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Specials & Events
Yesterday at 10:30 PM
We are having a yard sale, planned for May 11, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon. Kevin Owen has arranged for us to use the lot next to his business, Island Pool Supply, behind the Gas Station. It is a great location.

How can you help? We need your discards! You can start collecting those items you no longer want or need and donate it for our yard sale. Items like clean or gently used clothing, any and all household items, jewelry, bedding and/or linens, kitchenware, tools, sporting equipment, artwork, furniture, books. Deliver your treasures to Susan between April 27 and May 4. Please call her at 634-5678 before making your delivery to arrange a time.

Additionally, we need some volunteers to help make our yard sale a success! Susan is designing a flyer and will need help distributing the flyer on April 27. On May 11, the day of the sale, we need your help setting up, selling, and cleaning up. All proceeds - 100% will go to our Neighborhood Watch, so please volunteer to lend a helping hand. Susan and I welcome anyone who would like to join us to form a Fundraising Committee to work on future fun ideas for the cause. Please let us know if you are interested. Let’s do this!!!
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Sports
Yesterday at 10:28 PM
San Pedro Invaders draw 1-1 against Royal Maya Hill

San Pedro Invaders hosted Cayo’s Royal Maya Hill for the fifth week of Belize’s National Amateur Women League (NAWL) Closing Season 2019 at the Ambergris Stadium in San Pedro Town on Saturday, February 23rd. The intense match saw both teams fighting for a win, but at the end of the game time, it was a 1-1 draw.

For their next match, San Pedro Invaders will be traveling to Belize City to face the Black Orchids on Saturday, February 23rd. The game is scheduled to start at 4PM at the MCC Grounds.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun
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Elections
Yesterday at 05:41 PM
Belize District Zone 5 annual National Spelling Bee results are as follows:

1st Place - Alexis Lawrence of Ambergris Caye Elementary School
2nd Place - Nicholas Lausen of The Island Academy
Alternate Speller - Angelina Worthington of New Horizon SDA School.

Congratulations to all the participants.

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photos by Jorge Aldana
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Sports
Yesterday at 05:26 PM
San Pedro Pirates win 1-0 against BDF

For the sixth week of the Premiere League of Belize (PLB) Closing Season 2019 the San Pedro Pirates traveled to Belize City to face Belize Defense Force (BDF) on Sunday, February 17th. The island team won with a 1-0 score over BDF, managing to remain in the second place position of the PLB rankings for the second week consecutive.

The San Pedro Pirates F.C and Belmopan Bandits are technically tied for the first-place position in this week’s standings, with 12 points each. For their next match, the San Pedro Pirates F.C will be playing at home, facing the Belmopan Bandits on Saturday, February 16th. The game is scheduled to start at 7:30PM at the Ambergris Stadium in San Pedro Town. Everyone is invited to come out and support the island team in their home match.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun
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Elections
Yesterday at 05:22 PM
The Elections and Boundaries Department hereby notifies electors that effective Friday, March 1st, 2019, the issuance of Voter ID cards will commence by phases at the Elections and Boundaries Registration Offices countrywide.

The first phase will include all electors whose application were accepted in July 2018 and subsequently approved at revision court. As stated via previous press releases, dates and location for pickup will be announced for villages. ID cards will also be distributed by Elections and Boundaries personnel at the polling stations on Referendum Day, for electors who did not have an opportunity to pick up their ID cards prior to Referendum Day.

Electors are also advised that commencing February 27th, 2019, persons will be able to visit the Elections and Boundaries Department’s website at www.elections.gov.bz to view a list of the names of persons whose ID cards are ready for pick up.

Voters are further advised that they are allowed to vote in the Referendum without presenting their Voter ID card as the registration record card for each voter is available at the polling station as it is also used to verify voters.

The Department wishes to thank the public for their patience and understanding and reaffirms its commitment to complete the processing of all ID cards in advance of the Referendum date.
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Weather
Yesterday at 05:18 PM
How the cloud is developing...

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Updated satellite view

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News
Yesterday at 12:27 PM


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Specials and Events

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


The San Pedro Sun

San Pedro Lions Club meet with Nicaraguan Past District Governor
Members of the San Pedro Lions Club (SPLC) participated in an informative meeting at the Lions Den in San Pedro Town on Sunday, February 17th. The session was facilitated by Past District Governor Gilberto Alcoser from Nicaragua, who enlightened the club members and encouraged them to strengthen their resolve to serve. The training began shortly after 11AM with a lively discussion on how to serve communities, meet humanitarian needs and encourage peace. Other topics discussed were transformation of the environment, child care, battling diabetes, eradicate poverty, and many other projects that fall under SPLC.

Marie Sharp’s and U.S Embassy partner to fight gender-based violence in Belize
To create awareness and help the fight against gender-based violence, the Embassy of the United States of America (US) in Belize hosted the launch of ‘Pure Love,’ Marie Sharp’s Fine Foods Ltd brand-new Pineapple Habanero Pepper sauce on Thursday, February 14th. This partnership aspires to combat said abuse by having all proceeds from the pepper sauce sales benefit Haven House, a non-profit domestic violence shelter in Belize City directly benefiting victims of gender-based violence.

San Pedro Tiger Sharks fall short against 2018 NEBL Sub-champions
The San Pedro Tiger Sharks fell to the Dangriga Dream Ballers on Saturday, 16th in their attempt to clinch first place in the ongoing 2019 National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) Tournament. This loss places them in second place, where they had been for the past weeks. This is the second defeat the island team has experienced since the beginning of the season. They currently have three wins and two losses with a total of eight points accumulated in the current standings.

Ambergris Today

Submission Period Open For Public To Submit Information In Relation To Gillnets
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Immigration advises that it is accepting submissions from the public relating to the use of gillnets in Belize’s waters.

Misc Belizean Sources

mzz

Belize Excites Visitors at the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show!
The Belize Hotel Association was at the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show on February 16 and 17, 2019, promoting our members and the country of Belize. BHA Representatives, Past-President Leisa Carr- Caceres and 2 nd Vice-President Barbara Hall, were extremely busy speaking with show attendees who were very interested in Belize, and the many activities that our country has to offer. The delegates reported that there definitely was a high interest from the attendees to travel to Belize and many visitors were seeking packages that offered jungle and sea vacations, or packages that included hotel and tours to make their planning process easier.

"Roma" showing Feb 21
Mexican Cultural Institute, 6:30pm.

Orthopedic Surgery Mission
at KHMH Feb. 24, 8am

GOB Offers Clarification on Contract for Rehabilitation of George Price Highway Section III
In response to statements and concerns raised by the media regarding the tender process of contracts issued by the Government of Belize, the office of the Solicitor General hereby offers clarification. In reference to the recently signed contract for the rehabilitation of the George Price Highway Section III, the tender process is done pursuant to the procurement policies of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which can be found online. The Evaluation Committee responsible for the process is comprised of public officers, but the Government of Belize (GOB) does not set the requirements for who will be awarded the contract.

Illegal Harvesting of Hicatee (Dermatemys mawii)
On Monday, February 18th, 2019, the Police Mobile Patrol intercepted a vehicle transporting a total of eight (8) live Hicatees (Dermatemys mawii) near Mile 32 on the George Price Highway. In coordination with the Fisheries Department, a total of seven (7) persons have been served with a summons of intended prosecution. It is expected that they will be charged for: (1) fishing of female Hicatee turtles greater that 17.2 inches and (2) transporting on any vehicle more than five turtles. The Hicatee turtles are endemic to the region and found along the coastal lowlands of southern Mexico, northern Belize and Guatemala. The Hicatee turtle has been listed as a critically endangered species by IUCN, and since 1993 Belize has implemented laws to ensure their conservation and long-term survival. The Department urges the public to comply with the fisheries regulation.

Audrey Matura organizes Rally in support of Wesley student
Matura says “It’s official - demonstration this Friday! Date: 22nd February, 2019 Time: 12 to 1pm. Assemble time starts at 11:30pm.... disperse by 1:30pm Place: in front of Wesley College Attire: anyway you want but good if you use white or bring a white banner Message: bring your posters or T/shirts denouncing sexual abuse and violence and demanding laws to protect against revenge porn, cyber bulling and the like! It will be a peaceful event but your presence is required so this young lady knows we support her and for the school to know we expect only the most humane and compassionate treatment.

Guatemala's Claim To BELIZE
Corozal Public Library invites the Community to Join a discussion held every Friday @ 5:00pm based on the book "Guatemala's Claim to Belize" by Assad Shoman

Dr. Mayelin Contreras at Archangel Medical Center
On Saturday March 2nd, we are pleased to announce that Dr. Mayelin Contreras will be giving consultation at our medical center from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Specializes in: Prevention and control chronic kidney disease, Recurrent urinary tract infection, Nephrotic syndrome, Passing protein or blood in the urine, Follow up for patient undergoing heamodialysis. Monitoring patient waiting for kidney transplant and treat transplanted patient. Please feel free to inbox or call for an appointment at 602-7084.

Kumbh Mela 2019
The Government of India invites Mrs. Sylvia Gilharry Perez, President of COEICH to represent Belize in joining representatives of all the other countries to visit India and participate in Kumbh Mela on 22 February, 2019 in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. The primary objective is to create awareness of this symbol of Indian culture. The festival is the largest peaceful gathering in the world . Mrs. Perez will grace the event with her presence in India. Her presence in this extravaganza is highly valuable. She will also be granted the opportunity to meet with His Excellency Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Republic of India.

FCD aerating bokashi
FCD Field technicians at Vaca plateau aerating the bokashi which will be used for improving soil nutrients. Bokashi is a Japanese word that means “fermented organic matter”.

Virtuoso Travel Week with BTB

Kids Zone at the Street Art Fest
Belize City's Child Advisory Body would like to invite everyone to their Kids Zone at the Street Art Fest. There will be FREE Kitemaking and Face painting and Trampoline jumping. Also come sign up for our 9th March Kite Contest! Date: Saturday February 23rd, 2019 Time: 2:00pm - 6:00 pm Location: Bishop Street (Next to Scotiabank)

PEEK' AND THE KASKABAL
There was a dog whose owner always hit him, that is why Kaskabal, who was the spirit of evil wanted to take advantage of the circumstance to take a soul with him . The Kaskabal told the dog to escape from the mistreatment of his master because probably his owner did not want him . The dog refused saying that he would not commit such betrayal but the spirit insists to convince him and for that the dog would have to give him the soul to leave . In exchange for that he asks for a bone for each of the hairs that he has in his body . The dog ordered Kaskabal to start counting. He counted until the dog remembered his master and jumped so he would lose count saying he could not stand the fleas . So he had Kaskabal count a hundred times . Until the Kaskabal told the dog that he was tired and that it was better to stay with his soul . Kaskabal learned the lesson that it was easier to make deals with humans to take away their souls than with animals.

Thursdays are a huge party night on Ambergris Caye for whatever reason...here are some of tonight's events!
-Infamous Chicken Drop at Wahoo's Lounge Belize -Wine Down Thursdays at Marbucks Coffee House -Karaoke at Melt Cafe and Beach Bar -Sushi night at Blue Water Grill - San Pedro, Belize -Paint Thursdays (afternoons) at Crazy Canucks Beach Bar Paint N Splash -1/2 off pasta at Nook Restaurant & Cocktail Bartique -Live music at Palapa Bar and Grill, Fido's Beach Bar

Channel 7

Father Smalls "Credible Allegation of Abuse", What Does It Mean For Church-State?
On Monday, Catholic Priest, Fr. Richard Smalls made headlines and history, when he was named the first Catholic Priest in Belize who had been linked to "credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors." He was named by the Parish of Richmond Virginia in the US, but he has been here in Belize for decades. And, the Catholic Bishop of Belize, Larry Nicascio said in a release that he is duty bound to report Father Smalls to the Vatican and to remove him from serving in any ministry here in Belize. While Father smalls has rejected the allegation - and says he passed a lie detector test to disprove the allegation 50 years ago - the issue has raised a hornet's nest of speculation - finally bringing Belize into an international scandal plaguing the Catholic Church.

AG Says If There Are Complaints Against Priests, Bring Them Forward
And while the raising of a credible allegation of abuse of minors against a Catholic Priest has raised those considerations for the entire church - state enterprise - what about the impact of this in the wider society? What happens if the credible allegation of abuse is substantiated and Father Smalls did commit a crime? A notice to Parishioners on Sunday from the Bishop says "I ask your prayers for the victims and request that anyone who may have been harmed by Father Smalls to please contact the chancery at 227-2122 and the civil authorities." The man in charge of a large part of those civil authorities is the Attorney General, Michael Peyrefitte. Today, he stressed that anything which alleged happened in the US cannot be prosecuted here:..

Faber Urges Public To Desist From Spreading Vids Violating Privacy and Children's Rights
The media also pressed these two Ministers on another matter of child abuse - and that's cyber-bullying. The issue has come to the fore after a video of a Belize City high school student performing oral sex in her school uniform was circulated this weekend. It's what's called revenge porn and it has wreaked havoc on the young lady's life. Her family has decided to take her out of school for the time being - to spare her having to deal with the aftermath of that kind of unwarranted exposure. Today the Education Minister made a public plea to stop this type of shaming:

Will Belize Get Cyber Bullying Legislation?
And while the Education Minister is urging the public to stop sharing other people's private content, the attorney General has to try to find ways to effectively criminalize it. Today he discussed the challenges trying to police the electronic ether: Hon. Michael Peyrefitte - Attorney General: "We have been working on it for some time. We have been working on it to ensure that not only can we capture when it happens, or capture when these videos - especially with minor - are put into the public or even made, but we have to make sure that we are able to tie it to a particular individual. Many times, when people get caught electronically, they claim they were hacked. They claim that someone stole their computer..."

Remains of Brunt Drug Plane Found In Blue Creek Area
Turning now to other news, another drug plane has landed in Belize - and when police found it yesterday, not much was left; it had been burned to nothing. This one landed in the northwestern Orange Walk District, near Tres Leguas - a very short distance from Mexico - we are told. Police say they visited a farm road about 18 kilometers Southeast of Blue Creek Community, and found the charred remains of a single-engine aircraft. Nearby police found 3 aircraft seats, three 50 liter containers and twelve 20 liter containers full - but full of aviation fuel. We are told these items were concealed in the bushes - along with landing lights. But no one was found in the area - and police don't have much to go on - as to whether it was dropping off or picking up drugs.

Finally, A Stake Bank Groundbreaking
We first reported in the possibility of a cruise port with a docking facility at the Stake Bank Caye in 2006. It's an island owned by Mike Feinstein which is 6 miles off the Belize City Coast - and it promises to be the first Cruise Port in the Belize District with a berthing facility - meaning that cruise ships can pull right up and there would be no need for tendering. But the promise has been lost in legal, political and financing battles for 13 years - and for a long time, it seemed to be a sure thing, but just never materialized. Matter of fact, there was even an act of parliament with bipartisan support to push it through...but until today, there were no shovels in the ground. But, this morning, ground was actually broken on the mega million dollar project which promises to re-map the face of cruise tourism in the Belize District. Daniel Ortiz reports:...

Ships On the Horizon, but No Money In Pockets of Independent Tour Guides
And while there were four cruise ships on the horizon today, towering above the turbulent waters, back here in the city, tour guides near the Fort Street Tourism Village said that they were getting no business at all. We saw many of them idling around, and they say it's been like this all week - even with four ships in Port. The problem? Well it may have to do with this advisory from Carnival cruise lines. It warns cruise passengers and says that the US Embassy has issued an alert for Southside Belize City including St. John's Cathedral. It advises tourists to remain n tourist areas and discourages the rental of scooters or jet ski's...

Squatters Pushing Into Maya Mountain Reserve
We have reported on a number of Ya'axche Conservation Trust initiatives. They are well known for their work with the Trio Farmers Association in cacao harvesting in the Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve. Well, the group has been suffering in silence as squatters take over the land in the reserve. It has been happening for years and it is only getting worse. The Trust invited the media to get a first hand look at the real situation at the reserve. Courtney Weatherburne reports. Courtney Weatherburne : "We are in an area within the Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve, 7 miles from Trio Village. It buffers the Bladen Nature Reserve and Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. It's the only reserve in the country that has agro-forestry concession. But over the last 3 years' squatters have settled in this area and their activities are a direct threat to that concession agreement..."

Encroachment Taking Its Toll on Wildlife
All this activity is also snuffing out the possibility of having a rich wildlife population in the reserve. Community Outreach Director at Ya'axche Conservation Trust told us more about this reality. Gustavo Requena, Community Outreach and Livelihoods Director: "Also the great potential for other income generating activities such as ecotourism in this area, because there is a lot of biodiversity. Prior to having this concession, we had timber extraction and that was a direct threat to the biodiversity. Now, because of the sustainable agricultural practices that are being implemented in this area, we have the scarlet macaw, tapir, jaguar, monkeys..."

ASR/BSI Gets IDB Invest Back in Belize
Today in Orange Walk ASR/BSI signed an agreement with the IDB for a unique investment partnership. The agreement is with IDB Invest which is the private sector arm of the IDB - its first appearance in Belize since 2006. They are funding an agribusiness project to support farmers and the mill as BSI moves towards the production of Direct Consumption Sugars. We found out more today:

Is CARICOM Coning Around To Plantation White Sugar?
And while this should put ASR/BSI in a better position to produce and exports direct consumption sugars - the question is, will CARICOM buy those sugars. ASR/BSI's Mac MacLachlan says it's an interesting test for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy: Mac McLachlan, VP, International Relations, ASR Group: "Its a travesty in my view that market demand within Caricom countries of 300,000 on sugar - 200,000 tons of sugar is imported from Guatemala, Colombia and other destinations and yet we are forced along with other Caricom producers to send our sugar off to somewhere else to be refined..."

CARICOM and King Sugar
Agriculture Minster Godwin Hulse says that if CARICOM can't get this right, then the whole idea of a single market and economy is in jeopardy:... Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture: "I will say this without apology to any of my Caribbean colleagues, ministers included. I have said time and time again, the only reason all of us who look like us are here is because the English brought us to the Caribbean to cut sugar cane and to be indentured servants. And if in 2019, we can't sell sugar into the Caribbean, what's the point of the CSME? So sugar to me is the premiere product. No ifs, buts or maybes..."

Putting Potatoes in Perspective
We also asked Minister Hulsse about the recent controversy over potatoes. First, the potato farmers of Orange Walk South complained that they couldn't find a market for their potatoes. And then their PUP area rep says they couldn't sell all the potatoes. Hulse responded today: Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture: "This ministry has sat with potato producers, before my time and since my time, to try to get this to come to a balance. The problem is one, we don't have the necessary storage and harvests come in at the same time..."

Belize Turns Cold Shoulder To Refugees?
We also spoke to Hulse in his capacity as Immigration Minister. His Ministry is currently processing literally thousands of applications for asylum. He told us that it;'s a balancing act figuring out how many refugees Belize will accept:.. Figures from US Immigration say that in 2018, less than 100 Belizean deportees were sent back

A Vision For Vital Stats
On Monday afternoon, the PUP went to picket the Queen Street office of Vital Statistics Unit on behalf of their constituents in the rural parts of the country. The PUP says that hundreds of Belizeans have come complaining to them that Vital Stats has unreasonably delayed in producing their important documents. The Attorney General acknowledges the breakdowns that used to take place at Vital Stats, he asserts that there has been significant reforms since he took over, and that the PUP is downplaying the significance of all the positive changes. He also accused them of trying to use Vital Stats as a platform to further their anti-ICJ campaign.

Cops Help The Hicatee
We've told you before about how special and rare Belize's Hicatee turtles are - and how sustainably they have to be hunted. Well police out a dent in the illegal harvesting of these special creatures when they caught 8 live Hicatees near Mile 32 on the George Price Highway. A release doesn't say when but, in coordination with the Fisheries Department, a total of seven persons have been served with a summons of intended prosecution. It is expected that they will be charged for: (1) fishing of female Hicatee turtles greater that 17.2 inches and (2) transporting on any vehicle more than five turtles.

GOB Says It's IDB and Imer
On Monday's news, we told you about the latest contract that the Ministry of Works has signed with Imer Hernandez Development Company for the continuation of the George Price Highway Rehabilitation Project. It's valued at a little over 19 million dollars, and Imer Hernandez's company will be responsible for road rehabilitation works for about 10 miles of road from Blackman Eddy Village to the roundabout in Santa Elena Town, in the Cayo District.

Lisa Shoman Comments On, Differs With PUP Colleagues
Last night, we told you about the legal opinion that the attorneys Anthony Sylvestre, Kareem Musa and Dickie Bradley have produced on the 2008 Special Agreement in which Belize and Guatemala have agreed to submit Guatemala's claim to the ICJ. They say they've done extensive legal research on the Special Agreement, and from their opinion, the Government has made a major misstep. Among other issues they point to, these attorneys say that the Government has failed to take the Special Agreement to the entire legislature, which includes the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Periods With Re-Usable Pads?
Sanitary pads and tampons - it's not a subject you hear about too often on the news - but the "Days for Girls" organization and a Rotaract group from Edmonton Canada today pushed that issue to the forefront. They're here in Belize to talk about that subject of reusable feminine hygiene products. Now that might sound unhygienic, but they explained that it makes menstruation more manageable for those who cannot afford sanitary products. We caught up with them giving some public education at ACC today:

Channel 5

Remnants of another Drug Plane in Blue Creek
The area of Blue Creek in northern Belize continues to be a hot spot for drugs and illegal plane landings. Police have confirmed that another illegal aircraft, likely a drug [...]

Mexican National, Wanted by Interpol, is Detained and Released in Belize
There’s been a major arrest in Belize of a Mexican national wanted by Interpol. News reports from Mexico say that a former government employee, Gonzalo Herrera Castilla has been detained [...]

The Attorney General Says No Priest is Above the Law
The scandal involving well-known Catholic priest Oliver Smalls has taken many by surprise, including those in his flock who attend service at La Inmaculada Parish in Orange Walk.  Smalls is [...]

Government Says It’s Concerned about Wellbeing of Students in Light of Scandal
As it concerns the church-state system of education, Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber has also weighed in to say that while there are merely allegations being made against Father Smalls; [...]

A Tough Time for Wesley Student Coping with Cyber Bullying
The most shocking of the sexual images circulated over the weekend involves a fifteen-year-old student of Wesley College, in uniform. She has since taken a leave of absence from school [...]

The Attorney General Weighs In on Urgent Need for Cyber Bullying Legislation
The wholesale distribution of pornographic images over the weekend on social media has raised the issue of cyber bullying and the urgent need for legislation to be passed to combat [...]

Minister of Education Denounces Cyber Bullying
While the Attorney General is looking at ways to combat cyber bullying through the passage of legislation, Minister of Education Patrick Faber says it is equally important to discourage the [...]

Lisa Shoman says Special Agreement is Indeed Legal
A thirty-eight page document presented as a Joint Legal Opinion on the legitimacy of the Special Agreement signed between Belize and Guatemala in 2008 has been put forward by a [...]

Is the Joint Legal Opinion Flawed?
According to Senior Counsel Shoman, the 1859 Treaty serves as somewhat of a default setting and says that the argument in the Joint Legal Opinion is premature and flawed.   [...]

“An Academic Argument” says Lisa on I.C.J. Referendum Not Being Binding
Despite its imminence, there are those who argue that the I.C.J. referendum is not binding and it’s merely a consultative process.  One of the final cases heard before the Privy [...]

The Glut of Potato Supply in the Country
Turning to glut in potato supply in the country.… The Chief Agriculture Officer, Andrew Harrison says that Belizeans consume over three point five million pounds of potato annually; one hundred [...]

Will There Be Rotting Potatoes in the Fields Once Again
But the question remains…. will farmers be left once again with rotting potatoes in the fields due to the glut on the market? Agriculture Minister Godwin Hulse says that it [...]

What’s Up at Vital Stats Unit? AG Explains
On Monday, the People’s United Party picketed the Vital Stats Office in downtown Belize City, criticizing the government department for the many hiccups and hurdles in accessing its services.  The [...]

Kenrick Longsworth to be Tried for Attempted Murder
Kenrick Longsworth, the son of Lavern “Antichrist” Longsworth, was today committed to stand trial at Supreme Court for the attempted murder of Kadeem Myers, who was shot on the eve [...]

Cops to Stand Trial for Extortion
Two cops have also been committed to stand trial for extortion of five thousand dollars from a mother and son duo. Corporal Marvin Salam and Constable Anthony Blair are accused [...]

A $15 Million Investment to Transform the Sugar Industry
The local sugar industry is transitioning from a raw sugar producer to a manufacturer of direct consumption sugar. It’s a move that American Sugar Refinery, started almost two years ago [...]

Lobbying for Preferential Pricing of Sugar in the Caribbean
The millers and the government have been working feverishly to lobby CARICOM to allow preferential pricing for direct consumption sugars in the Caribbean. As it currently stands, Belize, Jamaica and [...]

Stake Bank – A Step Closer to Becoming a Reality
Stake Bank Cruise Port is one step closer to becoming a reality, following a groundbreaking ceremony this morning for the construction of a premier docking facility for cruise ships in [...]

The Negative Impacts of Illegal Farming, Cattle Ranching on Cacao Farmers
Cacao farmers in Trio Village are living the negative effects of illegal cattle ranching and farming due to the lack of action by the Lands Department. Ya’axche Conservation Trust, which [...]

Does the Lands Department Care about Trio’s Cacao Farmers?
It has been three years since the Ya’axche Conservation Trust has been attempting to get the attention of the Lands Department to address the serious issues plaguing the Trio Farmers [...]

MOH Launches HR Health Strategic Plan
The Ministry of Health unveiled a human resources health strategic plan. The plan is to ensure that there is equitable distribution of appropriately and skilled workers in the health sector. [...]

GHG Emission Workshop Aims to Create National Mitigation Plan
Today the National Climate Change Office held a workshop in Belmopan to look at Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Assessment with their stakeholders. The objective is to help the country conduct a [...]

LOVE FM

NGO tackles sexual offenses legislation
Belize Women Against Violence has begun work on sexual offenses laws reform. The organization is being assisted with the drafting of these laws by Leslie Mendez, Attorney-at-law. They have held public consultations in Belize City, Punta Gorda, Dangriga and Orange Walk Towns and are expected to conclude these by the end of the month. These …

IDB Invest funds part of phase two of sugar expansion project
The Belize Sugar Industry, BSI/ASR Group today signed a loan agreement with IDB Invest that will contribute to phase two of the Direct Consumption Sugar Expansion Project. The project seeks to improve the factory’s production capacity of food grade sugar, increasing the value on the international market. This ensures that Belize’s sugar remains viable and …

High school girls introduced to reusable feminine product
The Rotaract Club of Belize City, in collaboration with members of the University of Alberta Rotaract Club of Canada today provided a group of high school girls at the Anglican Cathedral College with reusable feminine towels. While the use of reusable feminine hygiene towels, which are popularly known as pads, is practically unheard of …

Ministry of Health launches strategic plan
The Ministry of Health has launched its strategic plan for 2019 to 2024, which focuses not on the services, but on the medical personnel providing the service. The plan is dubbed, a new approach to improving the health sector, which in recent times has come under criticism for inefficiencies and shortcomings. Dr. Ramon Figueroa, the …

Rotary Club of Edmonton donates playground to St. Luke
Apart from academics, it is very essential that a child is provided with opportunities to play since there are certain skills that can only be learned by socializing and playing. In this regard, the Rotary Club of Edmonton in Canada outfitted several schools with playgrounds here in Belize. Today, St. Luke Methodist Primary School was …

AG says PUP’s protest was Politricks
On Monday, the Peoples United Party area representatives and standard bearers marched at the Belize City office for the Vital Statistics Unit. The slow pace of the unit to process death certificates and birth papers are well known to be the one of the slowest processes and congested spaces you’ll ever meet in any government …

Deputy PM says Bishop made the right to remove Smalls
1517, the priest and scholar Martin Luther nailed a piece of paper to a church door containing the 95 revolutionary opinions that would begin the Protestant Reformation. In a modern age, Luther’s 95 Theses would have been posted on the internet. And in a similar fashion, on February 13, 2019, the Most Reverend Barry C. …

If a priest breaks the law, he will be prosecuted
We asked the Attorney General, Mike Peyrefitte if the various religious institutions should inform the country regarding allegations made about members of the clergy before shipping them to Belize. He said the church’s decision to recall Father Smalls has nothing to do with the government. But if a priest breaks the law, he will be …

Government crafting cyber bullying legislation
In addition to the student, a teacher in Orange Walk was also asked by her administration to leave the school after intimate images of her were also publicized on social media that is also in addition to several other cases in the past few months. That is why there has been several calls by members …

Education Minister Speaks about Wesley Student Situation
A high school student of Wesley has been out of class since a video of her engaging in sexual activity in her school uniform was dispersed on social media. According to attorney Audrey Matura, the teen’s family has asked her to have time to deal with the trauma. This Friday Matura has received a permit …

Stake Bank Ground Breaking
take Bank is a project that had as many twists and turns in its development as any Disney themed ride. The project was given parliamentary approval in 2014. The exclusivity issue for the Fort Street Tourism Village was an issue, but that had been resolved. Therefore in August, 2017, the Government signed “Definitive Agreement” with the Feinstein Group to build the Stake Bank Cruise Docking Facility. The developer Mike Feinstein

A blood drive for the south
There is a planned blood drive for southern Belize. Toledo Correspondent, Paul Mahung has the details. Paul Mahung: “ A blood drive event due to not having surplus blood in store for emergency is planned in Punta Gorda. Organizer of the event is the Belize Red Cross acting Chairperson Andrea Coc.” Andrea Coc: “The Belize …

Fire Management in Terrestrial areas
Members of the Nature Conservancy in the United States are in the Toledo District working with locals on fire management. Nature Conservancy manages protected areas throughout the US and are collaborating with Thomas Gomez and Sons with an objective to protect areas from forest fires. Toledo Correspondent, Paul Mahung, met with the delegation and filed …

Imer Makes it Rain millions, again and again
Yesterday we told you of the nineteen million dollar contract that was awarded to Imer Hernandez for the rehabilitation of section three of the George Price Highway. While Hernandez is no stranger to the media and neither are contract awards from the Government of Belize, it did beg the question, ‘why is he still allowed …

Police destroy large cache of drugs collected in the Belize District
The Police Department destroyed a large cache of drugs today. The routine process is one that should be held every six months by the various formations. Today’s destruction was executed by the formations in Regions one, two and three of the Belize District. It does not include drugs confiscated by the San Pedro and Caye …

The Reporter

Suspected Drug Plane Landed Late Monday Night
The Burnt Remains Of A Suspected Drug Plane Was Found Tuesday Morning Feb. 19th. By Police Near Blue Creek. Information on a suspected drug plane which landed behind Blue Creek on Monday night is still not conclusive, but we can tell you that “all we have been able to confirm is that no drugs were found when authorities got to the scene Tuesday morning, and that aviation fuel was left behind”.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Ministry of Health launches five-year human resource strategic plan
Today, the Ministry of Health (MOH) unveiled its Human Resources for Universal Health Strategic Plan for 2019-2024. The plan, entitled “A more efficient and robust health workforce by 2024,” focuses on […]

Thieves take over $1,500 in household items
Police are investigating a burglary that occurred in Belize city. A woman reported to police […]

Authorities find burn remains of suspected drug plane
After weeks of suspected drug plane sightings, police have found the burnt remains of a small […]

Government warns of water shortage in Rural Belize
The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development today informed residents of Corozalito, St. Ann’s, Santana […]

BNTU to host ICJ educational forum
The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) will host an education forum on the issue of […]

Belizeans, Imagine you just E-voted?
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize […]

National Garifuna Council engages in ICJ education campaign
The National Garifuna Council today issued a statement informing that it has embarked on an […]

NCFC warns sharing child pornography can lead to imprisonment
With the increased circulation of nudes and revenge porn recently, several entities have stepped to […]

Wanted Mexican fugitive found money laundering in Belize
A former public officer who worked in Quintana Roo, Mexico is in hot water. He […]

Roy Lord’s murder believed to be case of mistaken identity, says family
Yesterday we reported on the death of Lords Bank villager, Roy Gilbert Lord, 31. He […]

Jamar “Hungry” Neal and Kerun Miguel remanded to prison for armed robbery
Last Thursday we reported an armed robbery at Kum Hua Shop on Daly Street in […]

Blogs

Update On the Road North
My usual trip to town (from 7 miles north) was taking about 50 minutes. 7 miles! So I am BEYOND excited to see that repair work has started again. It started about a week ago…and has made its way down from NORTH. Currently at about 5 miles north – around Mata Chica Resort and Rojo Lounge and heading south at about 1/2 – 3/4 miles a day. It’s like Christmas in February. And I’ll add my 2 cents because…well…that’s what I do. This really needs to be done twice a year. The last 5 or 6 months have been rough on everyone – tourists driving to Secret Beach or to resorts north and to residents up my way.

International Sourcesizz

8 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About the Great Blue Hole
To access it, you must travel by boat from islands and port cities that are more than an hour and a half away by boat. It’s isolated and remote, but it draws dozens of curious observers every day. The Blue Hole is more than 300 meters (984 feet) across and 125 meters (410 feet deep). For comparison, an American football field is 360 feet long, including both end zones. Two Boeing 747 aircrafts could fit in the Blue Hole, with room to spare. When you travel to snorkel or dive the Great Blue Hole, you won’t be disappointed to know what you’ll have plenty of other dive sites along the way. That’s because the Blue Hole is part of a larger reef system, which is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hole itself lies near the center of Lighthouse Reef, an atoll that is the easternmost part of the barrier reef system.

Belize: Human rights advocate wants allegations against priest further investigated
Human rights advocate, Audrey Matura, says the decision by a United States newspaper to include the name of a Belizean priest in a published list of 42 Roman Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse of children should be further investigated. “We got to break the silence. I think there is some truth to something happening and we cannot pretend we are ostrich and bury our head in the sand and pretend that it is not happening. It is happening,” said Matura, who is also an attorney.

The Creation of the Blue Hole 3D Sonar Ma
The new year has brought a time for reflection as Aquatica Submarines celebrates a highly successful expedition to the Blue Hole of Belize. Spending almost three weeks onsite from 27 November to 13 December 2018, the team was able to safely conduct over 20 dives into the Blue Hole taking a variety of people down to experience its splendor. The world was able to share in this experience through a two-hour live broadcast from the Blue Hole on The Discovery Channel that featured Sir Richard Branson, Fabien Cousteau and Aquatica’s Chief Pilot, Erika Bergman. The team also supported the production of a forthcoming documentary featuring the Expedition by INE Entertainment, to be released in late spring 2019.

Five Facts About Caribbean Food Security
According to the FAO, between 2005 and 2017, the proportion of undernourished persons in the Caribbean region declined from 23.3% to 16.5%. Given this success in meeting global hunger targets and based on projections for lower food prices and rising incomes, the United States Department of Agriculture has predicted that food security in the Caribbean will improve over the next decade. Although heartening, these numbers mask a case of extreme vulnerability, both from the perspective of public health and the economy. For example, while it is extremely promising that countries like Barbados have a rate of undernourishment of less than 5% (FAO) it must also be noted that Barbados has the highest prevalence of diabetes in the Americas, and double the world’s affliction rate.

Videos

  • ICJ Referendum Educational Session, 38min.

  • Diving in Belize with Amigos Del Mar, 12min.

  • Wil & Dale - Old Belize, 4min. Ramon's Village San Pedro, Belize 11/27/18

  • An ocelot investigates one of our motion-triggered video cameras at Mayflower Bocawina National Park., 1/2min.

  • The Economic Development Council - Business Forum, 36min. The Economic Development Council is hosting its signature event. The Business Forum gives the private-sector an audience with the Prime Minister to table and directly address business climate concerns and recommendations toward an improved service delivery by the government to the business community. This year's theme is: "Embracing Innovation for Economic Prosperity. Our guest shared more about the objectives of the forum. On our couch: Ishmael Quiroz- Executive Director, Economic Development Council. Linnar Viik- Director of the Smart Government Program, E Gov Academy of Estonia. Glynis Alexander- Tam - General Manager of Info Link Services Ltd of Trinidad & Tobago.

  • The Child Development Foundation recently celebrated its 10th Anniversary, 34min. The Child Development Foundation recently celebrated its 10th Anniversary. The organization has been doing work to help educate about the rights of children and helping families to learn how to protect them from all abuse and harm. We spoke with their representatives about the impact the organization has had as well as future plans to expand their reach. On set: Diana Shaw - Founder, CDF Belize. Verlie Lamb - Project Coordinator, CDF Belize.

  • The Belize Experience, 5min. Easily one of the best countries I have ever been to. I will never forget this trip because of the beautiful landscapes and memories with family. From swimming with sharks to enjoying the sunrise, this trip was insane.

  • Police Check Point, 54min.
  • 0 109 Read More
    Belize District
    Yesterday at 12:06 PM
    Kids Zone at the Street Art Fest

    Belize City's Child Advisory Body would like to invite everyone to their Kids Zone at the Street Art Fest. There will be FREE Kitemaking and Face painting and Trampoline jumping.

    Also come sign up for our 9th March Kite Contest!
    Date: Saturday February 23rd, 2019
    Time: 2:00pm - 6:00 pm
    Location: Bishop Street (Next to Scotiabank)

    [Linked Image]
    2 180 Read More
    Food & Recipes
    Yesterday at 11:26 AM

    The Glut of Potato Supply in the Country

    Turning to glut in potato supply in the country.… The Chief Agriculture Officer, Andrew Harrison says that Belizeans consume over three point five million pounds of potato annually; one hundred thousand pounds weekly.  And the production of red potatoes is more than consumption.  P.U.P. area rep and shadow agriculture minister, Jose Abelardo Mai, has a different view. He says that the ministry is responsible for the surplus in the fields, which could eventually lead to farmers losing on their investments. But Minister of Agriculture, Godwin Hulse says that the issues are only being addressed under the U.D.P. administration and the agricultural sector is booming.

    Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture

    “What the release says is accurate. The potatoes produced up north is a much smaller percentage of the total national consumption and production. This ministry has sat with potato producers, before my time and since my time, to try to get this to come to a balance. The problem is one, we don’t have the necessary storage and harvests come in at the same time. But remember that we also have to balance consumption with production and you can’t have Belizean people calling for we have a shortage of potato and then we have a glut. So we try to even that out and that is what the ministry has been doing. So I do not at all weigh in on this thing that it is the ministry’s fault. The farmers we have met with; we’ve spoke to them. One of the things I will say is we are not going to get into this control of price and control; this is a commercial activity. The same way we have been doing with cane farmers. This is a commercial activity and the more people recognize that, the better we will be. You don’t want government in the mix; you want government in terms of sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues. You also want government to do certain facilitation and the ministry has. We’ve produced markets; we are doing now a complete census around the country—I think you are all familiar with that to know who’s where, doing what, when and so—so that we can address these kind of issues. The ministry and the C.E.O. especially have been very active in trying to create a virtual market place and using technology so that we would know who is preparing what, when, what quality, etc. and be able to get to the market.”

    Channel 5

    2 147 Read More
    Food & Recipes
    Yesterday at 11:24 AM

    The local sugar industry is transitioning from a raw sugar producer to a manufacturer of direct consumption sugar. It’s a move that American Sugar Refinery, started almost two years ago in anticipation of the change in the E.U. Sugar Regime in respect of preferential prices for the Caribbean, including Belize.  The industry is one of the main productive sectors in the country, being the premiere source of employment and economic activity in the north. The sector directly and indirectly employs fifteen percent of the country’s population and represents approximately one-third of the exports. Today, I.D.B. signed an investment agreement with A.S.R./B.S.I. that will allow B.S.I. to diversify its export markets and strengthen the industry’s value chain. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

    Duane Moody, Reporting

    Inside the conference room at the Belize Sugar Industry’s factory plant in Orange Walk, American Sugar Refinery and the Inter-American Development Bank, through its I.D.B. Invest Programme, officially signed off on an investment agreement that will secure the future of the industry. For some time now, following the discontinuance of preferential prices by the European Union as well as the continued surplus of sugar in the world markets, the millers have had to find alternatives to offset the price cut and to stay competitive in the region.

    Aitor Ezcurra, Corporates Division Chief, IDB Invest

    “The investment that we are doing fits perfectly in two important pillars of the IDB Invest Strategy. Frist the efforts that we are making to support the small island countries; this is very important for us to ensure that between the Latin America and Caribbean region, small island countries are also supported by us. And second because the effort we are making in working with small and medium size enterprises and through anchor companies like B.S.I.  The proposed operation supports investments, access to financing, economic and knowledge transfer to agriculture located in the northern rural areas of the country. The financing consists of up to fifteen million dollars to B.S.I.”

    ASR’s VP of International Relations, Mac McLachlan says that this is phase two of the transition period for the industry, having now maintained improved dialogue with farmers and other stakeholders in the business of sugar.The project will build the production capacity of the mill that will translate into higher earnings for B.S.I., benefiting the more than five thousand cane farmers. The timeframe for this roll out is eighteen months after which the cane farmers and the millers will be able to fully explore the exportation of value added sugar.

    Mac McLachlan, VP, International Relations, ASR Group

    “What we need to do to ensure that we are going to be viable, sustainable and profitable moving into the future is to ensure that we’re producing a product that has a higher value than the traditional raw sugar that is being produced in CARICOM countries. In the past, during the E.U. Sugar Regime, there was preferential pricing for raw sugar in the E.U. and that was the catalyst for mills making raw sugar. But as that’s fallen away now, following changes in the E.U. Regime from October 2017, sugar businesses across the ACP are looking at how they can add value to their product and that’s exactly what we are doing here. We are going through a transformational phase where we are moving from a raw sugar producer to a food grade sugar producer—that is sugars that doesn’t then need to be refined elsewhere. And it gives it a higher value.”

    The I.D.B. is known for investments in many programmes including education, infrastructure and tourism, but its mandate now extends to agriculture. Country representative, Doctor Cassandra Rogers says that the investment is in line with the bank’s mission to grow Belize’s economy and the private sector.

    Dr. Cassandra Rogers, I.D.B. Country Representative, Belize

    “The current country strategy, one of its main objectives, is to promote private sector-led growth. In other words, our and our objective is to contribute to the growth of the economy while at the same time improving the quality of lives of Belizeans. And so this project is very relevant; it is front and centre and it’s a win-win situation.”

    Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture

    “This is very significant because if you wind back the clock a bit to 2012 when we were really struggling and I was on the board then, we were trying to at least secure some sort of investment into B.S.I. to save the industry. The cane farmers were growing cane, but without a processing facility…that would have been no use and we were fortunate to get A.S.R. on board. But world prices are low and the E.U. preferential has eroded so they are now looking at direct consumption sugar, sugar on your table and that’s where we are.”

    Channel 5

    0 23 Read More
    Nature
    Yesterday at 11:19 AM

    We have reported on a number of Ya'axche Conservation Trust initiatives. They are well known for their work with the Trio Farmers Association in cacao harvesting in the Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve. Well, the group has been suffering in silence as squatters take over the land in the reserve. It has been happening for years and it is only getting worse. The Trust invited the media to get a first hand look at the real situation at the reserve. Courtney Weatherburne reports.

    Courtney Weatherburne
    "We are in an area within the Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve, 7 miles from Trio Village. It buffers the Bladen Nature Reserve and Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. It's the only reserve in the country that has agro-forestry concession. But over the last 3 years' squatters have settled in this area and their activities are a direct threat to that concession agreement. As you can see here they have planted plaintains and pineapples. Cattle ranching is also a major problem and what's even more disturbing is that nothing has been done to get these squatters out."

    Courtney Weatherburne, reporting
    And it's the Lands department's responsibility to regulate the de-reserved area which is only one section of the 34,000-acre reserve. But the squatters don't respect any part it. They have invaded and illegally cultivated over 3,000 acres of land over the past 3 years.

    The Yax'che Conservation Trust team took us on a tour today and the severity of the encroachments were striking.

    Christina Garcia, Executive Director, Ya'axche Conservation Trust
    "You have milpa farming, you have burning occurring, the usage of pesticides and chemicals that drift into the area and now you have a problem with the cattle coming into the area and sometimes some of these cattle escape and they go into the agro-forestry concession and trample some of the plants and eat some of the plants. So it is a very serious issue that we have within the area. As you can see behind me there is a fencing that falls within the river. Basically, from what I gathered is that the farmer wants to put in sheep and cows within that area and he doesn't have an area where the cows could actually go and drink water, so he is using this to allow the cow to come down and drink water. But at the same time posing a threat to the water here, because now you have an issue of contamination and then you have an issue of people that depend on this water shed and this source that lives down stream for their own consumption. So obviously this person is not really thinking about the consequences that the fencing has on the river and on the people that depend on it."

    "They actually have people that come and look after the cattle and you also have people that lives in the area. There are houses of people that lives in the area to look after the cattle."

    All this unregulated activity threatens the livelihood of these Trio farmers. They plant and harvest cacao and other crops in the area under the concession agreement.

    Christina Garcia, Executive Director, Ya'axche Conservation Trust
    "The concession was established in June 2015 and its a formal agreement that we have with the forest department, Ya'axche and the Trio Farmers Cacao Growers Association, which is an association of 31 farmers that we work with. Basically, what the farmers are practicing here is agro-forestry and they are planting cacao within a 936 acres' plot. Its sub-divided into an agro-forestry plots, it's also sub-divided into conservation zone and an annual crop section area where the farmers produced plaintains, vegetables and other crops. The main think that they are producing right now is cacao. So it is impacting the livelihoods of these farmers in terms of the production of cacao. Also, the farmers have to go through a certification process every year with their agro-forestry concession and that certification isn't cheap, but again, the certification requires certain standards and certain criteria for the farmers to meet. For example, you cannot use any chemicals, if there is a drift in chemicals it affects the certification that the farmers received. That is really the challenge that we face."

    The Ya'ache Conservation Trust has been trying to engage the Lands and Forestry Department but Executive Director Christina Garcia says all their requests and suggestions have gone unanswered.

    Christina Garcia
    "We have not received any response from the lands department as to why they haven't move and do something about what is happening within the area. Ya'axche, like I mentioned has gone to the extent of providing a land use plan, that basically outlines where your buffer zone should go, some of the practices that could be used within the area, but that has gone on deaf ears and its really frustrating over the past 3 years, because we have farmers that are doing best agricultural practices within an area and then you have the de-reservation that buffers that area where you see all these illegal activities occurring. So it has been frustrating not only for Ya'axche, but the Trio Farmers Cacao Growers Association that are trying to make a livelihood out of the agro-forestry concession. One thing that we are asking the lands department to do is to place buffers zones. The buffer zones are very necessary to get some sort of control. Secondly, we know that the area has not been parcelled out to anyone, so we are asking them to outline to us what is the plan for parcelling within the area, because then we have incidents of one individual just grabbing hundreds of acres of land. Is that really fair to the distribution that they had intended in the beginning? I don't think that is fair. So they need to put in a buffer zone and they need to really decide what is it that is going to happen with this acreage of land. The other option they can do is to develop plan - follow the plan that Ya'axche shared with them to implement some of these sustainable practices within the area, because like it or not, this is a reserve. There are certain things that affects a protected area and we are seeing the effects of that already. There must be some level of control placed, if not, we will definitely lose this forest reserve."

    Courtney Weatherburne
    "It's a grave situation here and the Ya'axche Conservation Trust is demanding action now."

    Encroachment Taking Its Toll on Wildlife

    All this activity is also snuffing out the possibility of having a rich wildlife population in the reserve. Community Outreach Director at Ya'axche Conservation Trust told us more about this reality.

    Gustavo Requena, Community Outreach and Livelihoods Director
    "Also the great potential for other income generating activities such as ecotourism in this area, because there is a lot of biodiversity. Prior to having this concession, we had timber extraction and that was a direct threat to the biodiversity. Now, because of the sustainable agricultural practices that are being implemented in this area, we have the scarlet macaw, tapir, jaguar, monkeys - all coming back and that in itself I think highlights the full potential of what this concession, what this model can do for the rest of protected areas in this country."

    The Trust hopes that the government takes a serious look at this concession model and implements it in other forest reserves since it has been a success in Maya Mountain North, of course this is aside from the squatters situation that the Trust hopes will now be addressed.

    Channel 7

    0 51 Read More
    Orange Walk
    Yesterday at 11:16 AM

    Turning now to other news, another drug plane has landed in Belize - and when police found it yesterday, not much was left; it had been burned to nothing. This one landed in the northwestern Orange Walk District, near Tres Leguas - a very short distance from Mexico - we are told.

    Police say they visited a farm road about 18 kilometers Southeast of Blue Creek Community, and found the charred remains of a single-engine aircraft. Nearby police found 3 aircraft seats, three 50 liter containers and twelve 20 liter containers full - but full of aviation fuel. We are told these items were concealed in the bushes - along with landing lights.

    But no one was found in the area - and police don't have much to go on - as to whether it was dropping off or picking up drugs.

    Channel 7

    0 46 Read More
    Belize District
    Yesterday at 10:54 AM

    Stake Bank is a project that had as many twists and turns in its development as any Disney themed ride. The project was given parliamentary approval in 2014. The exclusivity issue for the Fort Street Tourism Village was an issue, but that had been resolved. Therefore in August, 2017, the Government signed “Definitive Agreement” with the Feinstein Group to build the Stake Bank Cruise Docking Facility. The developer Mike Feinstein had received financing from Atlantic Bank and a consortium of international investors for the world class facility with two docks that would accommodate 4 Voyager class vessels and feature an 80 room resort and a marina, a theme park with water rides, a roller coaster and aquarium spread over 17 acres. At the time a Government press release stated that at least 500 Belizeans would be employed by the investment which was then estimated at 50 Million US dollars. Fast-forward to today’s groundbreaking that featured bipartisan support that would make the ICJ Referendum jealous, the Stakebank groundbreaking ceremony had the attendance of former Minister of Finance Ralph Fonseca; Leader of the Opposition John Briceno; UDP Senator Aldo Salazar; Attorney General Mike Peyrefitte; Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber; Pup Cayo South’s Julius Espat; Minister of Trade and Investment Tracy Taegar Panton, and Caribbean Area Shores Representative Kareem Musa. Mike Feinstein said that by the time the project is completed, the cost would be up to 82 million US dollars.

    Mike Feinstein: “The Bankers for this project is being led by the Atlantic Bank Group. The Atlantic Bank is the lead organizer for the money for this project which is $67 million US on the island for a total of about $82 million before this project is done. This again will be 95 percent Belizean and from here the tenuring has been reduced by 40 percent going over to North Round Caye in much calmer waters, in a much more stable scenario. The terminals will be there, parking for 200 buses. Nobody will be left out of that one. Inside the terminal we make space for everybody so again all Belizean so the proposals is to do a causeway from Belize City to North Ground which is two miles. The causeway from here to North ground I have a feeling that will not be necessary but I will have to do what I have to do but the tenuring will work just fine, now reduced by 40%.

    Jose Sanchez: “So have you completed all the EIA’s, gotten approval from NEAC, did your consultation. Did you expect any issues with environmentalist or people concerned about the environment.

    Mike Feinstein: “Well this one is a done deal. North ground has full environmental clearances, the Cabinet sub committee has approved it. We are working out a few technicalities on moving forward with that project but there is no hold up with this one.

    John Allyn VP EDSA INC.:  ‘We are Resort designers. We do destination Resort design all over the world. We have worked in six continents for over 50 years.

    Jose Sanchez: “Okay so what do you expect to do in relation to State Bank?”

    John Allyn VP EDSA INC.: “Well we want to create an experience that is unique and I have worked on projects in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and one thing that struck me from day one is that it is extremely unusual to find a place in Belize that offers everything. You have centuries of culture, you have history going back to the Mayans, natural beauty. Opportunities for all kinds of different things and you can find elements of those things all over the place but it is hard to find a place that has the potential for everything so I am very excited to find out what this can be. I think this project can become a gateway to the world, to the rest of Belize and to what Belzie has to offer but what we are trying to do is create a private pristine tranquil environment. Guests can get off the ship, they can spend the day in snorkel lagoon, they have opportunities to relax, to enjoy a water park. They can shop, dine and have fun and if go no further they can have an amazing time but the wonderful thing is you are literally minutes from the mainland. You’ve got everything that Belize has to offer there then you are literally minutes from offshore experiences, the best diving and fishing in the world so for guest experience that combination is phenomenal so I really think this project is going to be great for Belize.”

    The project could be completed in two years.

    LOVEFM


    Finally, A Stake Bank Groundbreaking

    We first reported in the possibility of a cruise port with a docking facility at the Stake Bank Caye in 2006. It's an island owned by Mike Feinstein which is 6 miles off the Belize City Coast - and it promises to be the first Cruise Port in the Belize District with a berthing facility - meaning that cruise ships can pull right up and there would be no need for tendering.

    But the promise has been lost in legal, political and financing battles for 13 years - and for a long time, it seemed to be a sure thing, but just never materialized. Matter of fact, there was even an act of parliament with bipartisan support to push it through...but until today, there were no shovels in the ground.

    But, this morning, ground was actually broken on the mega million dollar project which promises to re-map the face of cruise tourism in the Belize District. Daniel Ortiz reports:...

    Daniel Ortiz reporting
    Government Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, the Mayor of Belize City, and even past ministers of Government were among the VIP's who all travelled this morning to Stake Bank Caye.

    To participate in the ground breaking ceremony for the Stake Bank Cruise Port project.

    Developer Mike Feinstein, and his family enterprise, the Feinstein Group, went through quite a struggle, cutting through executive red tape for years, and they even had to win a legal battle against the owners of FSTV to make this day a reality.

    Mike Feinstein - Developer, Stake Bank Cruise Port
    "It has a very long time, but as I told one of the ministers, I said, I have a tiger by the tail, and I refuse to let it go. It will turn around and bite my ass (beep out "ass") but, I rest my case."

    The Stake Bank Cruise Port should be up and running in about 2 years from today.

    Troy Gabb - Project Manager, Stakebank
    "In 18 to 24 months, these cruise vessels will now be able to turn off their engines, while in the Belize harbor, and additionally, the older passengers can now be encouraged to disembark, as well as majority of the cruise. This is not an option presently available to the cruise lines. Since the project is to construct the docking facilities which was announced back in August, many cruise lines that do not presently visit Belize, such as Holland America, and MSC etc., have formally expressed interest in obtaining docking space, so that they can now place Belize on their future itineraries."

    Mike McFadden - Consultant
    "We will start seeing many brands calling Belize that have not called before. My discussions with Disney, with MSC, with Viking, with Virgin, a brand new cruise ship under Sir Richard Brandson, are all very excited about this project, and most especially that they can come to a dock."

    And that's because Stake Bank will become the second berthing and docking facility in Belize that can accommodate the latest models of cruise ships used by the worlds biggest cruise lines.

    Mike McFadden - Consultant
    "3 weeks ago, I attended a Florida Caribbean Cruise Association conference and presented this project to a number of cruise executives. The response was very positive, and 1 clear message was repeated over and over. The Western Caribbean needs a more dedicated cruise berths and port infrastructures to accommodate the latest generation of cruise ships to be deployed to the region. So, please get this project up and running ASAP. We heard that over and over again."

    Developer Mike Feinstein now has the Government's full support build this facility.

    Hon. Michael Peyrefitte - Attorney General
    "Brother Mike, you have more bipartisan support than when we proposed to legalize 10 grams or less for marijuana. You have even have an Imam and a catholic priest."

    Mike Feinstein - Developer, Stake Bank Cruise Port
    "The bankers for this project is being led by the Atlantic Bank group. The Atlantic Bank is the lead organizer for the money for this project which is 67 million US dollars on the island and a total of 82 million before this project is done."

    Hon. Michael Peyrefitte - Attorney General
    "The time has come for Belize and Belizeans to stop thinking small. We have to accept that we have the ability to do anything on a world class level, like anybody else in the world. Brother Mike, you are extremely brave, and adventurous to start an investment like this from this stage. And the vision that you have for this place only an aggressive entrepreneur like yourself could see it, could envision it, could want it, and are willing to work so hard to get it."

    And even though He's is a homegrown developer, Feinstein isn't compromising on what his vision for Stake Bank is.

    John Allen - VP, EDSA INC
    "What we're trying to is create a private, pristine, tranquil environment. Guests can get off their ship. They can spend the day here snorkel the Lagoon. They have opportunities to relax, to enjoy a water park. They can shop, dine, have fun, and if they go no further, they'll have an amazing time. But, the wonderful thing is you're literally minutes from the mainland. You have everything that Belize has to offer there. You're literally minutes to off-shore experiences, the best diving and fishing in the world. So, from a guest experience, that combination is phenomenal. So, I really think this project it gonna be great for Belize."

    Feinstein says that Stake Bank will also make space for local tour operators to conduct business.

    Mike Feinstein
    "When we did the FSTV, it was called BTV at the time, Belize Tourism Village. It was 95% Belizean owned, all the stores and operating everything inside that village. Since we sold it, it became 95% foreign. This, again, will be 95% Belizean. And from here, the tendering has been reduced by 40%, going over to North Drowned Caye, in much calmer waters, a much more stable scenario. The terminals will be there, parking for 200 buses. Nobody will be left out of that one. We'll make space for everybody."

    As viewers may be aware, the Stake Bank project has two major parts to it: Stake Bank and North Drown Caye. Mike Feinstein told reporters that there are some "technicalities" being worked out for North Drowned Caye.

    Channel 7

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