez. Almendarez as you may remember received three shots, one to the thigh, one to the left chest and one to the abdomen during an altercation with customs and BDF officials on Tuesday August 15th in the village of Yo Creek.

Patchakan Chopping Incident Lands Three Men Behind Bars
This morning three men detained by Corozal Police in connection to a chopping incident that occurred in Patchakan Village on Saturday August 26th, appeared before the Corozal Magistrate Patricia Arana, to answer to criminal charges. Twenty year old Cesar Gomez, 28 year old Luis Cob and 25 year old Walter Gomez were all read different charges. Cesar Gomez was charged with maim, and he is accused of chopping 23 year old Diego Ek’s feet and hands.

Prices Of Goods Continue To Increase Across The Country
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 0.6 percent for the month of July 2017 as it stood 104.4, compared to 103.8 in July 2016. For the first seven months of the year 2017, an inflation rate of 1.4 percent was recorded. Higher prices were recorded in two of the largest categories, namely ‘Transport’, and ‘Housing, Water, Electricity Gas and other Fuels’, which together account for almost half of all household purchases.

GDP Sees Slight Increase
Unlike the country’s Consumer price index and external trade, the area of Gross Domestic Products spelled some good news for Belize. For the first half of 2017, the GDP showed a slight growth. The country’s level of economic activity increased by 1.1 percent when compared to the same period in 2016. The total value of goods and services produced in Belize was $737 million, up $8 million from $729 in the first half of 2016. Production was slightly up across all major industries, including agriculture hunting and forestry. All that accounts for this quarter’s increase in the total goods and services produced by Belize in the second quarter of 2017.

MOH Issues Advisory Over Illegal Medications
Belizeans are tonight advised to be on the alert for an unauthorized medication that somehow made into the market. According to the Ministry of Health, the medication that goes by the name of Neurobión a 50 mil syrup 240ml bottle has been found to be circulating in the Belize market and the Ministry of Health believes the quality may be compromised. The Ministry of Health also notes that no importation permit has been issued for this medication. For now the product has been removed from establishments where it was found.

PM Barrow Orders Investigation Into Allegations Of Land Fraud
In yesterday’s news, we told you about the major legal worries for former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources Gaspar Vega and his family, after a Belizean residing in Belmopan, Amy Forte, went public that her name and signature appear on land documents fraudulently. Forte’s name appears on a Minister’s Grant Fiat No. 175 of 2009 which declares her the purchaser and new owner of a parcel of land in Caye Caulker Village bought for $2,500 from the Ministry of Natural Resources. Another document, a Deed of Conveyance dated February 17th 2010 indicates that she then transferred the title to Andre Vega, who is the former Minister’s son, for $30,000. But Forte, through a letter from her attorney to the Prime Minister and a release to the press, has indicated that she has never owned land, did not know about the Minister’s Fiat Grant document and doesn’t even know Andre Vega. Having become aware of such documents, Forte hired a handwriting expert, who has confirmed to her that her signatures on the files were forged. In her letter to the PM, she requests action to be taken on whoever used her name to commit fraud.

Chamber Demands That PM Takes Swift Actions In Land Scandal
The deepening controversy over the most recently expose Vega land deals have triggered public condemnation on social media and morning show airwaves. Today the social partners also began to chip in, with the Chamber of Commerce expressing concern over the Prime Minister’s responses to reports of wrongdoing. The Chamber’s release says [quote] “despite evidence of blatant abuse of office for personal gain, the Prime Minister has commented that he doubts there is any actionable illegality. With due respect to the office, it is not for any Prime Minister to make that determination” [end quote]. The Chamber then adds its voice, supporting the call for an investigation into the allegations in the Lands Ministry.

The Reporter

Trade License Reform: Balancing Public-Private Sector Needs
Every business that operates in any of the nine municipalities in Belize must acquire a Trade License, after having paid whatever applicable trade-license fee. As things currently stand, it is Belize’s Trade Licensing Act that empowers local authorities to charge businesses this fee, which Section 24 of the Act sets at twenty-five percent of their rental value. To be more precise, the current law reads: “The annual licence fee payable in respect of the carrying on of any trade shall be an amount equal to one-fourth of the annual value of the premises in which the business is carried on.” Based on this law, a business—let us say a Restaurant—that has an annual rent of $60,000, would be expected to pay $15,000 per year. Now, industry benchmarks suggest that for businesses of this type, rent should only be about 7 percent of total sales. However, that extra fee (that behaves like a tax of an expense) of $15,000 adds an additional 1.75% to this cost, for an almost 9% of total sales revenue cost.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

PUP leader goes on the offensive regarding new Vega land scandal
The Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno, today organized a press conference in the wake of another land scandal during the tenure of former Land Minister, Gaspar Vega. Recently surfaced land documents revealed that Amy Forte had purchased a piece of land on Mosquito Caye and then flipped it to the Vega family for next to pittance.

Minor charged for San Pedro murder
Today, police charged a sixteen year old male for the murder of Armando Lopez, 36. On August 20, Lopez and his friends were socializing at a club in San Pedro when a gunman entered and fired a shot that hit Lopez to the chest.

PUP team provides assistance to fire victims in Corozal town
A Corozal Town family of four who lost their 2-bedroom wooden home to a fire that occurred on Saturday, August 26th received assistance today when PUP Mayoral Candidate Rigo Vellos and members of the PUP Town Council slate visited them to deliver food and clothing donations. Vellos and his team also assisted the family in carrying out a clean-up of dangerous debris.

Custom officer charged for killing contrabandista
Two weeks ago, Yo Creek resident, Dwayne Almendarez, was shot multiples times by a custom officer during a search for contraband. Almendarez later succumbed to his injuries received.

Belize Police Department launches investigation into ‘land swapping saga’
Today, the Office of Prime Minister Dean Barrow issued a statement indicating that the PM has instructed the Belize Police Department to investigate the alleged corrupt ‘land swapping saga’ involving Andre Vega’s 7 acres acquisition on Mosquito Caye as compensation for a parcel of private land that was allegedly and fraudulently obtained by Andre Vega from Government using Amy Forte’s name.

PM Barrow requests Police Investigation into allegations of Fraud brought forward by Amy Forte
The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), in a press release issued today, confirmed that PM Barrow has received, in his capacity as Minister responsible for the Lands Department, a letter from Attorney Deshawn Arzu Torres on behalf of her client Amy Forte. This press release is the latest development in the alleged corrupt ‘land swapping saga’ involving Andre Vega’s 7 acres acquisition on Mosquito Caye as compensation for a parcel of private land on Caye Caulker that was allegedly fraudulently obtained by Andre Vega from Government using Amy Forte’s name.

Chamber asks Belizean authorities to investigate corruption at Ministry of Lands
The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) today issued a press release underscoring the […]

San Pedro gunman, Christian Espat, secures bail
On Friday afternoon Christian Espat secured bail at the Supreme Court in Belize City. The […]

Police issue official report on Belizean artist robbed
Police have today issued an official report on the robbery of Belizean artist, Christiane Young, […]

Police find ganja plants and illegally harvested boards
The Government of Belize is making moves to decriminalize certain quantities of marijuana. However, it […]

Jehovah Witness Church burglarized
Burglars in Belize City have demonstrated absolutely no regards for the house of God. They […]

Belizean men cause trouble at Belize-Mexico border
Two Belizean men have caused much trouble at the Belize-Mexico border. According to Mexican media […]

Another whale found dead in southern Belize
According to a report from 7 News, yesterday a sperm whale was found dead near […]

Belizean man busted with gun and fourteen credit cards in Guatemala City
Belizean national, Harold Lindsay Amos Rodriguez, 57, has been detained by Guatemalan authorities. According to […]

Dangriga home burns to the ground
At around midnight on Sunday there was a fire in Dangriga town. A 14 by […]

A Scholarship Recipient speaks about the Journey
My name is Tanya Bowen and I am a 29 year old single mom. I grew up in […]


You Can Be An Artist! Paint N Splash on Ambergris Caye
My friend Melody (aka Belizean Melody) is a fantastically talented women. She’s an event-wedding coordinator, a mother of two boys, a Belikin calendar model (okay….that was a few years ago but it’s the equivalent of Sports Illustrated here in Belize), an art shop owner and an amazing artist. Melody also does what many would think is the impossible. She can make YOU an artist. Or at least make you feel like one and act like one for a few hours. AND you walk away with a super cool souvenir. One that YOU made. Once a week – give or take – Melody announces Paint N Splash. A location, often a beach bar, usually a drink special (like 2 for 1 rum punches) and a subject.

You can skip the story and go for the moral: Wear sunscreen and use your noodle
It started on Sunday with a pool party down the road, next to Coco Loco’s Beach Bar. The party was actually a continuation of a birthday party from the day before which included a glorious day aboard the No Rush catamaran with snorkeling and good food, plenty of rum punch, great friendship and a brilliant sun over head. At any rate, I was already feeling underwater when the time for the pool party neared. I was thinking maybe I should sit this one out. It is not that I’m not a fan of back-to-back good times. I am. If I had the constitution for it I would go on three- and four-day back-to-back good-time binges. It would be easy to do on a tropical island like Ambergris Caye.

This is Belize: Nature serves up a spectacle this morning and gratitude runs amuck
The breeze, steady as ever through the night, picked up urgency around 5:30 this morning. The time is a guess. The first water taxi hadn’t yet sped up the coast. The bell-curve thump-and-rumble of that boat is like a morning cock’s crow to mainlanders. Only more pleasant. It was still too black out to see, but my wind gauge was beginning to go off the charts. I use the rustle of the coconuts and palms posted outside my bedroom window as a reliable source of wind information. Slightly breezy and they sound like waves lapping against the beach.

Vegan Options on Ambergris Caye, Belize
Finding vegan-friendly restaurants on Ambergris Caye has proven a lot easier than I thought it would be. Ever since I decided to live a vegan lifestyle it’s taken a little more planning to eat out. I thought I’d save our vegan readers the hassle and create a list of the things I’ve had when I eat out besides your obvious salads. So here goes…

Hurricane Hoax and Harvey Still Affecting Belize From Afar
Ambergris Caye, Belize businesses and residents thought we were in the “all clear” as far as Tropical Storm Harvey is concerned. Technically we were, however, as it increased to a category 4 Hurricane and reeked havoc over Houston, there has been some unfortunate fallout. Not only have many of our Texan friends and family been dealing with hard times, several local Belize businesses have been faced with last minute cancellations and the country has lost some tourist revenue. Yesterday I got a private message from Bo and Lori Puckett telling me they had to cancel their trip. Sadly the travel insurance they had purchased ended up being worthless and they won’t be reimbursed. If Belize had been hit or their house burned down, they were covered. Houston being completely under water and shut down by weather, not covered. Crazy. As for their accommodations, The Palms Oceanfront Suites was willing to work with them and offered the Puckett’s to use their booked days within a certain time frame. Unfortunately time off within the date range to come back and do so is not an option for the couple. Sorry you were faced with this vacation loss Bo and Lori – wishing you a windfall and the time off to use it to make up for your lost Belize Vacation.

International Sourcesizz

Discovering the Caribbean castaway island so beloved by Hollywood A-listers that a stay there was once included in an Oscars goodie bag
How does it feel to live like an A-list celebrity? Booked into the 'hyper luxurious' Cayo Espanto, a five-star private island paradise in Belize, we were about to find out. The uber-private resort, with a staff-to-guest ratio of two-to-one, is a celeb favourite, with Tiger Woods, Robert De Niro, Leonardo Di Caprio, Penelope Cruz and Brad Pitt among the guests who have stayed there. In fact, it has proven so popular with A-list stars that a stay on the island was included in the 2011 Academy Awards goodie bag handed out to all nominees. Prior to arrival, guests are given a detailed survey to fill out where you are asked to state your favourite food, snack, cocktail, whether you prefer to be lavished with attention or left alone – hell, even what time you like your coffee served in the morning. We were coming to Cayo Espanto from the bohemian island of San Pedro, three miles away, the gateway to the crown jewel of Belize - the second largest barrier reef in the world.

Belize nationals hope to practice law in Fiji
Two of the 10 students are Police Prosecutors from The Republic of Belize, Central America who chose to do their GDLP in Fiji after it was recommended to them by their Head of Law School who is currently a law lecturer at University of Fiji. Mannon Dennison and Holman Katanegie will return to Belize after the completion of their studies but remain hopeful to return to Fiji in the future to practice law.


  • KTV The Remix Final Leg to Ten Thousand Dollars, 48min.

  • Motown Music Show, 27min.

  • actical Tattoo and Military Parade (BDF, Police Department & Nat. Fire Service), 20min.

  • Suyatours Beachcookout san pedro belize, 4min. Suyatours eating fresh fish and lobster.

  • Snorkeling in Belize, 18min. Our snorkeling trip to Belize... June 1, 2017.

  • Sanpedro belize, 2min. Spearfishing fresh catch of the day.

  • San Pedro, Belize, 3min. by Mahogany Bay Village

  • Woman of Belize, 11min. This Summer, 9 of us, along with our professor, traveled to Southern Belize to study medical anthropology for three weeks. We stayed in a beautiful town called Punta Gorda. Throughout our stay, we encountered life changing experiences, life altering decisions, and cultural shock beyond compare. However- like every anthropologist conducting fieldwork- there are the negatives.


  • Belize, 4min. Un petit tour du c“t‚ du Belize...... Short trip to Belize, Blue Hole dive

  • University of Belize Fete 2017, 1.5min. UB 1st President's All-Inclusive Endowment Fete is a fundraiser event all for the long term benefit of students.The first soca fete event is a Belize-Trini affair, featuring Crazy who sings the song Nani Wine, Oscar B and Belizean artists Super G and Ernestine Carballo. The proceeds will be used to fund scholarships for well deserving Belizeans to attend UB. To contribute to the UB Endowment Fund, deposit to UB Scotia Account number: 9138989.

  • Belize, 4min. Un petit tour du côté du Belize...... Short trip to Belize

  • San Pedro - Belize, 3min.

  • Snorkeling in Belize, min. Snorkeling in Belize...June 1, 2017.

  • Rio on Pools, 1min.

  • Another whale spotted in Belizean waters, 1min. Sperm Whale while out deep sea fishing yesterday!

  • Introducing The Curious Place Of The Month, 1min. A monthly tour of a unique and delightful site in Belize. This month we’re exploring The Belize Reef—the world’s second-largest barrier reef.

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