Today's Belize News: November 22, 2018 - 11/22/18 12:55 PM
I will not do the news tomorrow, I will return Saturday morning...
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
Suspected shooter Leon Walford arraigned for Lamont Lipka murder
Police apprehended Leon Walford for the murder of Lamont ‘Monty’ Edward Lipka on Sunday, November 18th in Belize City, after being at large for weeks. Walford was jointly charged for Lipka’s murder on November 5th, along with Tracy Betancourt, while he was still a fugitive of the law. Following Betancourt’s arraignment, police intensified their search for Walford, and after being detained was arraigned at the San Pedro Magistrate Court on Wednesday, November 21st for murder and conspiracy to commit murder. No plea was taken, bail was denied, and he was remanded to Belize Central Prison until his next court date on January 30, 2019. Betancourt is expected to stand trial the same day.
Councillor Severo Guerrero and Minister Manuel Heredia Jr. among those who have not filed assets to Integrity Commission
At the end of August 2018, the Integrity Commission published a notice in the Government Gazette naming persons in public offices who have yet to declare their financials for 2018 as requested by law. That list included 42 public officials from the National Assembly and City and Town Councils that have violated the law. Among those named are Councillor Severo Guerrero from The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) and Area Representative for Belize Rural South and Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Honourable Manuel Heredia Jr. Based on the set regulations, the mentioned officials have until the end of the year after being elected to submit their declarations, with a possible extension up to March of the following year. In a phone interview with The San Pedro Sun, on Tuesday, November 13th, the Integrity Commission briefly mentioned that once a public servant fails to submit their assets on time, they are penalized with a $100 per day fine.
Her Majesty The Queen recognises Belize volunteer with Commonwealth Points of Light award
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has today recognised Grace Flowers, representing Belize, as the 79th Commonwealth Point of Light in honour of her exceptional voluntary service tackling gun violence and crime in Belize City. Grace Flowers, coordinates and leads the ‘One Struggle Group’, a support network for those affected by gun violence in Belize City. Having grown up in one of the most violent gang areas in Belize, losing two brothers and a nephew to gun violence, Grace is a prominent figure in the community leading change for a more secure and safe environment. Grace acts a coordinator for the police in her neighbourhood, leads regular meetings and ensures that strong police and public relations are built. Grace’s positive influence has helped hundreds of young people to stay away from gang involvement, resulting in a dramatic decrease of crime in the area..
San Pedro celebrates Garifuna Settlement Day 2018
The annual Garifuna Settlement Day Celebrations were observed on the island during the long holiday weekend from Sunday, November 18th through Monday, November 19th at Central Park. The traditional event, which honors the arrival of the Garifuna people to Belize in the 1800’s was held under the theme ‘Lawanserun Garifunaduau: Hadasi Sun Garinagu- Garifuna Progress: A Task for All Garinagu!’ The San Pedro Branch of the National Garifuna Council (NGC) organized several activities involving drumming, cultural dances and the anticipated re-enactment of the arrival of the Garinagu, known as Yurumein.
Misc Belizean Sources
T'oone Masehualoon's presentation of the ICJ Forum
Congratulations to T'oone Masehualoon's presentation of the ICJ Forum last week Friday at the House of Culture. Thank you to our community members who attended and contributed to the conversation of making an informed decision to vote yes or no in April's referendum.
Ascenthium and SonicBrew Rocking Soul
Ascenthium and Sonicbrew will be jamming at the Soul Project on Friday. They'll make up for the short set times at Metal Haven, and rock the night away. "This Friday @ The Soul Project we bring to you an exclusive set performance alongside our Friends Sonicbrew Ten bucks, fine wine, great rock n roll and for every entrance YOU get a chance to win 1 whole freaking Turkey! come support us and see you there."
Mexico Sales Presentation in Mexico City
Belize Tourism Board
Peccary Closed hunting season
From June to November, it is ILLEGAL to hunt peccaries – both the Collared Peccary (photographed here) and the White-lipped Peccary. Closed hunting seasons are set up to allow game species time to reproduce so that they can continue being around us. Hunting in-season is allowed with proper permits from the Belize Forest Department. The wild places managed by Ya’axché – Golden Stream Corridor Preserve, Bladen Nature Reserve and Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve – are important forested homes for peccaries. Ya’axché rangers are continuously patrolling these protected areas.
Ek Chuaj, also known as Ek Chuah, Ekchuah, representation of the Cacao. As well as a patron of merchants.
48th Meeting of Ministers of Education and Culture of CECC/SICA
This morning, the Culture Ministers from SICA member states visited the San Pedro House of Culture as a part of the 48th Meeting of Ministers of Education and Culture of CECC/SICA. The group enjoyed an art exhibition, cultural performances, local dishes and local sweets, and a trip to the craft market. The meeting officially kicked off with an opening reception at the Mahogany Bay Resort in San Pedro Town
BTEC successfully completes another round of Job Preparedness Trainings
The Belize Training and Employment Centre (BTEC), a unit of the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), has successfully completed its Waitstaff, Housekeeping and Bartending Trainings which provided participants with the necessary skills to equip them for employment in the hospitality industry. These three-week trainings, which ran from October 29th– November 16th, were held simultaneously and covered soft skills, customer service as well as industry specific technical skills where trainees were taught the essentials of perfecting their trade.
Tourism Arrivals to Belize Continue to Register Impressive Growth
The latest statistics show that tourism arrivals to Belize continue to record impressive growth. There was a 16.6% and 19.9% growth in overnight and cruise ship arrivals respectively after completion of the third quarter of the year. This means that Belize continues to be a popular vacation destination in Central America among those seeking exceptional adventure and relaxation. In September 2018, over 21,000 overnight visitors arrived in Belize. This represented a 10.1% increase in visitors over September 2017. At the end of the third quarter of 2018, overnight visitors grew by 16.6% over the previous year.
Sir. Shaun Stewart gets thank you from FCD
FCD presented to BATSUB’s Sir. Shaun Stewart a thank you Award for the two week training support given to FCD Park Rangers by the 1SCOTS. The new skills will enable for an improved Chiquibul conservation program.
Estel's now open for dinner!
We would like to inform our customers that we are now open ffor dinner from Wednesday to Saturday up to 9pm. Join us for happy hour from 5-7 for $4 beer and $3 local rum drink, panty ripper included!!!
Woman Killed, Parents and Sister Held As Suspects
A 26 year old mother is dead tonight - and Police in Independence village have detained her sister, and her parents as suspects. Last night, Keidi Yesenia Ramirez was taken in an unresponsive state to the Independence Polyclinic. She was pronounced dead and the Doctor showed police injuries to her neck, both hands and feet. Police went to her home and spoke to her family and learned about the strange circumstances of her death. Reports form family members say there was an angry dispute, and Ramirez had allegedly been drinking. It seems that to restrain her, her own family tied her down, gagged, and possibly suffocated her.
Months Later, US Restauranteur’s Killer Charged
Police have been actively searching for murder suspect Leon Walford for months now - and he was finally arrested on Sunday in Belize City. He was taken to san Pedro where he was arraigned for the murder of Lamont Lipka this afternoon. Walford is believed to be the gunman who walked into Lipka's restaurant and bar, Tropicana in May and shot him dead. As Lipka fell, the gunman walked up to his body, stood over him and fired five more shots to his head.
Woman Dies From Anxiety Attack While In Police Custody
A 35 year old mother of one is dead tonight - and her family says it's because police mishandled her anxiety attack. Yesterday afternoon at 1:00, Ruth Ferguson was at work at Stella Maris school - where she has been teaching for 11 years. That's when two police officers - acting as process servers - went to the school to pick her up - reportedly for a debt she owed to a loan shark. Apparently the cops had a bench warrant to imprison her for 6 weeks if she did not pay. Now, to get a sense of the full story you have to understand how police work as process servers. It's basically a side gig - private work for law firms, banks, and loan sharks where the cops use their uniformed authority to effect lawful court orders - mostly on those who have outstanding debts.
Man Knocked Down Cutting Across Highway
A man on bicycle carrying a puppy was knocked down this evening in Belmopan - and both he and the dog went flying to the Hummingbird Highway pavement. It happened at 5:10 pm in front of the Yim Saam building just before the Forest Drive roundabout. Reports from eyewitnesses say that the man was cutting across traffic from one eastbound lane - which was backed up, into the other, westbound lane - which was flowing. As soon as he rode out into the westbound lane, an oncoming Dodge Ram hit him.
A New Way Of Holding Police Accountable
The Ministry of National Security has a new initiative to keep law enforcement honest on the job. It's called the Civilian Complaint Review Committee. The idea is that this group of professionals will be overseeing the resolution of complaints of misbehavior and misconduct against the police, the BDF, and the Coast Guard. It's the brain child of National Security Minister John Saldivar, who wants to restore the confidence that the public has lost in state's formal grievance resolution process. The Ministry wants the public to be confident that if a civilian complains against an officer, that the complaint will be properly pursued.
Saldivar Says Murder Numbers Down Since He Took Over As Min.
During Saldivar's formal address to the public, he referenced his two objectives that he had when the Prime Minister re-appointed him as Minister of National Security earlier this year. One was this committee, and the other was to lower the murder rate, which was on course to becoming one of the deadliest years in Belize. Today, he announced that targeted police initiatives over the last few months have led to a significant reduction of the number of murders. Here's what he had to say on that topic: Hon. John Saldivar - Minister of National Security: "It pleases me to report that since June of this year, we have managed to turn around the rate of murders in the country from 22 about the 2017 figure, where we were in May of this year, to only 1 above the 2017 figure as we stand here today..."
Accident Victim Succumbs
And now we have an update on that accident we reported on at the top of the news. PLUSTV is reporting that the vicim - who was knocked off his bicycle is dead. He was taken via ambulance to the emergency room still breathing, but he succumbed to his injuries shortly after getting there. As we told you - he was knocked off his bicycle by a Dodge Ram pickup as he was cutting through traffic - crossing form one side of the highway to the other - with a puppy in his hand.
Women Workshop Strategies For 16 Days
Gender based violence continues to be a serious problem and the National Women's Commission resumed the annual public awareness campaign to eliminate it with the 16 days of activism which runs from November 25 to December 10th. Today, in preparation, they held a stakeholder consultation to discuss what they can do better to address gender based violence. The Executive Director told us more. Cynthia Williams, Executive Director, National Women's Commission: "Well this morning what the National Women's Commission is doing is holding a national consultation workshop we are bringing in various stakeholders who play a role with the implementation of the National Gender Based Violence Action plan, the plan continues from older plans and what it does is charters the way forward, it is a framework that guides not only the national women's commission, the Ministry of Human Development and other ministries who work in the area of gender based violence so the main goal is the elimination of gender based violence in Belize."
CARICOM Comes To Belize To Learn About Sustainable Energy
The 6th CARICOM Sustainable Energy Forum ended today in Placencia. It started on Sunday and was held under the theme 'Clean Energy, Good Governance & Regulations'. The event is the centerpiece of CARICOM Energy Month - and is held every two years. This year, more than 100 persons from throughout the region participated including Energy Ministers. The Government press office found out more: Devon Gardner, Head of Energy Unit - Caricom Secretariat: "So typically we gather every 2 years to really look at the region in terms of its advantage in respect to renewable energy and energy efficiency, understand what are the things we are doing right, what are the things we are not doing well, look at what the global trends are in terms of emerging technology and practices and then try to figure out how we can re-orientate and realigned our efforts to seek to optimize what it is we are trying to attain in terms of clean energy development."
Finding Central America’s Afro-Descendants
And while that meeting finished today, yesterday Belize along with its SICA partners held a meeting centered on people of afro-descent. It is an interesting topic and from what we gather, it was mainly geared at celebrating the accomplishments of people of African descent around the world. Apart from that, the SICA team will organize initiatives that will promote equality and inclusion among people of African descent. Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Ministry of Foreign Affairs: "Sometimes we tend to think that the people of African descendants are a minority in the world. The truth is that Africans are the second largest population in the world. It's over 1.3 billion Africans lives in Africa. We are not talking about the people of African descendants in Brazil, which has more than Nairobi, Kenya and the rest of us who exist in the Americas in general..."
Man Charged For Shooting Pen Road Resident
Last night, we told you about the failed execution attempt on the life of 18 year-old Stephan Tablada during Garifuna Settlement Day weekend. Police say that the gunman was 25 year-old Joshua Gallego, a resident of Raccoon Street Extension, and tonight he's at the Belize Central Prison. Gallego was arraigned today before Magistrate Emmerson Banner on one count of wounding, and one count of use of deadly means of harm. He pleaded not guilty to the charges, and he was remanded into custody until January 30, 2019.
A Special Gift For Miss Universe Belize
Right now, Jenelli Frazer, the reigning Miss Universe Belize, is making her final preparations to travel to Bangkok, Thailand, where she will compete in the 67th Annual Miss Universe Pageant. She's going up against contestants from countries all over the world, and as part of the pageant, she is required to carry a National Gift, which is representative of her country. NICH has her covered in that area, with a one-of-a-kind neckless and a pair of earrings. It was created by jeweller Khadija Assales, and the materials she used to craft it are unique and valuable. It was made from the shell of the queen conch, and the spiny lionfish.
When It All Falls Down…
A Belize City resident is trying to pick up the pieces tonight after his house fell this morning. Jermaine Martinez who lives on Antelope Street Extension in the Collett Area says he went to the store to buy some medicine - and when he came back, it was "brigi-dim-buf"!: Martinez, who works at the City Council is welcoming donations of clothes or food. You can call him at 637-1322.
Training For Hospitality Careers
44 persons can now start their careers in hospitality. They graduated today from a 3 week BTEC training. We dropped by to find out about the valuable skills the participants got: Vanessa Johnston, Training and Recruitment officers, BTEC: "Well BTEC, the Belize training and employment center conducts these capacity building job preparedness trainings, it usually takes three weeks. This cohort that we are graduating a total of 44, it was in three distinctive technical areas, one which was bartending in association with the bartending association.."
Burned Out on Banak!
And while the man we showed you a few minutes ago came back to find his house tumbling down - a Belize City woman returned from the store to find her house on fire. Shamika Trapp who lives at #4 Banak Street went to the corner store and had to run back home when neighbors told her that her small plywood house was on fire. IT is believes to be electrical.
Teachers Protest at Mount Carmel Primary School in Benque
Day-one of a teachers’ protest at Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Primary School in Benque Viejo Del Carmen occurred today in that western municipality. The sit-out by the forty-one teachers at [...]
Caretaker Hospitalized Following Aggravated Burglary in Ontario
A fifty-five-year-old caretaker is tonight in a critical, but stable condition at the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan, following an early morning attack at a farm in Ontario Village. Simeon [...]
Said Musa Supports Legalization of Marijuana
Former Prime Minister and Fort George Area Representative, Said Musa, supports the legalization of marijuana. The idea was thrown unto the national spotlight by Opposition Leader, John Briceno, in October [...]
Musa to Trump: Don’t Blame Us for Your Drug Problem
In addressing the idea of legalizing marijuana, Prime Minister Dean Barrow touched on the U.S. factor. According to PM Barrow, if marijuana was grown legally in the country, the cartels [...]
Former Prime Minister Supports Postponement of I.C.J. Referendum Date
We also asked Musa about the upcoming April tenth I.C.J. Referendum. Opposition Leader John Briceño has called on the Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, to postpone the referendum for several reasons, [...]
A Civilian Complaint Review Committee to Investigate Cases of Police Misconduct
The Ministry of National Security has formally introduced a new working group headed by retired Commissioner of Police Gerald Westby whose mandate is to assist in the investigation of matters [...]
A Biennial Regional Energy Forum in Placencia
A biennial meeting of the regional energy sector was held in Placencia today, where the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Forum is being hosted. The focus of the gathering is to look [...]
Marked Progress in Renewable Energy
There has been significant progress in the area of renewable energy, where several CARICOM countries have developed strategies to support the development of clean energy. Devon Gardener, Head of [...]
SICA Meets to Discuss People of Afro-Descendants
The Central American Integration System, SICA, of which Belize is presently pro temp chair, met today to discuss the issue of people Afro-descendants. The meeting saw the representation of a [...]
No More Space for Airlines at P.G.I.A.
The Phillip Goldson International Airport is running out of space. This is according to Minister responsible for Civil Aviation, Manuel Heredia Junior. Belize’s only international airport has no more space [...]
DNA Forensic Lab Coming Soon
It shouldn’t take long before the country has a fully functional DNA laboratory. Well, that’s the impression that C.E.O. in the Ministry of National Security George Lovell gave the media [...]
National Security C.E.O. Speaks on Police Officers’ Transfers
Earlier this month, Supreme Court Justice Courtenay Abel dismissed an application for judicial review filed by three police officers who were challenging their transfers from the Orange Walk Police formation. [...]
Glover’s Reef Research Station – a Hot Spot for Marine Research
The Caribbean is one of three major hotspots of marine biodiversity in the world, but its ecosystems are under pressure from over-fishing, climate change, pollution and other impacts. Conservationists and [...]
The Effectiveness of a Short-term Sargassum Solution
In October, the Belize Tourism Board and the Ministry of Tourism revealed their plan to address the massive influx of sargassum in four tourism destinations in Belize. Beaches in San [...]
BTEC Successfully Trains 45 Job Seekers
The Belize Training and Employment Centre, BTEC, was created to prepare individuals with skills in different disciplines so as to provide them a higher chance of being employed. Today, forty [...]
Miss Universe Belize Presented with National Gift
Today, the National Institute of Culture and History presented beauty queen Jenelli Fraser with the national gift to take to the Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok, Thailand. The “national gift” [...]
Miss Universe Belize is Ready for the Competition
Miss Universe Belize Jenelli Fraser will depart Belize on Thursday. She leaves for Los Angeles where she will finalize her wardrobe and do her final preparations, including picking up her [...]
A Home Invasion in Ontario Village
Armed men enter a farm in Ontario Village and held up a group of people, injuring an elderly man. Correspondent Fem Cruz reports. Fem Cruz: “Roaring Creek Police are investigating an aggravated burglary which left 55 year old Simeon Alvarez Sr. a resident of Tea Kettle Village with multiple stab wounds to his head and …
MOUNT CARMEL UNITED IN PROTEST AGAINST TEACHER SERVICES COMMISSION
On the heels of the Belize National Teachers Union Protest in the Capital, the marching fever has taken a stronghold at the Mount Carmel Primary School further west, in Benque. 937 students are out of classes today as their 41 teachers and principal are aiming their anger at the Teachers Service Commission for decisions that …
Unicef holds result-based management workshop
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is looking to see how it can leverage partnerships with its stakeholders in an effort to improve the lives of children in Belize. In this regard, it is holding a three-day result-based management workshop with its partners. Paulette Wade, the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist for UNICEF says …
Civilian Complaint Review Committee appointed to oversee complaints against security forces’ personnel carried through
The Ministry of National Security has appointed a team that should help improve the public’s confidence in the department. Why? The Ministry has appointed and launched the Civilian Complaint Review Committee that will see complaints against police officers, BDF and Coast Guard followed through. The committee is to primarily review complaints lodged at the Professional …
National Women’s Commission reviews the impact of its interventions
The National Women’s Commission is championing the achievement of gender equality, which is goal five of the Sustainable Development Goals. In this regard, there is a National Gender Policy which contains a roadmap to attaining “gender-equality and gender equity”. Today, the National Women’s Commission held a National Consultation Workshop, where it reviewed the National Gender-Based …
PSU to Meet with Prime Minister over Mayor’s sale of Land
In 2017, there was an initial meeting of the Belmopan City Mayor and the Public Service Union (PSU) representatives. They had hoped to discuss a way to purchase the land following an evaluation. The last discussion they had with the City administrator was on the 9th. Since then, a company called Simplex Limited had incorrectly …
Benque Town Councillor in UDP Hot Seat!
About a week ago we heard that a Benque Town Councilor had resigned after some heated exchanges about his party, the United Democratic Party (UDP). We can confirm that indeed Jose Tony Guerra tendered his resignation in a letter that was forwarded to LOVEFM. However, sources say the Mayor of Benque had not received the …
CXC top scorers revealed
The twenty fourth annual CXC National Award Ceremony to recognize the outstanding students is scheduled to be held on November, 30. 588 students will receive CSEC certificates of excellence, two will receive subject group awards and 31 will will receive individual subject awards. The Ministry of Education has released the names of the top scorers …
Fire on Banak Street
Just after midday today, officials were called out to an alley just off Banak Street in Belize City where a wooden structure, measuring ten by ten and elevated about two feet off the ground, was on fire. The structure was the home of Shamika Trapp who had gone to a nearby store a few minutes …
25K set aside for Christmas Cheer in constituencies
We are thirty-three days away from the Christmas holiday and as per the annual tradition, the allocation of Christmas Cheer has been signed, sealed and if not delivered, it’s certainly on the way. On Tuesday, November 6, a memorandum from the Ministry of Finance went out to the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of …
POLICE INVESTIGATING APPARENT HOMICIDE IN INDEPENDENCE VILLAGE
Police in Independence are investigating what appears to be the murder of a woman identified as Keidi Ramirez, 26, a resident of San Juan Village. According to reports, last night Ramirez was found unresponsive, lying in her bed at home by her sister and was rushed to the Independence Polyclinic.
REPORTS OF A RESCUE AT ‘Actun Tunichil Muknal’ CAVE NEAR TEAKETTLE
The Reporter is investigating reliable reports that tourists had to be rescued from the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) caves in Teakettle following a flash flood on Tuesday evening. Indications are that rescue teams were at the caves until dawn this morning getting the tourists out safe. We have been able to confirm that the Cave network is closed to tours today.
Horacio Franco in concert in Belize this Friday
The Embassy of Mexico in Belize continues with the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Mexican […]
Man in critical condition after being hit by a vehicle in Belmopan
A man was knocked down this evening in Belmopan. The accident occurred near the roundabout by […]
Mount Carmel teachers demand payment of salaries
Breaking Belize News yesterday broke the story that teachers from Mount Carmel Primary School had planned […]
Police: Three men detained for stealing gun from Chinese Businessman in San Ignacio
Yesterday, San Ignacio Police detained three men pending charges of theft and keeping a firearm […]
25-year-old man arrested for shooting Stephan Tablada in Belize City
Belize City Police have arrested and charged Joshua Gallego, 25, for shooting Stephan Tabalada on […]
Cool weather to continue
Cool and moist northeasterly airflow to continue across Belize. Cloudy spells and a period of rain […]
The Truck Stop turns three!
North Ambergris Caye’s Truck Stop celebrated its third birthday in grand style, complete with cake, birthday shots, games and tons of fun. Ben and Joanna Popik and Adam and Jackie Feldman, alongside their staff at Arepa, A Slice of Haven, Rasa, Cool Cone and the bar were busy tending to happy patrons all afternoon long on November 18th. The cooler weather put the kibosh on the planned pool party, but didn’t stop the fun as a Bumperball Tournament took place in its stead. The Truck Stop giveaways included hats, shirts, shots, shot glasses, and birthday cake. There were delicious food and drink specials and half-off wings ‘flew’ out the kitchen! DJ Vibecamp kept the tunes rolling through 5PM and then it was live music by Dennis Wolfe long into the night.
Alpari Closes Down Belize Subsidairy
The online retail brokerage company Alpari is closing down its subsidiary in Belize, Finance Magnates Russia reported exclusively. The move comes amid a strategic optimization effort on part of the brokerage. The firm has been operating the Belize subsidiary for a number of years but is preparing to move its clients to its Saint Vincent and Grenadines subsidiary. Alpari shared with its clients the news in an email. The brokerage is providing a set of options to its customers to get their account transferred. As seen by Finance Magnates, the letter states that customers can agree to a transfer of their personal data to Alpari Limited VC.
Exploring Archaeological Sites in Belize with Dr. Jaime Awe
WestJet has once again featured Belize in its in-flight magazine. They interview Dr. Jaime Awe, and the article focuses on 2 of Cayo's most famous Maya sites: Xunantunich and Cahal Pech. "Hundreds of archaeological sites have been discovered in Belize, but with half this small country covered by dense, tropical rainforests, there are secrets still to be unearthed. We caught up with a leading authority on Maya culture in the region, archaeologist Jaime Awe for a tour of Cahal Pech and Xanantunich... The ancient ball court in the western end of the ruins of Cahal Pech is a hive of activity as people shovel earth into buckets. The contents are tipped onto large, flat sieves—hung between trees—which are shaken back and forth to separate the fine earth from any archaeological remains. Some buckets come up empty, while others reveal potsherds (pieces of pottery), obsidian fragments or jute—the skinny, coiled shells of freshwater snails the Maya considered a delicacy... Two hieroglyphic monuments, gifted to Xunantunich’s Maya elite rulers as war booty, were discovered on each side of the staircase of the tomb. Fibreglass replicas of these monuments, also known as Panels Three and Four, sit in their place, as the originals are now housed in the site’s museum and visitors’ centre. Awe has already moved on to his next project at the site; a structure that, when compared to the rest in this ruined city, is an anomaly... Unlike Cahal Pech, evidence points to Xunantunich being a more recent Maya city, as many of the buildings only have one or two phases. However, Awe’s golden trowel has again led him to uncover a building that is actually stacked on three earlier structures, all of which predate Xunantunich’s other structures."
The Hidden Coastal Culture of the Ancient Maya
Archaeologists working at the Maya site of Vista Alegre on the Yucatan coast are developing a new perspective on the Maya market system. Vista Alegre is about 100 miles from Chichen Itza, and hundreds of years older. The site was part of a complex network that is revealing a robust system of sea traders, dotting the coastline at 30 mile intervals. Study of the bones of these coastal Maya show that they were healthier than the inland Maya due to their diet of protein rich seafood. Their funeral remains also show their society was more egalatarian, with less elongated head shaping and dental modifications free of jade and obsidian. The coastal Maya were more of a melting pot of people traveling up and down the coast. Ancient war wounds on the bones of the coastal people show more women killed in violent acts, and many survived battle. The probable explanation for this is that the conflicts on the coast were from pirate raids. And the layout of the sites on the coast points to defenses against marauders. Recently, researchers uncovered salt works along the Belize coast, and the artifacts uncovered there point to a salt making industry all along the Maya coast. And trading canoes would be laden with salt all along the coastal area. These canoes would also carry Quetzal feathers, jade, shells, and obsidian to transport across Mesoamerica.