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Today's Belize News: March 23, 2018 #529524
03/23/18 06:15 AM
03/23/18 06:15 AM
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Specials and Events

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


The San Pedro Sun

Plastic Recycling Campaign launched on Ambergris Caye
To reduce the large amount of garbage on the island, a plastic recycling campaign has been spearheaded by island residents. The project consists of adopting large garbage barrels where people can discard plastic bottles. The lids of all bottles are being recycled and used by Belize Interlocking Bricks & Pavers to make bricks and the bottles are sent to a recycling facility located in Ladyville Village, Belize District where they are shredded and repurposed. According to Ray Tyree from Belize Pro Dive Center, who is spreading this project, about three months ago he had the chance to meet with Gus Tabonay in San Pedro Town, who has a plastic facility in Ladyville Village where he recycles plastic bottles. He then gave him a tour of the island to see the garbage issue that the island is facing. Tyree then came up with the idea of having barrels at several businesses where people could dispose of their plastic bottles.

PM Barrow introduces a plan to tackle crime escalation in Belize City
Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced the intentions to demarcate areas on the south side of Belize City and designated as emergency areas. The 48-hour limit for detention will be expanded as part of an effort to avoid any retaliatory violence and other criminal activities. A new maximum time-span for detention was not specified. During Barrow’s presentation, he stressed that he wanted to immediately provide some degree of reassurance to the public. “The Belize Defence Force has been asked, on a continuing basis, to assist the Belize Police Department with the ongoing campaign to curb this absolutely horrific and disgusting phenomenon and clearly this means more boots on the ground,” said Barrow. He believes that through the joint efforts of the military and the police, the reconstitution of them to be under one ministry is necessary. Such ministry is expected to become operational in a few days, along with the approval of the emergency designated areas in the south side of the city, after the Governor General, Sir Colville Young signs these new orders.

20,000 Strong Women Rally brings together thousands of Belizean women
The Special Envoy for Families and Children along with other related organizations held the Annual 20,000 Strong Women Rally under the theme: “Nurturing the Next Generation #press for progress” in Belize City on Friday, March 16th. The 20,000 Strong movement serves as a way to showcase the many roles that women play in society and a reminder that 50% of the population cannot be ignored. The rally started in the morning from the Memorial Park in Belize City to the Marion Jones Sporting Complex where a ceremony was held. Led by marching bands, the parade consisted of students, representatives of different organization and businesses sporting the movement’s symbolic orange t-shirt.

Kenyon College installs solar panels at SPHS and NHSDAS
More schools on Ambergris Caye are now harvesting solar energy thanks to Kenyon College from Ohio, USA. From Monday, March 12 through Wednesday, March 14th a group of professors and students from Kenyon College installed solar panels at San Pedro High School (SPHS) and New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist School (NHSDAS). With assistance from the Belize Red Cross San Pedro Branch member Laurie Norton, the team installed a total of eight solar panels at each school that were purchased via donations. According to Dr. Skaon, the installation of these solar panels will have a positive impact on both schools. “A benefit of solar panels is that they are a way to capture ‘free’ energy from the sun and convert it into power, which is then sent to the building allowing the school to use less power from the electrical grid. The school will then save money as less will be paid to the electricity company.

Ambergris Today

Young Minds Expand At Isla Bonita Science Fair
We had the opportunity to see all the excited faces of students and visitors of Isla Bonita Elementary School's third annual Science Fair that was held last week, March 16, 2018. Held under the theme "Discovering a New World through the Window of Science", the different classes from all levels displayed their projects from a range of topics under the elementary school's science curriculum. The lower levels delighted with their knowledge of living things, matter, forces and energy, while the upper levels presented their experiments about simple machines, mixtures & solutions and light & heat. The students put together amazing projects and presentations that excited all guests of the science fair. Congratulations to the students of Isla Bonita Elementary School on their great creativity!!

Forest Department Launches Campaign To Plant 10,000 Trees Countrywide
The Forest Department joined other partners locally and around the globe in celebrating International Day of Forests on March 21st, 2018. In commemoration of this day and this year’s theme, “Forests and Sustainable Cities”, the Forest Department is partnering with local municipalities countrywide to plant more than 10,000 trees by 2020. The Forest Department officially teamed up with the first municipality, the Belmopan City Council, in support of their campaign for a greener city. In doing so, the Forest Department will deliver more than 1000 trees over time for planting in and around the Belmopan area. Several carefully selected tree species will be strategically placed for beautification, providing shade, cooler temperatures and oxygen, and promoting health and well-being.

Four Seasons Announces Plans For Luxury Resort In Belize
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the world's leading luxury hospitality company, announced plans for the development of Caye Chapel, a private island in Belize featuring magnificent oceanfront estates, private residences and overwater bungalows. Scheduled to open in 2021, the project is in partnership with Thor Urbana, Inmobilia Desarrollos and GFA Grupo Inmobiliario, three leading real estate development groups based in Mexico. The 280-acre (113 hectare) island is outlined by 6 miles (9.7 kilometres) of white sand beaches and turquoise waters, and is located 16 miles (26 kilometres) from Belize City, either 30 minutes by boat or 10 minutes by flight. The island's marina and airstrip can accommodate private boats and planes for easy access by owners and guests arriving from further afield. A destination in its own right, the island also acts as a convenient base to explore the nearby cultural and natural sites of mainland Belize and surrounding cayes.

Misc Belizean Sources

mzz

Forest Department Launches Campaign to Plant 10,000 Trees in Municipalities Countrywide
The Forest Department joined other partners locally and around the globe in celebrating International Day of Forests on March 21st, 2018. In commemoration of this day and this year’s theme, “Forests and Sustainable Cities”, the Forest Department is partnering with local municipalities countrywide to plant more than 10,000 trees by 2020. The Forest Department officially teamed up with the first municipality, the Belmopan City Council, in support of their campaign for a greener city. In doing so, the Forest Department will deliver more than 1000 trees over time for planting in and around the Belmopan area. Several carefully selected tree species will be strategically placed for beautification, providing shade, cooler temperatures and oxygen, and promoting health and well-being.

World Tuberculosis Day 2018
World Tuberculosis Day is observed every year on March 24th. The negative impact of tuberculosis (TB) in developing countries continues to be of significant concern as it is associated with high mortality rates in HIV positive persons. The Ministry of Health is inviting the public to come out and learn more at its TB health fair on Thursday, March 22nd, 2018 at the Battlefield Park in Belize City starting at 9:00 a.m. This year’s theme, “WANTED: leaders for a TB-Free World” calls on everyone to lead the efforts in improving the response to ending TB.

Why is no one doing anything about these fisherman from Corozal that are killing out all the reef fish that are grazers?
Here is a very concerning story by Devin Lozano - There were about 15 grey angel fish under their boat yesterday and one scrawled file fish. My local people, please let's respect our laws and don't support these fishermen that are killing these fish from north to the south of our country. Last time I check, fillet is suppose to have a patch of skin still on it. I have also seen sea turtle shell under there boat but did not have a camera at the time for proof. Thanks to my guest for these photos. Their regristration number of their boat is in the photo and this is not the only boat doing it. When was the last time anyone saw a rainbow parrot fish, these culprits are responsible for that".

Band Fest 2018 this weekend
Let your travelling feet take you to the beautiful Town of Corozal this weekend, to enjoy our Band Fest 2018 competition, and the many amenities Corozal has to offer along our emerald green bay. Bring the whole family and host of friends. Here is an invitation to our brothers and sisters from Orange Walk, San Pedro, Belize City, Cayo, Dangriga, Punta Gorda, Caye Caulker and all our immediate surrounding villages. No reason to stay home this weekend. It is too hot. Come out and enjoy our Corozal Bay and Marching Band Competition.

San Pedro: Front Street closed Sunday for Palm Sunday Procession
The public is advised that on Sunday the 25th March, Barrier Reef Drive will be closed to all vehicles from 7am to allow for the Palm Sunday Procession from the RC School to the RC Church. NO VEHICLES or BICYCLES will be allowed on Barrier Reef Drive until the Procession has reached the RC Church. Thank you for your co-operation.

Production of honey within Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve
Last week, we shared highlights of our work with beekeepers on the production of honey within Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve with the Belize Marketing and Development Corporation and Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives Office. We talked about bee-keeping and possibility of collaboration to expand the bee-keeping industry.

On-going works at the Caye Caulker Airstrip Reconstruction Project are as follows:
- Installation of geogrid for ground stabilization - Filing with approve material/subbase - Field testing (compaction)

Earth Hour in Corozal
Let's Turn Off The Lights. EARTH HOUR 2018 - We cordially invite everyone to our Corozal Central Park on Saturday, March 2018 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for a night of fun and performances. Free snacks, giveaways and pledges. "Let Nature Shine" - Friends Of Corozal United For Sustainability (FOCUS)

The U.S. Embassy in Belmopan is seeking eligible and qualified applicants for the position of Warehouseman/woman
The U.S. Mission in Belize provides equal opportunity and fair and equitable treatment in employment to all people without regard to race, color religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation, marital status, or sexual orientation. The Department of State also strives to achieve equal employment opportunity in all personnel operations through continuing diversity enhancement programs. Submission deadline of applications for this position is April 5, 2018. Applications will not be accepted after deadline.

The U.S. Embassy in Belmopan is seeking eligible and qualified applicants for the position of Human Resources Assistant!
The U.S. Mission in Belize provides equal opportunity and fair and equitable treatment in employment to all people without regard to race, color religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation, marital status, or sexual orientation. The Department of State also strives to achieve equal employment opportunity in all personnel operations through continuing diversity enhancement programs. Submission deadline of applications for the Human Resource Assistant position is April 3, 2018. Applications will not be accepted after deadline.

Paradise Theater playing this weekend
Greatest Showman, I Kill Giants, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Insidious. *Please Note: Star Wars starts at 6:50 and not 7 .. Insidious: The Last Key 9:15*

Channel 7

BNTU Rallies Against Crime
The Belize National Teacher’s Union has rightfully earned a reputation as an activist union - one not only concerned with its own benefits and salaries - but actively involved in public affairs, agitating mightily - and successfully - for transparency and accountability in government.   This week the country’s most powerful union turned its attention to crime - especially the recent rash of crimes targeting innocent children and women.  Today they had a rally and protest in Belmopan to key in on the issue and press for a concerted community effort to put a stop to the senseless killings.  Daniel Ortiz found that the messages and the messengers ran much deeper than politics - here’s his report:.. Getting an early start at 8:00 this morning, about 450 or so teachers countrywide took to the streets of Belmopan for a march against the violence recently visited on women and children.

Blue Briceño Says Things Dread Under The Red
The teachers’ rally and demonstration was timed to coincide with today’s budget debate. And during the house meeting as they gathered on the National Assembly stairs, making their songs and chants heard inside the house chamber. And we mean heard above the din of name calling and insults flying across the house floor.  As might be expected for the budget debate, things did get pretty heated today.  And, opposition leader John Briceño set the tone with his cutting response to the Prime Minister’s budget presentation.  Here’s how he put it: Hon. John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition: "Our nation is in crisis, violence has overtaken the Southside of Belize City and crime is rampant in every municipality in our nation. Our national hospital has been so neglected that the roof is literally falling down, we are a nation on the edge..."

UDP Saldivar Challenges PUP Leader on Facts
And, as they’ve been doing for the last 10 years, the UDP put Belmopan’s John Saldivar to reply to the Leader of the Opposition.  He said Briceño has it wrong on crime and on things being dread:.. Hon. John Saldivar - UDP Minister, Belmopan: "Right off the bat as he started, he said one big untruth, that all areas of this country, all municipalities of this country are experiencing rampant crime. I don't know where he got his statistics from because I can tell him that here in Belmopan under the able leadership of Senior Superintendent Howell Gillet who we have now loaned to Belize City...”

PUP Deputy Hyde Says It’s All About Lifting People Out Of Poverty
PUP Deputy Leader Cordel Hyde was next - and the Lake Independence Representative was quick to point out that what Saldivar calls a massive victory did not include Belize City: Hon. Cordel Hype - PUP, Lake I: "I just want to say that the elections were on March 7th and that's history and PUP win Belize City. This budgets fails on the mightiest internal struggles of our time madam speaker, it offers nothing to end poverty. It offers no new jobs, no new homes, no antidote for the cost of living, no staunching of rising unemployment, no increase in the minimum wage, no increase in social programmes, no answer to the crime problems, no fundamental change in the way we do business, absolutely no new ideas. Madam speaker this budget as presented will not cut it, cannot cut it, it is not designed to cut it."

DPM Faber Says Hyde Forgets His 10 Years in Gov’t
And responding to Deputy Hyde’s dystopian view of the UDP’s policies, Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber said the Lake - I rep is more a part of the problem than the solution:.. Hon. Patrick Faber - UDP, Collet: "Madam speaker while I listen to my friend from Lake Independence I had to wonder if he is a different person from the person that we knew or that we've come to know over the years that he has been in this honourable house and also even a minister. If you listen to the way he describes things just know you would never have believed that in fact he was once the minister of education. You would never believe that he was once the minister with responsibility with sports and youth. You would never believe that he was once the minister of housing. He has held these very important positions and yet he has not been able to deliver on some of these very same things which he is now criticizing the government for not doing in it's term.”

“Pot Di Cuss…”
So, while much energy was spent on personal attacks and counter-attacks - things got really sticky when the issue of corruption came up.  As you might expect, both sides accused the other of being the most corrupt government ever:.. Hon. John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition: "This UDP administration came into office 10 years ago on a platform of zero tolerance on corruption and is going out as the most corrupt government ever. This is why I said earlier that they have become the very thing they once scorned and mocked in the public's square, corrupt, corrupt, corrupt." Hon. John Saldivar - UDP Minister, Belmopan: "He's talking about this side of the isle, this UDP government being the most corrupt government ever, I have to ask him who on this side stole 200 million dollars which bear sterns in their report, I think more close to 180 million."

Is A Bi-Partisan Crime Kumbaya Possible?
But, through all that disputation - both sides did seem to find one thing - and only one - that they could agree on - and that is crime.  They agreed that a concerted national effort is needed: Hon. John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition: "Too many unnecessary deaths, too much tragedy, too much destruction. We have spoken over and over about this and as recently as 2 days ago we laid out some plans on a way forward and once again, once again we stand ready to work with the government in a meaningful way to bring about and end to the violence." Hon. John Saldivar - UDP Minister, Belmopan: "Let me close by extending the hand of cooperation to all institutions bodies, unions, organizations, groups, individuals who are genuinely interested in a collective and collaborative approach to finding a solution to the crime crisis to join me, my ministry and the police department..."

DPL Faber Dismisses Mark King, King Rants, Threatens on FB
The UDP lost the Port Loyola division in the recent municipal elections, and the Party Leader announced that there would be a new standard bearer in there sooner rather than later.   Well, former Lake I area rep Mark King has enthusiastically stepped into the breech.  He’s been running an aggressive Facebook campaign  - complete with a video commercial - saying he’s the man to save Port Loyola for the UDP.   But, at today’s house meeting - just as an aside - Deputy Party Leader Patrick Faber casually dismissed him as persona non grata in the UDP:..

GOB Withdraws Tax On Farmers
And one thing that didn’t have to be debated in today’s budget, was the amendment for the GST to be charged on land preparation for agriculture, harvesting, and crop dusting services.  On Tuesday  PUP Leader John Briceño called the tax change a “stupid idea” - after meeting with various farmers groups. Well, those same groups got their message to the Prime Minister, who met with the Executive Members of the Belize Agro-Productive Sector (BAPS) Group, and the President of the Chamber of Commerce. A government release states, quote, “the Government…has agreed not to proceed with the Statutory Instrument that would have standard-rated for GST purposes (at the rate of 12.5 %) Land Preparation for Agriculture, Harvesting, and Crop Dusting Services.

Fatal Accident On Valley Road Involves 17 Year Old Driver
A woman was killed in a traffic accident on the Stann Creek Valley Road. 32 year old Las Flores resident Oscar Gomez was heading to Belmopan in his grey Toyota van. His passengers were Maria Esther Guillen, Kenroy Gomez, Christina Utiz and a 10 year old student. Between miles 11 and 12, a 17 year old who was driving a Rav4 heading to Dangriga swerved into Gomez’s lane, causing the collision. As a result Gomez’s passenger Guillen died. His other passenger Urtiz is in a critical condition. All other persons were treated and released. The 17 year old miner was issued with an Notice of Intended Prosecution.

No Murder Arrests, But Close In Kendis Case
Turning now to the spate of violence that left five dead in the city over the weekend, police still haven’t made any arrests in any of the murders.  The only one investigators are making some headway in is the Kendis Flowers’ killing. ASP Alejandro Cowo - Head of CIB: “We are still following the murders that we have not made an arrest. I know there is a possibility that we might be doing one as soon as we locate a suspect that we are seeking but at this point we have not found him but I believe as soon as we find him we can do an arrest for one of the shootings on the Weekend. That will be for the Kendis Flowers shooting.”

Kearney’s Casualty May Have Been Collateral Damage
And there is one more city murder to investigate this week.   As we told you last night Kearny Thompson died after 17 days in the hospital. He was shot on March 5th. So now, it’s a murder investigation. Today at the weekly press briefing, police told us that Thompson may just have been caught in the middle of a gang rivalry. ASP Alejandro Cowo - Head of CIB: "Reference the shooting incident with Mr. Kearny Thompson which occurred on the 2nd March 2018 where he was allegedly shot at an apartment on Vernon Street. We regret that he passed away yesterday while receiving treatment at the KHMH." Reporter: "Where are we now in that investigation now that it is a murder?"

No Motive In Montero Murder
Police are still trying to establish a motive in the murder of Roaring Creek resident Alvin Montero. He was chopped to death and thrown into the river. His house was also burnt down - likely to destroy evidence. Police told us the little they know so far on these elements. Reporter: "Have you been able to establish when that structure was burnt?" ASP Alejandro Cowo - Head of CIB: "We understand it was burnt either the Saturday night or early Sunday morning."

Aimed For A Raccoon, Shot Three Males
And in a shooting that was not a murder, a man and his young sons were shot in a strange incident in PG. 57 year old New Road Area resident Santo Cucul, was out in the bushes on Sunday night when he spotted a pair of glaring eyes. He thought it was a raccoon and fired his 16 gauge shotgun, injuring all 3 males: a 12 year old, a 14 year old and their dad, 44 year old Raphael Cho. Police gave us an update on this case. ASP Alejandro Cowo - Head of CIB: "I know that the victims that were injured, it was three of them, two of them have been discharged. One is at the Southern Regional Hospital in a stable condition. I know the investigation is still continuing and there is a possibility that the person involved, some charges may be laid against him.”

The Story of CITO
Yesterday we told you about the CEO caucus training on Microsoft Office 365. It was held at the Central Information Technology Office in Belmopan. Now, that training is only one of the many functions and responsibilities of the office. They are the government’s IT arm. So while you may think that it’s just a bunch of techy guys or computer geeks in those offices – they play a crucial role for the government. Acting Director Francisco Gonzalez told us more. Francisco Gonzalez - Acting Director, CITO: "I know this building was built in conjunction with help from the Taiwanese Government. When it was built it was only a two story building and then when we took it over and when we joined with what was then the National ICT Center we build on top of it, we expanded the server room and we built a third floor, which explains why it is now a three story building. With that we also inherited new responsibilities for E-governance."

Municipal Newbies Trained in Good Governance and Public Admin.
It’s a tradition in the Ministry of Local Government that once a new slate of officials is elected, they attend a session of good governance training focused on their duties and responsibilities, as elected officials.  Today was the first day of training, and we found that for some, it is just a refresher but for the newbies, it is an important lesson in public administration and accountability: Kerry Belisle - CEO Ministry of Labour, Local Government, & Rural Development: "The training component will include areas of responsibility not only for councilors but also to update them on some of the initiatives that had been conducted by the ministry or by those councils so that there is a level on continuity. We believe that we are then fulfilling our mandate to ensure that the environment in which councils operate is one that will be up to the requirements of our own policies and law. Information is the best way to make sure that happens so that is what this training is all about today..."

Will PUP council Work With UDP Contractor to Finish Streets?
Last November the Belize City Council signed a contract with UDP friendly contractor RJB construction for the repair of nine streets. East Canal and West Canal are complete but Eyre Street, Chancellor Avenue, Racoon Street, Ebony Street, Gibnut Street, Third Street, and Allan Pitts Crescent are far from done.  So, now that the UDP is out and the PUP is in city hall, will those streets ever be finished? Well, we spoke to Mayor Wagner and he said he was not happy about the contract, but there is hope for completion. Sahar Vasquez:
"I know the UDP had a contract with RJB to do a lot of streets and they were working on a credit system. Will they still be hired? You still have streets like Raccoon Street that was in the works. Will that be finished by them or will you all hire someone else? How will that work?"

Belize City Council Distributes Portfolios
And while the PUP Council tries to figure out how to work with that one, it’s also getting down to the nuts and bolts of administration.  Today the council announced the council portfolios. Mayor Bernard Wagner is responsible for Finance & Administration, Human Resources, Anti-Corruption and CARILED.  Deputy Mayor Oscar Arnold is responsible for Budgeting, Municipal Court & Special Constables while Councilor Javier Castellanos will head the Economic Development, Small Business, Trade & Investment portfolio; Councilor Ryan Elijio is responsible for Tourism, Zoning & Planning, Local Building Authority. Councilor Aisha Gentle is in charge of the Market, Citizen Engagement, Park & Beautification portfolio, Councilor Micah Goodin  is responsible for MIS, Staff Development &Training, Youths and Sports, Councilor Deltrude Hylton is in charge of Public Health, Councilor Michael Norales is in charge of Sanitation, CEMO, Security, Flood Mitigation & Climate Change while Councilor Dr. Candice Pitts will head the Women & Children, NGO’s After School Programs & Foreign Affairs.  Councilor Allan Pollard Jr. is in charge of the Traffic, Community Participation, Public Relations & Special Events portfolio and finally Councilor Albert Vaughan is the head for Works.

“One Struggle” Support Group Meets With Cops
So, while the new PUP council gets its footing, one former UDP councillor is staying in the public eye.   Phillip Willoughby has re-engaged his "One Struggle" support group, which is aimed at supporting mothers, fathers, and victims that have either lost a loved one, or been the target of crime. The group wasn't organized by the police or a government agency; it was started by victims that have felt the loss. They also got help from Willoughby who has been working with them for two years.  Today, they met with the Eastern Division Commander at the Raccoon street Station, and this evening we found out more from Willoughby:

Police Need Your Help To Find Missing Baby
Police say they need your help to track down a baby that was taken this morning. Police are asking the public to help them find Sarita Reyes who may be able to assist them in locating baby, Khiya Smith, a 3 year old who was taken from her home this morning in the St. Martin’s Area, Belize City.  Khiya was last seen wearing a long pink pants, white and pink graphic tee and a green and pink sandals. Sarita Reyes  has long brown hair,  fair complexion,  medium built and is about 5ft in height. If seen please call 911, 922, 0800-2929-688 or contact the nearest Police Station.

Channel 5

Budget Blast: P.U.P. Says Government Has Given Up
Day-one of the budget debate started this morning in Belmopan and up to news time it continues in an energized National Assembly, that had been downgraded from cold to near-Arctic. [...]

B.T.L. – What Is It Really Worth to Belize?
Is the Government running a game with the share price of Belize Telemedia Limited and what the company is really worth? That’s the thinking in some sectors since G.O.B. is [...]

Cordel Hyde Says Government Too Proud to Alter Course
Lake Independence area representative Cordel Hyde, speaking after Belmopan representative John Saldivar, called the budget a “slap in the face” after the recent municipal election results. According to Hyde, despite [...]

Said Musa Says Tax Grab Covers Up U.D.P. Deficiency
Later, former Prime Minister Said Musa went after the Government’s estimation of the economy. Scorning the charge that the economy was “on the rebound,” he noted that Government hoped to [...]

Kearney Thompson is Latest Murder Victim
Turning to crime…thirty-one-year-old Kearny Thompson lost his fight to survive injuries received during an armed attack on March third in Belize City.  He succumbed to gunshot wounds on Wednesday at [...]

Trio Shot in Cornfield; Will Accused Face Charges?
A father and his two sons are recovering from gunshot wounds after being fired upon by a farmer in the Stann Creek District on Sunday night.  Forty-four-year-old Raphael Choj, along [...]

Chad Eckert Hits Back at Cotton Allegation
American businessman Chad Eckert has responded to a recent claim made against him by former partner Gustavo Cardenas.  The cotton farmer alleges that he has been frozen out of his [...]

The B.N.T.U. Marches Again in Belmopan
As the budget debate took place inside the National Assembly, across Independence Hill at the civic centre, teachers were also having their say. Their call was for an end to [...]

Education Minister Says Union Can Do More
At the start of his presentation on the Budget, Minister of Education Patrick Faber issued a response to the teachers. While Faber has had his issues with the union in [...]

Opposition Threatens Walkout after Faber Antics
Today’s Budget Debate was especially spicy as the main speakers went head to head. Belmopan’s John Saldivar answered Leader of the Opposition John Briceño and was in turn answered by [...]

John Saldivar Outlines Measures on Crime
The once and current Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, reviewed the performance of his Ministry of Defense before the merger announced earlier this week and also spent some time [...]

Mark King “Is Not a U.D.P.”
The Deputy P.M.’s spiel was not only expelled on the P.U.P. Even a former colleague, who just also happens to have been a former area representative from Lake Independence, got [...]

Woman Killed in Traffic Collision Outside Capital
A fifty-eight-year-old woman from Las Flores, Belmopan, was killed in a road traffic accident on Wednesday night on the Stann Creek Valley Road. Police say that just before eight-thirty, they [...]

Who Killed Alvin Montero and Burnt His House?
Investigators are probing yet another murder in Roaring Creek Village where the decomposing body of Alvin Montero surfaced in the nearby river on Tuesday morning.  The corpse was fished out [...]

Police Chasing Kendis Flowers’ Murderer
The predawn shooting that saw twenty-six-year-old street figure Kendis Flowers being cut down on Mahogany Street, is a step closer to being solved.  That is if police are able to [...]

B.N.T.U.’s Smith “Goes High” on John Saldivar
Minister of John Saldivar, took to social media on Tuesday and launched an attack on B.N.T.U. National President, Elena Smith following her comments against his appointment as Minister of National [...]

P.U.P. Goes after “Coward” Minister for Smith Attack
Saldivar’s Facebook post is seen as a form of cyber bullying, for which there are no laws to protect victims. Of equal concern is that Saldivar appears to be using [...]

Money Laundering and Insurance
Since the beginning of the week, stakeholders in the insurance sector have been meeting at the Biltmore to participate in a series of workshops on a range of issues, including [...]

Orientation Day for New Town and City Councils
Two weeks after the municipal elections and the new and returning municipal government leaders are getting a two-day crash course in governance. Following every municipal election, the Ministry of Local [...]

Tackling TB and the Link to HIV
World Tuberculosis Day is observed every year on March twenty-fourth. The disease, while preventable and curable, is still a major concern in developing countries, as it is associated with high mortality rates in HIV positive [...]

On World Water Day, How Safe Is Our Water?
Today is World Water Day, and it’s good time to think about our abundance of access to water – especially clean safe drinking water. Tonight in Healthy Living, we find [...]

LOVE FM

Councilors assigned portfolios
Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner has assigned portfolios to his new council. Wagner has responsibility for finance, administration, human resources, anti-corruption and CARILED. Oscar Arnold is the Deputy Mayor with responsibility for budgeting, municipal court and special constables. Javier Castellanos is Councilor with responsibility for Economic Development, Small Business, Trade & Investment; Ryan Elijio has …

Insurance Institute hosts anti-money laundering conference
In its 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, the US State Department identified Belize, as one of fourteen countries that is a major money laundering nation due to being a transshipment point for marijuana and cocaine. The financial sector is making efforts to equip itself with the tools to recognize money laundering activities. This week, …

Sexual health workshop for the elderly
The National Council on Ageing advocates for the elderly to ensure that they enjoy quality of life. Today, the National Council on Ageing held its second annual Sexual Health and Ageing workshop for women fifty and over. Ix-Chel Poot, Executive Director at the National Council on Ageing explained that contrary to popular belief, the elderly …

The Guardian

New management for the Belize Civic Center
On Monday March 19th, Hon. Patrick Faber Minister of Education Youth, Sports and Culture along with director of Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL) Christy Mastry, signed on to a management agreement with Apex Events Services Belize limited and its principal, Chad Eckert for a 3 year management contract for the New Belize Civic Center. Apex is a U.S. based entertainment management company which was incorporated in 2008 and now brings on Belizeans Reynaldo Malic as the Assistant General Manager who will be handling all the affairs of the management in Belize along with Jamaican Garth Godfrey who will coordinate events. They are joined by Lucinda Castillo who will be the human resources manager for Apex Belize. The facility is expected to be opened by the end of April and under the management, Reynaldo Malic noted that the secret to success is using the facility to generate revenue 365 days a year 24 hours a day.

Baby Gregory Mena on the road to recovery
At the behest of former councilor Philip Willoughby we spent most of the afternoon with him on Tuesday March 20th as he went about doing work with a two year old NGO he helped to establish called One Struggle (see more on page 5). The brightest spot in our visits was one we made with baby Gregory Mena and his mother Kayla Stevens. We met the spritey toddler with his mother, he was breastfeeding and the ever playful Willoughby pulled him from his suckle to have a bit of fun with him. He was put on the ground and he quickly walked back to his mother where he was once again placed back on his mother’s breast and all was good.

Another murder in Roaring Creek leaves two children fatherless
After being missing for around 3 days, police have found the body of 24 year-old Alvin Jason Montero, a resident of Roaring Creek Village. He was retrieved from the river in an advanced state of decomposition; it has been determined that he was chopped to death. Montero’s sister, Loretta Montero, told the press that he visited her last Friday in Cayo, and that his family last saw him the following day, Saturday, March 17, in Roaring Creek. Because he wasn’t answering any calls to his cellular phone, another of his sisters sent her son, his nephew, to go check on him. They soon discovered that the small house where he was staying was completely burnt down.

Women... now targets in city rivalries; two dead, two injured
Two women, 64 year-old Theresita Flowers, and 17 year-old Delcia Blanco, were gunned down and killed execution style in what looks to be a gang retaliation. It appears to be a kind of statement between rivals that not even innocent family members are safe in this escalation in the continuing street war. On Saturday, March 18, at around 7:10 p.m., police responded to a shooting at #7642 Tibruce Street, which happens to be the home of Theresita Flowers. The officers entered the home and came upon Blanco’s body on the ground at the entrance of the house, she had a toothbrush in her mouth. Further into the house, they found Flowers’ body, where she had collapsed after being shot in the back while trying to flee for her life.

KHMH built broken by the PUP
There is a lot of talk about our major referral hospital the KHMH. Apparently there is a problem with sections of the facility’s roof that was made public about two weeks ago. According to what we’ve been told, debris fell from the ceiling and that forced the KHMH’S management to do some assessments following which some temporary remedial repairs were done to try to reinforce the roof from inside the facility by installing some temporary columns. The KHMH Authority also made the decision to close off certain sections of the facility. The closure of those sections have led to the cut back of some services that the KHMH provides. However, plans are underway to augment some of those services by conducting them elsewhere, places like the various health centers, district hospitals and at the private hospitals.


Re: Today's Belize News: March 23, 2018 [Re: Marty] #529525
03/23/18 06:15 AM
03/23/18 06:15 AM
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The NATIONAL CHANDELIER
After experiencing the heinous crimes of carnage as explained by PM Barrow at his press conference on Sunday March 19, 2018 at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel, Belizeans are left shaken. What happened can only be labelled as an act of terrorism. The Government of Belize must seriously consider classifying gangs and gang violence as terrorist activity. The Laws must be amended to reflect this with the requisite adequate punishment/sentence. While most Belizeans viewed this situation with grave concern, there is this one individual, a former Ambassador and Minister of Foreign Affairs who seems to have taken delight in what is happening. That individual trolled the PM throughout the entire press conference. That individual all of a sudden became the brightest chandelier in Belize, having all the solutions and answers to the problem.

Attorney General swears new Justices of the Peace in Florida
The Attorney General of Belize, Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, had the responsibility of swearing in five Justices of the Peace. The swearing in took place on Thursday, March 15, 2018 at the Consulate of Belize in Florida. Each of the five persons that were sworn in, including Tracy Gomez, Deborah D. Duncan, Glenda Lewis, Jason Guild, and Phillip McKay, are all Belizeans residing in Florida. Their service will help to facilitate Belizeans in Florida who need urgent assistance in authenticating documents. The newly sworn-in Justices of the Peace will receive additional minor training in immigration and land-related matters so as to reduce delays.

Belize Defence Force Receives $120,000 Donation from Republic of China (Taiwan)
The Family Association Building of the Belize Defence Force (BDF) at Price Barracks in Ladyville has been fully renovated thanks to a $120,000.00 BZD donation from Republic of China (Taiwan). The building, which was in dire need of repair, has now been converted into a welcoming and safe space for the families of the soldiers. As a result of the renovations, all structural beams, slabs, columns, retaining walls, ceiling, and floors were reinforced. Electrical fixtures were upgraded while all gutters, faucets, and plumbing were properly sealed to avoid corrosion. The building was also retrofitted with twenty hurricane shutters and its exterior and interior walls repainted and caulked.

Belize Attends SICA-Spain Meeting in the Dominican Republic
On Friday, March 16, 2018, H.E. Patrick Andrews, CEO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led a delegation in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. There, the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Central American Integration System (SICA) met with H.E. Alfonso Dastis, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. At this meeting, the SICA Foreign Ministers thanked Spain for their continued support in the regional integration movement especially in the fields of institutional strengthening, human rights, poverty alleviation, and security. They also signed the fourth phase of the SICA-Spain Fund which will support the region’s commitments to the 2030 Agenda.

Colombian Foreign Minister Visits Belize
Today, a delegation from Colombia headed by Foreign Minister, H.E. Maria Angela Holguin, met with Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs Hon. Elodio Aragon, and representatives from the Ministries of Education and Trade. The purpose of the visit was to discuss ways to strengthen the bilateral agenda. The main focus of the meeting was the review of the existing cooperation programme between the two countries. Colombia shared information on opportunities they are presently offering in the areas of security and education from which Belize may benefit, and further committed to continue its sharing of best practices in both areas. Both sides also agreed to revitalize the existing mechanism to increase trade and investment.

Community Health workers at the forefront of healthcare
A two days workshop ended last Friday at the Banana Bank Lodge with the Technical Advisor for the Health Education and Community Participation Bureau HECOPAB, Mrs. Kathleen Azueta-Cho and thirteen health educators from all the regions across the country. The objective of the workshop was to engage on the program’s current priorities and targets, to access the current monitoring tool to evaluate its effectiveness and to discuss strategies to build better partnership with the communities they serve. At the conclusion of the two days, Mrs. Azueta-Cho shared that much work was accomplished and the main objectives were met with an aim to not only be accessible along with Community Health Workers in the health needs of the community but also to empower these communities to take ownership of their overall health and wellness needs.

Corozal Free Zone to be re- purposed
On Thursday, March 15, 2018, the Government of Belize along with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched a Technical Cooperation Project titled “Support for Export Led Development in the Corozal District and Repurposing of the Free Zone.” The project is estimated to cost US$150,000 and will be executed via a consultancy administered by IDB’s Trade and Investment Division. This project is a shared collaboration between the Ministry of Investment Trade and Commerce and the IDB.

More Guatemalan men caught Gold Panning in Chiquibul
After being caught gold panning in the Ceibo Chico Area in southern Chiquibul, two Guatemalan men are in police custody. The men, and a third man who managed to escape, were caught on Saturday, March 17, 2018 while the Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) Chiquibul National Park Ranger and BDF Personnel conducted a joint patrol in the area. According to an FCD release, the men were working on the river approximately 6.5 kilometers inside the park when each of them were searched and a plastic vial containing what appeared to be gold was found. In the immediate area, the search team also found shovels, plastic basins, iron bars, and a bag with marijuana.

Good and Bad News for Mangrove Research
A new study on mangroves is being undertaken to decipher how the mangrove coverage in Belize has changed in the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System World Heritage Site, as well as across Belize, between 1980 and 2017. The three month research finally ended on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 when the researchers presented their findings. Researchers used NASA satellite imagery to study the changes within the mangrove ecosystems. According to researcher Dr. Emil Cherrington, Belize maintains about 96% of its mangrove cover from 1980. The good news is that within the Barrier Reef Reserve System, there has been minimal clearing of mangroves with only one of the seven protected sites, the South Water Caye Marine Reserve, showing changes in mangrove cover. The bad news is that there are still some coastal areas outside of the reef system that show a significant decrease in mangrove cover because of development, and according to Dr. Cherrington, these areas include Belize City, Ambergris Caye, and Placencia.

No Tax on Agricultural Land Clearing
The Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of General Sales Tax (GST), the Executive Members of the Belize Agro-Productive Sector (BAPS) Group, and the President of the Chamber of Commerce met at the Office of the Prime Minister on Wednesday, March 21, 2018. After this meeting, the Government of Belize agreed not to proceed with the Statutory Instrument (S.I.) that would have standard-rated for GST purposes (at the rate of 12.5 %) the services of Land Preparation for Agriculture, Harvesting, and Crop Dusting.

Works continue in Orange Walk East
The work is ongoing in the Orange Walk District particularly in the Orange Walk East constituency. Staying true to his pledge Honorable Elodio Aragon Jr. remains committed to his people. This indefatigable representative has been working since he was a standard bearer and has not stopped since. At the moment works on the streets in the Pasadita Area and Palmar Boundary Rd. Area are ongoing. So far work has been done to rehabilitate Father Larry St., Father Franco St, Mon y Mel St, 6th, 7th, and 8th St. and Audinette Alley. Work was also done to upgrade the Chan Pine Ridge Rd. and the road at the entrance of Palmar Village was upgraded as these were in urgent need of repairs.

Protecting the environment plastic bagsand styrofoam to be banned in a year’s time
The Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development; the Ministry of Investment, Trade and, Commerce and the Ministry of Tourism led a collaborative taskforce to take a proposal to the Cabinet to reduce pollution through the phasing out of one-use plastic bags, Styrofoam containers, and plastic food utensils. This first phase is estimated to be done by April 22, 2019 and was done through the collaborative efforts of the Department of the Environment, Customs Department, BELTRAIDE, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, and Solid Waste Management Authority. Cabinet approved the proposal of Tuesday, March 20, 2018.

Preventative detention was a thing 10 years ago
Back in 2008, one of the first things that the new government headed by first time Prime Minister Hon Dean Barrow did was to do something about the high murder rate and other violent crimes. The first thing they proposed was to bring in a special prosecutor from Jamaica, who would help to improve on the very low conviction rate, when it came to cases of murder and other violent crimes. That was coupled with the idea of bringing a former Jamaican Superintendent, Mr Harold Crooks, to work as a special advisor to the Police Department. The other response was to come from the legislature.

PUP victimization begins in Corozal
Two weeks after being elected to the office of Mayor in Corozal town, the new head of the team is displaying the ruthless victimization nature of the PUP. On Wednesday the Guardian Newspaper was presented with a letter in which an employee of the council was unceremoniously fired. The letter is addressed to Isaac Sajia and is dated for Monday March 19th. The curt letter does not give an explanation as to the reason for the termination simply saying that the person was terminated effective immediately. Signed by one R. Campos as the Town Administrator, the letter goes on to state that Sajia was entitled to 4 weeks notice pay and vacation if any.

Putting research at the forefront of development
Belize’s first National Research Conference opened at the University of Belize in Belmopan on Wednesday, charting a new course in National Research. This first conference is designed to gauge the cross-section of research that has been conducted in Belize by both Belizean and International Scholars. Such a research conference is a collaborative effort of the University of Belize, Galen University, the University of the West Indies as well as the National Institute of Culture and History serving as a catalyst. Some of the major sponsors for this year are the United States Embassy, Bowen and Bowen, the Development Finance Corporation and others, who all have cooperated to bring about some stellar results.

Better Sheep and goat stocks for Belize through good Taiwan relations
In continuing the good relationship between Belize and Taiwan, a long-standing “Sheep and Goat Genetic Improvement Project” was officially launched last Thursday in Central Farm. So too was the National Sheep and Goat Breeding Center, now located at the center of Belize’s agricultural research initiatives. Present for the launch and unveiling of a plaque was Jose Alpuche, Chief Executive Officer within the Ministry of Agriculture, who said that the project should increase production as well as provide systems of traceability. He also said that there are now sheep and goat markets in Mexico and Guatemala and efforts will be made to open legal trading routes to those countries.

World Water Day celebrated in Belize
Official opening ceremonies were held towards World Water Day on Monday in the Jaguar Auditorium at the University of Belize in the Nation’s Capital. At the earliest, Dr. Javier Zuniga, Regional Manager for the Central Region was handed a certificate of appreciation by the World Water Day Committee from the Ministry of Health. Belize joins with other Countries to Celebrate World Water Day under the theme, “Nature for Water.”

Henry Cornejo is acquitted of murder
Another man accused of a daylight murder was set free on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 after the office of the DPP was forced to enter a nolle prosequi due to insufficient evidence. In this case, 27-year-old Henry Cornejo learned his fate before Supreme Court judge Collin Williams. Cornejo was accused of gunning down Marvin Glenford Nunez in front of Saint Ignatius Primary School just after midday on December 7, 2012 as he dropped his stepdaughter to school.

Charged for murder of baby Alyssa Nunez
Everal Martinez was briefly and quietly arraigned before Senior Magistrate Aretha Ford on Friday, March 16, 2018. Martinez was read three criminal and indictable charges including the capital crime of the murder of Alyssa Nunez, his 17-month-old stepdaughter who he is believed to have sexually molested before she succumbed to her injuries on March 4, 2018. Martinez was also read one count of attempted rape and one count of harm, which is alleged to have occurred on Wednesday, February 28, 2018. No plea was taken and bail was not offered given the nature of the offense. As a result, he was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until May 18, 2018, the day set for his next appearance.

Brian Welch is shot on Gibnut Street
On Saturday, March 17, 2018 as 30-year-old Brian Welch was walking on Gibnut Street toward Curassow Street, he was approached by two men on motorcycle and was shot at. He sustained injuries to his chest and arm and was transported to the KHMH where he is listed in a stable condition. According to ASP Alejandro Cowo, Welch gave the police descriptions of his attackers and since then, two persons have been detained for questioning. There is no indication that he was attacked as a result of gang rivalry but no other motive has yet been established.

Anti-crime measures
This past weekend was one of the most murderous weekends in Belize City’s recent history. Several persons were fatally shot, leading to an atmosphere of utter helplessness and despair. The city was thrown into a virtual state of emergency. Emergency meetings were called and on Sunday, Prime Minister Honorable Dean barrow held a press conference to map the way forward. One of the major steps taken was to place the Ministry of Home Affairs back under the National Security Ministry. As a result, the Minister of Defense, under which the Belize Defense Force falls, became the Minister of Police. The Prime Minister explained that, “It is necessary, it makes sense for us to reconstitute one umbrella Ministry of National Security, with one National Security Ministry now there can only be one National Security Minister and that Minister will be the Honorable John Saldivar.”

Farmer shoots at eyes in the dark leaving three injured
While several murders and shooting incidents happened in Belize City, an isolated case in Punta Gorda has left three people wounded. On Sunday, March 18, 2018, police responded to a shooting incident at the New Road area in Punta Gorda and found Raphael Choj Sr., a 44-year-old farmer, along with Raphael Choj Jr., a 12-year-old student, and Ernesto Choj, a 14-year-old student, suffering from gunshot wounds.

Jealousy leads to murder
Denroy Llewellyn Alvarez, a resident of Central American Boulevard in Belize City, was shot and killed during the weekend when there was an explosion of violence in the City. He’s the 4th City Council employee to be killed in 5 weeks, and he was also a son of the retired police Superintendent Simeon Alvarez Sr. Police say that at around 8:45 p.m., on Saturday, March 17, they went to the KHMH to follow up on a report that there was another shooting about an hour and a half after the double murder of 64 year-old Theresita Flowers, and 17 year-old Delcia Blanco. At the hospital, they found Alvarez who had passed away from multiple gunshot injuries to the body.

Ghost Town gang leader shot and killed
Kendis Flowers, a resident a Mayflower address, and member of the Ghost Town Crips gang, was laid to rest on Tuesday March 20 at the Lord’s Ridge Cemetery. Flowers was shot and killed on Mahogany Street. His murder was the second in Belize City, in less than 8 hours. Police say that at around 3 a.m., on Saturday, March 17, they visited an area on Mahogany Street that’s a short distance away from Sittee Street. That’s where they found Flower’s body on the street; he was allegedly found with a black Daewoo brand 9mm pistol in his right hand. By the time the cops arrived on the scene, he was already dead, and they later transported his body to the morgue.

Murder in Orange Walk
Elmer Alexi Palma Arzu, a 27 year-old Honduran who had been living in Orange Walk Town, was found dead inside his taxi car on the Chan Pine Ridge road over the weekend. Palma Arzu was living in Belize for a year, and he recently started his own taxi business. Police say that on Sunday, March 18, at around 9 p.m., they went out to an area on the Chan Pine Ridge road, where they found a white GEO Prism taxi car on the shoulder. Inside they found Palma Arzu’s body. Someone had shot him multiple times to the head and body. A resident found him about a half hour earlier, and the cops were then called in to take control of the crime scene, and retrieve his body.

Robert Strekler shot at on South Creek
On Sunday, March 18, 2018 at about 9:20 a.m., police visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where they saw Robert Strekler, a 34-year-old security guard of a Belize City address, suffering from apparent gunshot wound to the lower back. Initial investigation revealed that earlier that morning, Strekler and another man were conversing at the corner of Fairweather Street and South Creek when a male person approached them and fired shots at them causing Strekler’s injuries.

Shooter caught after being shot by target
A businessman was shot at by a gunman who opened fire at him while he was driving at the corner of Lacroix Boulevard and Balan Street in Belize City. The gunman failed to shoot him but this did not stop the businessman, Derrol Vernon, from using his firearm to shoot at his assailant. The gunman was shot at and although he managed to escape, his freedom was short-lived.

Esmir Garrido on remand for shooting at Reginald Garroy
Police have been able to solve a shooting case which took place in February 2018 on East Canal near the Rocky Road Bridge. Esmir Garrido, a 20-year-old construction worker of West Canal, has been arrested and charged in that case and appeared unrepresented before Senior Magistrate Aretha Ford at his arraignment on Friday, March 16, 2018. Before the magistrate, Garrido was read one count of grievous harm and one count of use of deadly means of harm with a deadly instrument upon Reginald Garoy, a taxi driver.

Ladyville resident in court for harm and theft
James Crawford, a 36-year-old resident of Ladyville, appeared in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, March 15, 2018 where was read one count each of theft and harm upon Kenneth Arthurs. Crawford appeared unrepresented before Magistrate Kadeen Palmer where he pleaded guilty to the charge of harm and not guilty to the charge of theft. The allegations are that on March 11, 2018, Crawford stole a gold plated chain, valued at $90, which is the property of Arthurs. In a police report, Arthurs told the police that he was raking up a yard and after he finished, he went at a nearby shop and that is when he was approached by Crawford who asked him where his bag of weed was.

Victor Gibbs killed, reason: UNKNOWN
Victor Gibbs, a 30 year-old sales man of Mex Avenue in Belize City, was the first resident to be murdered over the weekend. At around 6:25 p.m., on Friday, March 16, police visited the corner of King Street and West Canal. That’s where they found Gibb’s grey Ford Escape SUV, with the engine running; the vehicle was in the middle of the street. Inside, the cops found his body in the driver’s seat of the vehicle; someone shot him several times to the back of the left ear, the left cheek, the left shoulder, and the right cheek.

Shawn Codd is the winner of the 19th Annual Belize Electricity Ltd Junior Cross Country race
The Cycling Federation of Belize in partnership with the Belize Electricity Ltd sponsored the 19th Annual Junior Cross Country event on Sunday 18th March, 2018. The event started at the Succotz Ferry in the Cayo District and travelled the full length of the George Price Highway into Belize City where the cyclists made a left turn onto the Central American Bouvlard over the Belican Bridge around the Round-About and then into the Philip Goldson Highway doing one lap to the Round-About at the junction of the Philip Goldson Highway and Buttonwood Bay Bouvlard and then to the Belize Electricity Limited Corporate Headquarters for the finish.

The Premier League of Belize 2017-2018 Closing Season competition continued on Sunday 18th March, with four games on the schedule
At the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the league’s leading Belmopan Bandits SC blanked the home team Police United FC by the score of 2-0 to maintain its lead in the competition. The 1st goal of the game for the Belmopan Bandits SC was scored by Jerome James in the 38th minute of play to give his team a 1-0 lead. The lead was later increased when Rony Sanchez scored his team’s 2nd goal of the game in the 67th minute of play for the 2-0 victory. Out at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, the defending champions Verdes FC halted its slippage when it edged out the Belize Defence Force FC by the score of 2-1.

Pepsi’s National Elite Basketball League All Star Teams announce
The Pepsi National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) will be hosting its fourth annual All-Star Night on Saturday, March 24 at the Orange Walk Multi-Purpose Complex in Orange Walk Town. The league would like to congratulate all the players and coaches who were chosen to participate in the All Star Game. Rico Black from San Pedro Tiger Sharks is the coach with the best record (7 - 1) going into the All Star Weekend, so he will coach the Local Team. Isaac Rhys from Griga Dream Ballers is the coach with the second best winning record (6 - 1) so he will coach the Imports/Belizean American team.

Belize Rural Softball competition to commence 2018 season on April 8 in Lord’s Bank
The Belize Rural Softball Association is pleased to announce that the 2018 Softball season will commence on Sunday 8th April, at Lord’s Bank with the Traditional Showcase Marathon. The marathon competition will commence at 9:00 am. Registration will take place before the commencement of the marathon.

San Pedro Tiger Sharks clinch first playoff berth in Pepsi National Basketball League competition
The Pepsi National Elite Basketball League competition continued over the last week with two games on the schedule. On Saturday 17th March, at the Russel ‘Chiste’ Garcia Auditorium in Dangriga Town, in the Stann Creek District, the host team Dangriga Dream Ballers defeated the visiting Digicell Belize City Defenders by the score of 72-65. The top scorers for the Dangriga Dream Ballers were Tahj Wells with 19 points and 13 rebounds; Daniel Nolberto with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists and a steal and Daniel Conorquie with 11 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. For the Digicell Belize City Defenders, the top scorers were Darwin Leslie with 21 points, 4 rebounds and a steal and Nigel Jones with 12 points, 12 rebounds and a steal.

Belize City Primary Schools softball finals set for April 9
The semi-final round of the Belize City Primary Schools Softball competition took place on Friday 16th March, 2018, at Rogers Stadium. In the first game in the girls’ semi-final round, Central Christian School eliminated Buttonwood Bay Nazarene School by the score of 8-7. The winning pitcher was Yasmin Weir and the losing pitcher was Evelyn Martinez. In the girls’ second semi-final game, St. John’s Primary School eliminated St. John Vianney School by the score of 4-3. The winning pitcher was Joyce Brown and the losing pitcher was Kiara Mohammad Ali.

20,000 Women Strong
The 20,000 Women Strong Empowerment Rally made its way to the Marion Jones Sports Complex from the Memorial Park on Friday, March 16, 2018 in their call to gender parity. While the march did not actually see 20,000 participants, there were hundreds of people who came out to show their support under the theme “Nurturing the Next Generation- #PressForChange”. The first 20,000 Women Strong march was held in 2014 and ever since then, Kim Simplis Barrow, first lady and Special Envoy for Women and Children, has teamed up with other agencies to make the march a success. With women and children having become the victims of sexual attacks and other forms of violence, even more recently, women, men, and children took to the streets to lend their voice to the empowerment rally.

Local avocados cause commotion in Michael Finnegan Market
On Thursday March 15th, what was supposed to have been a routine delivery of avocado pears at the Michael Finnegan Market turned into a surreal event as police officers of the Special Patrol Unit descended on the pear supplier to arrest him. By all appearances the man making the delivery was believed to be making a drop of illegal Mexican avocados. It caused quite a commotion as police officers pulled up and immediately bystanders began to video the event. The tape shows as officers first attempted to arrest the pear delivery man then showed them telling the man to load the pears, 750 of them in 9 crocus bags, into the pan of a police mobile pickup truck. The man refused and the task had to be done by the officers themselves. Shortly thereafter the video shows as one officer attempted to grab the cellphone of one person who was videotaping the event. Then suddenly one police officer rushed to the pear delivery man and began to try to arrest him. It was an ugly sight as the man resisted, hugging a lamp post and being hauled and pulled by the officers. It was a sight that Deputy Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams was non too pleased with.

Body of Brian Valerio found two days after he drowns in Dangriga
On Saturday March 17, 2018 at about 2:45 p.m., police visited South River Side Street after receiving information of a drowning. Upon arrival, it was learnt that Brian Gregory Valerio, a 45-year-old laborer of Dangriga Town, was attempting to swim across the river. When he got to the midpoint of the river, he went under and never resurfaced. Divers from the Fisheries Department and the Belize Coast Guard as well other members of the community formed a search party and conducted searches in the immediate area of the river and up to the river channel but they were unable to locate Valerio. On Monday, March 19, 2018, Dangriga police visited an area on Why-Not Island next to the river where the motionless body of Valerio was discovered.

Buses irregular in Cayo on Monday mornings
Over a dozen tourists and other Belizeans were stranded at about 7:00 a.m. Monday at the Cayo Welcome Center trying to get a bus to Belmopan and other parts of Belize. David Allen, who was waiting at the bus terminal with his two daughters told us that he has urgent transactions to do at the Lands Department today, but is unable to catch a bus. Traffic Officer Manuel Romero told us that difficulties in catching a bus from San Ignacio to other parts of the Country is especially so on Mondays. He advises residents to be at the terminal by 6:30 a.m on Mondays, but given the sporadic nature of the buses, their travels even then cannot be guaranteed. Romero tells us that even though there are regulations for buses to have a back up; especially when there is a delay, bus owners are not following through. While a bus from Benque was to have arrived at 7:30 a.m on Monday none came.

San Ignacio resident is the Fantasy 5 Winner
After purchasing a lucky quick pick Fantasy 5 ticket, a San Ignacio Town resident is the winner of the $345,000 Fantasy Five jackpot. That man, Marion Avila, stopped at the Brad’s Gaming Company Ltd. in Belize City where his winnings were handed over by Fantasy Five’s Public Relations Officer, Karil Wallace. According to Wallace, it was not until checking the numbers on Saturday, March 17, 2018 that they learnt that someone had won and where that ticket hailed from. Avila says that it is a practice of his to purchase quick pick tickets every Tuesday and Thursday and that it was a chance of luck. He felt shocked and lucky and says that he will use the money to pay for the education of his three children, to finish his home, and to hopefully save some.

Kearny Thompson succumbs to gunshot injuries after two weeks
Kearny Thompson, a 31-year-old man who was shot on Saturday, March 3, 2018, succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday, March 21, 2018. Thompson was shot while sitting on the verandah at William’s Apartment on Vernon Street just after 7:00 p.m. According to Inspector Wilfredo Ferrufino, Thompson was approached by a lone gunman who fired shots in his directions. He was hit by two bullets to the lower right side of the back and abdomen. Since the night of the shooting incident, Thompson remained in a critical condition of the KHMH until he perished while undergoing treatment on March 21.

Microsoft helping Belize meet its Digital Transformation goals
A team from Microsoft lectured Chief Executive Officers from within the Government on Wednesday morning at the Central Information Technology Office in Belmopan on the digital tools now available within Microsoft ‘s Office 365. Such educational sessions for public officers continues Thursday at the George Price Center. Microsoft and the Government of Belize signed an MOU in June of last year aimed at helping the government meet its National Digital Transformation Goals. As a result, Microsoft in collaboration with the Central Information Technology Office (CITO), conducted an introduction session on Microsoft’s Office 365 for these public officers. The partnership reinforces the Government of Belize’s effort in improving the skills of public officers by adopting the latest technology that can lead to national development.

One Struggle Despair and Hope in Belize City
It’s 11:50a.m. on Tuesday March 20, when I received a call from former councilor Phillip Willoughby, “I’m outside your office,” he says. We had previously arranged for us to take a tour of what has now become his daily routine, he’s no longer at the council and these days Willoughby smiles and says, “I have more time now.” I stepped into his vehicle, in the front passenger seat sat a young man, the first thing that’s noticeable is that he has no legs, amputated from the hip down.” “This is Shefaun,” says Willougby, gives me a quick glance and immediately puts the vehicle in reverse. And we’re off.

Words of Life With Pastor Barry Fraser
March the 25th is celebrated in many churches as Palm Sunday. On that occasion we remember the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem on the first day of his final week on earth. Matthew records this in chapter 21 of his Gospel, from verse 6: “The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and He sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.

Something Ominous is Happening to Our Men
Something ominous is happening to our young men. The signs are everywhere. Are we in Belize aware of what is occurring? If you live in urban Belize, you probably know at least one young male that has been murdered by gun violence/ gang rivalry. If you are a mom or a dad you might have noticed that your daughter and your daughter’s friends are more on the ball than your son and his friends. They get better grades, they are less likely to smoke marijuana; they spend less time playing video games. They are interested in- and they pursue higher education. And of course if you follow the news you have seen a rise in not just gun violence but violence against women and children… and women are not the perpetrators. In most if not all recent cases, the offender was a man.

Alive and Kicking
For those of you who have a fetish for the macabre and enjoy reading novels by Stephen king and Dean Koontz, I have a creepy tale to relate to you. At around 6 am On Monday morning 19 March, I was leaning on the railing of my verandah when I saw a stray cat spring after a rat which was crossing the street. As the stealthy feline closed the gap on its prey a white cargo van appeared out of the blue and crushed both creatures under its wheels. Nothing strange there, but as the cat lay writhing on the macadam, the last of his nine lives oozing from his body, a black, green-eyed blackbird flew down from my neighbour’s flowering Cericote tree where it has a nest, and, without perching, gave the cat two quick pecks on the head then flew back to safety.

Blogs

Tipping Guide to Belize
Never underestimate the value of tipping and how much some people rely on it to put food on their table and pay the bills. The minimum wage in Belize is only $3.30 BZD ($1.65 USD) per hour. Part of the ideology behind that is somewhat based on the fact that most workers are in the tourism industry and therefore will most likely receive tips. I was recently on a low-cost boat tour and at the start of the trip, the boat owner gave the tipping speech and reminded everyone to tip the guys at the day’s end. I was planning to give the two guys $20 to split. However, I was the last one off the boat and saw that not one person had given them anything so I quickly fished another $20 from my wallet and handed them each one. I am a firm believer in money karma and that it is good to help other people make money. For some people, I will occasionally tip in USD, because I know they save it for travel.

Long List of Errands & A Trip to Town
Shopping in San Pedro takes me considerably more time than it did when I lived in the States. What was easily procured in one trip to Target or Whole Foods often requires 3, 4 or even five stops here in Belize. (Here’s some information on how to Food Shop on Ambergris Caye.) I’m okay with that – and I enjoy it, weather permitting. But Tuesday, my errand list was longer and much more varied than usual. Pick up 1 lb of dark chocolate at Belize Chocolate Company, buy one habanero plant, check the air in the tires and get gas, meet for an free intro. ayurvedic consulation, provision for the camp (pineapples, corn meal and plastic wrap) and more.

International Sourcesizz

13 Bucket List Animal Encounters
There’s no better way for kids to learn about the amazing creatures that share our planet than with an up-close-and personal animal experience. Kick your wanderlust into high gear with one of these unforgettable trips. Located onsite at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, the Green Iguana Conservation Project teaches kids about the animals in a highly interactive environment. Founded to conserve and look after the endangered species, kids can pick up and hold the friendly lizards while being educated on the incubation, hatching, rearing and releasing process.

Senior leads spring break mission trip to Belize for fourth straight year
Spring break is a great time to relax and recuperate from school by going on vacation, hanging out with friends, or binging a show on Netflix, but one Bearden student has spent every high school spring break in a life-changing way. Senior Lauren Hunter has been organizing a mission trip to Belize for the past four years and has an indescribable passion for the small, overlooked country where she was called to serve at only 14 years old. Ever since middle school, Hunter wanted to go on a mission trip, but due to her overloaded cheerleading schedule, it seemed like just a dream far in the distance. When she decided to quit cheerleading her freshman year, however, she felt her dream might be attainable after all.

Rhapsody of the Seas Live Blog Day 5 - Belize
Our third stop is Belize City, Belize and it is just my second time going to this port. The last time was on Navigator of the Seas back in 2014, so it has been a while. Just like last time, our ship anchored off the coast and operated tenders to bring guests back and forth. The tender ride was 15 minutes each way (although I thought it was a longer ride from our past time). We set our alarm and got the kids ready. Just like yesterday, I went up to the Windjammer to bring food back to the room. The tender ride over 15 minutes and we immediately spotted our tour guide waiting for us at the pier, near all the other shore excursions.

I rented out an entire private island for only $300 a night — here's why you should do it too
Since Placencia is a tiny village with a tiny airport, we first had to book flights from New York to Belize City, the country's major travel hub. From there we booked local charter flights from Belize City to Placencia. For the flight from Belize City to Placencia we were in a plane with six other people (including the pilots), and while my boyfriend loved it, I was terrified. This was one of the parts of the trip I was most nervous about, but the views of Belize were stunning and the trip, though stomach-churning, was unforgettable. After arriving in Placencia and staying at a small beach resort for a few days, we eventually met Bird Island's host and owner Fred in town at the Placencia dock. First, though, we had to go to the local grocery store and get enough food (and booze) for our four days there.

Videos

  • Feeding the tarpon in Caye Caulker Belize, 1min.

  • BELIZE // Episode1 // Travel Feels, 10min. This is the start of 12 day trip with my family and friends through Belize. We will be 5 days in a catamaran out in the ocean and then another 4 on land exploring the tropical jungles and local culture. Expect some heavy travel feels and visual vibes...

  • Bicycle Touring Belize and Northern Guatemala, 13min. The roads in Belize are not cyclist friendly. Most of the time there is no shoulder on the road and the vehicles drive at crazy fast speeds. We stopped at a place called Crooked Tree and the Belize Zoo where we came very close to Jaguars, Pumas and more.

  • Belize & Corozal + 7 other moments 2018, 52min. Ambergris Caye Belize Xanadu Resort, Lamanai Mayan Ruins.

  • Chachalaca enjoying breakfast, 1min.

  • Channel 5 Daily Obituaries, 5min.

  • The Sister Reef Project, 1.5min. The Belize Tourism Board has created The Sister Reef Project, where people can donate money for the preservation of the world's 2 largest barrier reefs(ours being the biggest living barrier reef). They have 41 different prizes, and they are all over Belize, with many being in Cayo, since this is where the adventure and eco-tourism is. They have a video for every prize, too.

  • Our trip to Mexico, Belize and Guatemala, 15min. Featuring Whale Sharks, Chichen Itza, Tical, Ek Balam, the Blue Hole, Mountain Pine Ridge Nature Reserve, and a couple of Cenotes

  • Belize, 6min. This is a video exploring the natural beauty of Belize. We travel all around the district looking at how people live life in Belize. I was personally born their so I can personally say with confidence I'm proud to be from Belize.

  • Cancun to Belize, 4min. A trike ride from Cancun to Belize.

  • BREAKFAST BEACH BARS BELIZE, 6min. just an average day in three places we like to go when we are lounging around San Pedro, Estel's, Fido's and the Dive Bar. we had a great day driving around San Pedro to put this together.. and no we won't say anything other than yes there is a real secret beach.

  • DCA in Belize 2018, 16min. Senior Class Mission Trip 2018 to Belize.

  • Belize vs Grenada International Friendly, 2.5hr.

  • Budget Meeting 2018, 2hr.


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