Recent Belize News
8/21/2012 to 8/31/2012
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August 31, 2012

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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
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The San Pedro Sun

San Pedro Animal Hospital Offers low cost vaccinations to pets of San Pedro
The issue of overpopulation of strays has been at the forefront of the news for the past several weeks here on the island. Now that the San Pedro Town Council is working with the Saga Humane Society in a weekly round up campaign of unattended dogs, which according to representatives has been very successful, this alone does not provided a solution to the problem. In an effort to encourage responsible and affordable pet care, the San Pedro Animal Hospital (SPAH) has come onboard, now offering low cost vaccinations. The SPAH has committed to assist as well as provide for healthier pets on the island. Weekly the SPAH does a round up along with Town Council officials, and offer a one per week spay or neuter free of cost. This is done to curb the propagation, and eventual overpopulation of pets. This week, they are offering a different service to pet owners; vaccinations at an extremely low cost. On Friday between the hours of 9AM and 5PM all pet owners on the island can get their pets vaccinated at a whopping 75% Discount.

San Pedro’s Art in the Park!
Art in the Park has been a big event in other parts of the country and in San Pedro it has been happening, even if on a smaller scale. However this year, with the support of the San Pedro Town Council through the San Pedro Cultural Committee, the event was organized a little differently in attempt to enhance the event to attract more people. The two-day event kicked off today Thursday August 30th at the San Pedro Central Park with over 35 artisans. The aim of the Art in the Park initiative is to bring together artisans in one common area to market their products. While the event is ongoing for a full two days, official ceremony is scheduled for 6PM at the San Pedro Central Park and it includes special performances by well-known Belizean artist Terryl “Man at Work” Godoy. The event includes both visual and expressive arts. It is geared to provide a common forum for artists and artists to market their products to locals and visitors alike. While it is a singular event every year, the San Pedro Cultural Committee hopes to host the Art in Park more often during the course of the year and is also working to include the cooking art as well. “We are seeing a lot of people stopping by and inquiring. It has been a good turnout but we expect more people to come out at night and on the second day,” said one arti

Adrift for 6 months and 4,643 miles – Lydia Rose lands on Ambergris Caye beach
Fisheries Department employees, attached to the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve on northern Ambergris Caye, found a British race craft vessel on the evening of Thursday August 23rd while patrolling north of the Rocky Point. At first the vessel was believed to be a submarine or even a submersible craft but after closer inspection it was found to be a British type race vessel. The Lydia Rose was initially believed to be a vessel used in the transshipment of drugs. According to Lieutenant Commander of the Belize Coast Guard Elton Bennett, the Anti Drugs Unit of the Belize Police Department was called to inspect the craft and determine whether it was used for transporting drugs. “After inspection, it was determined that the racecraft could not be a drug vessel because of its size and small space. We are convinced of that,” said Bennett. The Belize Coast Guard official told The San Pedro Sun that the fisheries officers took the craft to the Bacalar Chico Outpost after which they were notified. But where did the vessel come from and how did it end up in Belize? Well it so happened that the water craft is one that was being used in the Ocean Pedal Challenge by a team which was attempting to pedal across the Atlantic with the aim to raise £50,000 and awareness for CHUF, the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle, UK. The Ocean Pedal Challenge was also an attempt to set a new world record.

Oil covered turtle rescued and now released
The juvenile Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) that was found covered in crude oil on July 24th was released on Wednesday August 29th after being in rehabilitation for a little over a month. The apparently happy and energetic turtle was released at Hol Chan Marine Reserve by staff members of the same reserve and it quickly adapted, swimming swiftly and gracefully into its natural habitat. The turtle caught the attention of the local and national media after it was confirmed that what the turtle was covered in fresh crude oil. The turtle was found by a group of divers on Tuesday July 24th along the main channel at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, covered in thick, black crude oil. The fatigued turtle was immediately transferred to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve Office in San Pedro Town where the oil was removed from its body. Because the turtle had also swallowed and ingested some crude oil, biologist at the reserve had to battle to remove as much crude from inside the turtle’s mouth. In addition, the turtle was placed under intravenously administered saline and dextrose solutions along with charcoal to help further excrete the crude from its digestive system. Hol Chan Marine Reserve Biologist Kirah Forman said that the decision was made to release the turtle because it had begun feeding on greens which showed that the health condition had improved significantly over the past week. “We know that it has begun eating and its energy level is high. [Because of this] we are certain that its chance for survival is very high,” explained Forman.

Friendly people, beautiful landscapes… Punta Gorda – Belize’s Hidden Jewel
Never before having ventured to the southern borders of Belize, my decision to visit Punta Gorda (PG), the southernmost town of Belize, was one that came with eager anticipation. I can recall as a child, many of the stories that were told of the South and I must say, not many of them were nice. So, as an adult, I decided to discover it for myself. Getting to PG from San Pedro, the capital town of the Toledo District, would be fastest by plane, however for the budget traveller, an overnight stay in Belize City with an early morning (3:15AM) express bus gets you there just around 9:30AM. Of course buses do travel south throughout the day, but the earliest express leaves at that time. The Southern Highway provides for just about the most beautiful scenic landscapes in the country, what with the towering Maya Mountains and winding highways through valleys and towns. However, during my trip, a lengthy nap was much more appealing, especially taking into consideration the fact that on an average 8AM is considered very early for me! At 2:45AM I could barely keep my eyes open to get onto the bus, but I was determined.

Ambergris Today

San Pedro High Evening Division Opening
It is now official; San Pedro High School will be operating an evening division to provide Continued Adult Education. This is as a result of the Ministry of Education official closure of St. Peter’s College that was offering these educational services for over ten years in San Pedro. The New Board of Directors of San Pedro high explained that it is the principle of the Ministry of Education to provide universal access to education and with the closure of St. Peter’s the Ministry solicited San Pedro High to kindly pick up the slack. The Board of Directors under its new Chairperson, Mrs. Marina Kay, accepted to undertake the challenge and have now announced to all stakeholders and interested parties that applications and registrations are ongoing as of Thursday, August 30 to September 7.

New Cattery Donated to Saga Humane Society
The Saga Humane Society is happy to announce that it has completed the construction of a new cattery that was donated to them by a supporter of the Society and a good businessman of the community. Saga invited Ambergris Today to be present as Mark officially handed it over to them on Wednesday, August 29, 2012. Mark Maggiotto was very generous in donating to Saga the materials and construction of this new cattery which temporarily houses cats when they are kept at the Saga compound. Mark was in the process of putting his pet cats for adoption with the help of Saga and decided to make this great donation to assist them.

Dominic and Danna Amendolia Wed in Vegas!
Congratulations to Danna and Dominic Amendolia who got married in Las Vegas on August 17, 2012 and dined under the stars at the Paris Hotel on top of the Eiffel Tower overlooking the city. Congratulations to Danna and Dominic and we wish them the very best for years to come!

Health Fair to assist with Blood Drive and more
It is through the collaborative efforts of: The Belize Blood Donor Service, Belize Council for the Visually Impaired, Belize Diabetes Association – San Pedro Branch, Escape Day Spa, National Drug Abuse Control Council – San Pedro Branch, San Pedro Cancer Society, San Pedro Lions Club, The Palms and Tropic Air that we are pleased to announce a health fair set for Saturday, 8th of September, 2012. The event is scheduled to begin at 8:30 am at the Lions Den. Services provided will include: Drug Abuse Education and Information – Complimentary (NDACC) Blood Donations – A call to all blood donors (BBDS & SPCS) Blood Glucose Test – Complimentary (BDA – San Pedro Branch) Stress Relief Massages – Complimentary (Escape Spa) Eye Exams – Complimentary (SP Lions Club & BCVI) Food and Drinks will be on sale. Any other organizations or entities that can contribute or be a part of the Health Fair, please contact us as soon as possible.

Misc Belizean Sources

VIDEO: Deep Sea Fishing Belize
Fishing outside the reef aboard the 32ft Texean, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Belize Youth Support Network
The Belize Youth Support Network, which has a very noble cause, has an FB page, and they are trying to reach 1000 likes. Help them out! "The main focus of Belize Youth Support Network (BYSN) is to support the children, youths and families of Belize. We are continuously researching organisations, groups, professional people both in the UK, Belize and Internationally that can assist in the support of the most vulnerable in Belize. BYSN is as the name states a Network of people coming together to support one another."

Infrastructure Project for Benque and San Ignacio
More street improvements, including drains and curbs, in Benque and Cayo! They had the ceremony today in Benque. "A $2.2 Million dollar street project that will enhance the road network in Benque Viejo del Carmen, San Ignacio & Santa Elena and Punta Gorda under the Belize Municipal Development Project (BMDP) was launched on Thursday, August 30th, during a formal ceremony in Benque Viejo Town. The street project calls for the enhancement of Church, Churchill and Burns Streets in Benque Viejo Town; the improvement of Eden and West Streets in San Ignacio & Santa Elena Town..."

UB's Back to School Bash
Tonight at Puccini's Lounge, UB will be having their Back 2 School Bash. The UB Student Government is doing it right: Mistah Geeh will be there, opening for DJ Special and DJ Jago. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Climate Change Cartoon Competition
Youth-IN is having a Climate Change Cartoon competition for youth between the ages of 16 and 29. They are giving away 2 MacBook Pro laptops to the winners. All CARICOM member youths can enter. Good luck! "The objective of the cartoon competition is to support advocacy that bring young people to the centre of climate change and human development debates. The competition encourages young people from the Caribbean to portray issues of concern related to climate change in the region from a youth’s perspective."

Belize September Celebrations Photos
Will Moreno is the official photographer for this year's September Celebrations. He was there at one of the first events: the National Song Competition. Congratulations to the 3 winners in the Top Song Competition! Carnival winner, Sharon Martinez, Patriotic winner, Nello Player, and Junior winner, Tara G.

Coca Cola Exhibit at GPC
If you missed the Coca Cola exhibit in Cayo or Benque, you can catch it at the George Price Centre where it will be until September 14th. "A wonderful display of colours, cultural scenes and concepts - 50 paintings by professional and amateur artists from all over the country on the theme: "Moments of Happiness" - celebrating 50 years of Coca Cola in Belize. The exhibit will be on display until September 14. For school visits, please call 822-1054"

September Celebrations T-Shirts
Restore Belize has a September Celebrations line of shirts, and they are nice. They are for sale in Belize, and you can order them by calling 223-1269 or 223-0965. It's here I am Belize Present this year September Gear, We have Tank Tops, Blouses, and T- shirt. 2XL. XL,L,M,S and Kids. 2XL $25.00 T- Shirt $20.00 Blouse $25.00 Kids $15.00 Get them while they are HOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Channel 7

Teenaged Girl Injured In Evening Shooting
There was another shooting in Belize City this evening - and again, it happened on LA Croix Boulevard in the Lake Independence Area. This time the victim is a 14 year old girl - who is being treated at the KHMH. The shooting occurred at about an hour ago at twenty minutes to six. We understand the girl was in her house on Park Street, which joins La Croix. Three men on bikes were passing in the area and shot multiple times at another men. He escaped, but stray gunshots pierced the side of the girl's house where she was having dinner. She was shot to her side - and left in an ambulance. Those who saw the ambulance leave say she was alert when she got in and holding unto her side. Latest reports are that she was shot to her lower back and is heading into emergency surgery. We'll follow up on the story tomorrow. There have been at least seven other persons shot in and around La Croix Boulevard since April.

Calaney Flowers To Jail, Sochyl Sosa Speaks About Accident
25 year-old Calaney Flowers, the woman who allegedly knocked down and killed her ex-boyfriend 29 year-old Lyndon Morrison, is spending her first night on remand tonight - charged for murdering her Baby's father. As we reported last night, Morrison and his current girlfriend 25 year-old Sochyl Sosa, were travelling on his motorcycle on Freetown Road at just before 10 p.m. on Tuesday. According to police, when they arrived in front of the Central Assembly of God church, Flowers sped up in her car and slammed it into the motorcycle sending both Sosa and Morrison flying into the street. By all reports, Flowers sped off leaving the couple to fight for their lives where they landed. Morrison's injuries were too severe, and he succumbed, but Sosa survived, and she is recovering at the KHMH. Today, she spoke to the media from her hospital bed, where she recounted all the events which led up to the crash. Here's her side of the story. Sochyl Sosa, accident victim "Tuesday night, while my boyfriend and I went to buy food when we were coming by the round-about we saw her vehicle. She followed with her car speeding and bang into us. After that I don't remember anything because I was flew off the motor cycle."

Digging Down Into Fuel Prices
Tonight, we continue to look at the alarmingly high pump price for fuel. We're trying to get behind the numbers to see what's making it so expensive - the highest it's ever been. We did some digging and found that in July of 2008 - when world oil prices were at an all time high - around 140 dollars per barrel - what's known as the landed cost of fuel was $7.39 per gallon on July 5, and $7.65 on July 28th. The pump price at that time was 11.16 and 11.50 respectively - which was considered high at the time. But right now, the world price for oil is hovering around the ninety dollar per barrel mark - yet the pump price for fuel is almost thirteen dollars! So why is that? Well, the landed cost right now - quite surprisingly - is 7.68 per gallon - three cents higher than when oil was trading for 140 dollars a barrel! So then - that suggests to us that there has to be something odd in what's called the buildup - the accumulated costs and margins - which are all secret - that factored into that landing cost.

Coast Guard Gets Expensive, High-Powered New Toys
Last night we told you about the Coast Guard's impressive drug find: a bail with 104 pounds of cocaine. It was found near the Turneffe Attoll - and has a local street value of about a million dollars - but an official traducing value of at least four times that value. The package was handed over to police yesterday afternoon - and they tested and confirmed that it is cocaine. The find comes just as the COAST Guard received another donation form the US Government. This one is to be shared with the BDF and is valued at over 4 million US dollars. We got a look at some of the high tech new toys at the Commissioning today - and Jules Vasquez has the report:.. Jules Vasquez reporting The Coast Guard was on full display today both men, women and machines - as these Boston Whalers roared past the launch - giving everyone a small scare.

Three Towns Gets Funds For Upgraded Streets
And while the Coast Guard and BDF are getting major money from the US - the towns of Benque Viejo, San Ignacio and Punta Gorda are receiving some major funds for street improvement through a World Bank and GOB project. It's called the Belize Municipal Development Project and today the street project was launched - where else? - but in Benque Viejo the stomping grounds of the Minister of Economic Development Erwin Contreras. He explained how the funds will be used. Hon. Erwin Contreras "Today a new chapter is being recorded once again in the history of our town. A soon officially launch a 2,2 million dollars project that will improve our street network in the municipalities of Benque Viejo, Punta Gorda, San Ignacio and Santa Elena under the Belize Municipal Development Project better known as BMTP." "This package represents one of the greatest components of the infrastructure aspect of the BMDP. As Mr. Cano stated the project is a thirty million dollars government project which aims to provide and infrastructure in our major district towns."

Getting Ready For The Gang Truce Downscale
Last week Friday - Minister of state with responsibility for the Gang Truce Mark King dropped a bomb when he announced that 200 persons form the Southside rejuvenation project were being laid off. Well, now, King's office has announced that the Gang Truce is now officially the Peace In Progress programme - with direction from a Cabinet subcommittee led by King with Minister's Lisel Alamilla, Godwin Hulse and Wilfred Elrington. The Gang Truce and the CYDP programme currently employ about 640 persons - and they will likely be laid off in October of this year. According to the release, the Cabinet subcommittee's job is to quote, "ensure that after the downscaling, there is a feasible program that will be sustainable for at risk youth on all levels." They are taking your ideas which can be sent to [email protected] As for the 200 persons - mostly women laid off from the South Side Rejuvenation Project, so far, five of them have been hired with RBJ's Construction, ten with Mejia's Construction and another thirty will start working on McKay Boulevard, Ordonez Street and Police Street in Belize City.

Mayor, Meet the Queens
The Queen of the Bay Pageant stands alone as the most enduring beauty contest in the country. It dates back to 1946 and is a staple of the September Calendar. The pageant is on Saturday and this week the contestants have been making the media and official rounds ot create hype for the big event. Today, they had an official visit at City Hall, where they socialized with Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley and his Councilors. There are 11 contestants who are offering themselves to be this year's Queen of the Bay. Because of the number of young ladies who offered themselves, the elders of the pageant committee had to add 3 more ceremonial houses for remaining contestants to represent. The pageant will be held at the Bird's Isle at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

The Mas Camp Contagion
Carnival preparations are at a fever pitch all this week - as revelers are getting their outfits and their dance moves just right for the big day. But the big day starts form this week when judges go into the Mas Camps to see what's happening. That continued last night in three camps and Monica Bodden was there - here's her report:.. Monica Bodden reporting It is contagious and spreading rapidly - and so far it seems like there isn't a cure for the Carnival Fever. That was quite visible here at Belizean Jewel Mas Camp where it was all high level energy for these revelers who gyrated to some of the most popular soca songs in front of a crowd of spectators. Sharon Wade - Belizean Jewels "Our team this year is "many colors, many faces, one nation: Belize."" Monica Bodden "Why was that theme chosen?" Sharon Wade - Belizean Jewels "The theme was chosen simply because carnival is all about colors and its full of different races, different faces and Belize is one nation." Monica Bodden "Now tell us a little bit about the costumes?"

World Class Chinese Acrobats In Belize
Tomorrow night - a troupe of world-class Chinese acrobats will be in Belize for a special show. They're called the Guangdong Acrobatic Group from mainland China - and they've played to rave reviews all over the world. Now, the Belize Chinese Association is bringing them to Belize and Chairman Edmund Quan told us more:.. Edmund Quan "These acrobats came from mainland China to do a show for to raise funds for charity in Belize. Its called Guangdong Acrobatic. its a large group consisting of almost 40 persons and they are going to show flexibility of Chinese acrobats and different stunts." Tickets are 25 dollars - and can be bought at Chon Saan on Kelly street, Quan's Trading on Orange Street or at the door. All proceeds go to charity - as the acrobats are donating their performance.

Oil Covered Turtle Recovers, Released
Last month, 7News aired the alarming story of a juvenile green sea turtle which was found covered in crude oil, along the main channel at in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve off Ambergris Caye on July 24. The biologists from the Hol Chan Marine Reserve labored to rescue the turtle, where they had to clean it off, cleanse out its mouth, and get it to pass copious amounts of oil that it had swallowed from its digestive system. It was discovered severely fatigued but due to the efforts of the biologists, the turtle was successfully rescued, and resuscitated. Yesterday, it was geo-tagged and released back into the Hol Chan Marine Reserve because the experts believe that it can now survive on its own. The origin of the crude oil which the turtle was covered in has still not been established.

Channel 5

Breaking News: female minor injured in late evening shooting in the City
Just before six o’clock this evening, there was another shooting on Lacroix Boulevard in the Lake Independence area. Early unconfirmed reports are that a school aged girl was injured in the shooting. According to the reports, two young men on bicycles fired shots at another person, instead, the minor was hit and has been rushed [...]

Same sex spouse definition in Banking Legislation?
The senate met on Tuesday in Belmopan; a number of bills were passed, but there is one that having gone through the House and debate; landed on the Senate and is stirring controversy. It is the Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions Act 2012 which contains a definition of spouse and which is being interpreted as [...]

Murder charge after she drove over her baby’s daddy
This afternoon, a twenty-five year mother and bank proof teller, was charged with murder and attempted murder. Calaney Flowers is accused of slamming her car into the father of her child Lyndon Morrison who was riding his motorbike along with his pregnant girlfriend Sochyl Sosa. Morrison succumbed two hours later but Sosa lived to tell [...]

Million dollar cocaine drop, but devil in untold details
As the US Southern Command visited the Coastguard Headquarters on Wednesday, a bail of cocaine weighing over a hundred pounds was retrieved from the Turneffe Atoll. It was a major find that is valued at one point eight million dollars. The find coincided with the transfer of sophisticated equipment to the Belize Coast Guard and [...]

U.S. Southern Command and Embassy gives $4.5 Million in equipment
As the US Southern Command visited the Coastguard on Wednesday, a bale of cocaine was retrieved from the Turneffe Atolls. The visit by the Southern Command, however, had to do with the transfer of millions of dollars of sophisticated equipment including vessels and vehicles to both the BDF and Coastguard. It is a contribution by [...]

CEMO Councilor trains for disaster management
While the coast guard and B.D.F. are beefing up resources, CEMO is strengthening its capacity to deal with natural disasters. Belize City was spared when Hurricane Ernesto moved north and made landfall in the Yucatan Peninsula on August seventh. But the hurricane season isn’t over and the City Emergency Management Organization is still brushing up [...]

P.U.P. memo on frog hoppers in the north
The sale of majority shares in the Belize Sugar Industries to American Sugar Refineries is expected to be completed by the start of the next crop. But on the ground, cane farmers are experiencing a major setback. Recent flooding brought about by Depression Seven in August has caused considerable damage to cane fields which are [...]

Revelry continues on the road to Carnival 2012
The road march for Carnival 2012 takes place on September eighth; we will have full coverage of the spectacular event with William Neal and entertainment reporter, Safiyyah. But before that, on September first this station is producing and will be airing a special Carnival Marathon which captures the rich history of the carnival. Our reporters [...]

Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe of China
The Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe of China has been perfecting traditional Chinese acrobatic skills and merging them with modern dance, artistic gymnastics, theatre and other forms. The group has created its own artistic style representing the Guangdong region of southern China and you have the opportunity to experience it for one night only at the Bliss. [...]

Healthy Living packs a lunch kit for kids
Whether, it’s Pre K or Infant two, the beginning of every school year brings a lot of anxiety for parents who want provide the very best for their children during their formative years. In addition to the new notebooks and pencils, children need to be equipped with the right food choices. So before you pack [...]

LOVE FM

Bank Teller Charged With Murder
Twenty-five year old Calaney Flowers, a proof teller at Atlantic Bank who allegedly knocked down her ex-boyfriend and his lover, was charged with murder and attempted murder when she appeared in court today. Flowers, who resides on Lavender Street, was also charged with dangerous harm ...

BDF Truck Overturns and Injures Several Soldiers
A number of Belize Defense Force soldiers were hurt when the truck they were traveling in overturned last night in the Cayo district. The incident happened around midnight on the Chiquibul road in the Mountain Pine Ridge area. Love News spoke with the Commander of the BDF Brigadi...

Implementation Continues for the Belize Municipal Development Project
The Belize Municipal Development project which is estimated at thirty million dollars and aims to provide needed infrastructure to seven major municipalities in the country, continues to be implemented. This morning a special ceremony launched a 2.2 million dollar street project ...

Over 100 Pounds of Cocaine Found in Belize's Waters
A large amount of cocaine was found floating in Belize’s territorial waters on Wednesday morning. According to reports, the drugs weighing in at just over a hundred and four pounds, was found in multiple packets near the Turneffe Atoll and has since been turned over t...

Surviving Victim of Traffic Incident Speaks to the Press
Twenty-five year old Calaney Flowers, a proof teller at Atlantic Bank who allegedly knocked down her ex-boyfriend and his companion, was charged with murder and attempted murder when she appeared in court today. Flowers, who resides on Lavender Street, was also charged with dangerous h...

Orange Walk Terminal Vendors Feel Jilted
Several vendors at the Orange Walk terminal are asking authorities to look into a matter affecting their livelihood. Vendors told us that a specific vendor has been granted permission to set up a food shed inside the terminal when in the first place no one is granted permission t...

BPO Training Underway for High School Graduates
A two week training course for young people is underway at the Yabra Community Centre in Cesar Ridge Road in Belize City. According to the Youth Program Coordinator with the Community Policing Unit Douglas Hyde, the objective of the training is to give young men and women marketable em...

Campaign for Birth Registration Continues in Belize
The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF today began its birth registration campaign on south-side Belize City. The objective of the program is to get primarily unregistered children properly documented. Registrar General at the Vital Statistics Unit Velda Flowers a...

Wednesday, August 29 -------- Police News
A post mortem examination conducted on the body of Punta Gorda resident Descartes Bol Jr. certified the cause of death as “trauma shock, massive liver damage and multiple traumatism due to traffic road accident”. Around 4:40 am on Saturday, Bol’s body was found ...

Fisherman Charged for Policeman's Murder
Police have formally arrested and charged Delford Slusher, a thirty year old fisherman of Hattieville Village for murder. This is in connection with the shooting death of Corporal Victor Lima. Slusher was originally charged with attempted murder shortly after the incident w...

Infidelity Ends In Murder
A woman is in police custody, another hospitalized and the body of a man is at the KHMH morgue following a bizarre series of events last night in Belize City. Reporter Marion Ali has the details. MARION ALI News Reporter Love FM “The saying goes, all’s...

CTV3

Police Hit The Jackpot, $1.8 Million Worth Of Cocaine Found Near Turneffe
On August 20th, thirty one year old Rene Caseres of Belize City, 30 year old Noel Tun and 32 year old Leonardo Tun both Belizean fishermen of Chunox Village, Abimael Aki, 30 year old Belizean fisherman of Copperbank Village and 40 year old Cornelio Mendez Belizean fisherman of Chunox Village were charged with possession of controlled drugs with the purpose of supplying it to another person for drug trafficking. The men were detained after a search was conducted on the vehicle they were travelling in during a checkpoint set up at the toll bridge. Three kilos of cocaine were found: two of the parcels were labelled with (2) X’s while one was labelled with the letters PZ. Interesting enough, this morning about 35 parcels of cocaine found 30 miles off the coast of Belize City, near the Turneff Atoll, were labeled with the same letters PZ. The drugs were taken in by the Belize Coast Guard for processing at their Head Quarters on the Western Highway. It is believed that the drugs are part of a wet drop from Colombia and is likely that more parcels could be floating in the area. The drugs is estimated to be valued at more than BZE$1.8 million. We’ll have more on this story in tomorrow’s newscast.

Drains Opened In Trinidad Village, Flooding Problem Alleviated
Two months ago, on June 19th to be exact, we showed you how deep the water was in the Village of Trinidad after a heavy down pour caused several sections of the village to become inundated. The flooded waters accumulated in certain sections of the village due to the lack of proper drainage system. Ever since the flooding, Chairman of Trinidad Village, Salomon Bobadilla, has been lobbying for assistance so as to alleviate the problem. Blue Creek Resident David Dyck, agreed to assist by lending his heavy equipment to open drains within the village. Orange Walk South Area Representative Honorable Jose Mai, also assisted by coordinating a meeting between Bobadilla and the Chief Engineer for the Ministry of Works Lennox Bradley, in order to obtain permission to excavate alongside a creek that runs through the village, for the water to flow. The Village Council was given the go ahead and work commenced this past Saturday and tonight residents of the village are happy that their cries were heard. “A mi me había afectado bastante esa creciente trae un montón de basura y me afecta mi aquí en fi terreno porque cuando a acaba yo tengo que andar recogiendo la basura y un motón de cosas como zapatos y los mosquitos por el agua que ha llegado. Este sábado escarbaron y tumbaron una matas que había sembrado y el village council me pregunto si lo pueden tumbar y yo le dije que si y estuvo trabajando el Backhow y estuvimos con toda mi familia viendo que se haga con el Chairman de la aldea y se logro.” With the stagnant waters having where to run, flooding will no longer pose a problem for residents of the area.

Karol Mello Takes GOB To Court
He was freed of all charges brought against him by the Government of Belize when he appeared before the Belmopan Magistrates Court and tonight 42 year old Karol Mello; the alleged mafia boss from Slovakia, wanted for a series of crimes he reportedly orchestrated, is taking Government to court. Mello is suing Government in order for him to retain his legal status as a permanent resident which was withdrawn by the Ministry of Immigration after they tried to get him expelled from the country. Yesterday the first hearing of the case was heard before Justice Oswell Legall. The case is still in the process of assessment and as a result Justice Legall set September 17th as the actual date for the case to commence. Mello is reportedly wanted in Slovakia for the murder of a woman and child as well as two underworld executions carried out in 2003 and 2004. He has been living in San Pedro since 2010.

Contestants OF Karaoke Competition Appear On Despierta Belice Show
It started off with ten contestants and now it’s down to the four finalists. We are talking about the much watched and anticipated Buscando Una Estrella Infantil Karaoke Competition scheduled to come to an end this coming Sunday with the announcement of the first, second and third place winners. Over the past four weeks the competition has discovered the talent that exists among the competitors. Only four of them; however, were able to make it the finals and on Sunday Byron Munoz, Samsung Pop, Ayana Rudon or McBride Pop will be named the winner of the talent competition. What we can tell you tonight is that the race is close so keep on voting for your favorite contestant. And keeping in mind how important it is to promote the four talented finalists they will each be making an appearance on the Despierta Belice Morning Show. This morning the first two finalists, 11 year old McBride Pop and 9 year old Samsung Pop, were the special guests on the morning show hosted by Santiago Baeza. Of course the two talented young artists could not leave the show without delighting viewers with their melodious voice.To vote for Samsung Pop, text the number one to CKTV, that is 2588 and to vote for McBride Pop, text the number four to 2588. Voting ends on midnight Friday August 31st. Tomorrow Ayana Rundon and Byron Munoz will be the special guests on the Despierta Belice Show. Remember that the finals will take place this Sunday at Fort Cairns Market Plaza during the celebration of Fiesta F.M’s 8th anniversary set to commence at 1:00pm.

OWTC Negotiates Overdraft Facility Payment With GOB
Presently the debt review team, headed by Ambassador Mark Espat, is renegotiating the $543.8 million super bond on behalf of the Government of Belize. And while that is taking place at an international level, here at home the Orange Walk Town Council is trying to negotiate with Government the payment of the councils $110,000 over draft facility which was exceeded by the previous U.D.P Town Council. This afternoon Mayor of Orange Walk Town Kevin Bernard gave us an update on the negotiations. We did receive a memorandum fax yesterday that was sent to the financial secretary from the CEO of the Ministry of Labor and Local Government as it pertains to the subject Orange walk Town Council overdraft facility. In this memorandum the minister of local government recommends to the financial secretary that the financial relief be given to the Orange Walk Town council and it stipulates several ways how we were requesting, one of that is that we are asking is that $60,000.00 be paid into the overdraft account as a grant on behalf of the Town Council and that the overdraft limit be reduced from $110,000.00 to $75,000.00 and that the period be extended from December 2011 to March 2013 in the first instance and then can be further extended upon the approval of the ministry of finance and in his memorandum the minister clearly stated that the council finds itself in an emergency situation at times and at times finds itself difficult to meet our payroll. They are asking that the assistance be given because the only next option would be to contemplating in reducing staff it is something that as a cost saving measure, as a surety measure but the ministry discourages that.”

Work On Tangerine Street Underway
Under phase one of the Belize Municipal Development Project four streets in Orange Walk Town, namely Avilez Lane, Tangerine Street, San Ignacio Street and Santa Familia Street will be upgraded at a cost of almost $1.2 million. As it pertains to Tangerine Street we are sure that residents have noticed all the heavy equipment working in the area. That’s because the street is being upgraded and pretty soon all those potholes will disappear. “What I want to remind citizen that out of the four street that is being done in phase one, Tangerine street was the last street that was selected because remember Santa Familia and San Ignacio were the much bigger street and then Aviles lane and based on the allocation that was done for the Town council in this phase left with us only be able to complete two blocks of Tangerine Street so residents may wonder why only a certain portion of the Tangerine street is being done, I just want to assure them that part of our proposal at our town meeting. We want to propose that the entire remaining Tangerine Street also be up graded.” Presently Avilez Lane is being surveyed in order for paving to commence next week. Work on San Ignacio Street is expected to commence on Monday while work on Santa Familia Street should commence in the month September.

The Battle Against HIV AIDS Continues
The first person to be diagnosed with HIV in Belize was approximately 26 years ago. Since then, the disease has spread and Belize is seen as one of the most affected countries in the region. On July 19th of this year, the National Aids Commission launched the National Strategic Plan and the National Operational Plan on HIV and AIDS with the intent to coordinate a national response to the disease for the next five years. It’s a high priority effort and a lot of assistance is required. In order to effectively coordinate a response, each district has a branch of the National Aids Commission which will be working with its community members. This morning, the National Aids Commission and Country Coordinated Mechanism Corozal Committee inducted its members. CTV3 News was invited for the ceremony and here is how it went. “We the undersigned hereby publicly declare our commitment to support the national response to HIV and solemnly pledged to uphold and implement the vision and mission of the NACT CCN Corozal Committee.” Eighteen members representing non-governmental and governmental organizations, the private sector and other institutions were today inducted as full pledge volunteers of the National Aids Commission and Country Coordinated Mechanism Corozal Committee. Heading the committee is Clemente Novelo who says that when it comes to HIV/AIDS the availability of medication has changed throughout the years.

LOVE TV

Woman detained in connection with fatal traffic incident
English Playwright and poet, William Congreve once said in a famous quote “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” and perhaps it was the wrath of one woman which made a complicated love story end fatally when a flight operations dispatcher of Maya Island air, was killed in a traffic incident on the streets of Belize City last night. Reporter Marion Ali and Videographer Brian Castillo bring you the details of this love tragedy.

Man charged for murder of Hattieville police officer
Police have formally arrested and charged Delford Slusher, a thirty year old fisherman of Hattieville Village for murder. This is in connection with the shooting death of Corporal Victor Lima. Slusher was originally charged with attempted murder shortly after the incident which occurred on July 24th. Lima along with other Police officers responded to a home invasion in the village. While opening the door to the house, Lima was shot twice to the chest. He succumbed to his injuries on the July 27th. Slusher is still awaiting charges in connection with the home invasion.

Toledo man died from RTA injuries
A post mortem examination conducted on the body of Punta Gorda resident Descartes Bol Jr. certified the cause of death as “trauma shock, massive liver damage and multiple traumatism due to traffic road accident”. Around 4:40 am on Saturday, Bol’s body was found with apparent injuries to the head, on the right hand side of the road approximately two hundred meters from the San Marcos Junction which is located about eleven miles outside Punta Gorda.

Birth registration campaign comes to south-side Belize City
The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF today began its birth registration campaign on south-side Belize City. The objective of the program is to get primarily unregistered children properly documented. Registrar General at the Vital Statistics Unit Velda Flowers and Attorney General Wilfred Elrington both agree that registration is an important part of a person’s identity. The birth registration campaign started on February of last year in the Toledo district and has so far covered the south and the Corozal district. UNICEF’s country representative Christine Norton says the hope is to have the birth registration campaign completed by the end of the year. According to Norton, there are five registration centers in Belize City, including, the Samuel Haynes Centre on Mahogany Street, the Young Women’s Christian Association, Sister Clara Mohammed School on Central American Boulevard and the Vital Statistics Unit on Gabourel Lane. The birth registration campaign for south side Belize City ends at one o’clock on Friday afternoon. And even when the countrywide birth registration exercise is completed, Norton says UNICEF is assisting the Vital Statistics Unit and the country on a whole, to set the necessary infrastructure in place to ensure that all Belizeans are properly registered and documented. According to statistics release this morning, the UNICEF-sponsored birth registration exercise has seen three thousand, two hundred and fifty six new birth certificates issued in the Toledo district; three thousand, one hundred and seventy four in the Stann Creek district and two thousand, five hundred and eighty two in the Corozal district. A total of three hundred and fifty two late registrations have been completed in the three districts canvassed to date, while one hundred and ten communities have been visited by the birth registration campaign.

Scholarships for Galen University students
Galen University held a special ceremony to award scholarships to a number of students. Correspondent Fem Cruz was in Central Farm and filed this report.

A new corn variety being promoted in southern Belize
A new variety of corn is being introduced and validated in the Toledo District. Correspondent Paul Mahung tells us more.

The Guardian

UDP ready for Patchakan Village Council Elections
Over a hundred supporters of the United Democratic Party gathered at the Mother's Park in Patchakan Village to select people, who will be contesting the upcoming village council elections. At the conclusion of the meeting, Alex Medina was selected as the Chairperson Candidate while Kenny Tzib Andy Bastarachea, Ignacio Victorin, Andrei Ku, Enhir Chimal and Rafael Loza were selected as councilor candidates. Present at the meeting were Area Representative, Hon. Hugo Patt and National Party Coordinator, Ruben Campos. During the meeting Hon. Patt encouraged villagers to continue to support the United Democratic Party and to vote for a UDP Village Council to ensure that progress continues in the area.

BSI Deal Almost Complete
The Belize Sugar Industry is nearing the completion of the expansion of share capital and within the next 30 days, the process should be complete. On Monday of this week, Senator Godwin Hulse told Love FM as much. He explained that the due diligence process by American Sugar Refineries (ASR), the company which will be infusing BSI with new capital, has been complete. Within a week's time a subscription deed would have been signed and a month from there, all outstanding debts will be settled by ASR. Hulse also explained that within the next 30 days, the shareholders agreement will be signed so by the start of the new crop, the entire deal would have been complete. Under the agreement ASR will assume some 64 million dollars in debt which is owed by BSI and BELCOGEN to various creditors. They will also increase sugar production through improved sugar deliveries, an expansion in production and in yields. At the end of the transaction, ASR would have owned 80% of the company.

Rehiring Jobless Workers
Last Friday, The Government of Belize found itself in the unenviable position of having to release employees, who had been hired under the Southside Rejuvenation Project. It was not an easy decision but it certainly was one that had to be made. But even as the people had been let go, before the week was out some of those people who had lost their jobs were back to work. Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Mark King, announced that some of those who had lost their jobs had already been rehired. So far 6 workers have been hired by RJB Construction, 10 have been hired by Mejia’s Construction and 30 others will be hired in a project to upgrade McKay Boulevard, Ordonez and Police Streets in Belize City. RJB’s Romel Berges told the Guardian Newspaper that he is pleased to hire the workers and is more than satisfied with their performance. Currently, these workers are on Evergreen Street as the preparatory works are underway to have street concreted. According to Berges, he will be taking on more workers as the project expands.

Jealous Rage Turns Deadly
Lyndon Morrison died on Tuesday, August 29th after he was allegedly run over by his ex-girlfriend. The case is one where an enraged woman trailed his ex-boyfriend and slammed her car into his motorcycle. But what must have caused the woman, identified as Calaney Flowers, to act in such a violent manner was the fact that travelling on the motorcycle along Morrison was his new girlfriend, Sochyl Sosa. Police report that at around 10:15 on Tuesday night, the 29-year-old Flight Dispacher, Lyndon Morrison, was travelling on his motorcycle along with Sochyl Sosa on Freetown Road when he realized he was being followed by his ex-girlfriend with whom he has a child. The ex-girlfriend, Calaney Flowers was driving a red Saturn Car, and when they reached an area in front of the Central Assembly of God Church, she rammed her vehicle into the motorcycle causing the pair to be sent flying into the air. As a result of the impact, Morrison received injuries to the back of the head and left eye. He later died as a result of the injuries. Sosa, for her part, received abrasions to both hands and a cut wound to the head. She remains at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital receiving treatment. So violent was the impact that the helmets of both Sosa and Morrison were broken up. The motorcycle was also extensively damaged. After the collision, Flowers drove off and according to friends of the deceased, she visited his mother's house to report what she had done.

Four charged for Involvement in Paula’s Store Robbery
At about 2:20 p.m. on Thursday, August 23rd, police responded to a robbery in progress at Paula’s Store located on Cemetery Road. Businesswoman Paula Chen reported that while attending to a customer, three armed men entered the store. According to police reports, one of the assailants walked towards Chen, pointed the gun at her face, and demanded money. He then went behind the counter and took an undisclosed amount of money from the cash register. The other assailants proceeded to rob the customers in the store of their personal belongings. The men then rushed out of the store but police were hot on their tails. The quick response led to a search operation at #32 Plues Street. That search led to the discovery of a cell phone valued at $495, an unlicensed .38 Special revolver containing four rounds of ammunition and a .357 pistol containing six rounds. Present at the time of the search were 23-year-old Aaron Bailey, of #45 Raccoon Street; 27-year-old Jarreth Gault of #5 Euphrates Avenue; 21-year-old Inmar Welch of #68 King Street; and 22-year-old Jeffrey McDougall of #32 Plues Street. All four men were arrested and charged with robbery, handling stolen goods, keeping a prohibited firearm, keeping a firearm without a gun license and two counts of keeping unlicensed ammunition.

Another Murder in Lake I
The family and friends of 20-year-old Guzman Crescent resident, Miraldo Alvarez are still mourning after his life was taken by a gunman in the Lake Independence area of Belize City. At about 10 p.m. on Friday, August 24th, Alvarez was at his mother-in-law, Diana Enriquez's, house playing video games with a friend before he decided to head out to buy fry chicken. Enriquez tried to discourage him from leaving the house because the area is currently a war zone. She says that shootings happen every night in the area. However, Alvarez was not deterred and he left with his friend to go buy food. Minutes after Alvarez left, Enriquez heard gunshots from her home. Alvarez and his friend were riding on separate bicycles on McKenzie Street and upon reaching its junction with Luis Street they were approached from behind by two men who were by the basketball court on McKenzie Street. One of the men fired several gunshots towards them. Alvarez was hit in the left lower back and rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. He succumbed to his injuries while undergoing surgery at 10:45 p.m. Alvarez’s family and friends are still seeking answers. They say that he had never been a troublemaker and was definitely not a gang member. He was scheduled to marry Enriquez’s daughter in December of this year. Alvarez was shot near the complex building. That area has been the most dangerous in Belize City in recent months. Police detained one suspect in relation to the murder.

Belize City Shooting Incidents
Though there was a gun- related murder over the past week, police are concerned about the number of shooting incidents and crimes committed with firearms that have occurred over the last few days. Police visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital at about 7:45 am on Saturday, August 25th, where they saw 19-year-old Raheem Nicholas suffering from a gunshot wound to the left shoulder. According to police reports, Nicholas was walking on Alicia Street when a fair complexion man rode up beside him on a black beach cruiser bicycle and said, “Mek I see your face.” The man then pulled out a firearm and fired a single shot at Nicholas causing his injury. Police have not announced any arrest in the case thus far. At about 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 26th, 24-year-old Edmund Gentle was riding with a friend contrary to the flow of traffic on Vernon Street when a dark complexioned man came from an alley on Lakeview Street and called out for him. As Gentle responded to his name, the man pulled out a firearm and fired several shots at him. He received injuries only to his right index and middle finger. He was treated at the KHMH and released. No one has been arrested for the shooting of Gentle.

UDP ready for Patchakan Village Council Elections
Over a hundred supporters of the United Democratic Party gathered at the Mother's Park in Patchakan Village to select people, who will be contesting the upcoming village council elections. At the conclusion of the meeting, Alex Medina was selected as the Chairperson Candidate while Kenny Tzib Andy Bastarachea, Ignacio Victorin, Andrei Ku, Enhir Chimal and Rafael Loza were selected as councilor candidates.

Western Regional Hospital Officially Certified as Mother – Baby Friendly Hospital
Hon. Pablo Marin (left), Dr. Peter Allen (3rd) and administrators of the Mother-Baby Friendly hospitals A certification ceremony was held on the grounds of the Western Regional Hospital on Wednesday, August 29th, as the Ministry of Health and the United Nations Children’s fund (UNICEF) celebrated the latest hospital to have met the necessary international requirements to be certified as a Mother - Baby Friendly Hospital.

ASR’s Equity Investment in BSI: An Update
The process to conclude the investment by American Sugar Refining, Inc. (ASR) is advancing well and in accordance with the target timetable. Meetings were held in mid-July between representatives of BSI and ASR Management and Boards, supported by their respective legal counsels to advance final negotiations on key investment documents, principally the Subscription Deed (Purchase Agreement) and the Shareholders’ Agreement. Since then, BSI and ASR have continued to be actively engaged and fully committed to expediting the process in the context of the defined timetable for completion of the transaction. During the period of discussions with ASR, the management of BSI also held several meetings with the Protectors of BSI Employee Holdings Limited (BEH) and the Belize Workers’ Union (BWU) Executive Committee as part of management’s efforts to keep them and employees informed about the status of the transaction. Agreement between BSI and ASR has now been reached on all commercial matters and legal documentation with respect to the Subscription Deed and the related approvals from existing shareholders in BSI have been secured. Accordingly, the parties signed the Subscription Deed documentation August 23rd, 2012. The completion date of the entire transaction is estimated to occur one month following yesterday’s signing of the Subscription Deed. During this time, BSI and ASR will press on to conclude various conditions precedent actions and obligations connected with the transaction. These include formal engagement with existing lenders to BSI and Belcogen regarding repayment of lending and release of security upon the deal completion. Efforts by all parties remain focused on concluding the entire transaction at the very earliest.

The European Commission allocates $75,000 to Bring Relief to the Victims of ‘Ernesto’ in Belize
The European Union, through the European Commission and its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), expresses its solidarity with the victims of Hurricane Ernesto in Belize. As a major contributor to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Commission has agreed to use 32,335 EUR1 of its DREF contribution to help bring relief to the victims. The aid will be used to replenish stocks and to provide food, water and relief items to the most affected people. Hurricane Ernesto, rated category 1, passed over Belize on 7th August 2012, and its strong winds and rain impacted the northern population of the country. There were no reports of deaths or injuries but houses and public buildings incurred varying degrees of damage. Belize Red Cross Society (BRCS) mobilized its specialized National Intervention Teams (NIT) to complete damage and needs assessments in the affected areas, with the assistance of a disaster manager and a water and sanitation IFRC’s delegate. The European Commission is providing 32,335 EUR (75,037 Belize dollars) to bring relief to the victims. This aid will be used to support BRCS NIT members on the needs assessment phase, to replenish pre-positioned stock and to assist the 150 most affected families with food and relief items (hygiene items, jerrycans and blankets) delivered by the BRCS for a period of three months. The aid will be channelled through the Red Cross who operates with funding from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

IMF Hosts Forum to Address Low Growth and High Debt in the Caribbean
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean Development Bank, will hold a high-level forum on “Rethinking Policy to Address Low Growth and High Debt in the Caribbean” on September 4-5, 2012 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The forum will discuss how lessons from the past and from other parts of the world could help the Caribbean economies in light of the distinctive challenges the region faces. “This forum offers a unique opportunity to further our ongoing dialogue with the Caribbean and listen to the concerns and ideas of policymakers regarding the challenges the region faces and explore possible policy avenues to foster inclusive and sustainable growth,” Mr. Saúl Lizondo, Associate Director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department, said ahead of the gathering. The forum will bring together Ministers, Central Bank Governors, and other high-ranking officials from the ECCU members–Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Anguilla and Montserrat as well as from The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. The event’s opening ceremony to be headed by The Honourable Winston Dookeran, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. William Warren Smith, President of the Caribbean Development Bank, and Mr. Min Zhu, IMF Deputy Managing Director will be open to members of the press. A concluding press conference will be held on Wednesday, September 5th at 12:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain.

$2.2 Million Infrastructural Project for Benque, San Ignacio and Punta Gorda
A $2.2 Million dollar street project that will enhance the road network in Benque Viejo del Carmen, San Ignacio & Santa Elena and Punta Gorda under the Belize Municipal Development Project (BMDP) was launched on Thursday, August 30th, during a formal ceremony in Benque Viejo Town. The street project calls for the enhancement of Church, Churchill and Burns Streets in Benque Viejo Town; the improvement of Eden and West Streets in San Ignacio & Santa Elena Town, and Robert Pennil and Pampana Streets in Punta Gorda Town. The work scope for the project includes the realignment of streetside drains, provision of street concrete curbs, resurfacing of the streets with Hot Mix and or chip seal, provision of street markings for vehicular and pedestrian lanes and permanent signage. This project will cost approximately $2,219,746.10 and will be carried out by Imer Hernandez Development Co. Ltd, a local firm. These street projects will satisfy a number of important objectives including putting in place proper traffic safety measures that can be monitored and enforced by the respective municipal traffic departments; addressing health issues that normally affects street users during the dry and rainy seasons; and improving the general aesthetics and attractiveness of the areas in the participating municipalities.

Mapping Exercise underway for Foreign Cooperation in Citizen Security
A mapping-exercise is currently underway as part of a cordinated strategy to address security issues through foreign cooperation. Being mapped-out during the exercise are ongoing programs and planned initiatives that the Government of Belize intends to undertake in the short, medium and long term. The mapping-exercise comes out of a meeting of the Donor Coordinating Group on Citizen Security conducted last Thursday, August 23rd, at the US Embassy Conference Room in Belmopan, that meeting being a follow-up to a previous high-level meeting that was held on July 13th at the NEMO Conference Room in Belmopan. Last Thursday’s meeting was attended by Chief Executive Officers in coordinating ministries, namely Audrey Wallace, Office of the Prime Minister; George Lovell, Ministry of National Security; Yvonne Hyde, Ministry of Economic Development; Alexis Rosado, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Judith Alpuche, Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation. Priority areas identified for foreign co-operation are Democratic Governance and Citizen Security; Economic Development and Citizen Prosperity; and Human Development. Among the specific areas for assistance are crime scenes management, intelligence gathering and management, strengthening of the Police Prosecution Branch and capacity building in forensics; market assessment of training needs and the establishment of a micro-enterprise unit; capacity building in conflict mediation, neighbourhood upliftment projects and the refurbishment of parks, playgrounds and neighbourhood sports facilities.

Southside Rejuvenation Workers to Work on Upcoming Projects
On Friday, August 24th, Hon. Mark King, Minister of State with Responsibility for the Gang Truce and Conscious Youth Development Programs, announced that the Ministry was scaling back on its work programs and as a result a number of employees were relieved of duties. Two hundred employees of the Southside Rejuvenation Project were released last week and more are expected to be released in the weeks ahead. It was an extremely difficult message for King to deliver; one that would be easier to understand if the audience understood the history of the program. The Southside Rejuvenation Project was launched in 2009. Hundreds of men and women of the city’s Southside were hired to work on construction, sanitation and various other infrastructural projects. The project was a huge success as many who were living criminal lives took advantage of the opportunity and contributed meaningfully to the city’s upliftment. Unfortunately, the Southside Rejuvenation Project was only designed to last one year. Just as the project was about to close in early 2010, then Minister of Works, Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez, travelled to Vienna, Austria where he was successful in reaching an agreement for US$11 million for the extension of the program. The Government of Belize added an additional $8 million in counterpart funding to make it $30 million for Phase 2 of the Southside Poverty Alleviation Program. Prime Minister Barrow has been the greatest supporter of the program. When funds from international agreements are exhausted, PM Barrow allocates funds to the program from the national purse. Over 800 people were employed under the various city jobs programs. That number was way above what is actually needed for the projects being undertaken but government tried to hold on as long as possible. After the $30 million for Phase 2 of the program was exhausted, PM Barrow allocated an additional $2.29 million to keep the workers employed. According to Hon. Mark King, that money finished on August 10. Employees were held on an additional two weeks before 200 were released on August 24th with salary and severance. King hopes that their last cheque could help them out until October, which he believes is a good time table for a source of funding to be identified. The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation will seek employment opportunities for all who are released in upcoming infrastructural projects. Such projects include the hot mix paving of Central American Boulevard; the paving of Jane Usher Boulevard, Faber’s Road and Pen Road and the rehabilitation on various secondary streets.

Four New Police Motorcycles for Belize District
The Ministry of National Security announces the acquisition of four (4) new motorcycles to assist the police in maintaining law and order in villages throughout the Belize District. The acquisition is a direct fulfillment of a commitment made by Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar during his countrywide tour, which he embarked on immediately upon taking up his new appointment in March of this year. Rural Executive Officer,Assistant Superintendent, Glen Rivero says the new dirt bikes will greatly assist in policing the formation that falls under his command, which covers the entire rural area that runs from Mahogany Heights to Western Paradise at Mile 8 on the Western Highway; and from Haulover Bridge all the way to Rhaburn’s Ridge on the Northern Highway. It includes Hattieville and La Democracia, Ladyville and Lord’s Bank, Sandhill and Crooked Tree, Burrell Boom and all the villages in Belize River Valley, Maskall and all the villages along the Old Northern Highway from Boston to Bomba. The four new dirt bikes just acquired are being specifically assigned to the villages of Sandhill, Bermudian Landing, Hattieville and Crooked Tree. The new MEILUN dirt bikes were purchased with the Government’s own funds at a total cost of $14,000. In related news, a temporary residence has been identified and secured for the posting of a resident police officer in Crooked Tree, while plans are underway for the construction of a new permanent Police Station and living quarters in that village. This urgent need has been addressed through the direct intervention of Belize Rural North Area Representative Hon. Edmund Castro and Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar.

Fixing and Painting Downtown Belize City
Finishing touches being put on Patricia Slusher’s home On Tuesda, August 28th, The Guardian Newspaper visited Patricia Slusher at the far end of Albert Street. She was at home and in high spirits as three workers from the Belize City Council were about her yard and around her house putting the finishing touches to paint work being done on her house. Slusher is one of at least 20 home and business owners, who will have their houses spruced up by the Belize City Council. According to Mayor Darrell Bradley, the idea is to have residents be included in the overall transformation of the city. Currently, there is major infrastructural work taking place and the program called the "Fix-up and Paint-up downtown Belize City" is tied in to the overall upliftment program. Phillip Singh, Community Outreach officer for the Belize City Council, says that they have identified 20 houses which will receive a paint job. Among these buildings, there will also be a component for small repairs to be done to some of the houses. Currently, there are 10 workers, who have been retained through the Belize City Council and a staggered number of other workers from the Conscious Youth Development Program doing the work. Depending on the area being worked on, the CYDP provides young men to do the work. Singh says that while they have identified 20 houses which will undergo a paint job, there are plans to do as many as 50 houses in the downtown area. The main streets being targeted are Albert Street, Regent Street and Southern Foreshore. The Council is currently looking for people to work with the program to enhance the numbers that are currently employed. Mayor Bradley says that within the next 2 weeks there should be a visible impact on the look of the downtown area of Belize City through the painting program.

As Belize Economic Train Turns : The Superbond
As emerging economies continue to wade through the global economic crisis, the challenges of crafting a strategy for long-term sustainability becomes even more masterful. Belize’s debt to equity ratio is projected to be around 84%. There is a need to find solutions to service the debt, while meeting other obligations. In 2006, in order to avert a sovereign default, the uncontrollable debts, which had average interest rates of 11% or 12%, were shopped in the bond market. This resulted in the now infamous Super Bond. The deal that was signed in February 2007 was for US 548.6 million dollars or BZ 1.1 billion. The country had surpassed grim and was at serious risk of defaulting on its loan payments. The structure of the debt was that there would be a grace period of 12 years, from 2007 to 2019. The payments would be made semi-annually on February 20th and August 20th of each year. During the grace period, interest would step up from 4.25% to 6% until August 2012, when the interest would step up to 8.5%, twice the initial rate. Under the present configuration, the principal repayments would commence on August 20th, 2019. Belize would have to pay approximately BZ 110 million from 2019 to 2029 until the full principal is repaid. These principal payments are in addition to the principal payments stretching over the full 22 years of the Super Bond. The Prime Minister indicated that it’s necessary to find a debt sustainable solution to service the debt and meet other expenditure obligations. In early August 2012, there were signals that Belize intended to renegotiate the Super Bond as it’s presently configured. The economic indicators, as reported on the Central Bank website, showed as much that there would be increasing financing gaps commencing in January 2013. There was every indication that the revenue projections would allow for the payment that was due on August 20th, 2012, but the inflow of revenue was not realized, which made it difficult for the payments to be made. As a result on August, 20th, 2012, the government indicated that they were unable to make the payment. Prior to the non-payment, three indicative scenarios, which would serve as a basis for discussion, were put forward. These scenarios were based around the present economic situation and all three would create relief for the country. The first scenario seeks no reduction in principal, but a reduction in interest, an extension of the maturity date, and a 15-year grace period. This means that the payments would be made over a longer time and at lower interest rates. The second scenario seeks a 45% reduction of the principal, no grace period, a maturity date of 2042 and a stepped up interest from 1 to 4%. The third scenarios seeks a 45% reduction of the principal, a grace period of 5 years, a maturity date of 2042 and a fixed 3.5% for the duration. As is in the case where negotiations are concerned, the three scenarios that form the basis of the negotiation, is the government’s position. It is now for the bond holders to consult and review to determine whether scenario A, B, C, or some other configuration would be acceptable.

UB gets Solar Energy
Official launching of the Solar Energy Project In August 2011 work commenced on the construction of a solar energy project on a 2.04-acre plot of land belonging to the University of Belize. After one year of construction the project was officially launched on Friday, August 24th. Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador of Japan to Belize, H.E. Hiroshi Yamaguchi said "The Government of Japan is honored to call you pioneer partners in the process of promoting the most advance solar energy system of the world here in Belize." Japan is a partner to the construction of the solar panel system called the Photovoltaic Project. It is expected to generate 450 kilowatts of clean energy, which will be sold to Belize Electricity Limited (BEL). The gross proceeds from the sale will be transferred by way of a grant to the University of Belize. The government of Belize and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) picked up the expenses of construction of the system. JICA has provided $20 million towards the project. Maintenance of solar energy system will be maintained by the Ministry of Works, the University of Belize and if necessary assistance will be provided by BEL. After a 10-year period, ownership and management will be transferred to the UB.

Male Vocalist of the Year wins Patriotic Song Competition Sharon Martinez New Carnival Queen
The 2012 National Song Competition was held at the MCC grounds on Saturday, August 25th. The competition is the Super Bowl for local musicians. It is their one chance in the year to prove that they are the best in their craft. Musicians competed at the junior and senior levels for the Carnival and Patriotic songs of the year. The competition only had three junior entries this year. Morelia Pop’s “Tranquil Haven” earned her $1,000 for a second place finish in the junior competition. “Belize Da Mi Country” by Tara Gill was selected by judges as the best junior entry for 2012. Gill received $1,500 for the rights to her piece. There were seven entries for the Carnival Song competition. Mr. Program came in third with “Everybody Dance” and received $1,500 cash. “Wave The Flag” from TR Shine was good for second place and earned the prodigy $2,500. The Carnival Song of the Year was performed by Sharon Martinez. It is entitled “Freedom” and should definitely free up carnival spectators on September 8. Martinez received $4,000 for winning the competition. There were nine entries in the Patriotic song competition. Patrick McPherson’s “A Song that We Sing” earned him third place honors and $1,500 cash. Nello Player was the king of the night. He took home the $4,000 cash prize for first place in the competition with his piece “Celebrating Belize”. Nello Player has long been one of Belize’s most talented artists. His great year began when he took home the award for Best Male Vocalist at the 2012 Belize Music Awards. All of his supporters look forward to his performances at concerts because he always brings it. While the top prize went to Nello Player, the most memorable moment for people in the business was the announcement of the second place winner. Leroy “Bass” Castillo’s “This is Belize” was named the econd best patriotic song of 2012. It was sung by Leroy’s brother Ellsworth Castillo because “Bass” passed away on Wednesday, August 22nd, due to complications stemming from an enlarged heart. He was very influential in the music business and admired by all who aspired to succeed in the music industry.

First Spine Surgery in Belize
Dr. Joel Cervantes performes first spine surgery Five Weeks after the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital’s Director of Medical Services, Dr. Adrian Coye, performed the first open heart surgeries in Belize the hospital’s Chief of Neurosurgery and Spine Surgery, Dr. Joel Cervantes, performed the first Scoliosis Surgery in Belize’s history. On Wednesday, August 22nd, Dr. Joel Cervantes and his team partnered with a team of specialist from the United States and Canada to execute the first twisted spine correction surgery inside the KHMH. The patient was a 13-year-old girl, whose scoliosis was at a stage where surgery was the only treatment option. Scoliosis is a medical condition in which a person's spine is curved from side to side. The spine of an individual with scoliosis may look more like an "S" or a "C", rather than a straight line. Surgery is usually recommended by orthopedists for curves with a high likelihood of progression-those greater than 45 to 50° magnitude. Those are curves that would be considered as cosmetically unacceptable for an adult. According to the KHMH, the surgery would not have been possible without the donations made by NuVasive Spine Foundation and Amedica. NuVasive donated spinal implants used in the surgery that cost upwards of US$50,000. They also donated a cell-saver machine that allows the collection and return of a patient’s own blood in cases where large amounts of blood loss is possible. Amedica donated instruments and implants valued at US$100,000. The members of the Belizean team that participated in the first scoliosis surgery in Belize are Dr. Joel Cervantes, Anaesthetist Dr. Ruben Pineda; George Arthurs, Frank Lorenzo; Intensivist/ Internists Drs. Jorge Hidalgo and Pedro Arriaga; Chief of Pediatrics Dr. Mirta Ochoa; Sister Alicia Moody; Respiratory Therapist Rocio Giron and Mark Cargill among others. The North American team was led by Ms. Keri George of Alberta, Canada. It also included Dr. John Williams, Dr. Andrew Moulton, Jarrett Self, Mary Dietz and Caitlyn McCullough; all of different cities across the United States. The surgeries were made possible through the partnership of KHMH, the Belize Spine Program (BSP) and the Resources for Medical Education and Collaboration (RMEC). RMEC is a US based non-profit organization, which collaborates with BSP to bring sustainable access to spine care for the Belizean population. The mission of the Belize Spine Program is to provide quality patient care, education for physicians and staff at KHMH and to provide technology that would otherwise not be available.

“Harvest for Kids: Planting Seeds of Hope”
By now you probably have heard about the “Harvest for Kids” initiative by Belize Camping Experience, a non-governmental organization, which is seeking to make a difference in the lives of Belizean children through summer camps and follow-up programs. The 40 acres of corn planted and designated to BCE’s “Harvest for Kids” project in San Carlos and Banana Bank is growing healthily. On August 18th, Belize Camping Experience took 22 of the children from their programs in Belize City to the field in San Carlos. On that day, the children not only got to learn more about what it takes to farm corn, but participate by hand harvesting some selected corn, which they boiled and enjoyed in a meal with farmers of the area. The children were also able to take up to 8 heads of corn home to share with their families. While the corn may be good to eat already, this corn is being left to mature longer so that it may be made into a product used for such purposes as corn tortillas and chicken feed. On the day of the Harvest, all are invited to watch Harvest for Kids set a record, doing something that has never be done before in Belize. They are expecting to have at least 10-15 combine machines harvesting 20 acres of land simultaneously. The harvest will take place some time in early October. Money made from the harvest and subsequent sale of the corn will go to subsidizing Belize Camping Experience’s program in Belize City. BCE’s programs include summer day camps, and follow-up programs in select elementary schools and children clubs around the city. This past summer BCE was able to reach 1,057 kids with their summer camp programs and they will now pursue follow-up with all of these kids during the school year. Belize Camping Experience is asking for your help in subsidizing the costs of this Harvest Project. While the labor and machinery has been donated the rest of the expenses will take away from the profit going to the children, unless caring citizens partner with them through donations. If you are interested in making a donation please contact Alexander Perez at: 621-5541 or Sashà Garnett at: 622-9239. Any size of donation will be appreciated.

Melonie Gillett, Berne Velasquez and Ernestine Carballo to be Honoured at SOUNDFEST 2012
Soundfest 2012 will be held on Friday, September 7th, at the Big Bird’s Isle. It is now one of the events that the average Belizean highlights on the September Celebrations Calendar. Soundfest brings all of the best Belizean entertainers together for one night to share one stage. This year, Soundfest will feature the Youth Connection Band, Love Vibration Band, Lucio and the New Generation Band, Jorge Ernesto Babb and Ivor Cacho, Radiance Thompson, Ben McKay, Fransin Murillo, Mr. Cleve and the Dream Girls Sugar City Dancers. Special Awards for the 11th annual Soundfest will go to Melonie Gillett, Berne Velasquez and Ernestine Carballo. Gillett has used her talents to take the music and fashion industry in Belize to another level. Velasquez has shown aspiring artist that success is possible in Belize. He has been doing big things in the music and film industry and is a legit local superstar. Carballo is one of the most dynamic entertainers in Belize’s history. She is one of few artists that have been able to make a splash in the political arena with her music. The three artists that will be honoured at Soundfest 2012 are well deserving of every accolades that may be bestowed upon them. They have made Belize proud. The show starts at 7 p.m. and entrance is $15 for adults and $5 for children. Entertainment will be family oriented and there will be plenty of food and drinks on sale. Everyone is encouraged to support.

UNICEF stresses Child’s Right to an Identity
On Wednesday, August 29th, the United Nations Children's Fund, in collaboration with Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow, Special Envoy for Women and Children and Global Ambassador for Special Olympics and the Vital Statistics Unit, launched a universal birth registration campaign at the Samuel Haynes Institute of Learning in Belize City. On September 2nd, 1990 the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child came into force. Belize as a signatory to the Convention is bound by international law to implement the Convention. Each country that ratifies the convention is required to report to, and appear before, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child periodically to be examined on their progress with regards to the advancement of the implementation of the Convention and the status of child rights in their country. Article 7 of that convention emphasizes a child’s right to an identity. The first step in establishing such identity is by registering the birth of a child. It is estimated that unregistered births range from about 2% in the Cayo District to about 12.4% in the Stann Creek District. The national birth registration drive was launched on February 24th of last year in the Toledo District, which was considered to be the most difficult district to cover. From Wednesday, August 29th, to Friday, August 31st, officials of the Vital Statistics Unit will be in different centers across Belize City to facilitate the registration process for residents of the city. Those locations are the Samuel Haynes Institute of Learning, Youth for the Future near Belchina Bridge, Sister Clara Muhammad Primary School, Young Men’s Christian Association building on Faber’s Road and the Vital Statistics Headquarters. The registration fee has been trimmed down to $3 during the exercise. Mrs. Barrow strongly urges parents to register their children because when a parent fails to register their child it is like “that child does not exist”. Failure to register a child affects that child’s other fundamental rights. An unregistered child has no nationality, right to an education, access to healthcare or other basic services.

Telemedia is National Softball Champion Again!
The 22nd Edition of the National Women’s Softball Championship, is now history. The championship, which concluded on Sunday, August 26th, 2012, was again captured by Belize Telemedia Ltd (BTL) when it defeated Mirage Lady Rebels by the score of 10-3 in five innings. Telemedia batting in the bottom of the 1st inning sent 7 batters to the plate when it tallied 3 runs. Centre-fielder, Lydia Cacho opened the inning with an infield hit and then advanced to second base on catcher Erlene Belisle’s infield hit. This then set the stage for the showdown between Telemedia’s third baseman, Norecia Frazer and Mirage Lady Rebels starter and loser Lanisha Jones, in which Norecia Frazer drilled a Lanisha Jones’ fastball over the left field fence for a 3-run homer. Lanisha Jones was able to retire the team without giving up any more runs in the inning. Unfortunately for her, the offence of the Telemedia team tagged into her again for an assortment of hits including a double by shortstop, Elaine Humes to centre field; a run-producing double by centre fielder Lydia Cacho, a run-producing triple by third baseman, Norecia Frazer and a run-producing single by pitcher Mary Flowers that chased her from the mound. Lanisha’s older sister, Lisa was called in to replace her and she came in and retired the next batter without any more damage.

Jesse Smith scored of the San Pedro Seadogs
Jesse Smith scored for the San Pedro Seadogs The 2012-2013 Premier League of Belize Football Competition opened on Saturday, August 25th, with two games on the schedule. In the game played out at the Isidorio Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the visiting FC Belize blanked the home team by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Leon Cadle in the 87th minute of play to give FC Belize the victory. Meanwhile, out at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, Verdes FC blanked San Ignacio United FC by the score of 2-0. The goals for Verdes FC were scored by Julio Ayala in the 71st minute of play and Emanuel Martinez in the 90th minute of play. The competition continued on Sunday, August 26th, 2012, with four games on the schedule. At the San Felipe Football Field, the visiting San Pedro Seadogs defeated the home team San Felipe Barcelona by the score of 3-1. The visiting San Pedro Seadogs were the first to get on the scoreboard when Francisco Noralez scored the 1st goal of the game in the 7th minute of play to give his team an early lead. Meanwhile, the home team San Felipe Barcelona was able to get on the board when Elizar Itza scored the equalizing goal in the 54th minute of play. The San Pedro Seadogs were able to take another lead when Everette Genus scored the go-ahead goal in the 63rd minute of play for a 2-1 lead. That lead was never relinquished again by the defence of the San Pedro Seadogs for the rest of the game. The final goal of the game was scored by Jesse Smith in the 75th minute of play to give his team the 3-1 victory. In the game played out at the MCC Grounds in Belize City, the visiting Paradise/Freedom Fighters blanked the host team R.G. City Boys by the score of 1-0. The lone goal of the game was scored by Dion Moguel in the 91st plus minute of the game.

BDBA Firms competition to open this Friday night
The Belize District Basketball Association’s 2012 Firms competition is scheduled to open this coming Friday, August 31st, at Bird’s Isle in Belize City. The Firms Competition will feature the following teams in this year’s competition: Belize Water Services Ltd, Central Bank, Smart, Belize Telemedia (BTL), Airport, Bowen &Bowen, Belize Electricity Ltd. (BEL), Port of Belize, Belize Bank, and Atlantic Bank. The Official Opening Ceremony is scheduled for Friday, August 31st, at 6:00 pm followed by the first of three games on the schedule. In game one, BWSL will go up against Central Bank, followed by Smart against BTL, and in the third and final game of the evening, it will be Airport against Bowen & Bowen.

Vega Cup Tournament rolls on in Orange Walk North
The 2012 Vega Cup Tournament continued on Sunday, August 26th, out in Trial Farm Village in the Orange Walk North Constituency. In the first game played, San Roman FC defeated San Luis FC by the score of 5-3. The goals for San Roman FC were scored by Adrian Armstrong in the 2nd, 8th, 30th and 35th minutes of play, while the goals for San Luis FC were scored by Teodoro Chan in the 16th minute of play and Erubiel Ku in the 38th and 41st minutes of play. In game two, San Pablo FC and defending champions Santa Cruz FC played to a 2-2 draw. In the third game of the afternoon, Old School FC blasted New River Dynamites by the score of 10-0. The goal scorers for Old School FC were Oliver Hendricks in the 18th, 27th, 32nd, 69th and 87th minutes of play; Vans Waight in the 23rd and 65th minutes of play; Marlon Miranda in the 30th and 40th minutes of play; and Jose Carlos Puerto in the 63rd minute of play. In the fourth and final game of the day, Untouchables FC edged Barrio Boys by the score of 2-1. The goals for Untouchables were scored by Alexander Cacho in the 12th minute of play, and Eliseo Garcia in the 50th minute of play, while the lone goal for Barrio Boys was scored by Ronel Flowers in the 9th minute of play. The competition will continue this coming Sunday, September 2nd with four more games on the schedule all Group B at the Trial Farm Football Field. In game one at 10:00 am, San Jose Survivors will go up against San Antonio Jaguars; followed by game 2 in which San Juan FC will go up against Douglas Galaxy. In game three, San Jose Pumas will see action against Blackwater FC, and in the final game of the day, it will be Athletics FC against United Ballers.

The Reporter

New gasoline prices through the Roof
Effective 12 midnight on Monday, August 27, the price of gasoline advanced to new heights – $11.95 a gallon for regular and $12.97 for premium gasoline. Diesel price remains stable at $10.17 a gallon. At the beginning of the year gasoline prices started out at $10.55 for regular and $10.90 for premium. Diesel was at $10.04.

“Complex” neighbourhood hot! 20 year old man shot and killed.
City Police have detained one man in their investigation of the murder of Miraldo Alvarez, 20, unemployed, who was gunned down near the junction of McKenzie Lewis Streets around 9:45 last Friday night, August 24.

Case dismissed! over missing marijuana.
Mark Sarcasa, 36, escaped a drug trafficking charge this week when Magistrate Anne Marie Smith dismissed the case on Tuesday, August 28, on grounds that the arresting officer, Detective Constable Palacio, had failed to follow proper police procedure for the custody of the seized drug.

The most effective form of democracy? The winner-takes-all system doesn’t represent everyone
According to the Election and Boundaries Department, there are 178,054 registered voters in Belize, of which only 73 percent (130,303) actually voted on Wednesday, March 7, 2012. Post-General Election figures showed that out of that 73 percent more than 1,400 ballots were rejected and that about 2,000 votes were in favour of independent or third party candidates; therefore, it is clear that the total number of votes received by Belize’s two major parties, the United Democratic Party (UDP) and the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP), was approximately 127,000 – which is roughly 71 percent of the total number of registered voters.

Belize Superbond: A fight to the debt
By Andrew Enriquez Former director and vice president of Bear Sterns & Co. Belize is currently in danger of re-defaulting on its debt after missing a US$23M interest payment due August 20, 2012 on the $544M USD bond it released on markets just 5 years ago, widely known as the “superbond.” Belize has a 30-day grace period before default is declared, but recent comments by the Finance Secretary suggest that Belize cannot afford to make the payment.

Motorists question PUMA’s diesel quality
Motorists have called in to various morning television talk shows to complain about the quality of diesel being sold at service stations in Belize of late. They claim that their vehicles’ response are not as peppy as before, and express the view that the substandard quality of the diesel is to blame.

SMART’s 3G hits out-of-the-park home run in telecom services
Smart tele-communications customers have been on a roll since the company launched its 3G network late last year. Since then, access to the information super highway has proven to be fast, and most Internet applications which stream data from cyberspace work flawlessly on the new network. There are no annoying breaks in the flow of data or delays from program buffering, especially Internet based radios and videos from sites such as Youtube. But that is only the beginning. Smart is continuing to create new, dynamic services to its more than 120,000 customers, breaking new ground in Belize’s telecom industry. One of the new additions to Smart’s line-up is its call roaming services for prepaid customers which the company launched last month. This is a first for Belize. Not only is the service available at a very low cost, but there is no need for customers to make a deposit to access the roaming service. Customers can even recharge their phones while roaming, by using Smart prepaid cards.

Murder for love
Calaney Flowers, 26, of Lavender Street, Belize City, was remanded to the Hattieville prison on Thursday after she drove her car over her ex-boyfriend, 29-year-old Lyndon Morrison and Morrison’s new flame, Sochyl Sosa.

GOB’s actions are “counterproductive,” bondholders say.
The “super-bond” restructuring negotiations may not have a speedy conclusion due to the “counterproductive, and adversarial actions” taken by the Government of Belize, said AJ Mediratta, the co-chair of the Bondholders Coordinating Committee.

Why postmenopausal women should say ‘No thanks’ to dessert
Post-menopausal women hoping to control their weight may be able to help themselves out by sticking to three simple rules: lay off the meat and cheese, eat more fruits and veggies, and skip dessert and sugary drinks. A new study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, aimed to find out how eating or avoiding specific foods made a difference in short and long-term weight loss results in women who had gone through menopause.

Genes may determine how we vote
The 2000 presidential election may have hung on some hanging chads, but new evidence suggests that a handful of genes may be influencing election outcomes more than we think. Genetic studies find that nature may be playing as significant a role as nurture when it comes to political traits. Certainly, learning and environmental factors play a role too in the development of political opinions, but new gene studies indicate that people may have natural tendencies when it comes to political ideology and partisanship, voting behavior and engaging in political violence.

Belize Telemedia women win National Softball Championship
Belize Telemedia women hammered the Mirage Lady Rebels 10-3 for a five-inning mercy rule victory to repeat as National Softball Champions at Rogers Stadium in Belize City on Sunday, August 26. Telemedia collected 10 hits off Lanesha Jones’ pitching. Lydia Cacho led the attack as she and Earlene Belisle scored after Norecia Fraser hit a home run in the first inning.

Scotiabank & Atlantic Bank win in Interoffice volleyball
Atlantic Bank, Scotiabank and Belize Telemedia enjoyed victories in the Belize City Interoffice Competition organized by the Belize District Volleyball Association at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium over the weekend. The Simon Quan Black Stars got some payback in their two- set victory over the Honeybees in Junior Female Volleyball Competition on Sunday afternoon, August 26. Stars’ Nyala Tun, Nandi Woods, Mia Miles and Alexis Burns hammered hits at the net on balls set by Alexandra Smith and Lediri Betson to reach 24-23 in the first set. Honeybees’ Merissa Williams, Leila Hernandez, Jenna Peck and Moesha Shaw counterattacked furiously spiking the Stars on balls set by Rebecca Price and Maria Contreras, but the Stars’ good defense forced the Honeybees into errors and the Stars won the first set 29-27.

Blogs

Birding in Belize's Toledo and Stann Creek Districts
Birding in Belize's Toledo and Stann Creek Districts 08/30/2012 0 Comments Birding in southern Belize is great fun and very productive, with many exotic specimens just waiting to show you their colors. We spent lots and lots of time looking for and watching birds on this seven-day trip and got quite a few new additions to our life lists, even though we certainly didn't get photos of all of them. We also saw many birds we'd seen before but never mind seeing again, like the exotic Montezuma Oropendola, this time hanging from its very interesting pendulous nest. This was right outside Hickatee Cottages, and very easy to spot, thanks to its distinctive call, appearance, and size. This is a BIG bird! Picture Montezuma Oropendola and nest While we were at Hickatee Cottages, Ian, the proprietor, presented us with a very thorough list of the birds of the Toledo district, keyed by whether each bird was a full-time resident, whether it had been previously sighted at Hickatee, and the likelihood of seeing it. This list was very helpful, especially if we were trying to determine a bird identification and were torn between two similar species, some with a very high likelihood of being seen, and some with a very low or nil likelihood. But let's back up a bit. Here are the birds we identified at Mama Noots or Mayflower Bocawina National Park, on the first half of our trip, in the Stann Creek District of Belize. Starred birds are new for our life lists. Photos we managed to catch are included below. Sure wish we'd gotten more! Black-Cowled Oriole* ~ Black-Headed Saltator* ~ Stripe-Throated Hermit ~ Chestnut-Colored Woodpecker* ~ Brown-Crested Flycatcher* ~ Purple-Crowned Fairy* ~ Ivory-Billed Woodcreeper* ~ Violacious Trogan ~ Great Kiskadee ~ Social Flycatcher ~ Rufous-Tailed Hummingbird ~ Smoky-Brown Woodpecker* ~ Buff-Throated Saltator* ~ Emerald Toucanet* ~ White-Collared Manakin* ~ Long-Billed Hermit ~ Yellow-Winged Tanager ~ Crimson-Collared Tanager(*Barry) ~ Masked Tityra* ~ Golden-Hooded Tanager(*Barry) ~ Blue-Black Grassquit* ~ Olive-Backed Euphonia* Picture Black-Headed Saltator Picture Blue-Black Grassquit (female)

Weather folklore blue moon
For all you sky watchers, we are about to experience a Blue Moon tomorrow night. The most common definition of a blue moon out there right now refers to it as the second full moon of a calendar month. I knew there had to be more behind it and Earth Sky science website provided me with the information below. The idea of a Blue Moon as the second full moon in a month stemmed from the March 1946 issue of Sky and Telescope magazine, which contained an article called “Once in a Blue Moon” by James Hugh Pruett. Pruett was using a 1937 Maine Farmer’s Almanac, but he simplified the definition. He wrote: Seven times in 19 years there were — and still are — 13 full moons in a year. This gives 11 months with one full moon each and one with two. This second in a month, so I interpret it, was called Blue Moon. EarthSky’s Deborah Byrd happened upon a copy of this old 1946 issue of Sky and Telescope in the stacks of the Peridier Library at the University of Texas Astronomy Department in the late 1970s. Afterward, she began using the term Blue Moon to describe the second full moon in a calendar month on the radio. Later, this definition of Blue Moon was also popularized by a book for children by Margot McLoon-Basta and Alice Sigel, called “Kids’ World Almanac of Records and Facts,” published in New York by World Almanac Publications, in 1985. The second-full-moon-in-a-month definition was also used in the board game Trivial Pursuit. Can there be two blue moons in a single calendar year? Yes. It last happened in 1999. There were two full moons in January and two full moons in March and no full moon in February. So both January and March had Blue Moons. The next year of double blue moons is coming up in 2018.

100% Made In San Pedro, Belize: Delicious Kakaw Chocolates
Yesterday I was a bit nervous. After dieting for seven weeks with rigor and perseverance that would impress most Olympic athletes, I was headed to south Ambergris Caye to visit Kakaw Chocolate factory. And when I returned? The "full house" of Belizean chocolate right there in my hand. Oh the temptation! But let's back up a bit...in fact, let's back up a lot. Belize has a long history of chocolate production. In fact, we may boast the longest in the world. Everyone's favorite flavor was actually first used by the Mayan and Aztec peoples thousands of years ago...some speculate as an ale of sorts made with the ground beans and the pulp that surrounds them. Belizean chocolate has come a long way since being served as a bitter beer. In much more modern times, mega-producer Hershey's Chocolate had a facility in Belize in the 1970s and 80s but left for cheaper production elsewhere. (Kakaw actually has one of the old Hershey's presses left in a garage in Southern Belize. Taller than me and weighing hundreds and hundreds of pounds, this machine is a beast! I shiver to think about how they actually got it to the island.) Famous organic producers Green & Black (now owned by Kraft) still buys cacao here for their Mayan Gold blend. You've probably seen those very bars at your local supermarket.

International Sources

Creditors question Belize's debt sustainability concerns
Creditors are asking the government of Belize to justify its restructuring proposals in light of what they see as contradictory information released earlier this year and a December IMF report that did not express any concerns about debt sustainability. “In the absence of comprehensive and consistent information, we are relying on the IMF Article IV published last December,” said a source close to the credit committee. “This report, which was issued in consultation with the Belize Government, did not even raise a concern about debt sustainability, so the committee is understandably curious about what has changed.” Belize missed a US$23m coupon payment on August 20, days after Prime Minister Dean Barrow said the country would be unable to make the payment. Creditors are still waiting for a formal response to proposals that could see them take a haircut of up to 80% on the net present value of their holdings. The government has until September 19, when the grace period ends. “We still have hopes it will be a 2012 restructuring, but that will need accommodation from each side,” said Sebastian Espinosa, managing director of White Oak Advisory, which is advising the government.

Creditors question Belize's concerns over debt sustainability
Creditors are asking the government of Belize to justify its restructuring proposals in light of what they see as contradictory information released earlier this year and a December IMF report that did not express any concerns about debt sustainability, Reuters reported. "In the absence of comprehensive and consistent information, we are relying on the IMF Article IV published last December," said a source close to the credit committee. "This report, which was issued in consultation with the Belize government, did not even raise a concern about debt sustainability, so the committee is understandably curious about what has changed." Belize missed a US$23 million bond interest payment on August 20 and creditors are still waiting for a formal response to restructuring proposals. The government has until September 19, when the grace period ends. However, one senior portfolio manager was skeptical last week, saying the final offer could be nearer 20 cents on the dollar, Reuters said. According to Reuters, the two sides appear to be far apart. The situation is exacerbated by approximately US$300m in additional liabilities in the form of compensation due to former shareholders of Belize's electricity and telecoms companies, which were nationalized between 2009 and 2011.

August 30, 2012

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The San Pedro Sun

20 community members trained in First Aid
A group of twenty participants from San Pedro are now properly trained in basic first aid. The training took place on Tuesday, August 28th at the Fido’s Courtyard and was organized by the San Pedro Branch of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and facilitated by the Belize Red Cross. The one day training was primarily for preschool teachers but had one member from a local commercial airline in attendance as well. According to the local NEMO Coordinator in San Pedro, Jeromey Timrose Augustine, the training was organized following a request by the teachers. “We received a request to coordinate the training in an effort to have teachers versed in community first aid so that they can be better able to deal with emergencies at their school,” explained Augustine. Teachers from all preschools in Ambergris Caye were invited to be a part of the training. The training was led by Winnie Parchue and Christbert Berry of the Belize Red Cross society. Speaking to The San Pedro Sun, First Aid Coordinator for the Belize Red Cross Winnie Parchue explained that, “The community first aid training is part of the disaster risk response project that is currently being implemented in the San Pedro Town area. This training will help teachers develop ways to deal with a medical emergency at school.” The participants received training on how to deal with scenarios such as unconsciousness, performing Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), choking, controlling bleeding and how to deal with broken bones.

Ambergris Today

Tres Pescados Slam Fishing Tournament Raises $14,000 for Bonefish Tarpon Trust in Belize
2012 Tres Pescados Slam Tournament Wrap-Up: On August 23, 2012, 42 anglers and guides descended upon San Pedro, Belize for the 4th Annual Tres Pescados Slam Tournament presented by El Pescador and Simms Fishing Products. The venue was beachfront and the Holiday Hotel served as the backdrop for this year’s three-day competition. Over the past few years this event has turned into Central America’s premier fly-fishing tournament. In the professional division 15 teams were pitted against each other and were competing for more than $8,000 in cash and prizes.

Grid Earth Project Returns to Bring More Lights to San Pedro
Ambergris Caye Directory Dining Out:Mambo Restaurant 0 inShare digg Email Sharebar News Icon August 29, 2012 - 00:00 Grid Earth Project Returns to Bring More Lights to San Pedro Audrey Cochran of Grid Earth Project distibutes solar lamps in San Mateo Area The Grid Earth Project, a US-based charity www.gridearth.org, returned to San Mateo recently to distribute solar powered LED lamps donated by the NW Rotary Club of Austin, Texas. The project visited San Mateo previously and distributed solar lamps to the children in San Mateo, however, the need was so overwhelming that the Grid Earth Project vowed to return to San Mateo with twice as many lamps. It is the mission of the Grid Earth Project to save lives, and improve health, educational and economic opportunities for those less fortunate. Millions of people die worldwide each year as a result of kerosene lamps, open flames and other alternate sources of household light. The Grid Earth Project replaces these with solar powered LED lamps.

Pre-School Teachers Brush Up on First Aid Training
Parents of preschoolers on the island will be more than happy to know that the teachers of their children received some First Aid training on Tuesday, August 28, 2012. The training came in part by the Belize Rural South District Emergency Coordinator and was facilitated by the Belize Red Cross. Sixteen pre-school teachers received proper training at Fido’s Courtyard on Basic First Aid by instructors Winnie Parchue and Christbert Berry of the Belize Red Cross. As teachers head back to classes next week, they now go back more prepared to handle medical emergencies that should arise at school.

Ambergris Today’s Kitty Rescue
I have to give much props to Saga Humane Society for their quick response during a kitty emergency I just recently had. Get this! Midway through my drive to meet up with friends I heard the cry of a kitten coming from within the vehicle. To my surprise a very skinny and weak little kitten was trapped underneath my car somewhere within the chassis and moving parts of the steering mechanism. Luckily the kitten was not crushed to death. But it took about half an hour of coaxing to finally retrieve the startled animal. Many thanks to Argeni Santoya (bartender at Wayo’s Beachside Beernet), Coconut Leo (who happened to be nearby), Gerry and my friend Erin de Santiago (who provided these pictures) who all helped me. Another generous lady who was sitting at the bar also offered to bathe the cat and give it some food.

Misc Belizean Sources

ERI Staff Receiving Training
The staff from the Environmental Research Institute has been doing a lot of training internationally. Last month, ERI Botanist German Lopez was in El Salvador where he received 1-week field training in the establishment of Permanent Sample Plots within agroforestry systems. This month, Ivanna Waight and Nicole Weatherburne went to Panama to take a GIS and Remote Sensing course. "“It was a remarkable course! I really appreciated that both theory and practical sessions were incorporated into the course. I look forward to applying the skills and knowledge gained to my work at the ERI."

Western Regional Hospital is Mother-Baby Friendly
The Western Regional Hospital got certified as Mother-Baby Friendly, and they had a great turnout for the ceremony. "A very nice Mother-Baby Friendly Certification Ceremony at the western Regional Hospital was held this morning. There were moms talking about the benefits of breast feeding, nurses, Minister of Health, Representative from unicef & many other people. They shared jingles that they came up with during their training (about 96 % of the staff - clinical & non-clinical were trained: 170+ persons). Awards were issued as well as pins to the audience. They also explained the significance of the pin. Can you guess what it is?"

SIRH Hosts Taiwanese Vice President
The VP of Taiwan had an exquisite lunch at the SIRH with Sir Colville Young and the MoFA during his visit to Cayo. "Vice President Wu was greeted by the Governor General of Belize, Sir Colville Young and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In reflection of esteemed welcome to Vice President Wu, the Governor General of Belize, Sir Colville Young requested a luncheon in his honor at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. In preparation for the welcome of such prestigious dignitaries the San Ignacio Resort Hotel once again launched its 'Operation Protocol.'"

Channel 7

Woman Allegedly Knocked Down And Drove over Her Baby's Daddy
Since 2010, there have been two cases of women killing their boyfriends or husbands - and tonight there is another: a woman accused of killing her baby's daddy. 29 year-old Lyndon Morrison was knocked down and killed last night - and all sources say it's his baby's mother who did it. At the time, he was on a motorbike with his new girlfriend - and she was seriously injured. 7News has been following the story, and even though the families didn't want to talk, here's what we found out today: Daniel Ortiz Reporting From this angle, the red car on your screen looks as though it's just parked waiting for the owner to get in and leave. But police say that this vehicle was used as a weapon to kill 29 year-old Lyndon Morrison, and injure his current girlfriend Sochyl Sosa. And the woman who police say intentionally knocked them down is none other than Morrison ex-girlfriend, and the mother of his child, 26 year-old Calaney Flowers. The vehicle looks as though it is in excellent condition, but closer inspection shows telling signs of the violent accident which happened last night.

Prison Authorities Say John Chessman Wanted To Break Out
John Chessman was remanded to prison on August 13, accused of pulling the trigger in the remorseless murder of shopkeeper Jian Tao Yang. It is not Chessman's first time in prison: the 22 year old has spent long periods of his short life in custody awaiting trail for three different murder raps - all of which he beat. So he's had enough of jail and now, prison authorities believe he tried to escape from the Supermax area on Sunday night. The CEO of the Prison Earl Jones today confirmed that three prison officers have been released for suspected involvement in a plot to allow Chessman's escape. Jones only told us it was negligence on their part and didn't go into details, but 7news has learned that on Sunday night, a prison guard who came unto duty discovered that the door to Chessman's cell was not properly locked. The officers were tasked to ensure that they locked the door for the cell and that was not done. Prison authorities have concluded that three officers were deliberately negligence in leaving the cell open so that Chessman could escape on Sunday night.

What's The Real Cost Of Fuel Imported Into Belize?
PUMA energy recently came into Belize to replace Esso as the country's monopoly importer of fuels. And tonight it is under scrutiny because pump prices are the highest they have ever been - almost thirteen dollars a gallon for premium gas in the city - and that's because Government reduced its tax take by 25 cents! If not, it would have been $13.22 per gallon for premium in the city and almost 13.50 in Punta Gorda. Wow! So how did we get to this astronomically high price? Indeed, world fuel prices are high - but 7news has been digging down into the numbers - and it seems that PUMA energy may be biting off a little more than it should. The current shipment of fuel was shipped on August 21st. and according to the Platt's index, on that day the US Gulf Coast Price for a gallon of premium $3.2925 US dollars. But then PUMA puts a standard premium or offshore margin unto that price - which brings what's known as the FOB Price to approximately 3.55 US dollars per gallon. But that's a premium of almost 28 cents US per gallon! Those we spoke to say that margin should be there, but it should only be about 9 cents US per gallon. We asked PUMA for comment and they only told us that, quote, "we kindly urge you to connect with the Ministry of Finance of Belize before running a new story based on the information..."

Coast Guard Grabs Over A Mil In Cocaine
Tonight, the coast Guard has confirmed that there was a major million dollar cocaine find made on the Southern seas. According to the Ministry of National Security, at around 9 o'clock this morning, a Coast Guard vessel patrolling the Turneffe area found a bale of cocaine, wrapped in a crocus sack, which washed up onto the beach. The officers took possession of it and transported it to the Coast Guard Headquarters, where it was discovered that the bail contained 35 packages, all to a total weight of 47.45 Kilograms - or 104.5 pounds - of cocaine, which was confirmed by the forensics department. This has an estimated street value of more than a million Belize dollars. The drugs are now in the custody of the police department, and it is expected that it will be destroyed at the earliest convenience.

Teenager Stabbed In Cayo Fight
Tonight, a sixteen-year-old minor is hospitalized at the KHMH - after he was stabbed in his home early this morning. The incident happened in Santa Elena Town - a little before one this morning. Roni Banos was at home with his family - when a young man identified to them as Francis Neal arrived at his house to look for his baby mother- who was there spending the night. According to family members, Neal got in altercation with the young woman and while Banos and his brother tried to defend the woman, that was when Neal pulled out a knife and stabbed the 16 year old once to the right side of his chest. He then fled the scene - while Banos had to be rushed to the San Ignacio Hospital and later transported to the KHMH. We found out about his condition today: Ramon Banos - Father "I was downstairs with them. We were all together but I then went to bed. I understand that this guy came into my yard because his girlfriend was there. I understand that he was trying to take away the baby from the girl. So, my two sons were there, and I think that they were trying to defend and avoid. They were trying to help the young lady. That's what I understand because I wasn't at the scene. But I heard a lot of shouting, and that's when I jumped out of my bed. I shouted at the guy, and when I came out, he was already running. They told me that my son got stabbed, so I didn't follow him. I went to go tend to my son. I put him in a truck, and we rushed him to the San Ignacio hospital."

A Harvest Of Hope For City Kids Living In Squalor
A group called the Belize Camping Experience has been working on a fascinating project called the Harvest For Kids. So far, one thousand and fifty seven Belize City kids have been involved in summer camps and now they are preparing for a major harvesting events. Organizer Alexander Perez says it's a way to broaden the perspectives of city children. His organization asks farmers for land, machinery and labour while he provides seed, fertilizer and chemicals. So far they have gotten 40 acres near Belmopan and twenty acres in Orange Walk for the children to get involved in. He tells us that the experience has been transformative: Alexander Perez - Director, Belize Camping Experience "The question was, can we study to be farmers? Can I study to drive a machine, or fix one like that? I said that you do have that opportunity. The career is there, but in Belize City, it has never been heard of, young people being farmers. That has been key to know that these children are now dreaming to be farmers, the 20 kids who are now experiencing planting, seeding, and harvesting. They are now saying that they want to live out in the districts. They don't want to their family to grow up in this neighborhood, or live on the swamp. They can actually plant on good grounds if they live in the outside. Now, 20 kids have been experiencing going in the fields, on the day of the planting, the day we put fertilizer, and just a week ago, when we took the kids to pull corn from the plants, right into the pot, and eat it right on the farm. Jules, you should have seen the face of the kids. Some of them couldn't believe it, that you literally can cultivate if you plant."

Mas Camp Madness 2012
The Carnival is set for Saturday September eighth - and that means that right now the various Carnival Camps are in high gear, finalizing elaborate costumes and cultivating that wild spirit to unleash it on the streets when the big day comes around. Last night Monica Bodden visited a few of those camps and here's her report: Monica Bodden Reporting With carnival only 10 days away - The carnival fever continues as these bands finish up the last minute touches on their costumes and strengthen their dancing techniques. Our first stop last night was at the Sunshine Masqueraders Mas Camp where 46 revelers - all energized - gave us a peek at what we can expect on Carnival day. Marilyn Young - Band Leader, Sunshine Masqueradors "We are portraying the Mayan Heritage. We're doing their culture. Our costumes - the king and queen - will be Moon God, and Rain God."

UNICEF Sponsors Registration For Disadvantaged Children
UNICEF and The Vital Statistics Unit are teaming up in a drive to achieve universal birth registration of the most disadvantaged children in Belize. Simply put, the idea is to mobilize communities to register children who slip through the cracks and never get registered. The programme targets unregistered children under the age of 18 with the goal of achieving universal birth registration in Belize by 2015. Today the Belize City programme was launched and UNICEF"s country representative explained how you can participate: Christine Norton - UNICEF Representative "Belize have on average, some 7,000 children being born every year. Yet, still, when you look at the registration, really not 7,000 children are appearing to be registered. And they are not having a social security card, or an identity card. As my colleagues already mentioned, the importance of this is precisely that every child born in Belize has an identity, a recognized identity in Belize, a name, and a chance to have a nationality. The point is that today, we're in Southside, and I think that we have a great opportunity to close the gap in Southside. So, everybody who's listening to this, please come out, if you know that you're in a situation where you have incomplete registration, where you have a desire to register children born in Belize, because that is the important - all children born in Belize should be registered. We have even registered some adults because we realize that some people fell through the cracks. We'll help you. So do come, we have 5 centers. Sammuel Haynes is 1, Youth for the Future, the YMCA, - you can also go to the main Vital Statistics Office, which is on Gabourel Lane. We have Clara Muhammad Muslim School."

Mystery Boat Was In a Trans-Atlantic Race
On Friday we told you about a weird looking vessel that had washed up on the beach at northern Ambergris. We didn't know quite what to make of it, but tonight there is an answer. The San Pedro Sun reports that the vessel is named Lydia Rose and was being used in the Ocean Pedal Challenge by a team which was attempting to pedal across the Atlantic. However, on day four of their challenge, the crew began experiencing bad weather conditions at sea and had to be rescued via helicopter abandoning the vessel.

Channel 5

35 parcels of cocaine, 1.8 million fished in sea near Turneffe
Close to two million Belize dollars worth of cocaine was found this morning in the area of the Turneffe Atoll. The drugs were taken in by the Belize Coast Guard for processing at their headquarters. Interestingly, the bale carried the markings, PZ, which is the same as those on three parcels of cocaine found last [...]

Driven to murder; ex drives over baby daddy and his girlfriend
An Atlantic bank employee is in police custody tonight. She is being detained for killing twenty-nine year old Lyndon Morrison, the father of her child. Calaney Flowers is likely to be charged with Morrison’s murder. She allegedly followed him and his girlfriend, Sochyl Sosa on Tuesday night and drove her car into them in the [...]

Santa Elena resident, 16 years, stabbed to the chest
A sixteen year old Santa Elena resident is under observation at the K.H.M.H. after he was stabbed to the chest early this morning at his house. Roni Baños was in his yard on Tuesday night socializing with relatives when he was injured. It happened at around twelve-thirty a.m. when he intervened in to stop a [...]

Principal Willacey won’t face charges
Norman Willacey, the former Pastor of the Belmopan Baptist Church, will not face any charges before the courts for carrying on a sexual relationship with a sixteen year old student. When the scandal broke, over a week ago, Willacey, a high ranking member of the Belize Baptist Association, had to resign. Speculation about whether Willacey [...]

Pan Caribbean partnership’s Study on HIV/Aids
The number of new infections of persons affected with HIV/AIDS has been on the decrease, but for those affected, stigma and discrimination remain the number one hurdle. A conference is taking place on this sensitive issue and the results of a survey show that police and the church are the major perpetrators. Another finding is [...]

PG man; accident or murder victim?
The investigation continues into the death of eighteen year old Santiago Bol. On Monday, we told you how the body of the PG resident was discovered on the road in that southern district. Initial investigations into Bol’s death had the markings of foul play, as Inspector Ernel Dominguez told us in an interview on Tuesday. [...]

Belizean companies will be allowed in gold panning area
Friends for Conservation and Development has been at the front lines against gold panning in the Chiquibul by Guatemalan nationals. When the illegal activities were first reported, there was a huge hue and cry because about three hundred Guatemalans were operating well within the national park. In an update to that story, the Department of [...]

Mesoamerican Territorial Information System handed over to Belize
Since 2010, government leaders of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Mexico, Colombia and the Dominican Republic have been meeting and working on the Mesoamerican Territorial Information System (SMIT). It’s a tool that was created to allow countries in the region to share territorial information on risks, preparation and response to natural [...]

Bacchanal, mas camps in full swing for Carnival Season
The September celebrations are fast approaching, the hottest ticket for the season has got to be the carnival. Mas camps got underway on Tuesday night to give the judges an opportunity to view the colorful and intricate costumes that have been under preparation for months; it all leads to the grand road march on September [...]

The Belize Camping Experience
Over a thousand Belize City kids participated in summer activities by an organization called the Belize Camping Experience. The camps finished last week, but the coordinators do follow up visits with the participants throughout the year to offer mentoring and whatever assistance they may need in school. Like many summer programs, the Belize Camping Experience [...]

Superstar performances at the Bliss
Channel Five is in search of the Next Superstar! Every Tuesday night, a pool of talent in all genres of the creative arts from across the country converge at the Bliss, bringing to you show-stopping presentations in dance, singing and drama. When Group A took the stage on Tuesday night, two were eliminated and there [...]

LOVE FM

Southern Area Representatives Return From Working Visit in Texas
Area Representatives of the Toledo and Stann Creek Districts have completed a recent working visit to Houston Texas. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports. PAUL MAHUNG Toledo Correspondent Love FM “During the visit Toledo West Representative Hon. Osca...

Another Shooting in the City
A shooting incident last night left one man injured. According to police reports, they visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital last night where they saw Omar Martinez suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to his left ankle. The incident occurred around 9:45 last night. ...

LOVE TV

Bond holders say they want more info from Barrow administration
Members of the super bond renegotiation team say they remain confident that an amicable resolution of Belize’s call for better payment terms on the nation’s foreign debt will be forthcoming soon. But a report today by Reuters News Agency puts the Belizean officials on the spot, accusing the government of not releasing enough information for bond holders to be able to make informed decisions. According to the Reuters reports, the bond holders are saying that no meaningful talks can take place about renegotiating the super bond until the government of Belize comes up with more information. Although Belizean officials are confident of a negotiated solution, no time table for a new deal has been set. And a statement issued today by the committee formed to represent bond holders, makes it clear that the government of Belize has not provided requested information in order for bond holders to understand why Belize failed to make the August twentieth coupon payment and the Prime Minister maintaining that Belize could not afford to service the debt. It its statement, the bond holders committee described the missed coupon payment by the Barrow administration as unnecessarily provocative and furthermore putting up restructuring options without any discussion. Mike Gerard, who is the managing director of the advisory committee BroadSpan, is quoted as saying, quote: “We … need to receive from the (government) the information necessary to complete our analysis before meaningful discussions can take place,” end of quote. The Reuters News agency report ends by saying that bondholders said they wanted to agree on a new debt sustainability analysis with Belize, noting that the International Monetary Fund’s 2011 report on the country’s finances had not flagged a looming payment problem.

Accused man beats drug trafficking charges
Thirty-six year old Mark Sacasa, charged with drug trafficking for 51 point seven pounds of cannabis, was freed of the charge today when Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith dismissed it because the arresting officer detective constable Palacio, did not follow procedure in the chain of custody of the cannabis. The incident occurred on December 7, 2011. The police intercepted a brown car that was coming from the direction of Belmopan at a checkpoint in Hattieville. When they searched the trunk of the car they found a sack that had the word, “El Quetzal” on it that contained the cannabis. Sacasa, the driver of the car, was arrested and charged. The case for the prosecution fell apart when Palacio testified that he handed the cannabis over to the Anti Drug Unit exhibit keeper and he gave a statement on December 7, 2011 that on December 8, 2011 he took samples of the cannabis and gave them to the National Forensic Laboratory and handed the samples to the national exhibit keeper. There was a gap in the chain of custody, so the sack of cannabis and the samples were not admitted as exhibits. As a result the charge was dismissed. Sacasa was represented by attorney Arthur Saldivar. Sergeant Dennis Miles represented the prosecution.

Policeman chopped in the chest
An off-duty policeman was chopped in the chest during an altercation in San Pedro town on Saturday night. The victim has been identified as police constable Alfonso Guerra. According to police reports, PC Guerra was performing special duties at an establishment on Sea Grape Drive in San Pedro town, when he observed two men fighting. One of the men, identified as twenty four year old Francisco Dominguez was reportedly armed with a machete, and when PB Guerra intervened to try and defuse the situation, Dominguez reportedly took a swing at the officer with his machete. While PB Guerra was able to avoid the first wing of the machete, a second swing by Dominguez found its mark on the left side of PC Guerra’s chest. The official police report says that when PC Guerra fell to the ground, the machete wielding Dominguez reportedly stood over him and was apparently about to chop him again when it is reported that a bystander stoned him with a bottle hitting him to his head. Dominguez then fled the scene. Police investigation continues.

Belize City man shot in the ankle
A shooting incident last night left one man injured. According to police reports, they visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital last night where they saw Omar Martinez suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to his left ankle. The incident occurred around 9:45 last night. Martinez was at his house with his common-law wife and a friend when a dark complexioned male person approached them from the nearby bushes and fired six shots in their direction injuring Martinez on his ankle. Martinez was transported to the K.H.M.H where he was treated and released. Police continue to investigate the incident.

National AIDS Commission targets discrimination
Stigma and discrimination are buzz words often times used to dissuade people from judging or displaying scorn at certain groups of persons or individuals simply for their lifestyles or illnesses from which they may be suffering. But tonight and for the next two years, stigma and discrimination will be anything but buzz words to the National AIDS Commission. In fact, they are what the Commission wants to completely stomp out of people’s vocabulary and behavioural mode. The National AIDS Commission will focus for the next two years on reducing the level of stigma and discrimination among people to a zero degree status. At a launching ceremony tonight at the Belize Biltmore Plaza, the Commission will unveil its plan which is entitled, “Getting to Zero 2012-2014”. It will come as part of a conference with relevant parties who deal with people suffering from HIV and AIDS. Executive Director of the National AIDS Commission Secretariat, Doctor Martin Cuellar, say that while the Commission would like to see everybody disassociates him or herself with being judgmental or condescending upon people with HIV and AIDS, there is also the legal aspect of that issue, but getting the population to understand that it does not pay to discriminate is important. Cuellar says that the conference will reveal some surprising details over a recent study conducted on the issue of stigma and discrimination. Tonight’s launching and conference begins at seven o’clock at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel.

All public hospitals now baby friendly
The Ministry of Health this week announced that Belize has now completed the cycle of upgrading public hospitals to the Mother and Baby Friendly status. It is an international ten-step initiative promoted by the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF. Belize started on its quest to meet the international requirements in 2008 with the declaration of the Karl Heusner Memorial, Corozal Community and Northern Regional hospitals as certified Mother and Baby Friendly facilities. Nurse Ann Matute is the senior public health nurse under the maternal and child health unit of the Ministry of Health. According to an official release from the Ministry of Health, the certification ceremonies will be held on Wednesday morning at the Western Regional in Belmopan in the afternoon at the San Ignacio Community Hospital. The Mother and Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund to encourage and recognize hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding.

South area representatives back from the USA
Area Representatives of the Toledo and Stann Creek Districts have completed a recent working visit to Houston Texas. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

PlusTV

Government redefines the word "spouse" in most Liberal definition ever
We almost missed it, but the Opposition’s senators informed the church senator only a few minutes before today’s Se...

Will decriminalization of Marijuana reduce Police and Court work?
A committee has been commissioned with the responsibility of galvanizing the general consensus of the Belize societ...

VOICE advocates for Universal pension for older persons
VOICE is an organization that advocates for the rights of older persons in our society. The organization was offici...

Belize Bond Investor meeting produces no results
Investors holding Belize bonds met in Washington, D.C., last week Friday with officials from the International Mone...

Moodys' Investors Service further downgrades Belize's financial ratings
In related news Moody's Investors Service has lowered Belize's local currency bond and deposit ceilings to B2 from ...

Teenage cancer victim dies leaving family with whopping health bills
The case of cancer victim 19 year-old Shayna Lightfoot had been in the news for a couple of weeks. Lightfoot was re...

Belize Gas prices spike upward
Back in May there was noticeable drop in the price of premium fuel. On Sunday night however fuel prices took a big ...

Will Miss Belmopan get to compete in National Queen of the Bay?
We broached the issue of Ms. Belmopan - Queen of the Bay 2012 – 2013 last night. Jasmine Arce is scheduled to repre...

Night ambush lands a Belize City man in the hospital
Police visited the K.H.M.H. last night where they saw Omar Martinez suffering from a gunshot wound to his left ank...

Two houses in Belize City burn to the ground
Two houses in Belize City burn to the ground. Jaslyn Godoy of #40 Iguana Street reported that at 11:30am on Saturda...

Police shoot man stealing steel in the leg
On Saturday morning (August 25) Police responded to a theft in progress on Marine Parade. Police on patrol responde...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Photo of the Week: GO SLOW on Caye Caulker!!
A couple of our island’s Taxi Drivers take a break from their busy schedule!! What a fine day it is to relax and just simply GO SLOW!!

Liberty Tours offering sailing trips from Caye Caulker!
Liberty Tours is a locally owned and operated tour shop in Caye Caulker. Mr. Edwardo Arceo is a well-known business person on the island. Liberty Tours office is located in the heart of Caye Caulker right next to the famous Roses Grill and Bar. Our office hours are from Monday to Sunday 7am-7pm. We offer Sailing tours that will make a memorable experience. Our Sailing trips are unique and adventurous. Liberty tours offers a variety of tours to suite your vacation budget. We do Sailing trips to the different islands around our jewel Belize. Either it’s three nights or a one night camping on the island. Our Sunset Cruise is breath taking, you enjoy the magnificent sunset as you sail away! Liberty tours also offers Fishing Sailing trips as well, which is quite an adventure. All our tours are done with two professional and well-experienced tour guides. They are always eager and happy to make your trip an unforgettable one!

New Caye Caulker R. C. School building ready for school year!
Caye Caulker is never short of having great news for the Community and the newest development on the island was having a much needed additional school building at CCRCS. This past Sunday, August 25, 2012, the two spanking new school buildings were blessed by Auxiliary Bishop of Belize City and Belmopan, Christopher Glancy, who also officiated Sunday’s Mass at Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion Church, well attended by members of the community. The new classrooms will house two Std. 1 classes, very much needed for the school so as to avoid the overcrowding of classrooms. Members of the Caye Caulker Lobster Fest Committee also contributed much needed desks, chairs and fans to the two classrooms just in time for the new school year. Matthew Badillo was present to hand over the furniture and fans, which were bought from the proceeds of this year’s Lobster Fest, another successful fete for Caye Caulker in 2012. He continued to pledge his Committee’s assistance to projects that require much needed assistance in the future including Caye Caulker R.C. School. Mrs. Beatrice Chan, Principal of CCRCS was very thankful and humbled to receive the much needed furniture on behalf of the school and thanked Bishop Glancy for his presence and his blessing on the 2 new classrooms. Fathers of students took out time to volunteer their services to paint the school building with the vibrant blue and bone colors.

Blogs

September in Belize is THE Best: There is Still Time!
I have written about why I think you should be here for Independence Day, September 21st, in Belize before. But I think visiting Belize in September is a decision your won't regret. I know that it is tough. The kids are easing back into school, the weather is still summery so maybe you aren't longing for a tropical location complete with white beach, hammock and pina colada YET. But there are really lots of amazing reasons to visit San Pedro and the whole country of Belize in September. It's my favorite month. So let me see if I can talk you into a last minute trip. Airfares and Lodging Prices are historically at the lowest of the year: I just check prices for the third week of September. $580 round-trip from the NYC area. $536 from Calgary, Canada. Everyone has their own search engine, I'm a big fan of Kayak.com. Just check...it can't hurt to just check... Here is the view on your flight over to Ambergris Caye. (Flight over Caye Caulker on Tropic Air.) All hotels in Belize will have "low season" rates. If you don't see them on your favorite hotel's website, send them an email. I bet you can even get a great deal on renting a golf cart...again, just ask. Your excursions won't be crowded There are so many great trips to take when you visit the island. Snorkeling to Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley, diving (of course), sailing to our sister island, Caye Caulker, cave tubing on the mainland. Don't worry that you will be jockeying for a spot on a crowded catamaran or getting kicked in the face by some rookie snorkeler at Shark Ray Alley, September is the month to get great deals and feel like excursions were sent out just for you.

Actun Tunichil Muknal Classic Articl
e This is a classic review of ATM. Great for the pictures, of which new ones are few and far between now, and the story, which has a well written postscript about how the experience wouldn't be the same anywhere else. Pacz gets an honorable mention, as do Patrick Warrior and Carlos Panti. "In other, more 'developed' countries, a comfortable dry tunnel would no doubt have been blasted through from the 'show caves' to the Visitors Centre and they'd be putting a thousand visitors a day through here along roped walkways to look at what remained of the artifacts after the museums had taken their cut. Of course, that would make the visit more comfortable and accessible but you'd miss out on a wonderful life enhancing adventure and the sense of awe and mystery that touched us would feel somewhat 'canned' if you felt it at all."

60 Scholarships Get Funded
Feelgood story of the week! The BNE Charitable Trust has teamed up with Restore Belize, and provided $400,000 towards scholarships to high school. Thanks! "But there’s some good news; sixty students are getting a shot at a secondary education through a partnership of Restore Belize and the B.N.E. Charitable Trust. The students will be a part of the 'I am Belize' Scholarship Program and by extension will get internship and mentorship opportunities. Last week, B.N.E. Trust handed over a four hundred thousand dollar cheque for investment in the students’ education, beginning this academic year."

International Sources

Lidar archaeology shines a light on hidden sites
If you think archaeologists spend all the time with trowel in hand in a muddy ditch then it’s time to think again. More and more are using sophisticated aircraft-mounted lasers, and it is opening up a new age of discovery. For the best part of 25 years, archaeologists Arlen and Diane Chase slogged through the thick undergrowth in the west of Belize in search of an ancient city whose details had been lost to the passage of time and the decay of the jungle. The going was tough, often requiring a machete to clear a path through the dense vines and creepers that blocked their way. Over time, their perseverance paid off as their hand-drawn maps began to reveal long-forgotten parts of the massive Mayan city of Caracol. But the more the pair found, the more they realized the extent of what remained uncovered. It would take several lifetimes, they figured, to reveal the true extent of Caracol. Then, in 2008, they got talking to a biologist colleague at the University of Central Florida where they worked. For years, he had been using airborne laser sensors known as Lidar (Light Detection And Ranging) to map and study forests and other vegetation. He suggested they give it a go.

Pair’s pedalo washes up in Belize
AN OCEAN pedalo that was abandoned at sea by a Whitehaven duo part way into a cross-Atlantic challenge has been found washed up on a tropical beach on the Caribbean country of Belize. Friends Kieran Sweeney and Callum McDonald were forced to abandon their pedalo – the Lydia Rose – when they were winched to safety by a helicopter after running into difficulties 300 miles into the 3,000-mile planned journey from Gran Canaria to Barbados in February. Now, more than six months later, the pedalo has been discovered off the coast of Ambergris Caye, the largest island in Belize – over 4,000 miles away from where it was abandoned. The local newspaper, The San Pedro Sun, reports the anti-drugs unit of the Belize Police Department was initially called amid suspicions that the craft had been used to transport narcotics.

Belize opposition supports renegotiation of superbonds
The main opposition People’s United Party (PUP) says it backs the decision of the Dean Barrow government to seek to renegotiate the restructuring of its US$544 million superbond with investors. “We have not been briefed by the government on this matter. They (government) have not shared with us any official information. You know but having said that, our position we believe, as a responsible opposition is to act in good faith on this issue,” said PUP leader Francis Fonseca. “We believe it is an absolutely critical issue for Belize’s development and Belize’s future. “So our position is very clear, we want the bond renegotiation exercise to succeed and whatever we can do as an opposition to assist we are prepared to do,” he added. A delegation headed by Ambassador Mark Espat has already visited Washington for talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the issue and Governor of the Central Bank, Glen Ysaguirre said the first face to face meeting with the bondholders is expected to be convened next month and a definitive offer should be on the table by the middle or ending of September. Belize is currently trying to renegotiate its foreign debts with creditors and has offered them a three-pronged payment plan, which involves an extension of the payment period on the super bond well beyond the 2029 maturity date. The Barrow administration said that the Step-Up Bond due 2029 contains a collective action clause that permits the holders of 75 per cent of the bonds either to amend the terms or approve a complete exchange of that bond for a new instrument or instruments. “The Government is currently disinclined to close a restructuring transaction unless that 75 per cent threshold has been reached.”

Belize starts mapping exercise to improve citizen security
A mapping exercise has been launched by the government of Belize as part of a coordinated strategy to address security issues through foreign cooperation according to an official press release issued today. Being mapped-out during the exercise are ongoing programs and planned initiatives that the Government of Belize intends to undertake in the short, medium and long term. The mapping-exercise comes out of a meeting of the Donor Coordinating Group on Citizen Security conducted last Thursday, August 23, at the US Embassy Conference Room in Belmopan, that meeting being a follow-up to a previous high-level meeting that was held on July 13 at the NEMO Conference Room in Belmopan. Last Thursday’s meeting was attended by Chief Executive Officers in coordinating ministries, namely Audrey Wallace, Office of the Prime Minister; George Lovell, Ministry of National Security; Yvonne Hyde, Ministry of Economic Development; Alexis Rosado, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Judith Alpuche, Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation.

August 29, 2012

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El Pescador Fishing Report, Week of August 19th – August 25th , 2012
WHAT GUESTS WERE CATCHING: BONEFISH: Lots of bonefish as usual – Mary landed her first ever bonefish as did Billy. Mary was fishing with Capt. Luis while Billy was out with Capt. Vince. Everyone caught bonefish each day. The biggest just around 4 pounds. PERMIT: On Monday, his first day out, long time guest Adam M. landed a permit warming up for the tournament with Capt. Emir. Tony, his teammate got one to eat but didn’t get it in. Repeat guest Dave D. warmed up for the tourney with Capt. Carlos on Wednesday and landed a permit – his first permit here at EP! Victor Landed a good 12-pound permit with Capt Kechu. For tournament points, Team Reel Women fishing out of EP landed a permit on their first day out. Congrats to team Reel Women (our own Lori-Ann and Diane) who fished with Capt, Tomas. Team Yellowdog also fished out of EP as well, Ian and Keith fished hard but could not repeat their second place finish of last year but finished strong on Saturday with a permit to the boat...


Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Blue Reefers are the 2012 Tres Pescados Grand Slam winners
The fourth annual Tres Pescados tournament took place with great success over the weekend. The three days of sun and bluer skies provided perfect weather for the yearly anticipated tournament. With a grand prize of $4,000BZ on the line, anglers hailing from near and far headed out to sea daily, some as early as 4:30AM! The objective of the game was to capture the most “Grand Slams”, i.e.: All three fish –Bone fish, Tarpon and Permit. Competition commenced early Thursday morning with 15 boats and some 36 anglers signed up for the tournament. Teams went out daily and brought photos of their catch of the day. Points were tallied and added daily, eventually leading up to the award ceremony on Saturday night, August 25th. Caprice Bar and Grill saw some 50 or more fishermen along with their family members and friends gathered for the cocktail dinner party followed by the award ceremony. In third place with zero slams but the most points and taking home Bze$1,500 was Team Pesca with 1150 points. In second place, capturing one grand slam over the three days was Team Fly Treks, which took home Bze$2,500. And the grand prize winners, capturing two slams over the three days, and winning Bze$4,000 were, the Blue Reefers.

Belize to host historic, high-level CRFM/OSPESCA Meeting
Belize will host a historic, high-level ministerial meeting which will see as many as 25 countries from two regional fisheries organizations—tasked to promote cooperation and policy coordination in addressing transboundary fisheries matters—converge at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City, from Monday, September 3 to Tuesday, September 4, 2012, as they chart a comprehensive course for future collaborative action. The joint meeting will bring together 17 CARICOM member and associated member states of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), and 7 members of the Organization for Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Central American Isthmus (OSPESCA), joined by the Dominican Republic as an associate member. “The similar mandates and objectives of both organizations highlight the potential benefits of sharing scientific knowledge and experiences related to research, resource management, and policy coordination in fisheries and aquaculture development,” CRFM organizers said. They added that, “Strengthening collaboration between these two regional fisheries organizations would improve conservation, management and sustainable development of the shared living marine resources of the Caribbean Sea.”

Ambergris Today

Pre-School Teacher Brush Up on First Aid Training
Parents of preschoolers on the island will be more than happy to know that the teacher of their children received some First Aid training on Tuesday, August 28, 2012. The training came in part by the Belize Rural South District Emergency Coordinator and was facilitated by the Belize Red Cross. Sixteen pre-school teachers received proper training at Fido’s Courtyard on Basic First Aid by instructors Winnie Parchue and Christbert Berry of the Belize Red Cross. As teachers head back to classes next week, they now go back more prepared to handle medical emergencies that should arise at school.

Two Manatees Rescued in Belize
Just a couple weeks ago a report by the Oceanic Society and the Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI) indicated that Belize has the most numbers of endangered Antillean manatees in the world. Belizeans were very happy with the reports as the manatee has always been an iconic symbol of the country’s rich marine life. And Belizeans have always been protective of manatees because of their gentle nature and more so because of their endangered status. Just last week this love for the magnificent marine creature was displayed as a group of volunteers managed to save two injured manatees from possible death. With the help of volunteers from residents at the Vista del Mar area in Belize City/Ladyville, the CZMAI and the Sea to Shore Alliance were able to remove two injured manatees from the area and transport them to the Manatee Rehabilitation Facility in Sarteneja where they are currently being treated.

Solar Energy Project Introduced to Belize
On Friday, August 17, 2012, the University of Belize was handed over a multi-million dollar project for introduction of clean energy by a solar electricity generation system. The facility is located at the Belmopan campus of the University of Belize and was funded was funded under the grant aid for environment and climate change program by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Completion of the project took about a year and $10Mil Bze and it represents a world of new possibilities for Belize and its environment, as the country takes hold of clean energy generation. UB President, Carey Frazer, explained at the inaugural ceremony that the facility will also be important to carry out research for the development of other green technologies.

San Pedro Police Officer Assaulted with Machete
Police reports indicated that on Saturday, August 25, 2012, Police Constable Alfonso Guerra, 30yrs, was involved in a chopping incident that occurred in the vicinity of Marina’s Store on Sea Grape Drive. San Pedro Police reported visiting Marina’s Store at about 10:30p.m. on the said date where they saw PC Guerra suffering from a chop wound across the left side of this chest. Initial investigation revealed that PC Guerra was working special duty at the establishment when Francisco Dominguez, 24 year old laborer of Coconut Drive, armed with a machete, approached another male person known to him only as Kalahka. Both men then engaged in a struggle and when PC Guerra intervened to diffuse the situation, Dominguez used the machete and swung at him.

Coconut Fresh, No Sugar Added
There is nothing that can beat the refreshing taste and hydrating qualities of fresh coconut water on a hot and steamy day on San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Look who we caught up with by the beach - the famous Coconut Leo! He was just finishing up filling a gallon with fresh coconut water that he collected by climbing up the trees himself. It is impressive to see this master of coconut tree climbing collect all the coconuts and open the nut without any tools (no machete needed); it all done by hand! Ambergris Today is now enjoying some delicious, sweet coconut water – no sugar added – courtesy of Coconut Leo. The gallon of coconut water goes for $10Bze.

San Pedro's DJ Polo Weds
Congratulations to Apolonio Reyes who got married to Seli Reyes on August 11, 2012 in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. DJ Polo is a well known radio personalety on the island who hosts various segments on Reef Radio and Reef Tv including a children's program. Congratulations to DJ Polo and Seli!

Misc Belizean Sources

OCCASIONAL PAPER PRESERVATION HESITATIONS? A CONTRIBUTION TO BELIZEAN STRATEGIC THINKING BY Jean H. Cornec and David A. K. Gibson, AUGUST 2012
Can and should Belize benefit from developing its natural resources, turning the perception of poor resource management and use of economic proceeds - the resource curse- into the blessings it deserves? The answer is yes. Alaska, Botswana, Chile and Norway, to cite notable examples, are blessed with oil and gas, diamonds and copper. These States are great models of achievement in successfully coping with the effects of sudden wealth derived from a single resource that became major economic drivers and income generators in their respective economies. This paper is an effort to stimulate new thinking by Belizeans that challenge conventional ideas and policies which may seem sensible on paper and on maps, but which do not serve their intended purposes. The unmitigated and escalating incidents of deforestation, of forest degradation, agricultural encroachments in protected areas, and illegal exploitation of Belize’s natural resources in the Maya Mountains and adjacent border regions, glaringly illustrates this inadequacy, to cite one critical area of concern. The authors therefore seek to contribute to creative thinking in a non-polarizing way on the issue of what is termed development for preservation-the protection and sustainable management of Belize’s natural resources in a way that preserves their many bounties for the benefit of future generations of Belizeans.

Telenova's 2nd Anniversary Concert
Telenova is having a huge anniversary concert and dance in Benque at the Cancha Marshalleck this Saturday. DJ Caesar will be mixing, and there will be plenty of local entertainment. Happy anniversary, Telenova! "Telenova channel 20 celebrates its 2nd anniversary BIGTIME! Come and enjoy a night of extreme fun! first the night kicks off with performances by our very own Belizean Artists: RVM Records, The Lab y Pura Sangre, Ralfy el Phantom, Chinomanstyle, and Blueprint Music. Followed by a banging Dance with DJ Cesar sounds! September 1st!! Cancha Marshalleck!! Doors open at 9PM. YOU CANNOT MISS IT! "

Cayo Welcome Center's Design Plans
The Cayo Welcome Center's ultimate look is really majestic. Downtown's facelift will be great for everyone, and it will be safer too. "The project Site for the new Cayo Welcome Center was chosen as a core area within the community with good pedestrian and vehicular links to the surrounding town and beyond. Already in use as a public park this prominent location is currently under utilized and has a lot of potential for future development. Positioned between Burns Avenue and the New Market area, if dealt with properly the site is ideally situated to help ease congestion and restore vitality to the historic town center. Parts of Burns Avenue will also be include within the scope of the project as the section from the junction with Savannah street down to St. Andrew’s Anglican Church will be renovated in conjunction with the work to Coronation Park."

Cayo Welcome Center Nearing Completion
The Cayo Welcome Center is really close to being finished. All the buildings have their walls and roofs completed. They've finishing the bus entry, which will be right across from the market. Is that a toucan statue?

Queen of the West Video
Pandy captured a funny skit from the talent part of the the Queen of the West pageant. Great way to kick off the September Celebrations. Way to go, Pandy! Congratulations to Marcia Moody, and good luck at the Queen of the Bay!

VIDEO: Boil Up Sauce
I made this recipe as a separate video that the Boil Up meal because we will use this sauce in the future for other dishes. Many Belizean recipes are interchangeable, with many dishes being the base to build another dish.

Channel 7

Is Puma Playing The Margins With Premium Vs. Diesel?
Last night we told you about the astronomical pump price for fuel: in Belize City it is almost thirteen dollars a gallon for premium! And if you think that's bad try buying a gallon in Punta Gorda where the price is thirteen dollars and twenty cents per gallon! Regular isn't far behind at almost twelve dollars per gallon in the city and twelve - nineteen in PG. Diesel, though, is stuck at 10.17 per gallon. Don't get us wrong, we aren't complaining, but those with knowledge of the sector, point out to us that it is unusual that for the past two increases in pump price, Diesel has remained untouched. Our investigations today tell us that may have something to do with the fact that Belize Natural Energy is now importing Diesel fuel. It's not huge quantities, but it is enough to factor into the market - because BNE is offering cheaper diesel to large consumers - particularly in the south. And so, insiders say, it may be that PUMA is keeping the price of diesel low to remain competitive - and making up for its loss at that end, by inflating the price of regular and premium fuel.

Man Gets Off Trafficking 50 Pounds Weed On His Birthday
36 year-old Mark Sacasa got a birthday gift today when he was acquitted of a major drug trafficking charge. Police had arrested him with 51.3 pounds of marijuana but they dropped the ball in the trial.? According to the detective constable from the ADU, who was in charge of the case, he and another police officer busted Sacasa at a checkpoint in Hattieville on December 7, 2011 at around 5:30 p.m. According to the officer, they found the drugs in the trunk of a vehicle which he as driving. Sacasa's trial began in the court room of the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith last week Wednesday. The arresting officer made his first mistake when his written statement, which was dated December 7, mentioned steps taken on the following day. Sacasa's attorney, Arthur Saldivar, questioned the validity of the statement because the officer was writing of events which happened in the future. As a result, the statement was not admitted into evidence.

Mello Now Taking GOB To Court
Last week we told you about Karol Mello, the reputed international gangster, who was freed of all charges when he appeared in the Belmopan Magistrate's Court. We also told you about his intention to sue the Government of Belize so that he could get back his legal status as a permanent resident, which was withdrawn when the Ministry of Immigration tried to get him expelled from the country. Well today, the first hearing for that case was held before Justice Oswell Legall. The matter is still in its case management phase, and as a result, Justice Legall only set down September 17 as the date for it to start. Mello was not present court, and only his wife, Zuzana, attended on his behalf.

Bondholders Want More Info; GOB Says They Are Stalling
More information, that's what a group of Belize Bondholders say they want. The Miami-based Coordinator Committee which says it represents the owners of more than half of the Belize bonds issued a release today saying quote, "The evaluation process has been impacted by delays on the part of the GOB in providing key information requested by the Committee." As we understand it this is information having to do with BEL and BTL - the compensation for which has been added to the overall debt profile. And until they get what they call full disclosure , the Coordinator Committee says it will rely on the IMF Article Four report published last December, as, quote, "the definitive active financial analysis for Belize." But a representative of the debt restructuring team told us today that it is not a matter of non-disclosure, but instead it is posturing and a stalling tactic - so that Belize will be pushed to the default deadline which is September 19th. This prospect of default would cause some alarm in most capitals, but in Belmopan, we're told that in the 30 days - government's resolve will only strengthen.

Police Charged Cpl. Lima's Killer (Again)
Last week Friday, 7News told you about the Police Department's response to Plues Street incident, in which they refuted any claims of brutality saying that in the wake of Corporal Victor Lima's death in the line of duty, they will crack down on criminals with weapons. Well, the man who is accused of killing Corporal Lima will finally face the actual charge in court. As we reported, 30 year-old Delford Slusher was originally arraigned on charges of attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, and grievous harm. These charges were laid hours before Lima succumbed to his injuries at the KHMH. Today, Slusher was brought back to court, and his charges were upgraded from attempted murder to murder. Chief Magistrate Smith remanded him to prison until October 9. As we reported, at around 10:00 p.m. on July 24 Corporal Lima was responding along with several other officers to a home invasion in Hattieville.

Accused Killer Andrewin Gets More Charges
Another man who is seeing additional charges brought against him is 20 year-old Tevin Andrewin, who police say was the man who shot 19 year-old Myrick Gladden to death just after midnight on June 24. As we reported, Gladden, his 27 year-old girlfriend, Shyiana Allen, and his 24 year-old friend, Richard Wade, were walking on Administrative Drive. When they arrived in front of the CB Hyde Building, they were allegedly approached by 20 year-old Tevin Andrewin, who pulled out firearm and fired several shots at the group. Gladden was hit in twice to the chest, once to the right side of his shoulder and left side of his back. His girlfriend, Allen, also suffered a gunshot injury to her left calf. As a result, police charged Andrewin was arraigned 2 months ago on the single charge of murder in relation to Gladden's death. Well, it seems that police are taking into consideration that Allen was also shot because Andrewin was taken back to Magistrate's Court today, and he was arraigned on charges of attempted murder and wounding.

Western Gas Owner Speaks On Butane Blaze
The Butane Fire that had the entire city in a state of suspended panic last week Thursday is old news by now - but there are still lessons to be learned form this important fire and questions to be answered. Lessons because a fire at a butane depot is an absolute worst scenario and it is the first we have had in the city in decades. And questions because - by numerous accounts - the performance of the Western Gas employees when the fire started was not acceptable. Today we got to discuss both the lessons and the questions with the owner of the business Mike Reyes. Here's what he told Jules Vasquez:... Mike Reyes, Western Gas "Fortunately we have an excellent - a superb fire department and I guess they got tested maybe for the very first time at this level but they did an exceptional job which created whatever could have been a catastrophe to have been minor." Jules Vasquez reporting Mike Reyes, has a lot to be thankful for. He's the owner of Western Gas at mile four and a half on the Western Highway and today he showed us what went wrong last week Thursday at his depot. Reyes was out of the country when he got the call that there was a fire: Mike Reyes, Western Gas "What happen when I got the call of course my first impression was thinking safety. When I heard the call the first thing I told my uncle who was the one in charge here 'please make sure the main valves are cut or completely shut off.'"

GSU Under Review (Again)
As we reported last week, The Gang Suppression Unit is under investigation again after last week Tuesday's allegation that they roughed up as many as 20 young men from Crooked Tree Village. Yesterday, the police press officer said the COMPOL will have a good talk with the GSU:.. Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood - Police Press Officer "A team of investigators from our Professional Standard Branch visited that area last week where they recorded several statements and hopefully by the end of this week they will release the outcome of the investigation. I know that the minister of national security and the commissioner of police along with other senior officers and other outside parties will meet with the members of GSU this week to actually discuss justifiable force and harm with them." The Commander of the GSU Marco Vidal had been on leave, and returned yesterday.

Another City Shooting - No One Hurt
There was another shooting in the city last night - and again, it happened at the edge of the Lake Independence neighborhood. At 9:45 last night, 27 year old Omar Martinez of mile two and a half on the western Highway was with two friends when an unknown man came out of the bushes and fired six shots at them. Martinez was hit in the left ankle. Fortunately, his injuries were minor and he was treated and released form the KHMH.

Jamaica & St. Vincent Want To Say "Bye-Bye Betty!"
Belize is about to celebrate its 31st anniversary of Independence but The Queen OF England is still our Head Of State and the figurehead on our currency. It doesn't cause too much concern locally, but in Jamaica and St Vincent they've just about had enough of the Queen as their head of state. This was recently verbalized at a Conference held in Jamaica at the 50/50 conference. Our colleague from CEEN TV in Jamaica Kalilah Enriquez reports:.. The 50/50 Conference was held in Kingston and Sponsored by the University Of the West Indies.

Conference On HIV Stigma
The National Aids Commission is holding a Conference on Stigma and Discrimination in Belize this evening at the Belize Biltmore Plaza. It started at 7:00 and the conference intends to share perspectives on regional and local HIV-related stigma and discrimination in Belize. Executive Director of the National Aids Commission Doctor Martin Cuellar also mentioned that some of the latest HIV and aids data will be released at the conference. Martin Cuellar, Director of the National Aids Commission "The national response including all of our partner agencies and our support and technical partners including in this case PASCA from the USAID agencies are frivoling one of our most important elements of national strategic plan for the next 5 years which is for us to prioritize and coordinate the work that we are doing in stigma or against stigma and discrimination as it relates and as it impacts HIV and so in that light we've organized stigma and discrimination conference focusing on - again set against the backdrop of HIV."

More Triplets At KHMH
In January of this year we reported on a set of triplets born at the KHMH. Well, TONIGHT, another set of triplets making the news. On Friday a 16 year old mother when delivered three little boys - weighing between 3-5 pounds each. Because the mother is a minor - and the case is complicated we couldn't speak to her, nor could we photograph the newborns, but we did get pictures of them - and the full story. Voice of: Grandmother "I am proud grandmother for the babies. The babies will be handed over to me, I don't know when and I don't know the time but I thank God that they are healthy. I thank God that the doctors and nurses did a great job for my grandbabies and I am a very proud grandmother." "This is the second set of triplets in the family because my mom had triplets of 39 years old, she died already. I am a mother who has twins too and my niece have twins also. I feel so glad because it keeps in the family, God bless the family."

World Grain Crisis Sense Chicken Prices Up
The global drought has driven up poultry prices all over the world - including Belize. Last week, the price of chicken went up 10 cents a pound on the wholesale price making it two dollars and forty cents per pound - while at the retail level, prices vary. Orlando Habet of the Belize Poultry Association told us that fortunately Belize produces enough corn to feed its chickens - so the corn shortage does not affect us. But the protein source for poultry is still soymeal and prices for that have been driven up due to the grain shortage and the transport is also going up due to fuel prices. Habet tells us that last week, he attended a meeting of regional producers and prices are up all across Central America - highest in Costa Rica, lowest in Nicaragua.

Channel 5

Bus owners gear up for transport dispute
The gears are shifting in the Transport Ministry and once again, there seems to be issues regarding permits given for prime runs in the West to a preferred company, West Line. West Line is once again in a tug of war with the Belize Bus Owners Cooperative (BBOC) over runs. The Transport Ministry could not [...]

Cops say 16 year old machete death was self defense
Last week Belmopan was also the scene of a confrontation, but instead of conversation there was violence. On August twenty-third, tragedy struck a family in the Salvapan Area when Yamani Aguirre, also known as Yasmani Mejia, died after he was stabbed once to the chest with a machete by nineteen year old Jesus Enriquez Flores. [...]

Bondholders want to evaluate more information
Failure, by the Government of Belize, to meet a forty-six million dollar coupon which was due last Monday, as part of the Superbond payment, has been a hot button issue since mid-August. In the wake of a subsequent downgrade in Belize’s credit ratings, as well as the recent departure of the Debt Review Team for [...]

P.U.P. contacted by bondholders
The Superbond restructuring is being widely discussed, both locally and internationally, but for the Opposition the talk is about their dissatisfaction over a lack of communication from government. P.U.P. leader, Francis Fonseca, feels that as parliamentarians, the elected members of the Opposition should be involved or at least be kept updated on the process. While [...]

P.U.P. hopes for successful bond renegotiation
Fonseca also spoke on the risks associated with government’s approach to the debt restructuring, but says the Opposition is hoping for successful negotiations and a sustainable solution for Belize.   Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition “Certainly, after the thirty day period I think it is open to the bondholders to move in a completely [...]

Should G.O.B. increase taxes to pay for the Superbond?
Tonight’s question is: Should G.O.B. increase taxes to pay for the super bond? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote on our e-poll at channel5belize.com. You can also send an email with your comments to [email protected]

Capital City enforces quality of life crimes
The Police Department launched its Quality of Life Program to warn the public that offenses such as public drinking, loitering, and littering are against the law. Persons can be ticketed and fines levied for these offenses—some up to five hundred dollars. Since June twelfth the campaign has been in full swing in the Capital as [...]

Aids Commission conference on HIV stigma and discrimination
Quality of life is not only the concern of the Police Department; the National Aids Commission also bears the burden to improve the lives of HIV affected people who are also part of the country’s workforce. The commission is set to stage a one day conference on HIV stigma and discrimination, funded by USAID on [...]

Teen’s successful delivery of triplets at the K.H.M.H.
While the commission is about to release its statistics, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital sent out a press release today reminding the public about one of its most cherished records, that is the birth record of course. Since January 2012 K.H.M.H. has recorded nine hundred and eighty-five births. Of those, there were twelve sets of [...]

Registering births of people who aren’t in the system
And though we are informed that the birth and names of the boys will soon be recorded by the Vital Statistics Unit, strangely enough many parents fail to register their children into the system. That is why UNICEF recently teamed up with the Vital Statistics Unit to open temporary centers in Toledo, Stann Creek and [...]

Cancer victim returned home for birthday and last goodbye
While the previous stories were about welcoming newborns into the world, the following item is about the untimely passing of a teen. Just two weeks ago, Era Lightfoot came to our studios to plead for financial assistance because her nineteen year old daughter, Shayna, who was being kept at a Merida Hospital until they could [...]

Green tropics given the green light
Green Tropics is a Guatemalan company that intends to build a sugar factory, along with a refinery and cane fields complemented with an energy generation facility. But while its Environmental Impact Assessment was being reviewed, the company dug a canal approximately fifty feet wide and four miles long through a protected biological corridor. A stop [...]

Shot inside his home, no suspects
A shooting incident near mile two and a half on the Western Highway in Belize City shortly before ten o’clock on Monday night has left one man recovering from a gunshot wound to the left ankle. According to Omar Martinez, he was at home with his common-law wife Sherlene Kerr and friend Shawn Muschamp when [...]

Gospel Concert for positive influence on youths
Earlier in the newscast you heard from one senior officer’s solution to serious crime is to be vigilant also of minor offenses. The following group believes you also need to be vigilant about what we listen to. This coming Saturday night in Ladyville, Belizean gospel singers will be performing lively and positive music. The concert [...]

Superstar’s Group A prepare for the center stage
Another round of song, dance and drama will take the stage in an hour at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts. It’s another showing of Be the Next Superstar where three performers from Group A will compete in the knock out round for a spot among the remaining nine performances to woo the judges [...]

LOVE FM

Southern Area Representatives Return From Working Visit in Texas
Area Representatives of the Toledo and Stann Creek Districts have completed a recent working visit to Houston Texas. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports. PAUL MAHUNG Toledo Correspondent Love FM “During the visit Toledo West Representative Hon. Osca...

Another Shooting in the City
A shooting incident last night left one man injured. According to police reports, they visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital last night where they saw Omar Martinez suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to his left ankle. The incident occurred around 9:45 last night. ...

Police Constable Chopped In The Chest
An off-duty policeman was chopped in the chest during an altercation in San Pedro town on Saturday night. The victim has been identified as police constable Alfonso Guerra. According to police reports, PC Guerra was performing special duties at an establishment on Sea Grape...

Police Fouls Up Case - Accused Drug Trafficker Freed
Thirty-six year old Mark Sacasa, charged with drug trafficking for 51 point seven pounds of cannabis, was freed of the charge today when Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith dismissed it because the arresting officer detective constable Palacio, did not follow procedure in the chain of cu...

International Media Says Belize Has Not Submitted All Details to Bond Holders
Members of the super bond renegotiation team say they remain confident that an amicable resolution of Belize’s call for better payment terms on the nation’s foreign debt will be forthcoming soon. But a report today by Reuters News Agency puts the Belizean officials on...

LOVE TV

Chukka-Belize wins tourism award
Chukka Belize has won a prestigious award from Princess Cruises. Country Manager for Chukka in Belize Valerie Woods told us more about the award.

Teenager givers birth to triplets
When a newborn comes home, everyone in the family is usually elated with the new arrival and the joys of having a new addition to the family. Tonight, one family in the village of Lucky Strike in the Belize District have three times that joy as they welcome three new members of their family. Last Friday, a teen from that village became the mother of triplets at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. The newborns, who have been in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at the hospital, went home today. On hand to receive them was their grandmother, who asked to that her identity and that of her daughter’s be kept private for social reasons. But the newborns will not go home empty-handed. They left with goodies from Santiago Castillo Limited, whose Marketing Manager, Aisha Trapp Rudon, was on hand to deliver the first batch of gifts courtesy San Cas Limited. But while the family from Lucky Strike will be occupied feeding and nursing the little ones, the team who successfully delivered the triplets was tasked to ensure that they make it into the world safely. They were headed by Chief Obstetrician, Doctor Jose Guerra. San Cas has pledged to supply the triplets with gifts for the remainder of this year. However, if you would like to assist the young mother care for her three babies you can reach her family at 205 5572. The babies’ mother has been in Lucky Strike since undergoing C-Section to remove them. This is the second time for 2012 that triplets have been born at the KHMH.

Belizean softballers doing well in Guatemala
Belize’s national high school softball team continues to blaze its way through the ongoing regional college games, also known as CODICADER. [VO STARTS HERE] The games started on Monday in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and according to reports from the Games, team Belize behind the stellar pitching of Ashley Lucas has been giving a good account of itself. According to the national secondary school sports association coordinator Deon Sutherland, Belize’s latest success came this morning, when Team Belize defeat host country Guatemala by the score of 4 runs for Belize and 1 run for Guatemala. The winning pitcher was Ashley Lucas. Belize had previously defeated El Salvador by a score of 15-1. According to Sutherland, with the young ladies defeating both Guatemala and El Salvador, and with only Nicaragua left to face Ashley Lucas and company, Team Belize is assured of coming back to the jewel with nothing less than a silver medal.

Friday night murder in Belize City
On Friday night, blood marked the streets once again, as a young man was abruptly cut off from his life when he was shot to death in Belize City. Reporter Marion Ali and videographer Brian Castillo bring you the details of this incident in the following report.

Amandala

Three 1-0 games in Week 1 of Premier League tournament
Week 1 of the Premier League of Belize tournament included 2 Saturday night games and 4 on Sunday afternoon, and there were no “big scores”, as this one promises to be a most hotly contested tournament indeed. Numbers don’t lie, and of the 12 goals scored in the 6 games played, only 1 goal came in 1st half. On Saturday night at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, visiting F.C. Belize got a late goal from Leon “Chow” Cadle (87 min) to clinch the 1-nil victory over home standing Belmopan Bandits. Meanwhile, farther west at the Norman Broaster Stadium it was another visitor, Verdes FC coming away with a 2-0 win over home squad San Ignacio United. Julio Ayala (71 min) and Emmanuel Martinez (90 + 2 min) did the damage for Verdes. On Sunday in Orange Walk at the San Felipe Football Field, San Pedro Seadogs made the long journey worthwhile as they grabbed a 3-1 win over the home team, FC San Felipe Barcelona. Francisco Noralez (7 min), Everette Genus (63 min) and Jesse Smith (75 min) shook the net for San Pedro; while Eliazar Itza (54 min) got the sole tally for San Felipe.

Bad news at a bad time for 200 Belizeans!
“I am disappointed … things are hard … the timing is wrong!” – single mother who has just been fired ”… meanwhile, they have the Gang Truce working, giving them money to buy more guns, more bullets to kill each other, while we single mothers are struggling…” - another terminated mother Two hundred employees of the Southside Rejuvenation Project (SRP) began losing their jobs as of last Friday, August 24, in the “back to school season” for single mothers and other breadwinners, and the fate of hundreds of others is in limbo this week. Minister of State for Human Development, Poverty Alleviation and Social Transformation, Mark King, cut a solitary figure on Friday morning at the NCFC Conference Room on Cleghorn Street, where he delivered the bad news for workers in the SRP, a one-year project begun three years ago as an urgent response to bad social conditions on Belize City’s Southside. “Effective August 10, 2012, the 2.29 million dollars allocated to these programs has been exhausted and the wages for the week of August 13 was paid through supplemental funds. Therefore, effective today, Friday, August 24, we will be scaling back with 200 members from the Southside Rejuvenation Project. These persons will be paid full salaries and severance, which should last them through to October, where we will then exhaust our energies to find projects for them to have a more robust employment. These programs will continue to scale back with the remaining members until another program can be reasonably afforded or funded,” King announced.

6 arrested in connection with Paula’s Store armed robbery
A composite patrol of police and BDF soldiers operating out of the Mesop Substation on Dean Street has captured four men and two guns, including the highly prohibited 357 Magnum revolver, along with the loot from the robbery of Paula’s Store on Cemetery Road on Thursday, August 23. Paula Chen, of a Cemetery Road address, told police that around 2:20 p.m. on Thursday, August 23, whilst at her business place, Paula’s Store, serving a customer, three men who were armed with firearms entered her store. One of the armed thieves walked towards her, pointed the gun at her face and demanded money. He then went behind her counter, opened her cash register and stole an undisclosed amount of cash, while the other robbers proceeded to rob the customers in the store of their personal belongings. Police say that Aaron Bailey, 23, a cabinetmaker of Racoon Street; Inmar Welch, 21, a fisherman of King Street; Jeffrey McDougal, 22, a construction worker of Plues Street; and Jarreth Gault, 27, a musician of Euphrates Avenue, are allegedly the men who entered Paula’s Store and robbed her and her customers at gunpoint. The four men were captured while hiding in a house on Plues Street. In the house police also found Teresita Vivas, 24, and her mother, Carol Vivas, 47. Police said that the women were in the house at the time of the search when the men and the firearms and ammunitions were found.

Excruciating pump prices took effect Sunday
The price of regular and premium gasoline shot up at midnight last night. Regular gas has increased by 88 cents on the gallon, from $11.07 cents to $11.95, while premium gasoline has increased by 94 cents per gallon, from $12.03 to $12.97. These are Belize City prices, and the district prices are higher due to transportation costs. The increase has no doubt pushed pump prices past $13 in Punta Gorda. The price of kerosene and diesel, for the meantime, remained unchanged. Industry sources say that the last price change took effect on July 31, 2012.

BAGA news – Mexicana Masters Tournament in Cozumel
The Belize Amateur Golf Association hosted its Mexicana Masters Tournament in Cozumel, Mexico. It was a great weekend with lots of golf and fun for all the players and families. The results are: Friday’s Stableford: 1st – Duane Arnold, 2nd – Lucas Hunt, 3rd – Michael Marot. Saturday’s Stroke Play: 1st – Lucas Hunt, 2nd – Andy Hunt, 3rd – Robert Lee. Sunday’s Scramble: 1st – Duane Arnold/Steve Hack, 2nd – Paul Martin/Steve Maestre. 3 Day Champion: 1st – Duane Arnold, 2nd – Andy Hunt, 3rd – Michael Marot. Best Shots of the Tournament – Michael Marot and Paul Martin. Worst Shots of the Tournament – Paul Martin/Steve Maestre, Hank Weiss. Highest Score on a hole – Slavek Machacka (12), Mickey Thornton(10). Biggest Choke – Alan Graham. Best Comeback – John Sansone. Sandbagger – Steve Hack. 3 Day Tournament Donkey – Sam Mathias. It was a big success, and we look forward to our next tournament at Roaring River Golf Course on Sept 15.

EDITORIAL: Wired to fail
In considering the sensational news story of last Friday night in which Mark King, Minister of State with responsibility for the Gang Truce, announced that his ministry was releasing 200 of the over 800 workers it employs, we have to go back exactly one year ago. A year ago Friday, August 26, 2011, the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) went “berserk” on George Street, which one of the most notorious gangs on Belize City’s Southside calls home. It appeared that GSU had brutally beaten practically every man and woman on the block. The television images were absolutely stunning. The George Street members promised payback. It was just days before the start of our traditional September celebrations; this one was marking our country’s 30th Independence anniversary, and the air was tense, filled with retaliatory talks of grenade droppings. Our September celebrations appeared on life support. The Prime Minister, away on a trip to St. Kitts to see the new president of the Caribbean Court of Justice officially installed, cut his travels short to attend hastily convened meetings with practically all the major Belize City gangs on Friday and Sunday, September 2 and 4. Social anthropologist Herbert Gayle, who had just recently done a study on crime in Belize, was flown in for the mediation sessions. Three meetings lasted almost 7 hours, and on Sunday evening, September 4, Barrow guardedly announced that a truce had been hammered out between the warring sides. There would be a short testing period, and once the truce held, the government would make jobs available for the gangs “to do a little infrastructure” in the various neighborhoods.

Blogs

Physics of the Quest
At the end of the movie the end of Eat Love Pray Liz Gilbert [Julia Roberts] talks about physics of the quest in her following lines: ‘In the end, I’ve come to believe in something I call “The Physics of the Quest.” A force in nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity. The rule of Quest Physics goes something like this: If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.’ Tacoboy often jokes that the movie is a chick flick and it is in a way but it is much more if you are open to it. It is about designing your future, enjoying your present moment and letting go things in the past that weigh you down, among other things. We are both in process of consciously working on that right now and it feels really good. I just wish the balance would come a little sooner for me as I am still feeling like my plate is too full. Thinking it might be time to look the movie up on netflix for some visual reminders. Living on this island I have definitely learned, what ever the future holds we have to do the best we can with the information we have at the time and try to keep from being overwhelmed by it all. I find it helps to practice being in the right place at the right time both mentally and physically which is easier said than done some days.

Walking South to North: Pictures All Over Town (Really)
Yesterday, I had plenty of meetings to attend (most seem to be linking up with friends at an assortment of bar but HEY! In San Pedro, I classify that as an "official meeting". Plus, it was hot tea and soda waters all day.) The most important was dropping off my friend Jamie at Tropic Air for her return flight to the states. She has been visiting for seven weeks now and we've had some extremely good times this summer. But you guys have heard all about my summer. So let me talk about my walk-about yesterday. Right here at my home, Royal Palms, the palmetto tree is blooming. I have also seen these flowers for sale at a few veggie stands. Apparently they are eaten like vegetables. One local told me "you can eat them with eggs". Eggs and flowers? Does anyone have information on this plant? I'm intrigued... I walked through Grand Colony. They always have a very pretty garden. (And YES! these were my "errands".) I like how many of the royal palms have orchids hanging from them. This is the only one that was blooming. Not the most gorgeous flower but an interesting one...

International Sources

Belize bondholders say no talks without more information
Belize bondholders said on Tuesday no meaningful talks can take place about renegotiating the country's $550 million superbond until the government comes up with more information. The Central American nation has said it is confident of successful negotiations but not committed to a timeline. It has until Sept. 19 to make a missed coupon payment to investors or formally default on the debt. The committee formed to represent bondholders said in a statement that the government had been "unnecessarily provocative" in missing the payment and putting up restructuring options without any discussion. It had asked for more information to understand Belize's statement that it could not afford to service the debt. "We ... need to receive from the (government) the information necessary to complete our analysis before meaningful discussions can take place," said Mike Gerrard, managing director at BroadSpan, which is advising the committee.

August 28, 2012

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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
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The San Pedro Sun

Rowan walks across San Pedro, raises nearly $7,000
Close to 150 islanders joined inspirational 14-year-old Rowan Garel in his walk across San Pedro on Saturday August 25th. The event was the second of two planned walks in an effort to raise monies for the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired (BCVI). The five-mile walk took off shortly after 9AM from the southern end of San Pedro Town near Pelican Reef Resort and ended at the Boca Del Rio Park with all day beach party. “I am very glad that I did the walk. [It was done] as a fundraiser for BCVI. I did the walk across Belize but unfortunately we were not able to meet our goal of raising $90,000 to $100,000,” explained Rowan. At the Walk Across Belize, Rowan was able to raise some $73,000 and had hoped that with the walk across San Pedro, it could have bridged the gap. According to BCVI Communications Officer Carla Ayres Musa, they were able to raise $6,895 in cash but are still waiting to collect a few more pledges. So far Rowan has collected a total of $80,641. Musa told The San Pedro Sun that they hope to reach their goal before the end of the year and remain confident that within the next few months they will host more fundraisers which will be able to reach their targeted $100,000.

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Joins Consultation on National Cultural Policy
Local Craftsmen and interested community members were invited by the San Pedro House of Culture at the Sunbreeze Hotel Conference Room on Wednesday, August 22, 2012, for the National Cultural Policy Consultation held by National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) in San Pedro Town. The consultation was carried out to identify the linkages between culture and development in order to discuss a national plan which will reflect the desire of Belizeans for the development of culture and the arts in the country. The consultation took off with an empowering speech by Honorable Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism and Culture, in which he pointed out his ministry’s vision of promoting, protecting, preserving and befitting our culture and art on the island. He stated that he will address a meeting with the education department and schools to ensure that the history, culture and art of Belize is being taught to all students in order to keep the culture alive, respected and appreciated for many years to come.

BTIA Executes Huge and Successful Marketing Summit Belize
Even with tourism being one of its main industries; Belize is still relatively unknown internationally, with people still asking the question “Where is Belize?” But the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) feels that the country has more potential of exploding in the global market. With this in mind, it hosted the 2012 Marketing Summit on Thursday, August 23, 2012, at the Princess Hotel and Casino. The one day event drew over 200 sales, marketing and public relations personnel, managers, bankers, tour operators, artisans, media, students and individuals, all eager and ready to learn about marketing and public relations from internationally renowned trainer/speaker, Mr. David Meerman Scott.

San Pedro's Biggest Festival Back Then
In the book, The Little World of Danny Vasquez, narrated by a Sanpedrano, Danny recollects on the Grand Fiesta in San Pedro. June 29 is the Feast Day of St. Peter and it has been the occasion of the biggest island fiesta ever since the Yucatecan refugees settled in San Pedro in 1848. The preparations for the fiesta took a week, the celebration itself lasted a week, and a third week was required to clean up the village. “In those days we had little money but had the luxury of time. We could spend three weeks on the fiesta and be happy. Today everybody has money but no time,” says Danny as he takes us back to 1916 to a San Pedro of two short streets, 400 people, no electricity, no radios, no motor boats. The fiesta was organized by a committee of four Batabs, two chics and representatives of the three rich families. In the Maya system a Batab was a powerful man like a mayor of a village. In this fiesta they were to collect donations and fees and keep order at the dances. Chic is a Mayan word for comedian. The committee also chose El Amo de Hacienda (owner of the farm) who had to be a rich man because he had to offer gifts during the fiesta. The committee also decided which young ladies would be invited to be the featured dancers during the fiesta.

Second Generation Of Queens In San Pedro
The grand celebration of queens goes back to 1954 when Leni Aguilar Alamilla was first crowned. Even since San Pedro has selected its beauties leading up to last years Yalarelis Hernandez. What an honor and great feeling of pride it is to be Miss San Pedro. But what a greater honor and pride it is to be a part of first generation and second generation of queens. This was the case of Lily Paz Nuñez who was crowned in 1979 and her daughter Liliana Nuñez crowned 27 years later in 2006. No matter what decorations there are on stage, and how many people are present at the event, the feelings are the same. Indeed a few things were different. Elaborate costumes and bathing suits were not used by the first generation queens. Long live the Miss San Pedro pageant! Making a guest appearance on stage that year was Miss Alma Staines who contested in the Miss Belize National Pageant in Belize City, another great honor for San Pedro.

Rowan Garel’s Walk Across San Pedro, Angel Perlita Joins his Cause
Rowan's inspirational journey continued this past weekend in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, as he held a ‘Walk across San Pedro’ seeking to reach his goal of raising $100,000 for the Belize Council of the Visually Impaired. The event took place early Saturday morning, August 25, 2012, from Pelican Reef Villas to the Boca del Rio Park north of San Pedro Town. Angel Perlita Zapata Joins Rowan Garel’s Walk Across San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize Dorian’s Angel, Perlita Zapata, was one of the many island residents who showed support to Rowan Garel and trekked the 2.5 mile walk with him from south to north along the main road of Ambergris Caye. She shared a special moment with Rowan as she took his hand to guide him along part of the way.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize National Top Song Winners
Congratulations to the 3 winners in the Top Song Competition! Carnival winner, Sharon Martinez, Patriotic winner, Nello Player, and Junior winner, Tara G. See them on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sp2iYm1_djQ

VIDEO: 2012 Belize National Song Competition
The Belize National Song Competiton is one of the events that kick off the September Celebrations in Belize and this year, 2012, Belize is Celebrating is 31st Anniversary of Independence from Britain. The Musicians and Artists write their own songs and compete in patriotic and carnival categories Despite the change of venue this year, the people came out in droves to support their favorite musicians and artists. This video is only a sampling of the music that the winning artists performed. This is not a professional video with color and sound editing. Its a video to share what's happening in Belize for those who call it HOME!

Stork Club's 80's Night with DJ Caesar
DJ Caesar played some 80's, and some 70's, and 90's, at the Stork Club's 80's night. There was a good turnout, and some dancing was done. The SIRH will be bringing back 80's nights more often.

Save Lucky Boy Campaign
The indiegogo campaign to raise money and awareness for Lucky Boy, the rescued jaguar that is currently doing fine at the Belize Zoo, raised over $11,000. A big thanks to Steven Servantez for getting it going, and making headlines all over the hemisphere. You can still get your Save Lucky Boy shirts: http://www.cafepress.com/saveluckyboy "The campaign is over. Although we didn’t make our goal, the impact this money will make on Lucky Boy and the Zoo will be immense! Thank you to all who supported this campaign the last 30 days by donating, posting, sharing and commenting! My PayPal account will still accept donations! The account is: [email protected] If you donate (please), drop me a note at: [email protected] and let me know! I will forward funds to the Zoo."

Destination Belize 2012 Magazine Online
The Destination Belize Magazine is online in high quality. It's the BTIA's official visitor magazine for Belize. There are cultural articles and interviews throughout the book. Cayo has its own chapter, and it starts on page 103. It admits from the beginning that we are the eco-tourism capital of Belize. http://www.destinationbelize.com/issue_2012/

BTIA's First Marketing Summit a Huge Success
The Belize Tourism Industry Association had its first marketing and tourism summit, and it was a huge success. David Meerman Scott, a marketing and social media expert, was the main speaker at the event, and he challenged the huge audience to think outside of the box. It was such a success, that they are already talking about having another. "The BTIA Marketing summit surpassed all expectations; it allowed participants the opportunity to sharpen their marketing and public relations skills in real time. The session has generated loads of interest from those not only within the tourism industry but a wider range of sectors including schools, NGO’s, banks and other retail companies; we are content and optimistic that those who attended the summit will be placing the knowledge they gathered at this event into practice and reaping the fruits of these in the months to come."

Belize Mega Bingo Results For (25 August 2012)
Straight Line 100.00 Each (13 Balls) 52 ­16 ­47 ­73 ­50 ­24 ­75 ­46 ­63 ­72 ­42 ­44 ­9­ Y 125.00 Each (16 Balls) 52 ­16 ­47 ­73 ­50 ­24 ­75 ­46 ­63 ­72 ­42 ­44 ­9 ­69 ­56 ­33­ Inside World 1000.00 Each (21 Balls) 52 ­16 ­47 ­73 ­50 ­24 ­75 ­46 ­63 ­72 ­42 ­44 ­9 ­69 ­56 ­33 ­39 ­55 ­11 ­65 ­19­ Letter X 750.00 Each (25 Balls) 52 ­16 ­47 ­73 ­50 ­24 ­75 ­46 ­63 ­72 ­42 ­44 ­9 ­69 ­56 ­33 ­39 ­55 ­11 ­65 ­19 ­59 ­68 ­4 ­17­

Channel 7

Another Lake I Murder
Another man was killed in the Lake Independence area this weekend. We say "another" because since April - there has been sharp spike in crime in that area: resulting in at least six murders and about twice that number in shootings. This weekend it continued with both a murder and a shooting - the victims were 20 and under. We start with the murder of 20 year old Miraldo Alvarez - a Belama resident who was hanging out across the river from his home with a friend from Lake I when he was shot. It happened at around 9:45 on Friday night near the Administration Building. Monica Bodden found out more today:.. Diana Enriquez - Mother- In-Law "Friday night after 10 "Brado" was already in his bed. He and his friend "Jafet" was in his room, they were playing games and watching TV. They decided to go buy fry chicken; I was lying down in this chair here. When he and "Jafet" pass by going I told him not to go. He says that he is going to buy a fry chicken and I told him not to go because every night shootings happen back here. I told him that those boys are dodging anybody that they see they will shoot." "He says that he will come back right now and he went. No sooner than he went you heard the shots. He didnt even reach the chicken place."

A Number Of City Shootings
Boulevard. 19 year old Raheem Nicholas was shot to the left shoulder by a light skinned male on a bicycle. There was another shooting on Sunday night where 24 year old Edmund Gentle was shot to the hand. GENTLE was riding on Vernon Street with a friend when a gunman came out from Lakeview Street and called his name. When gentle responded, the man fired a number of shots at him, but luckily, he was only shot to the finger.

Police Shot Alleged Thief Who Ran
And in the weekend's other shooting, it was the police pulling the trigger. On Saturday morning, Police responded to the report of a theft in progress on Marin Parade - where a man was allegedly stealing some fence pipes. Police responded and say that the alleged thief, 42 year old Ernest Vasquez started to run. The Police press officer gave us the official version of what happened next. Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood - Police Press Officer "Initial investigations revealed that police were on patrol and responded to a theft in progress on Marine Parade and upon arrival they saw Vasquez attempting to steal aluminum pipes off a chain link fence on Marine Parade. Upon seeing the police, he tried to escape where the pursue him and he was shot in the leg." Vasquez is at the hospital pending charges.

Western Gas Says It Is Up to Standard
On Thursday when a fire started at the western Gas Depot at mile four and a half on the Western Highway - we all expected a catastrophe. With forty thousand gallons of LPG exposed to naked flames - you'd be right to expect that - but it didn't happen. And, as we told you in Friday's news - a safety feature built into the storage tanks averted what seemed to be a certain disaster. It's called a pressure release valve which released overheated LPG into the air every 20 seconds - so that it did not stay in the tank where it could have possibly cause an explosion there. A release today from Western Gas notes also that an internal valve under the bulk storage tank shutoff the LPG flow as another safety measure. The release says the fire was caused by quote, "an overheated electrical contactor in the transfer pump room" end quote, which ignited fumes from the butane when it was being transferred. That was also the finding of the Fire Department. The Western Gas release congratulates the Fire Service and says that the company is compliant with all industry safety requirements and standards.

Teenager's Death In PG Being Investigated
Police in Punta Gorda are investigating the sudden death of a teenager that happened on Sunday morning. 18 year old security guard Descartes Santiago Bol was found dead near San Marcos Village on the Southern Highway. No one knows for sure how he died - but the Police press officer says there are some telling signs of violence. He explained:.. Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood - Police Press Officer "We have a sudden death in Punta Gorda that we are investigating. The victim in this is Descartes Santiago Bol Jr., 18 year old security guard of the VOA Road Punta Gorda Town. He was seen laying on the pavement with abrasions to the face and chest area." "Initial investigations have revealed that Santiago was seen socializing in Big Falls Village at a bar around 10:30am, 26th August and he had a exchange of words with people also socializing in that bar. He left about 2:30 am and he went to borrow a bicycle at one of his family members in that village and he rode off towards the Dump area. Someone was passing by when they saw the body on the ground and they notified the police. The body was transported to the Punta Gorda Town hospital where he was pronounce dead on arrival. Now awaits a post mortem and we are investigating the circumstances surrounding his death - from the mere fact that he had abrasions to his face and chest."

City Resurfaces Sandlighters' Promenade/Paints Houses
The Sandlighters' Promenade near the Princess looks like one of the few public spaces in Belize City where planners got it right - an expansive, colourful walking area, along the coast. But, while it looks good from far, the Promenade is in bad shape when you see it up close. It's been there for 16 years and the constant exposure to salt water has corroded the bricks. And so - the city council - which is always after new projects has decided to refurbish the promenade. It will cost seventy thousand dollars and will use a more durable covering called stamp-concreting. Mayor Darrell Bradley explained:... Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council "We did an inspection of certain public spaces throughout Belize City that we want to upgrade. When you look at the condition of the pavers that were there - they were in serious need of repairs and actually they haven't put down the stamp creating at the present moment, so if you go out there right now you would see that the pavers in another year or so would be totally beyond use. What we have decided to do is to upgrade that area to put another layer of cementing and it would be stamp-created within 2-3 weeks and we've gotten commitments from the Belize Tourism Board and they are going to give us a donation of benches. We've also done electrical works out there and we've put out 15 very nice lamps and we are awaiting additional electrical equipment from BEL and those will be in operation within another week. By the time the full project comes on stream it will be totally resurface - we're going to have park benches out there, the lights would be out there and we are talking about some additional works that would be going on to enhance the area."

Is Mayor Bradley Double Dipping?
As those projects show, you can't fault the mayor for ambition or execution - actually you can't fault him for much at all. In just a few months in office, his council has paved about 20 streets with concrete - and there are plans to pave many more. The Municipal Bond bill went to the house for a first reading last week - and the prospectus will be launched shortly. Indeed, the entire culture at City Hall seems to have been transformed in a short time, and as well corruption has been discouraged, making Darrell Bradley a model elected official. But might there be a chink in Mayor Bradley's otherwise impervious armor? Jules Vasquez thought so, and he brought it up with the mayor today. Here's how their conversation went:... Jules Vasquez "I have seen you in court since being elected and some people frond on it." Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council "Some people have frond on it?" Jules Vasquez "Yes have frond on it that as an elected public official and one that's being paid for fulltime work. I know you are not being paid like you were as a lawyer. However some people have frond on it saying that as an elected official and as a senior elected official perhaps you shouldn't be in court. Explain what's your rationale and how you manage this."

Bze City Registered ISP Hawking Counterfeit Sites
An offshore company registered in Belize is making a bad name for this country again. The name is AltusHost; it is an Internet Service Provider Registered at 2236 Albert Hoy Street, in Belize City, with its Corporate Office in Stockholm, Sweden. According to PC World Magazine, a court in The Hague ruled that AltusHost has to take down 25 domains which are selling counterfeit goods. The websites include bestwatchonsale.com, cheap-watch.org, breitlingwatches-replica.com and fakewatchesuk.org. The complaint is brought by Eleven companies, including Chanel, Christian Dior and Omega. PC World reports that about half of the approximately 6,000 domains hosted by AltusHost fall into the counterfeiting category - a claim which AltusHost flatly refutes. We note that the same Albert Hoy Street address was also used as an address for another company recently involved in a prohibited phone service called toll bypass.

Shayna's Struggle Ends
3 weeks ago, 7News told you about 19 year-old Shayna Lightfoot, a cancer patient who was stuck in Merida because her family couldn't pay her medical bills. Tonight, we report that she passed away, not at Clinica De Merida in Mexico, but at the KHMH in Belize. According to her mother, Era Lightfoot, the entire family staged a big fundraising event and was able to amass $8,000 BZ, which they paid toward the medical bills. The Mexican hospital, after seeing the family's commitment to pay, allowed Shayna to come back to Belize, and she continued to receive treatment at the KHMH up until last week. She was able to spend her 20th birthday in Belize, but a complication forced the doctors to attempt an emergency surgery on Friday. They couldn't do anything more for her, and at 9 p.m., she passed away.

Premium Fuel, About To Break Thirteen Dollars A Gallon
In May we told you about a sharp drop in the price of premium fuel as it went down by 81 cents. Well the pendulum has swung further in the other direction and - tonight premium fuel is verging on 13 dollars a gallon, more than it has ever been before. Last night at midnight, the price of premium fuel went up by 94 cents, while regular went up by 88 cents. The brings the controlled pump price for a gallon of premium to a painful 12 dollars 97 cents per gallon, while regular is at 11 dollars 95 cents a gallon. For the time being, diesel has remained unchanged.

UB Belmopan Gets thoroughly Modern Solar Array
The University of Belize has the largest most modern array of solar energy panels in Belize. The agreement for a cooperation project with the Japanese Government was signed two years ago, construction started last year - and the impressive grid was declared open on Friday. It is a 450 kilowatt system designed to introduce clean energy to Belize by solar power. The non-resident Japanese Ambassador explained its technological pre-eminence. H.E. Ambassador Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Ambassador of Japan to Belize "The Government of Japan is honored to call you pioneer partners in the process of promoting the most advance solar energy system of the world here in Belize." Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Local Government "On the technical side, it introduces Belize to an alternative renewable energy source and ultimately should contribute to a reduction in the country's energy bill. Dependency on fuels and the primary means of electricity generation whether generated locally or imported from our neighboring Mexico is no longer a very promising option."

Nello Player Wins Patriotic Song Contest
Every year, the September Celebrations Season begins with the National Song Competition, where Belizean performers and composers vie for the prizes and the prestige. On Saturday, this year's competition was held at MCC Grounds - a change in venue because the Memorial Park is still not ready - and it was broadcast live on this station. But, for those of you who might have missed it, we caught up today with Nello Player, one of the winners, and he told us about the message behind his patriotic song. Here's what he told us: Nello Player, Artist "The song is called "Celebrating Belize" and it's just as the songs says, it's our 31st year of Independence and we are celebrating our anniversary. We are celebrating Belize come September time, this is the season for celebration and I wrote the song with that in mind - there is always an element to the songs that I put out in September. We have an obligation as artists to reach out to our past." "I met a teacher yesterday and she told me that she loves the songs but none of the kids knew what I was talking about. So this is a good opportunity for them to inquire about certain things they hear in the song to the teachers."

Who's Little Miss Independence?
On Friday night, we told you about the 4th Annual Independence Day Junior Miss- Pageant. It was held at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts last night. The winner of this year's pageant was Abigail Castellanos, and here's her crowning moment:

Channel 5

Gunman chased Miraldo Alvarez and killed him
Early on Friday night, another life was lost in one of the hot spots on the south side of the City where at least six shootings have taken place in the past few months. A resident of McKenzie Street was on his way to buy food when a hail of bullets abruptly ended his life. [...]

Questions surround death of 18 year old Security Guard in P.G.
In the south, another man was found dead but the circumstances of his death are still unclear. Punta Gorda Police are investigating the strange death of an eighteen year old security whose body was discovered in Big Falls, Toledo, on Sunday morning. Descartes Santiago Bol Junior was partying at a club on Saturday night when [...]

Central Bank talks about upcoming Superbond meeting
Aside from crime, there is the Superbond for which there has been international backlash after government did not make a forty-six million dollar coupon payment that was due on August twentieth. The debt review team is making its media rounds after concluding talks in Washington with the IMF. The governor of the Central Bank, Glen [...]

Possible default in September
It is very unlikely that the negotiations will wrap up before the September nineteenth deadline; so what happens if the country defaults on the Superbond? While there is a small window after the deadline to engage bondholders, Ysaguirre says the consequences would include further downgrading of the sovereign credit rating and Belize might be branded [...]

7 persons homeless after fire guts building
Three families, including three school aged children are homeless after their house was gutted by fire at around eleven-thirty on Saturday morning. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but fire officials say that the blaze started inside the front part of the wooden structure and spread quickly through the house shared by the [...]

2 shot in Belize City
Aside from the murder on Saturday night, there was more gun violence on the South Side. A recent spate of shootings in the area behind the Charles Bartlett Hyde Building, known as Gungulung, has resulted in the attempted murder of a teenager. Nineteen year old Raheem Nicholas, a Belize City student, is tonight recovering from [...]

GSU accused of brutality?
A disturbing incident involving a team of officers attached to the Gang Suppression Unit, which resulted in allegations that as many as twenty Crooked Tree residents were physically assaulted, remains under investigation tonight. A group of young men, reportedly practicing for a weekend basketball tournament, came under attack last Monday when GSU personnel descended upon [...]

60 scholarships courtesy of Restore Belize and B.N.E.
But there’s some good news; sixty students are getting a shot at a secondary education through a partnership of Restore Belize and the B.N.E. Charitable Trust. The students will be a part of the “I am Belize” Scholarship Program and by extension will get internship and mentorship opportunities. Last week, B.N.E. Trust handed over a [...]

European Union gives $75,000 in relief to hurricane victims
Hurricane Ernesto brought heavy rains in the north when it diverted to the Yucatan Peninsula. The European Union says it will be providing relief to a hundred and fifty affected families. The EU, via the European Commission and its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department, has agreed to give over thirty thousand Euros, the equivalent [...]

Grassroots organization get donation from Kentucky Church
Self Development of the People is a humanitarian group that is supported by the Presbyterian Church of Kentucky, USA. The group promotes and supports sustainable development projects. Recently it has committed to fund projects in Belize for a period of six years. So far the Sandy Beach Women’s Cooperative and the Hopkin’s Farmer’s Cooperative have [...]

Hardest working Mayor has 2 jobs?
Two weeks ago, Mayor Darrell Bradley announced that he was floating a bond for twenty million dollars to repair at least fifty percent of the city’s streets, including the major thoroughfares. If you drive through the city or if you walk across town, you would have noticed a major improvement in the condition of streets [...]

Chukka wins award for awesome tours!
Chukka Belize has won a prestigious award from a major cruise line. According to a release from the tour operator, Princess Cruises has named its Jungle Zipline Adventure and Cave Tubing tour as the 2011-2012 “Tour of the Season” in Belize. Princess Cruises has been giving annual awards to operators in its ports of call [...]

2 manatees rescued by CZMAI and Sea to Shore Alliance
Last week the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI) and the Sea to Shore Alliance were informed about manatees who were harbored for days in Vista Del Mar near the Oar Restaurant. The assessment team found out that one manatee was seriously injured across its back and the fin on another was caught in [...]

Solar Energy project handed over to U.B.
On August sixteenth, the media was invited to tour the multi-million dollar solar energy project at the Belmopan campus of the University of Belize. That facility, which was funded under the grant aid for environment and climate change program by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), was formally inaugurated and handed over this past Friday. [...]

Moses Sulph delivers the goods and services to students
Summer vacation is officially over as schools reopened across the country today. On the south side of Belize City, about three hundred needy students from eleven schools have the stationery they need thanks to a new charity foundation called Hand of Mercy. You’ll recognize its Executive Director, the outspoken former President of COLA, Moses Sulph, [...]

And the winner of the song competition is…
September fever is spreading; the 2012 Celebrations calendar of activities got underway this weekend. On Saturday, the festivities were kicked off with the national song competition which featured the carnival and patriotic junior and senior song competition. The annual event was held at the MCC grounds where all the competitors performed their entries to a [...]

James Adderley and Sports Monday with the play by play
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and welcome to this delivery of Sports Monday.   The 6 best women’s softball teams in the Jewel congregated inside Roger’s Stadium over the weekend in a bid to emerge as champion in the 22nd National Softball Championships that lent itself to a double elimination format. By Sunday evening, only [...]

LOVE FM

Police News
There was a murder last Friday night in Belize City. It happened just before ten that night in the Lake Independence area and claimed the life of twenty year Miraldo Alvarez, an unemployed of Guzman Crescent in the Belama Phase one Extension area. Alvarez was shot in the lo...

Investigations Against GSU Concludes Shortly
Last week Love News reported on the allegations of abuse of authority by elements of the Gang Suppression Unit on youths in Crooked Tree Village last Tuesday night. After that incident, we also brought you the update of visits made to Crooked Tree by the Commissioner of Police, D...

Winners Selected for National Song Competition
The fifth annual national song competition took place on Saturday night in Belize City. Joseph Stamp Romero is the Coordinator of the event. JOSEPH STAMP ROMERO Coordinator National Song Competition “Patriotic first place in the junior division &n...

Subscription Deed Signed for Belize Sugar Industry
The sale of Belize Sugar Industries factory at Tower Hill in Orange Walk to the group American Sugar Refineries is all but complete. Today, the Minister of National Emergency Management, Senator Godwin Hulse told Love News that all the intricate details of the deal have been work...

BNE Trust and Restore Belize Awards Scholarships
Last Thursday the BNE Trust handed over a cheque of 40 thousand dollars to Restore Belize to assist in its I am Belize Scholarship Fund. On hand to receive the cheque was Marie Munoz of Restore Belize who said the scholarship fund is geared towards assisting underprivileged stude...

Pallotine Sisters Celebrate 100 Years
Plans have begun in connection with a nationwide celebration for one hundred years of the presence and outstanding services of Pallotine Sisters in Belize. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details. PAUL MAHUNG Toledo Correspondent Love FM “A ...

Belize's Super Bond Negotiations Inevitable
Belize’s external debt, also known as the sovereign bond and commonly referred to as the super bond, continues to generate a lot of interest in the international financial services sector. Following the missed coupon payment of twenty three million US dollars last week, the ratin...

European Commission Assists Victims of Hurricane Ernesto
The European Commission is allocating seventy five thousand and thirty seven Belize dollars to bring relief to the victims of Hurricane Ernesto in Belize. According to a press release issued by the organization, The European Union through the European Commission and its Humanitar...

Man Arrested for Chopping His Sister
A woman from the Stann Creek District is hospitalized at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after she was reportedly chopped by her brother. Correspondent Harry Arzu has the story. HARRY ARZU Dangriga Correspondent Love FM “On Sunday, August 27, sometime in ...

LOVE TV

Investment in the sugar industry by US group almost complete
The sale of Belize Sugar Industries factory at Tower Hill in Orange Walk to the group American Sugar Refineries is all but complete. Today, the Minister of National Emergency Management, Senator Godwin Hulse told Love News that all the intricate details of the deal have been worked out. Minister Hulse explained that the categorization of the deal as a takeover of the sugar industry is not all together accurate and he says that there were not big concessions given to ASR to complete the deal. The American Sugar Refineries Incorporated deal is expected to result in the modernization of the sugar industry. ASR owns sugar mills in the United States, Dominican Republic and Mexico.

Financial adviser confident of super bond renegotiation deal
Belize’s external debt, also known as the sovereign bond and commonly referred to as the super bond, continues to generate a lot of interest in the international financial services sector. Following the missed coupon payment of twenty three million US dollars last week, the rating agency Standard and Poor downgraded Belize and was followed later in the week by Moody’s investor services. In the case of the Wall Street-based Moody’s Investors Service, the agency lowered Belize’s local currency bond and deposit ceilings to B2 from B1. The foreign currency country ceilings on bonds and deposits remain unchanged at Caa2. Moodys in its report released late last week, said it expects the government will formally default following the expiration of a 30 day grace period in September, unless a restructuring agreement is reached before then. Belize’s debt renegotiation team, headed by Ambassador Mark Espat was in Washington, D.C. over the weekend for meetings with officials of the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Monetary fund. According to Minister Godwin Hulse, who is also a member of the debt restructuring team, the talks with the IDB were very positive and now the team awaits support from the IMF. Belize has published its three-pronged offer towards a negotiated restructuring of the five hundred and forty seven million US dollar foreign debt. Advisor to the Minister of Finance Allan Slusher today told Love News that those three scenarios published earlier this month are solid starting points for the government of Belize, given what is at its disposal going into the negotiations. Slusher says he is optimistic that the solution will come after what he called a choreographed maneuvering by the bond holders. According to Moody’s Investor Services, the super bond, accounts for 48 per cent of total central government debt and 57 per cent of Belize’s external debt. The agency noted that the indicative scenarios released by the government on August 8 – a par bond and two discount bond options – resulted in bondholders absorbing losses of 70-80 per cent in net present value terms. Moody’s continue to maintain that, quote: “the government’s decision to trigger a credit event and force investors to take deep haircuts is a credit negative development that increases the odds of a protracted debt exchange process,” end of quote.

Police press officer updates on weekend crime
There were a number of shootings that occurred in the old capital as well. Police cannot determine if the killing was gang-related, but Yearwood confirmed that Alvarez’ companion lives in the area where a known street gang operates. Meanwhile, a student was also shot on Saturday in the Lake I area, but his injury was less severe than Alvarez’, according to Yearwood. A second shooting happened on Saturday, this time on the northside of town. On Sunday, yet another shooting occurred, this time in the Collet Division near the Vernon Street Bridge. Last week Love News reported on the allegations of abuse of authority by elements of the Gang Suppression Unit on youths in Crooked Tree Village last Tuesday night. After that incident, we also brought you the update of visits made to Crooked Tree by the Commissioner of Police, David Henderson and by Belize Rural South Area Representative, Minister of State Edmund Castro, to meet with the youths and to discuss assigning a policeman in the village while plans to build a new police station there is finalized. Today at the police press conference, Inspector Yearwood told reporters that the Professional Standards Branch, which has replaced the Internal Affairs Unit of the Police Department, is investigating the allegations of abuse on youths. Police Press Officer, Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood, says that the police will release the details of a murder in the Toledo District shortly.

Toledo man found dead on the roadside
The body of a Punta Gorda Resident was found on Sunday morning on the Punta Gorda San Antonio Road. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details. According to Police reports, Bol was seen socializing at Carolina Bar in Big Falls Village around 10:30 pm. He is said to have had an exchange of words with other customers and later left around 2:30 a.m. Bol is said to have borrowed the bicycle from a family member who resides near the dump and he rode off toward Punta Gorda Town. The body now awaits a post-mortem examination.

Clean Energy project handed over in Belmopan
The handing over of the project for the introduction of Clean Energy by Solar Electricity Generation System was held on Thursday of last week in Belmopan. The project is located at the main campus of the University of Belize in Belmopan. Speaking at the official handing over ceremony, President of UB Dr. Cary Frazer said the location of the facility at the UB campus is a benefit not only to the nation, but the University as well. The green energy project is a donation to the government of Belize by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency. On hand for the handing over was Japan’s ambassador to Belize Hiroshi Yamaguchi. The contract cost for the project which started in September of 2011, is listed at ten million dollars. According to Minister of Labor, Immigration and National Emergency Godwin Hulse, the project will benefit Belize in more ways than one. The local sub contractor for the establishment of the project is Medina’s Construction Limited.

BNE Trust contributes to Restore Belize
Last week the BNE Trust handed over a cheque of 40 thousand dollars to Restore Belize to assist in its I am Belize Scholarship Fund. On hand to receive the cheque was Marie Munoz of Restore Belize who said the scholarship fund is geared towards assisting underprivileged students from Belize City. Handing over the cheque was General Manager of the BNE Trust Sharon Ramclam. Ramclam said there are certain conditions attached to the scholarship such as students maintaining a passing grade, open and maintain a savings account at one of the financial institutions and be a part of the scholarship club.

Pallotine Sisters celebrate important milestone
Plans have begun in connection with a nationwide celebration for one hundred years of the presence and outstanding services of Pallotine Sisters in Belize. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details.

Help for hurricane victims via the Red Cross
The European Commission is allocating seventy five thousand and thirty seven Belize dollars to bring relief to the victims of Hurricane Ernesto in Belize. According to a press release issued by the organization, The European Union through the European Commission and its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department expresses its solidarity with the victims of Ernesto in Belize and as a major contributor to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, has agreed to use thirty two thousand three hundred and thirty five Euros of to help the victims. The aid will be used to support Belize Red Cross Society National Intervention Team members on the needs assessment phase to replenish pre-positioned stock and to assist the one hundred and fifty most affected families with food and relief items delivered by the BRCS for a period of three months. The aid will be channeled through the Red Cross, who operates with funding from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund of the IFRC.

US-supported humanitarian agency funds local projects
A humanitarian agency, Self Development of the People, which is supported by the Presbyterian Church in Kentucky USA will fund a number of projects in Belize over the next six years. The group aims to develop and strengthen capacity groups to feed and sustain their communities. Cyntia Ellis Topsey, a community developer from San Ignacio Town told us more about the grants. Two other organizations based in Belize City namely the Regina Martinez Foundation and JUNA Neighborhood Association have already applied for grants from the Agency. Members of the Self Development of the People Agency were scheduled to be a part of today’s event but unfortunately they could not make it. We will have more on the scope of the agency’s work when representatives arrive in the country.

Winners of national song competition announced
The MCC grounds in Belize City came alive on Saturday night as the venue for the National Song competition. Nineteen performers in the Junior Patriotic, Senior Patriotic and Senior Carnival song Categories all showcased their talents onstage to the public and the judges ,James Sanker, Kenny Gladden, Jenniffer Lovell, Richard Moody and Colville Young Jr. At the end of the night only one person emerged as the winner in each category. Here are the highlights of Saturday night’s event. Tabulators for the competition were Shaheida Vega and Marcia Rodgriguez. The Winner for the Junior Patriotic song walked away with one thousand five hundred dollars, the Senior Patriotic song winner took home four thousand dollars and for the Carnival song, the winner also took home four thousand dollars. All prizes for the night amounted to over twenty five thousand dollars.

PlusTV

Belmopan Police say weekend death of Compre student was self defense
Our big story on Friday was the stabbing death of young Yasmani Aguirre who was inflicted with a fatal wound by Enr...

Senior Police Officers give opinion on decriminalization of marijuana
Late last month, the nation learnt via a press release from the Government of Belize’s Ministry of National Securit...

Belmopan Market Days to get Cultural injection!
Market Day in Belmopan is a great place for steals and deals. Well this Friday (AUG 31) there will be an added fea...

House discusses Mark Espat's Hallmark Company
The House Meeting got testy on Friday when Cayo South Area Representative, Julius Espat asked Prime Minister Barrow...

American Sugar Refining Inc still interested in Purchasing BSI
The buy over of the BSI sugar factory by American Sugar Refining, Inc. (ASR) is advancing well and on target. Meeti...

Nelo Player win September celebrations Song Competition
This past weekend The National Song Competition was held at the M.C.C. Grounds. The competition had three Junior En...

Belizean is new Football Vice President of UNCAF
The Football Federation of Belize issued a release recognizing Vice-President of the FFB Rawel Pelayo, appointment ...

European Commission donates to TS Ernesto Victims
The European Commission allocates funds to assist Belizean victims of Tropical Storm Ernesto. The storm passed over...

200 sent home as GOB Southside project winds down
The Government Southside Rejuvenation Project had been ongoing for 3 years (two years beyond its projected scope) b...

Men on bicycles targets of reckless gun violence.
Men on bicycles are targets of reckless violence. C.I.B. personnel visited the KHMH on Friday night (August 24). Th...

Bicycle gunman confronts then shoots 19 year old student
Around 7:45pm on Saturday night (AUG 25) Police visited the KHMH where they saw RAHEEM NICHOLAS, of Belize City suf...

Gentle shot by man on a bicycle
Just before midnight on Sunday (August 26) Police visited the KHMH where they saw 24 year old EDMUND GENTLE, of Bel...

Blogs

Heading home to Ambergris Caye
We'd had a wonderful time on our first trip to the Toledo District of Belize and re-visiting the Stann Creek District we'd previously enjoyed, but a week had flown by, and it was now time to head back north to Ambergris Caye. We had to get up quite early to catch the Hokey Pokey water taxi from Placencia to Independence as we wanted to catch the 7:30 am Express bus to Belize City. The Hokey Pokey leaves at 6:45 am, and we had to walk to the dock. That left us no time for breakfast -- or even coffee -- before leaving. Fortunately we'd bought some fiber cookies at the grocery store the day before, and I lucked out -- an enterprising local was selling cups of steaming hot coffee as we got onto the bus for just $1.50 BZ (75 cents US). Sold! Yes, it had sugar, which I usually don't take, but I didn't care. It tasted good, and the caffeine was what I was after anyway. It had rained quite a bit overnight, but fortunately had stopped in time for our walk to the dock and ride on the ferry. We met up with the traveling Canadian girls, Heather and Lauren, at the dock, and traded experiences. We find we have more in common with travelers their age than our own in many ways.

There are so many things to do in Belize
The barrier reef lies close to shore of Belize, which shelters the land and creates a calm turquoise sea – a veritable water sports playground. Sail, kayak or jet ski. Windsurf, kite surf or para-sail. Pretty much anything you can think of is available, waiting for you to have a go. A day’s sailing and snorkeling in crystal clear waters is (we think) a near-perfect way to spend your day. Here are some suggestions of things to do, right off your beach: Snorkel and island hop, Sail away, Wildlife wonder, Catch and cook, Paddle your own canoe (or kayak), Gone with the wind.

Six Inland Belize Adventures You Will Love
As Belize becomes one of the biggest boom areas of the Caribbean, affluent visitors—and more and more celebrities—soon find themselves switching from the adventures of island-hopping to Inland Belize Adventures. Below are six inland Belize Adventures you will love. horseback riding in belize Easy: Average Fitness level Medium: Active Outdoor level Difficult: Advanced Fitness level required Horseback riding: With hundreds of miles of riverside trails and forests to explore, traveling by horseback gives you a chance to take in your surroundings without all the effort. Take a carrot as a reward for your trusty steed. (Medium) Airboats: Experience nature at an exhilarating speed when you take an airboat tour of the wetlands. This fragile ecosystem is home to unique tropical plants, turtles and the American crocodile. (Easy) Canoeing: A canoeing trip on any of Belize’s picturesque rivers is a rejuvenating adventure. As you drift along clean, clear waters try to spot the noisiest animal in the Belize jungle, the howler monkey, in the trees overhead. (Easy to Medium) Caving: Belize is home to one of the most extensive cave systems in Central America. Visitors can choose whether they want to hike, float or swim through these ancient and stunning underground spaces. (Easy to Difficult) Ziplining: Get amazing views, and your adrenaline high, as you fly through the jungle canopy on a zipline. An ideal option for family fun, memories of this exciting activity will last a lifetime. (Medium to Difficult) Hiking: Enjoy extraordinary hikes in Belize including climbs to the majestic Victoria Peak, the lookout of the Thousand Foot falls, the tallest waterfall in Central America or the neighborhood Maya temple. (Easy to Difficult)

For fly fishing excellence – Caye Caulker is the place to be!!
Once again our fly fishing guides put our tiny island on the international map!! This weekend the 4th annual Tres Pescados was held in Ambergris Caye – this tournament is where the fly fishing elite from Belize and around the world join forces to both gather data on the fishing area and also raise funds for local charities. The idea of the tournament is to test both the fisherman and the Guides as each team of 3, comprises of a Guide and 2 Fisherman – together they must bring home and have weighed their best size and amount of fly fishing’s grand slam fish – Permit, Tarpon and Bonefish. Each year Caye Caulker brothers Parnell (Fly Treks) and Ken Coc (Anglers Abroad) compete for the fun of the sport, for the pride of Caye Caulker and of course, the title!! The past two years Ken Coc has dominated the competition by his team winning and also being crowned as the Lead Guide in the competitions. This year it was his brother’s turn to light up the pride of Caye Caulker as Parnell came in second with Ken coming a close 4th. With pride we must congratulate our Coc brothers as once again they did us proud. With this win sending a clear message (once again) to those who are interested in the sport of fly fishing , that Caye Caulker is indeed the island to be for competitive prices and quality guiding!!!

International Sources

Tips for photographing birds
Perhaps you've noticed something about photographing wildlife: It's really hard. The main problem, of course, is that animals will, almost without exception, fail to pose on cue. In fact, they refuse to take any direction from you at all. And if you thought it was hard to take a photo of a cat or a dog or a moose, just try to photograph birds. In the past, we've given some advice for shooting critters, but let's zero in on tips for capturing our feathered buddies. There are two common situations you'll encounter with your camera—sitting and waiting for a bird to land somewhere, and then shooting it while it's earthbound, or trying to catch a bird in flight as it zooms by overhead. Both are fun and can yield some rewarding photos, but it's a lot harder to snap a great photo of a bird in flight, because you need to pan the camera so you track the bird's motion in the viewfinder. I suggest that you start by shooting birds when they come to our home turf—when they settle down in trees, on posts, or on some other stationary spot. You'll have to act fast, though, because they probably won't stay long. Here are four things to keep in mind:

Mexico promotes regional open skies
Mexico is advocating for its neighboring countries—Belize, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala—to agree on an open skies policy to jointly market the leisure destination known as Maya World. Under open skies, participating countries would benefit where local carriers operate fifth, sixth and seventh freedom rights in the region, linking city pairs such as Tikal-Cancún and Monterrey-San Salvador. A spokesperson for Mexico’s State of Quintana Roo told local media that open skies would bring air fares down and the number of visitors up to 18% to the region within two years.

As Genes Learn Tricks, Animal Lifestyles Evolve
Early one evening a few years ago, I took a short hike with my wife, Jamie, in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize. The large, lush reserve is known for its healthy population of jaguars, so, following closely behind our guide, we kept our eyes peeled for the elusive cats. We saw a few tracks and some claw marks on trees, but elected to leave the jungle before nightfall. We were very near the end of the trail when we were surprised by a large snake, about six feet long, crossing directly in front of us. Belize has lots of snakes, more than 50 species. Some can get pretty large, like the boa constrictor, which is impressive but harmless. This one was not harmless. Even in the darkening jungle, the triangular pattern on its back allowed me to identify it quickly as a fer-de-lance, the most dangerous snake in Belize. Excited, and comfortable that I was well out of striking range, I reached into my backpack for my video camera and flipped on its “night shot” feature. I now saw the magnificent snake clearly on my LCD screen. As I tried to creep in for a closer shot, however, I felt something holding me back. It was Jamie. She had a grip on my backpack and was concerned that my enthusiasm for snakes had overtaken my judgment. She was not convinced that we were out of range, nor that the snake would not move quickly toward us. I used the zoom and filmed from where I stood. For me to film the snake in the dark, I had to rely on Sony’s innovation and engineering. The camera’s infrared LED source generated light with a longer wavelength than the human eye can detect; those photons then bounced off the snake and were detected by the camera’s infrared sensors and converted into an image.

Belizean authorities revoke Mello’s residency
The Belizean Immigration Ministry has reportedly annulled the residence permit for Karol Mello, a Slovak fugitive who faces at least two charges for organising murders back in 2003 and 2004. The ministry claims that he received it under false pretences, the Belizean website Reporter.bz wrote on August 24. Mello’s lawyer Godfrey Smith said that his client wants to stay in Belize and intends to do so, accepting any consequences that may follow. Belize cannot extradite Mello to Slovakia, because it has no extradition treaty with the country. However, the government of Belize could declare him persona non grata, i.e. an unwelcome person, by executive decree, and there is no legal defence against that, the Reporter.bz wrote.

August 27, 2012

Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

The latest Tia Chocolate column is ready for reading!!! Opposites, Part III
In the bigger, cleaner house, Andrea lay awake, staring at the zinc ceiling. It was late, and already the moon had shifted west, bringing with it a silvery light through the open windows of the bedroom. Mama was not in the bed with her.

The sounds coming from the floor next to the bed had woken her. Mama was with Papa on his mattress where he normally slept if he didn’t fall asleep on the hammock first. The hammock was tied up tonight. The silvery light turned faint by the time she finally fell asleep again, and when she woke up, Mama was hugging her on the bed. Papa snored loudly, rumbling with each breath. In the coop, the rooster began crowing loudly. It was time to think about getting up.

The August 26th, 2012 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Empty Handed Burglar Caught In The Act
  • Another Empty Handed Accused Burglar Charged
  • High School Teacher Charged For Assaulting Girls
  • Belize National Classification System For Hotels And Tour Operators
  • This Empty Handed Burglar Goes To Jail
  • Rotary’s Gift Of Life Belize Project
  • Teen Depression: A Guide for Parents And Teachers
  • Art In The Park of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
  • Female Facing Burglary Charge
  • Four New Motorcycles For The Police
  • Guatemala Ex-Police Chief Jailed For Civil War Kidnap
  • STAR Humor
  • Your Weekly Horoscope and Lucky Numbers
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Public Notices


Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Wolfe’s Woofers: Happy Birthday
“Dennis, I want you to do me a favor,” Charlie said. “I need you to keep an eye on Tommy for me.” “Sure,” I said. “What’s the problem with Tommy?” “He turns seventy-nine on his birthday this weekend and he wants a big celebration. The old fool met up with a twenty-two year-old girl yesterday who is after him for nothing but money.” “I didn’t know he had any money. Where do I come into this?” “He wanted me to go to the jewelry store with him to buy her something and I want you to go instead of me. I have to stay here at the restaurant. Try to stop him from doing anything stupid.”

Marlon August releases book entitled “My Life and Travels in Belize”
Long time islander Marlon August has penned a book entitled My Life and Travels in Belize. The book has been available for sale on the internet for the past three months. The book details August’s life since childhood days, his adventures, his travels and San Pedro, the place he had decided to make his home. August who is originally from the Cayo District has been living on Ambergris Caye for over 20 years. “What inspired me to write this book is the people (tourist) that I have meet throughout the course of the year and the stories we share,” said August. August says most of the stories are related to his personal life but some are tied down to people and events that are rich part of history. One such anecdote involves a detailed description of him hiking along the roads of Belize and getting a ride with the Father of the Nation, the late Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price. “I think I had to include that part because it shows how Belize has developed. The two people I was with, a Venezuelan and a Canadian, were surprised that the country’s leader would stop and give people along the street a ride, something not common to them in their country,” said a smiling August.

Dr. Love: Stuck
Dear Doctor Love, I’m happy to see that there is a local advice column in San Pedro because I may be moving there soon. I have had the same boyfriend for nearly three years and he is planning to move here to take a job. He wants me to come with him. Although he is older than me by more than ten years, I love him very much. I try to listen to his advice because I know he is wiser than I am but sometimes I feel like some of my decisions have to be made on my own. I know that if I wanted him to, he would marry me and even go for having children. On the other hand, I know that these are things that I will want but he will be doing them just to please me. I love the idea of leaving theU.S.and going off on a big adventure inCentral Americabut I also think that I should eventually go back to school. From what I can tell, there are no colleges that I could attend inBelize. I feel like, either way, I am going to lose something. If I go to Belize with him I won’t be able to go to college and pursue my career. On the other hand, I hate the idea of not going with him and letting love go by the way. What is my best bet? /s/ Stuck inOregon

Police Report: August 23rd, 2012
On Saturday 18th of August 2012 at about 10:12AM, Cruz Novelo, 56 year old Belizean Security Guard of Pescador Drive in San Pedro Town reported that between the hours of 5PM on the 17th and 5AM on the 18th of August, someone broke into his house and stole one TCH brand flat screen TV valued at $900 Bze and one DVD player, brand unknown, valued at $200. On Monday the 20th of August 2012 at 8:30PM, Raquel Lino 27 year old of Los Encantos located five miles north of San Pedro Town reported that on 20th of August at about 4PM whilst she was closing the lock on the door of her employer’s house namely Mark Garyle, which is located directly behind her house, she felt someone from behind push her into the house and started to touch her breast in an indecent manner without her consent. She recognized the assailant to be Martin Medina, other particulars unknown. As a result, a struggle ensued and she managed to escape and call for Police assistance. Police is looking for Martin Medina as part of their investigation.

Misc Belizean Sources

COUNTRY FOODS COOPERATIVE SUCCESS STORY IN BELIZE
Country Foods cooperative is growing in production. ALL is sold on the local market. Nothing is exported yet. Eggs represent 71% of this Spanish Lookout Cooperative. 18% of their business is in RK beans. Rice represents the other 11%. 80% of their beans are RK beans. They also produce and market cranberry, and smaller red beans, with black eyed peas. There is nobody in Belize producing LENTILS yet, my favorite bean and the one we always buy, but it is imported. The cooperative rice is packed in 20, 50 and 100 pound bags. They distribute locally about 800,000 lbs of rice per year. About 1 million pounds of beans are sold each year locally.

COUNTRY FOODS EGG PRODUCING COOPERATIVE TO GET NEW BRAZILIAN MACHINERY
Country Foods is going to become more mechanized. Instead of labor intensive candeling and sorting for size with eggs, they have ordered a machine from Brazil, that will do the job. Country Foods Cooperative market about 7 to 8000 eggs a month. The new system when operational will use plastic egg containers. Laying hens are good for 16 to 19 months, when they are culled and sold off. The current trend is export to Guatemala, as buyers come in and bid on them.

Seine Bight Day Weekend in Belize was a blast!
Music, culture and fun in the sun were in abundance at this year’s Seine Bight Day Weekend in Belize. Seine Bight Day Weekend was held on August 17 to August 19, 2012, in Seine Bight Village, Stann Creek District, and was one of the numerous events occurring around the country. Other festivities were the San Joaquin Fiesta and the Willow’s Bank Fyah Haat Fest. “The funds raised from the weekend are to be used to build a basketball court in the village, which is definitely needed,” shared Francisco Palacio, chairman of Seine Bight Village. “Everyone enjoyed themselves with the games, contests, music and live entertainment. During the three days, the beach was full of life. Participants were up early in the morning to await the upcoming activities and stayed up late into the night for its festivities. I’d like to thank everyone who made the Seine Bight Day Weekend a great success.” For more than ten years, the village of Seine Bight has been hosting this celebration, which commemorates the existence of the community. Every year, the event gets bigger, with many Belizeans travelling down south to join the villagers in their celebration. Fun competitions at the event included swimming contests, coconut husking contests, and Punta contests among others. Cash prizes and giveaways kept contestants striving to win at every try. During the night, live music and entertainment by Belize’s very own renowned artists kept everyone dancing all night long. Next year’s Seine Bight Day weekend promises to be even better!

Thread By Thread
A graduate of Sacred Heart Junior College has come up with a great idea, following the 'pay it forward' concept. Thread by Thread is a nonprofit that donates school uniforms to children that can't afford them. Awesome idea! "The expression 'pay it forward' is used to describe the concept of asking that a good deed be repaid by having a good deed done for others instead. Thread by thread is a nonprofit company dedicated to making sure Belizean school children whose families cannot afford material goods have both what they need to attend school and also learn to share the giving by giving themselves. By helping students obtain school uniforms we hope that each student will be driven to further his or her education. By giving the uniforms we hope each student absorbs the mind set of being grateful for what he or she receives. By requiring recipients to 'pay it forward' we hope that in return for our gift, they will learn that giving brings more value than just the dollar amount of what was received. We are about 'Making Threads by Giving Threads.'"

Marcia Moody is Queen of the West
Congratulations to Marcia Moody for winning Queen of the West. The September Celebrations have officially started. Good luck at the Queen of the Bay!

Euphoria Dance pictures
Danny Chung was at the Euphoria Dance at Barrio Fino to take some stills. He got some good ones, in the color of Summer. Cloud 9 was the headliner, with Tagg International and Mistah Geeh opening. Thanks go out to News Exchange, Bowen & Bowen, which had the Verano beer flowing, and the Royal Car Wash.

LOVE TV

Millions of dollars in damages to the Sugar Industry
Cane farmers in the north are facing millions of dollars in damages caused by pests and natural disasters. Recent floods brought on by the passage of tropical depression number seven inundated a number of cane fields in the north, particularly in Corozal. Alfredo Ortega is the vice chairman of the committee of management of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. Ortega says that damage from flooding is not the only thing making life difficult for cane farmers as they are also battling the pest, known as the froghopper. The other challenge facing cane farmers is the condition of roads leading to the farms which allow them to move their product from the field to the factory. Ortega says the BSCFA is appealing for help from government; but at this time it is slow to non-existent. Ortega says the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association plans to continue lobbying government for assistance to help cane farmers during these challenging times.

Sugar dividends to be paid shortly
BSI employees were informed this morning through an information bulletin that arrangements are being put in place for the first payment of outstanding dividends. This announcement comes at the heels of negotiations between BSI and American Sugar Refinery that have been ongoing since late May of this year when some 400 BSI employees under Belize Employees Holding trust voted in favor for the American company to become the major share holder of the Tower Hill based company. In the bulletin issued to employees this morning as they reported to work, Managing director of BSI Joey Montalvo says “that he is pleased to announce that all commercials matters and legal documentation with respect to the Purchase Agreement has been agreed between BSI and ASR and the necessary approval from existing shareholders of BSI to proceed with the signing have been received.” The other existing shareholders of the company include Tate & Lyle and the Government of Belize. It is understood that the purchase agreement was signed yesterday. The transaction cannot not be cannot be called a done-deal yet as completion of the transaction is estimated to take another month, but at least employees can feel confident that by next week Friday they should be receiving the first fifty percent of outstanding dividends owed to them since 1998. If everything follows as planned nine months after next week Friday employees should receive 30% of the remain balance and within a year after the signing they are expected to receive the last 20%. Retired BSI employees should expect to receive 100% of outstanding dividends by next week Friday. In the month that follows to completion date the release goes to explain that BSI and ASR will continue to meet in order to conclude various conditions associated to the transaction which includes the existing lenders to BSI and Belcogen regarding payment.

Victory for Oceana-Belize in the Supreme Court
Oceana-Belize has won round one of its battle with the government over oil contracts issued to a number of companies to conduct offshore petroleum exploration. On Wednesday, Attorney for the government, Herbert Panton, argued why the court ought to strike out Oceana’s claim against the government and Attorney for Oceana, Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith, argued that the claim was a legitimate one. Today, Justice Oswald Legall gave his ruling on those arguments and Love News got a lay man’s explanation of the ruling, what it means and what happens next from Oceana-Belize’s Vice President, Audrey Matura-Shepherd. But while Oceana has gotten the green light, the bigger battle lies ahead now. Oceana-Belize, meanwhile, has another case pending aside from this one in the court against the government. In that one, it is challenging the disqualification of over eight thousand names of people who had signed its petition on oil drilling.

High school buy murdered in Belmopan
Police have detained 19-year-old Jose Enrique Flores pending charges following the death of a teenager last night. Correspondent Fem Cruz has the details.

Four charged for robbery
Four men and two women were charged with firearm and ammunition offences and handling stolen goods when they appeared in court today. They are 23 year old Aaron Bailey, 21 year old Inmar Welch, 22 year old Jeffrey Mcdougal, 27 year old Jareth Gault, 47 year old Carol Vivas and her daughter 24 year old Teresita Vivas. They were charged with one count of kept prohibited firearm, one count of kept firearm without a gun license and two counts kept ammunition without a gun license. The firearms were a .38 special revolver and a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum revolver. The ammunition was six live rounds and four live rounds of .38 calibre. The charge of handling stolen goods was for a blue cell phone valued at $200.00. Apart from those charges Bailey, Welch, Mcdougal and Gault were charged with robbery. They pleaded not guilty to charges. Magistrate Aretha Ford explained to them that the court cannot offer them bail because of the nature of the offences. She remanded them into custody until October 2. The robbery occurred around 2:30 p.m. yesterday at Paula’s Store on Cemetery Road. The culprits stole a purse that contained $400.00 , a cell phone and other items. The police received a report of the robbery in progress and they apprehended the suspects about 90 minutes later. Later the same day the police went to Vivas’ residence on Plues Street and reported that they found the firearms and ammunition and recovered the cell phone.

Man jailed for drug trafficking
Fifty-four year old fudge vendor Godfrey Rowland , charged with drug trafficking for 26.3 pounds of cannabis, was sentenced to 5 years today by Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith after he was found guilty of the charge. It was his fourth conviction for drug trafficking. Rowland was also found guilty of driving without a driver’s license and driving a motor vehicle not covered by insurance. He was fined $150.00 for the first offence and $500.00 for the second. The incident occurred around 9 a.m. on December 21, 2011. The police had a checkpoint at mile 4 on the Northern Highway and they intercepted a grey car as it pulled off the highway about 100 metres from the checkpoint. Rowland was the only occupant of the car at the time and when the police searched the trunk of the car they found the bag of cannabis. Rowland testified and said that he was hitching a ride and the driver of the car had gone to purchase something. But Chief Magistrate Smith did not believe his story and she found him guilty.

New drop-in centre for south side youths
A new drop-in centre for at-risk young men was officially opened this morning in Belize City. The facility occupies the space held formerly by Big Daddy’s restaurant at the Commercial Centre. At the launch of the program, it was explained that the Southside Youth Success Project Drop In centre is a collaborative effort of the government of Belize, the United Nations Development Program and the Central American Regional Security Initiative known by the acronym CARSI. One of the speakers at the launch of the project was the United States ambassador to Belize Vinai Thummalapally. At the heart of the broad-ranging project is to help young people improve their lives and cut down on the senseless crime and violence in the urban areas. The centre provides a youth-friendly space where young men and boys, particularly from the south side of Belize City can come get life skills training. Roberto Valent is the country representative for the United Nations Development Program in Belize, and he addressed the youths at this morning’s launch.

Improvements sought for the public transportation system
“Clear the Land” fires back... The array of concerns in the public transportation system has spanned over many years and successive Ministers of Transportation have attempted to correct the many voids that exist therein. The current Transport Board has formulated a list of conditions that bus owners who operate in the west and south of the country must meet in order to carry out their service. That list includes, albeit a lengthy one, is supposed to take the quality of the bus industry from what it is to what would be considered acceptable. Minister with responsibility for Transport, Edmund Castro, told Love News that these conditions are supposed to take the quality of the bus industry from what it currently is to what is considered to be acceptable. Bus operators have been given one month the longest in order to receive their road service permits, or else.

Spinal surgery at the KHMH
The nation’s referral hospital, the Karl Heusner Memorial, has reached another milestone as now it is able to now provide a clinic for spinal injuries and specifically, a condition that results in what we call hump back. The life-saving intervention now available was first performed on Wednesday at the hospital. The new service comes through a joint effort on the part of the hospital and doctors from the US. Neurosurgeon, Doctor Joel Cervantes, says that it is a major breakthrough for Belize and Belizeans. Keri George was part of the visiting team that performed the first procedure locally. In the US, one of the spinal surgeries can cost well over a hundred thousand US dollars while in Belize, it is not to go over a thousand Belize dollars. Most of the screws and costly instruments required to perform the procedure is donated to help defray costs.

Motorcycles for the police department
The Ministry of National Security has just acquired four new motorcycles to assist them in maintaining law and order in various villages of the Belize District, as was promised by the Minister of National Security, John Saldivar during his country wide tour. According to Rural Executive officer Assistand Superintendent Glen Rivero, the new dirt bikes will assist in policing the formation under his command which covers the entire rural area that runs from Mahogany Heights to Western Paradise on the Western Highway and from Halouver Bridge to Rhaburn’s Ridge on the Northern Highway. The four Meliun dirt bikes were purchased by the Government of Belize at a total cost of fourteen thousand dollars and will be specifically assigned to the villages of Sandhill, Bermudian Landing, Hattieville and Crooked Tree. A temporary residence has also been identified and secured for the posting of a resident police officer in Crooked Tree Village, while plans are underway for the construction of a permanent police station and living quarters there. The urgent need for the police station has been addressed through direct intervention of the area representative, Edmund Castro and Minister of National Security, John Saldivar.

Selva Maya consultation held in Belmopan
A consultation workshop on the Selva Maya project was held on Thursday in Belmopan. The project tri-national project involving Belize, Mexico and Guatemala is being executed jointly by the German Agency for International Development and the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development. It is aimed at promoting the conservation of existing ecosystems and their biodiversity through sustainable management and the use of natural resources. Jaap Schoorl is the regional program director for the German Development Cooperation. According to Schoorl, the Selva Maya, which started in 2011, covers a period of about fifteen years and will see the investment of over twenty million dollars among the three participating countries. Thursday’s stakeholders workshop was held at the George Price Centre in Belmopan.

National Song competition set for Saturday at MCC Grounds
Tomorrow the MCC grounds in Belize City will come to life as the National Song and Carnival Song for this year is chosen. Joseph Stamp Romero is the Creative Arts Development Officer at the Institute of Creative Arts and organizer of the National Song Competition. The entrance is free of cost and the whole family is invited to come out and support your favourite artist.

Municipal Bond legislation goes to parliament
The House of Representatives met today in Belmopan. It was a short agenda which featured a short list of five amendment bills, among them three that dealt with the banking sector. The passage of the bills now sends them to the upper house of parliament where they are expected to be ratified by the Senate next week. The House also passed two motions, one for the establishment of a National Assembly Staff Committee and the other approving a two million US dollar loan from the Caribbean Development Bank to be used for education sector reform. Aside from the Bills for second and third readings, Prime Minister Dean Barrow today introduced two Bills having to do with a proposed municipal bond by the Belize City Council. The first Bill is for an Act to provide for the Belize City Council to float a twenty million dollar municipal bond to be used for infrastructural development. The Prime Minister told parliament that the Bill has the support of Cabinet. The Prime Minister commended Mayor Bradley for his initiative and noted that government is fully behind the municipal bond issue. And the Prime Minister used his time on the floor of the House at the introduction of the Bill to offer a sales pitch to potential bond holders.

Man jailed for sex assault on girl
Sixty-six year old Venustiano Pacheco, a Mexican national was sentenced to three years yesterday after he was found guilty of aggravated assault of an indecent nature on an eight year old girl. The incident occurred around 7:30 p.m. on February 25, 2011 in Scotland Half Moon Village. The child, a Standard 1 student, testified that she was taking a bath outdoor at the back of her house when Pacheco, her neighbor, came to her and knelt down in front of her and sexually assaulted her. The child’s aunt testified that she caught Pacheco in the act. Pacheco testified but he did not contest the child’s testimony. He said that the aunt was lying and that she had made up the story. But Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith did not believe Pacheco and she found him guilty. Pacheco was not represented by any attorney. Inspector Carol Tucker represented the prosecution.

Burglary at Belmopan Baptist High School
Belmopan Police reportedly have three men detained following the report of an apparent burglary at the Baptist High School in the Banana Bank area on the Western Highway just out of Belmopan. Reports are that sometime between four thirty yesterday evening and eight thirty this morning someone made off with about nine thousand dollars in cash and three thousand dollars in cheques that was locked up in a safe in the principal’s office. The money was school fees that had been collected over the past three weeks. The metal door of the safe was reportedly forced open.

Girl alleges her uncle raped her
A rape has been reported in Belmopan. The victim, a seventeen year old female in the presence of a Justice of the Peace, reported to police that on the 14th of August she was in the company of her uncle and another male person who is unknown to her. She alleged that they visited Valley of Peace village where they were consuming alcohol and later left to Armenia Village to continue drinking. They then went to Cave’s Branch where her uncle and the other male began swimming. It is then that her uncle came out of the river and proceeded to hold her hands down, took off her underwear and had sexual intercourse with her against her will. The minor’s uncle has been detained pending charges.

Compol meets Crooked Tree residents after GSU rampage
Two days ago Love News brought you the story of a Gang Suppression Unit visit to Crooked Tree Village that ended in what residents describe as abuse on the village youths. The incident allegedly happened at the village basketball court where the GSU members went to conduct an investigation. One day after the allegation hit the airwaves, the Commissioner of Police, David Henderson, visited the youths in the village along with the Area Representative, Edmund “Clear the Land” Castro. Love News was there and spoke with one of the youths who alleges that he was abused is Devin Swasey, who only a few weeks ago, was viciously attacked and bitten by a crocodile in the Crooked Tree Lagoon. Swasey told reporters on Wednesday that one of the GSU members stood on his hand that is still healing from the crocodile attack. He told reporters on Wednesday the incident happened at between eight-thirty and nine on Tuesday night while eight of them were on the court. Commissioner of Police, David Henderson, told us that the allegation will be investigated and that he and Minister of State, Castro discusses the possibility of assigning a policeman in the village, which has been without police presence for a few years. Meanwhile, Minister Castro told us that while a police station will be built in the village, in the interim, a policeman will be stationed there. He reassured that the government has zero tolerance for abuse of authority, if that is what really occurred on the part of the GSU members. The results of the investigation into the allegations of abuse by GSU members should be known before the end of next week.

Belmopan Queen of the Bay disqualified after winning the crown
Last weekend Jasmine Arce was crowned Miss Queen of the Bay Belmopan however Arce is upset because she found out she will not be allowed to participate in the national competition next weekend. Arturo Cantun has the details.

Telethon in aid of accident victim planned
There is good news to report about a child who almost lost his life when the dwelling he calls home fell on top of him. A few weeks ago, ten year old Brighton Cordova almost died while he was playing with two puppies underneath the house and the house fell on him. After doctors at the Northern Regional Hospital resuscitated the child, he was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital before being stabilized and transferred back to the Northern Regional. Brighton returned home today from the hospital and his aunt, Marvette MacFarlane, told Love News that he is in good spirits and responding well. But aside from that, he and his family need your help in order that he might make it back to some level of normalcy. They have rallied the Orange Walk community to help them to raise funds to meet medical expenses and costly therapeutic sessions for Brighton. If you would like to assist Brighton, you can call Marvette McFarlane at 626 1958. That number again is: 626 1958.

PlusTV

Will Ms belmopan get to compete in National Queen of the Bay?
We broached the issue of Ms. Belmopan - Queen of the Bay 2012 – 2013 last night. Jasmine Arce is scheduled to repre...

Compre student murdered in Belmopan
A family in the community of San Martin here in Belmopan, is tonight mourning the loss of a son and a brother. 16 y...

PlusNews visits Baptist High and speaks with Board member
It was business as usual at the Belmopan Baptist School orientation day. The bad press it had been receiving this w...

Crime down in Cayo thanks to Community Policing
In terms of crime, Police forces have been focusing on Belize City and trying to keep the occurrence of criminal ac...

Cayo Police Give updates: Bert Vasquez Jasmine Lowe case
Officer in Command of the Benque Viejo Del Carmen Supt. Ralph Moody, Supt. Alvan Gentle for the City of Belmopan an...

Cayo Police give UPDATES: Willacey, Silva case, Tzec Case, Hyde case
In regards to the Willacy's recent opprobrium Police have conducted an investigation into the matter. Silva was las...

University of Belize inaugurates Solar Panel Project
Last week we gave you a detail tour of the newly built Solar Panel System at the University of Belize. Infrastructu...

Major fire at Butane Depot disrupts traffic
There was a major butane fire yesterday evening at mile 4 ½ on the Western Highway. The fire was finally brought un...

Pacheco gets 3 years for molesting 8 year old
A Mexican man will be spending the next 3 years in jail. 66 year-old Venustiano Pacheco was sentence after he was c...

Police quick response leads to arrest of robbers
Yesterday afternoon (Aug 23) just before 3pm Police responded to a robbery in progress at Paula’s Store on Cemetery...

Blogs

Knocked myself out
It was a fairly lazy day at the taco shack, after cleaning up after dinner party, I ended up having a nap then watching National Treasure in bed with tacoboy. Sometimes a movie in bed is a perfect Sunday thing to d, quiet time it was much needed by both of us as life never seems to slow down. I got a good reminder of why I do not drink last night, all it took was two of of my favorite coconut rum drinks, I mix it with fresh watermelon juice and sometimes add a bit of lime or cilantro. I went from zero to done and sadly knocked myself out from the party :( Thankfully I was only hit with minor goma [hangover] today. Paul reminded me I was not the only one we have seen do that and we had a good laugh over some past knockouts while we enjoyed coffee on the veranda. I was watching for fish, I over head the people across the canal talking about seeing Crocodiles and it reminded me that One of my work projects this week is blogging our crocodile cruise aka the CSI Croc Adventure. We did it recently and had a great time, I learned so much. For now you can read about it in San Pedro Scoop – CSI Belize Tour: A Night Time Search for Crocs on Ambergris Caye. To find out more about taking the CSI Belize tour visit the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary website. Totally a trip worth taking and a perfect kid friendly option.

Heading up to Ak'Bol and Palapa Bar on a HOT Summer Day
When I go visit the states, one of the most frequent questions that I get is: "Don't you miss the changing season?" No. No, I don't...at least not in the way they are asking. Cold weather makes me miserable for the most part and we DO have seasons in Belize, definite seasons. This past day or two have been definite examples of the hot, almost breeze less weather that we tend to have at the end of summer/early fall. The water is so flat that there isn't even a break over the reef in many spots. And the sky is so so incredibly blue.

Cheap flights to Belize
Flight stats for Belize – did you know? There are 19 airports in Belize and the 5 biggest are Philip S.W. Goldson Intl Airport (Belize City, Belize) Right now, 11 airlines operate out of Philip S.W. Goldson Intl Airport. Philip S.W. Goldson Intl Airport offers nonstop flights to 16 cities. Every week, at least 483 domestic flights and 105 international flights depart from Philip S.W. Goldson Intl Airport. Dangriga Airport (Dangriga, Belize) Right now, 2 airlines operate out of Dangriga Airport. Dangriga Airport offers nonstop flights to 4 cities. Every week, at least 280 domestic flights and 0 international flights depart from Dangriga Airport. San Pedro Airport (San Pedro, Belize) Right now, 2 airlines operate out of San Pedro Airport. San Pedro Airport offers nonstop flights to 5 cities. Every week, at least 329 domestic flights and 0 international flights depart from San Pedro Airport.

International Sources

Mexico scrambles to cope with egg shortage
Mexico scrambles to cope with egg shortage, spending millions on emergency measures The Mexican government is battling an egg shortage and hoarding that have caused prices to spike in a country with the highest per-capita egg consumption on Earth. A summer epidemic of bird flu in the heart of Mexico's egg industry has doubled the cost of a kilo (2.2 pounds), or about 13 eggs, to more than 40 pesos ($3), a major blow to working- and middle-class consumers in a country that consumes more than 350 eggs per person each year. That's 100 more eggs per person than in the United States. Egg prices have dominated the headlines here for a week, spurring Mexico City's mayor to ship tons of cheap eggs to poor neighborhoods and the federal government to announce emergency programs to get fresh chickens to farms hit by bird flu and to restock supermarket shelves with eggs imported from the U.S. and Central America. The national dismay over egg prices has revealed the unappreciated importance of a cheap, easy source of protein that's nearly as important to Mexican kitchens as tortillas, rice and beans. Added boiled to stewed chicken, raw to a fruit-juice hangover cure and in every other conceivable form to hundreds of other foods, the once-ubiquitous egg has disappeared from many street-side food stands and middle-class kitchens in recent days. "Eggs, as you know, are one of Mexicans' most important foods and make up a core part of their diet, especially in the poorest regions of the country," President Felipe Calderon said Friday as he announced about $227 million in emergency financing and commercial measures to restore production and replace about 11 million chickens slaughtered after the June outbreak of bird flu.

Sea Level Rise Threatens Countries, Regions And Cities Around The World
With sea levels expected to rise by as much as three feet by the year 2100, in large part due to climate change, low-lying countries and coastal cities face an unprecedented challenge this century. Recent research indicated that in the next several centuries, average global sea levels could rise somewhere between 18 and 29 feet, explains Climate Central, a nonprofit climate news and research organization. Much of this potential sea level rise may be spurred by glacial melting in the world's polar regions. James Hansen, a professor at Columbia University and head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has said that the global goal to limit atmospheric warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) "is actually a prescription for long-term disaster." Hansen fears, LiveScience reported, that with warming of two degrees, we could see an ice-free Arctic and a notable rise in sea-levels by tens of meters.

Underwater, Feeling Our Ocean Origins
I’ve always loved scuba diving and the cell-tickling feel of being underwater, though it poses unique frustrations. Alone, but with others, you may share the same sights and feelings, but you can’t communicate well. There are few ways to convey joy, amazement or thrill. How many divers know American Sign Language? The vocabulary of scuba talk is small and inadequate, circling around the transactional analyst’s bywords, I’m O.K. Are you O.K.? One can also signal: I’m in trouble, I’m low on air, I’m going to surface, Look at that, I’m cold, Danger over there, My ears haven’t pressurized, Stay where you are — but little more. “Isn’t that fish on the rock face spending his whole life guarding a minute territory mind-blowing?” is just as unsayable as “I’ve got to go to the toilet.” Or “My throat feels parched from the wheeze of the regulator.” Or “Those brown angelfish are hanging like flak in the water.” I think some people may dive, in part, for the thick layers of quiet and the luxury of not having to converse.

Moodys downgrades Belize
Less than 48 hours after Standard & Poors downgraded Belize, another international credit rating agency has followed suit. The Wall Street-based Moody's Investors Service said it lowered Belize's local currency bond and deposit ceilings to B2 from B1. The foreign currency country ceilings on bonds and deposits remain unchanged at Caa2. It said the action reflects the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countrys decision to renege on the 8.5 per cent August coupon payment. The payment was for a US$547 million sovereign bond maturing in 2029 (the Superbond), after publicly budgeting for the US$23.5 million outlay in the 2012/13 budget. The Superbond, which accounts for 48 per cent of total central government debt and 57 per cent of external debt, is itself the result of a distressed debt exchange completed in 2007, Moodys said. The agency noted that the indicative scenarios released by the government on August 8 - a par bond and two discount bond options - resulted in bondholders absorbing losses of 70-80 per cent in net present value terms.

PHOTOS of BELIZE
Taken by travelers....

Blancaneaux Lodge on Top 10 List
They'll make a top 10 list about anything. This list has the top 10 celebrity owned hotels in the world. Francis Ford Copola's Cayo resort, Blancaneaux Lodge, is on it, as is Bob Marley's Resort, which wins for the best bar name: Stir It Up. "In a secluded corner of the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve lies this charming 20-lodge resort designed to slide you perfectly into the surrounding natural environment. With a mix of rustic and amenity-filled cabins strewn along a waterfall-fueled river, the property is ideal for contemplating starry nights, relaxing in hammocks, exploring a vast realm of unspoilt nature and embracing the meaning of getting away"

August 26, 2012

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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Grace Kennedy and SPTC Traffic Department team up to offer “Back to School” giveaway
The San Pedro Town council has joined forces with Grace Kennedy Belize to offer a “Back to School Giveaway” for single parents in San Pedro. The promotion comes as Grace Kennedy celebrates 30 years of serving Belize and as an effort from the SPTC Traffic Department to do what it can in assisting the education of the kids of La Isla Bonita. Councilor in charge of the Traffic Department, Kenrick Brackett, told The San Pedro Sun that they will be offering gift baskets for no less than 60 single parent families on a first come basis. He is also working to provide as much as 100 or more if possible and would like to invite all single parent families out for their chance to benefit from the giveaway. Each basket will be filled with school supplies and products from Grace Kennedy Belize Ltd. Grace Kennedy will also be on hand with free samples and offering taste testing for a wide range of their products as well as new products that they are introducing to the local market. The giveaway will take place on Saturday, September 1st, the weekend before classes resume in schools.

Proposed protected areas get the green light from island residents
The Ambergris Caye Wetland Committee (ACWC) held its last in a series of consultations with islanders and stakeholders on their proposal to have three areas off and on Ambergris Caye declared as national reserves. The areas in question are Mexico Rock’s Marine Reserve, Bajos proposed Marine Reserve and Mata/Cayo Frances lagoons. At the last consultation held on Tuesday night, August 21st, the team received no opposition to the proposal and as such, it is a go. The San Pedro Sun reported on this proposal on January 12, 2012 (Vol. 22, Issue #02). The smallest of the three proposed areas is the Mexico Rock’s Marine Reserve. This particular area starts north of the Palmero Channel area, runs five miles south to Mata Channel and 1.5 miles wide for a total of 8.75sq miles. The reserve will begin at the coastline sea grass bed area and extend east to where the reef shelf drops off. A “no-take” zone has been designated in the middle of the perimeter, which is currently used for recreational activities. The size of the no take zone is 1.5 square miles (one mile running along the reef and 1.5 miles running east to west from the outer fore-reef). The no take area is positioned so as to provide a 1.5 mile buffer on the north and south sides of the perimeter.

13 year old Belizean girl first Belize scoliosis surgery patient
Dr. Andrew Moulton, a New York based Pediatric Orthopedic Spine Surgeon, was matter of fact as he described the historic first scoliosis corrective surgical operation performed in at the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital two days ago on a 13-year-old Belizean girl. Although his manner appeared professionally detached, it was clear to those in attendance at this morning’s press conference that he was very pleased with nearly all aspects of the complex undertaking, especially the results so far. His colleague, Dr John Williams, an Indiana-based Orthopedic Spine Surgeon, said that by this morning the teen was already able to sit up in a chair less than 72 hours after having the life-altering 6-hour operation. Scoliosis is described as an abnormal curving of the spine in this particular patient’s case, Dr. Williams said that the curvature had grown by 20 degrees between their examination and diagnosis 6 months ago, and the surgery this week. Until Wednesday she faced a life of misery, pain and the vulnerabilities caused by the mal-formation, and the distinct possibility of an early death.

Two Old Town San Pedro landmarks torn down as Sunset Boardwalk constuction begins
Two landmarks of old town San Pedro, the Saca Chispas Football Field and the ‘El Embarcadero’ area, have been torn down to make way for the construction on the new San Pedro Sunset Boardwalk. The dismantling of the areas, seen as the last remaining symbols of San Pedro as a fishing village, started the week following the annual Costa Maya Festival, making way for the multi-million dollar development project that will transform the location into a modern spectacle for tourism. The project will be a state of the art enhancement geared towards improving tourism on the western side of the island. While ground was broken on June 21st, the San Pedro Sunset Boardwalk Project has come under fire by local fishermen, tour operators and residents in the area since November of 2009, when planning and consultation started. Some residents opposed the project on the basis that the ‘El Embarcadero’ area is the only place on the island that paints a true picture of how the island used to be when it was a fishing village.

Police Report: August 23rd, 2012
On Saturday 18th of August 2012 at about 10:12AM, Cruz Novelo, 56 year old Belizean Security Guard of Pescador Drive in San Pedro Town reported that between the hours of 5PM on the 17th and 5AM on the 18th of August, someone broke into his house and stole one TCH brand flat screen TV valued at $900 Bze and one DVD player, brand unknown, valued at $200. Police visited and processed the scene whereby the house was observed to be a bungalow concrete house. Entry was suspected to have been gained by breaking out two metal louvers on the northern side of the building. No arrest has been made and police continues their investigation. On Saturday 18th of August 2012 at 9:15AM Francisco Alvarado, 33 year old Belizean Director of Grand Belizean Estates Limited reported that on the 13th of August 2012 at 7:12PM whilst he was at the Train Station Gym working out, his alarm on his phone went off which is connected to his office security system located on Barrier Reef Drive. He quickly made his way to his office where upon arrival he noticed that a flat screen TV valued at $1500, which had been on the wall was in another room on the floor, and two wireless USB were missing valued at $40 each. He called for Police assistance and with the quick response of the police, led to the detention of Ernesto Cacho. A search of Ernesto Cacho by the police led to the discovery of two wireless USBs which had been missing. Entry is suspected to have been made by breaking the glass window on the northern side of the building. Cacho was detained pending further investigation.

Lion Fish Street Project vandalized; perpetrators caught on Camera
The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) is offering a $500 reward for anyone who can help them identify the persons responsible for defacing the freshly placed concrete slabs placed along Lion Street. The defacing of the concrete occurred during a short period of time, between 9:30PM and 9:45PM, on Tuesday August 21st right in front of Maya Island Air. The entire incident was caught on surveillance camera. The concrete slabs had been recently set down on Lion Street as part of the street rehabilitation project conducted by Medina’s Construction. At least six of the slabs were defaced, four of which will need to be fixed or replaced. Speaking to The San Pedro Sun as he inspected the project Mayor Daniel Guerrero said, “It is unacceptable for people to destroy something that will benefit the entire island. Honestly I don’t think the island needs these kinds of people that are in the business of destroying our infrastructure.” The Mayor also took the opportunity to review the footage from a surveillance camera at Captain Shark’s that captured three males defacing the concrete by carving all sort of messages, leaving a “bad taste” to visitors and residents alike. The surveillance, in which one of the brave men stared at the camera, captured the young men moving from slab to slab while at least ten people passed by and even observed the men defacing the pavement.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize Tourism Industry Association's first Marketing Summit a success
As social media continues to heavily influence how travelers choose their vacation destinations and specific booking options, the country of Belize is quick to recognize that perhaps they are not maximizing online marketing opportunities. On August 23, the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) hosted its first marketing and tourism summit in Belize City with marketing strategist and best-selling author David Meerman Scott. Mr. Scott is a professional speaker who travels the globe helping educate a variety of businesses and organizations on the importance of online marketing and public relations. He has written eight books, including three international bestsellers, with The New Rules of Marketing and PR landing six months on the BusinessWeek bestseller list and translated into 26 languages. Scott facilitated three 90 minute sessions focusing on content marketing, real-time marketing and PR, and the effective use of social media. At the conclusion of each session, industry stakeholders conducted panel discussions to provide additional insight on each of the main subject matters.

Galen University is Growing
Congratulations to Galen University for growing their student base. And a big congratulations to the 71 recent graduates. Good luck, and have a great semester. "Galen University’s student enrollment has grown by leaps and bounds from 285 students at the beginning of the 2009 academic year in September 2009, to 340 in 2010, to 404 last September and to 460 this year with the enrollment of 110 new students for whom orientation exercises were held on Thursday, August 23. Seventy-one graduates received degrees when the University held its sixth annual commencement exercises at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel on Sunday, August 19."

LOVE FM

Fudge Vendor Imprisoned for Drug Trafficking
Fifty-four year old fudge vendor Godfrey Rowland , charged with drug trafficking for 26.3 pounds of cannabis, was sentenced to five years by Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith after he was found guilty of the charge. It was his fourth conviction for drug trafficking. Row...

Six Charged For Firearm Offences
Four men and two women were charged with firearm and ammunition offences and handling stolen goods when they appeared in court yesterday. They are 23 year old Aaron Bailey, 21 year old Inmar Welch, 22 year old Jeffrey Mcdougal, 27 year old Jareth Gault, 47 year old Carol Vivas and her ...

Murder in Belize City
A man was murdered last night in Belize City. The victim has been identified as twenty year old Miraldo Alvarez an unemployed resident of number 236 Guzman Crescent. According to Police reports, C.I.B personnel visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where th...

Blogs

Cottage weather
Today’s island weather reminds me of waking up at the cottage, and that fall is coming fast. The birds are singing and there is very peaceful energy. I remember those fun days as a kid and later in our adult years in Muskoka at my cousins cottage, we had so many good times up there. I hope it gets hot like Indian summer later, doing a small dinner party tonight and it would be nice have the air a bit warmer. I am not up for the polar bear pool thing. I almost find it hard to believe that I jumped in Lake Muskoka in March one year. I forget how cold it was but lets just say beyond freezing covers it – what a rush. It is cooling of a lot now and I can hear thunder rumbling in the background. If the Maya weather god is listening better to get rain out of the way now versus later please.

It's Turtle Season: But Hatchlings on the Beach At Royal Palms?
Royal Palms, the condo community where I reside, is about one mile south of town. Not really an untouched area anymore, there are other condos, hotels, and homes all around us. But yesterday, my friend Jamie (who incredibly sadly is leaving Monday after 7 weeks visiting) found a baby turtle making his way up the pathway at Royal Palms. Broad daylight and he was about 20 feet from the beach heading in the wrong direction. Flapping away on the sidewalk. Not his native environment. You may have seen the pictures I posted last week (on my Facebook page) of Jamie releasing baby turtles in Cancun. But those Mexican turtles had been cordoned off as soon as their mothers laid the eggs and very carefully protected. There were tons of nests at Royal Sands, Cancun... And each participant was handed a baby turtle or three (out of 421!) to send into the Caribbean waters...and to watch to make sure she swam off rather than to the shore. But a baby turtle at Royal Palms? This narrow beach with all day foot traffic where half of it is surrounded by sea wall?

International Sources


Beyond the Luster Of Mahogany. Mahogany for 18th-century furniture was harvested under appalling conditions across the Caribbean. Slaves branded with owners’ monograms lived in thatched huts and scouted for trees. They had to drag and roll felled mahogany trunks to riverfronts and then float the logs, which were chained together, to ships waiting in bays full of sharks and coral reefs. There were only a few upsides to the task. “Enslaved woodcutters had the option of wielding their machetes against a despised authority or just slipping away into the surrounding forest,” the historian Jennifer L. Anderson writes in a new book, “Mahogany: The Costs of Luxury in Early America” (Harvard University Press). In a recent interview Ms. Anderson emphasized that she did not want readers to begin recoiling in horror from mahogany antiques, despite the material’s origins in cruelty. Her goal, she said, was to reveal the human dramas and real estate battles behind the objects.

New study shows tectonic interactions formed arc of Caribbean
A new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience indicates that the movement of Earth's viscous mantle against South America has pushed the Caribbean islands east over the last 50 million years. In announcing the study, the University of Southern California (USC) said the findings upend previous hypotheses of the seismic activity beneath the Caribbean Sea and provide an important new look at the unique tectonic interactions that are causing the Caribbean plate to tear away from South America. According to researchers, the Caribbean plate is being pushed eastward due to a thick section of the South American plate called a "cratonic keel." This section of crust is three times thicker than its surroundings. Part of the South American plate is meanwhile being pushed beneath the Caribbean plate, a process called subduction. Intense heat and pressure gradually force water-containing magma to rise into the Earth's mantle and fuel the many active volcanoes in the region.

Belize based ISP blocking 25 website domains for counterfeit products
AltusHost, an ISP based in Belize, has to take 25 domains offline that are used to sell and promote counterfeit fashion goods, a court in The Hague ruled Tuesday. AltusHost has to block the websites bestwatchonsale.com, cheap-watch.org, breitlingwatches-replica.com and fakewatchesuk.org among others within three days, judge E.F. Brinkman ruled in a summary judgment in the Civil Court in The Hague. If AltusHost does not comply, it has to pay a penalty of US$3,112 per day with a maximum penalty $100,000 the judge ruled. Eleven companies, including Breitling, Chanel, Christian Dior and Omega, filed suit against AltusHost to protect their trademarks. The organization REACT, which calls itself the European Anti-Counterfeiting network, prepared the lawsuit on behalf of the organizations. After the summary judgment, the trademark holders cut a deal with AltusHost, which agreed that it will block websites in the future that are reported to it by REACT and others if the websites are clearly promoting counterfeit goods, said solicitor Marc van Rijswijk of Griph Advocaten, who represented the ISP (Internet service provider), in an email. “AltusHost has agreed to indeed shut down the relevant website if such is the case,” he wrote.

Creditors dig in for battle of Belize
The restructuring of Belize’s 2029 “superbond” may become a drawn-out battle, as creditors keep the country waiting for a formal response to proposals that could see them take a haircut of up to 80 per cent on the net present value of their holdings. “We are working through our analysis and expect to share our views with the government within two to three weeks,” said Mike Gerrard, managing director of BroadSpan Capital, which is advising a committee of creditors that claims to have a majority interest in the US$544m instrument. A US$23m coupon payment was missed last Monday, days after Prime Minister Dean Barrow said the country “simply cannot afford “. That comment suggested the sum will not be honoured during the grace period, which expires on September 19. It is also unlikely an acceptable offer will be put to creditors by that date. “We still have hopes it will be a 2012 restructuring, but that will need accommodation from each side,” said Sebastian Espinosa, managing director of White Oak Advisory, which is advising the government. At the moment, the two sides appear to be far apart. The situation is exacerbated by additional liabilities, estimated by the government at US$300M, in the form of compensation due to former shareholders of Belize’s national electricity and telecoms companies, which were compulsorily nationalised between 2009 and 2011. No settlement has yet been reached with these claimants, and the government wants to roll their claims into a wider debt restructuring. Some progress had been made with Fortis, which used to own 70 per cent of Belize Electricity. However, negotiations with former shareholders of Belize Telemedia, mostly connected to Michael Ashcroft, are more drawn-out. Ashcroft is a former deputy chairman of the British Conservative party and one of Belize’s richest residents.

Rap Genius: Top 5 rap lyrics of the week — Shyne disses Diddy
There is nothing that the rap world loves more than artists sniping at each other. Thus, it makes perfect sense that Shyne would try to get back in the public eye by dissing his former mentor, Diddy, who somehow emerged unscathed after the two went on trial for a December 1999 shooting incident. Shyne reasonably enough seems to have a chip on his shoulder about the ten years in jail he served, and makes abundantly clear in this song what he thinks was responsible for the differing outcomes in court.

August 25, 2012

Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.



Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Taiwanese draftee develops app for Belizean farmers
An Android app designed to calculate the exact amount of fertilizer needed to be applied to crops has been invented by a Taiwanese national who is performing his alternative military service with a technical mission in Belize. Lai Chun-fa, who graduated from the Department of Information Management at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, said Tuesday that the idea was inspired by Cheng Kun-mu, a technician with a Taiwanese agricultural technical mission who has been helping local farmers in the Central American nation for several years.

Ocean Pedal Challenge watercraft found off the coast of Ambergris Caye
Fisheries Department employees, attached to the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve on northern Ambergris Caye, found a British race craft vessel on the evening of Thursday August 23rd while patrolling north of the Rocky Point. At first the vessel was believed to be a submarine but after closer inspection it was thought to be a submersible race craft vessel. According to Lieutenant Commander of the Belize Coast Guard Elton Bennett, the Anti Drugs Unit of the Belize Police Department was called to inspect if the craft was used for transporting drugs. “After inspection it was determined that the race craft could not be a drug vessel because of its size and small space. We are convinced of that,” said Bennett. The Belize Coast Guard official told The San Pedro Sun that the fisheries officers took the craft to the Bacalar Chico Outpost after which they were notified. The water craft is believed to be one that was being used in the Ocean Pedal Challenge by a team who were attempting to pedal across the Atlantic and aiming to raise £50,000 and awareness for CHUF the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle. The Ocean Pedal Challenge team were a collection friends from Whitehaven, Cumbria consisting of Kieran Sweeney, brother Shaun Sweeney, Callum McDonald and Stuart Quinn. Keiran’s name is still clearly visible on the vessel. The boat, named Lydia Rose, was said to be entirely self-sufficient with solar panels and water filtration systems, however on the challenge website it states that due to safety concerns they had to abandon the attempt. It is unknown how the vessel ended up in Belizean waters, and the investigation continues.

Chief Justice rules in favor of Oceana
In the Belize Supreme Court today, Justice Legall struck down the Government of Belize’s (G.O.B.) application to strike out the claim brought by Oceana, the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage and the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) which challenges the legality of the Production Sharing Agreements between the Government of Belize and six offshore oil exploration companies. Although the Supreme Court of Belize is formally in recess until September 15, 2012, Justice Oswald Legall continues to hold and hear court cases. According to Belize tradition, two justices, one civil and one criminal, remain to hear urgent and arising matters, and may even hear continuing matters while their colleagues take a six-week “summer” break. The tradition of a summer break (and a two-week Christmas break, and a three-week Easter break) is a holdover from colonial times and pre-air conditioning days when the sweltering August heat forced much of the public service bureaucracy and schools to seek cooler parts of the country to wait it out. This morning in Justice Legal’s court, attorneys for the GOB argued that he should agree to their application to have case #810 of 2011, filed on December 21, 2011, struck out. Crown Counsel Herbert Panton from the Solicitor General’s Office argued, using an almost similar example case, that last month’s decision by the Belize Court of Appeal in the case ‘Gilharry’s Bus Line versus Transport Board and Others,’ applied only to Judicial Review and that the Claimants had failed to stay within the Limitation period required for them to pursue any legal claim.

SPHS celebrates Freshman Day 2012
Some 500 students gathered at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium this morning, Friday August 24th in welcoming the approximately 180 students that make up the new freshman class at the San Pedro High School (SPHS). The new students come from the various primary schools across the island and will now make the SPHS their home for the next four years. The day is filled with interactive activities between all classes that started at 8AM until 1PM. The activities give the newcomers the opportunity to interact with and get to know the other members of their newly found family in fun ways. Activities for the day included games such as: musical chairs, goal kick, Fruit Loops relay, orange pass relay, mummy wrap, dress your baby, lime and spoon, pigtail bottle, pig and ring out, soda biscuit and whistle, and male and female arm-wrestling among many others. The students were separated by their various classes. This year, the SPHS has a total of 17 classes from which six were formed by freshmen students at the high school. Adding to the excitement of the day is the fact that the winning class gets to take one day off during the first semester.

No bluff, no bluster, no bravado: Belize lays out its case
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Hon. Dean Barrow tried on Wednesday, August 22nd to end months of uncertainty and speculation regarding his government’s attempt to re-structure the so-called “Superbond”. Speaking to an assembly of some of his Cabinet ministers and their entourages, and reporters, and flanked by his debt negotiating team comprised of Financial Secretary Joseph Waight, Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse, Ambassador Mark Espat and Central Bank Governor Glenn Ysaguirre, he said that he had called today’s press conference to not only “provide all information possible” but also “to seek support, to rally the country behind” the re-structuring effort. The $1.1Billion bond accounts for almost a third of the country’s national debt, and almost 40% of its foreign debt. Barrow noted in his introduction that he had announced the re-structuring exercise before the March 7 general election and his administration had started on it almost immediately thereafter but following the recent publication of three proposed “indicative restructuring scenarios” and last week’s announcement that Belize would not be making a scheduled $46 million payment, interest had intensified. Interest on the bond had stepped up 6% from to 8.5% this year as part of the original terms reached with investors in 2007, and the Barrow administration had estimated that its fiscal deficit will climb to 2.5% of GDP this year from 1.1% last year. He blames an anemic recovery from the world economic crisis of 2008, declining oil production and what he called “the unavoidable intervention in the public utilities sector leading to the acquisition of BTL and BEL” as the main reasons why they could not continue to meet the debt re-payment schedule.

Service Learning Inspires Ole Miss Graduates to Begin Teaching Careers in Belize
What began as a week of service learning in Belize has turned into a career-starting event for two recent education graduates at the University of Mississippi. Claire Kennedy and Alexandra Phares, both of whom received master’s degrees in education in May, recently moved to Belize, where they will lead classrooms at the Island Academy in San Pedro. “We both decided we wanted to leave our comfort zones after graduation,” said Phares, a Pass Christian native. “The teachers don’t have the comforts that we have; they have to be resourceful.” As part of a service-learning course last spring, both women spent a week in the country providing academic enrichment to children at the Lion’s Club building in San Pedro and the Holy Cross Anglican Primary School in San Mateo, a poverty-stricken community literally built atop a contaminated lagoon. Ole Miss students from a variety of departments have volunteered in the community since 2008. Phares and Kennedy were taken aback by the challenges and resourcefulness of teachers at the Anglican school, including how they pulled lessons together without traditional textbooks, worksheets and teaching tools. They were shocked but inspired.

San Pedro’s Volleyball Team makes it to the Semi-finals!
The San Pedro Volleyball team has earned their spot in the semi-finals of the Orange Walk Volleyball Tournament. On August 11th the team placed in the 4×4 category of the tournament. San Pedro played two qualifying games, winning one and losing one. In the first game, the San Pedro team went up against Sounder Barrio Boys of Blue Creek and won the first two sets. In the first set, San Pedro gave Sounder Boys a whopping 25-6 defeat, and didn’t let up on the punishment when they took the second set with a defining 25-11 win. In the second game, team San Pedro went up against Bad News1 from Orange Walk, pushing hard through three sets. They won their first set with a score of 25-22, but lost the next two sets by two (24-26) and three points (22-25) respectively. The Semi-finals are scheduled for this Saturday, August 25th at the Complex Building in Orange Walk. At the Semi-finals, San Pedro will go up against Hard Core Juniors from Corozal. Because of their loss against Bad News1, winning or losing means the difference between advancing and being knocked out of the competition. San Pedro’s team member Gustavo Morataya assured The San Pedro Sun that the game is a definite win for San Pedro. Team San Pedro players are Armando Escalon, Guillermo Rivero, Eric Santizo, Ricky Luna and Gustavo Morataya. The team takes this opportunity to thank contributors to their BBQ sale: Miss Ilna Nuñez, Neri Rivero, Virjilio Rivero, Don Aldo “Duck”, Rosela Guerrero, Shelby Leiva, The San Pedro Town Board, Gricel Graniel of Mata Chica for buying most of the BBQ and Fido’s. Special thanks to sponsors: Cholo’s Golf Cart Rentals and Bar, Caye Caulker Water Taxi, Suya Tours, Coral Cable Vision, Caribeña Fuels, Captain Sharks, Councilors Carlos Perez-Barrientos and Gabriel Nuñez, as well as friends that gave their kind donations.

Ambergris Today

Oceana Wins Strike Out Case Against GOB
In the Belize Supreme Court today, Justice Legall struck down the Government of Belize’s (G.O.B.) application to strike out the claim brought by Oceana, the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage and the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) which challenges the legality of the Production Sharing Agreements between the Government of Belize and six offshore oil exploration companies. The learnt Justice agreed that the Court of Appeal’s July 2012 decision in the case ‘Gilharry’s Bus Line v. Transport Board and Others, which was introduced by the Claimant’s Senior Counsel, Godfrey Smith indeed bore precedence in the trio’s case against the government, reiterating that the Public Authorities Protection Act is confined to private law matters and, as such, there is no limitation period for parties seeking action against the Government in matters of public law. The Supreme court equally did not agree to the argument brought by Crown Counsel, Herbert Panton that Oceana et’al’s failure to seek permission for judicial review was detrimental to their request asking for certiori (quashing an act) as a possible relief should their case be successful. Justice Legall, citing a 2007 ruling by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in the case Watson v. Hernandez stated that Courts exist to deliver Justice and quoted from the noted CCJ case that, “Justice is not served by depriving the parties of the ability to have their cases decided on the merits because of a purely technical procedural breach.”

San Pedro Embarcadero Torn Down as Work Commences on Sunset Boardwalk
Many residents are having mixed feelings as they see a part of the old San Pedro village go while a new modern aspect of San Pedro Town starts taking its place. The old Embarcadero (or lagoon docks) behind the San Pedro Old football field is being dismantled to make way for the new Sunset Boardwalk which will bring a more modern ambiance to the area as well as more amenities. While some may disagree with the project completely and are really upset to see just another aspect of the old San Pedro Village disappear, others have mixed feelings as they understand that the area had been looking more dilapidated lately and that the new multi-million dollar project will enhance the area tremendously. Although the project will displace some businesses and local fishermen, areas for them have been reserved once the project is complete.

Misc Belizean Sources

Hickatee Turtles
HERE is Dr. Rainwater's latest research paper on endangered Hicatee turtles in Belize. Dr. Rainwater stayed at ACES in Punta Gorda just months prior to the arson during his research in the south. Dr. Rainwater states, "Thanks to you and Vince for all your help and hospitality during the project. Being able to use your place (ACES) at Forest Home as a base of operations in the south made all the difference for us." ACES and The San Pedro Sun are thanked in the Acknowledgments. We're very proud to play a small part in turtle conservation. ACES Recent countrywide survey of Dermatemys mawii in Belize (2012)

No Argentina-style default, says Belize PM
Although Belize has retained the same law firm that advised Argentina on its two debt restructurings, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said he does not want to get to the same point as Argentina. “We really don’t want things to get to that point,” Barrow said in an interview in Belize City on Wednesday when asked about the possibility of facing lawsuits and being blocked from international credit markets, as Argentina has been since 2001. Barrow was seeking to assuage the concerns of holders of $544 million in bonds after it missed an August 20 coupon payment. His administration is open to all restructuring proposals put forward by investors as long as they lead to “sustainable” debt payments for the $1.4 billion Central American economy, he said in a national address. The premier has sent a team of finance officials to Washington to meet with representatives of the US Treasury Department, the International Monetary Fund and Inter-American Development Bank to discuss funding options after missing the $23 million coupon payment. Belize says it can’t afford to pay its debt after the coupon on the securities jumped to 8.5 percent from 6 percent as part of an accord reached with bondholders in 2007. Barrow, speaking to reporters in Belize City in his first national address since the missed payment, said restructuring scenarios the government published August 8 “are intended to serve as a basis for detailed discussions” with creditors that have yet to take place. He said that his government isn’t prioritizing payments to holders of the nationalized telecommunication and electricity companies over bondholders.

Save Lucky Boy Shirts
Lucky Boy has his own line of shirts now. Yes, you can show your support, and help Lucky Boy out at the same time by purchasing a Save Lucky Boy shirt. 100% of the profit will go towards the Belize Zoo, which is the best little zoo in the world. "You'll find unique merchandise with an important message. 100% of the proceeds will go directly to the Belize Zoo. Funds raised will support the ongoing effort to permenently home the newest member of the Belize Zoo: LUCKY BOY! The Belize Zoo recently rescued a starving jaguar found in an abandoned resort that was left for dead. The Zoo needs help in the rehabilitation and care of this endangered animal. The Belize Zoo is NOT supported by the government; donations sustain this zoo."

September Celebrations Schedule
The September Celebrations are right around the corner. Here's the link to the schedule for all activities at this point. Cayo, Benque, and Belmopan have quite a few events scheduled. The Queen of the West pageant starts it all off tomorrow night at the Novelo's Convention Center.

Youth with a Mission's DTS
YMAM had their first Discipleship Training School National Outreach recently. Youths came from all over Belize, and they even had one from Honduras and one from the U.S. Awesome news! YMAM Banana Bank Base's website: http://www.ywambelize.com/

SHJC's Orientation
Sacred Heart Junior College had their orientation last Friday. New students got to meet the staff, find out about the JC, ask questions, and even win prizes. "New Students Orientation, Student Assistant Workshops, Welcome Days with giveaways... all took place the first week of the Aug 2012 semester"

Channel 7

GOB Lays Off 200, 450 More Likely To Follow
Tonight 200 people who worked with Government's Southside Rejuvenation Project are jobless. It had been rumored from earlier in the week - but today it was confirmed by the Minister of State with responsibility for the Gang Truce, Mark King. This morning, he held a remarkable press conference at the NCFC conference room this morning. We say remarkable because it's a very special public figure who can announce that 200 people are being fired, and - worse than that - warn that another 640 employed in the gang truce and CYDP will likely be sent home by October - because the budget is busted. It left our heads spinning, but not Mark King, he was cool, calm and collected as he delivered a deathblow that would make even the most hardened critic of those programmes wince. Here's how the press conference went:... Hon. Mark King "Effective August 10th 2012 the 2.29 million dollars allocated to these programs has been exhausted and the wages for the week of August 13th was paid through supplemental funds. Therefore effective today Friday August 24 we will be scaling back with 200 members from the south side rejuvenation project. These persons will be paid full salaries and severance which should last them through to October where we will then exhaust our energies to find projects for them to have a more robust employment."

The Butane Depot Fire That Could Have Been A Catastrophe
Today things were back to normal at mile four and a half on the Western Highway after a fire at an LPG or Butane Gas terminal that could have been catastrophic. And that is no exaggeration: 40 thousand gallons of butane gas were exposed to naked flames. But, thankfully, there was no disaster, no one was hurt and there was no major damage to property. In fact - after all that excitement - we can say that it was a very minor blaze. But, it could have been so much worse! Monica Bodden looked back at the fire - and found out what caused it today. She got first hand amateur video from the first responder, Jorge Orellana of Belize MARINE AND MOORING SERVICES - who is building a house across the street from the scene of the blaze: Monica Bodden reporting At 4:55 Jorge Orellana and his staff were on the waterfront near his tugboats, where in the background beyond his home he saw a fire starting at Western Gas which is directly in front of his property. He and his workers ran towards the fire and saw all the Western Energy workers running away. Jorge Orellana - Businessman "I was the first one who saw the tanks burning. Looks like the workers were not well trained because they ran away instead of minimized the damages, they just ran away. My workers are the ones who came and help the first truck from the firefighters who came to the scene. The fire started in a small house next to the tanks and instead of minimizing - they should have extinguishers just to minimize the damages but instead of trying to avoid that they just ran way and left the fire."

Third Former Murdered In Belmopan
A sixteen year old was stabbed to death last night and a 19 year old student is responsible for her murder. It happened around 8:40 last night in the San Martin Area of Belmopan. According to reports, a female got into a fight with 19 year old Jesus Enrique Flores - her neighbor. The female's brother third form student at Belmopan comprehensive 16 year old Yasmani Mejia stepped in to defend his sister - that's when Flores stabbed HIM to the right side of his chest. Thus far, the 19 year old has not been charged.

Police Says Plues Street Crackdown Was Necessary
Yesterday, 7News told you about the robbery in progress on Cemetery Road, which ended in a police showdown inside a home at the corner of Plues and Prince Street. Today, the men who police say did the robbery, were all arraigned in Magistrate's Court today. But, you heard the upset resident vent his frustration about how the police did their job, alleging brutality. It all started yesterday at around 2:20 p.m. when Paula Chen was at her business place, Paula Store. While she was attending to a customer, three men, all of whom were armed with firearms, entered her store. One of the assailants then walked towards her and pointed the gun at her face while demanding money. He then went behind the counter and stole an undisclosed amount of cash, while the other assailants robbed her customers of their personal belongings. Quick police response led the officers to a house at #32 Plues Street, Belize City which led to the discovery of a cell phone, $494.65Bcy in cash, an unlicensed .38 Special revolver containing 4 rounds of .38 Special ammunition, and a .357 pistol containing 6 rounds of .38 Special rounds of ammunition. Present at the time were 23 year-old Aaron Bailey, 27 year-old Jarreth Gault, 21 year-old Inmar Welch, and 22 year-old Jeffrey McDougal, 24 year-old Teresita Vivas, and her mother, 47 year-old Carol Vivas.

Fudge-man to Jail For Weed
54 year-old Godfrey Rowland, a well-known fudge vendor, was convicted of drug trafficking today in the Magistrate's Court, and he is spending his first night of a 5-year sentence. On December 21, 2011 police searched the trunk of a car he occupied and found a sack stuffed with 26.4 pounds, or 11.9 kilos of marijuana. They charged him with drug trafficking and he has been convicted. In his defense, Rowland testified to the court that he was not the driver of the vehicle. He said that he hitched a ride, and when he got to the checkpoint, the driver went to a nearby shop. That's when the police arrived and searched the vehicle making the discovery. Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith did not accept his explanation of the events, and as a result, she found him guilty. Because he had 2 previous convictions for the same offence, Chief Magistrate Smith handed him a strict sentence of 5 years in prison.

BSI: Not Ready Yet For final Agreement With Strategic Investor
"Not Ready Yet!" That's the status of the final investment agreement between BSI and American Sugar Refining, Inc. - which proposes to be its new majority shareholder. Because public restlessness is building, a release from BSI today says discussions are quote, "advancing well and in accordance with the target timetable." The release adds that agreement on all commercial matters between BSI and ASR has now been reached. They signed what's known as a Subscription Deed yesterday and it is expected to be completed in a month. The Prime Minister disclosed earlier this week that one delay has been a Settlement Deed that government has to sign - which would agree to certain concessions from Government. The PM says he has given authorization.

OCEANA Gets Interim Win
On Wednesday's newscast, we told you about the impending judgment from Justice Legall about Oceana challenge to several off-shore oil drilling contracts. As we told you, the Government Crown Counsels made a submission to strike out the matter, but the court had to decide on whether the Froyland Gilharry Appeal case applied to this particular one. This would bind the court to rule in Oceana's favor on the strike out application. Today, Justice Legall ruled that the Gilharry case did apply and the strike out application was refused. The media spoke to both side on the importance of this judgment. Here's what they told us: Audrey Matura-Shepherd - VP, Oceana Belize "I think what was most important about the ruling is that once and for all we've answered the question whether or not the decision of Gilharry - the principle stated in that case that the public authorities act and by extension the limitations act which is saying that you can put a limit on claims being brought against government in terms of time. This case now says conclusively that that decisions with Gilharry applies to not only judicial review but to all administrative law and just so that people know administrative law is any case where you bring an action against the state where you a citizen or a group and it is a way that democracies work because they want to know that no government could act high handed and do whatever they want without accounting to the people."

Southside And Success
While the Government is letting go 200 persons employed under the southside rejuvenation programme on one hand, on the other, they today launched Southside Youth Success and Drop-in Center. This is another second-chance program which ensures that at-risk young men between the ages of 14-17, who are living on the Southside of Belize are given a chance to become productive citizens, instead of turning to crime. Today, the Drop-in Center, which is located at the second floor of the Commercial Center, was officially opened, and the media were invited to partake in the event. 7News attended, and here's what the guest speakers told the gathering: H.E. Vinai Thummalapally, United States Ambassador to Belize "This CARSI sponsored UNDP project focuses on mentoring, skills training and job placements for at risks youth In Belize City. What is the key to the success of this project? One may ask - Its collaboration and cooperation and I am particularly fond of this project because not only it represents cooperation between government agencies - this project is also an example of government and the private sector collaborating to maximize benefits. We are all aware of the statistics about the economic and citizen security difficulties affecting our friends and neighbors every day in Belize City. We all know the realities and while they are important statistics and numbers about economic and security issues in Belize City - statistics and numbers will not solve hood problem." "Statistics and numbers will not by themselves change any realities. The reality unfortunately is quite simple and quite tragic - young people are killing each other."

KHMH: Another Breakthrough Surgery
Six weeks ago, the first open heart surgery in Belize was performed the KHMH. Today they celebrated another first: the first surgery for Scoliosis. If you don't know what that is we didn't either. But we found out today when the KHMH held a press conference with their international partners who made the surgery possible. Dr. Joel Cervantez - Nuero/Spine Surgeon "To be part of this historic moment is something that you are going to cherish for the rest of your life." Jules Vasquez reporting He's talking about the first Scoliosis procedure to repair a curved spine: Dr. Joel Cervantez "Scoliosis is no easy task, it is something that when it affects our young children or growing adolescence they suffers, it means a lot of pain and socially speaking it means many times a lot of shame."

An Odd Vessel On Northern Ambergris
Authorities are trying to determine the origin of an odd vessel that was found on northern Ambergris Caye. According to the San Pedro Sun, so far, the Coast Guard has determined that it is a British racing vessel. The find was made on evening of Thursday August 23rd north of Rocky Point while Fisheries Department employees, attached to the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve on northern Ambergris Caye found it. At first the vessel was believed to be a submersible craft - and the location suggested that it may have been used in drug trafficking. But the Sun quotes Lieutenant Commander of the Belize Coast Guard Elton Bennett, as saying that the Anti-Drug Unit determined that the race craft was not could not be a drug vessel because of its size and the small cargo space. The name and identification numbers are on the craft, which officials hope can help to establish where it came from. It remains in possession the Belize Port Authority.

Li'l Miss Independence
The 4th annual - Independence Day Junior Miss- Pageant will be held this weekend at the Bliss. The pageant is organized by a group of ladies - who call themselves "Concerned Belizean Women" and through this event they have been able to fundraise and donate to numerous organizations and charities in Belize. 7news caught up with the 7 contestants today - who told us what they will be "representing" on pageant night. Karen Vernon, Theatre Director - NICH "Independence Day junior Miss 2012 is our 4th annual Independence Day junior Miss pageant and it takes place this Sunday at 6pm at the Bliss Center. We have 7 contestant vying for this title and there will be different segments; they first come out introducing themselves and do a little dance and then they move on to the district. Each contestant will be representing a district and giving a platform statement about that district and then there is the talent section which is a new section in this competition. Last but not least is visual poet where they come out in their evening gown and strut their stuff."

Scholarships For Restore Bze
60 high school students will benefit from the "I AM BELIZE Scholarship Club" after a cheque was handed over to Restore Belize by the BNE Trust. The handing over ceremony was held yesterday evening. The cheque of four hundred thousand dollars will assist these underprivileged children with the chance to get a high school education. Sharon Ramclam, General manager - BNE Trust "We decided that the trust to support the "I am Belize scholarship program." There were 60 students that were enroll in the program up until July of this year and the trust decided to essentially adopt these 60 students and the partnership really is to see these students graduate through to 4th form. They are in various forms and so we are very excited to have been able to support the education of these 60 kids." "There are features of the partnership that requires commitment from the students and we feel that this is a very indebt 3 way partnership between the Trust, RESTORE Belize and the kids where it's not only providing financial support for their educational advancement but it's also allowing for them to also commit and be responsible for their own development as well."

Channel 5

200 Southside Rejuvenation Workers fired!
Minister Mark King stood alone before the press this morning. He did not want to use the word firing but the government sent home two hundred men employed with the South Side Rejuvenation project. That’s only the tip of what is to come because hundreds more in other projects will soon be sent home. The [...]

Gang Truce Workers may be next to be unemployed
A few weeks ago we told you how the Gang Truce was renamed “Peace in Progress,” well, we don’t know for how long that will remain in place and it seems neither does the Minister tasked with that responsibility. Today Mark King said that the cut of two hundred workers from the Southside Rejuvenation Program [...]

Belmopan Comprehensive student murdered
The Belize City streets have been relatively free from bloodshed for a few days. But an argument in the capital has left one teen dead. Tragedy struck a family in the Salvapan Area of the Capital when a sixteen year old student of Belmopan Comprehensive School died after he was stabbed once to the chest [...]

Cops imply Plues Street victims cried crocodile tears
Four men at a residence on Plues Street in the Old Capital reported to the media that they were allegedly beaten by the police. The men said they were shocked by tasers, beaten and then taken to the Queen Street Police Station. The residents were outraged by what they called an excessive use of force [...]

Price of premium and regular gas going up
Butane prices went up two weeks ago and this was followed by a hike in the price of chicken which went up by as much as twelve cents per pound this week. If that hurt your pocket, hurry to the gas pump because the price of fuel will take a sharp increase on Sunday. Premium [...]

Oceana’s wave of success, another courtroom win
A breakthrough decision in a claim brought before the Supreme Court, whereby Oceana is challenging the validity of six oil concessions granted by the Government of Belize in 2007, was handed down in the chamber of Justice Oswell Legall this morning. The ruling went in favor of Oceana and it is the organization’s second legal [...]

What caused the fire at the butane depot?
A fire at the Western Gas Depot was brought under control at about seven o’clock on Thursday night. It was a dangerous operation that risked the lives of the firemen because it involved liquid petroleum gas. The blaze started from a gas leak in the compressor room. Neighbors say the fire started after five o’clock. [...]

Counseling to be offered to 16 year old student
Earlier in the week, News Five spoke to Reverend Ruperto Vicente about Norman Willacey, the high ranking pastor of the Baptist Association of Belize, who was allegedly involved in a sexual relationship with a sixteen year old student. Vicente was very candid and made it clear that the association acted as soon as it became [...]

1st spinal surgery in Belize, success at the K.H.M.H.
The Belize Spine Program is supplemented by a U.S. based team that currently travels to the country twice a year. On Wednesday the team along with Belizean counterparts completed the first scoliosis surgery in the Jewel. The surgery to rehabilitate the twisted spine of thirteen year old Corozal resident Valerie Sosa, took place at the [...]

U.S. doctors donate medical equipment to K.H.M.H.
According to the K.H.M.H., the team has donated a cell-saver machine that allows the collection and return of a patient’s blood, which would come in very handy in the Emergency Room. This machine valued at forty thousand U.S. dollars was used in the scoliosis case. A company called Amedica also donated instruments and implants valued [...]

Real-Time marketing for Tourism Industry stakeholders
The Belize Tourism Industry Association’s (B.T.I.A.) Real-time Marketing Master Class Marketing & P.R. Summit was launched to a crowded Queen’s Room at the Princess Hotel on Thursday. David Meerman Scott, the renowned speaker, has presented in over thirty four countries and he was today’s featured guest at the event which was co-sponsored by the Belize [...]

LOVE FM

Trio Detained Regarding High School Burglary in Belmopan
Belmopan Police reportedly have three men detained following the report of an apparent burglary at the Baptist High School in the Banana Bank area on the Western Highway just out of Belmopan. Reports are that sometime between four thirty yesterday evening and eight thirty this mo...

Senior Citizen Sentenced to Prison for Sexual Misconduct on a Minor
Sixty-six year old Venustiano Pacheco, a Mexican national was sentenced to three years yesterday after he was found guilty of aggravated assault of an indecent nature on an eight year old girl. The incident occurred around 7:30 p.m. on February 25, 2011 in Scotland Half Moon Village. T...

Conference for Belize Police Southern Formation Takes Place
A conference for senior police officers of the Stann Creek and Toledo Districts was held yesterday in Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports. PAUL MAHUNG Toledo Correspondent Love FM “Discussions and planning not only focused on the issue ...

Bill for Municipal Bond Passes in the House of Representatives
The House of Representatives met today in Belmopan. It was a short agenda which featured a short list of five amendment bills, among them three that dealt with the banking sector. The passage of the bills now sends them to the upper house of parliament where they are expect...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Crystal Water’s Volleyball Tourney held August 18-19, 2012!!
This past weekend, August 18-19, 2012, the Belize Volleyball Association along with Crystal Water and the Lazy Lizard Bar sponsored and male and female volleyball 2X2 tournament at the Split Beach. With the utmost perfect weather being enjoyed, it turned out to be a huge success and new winners crowned. The male tournament was held on Saturday while the female tourney was held on Sunday. Six male teams consisting of Team 1: Gustavo Morataya from San Pedro, Abby Godoy from Orange Walk, Team 2: Tico and Luis Requena from Caye Caulker, Team 3: Elton Moore from Punta Gorda and Jason Cabral from San Pedro, Team 4: Errol Patt and Henry Lopez of Caye Caulker, Team 5: John (Chico) Marin of Caye Caulker and Ernest Broaster of Belize City, while Team 6 had Sheldon Arnold of Belmopan and Tireck Campbell of Belize City. Teams played against each other until teams were eliminated three sets each. End result for male 3rd place went to Jason Cabral and Elton Moore. 2nd place went to Tico Requena and Luis Requena. First place went to Juan “Chico” Marin and Ernest Broaster. Female Teams were Team 1: Seni Smith of Caye Caulker and Yemeri Reyes (Belize City), Team 2 were: Hazel and Kaylee (Orange Walk), Team 3 were: Jani Salazar and Michelle Moore (Belmopan) and Team 4 were Irma Alonzo and Evita Quiroz from Caye Caulker on Sunday. They played a double elemination game which means teams must loose 2 times in order to get knocked out. Results for third place went to Seni and Yemeri, second place went to Jani Salazar and Michelle Moore (Belmopan) and First place to Hazel and Kaylee (Orange Walk). Winners took home bragging rights, 400, 150, 50 dollars for first second and third respectively, for each male and female teams. Along with cases of Crystal Juices and Crystal Shirts courtesy of the sponsors, Crystal, Coca Cola and Crystal Real Fruit Beverages and also Trophies for both first second and third courtesy of the venue holder, The The Lazy Lizard Grill and Bar.

Amandala

Buttonwood Bay Regatta re-sail results & invitation to Battle Regatta 2012 on Sunday, September 2
The intrepid sailors and members of the Corozal Bay Sailing Club braved the flooded Consejo Road, in their quest for success at the Buttonwood Bay Regatta on Saturday, August 18. Their efforts were rewarded! The young sailors met up with their friends and challengers from the Belize Sailing Association (BzSA) and its member clubs on the beautiful waters of Buttonwood Bay in Belize City. The sailors from Liberty Children’s Home, the Sea Scouts and the Belize Sailing Cub had the privilege of being coached during the Regatta by the internationally renowned Jorge Santiago from Puerto Rico. Mr. Santiago spent 8 days in Belize providing several days of intense sailing courses to the young sailors and to the Instructors of the BzSA Clubs. Sponsored by the IODA (International Optimist Dinghy Association), the world governing body for dinghy class crafts, these sessions proved to be invaluable, as the sailors and coaches applied and demonstrated their newly acquired skills. Sailing into top honours were: 1st Place – Antonio Ricardez, Jr. (Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Primary School) 2nd Place – Trent Hardwick (Sea Scouts) 3rd Place – Darwin Velasquez (Corozal Bay Sailing Club)

“Dirty old man,” 66, sentenced to 3 years for sexually assaulting child, 8
Venustiano Pacheco, 66, a Mexican charged with aggravated assault of an indecent nature on a female child 8 years old, was sentenced to 3 years yesterday by the Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith, after he was found guilty of the charge. The incident occurred around 7:30 p.m. on February 25, 2011, at Scotland Halfmoon Village. The child, a standard I student, testified in camera. She said she was taking a bath outdoor behind her house when Pacheco came and knelt in front of her and sexually assaulted her. The child’s aunt testified that she saw Pacheco doing the dirty act on her niece. She said she was speaking with Pacheco downstairs in her house and she left him there and went upstairs.

Pastor Norman Willacey, 53, resigns from Baptist Church!
The weight of the sex scandal with student, 16, was apparently too much to bear. The Belmopan Baptist High School has been in turmoil because its principal, pastor and school counselor, Norman Willacey, 53, has been publicly revealed as having had an improper but not illegal relationship with a 16-year-old female student of the school. Willacey himself had inadvertently sent a text message to a media house admitting that he had been “fooling around” with the female. Tonight, however, it is not clear what, if any, punishment can be meted out to the errant principal/pastor/counselor, because he has reportedly resigned from his church, according to a credible, late report tonight. The mother of the girl had gone public, accusing Willacey of having a very adult romantic relationship with her daughter while she was a student in his care. She said that she has proof of the sexually charged messages exchanged between Willacey and her daughter between March and July of this year.

Sex offenders in education should be marked for life: Education Minister
In the recent weeks, the nation has been faced with shocking reports of sexual abuses against young people, including the case of a 14-year-old from Guatemala who had been held against her will by a businesswoman, who was slapped with a mere $10,000 fine after being convicted on human trafficking charges, here in Belize for literally enslaving the girl for sexual exploitation by grown men. On adjournment of the Special Sitting of the House of Representatives this afternoon, Belize Rural Central area representative for the Opposition People’s United Party, Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, spoke out against sexual predators who exploit children here in Belize, and also spoke out about allegations that have come to the fore against the Baptist preacher and principal, Norman Willacey. In response to her comments, Prime Minister Dean Barrow informed that the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) Bill is due to be introduced in Parliament in the next two weeks or so. Balderamos-Garcia agreed that measures for the prevention of commercial sex exploitation of children are extremely important. She also condemned the Baptist management for taking too long to act on the Willacey case, underscoring that “…we can’t afford any kind of delay or foot dragging on such issues.”

Editorial: “Yes, Minister”
In recent weeks, the United Kingdom (UK) government has commissioned a think tank to come up with ways to reform the British civil service, particularly to make the service more responsive to the political directorate. Primary among the recommendations is an expected change from the Permanent Secretary (PS) system to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) model. Under the former, career public officers, steeped in the tradition of the public service and the crème de la crème of the service, rise to the top and serve in the highly coveted PS position. In addition to providing policy advice to the minister, the PS is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Ministry; that person is the top manager — the chief accounting officer where the public’s cheese is concerned. In the new model, the CEO model, the top managers are appointed by the ministers on a fixed-contract basis, usually for the life of the newly elected government. In the model contemplated, the UK will drastically increase the number of political appointees in the civil service. Policy advisors, senior press officers and private secretaries will be appointed by the minister for whom they work. In Belize we call them contract officers.

GSU brutalizes Crooked Tree youth in search of “Gaza gang”
Victims say they were “tasered, beaten, kicked and choked” by GSU officers. The Police Department has commissioned an investigation into another alleged abuse of police authority by officers in the controversial Gang Suppression Unit (GSU). This time, GSU officers are being accused of disrupting a basketball practice session on the village court in Crooked Tree on Monday night around 8:30, using pepper spray and tazers on as many as 10 youth lying face down and defenseless on the ground, catching and assaulting other youth elsewhere in the village, and re-aggravating injuries sustained by 30-year-old Devin Swasey, aka ‘D-Bud,’ who was recently in the news after miraculously surviving an attack by a crocodile in the Crooked Tree Lagoon. In all, some 20 young men were allegedly assaulted by GSU officers, including 2 minors. Swasey said he was on the court with other male village residents practicing basketball for the village’s weekly tournament when the officers arrived and told him and nine other youth to lie on the ground, then asked their names and ages.

From The Publisher
When the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) decided to blame Mark Espat (and Cordel Hyde, perhaps to a lesser extent) for their defeat in the March 2012 general elections, PUP propagandists went into a virtual anti-Mark frenzy on their radio station and in their newspaper. Personally, I was immediately reminded of how vicious were the attacks upon myself when the United Democratic Party (UDP) chose, quite cynically, to make yours truly the scapegoat for their defeat in the October 1974 general elections. As a matter of fact, I believe that it was in the aftermath of those elections and those attacks that this column originated in late 1974: it was a desperate attempt to plead my case to the people of Belize. I’ve watched Mark refuse to respond to the PUP attacks, though these attacks have to take their toll. His position is substantially different from mine was 38 years ago, because Mark Espat had been a major success story as a Ramada Hotel chief executive at a very young age, and had followed that up by winning three consecutive general elections as PUP standard bearer in the Albert constituency. He won those elections in spectacular fashion and was considered a dominant force in that previously NIP/UDP division. He was, by extension, a star in the PUP, so much so that in late October of 2011 Mark Espat became the Interim Leader of the PUP and saw his brief leadership publicly endorsed by 30 of the PUP’s 31 electoral constituencies. Just 11 days after becoming Interim Leader, Mark Espat, who had previously been a Deputy Leader of the PUP, announced that he would not accept the leadership on a permanent basis. The PUP began to prepare for a national convention to choose a new Leader. Belize Rural North’s Arthur Saldivar was already a leadership candidate; this was why there was the one division, the said Belize Rural North, which had not supported Mark Espat. Toledo East standard bearer Mike Espat and Cayo South standard bearer Julius Espat quickly threw their hats into the PUP leadership ring.

Letters: The Clovis culture in Central America
Dear Sir, I’m a doctor in archaeology of the University of Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne) and researcher associated with the Center for Mexican and Central American Studies of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (CEMCA). With the support of CEMCA, I’m currently undertaking an investigation on the archaeological remains attributed to the Clovis culture in Central America (between the Mexican State of Chiapas and Panama). Clovis is one of the first cultures of the New World. It flourished between 13,300 and 12,800 years ago, from southern Canada to northern Venezuela. In Belize, to date, three projectile points have been attributed to the Clovis tradition. Apart from my scientific activities, I contribute to several newspapers, especially Prensa Libre (Guatemala), El Diario de Hoy (El Salvador) and El Nuevo Herald (Florida), in the field of archaeology. Hereby, I wish to submit to you an article on “the first Americans”, for its publication in Amandala (as a free contribution, of course). I hope that this theme will interest you. In advance, thank you for your attention. Best regards, Sébastien Perrot-Minnot, Ph. D. CEMCA French Embassy in Guatemala

Farewell to the “Frogman,” Ruperto Alvarez
If you love “di bola,” you understood Puerto, or Perto, as many called him. To me he was always “Puerto,” a fellow “ball per,” who in his veteran years spent many a moment of anguish at the criminal acts perpetrated against our beloved sport by those who proclaimed to love football. But we knew different. All those who truly love football know who are the real ‘ballers, and who are the selfish, sanctimonious Pharisees, taking communion on Sunday morning, and murdering the game the rest of the week. Ever since I knew him back in the early 1970’s, Ruperto Alvarez was always a dedicated football player, who invested many a waking hour practicing his craft, working on his ball control skills, and gladly teaming up with anyone who was inclined to juggle the ball or play small sided games. Puerto was not tall, and he was not fast. In fact, except for the spring in his legs and good reflexes, which helped to make him a formidable goalkeeper and earned him the “Frogman” nickname, he was not very athletically gifted. But hard work and love of the game made Puerto develop his ball playing abilities to such an extent that he could always “ketch team” with some of the other top players of his time. And his skill was not limited to minding goal, but he could play out effectively in various positions. He could control the ball, and he could kick with both feet, as well as expertly head the ball. In other words, Puerto had developed himself into a complete football player.

Ideas and Opinions Features
Great minds A great mind has to have the capacity to simplify things. What things? The things it understands fully. The following three narratives explain what I mean. Columbus and the egg I will recount again the story of Columbus and the egg. After his New World discoveries and the fame he began to enjoy as a result, his fellow mariners became jealous and, they started to spread the word that anybody who sailed due west from Europe would eventually encounter the islands and, then, the main of North America. Columbus decided to teach them a lesson. He told them he could make an egg stand on an end, and they couldn’t. He was challenged and it was agreed to settle the argument by a wager on a certain day. On the appointed day, they wanted Columbus to go first but, he refused, saying that if he succeeded, everyone would know how to do it. They all tried and failed, as expected, because, an egg in its normal state will always topple over when set on an end. Then, Columbus took the egg and gently tapped the larger end on a table till small cracks appeared, which was enough to change the shape of that end from round to flattish, and the egg stood without toppling over. The other mariners objected, saying that anybody could do the same but, Columbus said, “Of course, anybody can do it, now that I have showed you how.

Blogs

Cuba: A Haven for Foodies
The natural richness of Cuba is ready to be explored and savored for its incredible diversity of fauna, flora, festivals and of course food! It is home to salsa dancing and the rumba rhythm. The word ‘rumba’ derives from the verb ‘rumbear’, which basically means to have fun in the extreme by dancing, singing and committed having fun. That pretty much sums up the Cuban experience and travelers booking Cuba holidays are guaranteed to be inspired by the celebratory spirit. Add to this the magnificence of a 3,570 mile stretch of stunning coastline, majestic mountains, incredible coral reefs and the ultimate in mouth-watering cuisine and it’s easy to understand Cuba’s rapidly growing popularity as a tourist destination. Whether you spend your days basking on one of Cuba’s breath-taking beaches, getting up close and personal with the marine life that teems beneath those azure waters or touring the many historical sites in this diversely influenced land, your Cuban nights will be filled with rhythmic and culinary delights that will bring out every sultry ounce of your being and almost hypnotically cause an overindulgence of the senses. Cubans love pork which is usually spit roasted, but they are equally adept at preparing such a wide array of aromatic dishes, including Western, that there is something to be savored by everyone. Beef and seafood also feature prominently in most restaurants, including the relatively new advent of Paladares, which are local houses that have been converted into small, intimate, family-run diners that usually seat no more than 12. They may be small, but they are certainly not short on the festive ambiance that permeates the larger establishments. The most popular drink is, of course, rum and few cocktails escape a healthy sampling of this traditional alcohol. The Daiquiri was invented here along with the ever-popular Mojitos, which consist of powdered sugar, lime juice, mint, club soda and Havana Club white rum.

The World Is Buzzing About Long Time Belize Favorites "Hot Cheetos and Takis"
A few weeks ago a group of kid's at a Minneapolis YMCA music program produced and released a rap video about their favorite snack foods. Currently, that video has over 1.5 million views. The YouTube video, the kick-ass song and the kids are being talked about all over the internet. First, it was the bloggers and now the mainstream media (from the Washington Post to NPR). Rolling Stone magazine (you may have heard of them) call Hot Cheetos and Takis possibly the "summer's final truly great jam". I am not here to review or rehash information about this video. (Though I do love it. I've watched it about 15 times. This little diddy will be stuck in your head... Just try to stop singing "You can catch me and my crew eating hot Cheetos and Takis".) What does this have to do with beautiful Belize... Beautiful Tranquility Bay Resort on Ambergris Caye or my site, SanPedroScoop? Well...strangely, over 5000 viewers have found my blog over the last few weeks googling the word "Takis". I included a mention of these little snacks in a truly bland post about a year ago. And, as you can see by looking at the right hand column of my blog, it is now my third most read post of all time. I hate to leave people hanging... So, if you have stumbled upon my blog looking for real information on Takis, here's a bit about how they are much loved in Belize. Takis are a Mexican corn snack (similar to a Frito) but coated in pure red hot powder. They are sold in pretty much every store in Belize. Usually they are placed right next to their counterpart, the Flaming Hot Cheetos. A once tasty unassuming snack that has been coated in a similar fiery red hotness. Here are mini Takis FUEGO. The flame on the package says it all. One quick question for those that have had this product. Do Takis come in full sized bags? I've only seen them in snack size. Both of these foods are hugely popular with the kids of San Pedro. Despite the fact that they are RED HOT, kids eat them like candy. (These are kids that grow up eating Habanero sauce on just about everything.) My blandy-bland gringa taste buds can hardly eat either without watering eyes and a runny nose. Plus, I can't STAND the red dyed fingers that you are left with after consuming a bag. (Or as the kids say in the song you get "hands red like Elmo".) Ick.

Renowned Author Stunned that Belizeans Still Use the Yellow Pages
Yesterday I attended the BTIA's (Belize Tourism Industry Association) 2012 Marketing Summit at the Princess Hotel and Casino in Belize City. It was my first "real" Belize industry event about topics near and dear to my heart: Social Media, Real Time Marketing and Public Relations. And I'll just put it all out there. I wore a skirt and real shoes and now have no skin on the back of either ankle. See what I endure for "my craft"? Back to my trusty shorts and flip-flops today. For all of you thinking "where are the pretty pictures of the Belize beach?", I'll keep it brief and be back to that by tomorrow at the LATEST. (And if you really can't hold out, I'll post some beach pictures all day on my SanPedroScoop facebook page. Promise.) Initially I went to support my friend who is a professional blogger (aka My Hero). She was on two of the panels. That's Erin below with San Pedro's Dorian of Ambergris Today. But the more I read about the presentations, the more intrigued I was. The keynote speaker was David Meerman Scott, a power house in the marketing world, writer of a pretty slick blog WebInkNow.com, author of many best selling books like "The New Rules of Marketing and PR" and "Cashing in With Content". He also happened to start out as a bond trader just like me. This could be interesting...helpful. And I certainly wasn't the only one thinking that. The huge conference room at the Princess was filled with a few hundred people from all walks of the Belizean tourism industry...from the Mayor of Orange Walk to the Tropic Air marketing team to staff from hotels and tour companies of every size.

Introducing the Garifuna Dugu
"...When in the summer months of July and August, people from young to old are seen walking the streets of Dangriga or Punta Gorda or Hopkins or any Garifuna community for that matter in Garifuna attire oftentimes in identical outfits, they are likely going to participate in a great celebration in honor of Ancestors. This celebration is called adugurahani or dugu (doo-goo) for short and it is a very elaborate and sacred event. ..."

International Sources

Belize Creditors Meet With IMF Present
Investors holding Belize bonds met in Washington, D.C., on Friday with officials from the International Monetary Fund to weigh their options amid a proposed restructuring of the sovereign's $543.8 million in debt. One of the people present at the meeting said the creditors were on a "fact-finding" mission about the condition of Belize's finances, after the country skipped an interest payment on a bond Monday. Joseph Waight, Belize's finance secretary, also was in Washington, according to an assistant, and couldn't be reached. The purpose of his visit couldn't be determined. An IMF spokeswoman said Friday the fund hadn't received a request for financial help from Belize and the creditors had asked to meet with IMF staffers to present their views on Belize's requested restructuring. She said the IMF staffers " did not provide any commentary or information" and "agreed to the meeting only to listen." On Monday, Belize failed to make a nominal interest payment on a bond due 2029, setting in motion a 30-day grace period before it would be in default, without curing the lapse before Sept. 19. Earlier this month, it proposed three options for a restructuring, two of which would see creditors writing down 45 cents on the dollar of what they are owed. Creditors to Belize include GE Asset Management, Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo & Co. and Greylock Capital Management LLC. A partner at Greylock, A.J. Mediratta, is co-chair of the committee, which represents more than half of holders--or $300 million--of the 2029 bond, the country's only bond. It is unclear if Friday's talks helped the creditors progress in their evaluation of the country's financial distress, but one person familiar with the matter said some key sticking points remain. These include the creditors wanting more details on the companies Belize nationalized and the components making up its fiscal projections. Belize bonds due 2029 traded around 38 cents on the dollar late Friday, in line with a week ago, according to Markit data. Standard & Poor's cut the country's credit ratings to "D" for default on Tuesday.

Creditors dig in for Battle of Belize
The restructuring of Belize’s 2029 “superbond” may become a drawn-out battle as creditors keep the country waiting for a formal response to its proposals that could see them take a haircut of up to 80% on the net present value of their holdings. “We are working through our analysis and expect to share our views with the government within two to three weeks,” said Mike Gerrard, managing director of BroadSpan Capital, which is advising a committee of creditors that claims to have a majority interest in the US$544m instrument. A US$23m coupon payment was missed last Monday, days after the prime minister, Dean Barrow, had said the country “simply cannot afford [it]”. That comment suggests the sum will not be honoured during the grace period, which expires on September 19. It is also unlikely an acceptable offer will be put to creditors by that date. “We still have hopes it will be a 2012 restructuring but that will need accommodation from each side,” said Sebastian Espinosa, managing director of White Oak Advisory, which is advising the government. At the moment, the two sides appear to be far apart. The situation is exacerbated by additional liabilities, estimated by the government at US$300m, in the form of compensation due to former shareholders of Belize’s national electricity and telecoms companies, which were compulsorily nationalised between 2009 and 2011. No settlement has yet been reached with these claimants, and the government wants to roll their claims into a wider debt restructuring. Some progress had been made with Fortis, which used to own 70% of Belize Electricity. However, negotiations with former shareholders of Belize Telemedia, mostly connected to Lord Michael Ashcroft, are more drawn-out.

Local missionaries return from Belize
Local missionaries returned from Punta Gorda, Belize, after spending a week there doing many activities. There were 34 missionaries from seven churches that took on the challenge. They included the states of Tennessee, Massachusetts, Washington and Oregon. “They struggled not to be they ugly American and succeeded,” said Pastor John Gunden of River’s Edge in Caseville. While in Belize, the team did a work project that involved a lot of physical labor. The main project was to build a foundation for a multi-purpose building that will be used for a hurricane and earthquake shelter, a youth center, a vo-tech center and a worship center. The team used 250 bags of cement for the foundation that was made with two portable mixers. Along with the missionaries, there were 12 volunteers from the Belizean Army, and eight hired professionals. Another project included painting a local church. “The group that went were all such blessings to work with,” said missionary Jessica Badgerow. “The work was hard at times, but so rewarding in the end.” During two days of the trip, Vacation Bible Schools were held for the Belizean children. There were four different VBSs with 195 kids in attendance. “My favorite part of the trip was helping with Vacation Bible School,” Badgerow said. “It definitely brought joy to my heart to be able to work with them and see so many give their hearts to the Lord.” Through street witnessing, passing out tracts, preaching, and Vacation Bible School, 95 commitments were made throughout the trip. Many of the missionaries were able to share their testimonies which was a great opportunity. Guest speaker, Pastor Michael Turay of Sierra Leone, Africa, also was on the trip. “I had the best experience there and learned a lot about missions that I never knew before,” said missionary Johanna Davis.

August 24, 2012

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Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Turtle found covered in crude oil is on the road to recovery
The juvenile Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) that was found by a group of divers on Tuesday July 24th along the channel at Hol Chan Marine Reserve covered in crude oil is on the road to full recovery. The good news was announced by Hol Chan Marine Reserve on their social media webpage. The announcement is welcome news considering the fact that scientists have been indicating that the turtle population in the area has long been dwindling. “The turtle is doing well and its health condition is improving,” confirmed Biologist Kira Foreman of Hol Chan Marine Reserve. As readers may recall, the green turtle with carapace/back measuring 11 inches long and suspected to be between two to three years old, was observed entirely covered with thick black crude oil. The inside of the turtle’s mouth was also filled with oil and biologist had suspected that it had ingested some crude oil. The turtle was observed to be very fatigued and was unable to move the day it was found. “Turtles that digest oil normally take a very long time to recover and with crude oil it could be even longer,” explained Foreman. However the turtle has been surviving mainly on intravenously administered saline and dextrose solutions, but it is beginning to bite on a few greens. “We are seeing him picking on food and it is becoming a little more active. But until it begins eating well and is completely active, we will wait to release the turtle,” said Foreman.

Rise in unsolved burglaries causes frustration among island residents
Frustrations are building and reaching a boiling point amongst residents on the island. The frustration stems from a spike in crime, specifically a number of burglaries that have occurred consistently over the last several months. In some cases multiple burglaries are targeted at individual establishments over a short time span while other break-ins seem random. There have been few arrests and residents and business people are fed up with being victimized with no end in sight. To make matters worse, these crimes are being committed within the core of San Pedro Town and even more alarming, it is occurring to businesses just a stones throw from where the San Pedro Police Station is located. The most recent burglaries that have been made public are two separate incidents at Castillo’s Hardware Store located on Pescador Drive. The most recent incident occurred in the wee hours of Tuesday, August 21st. In the first instance the thieves gained entrance through a back window where a large quantity of cash was stolen and no one was arrested. In the second instance, General Manager and owner of Castillo’s Hardware Store Alfonso Castillo explained that the thieves gained entrance through the roof. A flat screen television was stolen and the entire incident was caught on a surveillance camera. “It is very frustrating. It is not much about the value of the stuff but the invasion of our privacy now,” said a very disheartened Castillo.

Second Quarterly Meeting of Justices of the Peace Poorly Attended
The Association of Justices of the Peace (JP) and Commissioners of the Supreme Court held its second quarterly meeting for 2012 in San Pedro on Saturday August 18th. Approximately 30 of San Pedro’s 250 JPs attended the meeting. Senior Justice of the Peace, Commissioner of the Supreme Court and National president of the Association of the Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of the Supreme Court, Adrian Daniel Madrid spoke of the meeting; “Normally we travel all around the country to have our quarterly meetings and this time we decided that we are going to have our meeting here in San Pedro. There are around 250 JP’s on the island. I wish that we could get that many out for the meeting but I don’t think that we will be able to get that.” The purpose of the quarterly meeting was to present reports of activities locally and nationally. As president of the local chapter of the JPs, Claudio Azueta presented his report, while Adrian Madrid presented on the activities of the National Association. Following the reports, the floor was opened for questions from JPs in attendance.

Ambergris Today

Belmopan's Western Regional Hospital to be Certified Mother-Baby Friendly
The Ministry of Health and the United Nations Children’s fund (UNICEF) is pleased to announce that Western Regional Hospital is the latest hospital to have met the necessary international requirements to be certified as Mother-Baby Friendly Hospital. A certification ceremony will be scheduled celebrate this achievement. The Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin is especially proud of this achievement as Western Regional Hospital is the sixth hospital within the country to have met all criteria in the promotion, protection and support to successful breastfeeding. No private hospital has yet to achieve this certification. The Mother and Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (MBFHI) is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to encourage and recognize hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding. Breastfed infants have a decreased risk of diarrhea, respiratory, ear infections, and allergic skin disorders among others.

Prime Minister Addresses Belize’s Inability of August Debt Payment
Last week the Government of Belize announced that it will not be able to meet its super bond payment to its creditors that was due for August 20, 2012. The announcement was made via a press release from the Ministry of Finance shortly after midday on Tuesday, August 14. The Superbond payment amount due is US$23,497,211.11 at an interest rate of 8.5%. Prime Minister Dean Barrow is quoted in the release as saying that “The Step-Up Bond alone represents approximately one-half of Belize’s total recorded public indebtedness.” After the re-election of the UDP administration into office, PM Barrow had appointed a negotiating team headed by former PUP Albert Division Representative Mark Espat to look at the Superbond negation to arrive at more manageable payment terms. So far the team came up with three possible alternatives to restructure the current payment. All three scenarios were met by stern disapproval by bond holders.

Helping Difficult Students
By Gustavo Ramirez, Guidance Counselor / Education Consultant. As the new school year begins many educators try to be proactive in anticipation of “difficult” students. Before the first bell rings on the first day of school, teachers have already perused their new roster of students to look for any whose reputation precedes them. New teachers check with last year’s teachers on “who to watch for”. Each new and returning teacher scrutinizes student names and begins preparing ways to deal with them -- before the students even enter a classroom. When “difficult” students show up on the first day of school, they feel each teacher’s intense eyes. They sense the attention and intensity from new and returning teachers, and feel being labeled right from day one. Experience, and human nature, shows that when a student feels labeled, he/she seems drawn inexorably in its direction to fulfill the prophecy that label foretells. To ensure that this doesn’t happen in our classroom, and to help “difficult” students get started in the right direction, let’s help them to feel like a true member of the classroom, not like someone who every teacher is “watching out for”. By seeing them in a new way we help them to see themselves in a new way.

Misc Belizean Sources

VIDEO: Santa Teresa Struggling for the Future Women's Group
The Santa Teresa Struggling for the Future Women's Group is a group of six women located in Santa Teresa. Santa Teresa is a small Mayan Community located in the Toledo District of southern Belize. While shy and soft spoken on camera, these women are forging their own path, recently starting this group as a way to provide alternative incomes through the sale of arts and crafts. Their first project was the embroidering of quilt panels, to be made into a quilt for the Advocacy Project. Their quilt panels display the orchids found in the Sarstoon Temash National Park, an area threatened by oil exploration. For more information about the women's group, go to: http://advocacynet.org/wordpress-mu/lburns. If you have questions or would like to help fund the work done by the Santa Teresa Struggling for the Future Women's Group, please contact Advocacy Project Peace Fellow Laura Burns at [email protected]

Creative Village Call for Artists
NICH's Institute of Creative Arts is calling for artists to be part of this year's expo, entitled Creative Village. There will be live music, films, dance performances, and much more. It will be the weekend of September 15th and 16th at the ITVET grounds. "The Institute of Creative Arts is looking for interested Creative Entrepreneurs who offer Artist Products and Services to sign up to be a part of our Creative Village in the Annual Expo 2012 ....the Deadline is fast approaching kindly share if you know anyone who might be interested....227-2110"

San Ignacio Resort Hotel Turns 35
Happy birthday to the San Ignacio Resort Hotel! The SIRH celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. They have created many new packages for the occasion, and they can be found on their website. Cake for everyone!

Summer Full Moon Concert Next Week
The SISE House of Culture is having another Full Moon concert. There will be a wide range of music, from acoustic guitar to reggae to blues. There will also be a Dr. Suess play. This free event will be next Friday, August 31st, and will be on Burns avenue. End the Summer right. Thanks, SISE HoC for bringing so much great culture to Cayo! Their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/SISEHOC

Belizean Boil Up
Boil Up is the second staple food of Belize. This dish is a compilation of healthy and non healthy starches. Every item in this menu is boiled, from the ground foods, to the meats (pigtails & fish) to the eggs, to the cakes. This meal is usually topped with coconut oil and a sauteed onion and tomato sauce. This meal can be eaten in its full form or scaled down to match any budget.

Channel 7

Butane Fire On City Outskirts
There was a major butane fire this evening at mile four and a half on the western highway. The main thing to report at this hour is that it is under control, there was no loss of life, and, all things considered, relatively minor damage to property. The fire started around 5:00 pm - at a small butane depot at mile four and a half. As we understand it three butane tanks caught on fire and burned - and there were multiple large, thundering explosions. We say mini depot because the small facility only had three tanks - and all of them burned. But BRAVO Motors, which is right beside it, experienced no damages or losses. Our team is on the scene and we'll have more later on.

Sparks Fly In House Of Representatives
The House Of Representatives held another of those special sittings today. This one was to pass four bills that are a part of the Government's commitment to the IDB in exchange for a policy based loan which would guarantee a portion of Superbond 2.0. That was a kind of legislative housekeeping - but sparks flew when the Oppositions members were allowed to ask questions that they've been trying to put in for the last two House Meetings. One particularly contentious one came, predictably, from the PUP Member for Cayo South - who wanted to know all about the money being paid to Economic Ambassador Mark Espat. Here's how that back and forth with the Prime Minister went:.. Hon. Julius Espat "Can the Honorable Prime Minister inform this honorable House and the nation of the exact terms and conditions under which Mark Espat has been appointed both as an ambassador and as leader of the debt negotiation team and specifically state the dollar value of each such contract and or appointment?"

Willacey Suspended, Minister Confirms
But it wasn't all daggers drawn at today's House Meeting - there was some collegiality between members. And responding to an issue raised by the PUP Member for Belize Rural Central, the Minister of Education turned to a subject of great public interest: Principal Norman Willacey of the Belmopan Baptist High School. The school's Board Of Management has not issued any statement confirming that he is suspended - but the Minister did confirm it today:... Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education "In fact Mr. Speaker I am happy to report that our partners in the Baptist management have complied and in fact indicated according to the rules that they have suspended Pastor Willacy as principal of Belmopan Baptist high school. He will be suspended for 15 days pending an investigation. I don't think that anybody can expect that the management or anybody who has a stake here who has a role to play in terms of investigating and determining what has happen at that school can be expected to give a verdict of guilty without giving the individual due process and so I asked Belizeans and I asked the community here in Belmopan to be patient as that process goes through but to know that come the opening of school tomorrow that pastor Willacy will certainly not be in the role of the principal of Belmopan Baptist."

Police An' Teef On Plues Street
This evening after 3, our news team was called out to the corner of Prince and Plues Street where another case of alleged police brutality was occurring. The area was cordoned off, and a joint operation of police and BDF officers had descended on the area in pursuit of 4 men who were allegedly a part of an armed robbery at Paula's Store on Cemetery Road. Police say that they recovered 2 firearms during the detention of these men. That's major, but the residents of Plues Street weren't impressed: they were complaining how the police went about doing their job. Here's what the scene looked like when we arrived: Daniel Ortiz reporting This evening after 3 p.m., our news team was called out to the corner of Prince and Plues Street where another case of alleged police brutality was occurring. The area was cordoned off, and a joint operation of police and BDF officers were guarding it where they reportedly caught 4 men who were allegedly a part of an armed robbery at Paula's Store on Cemetery Road. Police say that they recovered 2 firearms during the detention of these men, but the residents of Plues Street are upset at how they went about doing their job. Here's what the scene looked like when we arrived: Voice of: Angry Neighbor, eyewitness "I saw the police men came from down the lane and start to chase a couple young men. I am not sure if it's the young men that they met in the yard. They just met two young men in the yard and brought then to my neighbor's house for no reason. My neighbor and I were chilling at the street side. She wanted to know what happen, the police men told her to come out of the house because it was not any concern with her. They just start to ransack the place saying that they were looking for weapons and for some men who committed a crime."

Another Teacher In Trouble
39 Year old Francisco Tzec - a Teacher at Mopan Technical has been accused of fondling two girls. Last Friday - the girls, aged 10 and 12 went to San Ignacio Police with their mother. They reported that at 2:00 on Friday morning, they were at their grandmother's house when Tzec, who was a house guest went into the area where they were sleeping. The 12 year old claims he fondled her on her private parts, and the ten year old says he touched her leg and and hips. They say he told them he thought he was in their grandmother's room. The girls reported it to the their mother - and to the police - who arrested Tzec and charged him for two counts of indecent assault. He was arraigned Tuesday and received bail. But that's not the end of the story - police are also contemplating bringing charges against the girls' grandmother. And that's because she has allegedly told them not to bring charges against her guest. Mopan Technical High is a government school and a Ministry of Education representative today said the process is that he would be placed on Administrative leave pending an investigation. Tzec was a teacher in first and fourth forms.

Supal Street Boss Soup Williams Guilty Of Minor Offence
Yesterday we told you how the GSU had arrested the reputed boss of the Supal Street Bloods, Jason "Soup" Williams. He was charged with possession of a pipe. The Pipe found inside his bedroom contained cannabis residue so he was charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Well, he was arraigned in court yesterday and pleaded guilty to the crime. He pleaded guilty to charge, and Magistrate Adolph Lucas Jr. sentenced him to pay a fine of $300 by October 26, or he will spend 3 months in default. He was able to leave the court a free man.

GSU Gets Sawed Off
Tonight, the Gang Suppression Unit is reporting that it has taken a deadly weapon of the Street. At 10:40 last night, the GSU was conducting operations in the Kelly Street area, and they observed 4 men who they believed to be affiliates of the Kelly Street Gang. The officers searched the men but found nothing. But when they searched the surrounding areas, they found a 16-gauge sawed-off shot gun on the bumper of an abandoned car, across the street from where the men were standing, Because no one was near the car when it was found, it was deposited as found property.

BTIA Goes Real-Time
Today the Belize Tourism Industry Association held its 2012 marketing seminar at the Princess. It's called a Real -Time Marketing Masterclass - which looks at opportunities presented by the internet and social media. The high powered guest speaker was David Meerman Scott -who has presented at similar events in over twenty countries. The BTIA's Efren Perez told us what they hope to get out of it:.. Efren Perez, BTIA "Today's seminar is really focused on marketing and public relations. One of the main things we are looking at is trying to enhance. The quality and the level of marketing and public relations that we do - for companies to realize what is going out in the real world - what we are competing against, what are some of larger successful larger companies in the world are doing and how they are reacting to negative publicity and positive and making positive out of it." "We have this presenter that we brought in David Meerman Scott, who is presenting on 3 different topics; content marketing, daily websites, videos and really the content and we are also doing real-time marketing and PR looking at how you can respond to negative publicity and the we are looking at the final segment which will be social media; looking at your twitter, looking at your Facebook and how you can be very active in that."

Vernon's Containers Were Rich with Chalk?
We go back now to the House of Representatives where one of the questions asked by the opposition today was about Vernon Cuthklevin's containers. You'll remember those, the ones intercepted by Customs back in March of 2012 - allegedly with chemical precursors for Crytal Meth. We thought the matter had been settled because the containers have been burned, but the question persisted. But still it's good that the question was asked - because we didn't know that the containers were loaded with some precursor agents and plenty of chalk. Security Minister Saldivar explained: John Saldivar, Minister of police "The 3 containers that were declared as titanium dioxide for Belize Gardens Consortium was found to contain chalk (calcium carbonate) which was found to the front of the container. While samples taken from the back of the container was found to be all metallin hydrochloride which is a pre-cursor for the production of Methamphetamine. The other 3 containers which were declared as Ammonium sulfate were found to contain some Ammonium sulfate from the samples taken to the front while the samples taken from further to the back of the containers were found to contain metallin hydrochloride." "Mr. Speaker calcium carbonate, Ammonium sulfate and metallin hydrochloride are not prohibited substances under the current laws of Belize. Therefore there were no reasonable grounds to believe that the person or persons had committed or is committing any offence under the laws of Belize." "As a result there were no arrest made and the police investigation into matter is considered closed."

Opp Leader And PM, Light Sparring Over New Banking Regs
The major business at today's House Meeting was the passage of three banking bills, namely the Belize Offshore Practitioners Association Bill, the Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions Bill, the International Banking Bill. The Bills seek to bring greater oversight to the Banking sector - but the Leader Of The opposition worried that it may reach too far into banking affairs. Here's what he had to say:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "What this bill does is as in contain in the long title; strengthen the regulatory remit and the regulatory jurisdiction of the Central Bank of Belize to ensure that the Central Bank is now in possession of the powers necessary to have it look properly after the domestic banking sector try to avoid any kind of institutional collapse anywhere." Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the opposition PUP "I think it is important to share very briefly - very quickly what the international financial services had to say and what they said was essentially that this bill if pass in its present form would operate as a substantial dis-incentive to the development of the financial sector in Belize. The broad arbitrary and unchecked powers proposed to be conferred on the Central Bank of Belize by this bill are not comparable to the powers enjoyed in other regulatory systems and are not inline with international regulatory practices."

Mexican Sent To Jail For Sexual Assault Of Child
66 year-old Venustiano Pacheco, a Mexican National, is spending his first night of a 3-year sentence after he was convicted of aggravated assault of an indecent nature in the Magistrate's Court today. An 8 year-old child reported to police that at around 7:30 p.m. on February 25, 2011 in a Village in the Belize District, she was bathing behind her house, when Pacheco, who had been a neighbor for 10 years, sexually assaulted her. She came to testify in camera to just that allegation, and her aunt corroborated the story by testifying that Pacheco was speaking to her before the assault. She left him downstairs, and went into the house, and she opened a window to the back, she saw Pacheco assaulting the girl. She said that she shouted at him, and he fled. Pacheco testified under oath and he denied what the aunt told the court, saying that she was telling lies on him. Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith didn't accept his explanation and she found him guilty of the offence She sentenced Pacheco to serve 3 years in prison.

PROFILE
Tonight's profile is about Juan Gomez, he's a young man who dropped out of school and lost his way very early in life. But after knocking around for a few years, he got into a second chance programme at Sadie Vernon. He tells us how he made that transition:..

Shyne Vs. Diddy
In March of this year, Belize's Cultural Ambassador Shyne made international headlines when he reconciled with his former mentor Sean Diddy Combs. It was major development because the widely held perception was that Shyne had taken the fall and served almost nine-years in prison after an evening with Diddy and his then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez ended in a violent shooting. In April, Shyne spoke to Jules Vasquez about what was behind the reconciliation. Shyne "So I was very fortunate, very blessed. If I couldn't thank him for my fortunes, how could I blame him for my misfortunes? I can't thank God in one breathe and then blame Diddy in another breath, it doesn't work like that. This is a watershed moments because I was one of those kids and I could have come up as you said and continue that cycle. I could have abided by that street code but I am breaking that chain, I am creating a new code and that code is self-accountability, so that's what allowed me to move away from any mis-logical street code because the only code I have is honor. I did what I was supposed to do. I didn't lie on another man to get myself out of trouble. I didn't talk about what another man did or didn't do to get myself out of trouble and that was the most important thing for me and I was rewarded for that. That's why I survived being incarcerated, so I've been extremely fortune why because I didn't sit down and blame anybody. I didn't sit down and force the hate for Diddy or anybody. I sat down and I held myself responsible." Well, things have changed! This week Shyne released what is known as a "Diss Track," calling out Diddy for not helping him get back to America. Apparently Diddy had promised to send a tweet to his millions of followers on twitters to support Shyne's visa petition, but he never did. That visa petition fizzled badly - falling way short of the 25 thousand signatures required.

Butane Fire Update
As we told you at the top of the newscast - there was a fire at a mini butane depot on the Western Highway this evening at around five. It is at mile four and a half on the western Highway immediately beside Bravo Motors. The business was not operational - but there were four butane tanks there with LPG gas inside - and one of the hoses was ruptured. It caused a major, violent blaze - but we have now been told there was no explosion. George Orellana saw it from his home across the road. Here's what he told us: Marion Ali, Reporter "You were on the scene and you took some pretty nice videos." George Orellana "I was the first one who saw the tanks burning. Looks like the workers were not well trained because they ran away instead of minimized the damages, they just ran away. My workers are the ones who came and help the first truck from the firefighters who came to the scene." Monica Bodden "From what you saw out there, how long did it take firefighters to arrive on the scene?"

Channel 5

Explosion at Western Gas on the Highway
After five o’clock this evening, there was a huge explosion captured in the amateur video at a gas depot near Bravo Motors on the Western Highway. The recently opened depot is also a distribution center. A News Five team was on the scene and firemen are still attempting to out the blaze at Western Gas [...]

Plues Street residents allegedly brutalized by police
On Tuesday, we reported the alleged excessive abuse by the Gang Suppression Unit in Crooked Tree Village. An investigation is currently underway to determine why the GSU rained down on at least twenty residents, using pepper spray and tasers. And tonight, there is another report of alleged brutality by law-enforcement officers, this time in Belize [...]

Julius Espat gets schooled by the P.M. on House procedures
The House of Representatives met today in a special sitting. The session was called to table a municipal bond bill being floated by the City Council for infrastructure works. We’ll come to that later, but first we go to a side show in the House, which has to do with the other bond; the Superbond. [...]

Prime Minister Dean Barrow speaks on contract with Hallmark Advisors
The prime minister later specified the terms of agreement, as well as the duration of a contract awarded to Hallmark Advisory Ltd., for which Mark Espat is believed to be the principal. According to PM Barrow, the services of Hallmark Advisory have been contracted for seven months and he says it’s value for money.   [...]

Oppenheimer’s Carl Ross weighs in on the Superbond restructuring
Still on the Superbond, the Prime Minister said on Wednesday that he was hoping that negotiations on the restructuring of the five hundred and forty-four million dollar Superbond would be successful to prevent a default. He also said that there was no source of financing to meet the twenty-three million U.S. dollar coupon that was [...]

Pastor Norman Willacey is no longer principal of Belmopan Baptist High
There is development in respect of Belmopan Pastor Norman Willacey who has fallen from grace due to allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a student. Tonight, Willacey is no longer on administrative leave from the pulpit and the church; he has resigned. Pressure had been building up for action in many quarters because [...]

The Belmopan school sex scandal discussed in the House
Also in the House this morning, the issue of the Baptist High School sex scandal was raised by the opposition, questioning the Ministry of Education about the delay in suspending Pastor Norman Willacey from his post as principal of the high school. Public outrage in the wake of allegations that Willacey was engaged in a [...]

6 containers of suspected pseudoephedrine turn out to be chalk
Earlier this year, a shipment of seven forty-foot containers housing a significant quantity of methylamine hydrochloride, a chemical precursor used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, was confiscated by the Customs Department. The consignment, valued at an estimated ten billion dollars, was shipped from China to Belize in February to Belize Gardens Consortium, a local company [...]

Bill for Municipal Bond tabled in Special Sitting of the House
The real business of the House had to do with the municipal bond. Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley announced a month ago that he is inviting investment in the twenty million dollar municipal bond. The bond, issued by local government, would be used to create an infrastructure fund for the continued repairs of streets in [...]

Update on the U.S. designation of John Zabaneh as drug kingpin
On August seventh, businessman John Zabaneh was designated as a drug kingpin operating for the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel. His nephew Dion Zabaneh and Corozal resident Daniel Moreno were also named as associates. The US government declared that the assets of the three were being frozen in the United States and that US businesses and [...]

ISP linked to Belize, ordered to block sites selling counterfeit goods
AltusHost is a European Internet Service Provider (ISP), but according to a PC World.com article, it’s based in Belize and has recently been ordered to shut down twenty-five of its websites for selling counterfeit goods. AltusHost was sued by eleven high end companies including Breitling, Chanel, Christian Dior and Omega, which are trying to protect [...]

GSU recovers 16 gauge shotgun from abandoned lot
There is one less illegal firearm on the streets after a sixteen gauge sawed off shotgun was found in an abandoned lot. According to the Gang Suppression Unit, shortly before eleven o’clock on Wednesday night, they were conducting operations in the Kelly Street area when they noticed four persons, known to be affiliates of the [...]

Paraplegic Jeremy Flores has his eyes on the Paralympics 2016
Jerome Flores is a well-known paraplegic who has undertaken a number of initiatives to build awareness for persons living with a wide range of disabilities. You will also remember him for riding his hand bike from Belmopan to Dangriga to raise awareness for the work of OCEANA last November. Flores is now setting his eyes [...]

LOVE FM

Highest Jackpot in Belize Claimed
The highest jackpot in Belize, Fantasy five’s, four hundred and sixty eight thousand dollars, was won last night. The lucky winner is a family of four from Corozal Town. Today Love News spoke with Ronny Hernandez who told us he is sort of a handyman, doing any type of...

Harvest for Kids Underway for Belize Camping Experience
Last week we told you about Belize Camping Experience, a Christian nonprofit organization that has been working with at risk children since 2006. Their focus is in Belize City and work with children through camps and follow-up programs throughout the year. To raise funds to ensure the ...

Food Vendor Fined Ten Grand for Marijuana
Fifty-two year old Yvonne Felix, a food vendor of Armadillo Street in Belize City was fined $10,000.00 after she pleaded guilty to drug trafficking of 205 grams of cannabis. Magistrate Adolph Lucas Jr. gave her until August 22, 2013, to pay. If she defaults on payment she will se...

Court's Decision on Oceana vs Belize's Government to be Handed Down This Week
Arguments ended today in the Belize Supreme Court in the case of Oceana Belize versus the Government of Belize over oil contracts. Today’s arguments had to do with an application that the government, through its attorney, Herbert Panton, made two months ago, for the court t...

Minister of Education Comments on Principal's Sexual Misconduct
Belize's Special Envoy for Children and Women, Kim Simplis Barrow today came out swinging against allegations of an inappropriate sexual relationship between the principal of the Belmopan Baptist High School Norman Willacy and a sixteen year old student. Mrs. Barrow did not m...

Belize's Prime Minister Addresses Super Bond via Press Conference
Prime Minister Dean Barrow today hosted a press conference in Belize City to update the nation on the progress of the renegotiation of Belize’s external debt. This is in the wake of the government’s decision not to pay the stepped up coupon payment of twenty three mil...

CTV3

GOB Tells Cane Farmers No Money Noh Deh To Assist In Time Of Crisis
So far the Ministry of Agriculture has issued no report on the damages caused to the Agricultural Sector by Tropical Depression #7 which passed over the country on August 8th. Here in the north the torrential rains caused flooding in the urban and rural areas of Corozal damaging hundreds of acres of cane fields. As we mentioned, the Ministry of Agriculture has released no exact figures as to the amount of damage caused. But according to the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association the loss adds up to the millions and the present froghopper infestation only make the situation worst. On Monday members of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association presented the figures to the Minister of Agriculture Honorable Gaspar Vega. Up until today everyone was tight lipped about the outcome of the reunion. But that scenario changed this afternoon when the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association issued a press release outlining all the details of the meeting. Carmelita Perez – Reporting The meeting took place at the offices of the Sugar Industry Control Board on Monday August 20th and the main subject was the damage caused to sugar cane fields by Tropical Depression 7 and the extensive froghopper infestation. Present in the meeting were the Hon. Gaspar Vega Minister of Agriculture, officials of the Sugar Industry Control Board, Sugar Cane Production Committee and the Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute SIRDI. The news delivered by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association was not good as they presented an assessment of estimated damages and losses sustained by cane farmers as a result of the flooding and froghopper infestation.

Two Houses In Corozal Burglarized
Two houses located on Halls Layout in the Corozal District were burglarized on Monday. Details are still sketchy but CTV3 News understands that the burglaries took place in broad daylight between the hours of 12:00pm and 1:00pm. The first residence that was burglarized belongs to Frank Rosado. Reports are that the perpetrator or perpetrators gained entry to the residence by prying open the front door and cutting the screws from the lock itself. The second house that was burglarized belongs to a school teacher who happens to be Rosado’s neighbor. One person has been detained for questioning. We also understand that on Tuesday, a little after midday, the owners of Hol Kol Kin Guest House were alerted by their care taker that someone was trying to enter one of the guest rooms. When checks were made the owners of the hotel noticed that the front door of the apartment had been tampered with. All indications are that the burglar was unable to gain access to the room since it was locked from inside.

What's On The Menu For September Celebrations
This year Belize will celebrate 31 years of Independence and its 214th anniversary of the Battle of St. George’s Caye. The wide range of events that will occur throughout the country will be celebrated under the theme, “Many faces, Many dreams- One Goal- Celebrating Belize.” On Monday, the September Calendar of events was released by the September Celebrations Committee. For the Corozal District, 36 events have been outlined. Activities kicked off on August 18th with the Queen of the Bay Pageant Motorcade and Presentations of Candidates. On August 25th, the Queen of the Bay Pageant will be held at the Andres Campos Civic Centre at 7:00pm. Corozal list of events culminates on September 21st with a free Jump up at the Coronation Park. In Orange Walk 26 events have been line up for the September celebrations beginning on September 5th with a talent night at the Fort Cairn’s Market Plaza starting at 7:00pm. Celebrations for September 10th will take place at the Central Park starting 3:00pm. Orange Walk will also see a drum fete on September 13th, a Battle of the Bands on September 18th and of course the Independence Day Celebrations on September 21st. Across the country, September 19th has been reserved as National Service Day, a day to celebrate the life of Belize’s First Prime Minister Rt. Honorable George Cadle Price. You can download the entire September Celebrations Calendar at www.nichbelize.org. One of the events in the September Celebrations Calendar is the National Song Competition which is slated to take place at the MMC Grounds in Belize City on Saturday August 25th. Nineteen local artists from across the country have submitted their songs to the September Celebrations Committee. Three songs are competing in the Junior Division, ten songs in the Patriotic Division and six songs have been submitted in the Carnival Division. From Corozal Town, Salus Magana submitted his song entitled “Belizean Carnival”, in the Carnival Division. Here is a snippet of how it sounds. Also from the Corozal District, Morelia Pop, from the village of Ranchito, submitted her song entitled “Tranquil Heaven”, in the Junior Division. You may know her two younger brothers, McBribe Pop and Samsung Pop who are both competing in the Buscando Una Estrella Infantil Karaoke Competition organized by Centaur. Well, Moreila Pop is also making a name for herself. If those songs put you in the September Spirit then give them your vote by logging on to mynationalsong.bz. The contestants will perform their songs at the finals on Saturday with a live band.

Corozaleno Wins Highest Jackpot In Belize's History
A Corozal resident is tonight smiling from ear to ear after he won the highest jackpot in Belize’s History. The Tuesday night’s Fantasy Five draw of a whopping $468,000 was won by 27 year old Ronny Hernandez, a Corozal Resident of Santa Rita Layout. Yesterday morning Hernandez, his wife and children travelled to Belize City to collect the massive winnings. Hernandez was buying Fantasy 5 tickets for the past 5 months and it was not until he heard the winning numbers that his life took an extreme change. According to the lucky winner his plans are to wipe out his debts, build a house for his family and save some money at the bank. The winning numbers were 5- 9 - 1 - 19 - 6 - and 20 with the free letter M. After taxes Hernandez walked away with a whopping $397,080. The jackpot now returns to one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

Rawel Pelayo Named Vice Chairman Of NTC
In sporting news, Vice president of the Football Federation of Belize, Rawel Pelayo has been appointed as the Vice Chairman of the National Teams Commission under the Unión Centroamericana de Fútbol, UNCAF. Pelayo will carry out his responsibilities from 2012 to 2015. The National Teams Commission is fundamentally responsible for forming positive relationships between UNCAF and the representatives of members associations and to ensure that the members of the associations comply with the Competition Regulations of UNCAF. The commission is also composed of President, Rafael Villacorta of El Salvador and executive member Rolando Lopez of Nicaragua.

GLOW, Making A Difference In Corozal
Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) seeks to instill leadership and interpersonal skills among young girls between the ages of 11 and 14. In addition, the non-governmental organization’s main objective is to offer GLOW members self confidence in order to carry out the work of the organization. Originally, GLOW was initiated in Poland in the 1990’s by Peace Corps Volunteers and approximately five years ago the organization branched off to Orange Walk and Corozal. Katherine Thomas is one of the senior coordinators of GLOW in the Corozal District. According to her, over the past eight weeks GLOW Corozal has regenerated, enforcing their work around the community. Katherine Thomas, GLOW Corozal “The overall goal is to allow the girls to stay in activity that will in the future see themselves with a self-esteem and the ability to be a leader in their community, this year we are trying to really make this more of a Corozal Town Wide group and so the girls that are actively involved in the group right now comes from seven different school from the Corozal area, we did a session on capabilities and where the girls painted a picture of what they wanted to be when they grew up or something they would do and we had guest speaker coming in to do just recently first aid and then the Red Cross came in to do a session with them and teaching them, firstly the first aid response and utilizing thing that maybe just would around you and also we started to work on learning the seven habit of effective teenagers and the first that we covered was about how to be proactive versus reactive.”

Oceana And GOB Back In Court
Yesterday the Government of Belize and OCEANA were back in court. Justice Legall heard arguments for an application by GOB to strike out the claim brought by Oceana, the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage and the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), which challenges the legality of the Production Sharing Agreements between the Government of Belize and six offshore oil exploration companies; Island Oil Belize, Tropical Energy, Petro Belize Company, Princess Petroleum, Providence Energy Belize, and Sol Oil Belize Ltd. Representing GOB was counsel Herbert Panton who argued that the Court of Appeal’s July 2012 decision in the case ‘Gilharry’s Bus Line versus Transport Board and Others, applied only to Judicial Review and that the Claimants had failed to stay within the limitation period required for them to pursue any legal claim. In response, the claimants’ represented by Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith, disputed that proper examination of the Court of Appeal’s decision in the Gilharry matter fortifies the claimants’ position that the Public Authorities Protection Act is confined to private law matters and, as such, there is no limitation period for parties seeking action against the Government in matters of public law. After hearing submissions from both parties, Justice Legall reserved his judgment until Friday, August 24th.

LOVE TV

Prime Minister Dean Barrow hosts press conference
Prime Minister Dean Barrow today hosted a press conference in Belize City to update the nation on the progress of the renegotiation of Belize’s external debt. This is in the wake of the government’s decision not to pay the stepped up coupon payment of twenty three million US dollars which was due on Monday of this week. The Prime Minister explained that the missed coupon payment has intensified interest in Belize’s super bond both at home and abroad, and therefore the decision to inform the Belizean people on the current state of affairs, and seek their support for the government’s debt restructuring exercise. The Prime Minister opened his presentation by explaining how the country arrived at over a billion dollars in foreign debt, saying that the majority of the amalgamated loans were accumulated in the five year period from the year two thousand, to 2005. This was under the Musa administration, and the Prime Minister says many of the loans were short term at very expensive rates and used for what he described as bloated and corrupt financing needs. For context, the Prime Minister said that during those six years under the growth economics era of the Musa administration, Belize racked up a debt of one billion, one hundred and twenty four million dollars, which all together became what’s known today as the super bond. Fast forward to today, and regarding the missed coupon payment on Monday, the Prime Minister explained that government could not source the funds needed to make Monday’s payment, and that given huge financial gaps facing the administration, it is unlikely that funds would become available in the near term. That is why, the Prime Minister said, it is crucial that the five hundred and forty four million US dollar foreign debt be renegotiated quickly, at much favorable payment terms. This he believes the creditors will understand and told a reporter from Bloomberg Financial services that he is of the firm belief that expected debt relief will eventually materialize. Making the case for Belize is a team, led by Ambassador Mark Espat, and inclusive of the Financial Secretary Joseph Waight and Governor of the Central Bank Glen Ysaguirre. That team left Belize today enroute to Washington, D.C. for talks with the Inter American Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the United States Treasury Department. Since the publication of the government proposals for debt restructuring, the reaction from creditors has not been accommodating of government’s offers. The Prime Minister says government is open to alternate suggestions on debt relief. And while the government’s debt renegotiating team is ready to meet face to face with bond holders, the ratings agency Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s investor services have again downgraded Belize’s ratings. In the case of Moody’s it has moved Belize’s outlook to negative, while gone from S & P has lowered the country’s rating to selective default. At the press conference this morning, Prime Minister Barrow said these defaults have no impact on the debt restructuring exercise. The Prime Minister says the super bond renegotiating team is ready to meet with investors as soon as they are ready, and he expects that signal to come within the next week or two. Barrow says his administration remains committed to making good on its obligations, but the government just cannot do so at the expense of the greater good of the country. Prime Minister Barrow says the UDP government is absolutely determined to put the nation’s debt on a sustainable footing and will stop at nothing to achieve this goal.

Scotiabank Punta Gorda Staff do community service
Scotiabank Punta Gorda Staff has embarked on a major community service project in Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details

A happy family wins the famous Fantasy 5 Jackpot
The highest jackpot in Belize, Fantasy five’s, four hundred and sixty eight thousand dollars, was won last night.. The lucky winner is a family of four from Corozal Town. Today Love News spoke with Ronny Hernandez who told us he is sort of a handyman, doing any type of job that arrives at his door. He couldn’t hide his feelings of excitement His wife Heidy Lopez told us she never expected this surprise from her husband when he told her of the winning The couple who have two children, won with the numbers 19,01,09,06 and 20. And to add to the luck they also got the free ticket letter “M” for which they already obtained their free ticket. After deduction of tax the family walked away with three hundred and ninety seven thousand, eight hundred dollars. This is only the second time since its inception that the Fantasy Five jackpot has been won.

Updates on the Corozal flooding
Residents in several areas of the Corozal District have been trying to recover from floods in the area a week ago. Reporter Arturo Cantun has the story. While in the field our reporter also came across some villagers who feel that negligence on the part of officials contributed to the extent of damages.

The Guardian

Statement on Superbond by the Prime Minister
Ladies and Gentlemen, Good morning, The nation has been aware for months now of Government's debt restructuring exercise, announced before the March 7 general election and commenced almost immediately thereafter. As the process accelerated, press releases have been periodically issued in an effort to update the public. Recently we published our indicative restructuring scenarios, our proposals as to how the Superbond might be reconfigured to provide Belizeans with the relief we both need and deserve. Then we announced last week that we would be unable to make the interest payment that was due on Monday. This last development in particular has greatly intensified attention, at home and abroad, on the issue. Hence, this press conference now to fully address the matter.

Vice President of Taiwan visits Belize
His Excellency Wu Den-Yih accompanied by Governor General, Sir Colville Young Motorists were a bit frustrated by interruptions in traffic along the Western Highway on Monday, August 20th, and along the Northern Highway on Tuesday, August 21st. However, it was for a good reason. The Vice-President of one of Belize’s closest allies was visiting the jewel. His Excellency Wu Den-Yih, the Vice President of the Republic of China, Taiwan arrived in Belize on a chartered flight on Saturday afternoon, August 18th. Wu was the Special Envoy of President Ma Ying-Jeou to the inauguration of Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina on August 16th.

Oceana in Shallow Waters
Shortly after eleven this morning, arguments were concluded in the court room of Justice Oswel Legall on an application by the Attorney General, to strike out the claim of Oceana in Belize, which is seeking to declare six Production sharing Agreements (PSA), granted to various oil exploration companies in offshore areas, null and void. Back in December of last year, Oceana brought a claim against the Minister of Natural Resources and the Attorney General seeking declarations that the PSAs of Island Oil Belize Ltd., Miles Tropical Energy Ltd., PetroBelize Company Ltd., Princess Petroleum Ltd., Providence Energy Belize Ltd., and Sol Oil Belize Ltd., were null and void in that they were awarded without any Environmental Impact Assessment, there was no public competitive bidding, the companies were unqualified, the PSAs were contrary to the Fisheries Act, the National Park Systems Act, and consequently they are unlawful and should not be renewed.

Making Life Better in Lake I
Area representative for the Lake Independence Constituency, Hon. Mark King is pressing on at making life better for his constituents.

Computers for Better City Management
On Wednesday, August 22nd, the Ministry of Local Government handed over five computers to the Belize City Council. The donation was made possible through the Municipal Development Project Fund. Receiving the computers on behalf of the Belize City Council was Councilor Bernard Pitts, Jr., who is responsible for MIS, Youth and Sports.

The Chamber’s Position on the Renegotiation of the “Super Bond”
In relation to the current debt restructuring of the “Super Bond”, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) believes that, without exception, debts must be paid and that we must be financially responsible citizens. However, where the economic viability of our country is at stake, the terms of repayment should not be so onerous as to strangle or deter the country’s economic growth. It is in this vein that the BCCI, in principle, supports the renegotiation of the bond with the goal of making debt repayment more manageable. Our debt burden must be restructured so that it is sustainable in the long term thereby enabling Belize to honor its financial obligations without further damage to the economy. The BCCI urges the Government to use any fiscal relief achieved through a renegotiated bond to introduce programs to stimulate and promote economic growth and investment. Further, the BCCI urges the Government to take appropriate measures to trim its own expenditure so that it can introduce balanced budgets and avoid the recurrence of an unsustainable debt burden.

Fixing the Bus Problems
The Ministry of Transport under the leadership of Hon. Edmund Castro is once again looking at addressing the problems that have been plaguing the bus transportation industry in Belize.

Charged for Drug Trafficking
Latoya Price, Francis Gill and Michelle Henry On Tuesday, August 21st, Latoya Price, Michelle Henry and Francis Gill appeared in Magistrate's Court where they were charged with drug trafficking. They appeared before Magistrate Aretha Ford where they all pleaded not guilty and were bailed in teh sum of six thousand dollars each and their case was adjourned until September 27th.

Two Men Shot on Santa Familia Street
On Saturday, August 18th, at around 2:20 a.m., Jose Ku, 24, and Javier Lozano, 18, were wounded while at the intersection of the Belize-Corozal Road and Santa Familia Street, when they were fired at by a lone gunman, as they rode on separate bicycles. Lozano was hit in the upper left side of his chest, left ribcage, the right hand and left forearm, while Ku received a gunshot wound in the right rib cage. According to unconfirmed reports, Ku and Lozano were involved in a fight with the alleged shooter only a few moments before the incident in the vicinity of a popular night club. Ku and Lozano then left the area, but were later confronted by the gunman, who fired several shots at them. Both men were transported to the Northern Regional Hospital for treatment and were later transported to the Karl Husner Memorial Hospital. Two men have been detained by Orange Walk police in relation with the incident.

Alleged Slovakian Mafia Boss finds Refuge in Belize
On July 12th of this year, 42-year-old Karol Mello was transported by police from San Pedro Town to Belize City. Mello is a citizen of the Slovak Republics who is wanted by Interpol for a gang related murder of a woman and young boy in 2004. He was arrested in October of 2010 but due to procedural errors in the case, he was released from custody in May of 2011. He eventually fled from Europe and arrived in Belize late 2011. He has been residing at the Cloister's Resort in San Pedro and had been awarded permanent resident status in Belize. However, when an extradition request for Mello was sent to the Belizean government, law enforcement authorities proceeded to apprehend him and process the extradition request. An expulsion order dated July 16th was served on Mello but was not acted upon immediately. On July 17th Mello’s legal team applied for an injunction against the Minister of Immigration, which restrained the Minister and the Government from expelling him before the extradition request is heard before the court. That injunction was granted and Mello had a habeas corpus hearing on August 2nd. It is simply a hearing in which the grounds for detention of an individual is presented by the prosecution and questioned by the defense. In court on August 2nd, the prosecution claimed that Mello was being detained because he was a threat to the public safety of Belize. Mello’s attorneys used a public statement made by the Minister of Immigration, Senator Godwin Hulse, to dismiss the claim that Mello was a threat to public safety. In the statement, Senator Hulse said that Mello should “face the music” in his own country and “After that he is happy to come back to Belize to resume his residency." Mello’s attorney used the statement to show that he is not really deemed a public threat but is actually the subject of an extradition process. Proving that Mello was being detained solely to eventually satisfy an extradition request was crucial to the defense’s case because it could free their client since, admitted by Senator Hulse, “We don't have any extradition orders with [Slovakia]”. The habeas corpus hearing was before Justice Oswell Legall. He reserved judgment for August 10th.

Munchy gunned Down on His House Stairs
At about 7 p.m. on Sunday, August 19th, 33-year-old Felix Godoy was sitting on the stairs of his apartment located at the corner of Boots Crescent and Doris Brooks Street. According to relatives, he had just returned home from playing the sport he loves, basketball, and was cooling down on the steps. It was at this time that a gunman approached him from behind and fired several shots at him. Neighbours reported hearing as much as ten shots; many of which hit their target. Godoy died on the spot due to injuries sustained from multiple gunshot wounds. Godoy is known to friends as Munchy. He worked under the Conscious Youth Development Program. Family, friends and law enforcement authorities are still piecing together bits of information in an attempt to figure out why Munchy was so ruthlessly executed. Police believe they have someone detained who can help them with that answer. Quick police response to the shooting resulted in the detention of the man police believe pulled the trigger on Munchy. According to Police Pres Officer, Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood, charges are expected to be filed against this individual soon.

Fined for Human Trafficking
A 35-year-old woman was convicted of human trafficking in the San Ignacio Magistrate's court. Estella Pinelo appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith where she was fined 10 thousand dollars after being found guilty. The facts of the case show that a 14-year-old girl was forced into prostitution at the Riverside Resort in San Ignacio. The girl was held for 5 months and was forced to work at the establishment where she was never paid. She was reportedly beaten and forced into prostitution. While the maximum sentence for human trafficking is 5 years imprisonment, and 1 year imprisonment is the minimum, the Chief Magistrate only imposed a fine since the culprit is nursing a young child. The case was prosecuted by the DPP herself, who has indicated that she will appeal the sentence.

Emerson Trapp sentenced to Five Years
On Monday August 20th, 25-year-old Emerson Trapp appeared in Magistrate's Court to answer to charges of possession of a firearm and ammunition without a gun license. He appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith where he was sentenced to 5 years in prison for possession of the firearm and 5 years for possession of 9 rounds of ammunition. The sentences are to run concurrently, so he will spend only 5 years in prison. In December of last year, police conducted a search at the Trapp’s home where the found the gun along with 9 rounds of ammunition inside his bedroom. In court, Trapp said that he was at home when a friend visited him however, he left his home to run an errand and when he returned, the officers were at his home to conduct the search. He further alleged that his friend later admitted to him that he had taken a gun into the house. At the time, both men were arrested but only Trapp was charged.

Belize Senior Female Team win Bronze at World Championship Qualification Tournament
The members of Team Belize are: Sherylee Young-Thurton (Captain), Jasmine Anderson (Libero), Precelia Hoare, Nelissa Ramirez, Kimberly Spence, Tichele Solis, Marika Zuniga, Shelmadine Cacho, Tanesha Encalada, Emma Hoare, Tisha Solis, Shantell Arnold, Yvette Price (manager), Leah Waight (coaching staff), Allan Sharp (Coach). The Belize Senior Women’s Volleyball Team won bronze at the World Championship Qualification Tournament, Group G, held in Panama City, Panama this past weekend. This is a first for Belize’s female team, and is the result of the development of players and teams despite the many challenges faced. Belize females returned to international competition in 2008 and in four years, improved well enough to qualify to the second round of the World Championship qualification process, which will take place in 2013. Jasmine Anderson of Team Belize also won Best Libero for the tournament. She was also a close 2nd for Best Receiver. 18- year-old Tichele Solis was fourth as Best Scorer. Shelmadine Cacho and Shantell Arnold were tied at 3rd for Best Blocker while Sherylee Young-Thurton was 2nd as Best Server. Congratulations to Team Belize on this historic accomplishment and step forward for female volleyball. - Press Release -

Police Station for Crooked Tree Village
Residents of Crooked Tree Village are in great spirits after a visit from Area Representative, Hon. Edmund Castro, on Wednesday, August 22nd. Residents have been complaining about a recent spike in crime and violence in the area. Many have called for an increase in police presence in the village to deter criminal elements from acting at will. On Wednesday, Hon. Castro visited the village along with the Commissioner of Police, David Henderson. After meeting with residents and hearing their concerns, it was concluded that police presence must increase in the village. The plan is to deploy more officers to the village. To facilitate that process immediately, a house will be rented to act as a police station and residence for officers. The long-term plan is to build a police station in the village. Residents welcomed the news. It brought great hope that their once peaceful village may once again be a tranquil haven.

Tuff “E” Nuff is Interoffice Basketball Champions
Tuff “E” Nuff is 2012 Interoffice Basketball champs The 2012 Belize City Interoffice Basketball Championship came to an end on Friday August 17th, at the Bird’s Isle in Belize City with the fifth and final game played in the series. The championship series, which was played between the budding champions Tuff “E” Nuff and Alamilla’s/MOE had to utilize the full five games before a champion was determined. In the fifth and final game, Tuff “E” Nuff defeated Alamilla’s/MOE by the score of 58-45 to lay claims to its second title in many years. The top scorers for Tuff “E” Nuff were Tyrone Edwards with 13 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal; Keith Acosta, who scored 12 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals; and Ian Lennon with 11 points and 7 rebounds. Meanwhile, the top scorers for Alamilla’s/MOE were Carlisle Barrow with 15 points, 3 rebounds; Brandon Rogers with 11 points, 3 rebounds, and a steal; and Gregory Rudon with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. We say congratulations to the Tuff “E” Nuff team for winning the 2012 Interoffice Basketball League competition. The championship awards were presented by the Hon. Herman Longsworth, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports with direct responsibilities for Youth and Sports.

22nd National Women’s Softball Championship this weekend
The 22nd National Women’s Softball Championship is scheduled for Friday August 24th -Sunday August 26th, 2012, at Rogers Stadium, the home of softball in Belize. This year’s championship will feature the following teams from across the country: Belize City Telemedia (defending national champion), Mirage Lady Rebels, Cayo Camalote United (Cayo champions) Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy (sub-champion), Belize Rural Easy Does It (Flowers Bank), Sandhill Unstoppable (sub-champion) and from Orange Walk Falcons. The championship will commence on Friday, November 24th, at 6:30 pm with two games on the schedule. The first game will feature Camalote United and Mirage Lady Rebels followed by game two, which will see Sandhill Unstoppable against the defending champions Telemedia. The championship will then continue on Saturday, August 25th commencing at 9:00 am with Easy Does It from Flowers Bank against Falcons from Orange Walk. The official opening ceremony is scheduled for 1:00 pm on Saturday, August 25th, with Gold Medalist Brenda Johnson-Gabourel declaring the championship open. During the Official Opening Ceremony, 1974 Gold Medalists will be presented with citations. The championship will conclude on Sunday, August 26th, 2012, with five games on the championship including the championship game.

13th Annual Lionman Triathlon is set for September 2nd
The 13th Annual Lionman Triathlon is scheduled for Sunday, September 2nd, 2012. The event will utilize the main area in front of the Mexican Embassy on the Barracks in Belize City. The tri-athletes will be involved in a 1500-metre swim, a 40k ride and a 10k run. This year’s Lionman Triathlon will attract the two time defending champions Kenroy “Smokes” Gladden, as well as defending female champion Kaya Cattouse and former champion Shalini Zabaneh.

Vega Cup Tournament continued in San Jose Village
The 2012 Vega Cup Tournament continued on Sunday, August 19th out in San Jose Village with four games in Division B. In the first game of the day, San Juan FC blanked Athletics FC by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Henry Linares in the 88th minute of play. In the second game, it was San Jose Survivors who edged Blackwater FC by the score of 2-1. The first goal for San Jose Survivors was scored by Brandon Manzanero in the 28th minute of play, while the 2nd goal was scored by Doni Alcoser in the 74th minute of play. Meanwhile, the only goal of the game for Blackwater FC was scored by Jonathan Martinez in the 10th minute of play. In game three, Douglas Galaxy and United Ballers played to a 4-4 draw. The goal scorers for Douglas Galaxy were Lorenzo Diaz in the 15th minute, Edwani Munoz in the 25th minute, Aldair Chan in the 35th minute of play and Jarret Hyde in the 79th minute of play. For United Ballers, the goals were scored by Ernell, Kevin, and Roque Canul in the 57th minute of play and Eliazar Mandez in the 83rd minute of play. In the final game of the day, San Antonio Jaguars, and the host team, San Jose Pumas played to a 2-2 draw. The goal scorers for San Antonio Jaguars were Gerardo Sosa in the 10th minute of play, and Peter Canul in the 78th minute of play, while the goal scorers for the San Jose Pumas were Aurelio Gongora in the 22nd minute of play and Martin Francisco in the 81st minute of play.

Vega Cup Tournament to continue This Sunday in Trial Farm
The 2012 Vega Cup Tournament will continue this coming Sunday August 26th, with four games in Group A at the Trial Farm Football Field. In the first game scheduled for 10:00 am, San Luis FC will see action against San Roman FC. In game two, San Pablo FC will go up against San Cruz FC, followed by game three in which Old School FC will go up against New River Dynamites. In the fourth and final game of the day, Barrio Boys will see action against the Untouchables.

Little Brighton returns Home: Funds raised to take Him Abroad
A recuperating Brighton Cordova On Saturday, August 18th, a BBQ sale was held at the Queen Elizabeth Park to raise funds for 10-year-old Brighton Cordova, who was in a critical condition, after a house collapsed on him and his younger nephew on July 26th.

Belize National Classification System For Hotels And Tour Operators
The Sustainable Tourism Program (STP) and the Quality Assurance Department at the BTB is in its preliminary stage of executing a “Belize National Classification System for Hotels and Tour Operators”. The system’s overall goal is to define realistic classifications with clear definitions and minimum standards as basic mandatory licensing requirements for each recommended class. “This is a great opportunity for Belize to take the lead in destination competitiveness,” stated Terry Wright, Tourism/Environment Project Coordinator at the STP. “The firm, Tourism and Leisure Europraxis, has been awarded the consultancy to develop a classification scheme for accommodation facilities and tour operators throughout the country based on international standards but adapted to the country’s reality. It is intended that the scheme will guide and incentivize the hotel and tour operator industry by promoting excellence as a national priority. It will also serve as a valuable marketing tool.” The initial stages of developing the system include meetings with tourism stakeholders and a presentation of the framework of the system to tourism Industry Partners. Following stakeholder consultation, there will be a verification, assessment and training period anticipated to begin in September 2012, with the establishment of a new cadre of BTB hotel inspectors focused on standards and quality. Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of accommodation establishments within the country will also form a component of the consultancy scheduled for completion in January 2013.

The Reporter

Tragedy averted at Belize Western Gas on the Western Highway
A butane storage tank caught fire and exploded, putting the other storage tanks in danger of exploding A butane storage tank caught fire and exploded, putting the other storage tanks in danger of exploding. One of four butane gas storage tanks exploded this evening around 5:10 in the Belize Western Gas Company compound at Mile 4 on the Western Highway, and there was great concern that the resultant fire would spread to other, larger butane tanks, which would have been a major catastrophe for the people of the area and the adjacent Bravo Motors. However, quick response by the Belize Fire Service averted the tragedy. They arrived in time to cool off the tanks with water, and they also locked off the valves. Auri Diaz, the manager of the Belize Western Gas Company, told Amandala that the fire began at the pump house when a wire on the compressor in the pump house got overheated and caught fire, and the flames quickly spread to the tank. She said that they had received a large shipment of butane gas and were unloading it to the storage tanks when the incident occurred. Witnesses from nearby Bravo Motors who saw the flames spreading to the tanks told us that they alerted the workers that the tank was on fire, and the workers ran, leaving the flames to spread. Two of the workers ran into the swamp behind the compound, and another two scaled the fence to escape. The witnesses said that one of the tanks then exploded.

Blogs

An overnight stop in Placencia featuring plenty of gelato
It was very difficult to leave after only two and a half days at the lovely Hickatee Cottages just outside of Punta Gorda. On the positive side, we would be stopping for a night in Placencia to break up the trip home to Ambergris Caye, a place we loved when we visited back in January. Ian gave us a lift into town, saving us the long hike. We picked up a couple of things we needed, including a muffin at the Driftwood Cafe for Barry for the bus ride (I still had my PB&J muffin saved from the day before!) We were plenty early so had some time to hang around the PG bus terminal -- and to get a choice seat on the bus, since this is where the bus north originates. We got off the bus in Independence on the mainland and hiked 1/2 mile down the road to catch the ten minute Hokey Pokey ferry over to the Placencia Peninsula. Our last and only time on this boat, it had been pouring rain, so we'd been under a tarp for the entire ride and unable to see a thing. Today was much improved! Our soon-to-be new friends, Heather and Lauren, in the front row as we approach Placencia Placencia IS just as nice on a second look. We liked it before, and we liked it just as much this time around. Placencia is a charming and quaint village and never seems to be very busy, unlike San Pedro; however, there were a lot more folks on the beach now that school's out than when we were here in January. Back then we felt like we were the only ones there! When we debarked the Hokey Pokey, we took a short walk through the village to our hotel for the night.

Do over
Ever have one of those days where you just need to go back to bed and start again? I am having one 2 days in a row. Flash back to yesterday…. Our net is still down, left at 6:30 am to go catch up on work at El Divino and could not connect there either. I did manage to take care of a few things and get them on a flash drive so tacoboy could email them from work for me. Since my tech troubles started yesterday, I was smart enough to do an email draft of one thing I needed to send so that makes it easier for Paul as he only has to add attachment and hit send. I am officially on me time, hoping I find some good music videos on tv while I do a good stretch and doing a scan while I wait for net to come around. Afterward I got doing some offline work, put on Van Halen and my fav black cocktail dress to shake my tech induced bad mood. Back to this morning, I had just finished editing and adding pictures this post, hit publish and it all disappeared. I do not have time for this, supposed to be heading north right now instead I am having to redo everything I just did – sigh.

Handprint Cave and Actun Tunichil Muknal
Great review of a day at ATM with archaeology instructor Sherry Gibbs. "This was hands down my favourite part of my entire trip. This was a completely unreal and amazing experience. I felt things that were beyond my imagination... Sherry Gibbs was my favourite professor at Galen University as well; so hanging out with her for the day was awesome... We hiked to Handprint Cave first, and that was really cool. It’s hard to imagine a giant skull looking out over the jungle. But that’s exactly what it looks like if you had the means to cut down all the overgrowth that covers it now. I thought the painted hands littering the cave walls were even more interesting. It really left an interesting mark on that specific ceremonial center. Mrs. Gibbs talked about so many different functions that may have gone on in that cave. She showed us where pots were found and she discussed how looters were still trying to carve the hand prints off."

Luis – Big Up The Caye’s Silent Hero!
When you live here, year in and year out – you get to realize that in the day to day running of Caye Caulker there are some silent heros. These are the people who really do make a difference to our community but they get very little acknowledgement or praise for what they actually do. One such person that will always have my huge respect is Luis Alcocer. Luis has been born and raised in Caye Caulker, truthfully not far from the Raggamuffin Tours office – and for 10 of his 29 year life, he has worked at the Village Council. Now truthfully there are a number of willing and able men and women that work at the Village Council (all of whom really should get a mention) but Luis has been one of the longest standing and that deserves a medal itself!! Luis is the man that we have to thank for our clean streets. He walks up and down the island daily raking and picking up garbage and fallen tree leaves making the streets that have captured the imagination of so many, the picturesque images that they are today. What makes his job so unbearably exhausting is the tropical heat and humidity he has to undertake his work – and that, twinned with the unrelenting sunshine beating down on his head, would be enough to make most of us give up after a week – never mind 10 years! What makes this man our hero today is that even though he has one of the toughest jobs in the world, Luis is one of the friendliest and charming characters on the street today. He remains so up-beat, despite being layered with thick clothes and hat to protect him from the sun – his demeanor being more of a person on the way to the Split for a relaxing swim and a beer than somebody at work! One of Luis’s water stops is Raggamuffin, as he always stops in to fill up his bottle with our cold water – always polite, always grateful for his small reward and always, always with a huge smile on his face. Thank you Luis for all your hard work for Caye Caulker – your endeavors have not gone un-noticed!

Belize Mega Bingo Results For (22 August, 2012)
Belize Mega BingoStraight Line 100.00 Each (12 Balls) 39 ­56 ­8 ­60 ­33 ­28 ­57 ­46 ­17 ­31 ­5 ­32­ Y 125.00 Each (14 Balls) 39 ­56 ­8 ­60 ­33 ­28 ­57 ­46 ­17 ­31 ­5 ­32 ­48 ­65­ Letter X 750.00 Each (19 Balls) 39 ­56 ­8 ­60 ­33 ­28 ­57 ­46 ­17 ­31 ­5 ­32 ­48 ­65 ­12 ­68 ­40 ­51 ­64­

International Sources

Lake Forest family finds Paradise?
Article 'bout Americans who went to Belize in search of paradise and found it where they least expected...Lan Sluder is mentioned.

Belize's first default in 2006
Interesting PPT presentation on Belize's first default in 2006 which lead to the Super Bond. Barrow's latest approach is decidedly different; but was it his plan all along?

This gorgeous world map depicts all of Earth’s hurricanes since 1851
Data visualization expert John Nelson likes to illustrate risk. Usually he focuses on individual events, but in recent months he's directed his design talents towards a series of bigger projects, in the interest of communicating information about "general geographic trends in existential risk." Translation: beautiful maps depicting the distribution of natural disasters over time. Using publicly available data from organizations like NASA, NOAA and USGS, Nelson has created maps for six decades of U.S. tornados, more than a century's worth of global earthquakes, and now over 150 years of (recorded) tropical storms and hurricanes. The results, as you can clearly see, are nothing short of jaw-dropping. First of all, this map is best appreciated in hi-resolution, so click here to see it nice and big. Check the legend at the bottom right hand corner of the image for information on things like the proportional strength of hurricane seasons and relative increases in our ability to detect storms over time. (As with his previous projections, point color is tied to storm intensity.) Got it? Good. Moving on. For his data set, Nelson referenced an archive of storm paths and wind speeds maintained by NOAA. One of my favorite things about this visualization is the unusual map projection that he selected to present the information; this particular view, known as a polar projection, places Antarctica at the center of the map. The Americas are situated to the right, Australia and Asia to the left. Africa can be seen peeking up from the bottom.

Scourge of the Lionfish
About 20 years ago, one of the world’s most beautiful and otherworldly fish, the red lionfish, started showing up in south Florida and the Caribbean. Now, they’re a plague. Millions of them live from northeastern South America to New York, from water you can stand in down to depths of a thousand feet. In a world where the main concern about fish is overfishing, and the main demand on fish is to feed an increasingly hungry human-dominated world, it may see odd to complain about abundance. But theirs is an abundance that produces widespread scarcity. That’s because invaders from afar often crowd out or gobble a wide array of desirable natives. And as an invading saltwater fish — the lion is king. Lionfish are native to the west Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Red Sea; they’re quilled with venomous spines. The sting is not fatal, but from the descriptions I’ve heard of the pain, victims might wish it were. (Yesterday while working underwater with a scientist I got barely nicked through a glove; it produced an immediate sensation and a bump). Lionfish are here in the Atlantic, it seems, because of owners of living room aquariums who tired of the upkeep but didn’t want to kill their fish. With compassion in their breasts, they released them, in numbers sufficient to get them established. Then—remember the phrase, “balance of nature?” Well… No native fish in the Atlantic looks like the lionfish, hunts like it, or stings like it. Result: No native fish in the Atlantic recognizes it as a predator. No native fish in the Atlantic gets alarmed when lionfish are on the “hunt,” because a hunting lionfish looks like a drifting piece of seaweed. And no native predator — sharks, say, or barracuda — wants anything to do with those venomous spines. And so, as I said, there are millions of them. The problem: they’ll eat anything in sight.

Nicaragua's jungle graveyard gives hints to future
Half-buried in the fringes of a thick jungle along Nicaragua's southern Caribbean coast, the remains of a once promising British colonial outpost hide shyly from the rest of the world. Greytown, as the British called this river-mouth trading post in the 18th and 19th Centuries, is now a quintessential ghost town. There are far more graves than living souls here. A rusting iron fence marks out four cemeteries: British, Catholic, Masonic and Sabine, the last named after a US frigate that lost eight crew and officers here the mid-19th Century. The last residents of this former British protectorate (1748 -1860) were relocated a few kilometres upriver in 1984, after a firefight between Sandinista soldiers and Contra rebels burned the town to the jungle floor. Today, Old Greytown is mainly home to exotic migratory birds, tapirs that plod about and sleek wild cats that paw their way through the underbrush. Occasionally, human life appears in the form of a tourist poking around the graves. Peter Stevenson, a British citizen who works for the Inter-American Development Bank in Managua, had come in search of long-lost family ties. Among the Masonic graves, Mr Stevenson found the headstone of Florence Edith Maud Schardschmidt, who was laid to rest in 1901 by her "heartbroken husband," Howard Schardschmidt.

What Was Behind Mysterious Collapse of the Mayan Empire?
The city states of the ancient Mayan empire flourished in southern Mexico and northern Central America for about six centuries. Then, around A.D. 900 Mayan civilization disintegrated. Two new studies examine the reasons for the collapse of the Mayan culture, finding the Mayans themselves contributed to the downfall of the empire. Scientists have found that drought played a key role, but the Mayans appear to have exacerbated the problem by cutting down the jungle canopy to make way for cities and crops, according to researchers who used climate-model simulations to see how much deforestation aggravated the drought. "We're not saying deforestation explains the entire drought, but it does explain a substantial portion of the overall drying that is thought to have occurred," said the study's lead author Benjamin Cook, a climate modeler at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, in a statement.

Former Colonial School District teacher aims to bring children's books to Belize
Retired Colonial School District teacher Susan Castle spent years explaining basic science to eighth-graders at Colonial Middle School. These days, Castle chairs the Colonial School District Education Foundation, which means she spends countless hours evaluating requests — typically from teachers — for grants to fund projects designed to enhance CSD classroom experiences. Of late, talking up a children’s book about the jaguars of Belize is also front and center on the local educator’s to-do list. In short, Castle is part of a campaign to provide every fourth-grader in the Central American country of Belize with a copy of “Pat the (Great) Cat.” The English-Spanish book was co-written by students in Milwaukee, Wis., and Belize and recounts the plight of its title character and other jaguars — powerful but highly endangered — indigenous to the Belizean jungle. The species is the only American great cat as well as the largest spotted cat in the world. But when Pat, a real jaguar, broke his canine teeth, he also lost the ability to survive in his native wild. Rescued by Belize Zoo’s Problem Jaguar Rehabilitation Program, he was eventually resettled in the Milwaukee County Zoo thanks to Wisconsinites Nancy and John Kennedy — friends of Castle who played a major role in funding and facilitating the 2008 move. The two also helped spearhead the North American-Belizean student collaboration that produced “Pat the (Great) Cat.”

Taiwanese draftee develops app for Belizean farmers
An Android app designed to calculate the exact amount of fertilizer needed to be applied to crops has been invented by a Taiwanese national who is performing his alternative military service with a technical mission in Belize. Lai Chun-fa, who graduated from the Department of Information Management at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, said Tuesday that the idea was inspired by Cheng Kun-mu, a technician with a Taiwanese agricultural technical mission who has been helping local farmers in the Central American nation for several years. With Cheng’s help, Lai learned agricultural knowledge from step one and finally developed his app, the main purpose of which is to help technicians promote the concept of using fertilizer among local framers. Use of the app can allows technicians to calculate the exact amount of fertilizer farmers need to apply to different crops, which could greatly reduce costs and time, he said. Lai, who will complete his service within the coming month, said he would like to dedicate the app to Belize, one of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies. He noted, however, that the app is currently not actually available from the Android store.

Battle over Belize bond showcases default dilemmas
The central American country of Belize faced off against its bondholders this week in a battle that will once again highlight the power which small states with limited desire to access international capital markets can have in forcing through debt restructurings. ..

Another agency reduces Belize's ratings outlook following bond default
Moody's Investors Service has changed the outlook on Belize's ratings to negative from developing. The foreign currency rating remains at Ca local currency rating remains at Caa3. The rating action reflects the government's decision, announced on August 14, to renege on the 8.5% August coupon payment on the $547 million sovereign bond maturing in 2029 (the Superbond), after publicly budgeting for the $23.5 million outlay in the 2012/13 budget discussion held in June. The Superbond, which accounts for 48% of total central government debt and 57% of external debt, is itself the result of a distressed debt exchange completed in 2007. Moody's estimates that the indicative scenarios released by the government on August 8 -- a par bond and two discount bond options -- result in bondholders absorbing losses of 70-80% in net present value (NPV) terms. While this marks the beginning of a negotiation process between investors and the government, Moody's expects the debt restructuring process to impose severe losses on investors. The government's decision to trigger a credit event and force investors to take deep haircuts is a credit negative development that increases the odds of a protracted debt exchange process. Moody's now expects that the government will formally default following the expiration of a 30-day grace period in September, unless a restructuring agreement is reached before then.

Belize is Earth's 4th Happiest Country
Belize ranked number 4 in the top happiest countries in the world. Of course! Central America features prominently in the top 10 with 6 of the 10 happiest countries. "Belize achieves a Happy Planet Index Score of 59.3 and ranks #4 of all the countries analysed. Belize's HPI score reflects a high life expectancy, relatively high levels of experienced well-being, and a moderate ecological footprint."

August 23, 2012

Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.



Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Ismael Kay and Nirsa Sanchez receive top passes in CXC 2012
The results for the Caribbean Examinations (CXC) 2012 were released online on Friday August 10th. With the results out, some 18 students from the San Pedro High School (SPHS) are slated to receive Government Scholarships to acquire a tertiary level education. Scholarships are awarded to students that pass six or more CXCs including English A and Mathematics. Speaking of the student’s performance, Vice Principal of SPHS Conchita Flota stated, “I think our students did very well and every year we are improving. Last year there were 12 students who passed six or more CXCs and this year 18 students passed six or more CXCs. We saw that our English B went down but the Language Department is looking at ways where our students can improve. Each department will be working with the teachers so we can perform better next year. I congratulate all our teachers for being there for the students and helping them prepare for these exams. We have increased the subjects from 11 in 2008 to 14 this year and are working on adding social studies for the next examination.”

San Pedro Mayor delivers on his promise to schools
Mayor Daniel Guerrero of San Pedro is moving ahead and is delivering on his promise made to preschools and primary schools on Ambergris Caye and addressing the needs expressed by the schools after a visit earlier this year. During his familiarization tour just a few days after taking office, Mayor Guerrero and his councilors visited each of the primary and preschools and asked the management to come up with a “wish list” that was manageable for the council to fulfill. From the lists derived and submitted by each school, the San Pedro Town council (SPTC) is making the effort to fulfill a few of the items requested. While the San Pedro Roman Catholic School is receiving three new classrooms and a complete facelift, other schools are receiving landfill for the school yard. The media caught up with Mayor Guerrero as he and a few council members were out delivering sand to the school principals on Monday August 20th. “We are delivering on the wish list the school submitted to us upon taking office,” said Mayor Guerrero. As such the New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Primary School received ten loads of sand equivalent to a total of 80 cubic yards or almost 22 tons. In addition, the Mayor is working to replace broken windows with new ones and help in making ventilation better at the school. At hand to receive the donation was the Principal of New Horizon SDA School, Miguel Hernandez, who expressed gratitude for the donation and also reminded the Mayor on the much need classroom space. “We are working on finding funds for new classrooms,” said Mayor Guerrero, in response to Hernandez’ concerns.

Tuff E Nuff are the 2012 Interoffice Basketball League Champions
At the start of the 2012 Interoffice Basketball (IBL) season, Coach Rico Black stated that Tuff E Nuff had what it takes and stood a good chance of winning the title. After three months of competition, it seems Coach Black knew very well what his team was capable of, as they came out on top in the end to claim a win in Game Five of the IBL finals, making them the 2012 IBL Champions! The championship game was held at the Bird’s Isle in Belize City and commenced around 9PM. With a sold out stadium, San Pedro’s own Tuff E Nuff went up against Alamilla’s to decide the champions for the season. The game saw some of the country’s best basketball players battle it out to showcase their athletic skill. After a tight game Tuff E Nuff emerged on top with a score of 58 to 45. Rico Black received a trophy for Coach of the Year while team mate, Barron Lauriano received MVP for the 2012 IBL season. An elated Rico stated, “We’ve been playing since 2005, since then we’ve won it three times. The IBL is one of the most prestigious tournaments in Belize besides the Semi Pro. It’s one level below. It’s the number one competition that’s going on in the country of Belize, next to the Semi Pro and we are honored to be the champions. We worked for it. We deserve it.”

Ambergris Today

Proposed New Marine Reserve for Ambergris Caye
The consultation was held by Ambergris Caye Wetlands Committee that invited Mr. James Azueta of the Fisheries Department who updated the community on the progress of the proposed Ambergris Caye Marine Reserves Cluster that includes nine established zones in three general areas namely the Bajos, Mata Frances Wetland Lagoon and the Mexico Rocks. Mr. Azueta went over all the laws, rule, regulations and license fees that would be implemented in the new reserves. The meeting gave the opportunity for stakeholders to review the draft proposal and submit suggestions and objections towards the new proposed reserve. Zone 1 – Mexico Rocks Conservation Zone Zone 2 – Mexico Rocks Gereral Use Zone Zone 3 – Cayo Frances Conservation Zone Zone 4 – Bajos General Use Zone Zone 5 – Pajaros Conservation Zone Zone 6 – Bajo Conservation Zone Zone 7 – Cayo Rosario Conservation Zone Zone 8 – Blackadore Large Conservation Zone Zone 9 – Los Salones 2 Conservation Zone The zoning and rules of the new marine reserve will be similar to that of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve which will include general use zones and conservation zones which will determine where commercial fishing, general use, sports fishing take place and determine no take zones and where different governing licenses will fall into place in order to properly monitor and protect the area. What is clear is that commercial fishing shall be allowed in the General Use Zones, but no spear fishing will be permitted within all the marine reserve.

Vote for National Song Competition, September Celebrations
September is almost here and Belizeans from far and near will be celebrating the 31st Anniversary of our Independence and the 214th Anniversary of The Battle of St. George's Caye. The time has come once again for everybody to vote for their favorite National Song for this year’s September Celebrations. There are nine finalists in the patriotic song category, six finalists in the carnival song category and three junior entries. Finalists include M.I.K., Dennis Requena, Devon Jones, Nello Player, Noel Lee Castillo, Patrick McPherson, Leroy “Boss” Castillo, Timothy Martinez and Joseph Villafranco - for the patriotic finalists. For the carnival finalists there is TR Burgess, Mr. Program, Ray Good, Sharon Martinez, Salus Magaña and Boss Lady. For junior category there is Tara Gill, Bernard Cayetano and Morelia Pop.

Slovakian Accused of Ties with Mafia is Set Free in San Pedro
There are currently no criminal charges whatsoever pending against Mr. Karol Mello, an alleged crime boss in Central Europe, who was detained in July in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, due to extradition order issued by the Government of Belize and subsequent immigration charges brought forward by the Immigration Department. The month-long legal saga involving 42-year-old Karol Mello, since his detention in San Pedro, moved to the Belmopan Magistrate Court where it culminated on Monday, August 20, 2012, in the courtroom of Senior Magistrate Linsbert Willis. Two charges, perjury and uttering upon an invalid passport, levied upon Mello immediately following an order by Supreme Court Justice Oswell Legall to have him set free on August 10, were subsequently withdrawn when he presented himself in court. The charge of uttering upon an invalid passport was dismissed by the magistrate and the prosecution withdrew the other charge of perjury.

Misc Belizean Sources

Meluchi's Hot Wings Competition
Meluchi's had their hot wings eating competition Friday night! They were so hot, one person couldn't get through one of the eight wings that had to be eaten in just 2 minutes. Fun was had by all. Thanks, Meluchi's, for always having great dances, specials, and activities like this one.

Belize Audubon Society Manages 9 Protected Areas
A big thanks to the BAS for doing such a great job managing the 9 protected areas. In Cayo, they manage Actun Tunichil Muknal, Guanacaste Park, Tapir Mountain, and St. Herman's Blue Hole National Park. Cool fact: Belize has 92 protected areas. PACT and BAS definitely do a great job.

Rest in Peace Don Beto Cocom
The world has lost an amazing medicine man today. Don Beto Cocom has passed away after loosing a battle with cancer. Don Beto praticed Yucatec Mayan medicine, and has helped 1000's of people through the years. He is world famous, as is his Masewal Maya Jungle Garden and Medicinal Trail in Bullet Tree Falls. Descanse en Paz, amigo!

ATM Sustainable Tourism Project
Better facilities are being built at the Actun Tunichil Muknal site. "Under the Sustainable Tourism Project (STP), several Archaeology Reserves will be receiving funding for various infrastructure projects. ATM is the most documented site in the country, and one of the most superior subterranean sites in the region. Tour operators/numbers are controlled by license with 95% of all tours to the site originating in San Ignacio Town. Current facilities are almost non-existent, therefore investments will be made to: 1. Design and construct modern bathroom, changing and restroom facilities to cater to an increase in current visitation; and 2. Construction of a ticket/security booth onsite in conjunction with landscaping of the site entrance and car park area."

Channel 7

Skipped Superbond Payment? No Worries, PM Says Bondholders Will Come Around
Yesterday, Standard and Poors lowered Belize's sovereign rating to "Selective Default" - which is as near to the bottom of the barrel as you'd want to get. But if you're looking for panic, or telling distress signals coming out of Belmopan - you'd better look somewhere else - because Prime Minister Dean Barrow and his debt restructuring teams area as cool as December. In fact, they appear ready to wait until December for bondholders to come around to their proposed terms of repayment. This morning at the Biltmore, the Prime Minister laid out the game plan at a press conference that lasted almost two hours. Here are some key highlights: Jules Vasquez Reporting Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "The objective of the press conference, today, is to provide all possible information to the nation. But it is also, I tell you plainly, to seek support, to rally the country behind what is a necessary and just endeavour." Flanked by his debt restructuring team, including Minister Godwin Hulse, Economic Ambassador Mark Espat , Financial Secretary Joe Waight and Central Bank Governor Glen Ysaguirre. The Prime Minister laid plain the national strategy - which is that no payment will be made until suitable terms for a new bond can be worked out. And he says, no payment could be made two days ago when 46 million dollars was due on the current Superbond. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "No source of funding for the August payment did, in fact, materialize. We therefore, on Monday, could not pay. And that will remain the case unless we get the kind of relief that can affect these debt dynamics and in fact impact our ability to pay. However, I am obliged to underscore that the Government of Belize will only accept a resolution that fully reflects the country's capacity to pay. Debt sustainability is the whole and entire object of this exercise, which brooks no other possibility."

PM Says No Reason To Consult Opposition Leader
And while the Government courts the IDB - they aren't about to do the same for the opposition. The Leader of The Opposition has lamented the fact that they have not been consulted - and the PM today said Government has no reason to do so. Here are his comments: Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "It was as a matter of courtesy, perhaps I might have called Mr. Fonseca to tell him beforehand that we wouldn't make the August payment. But, I don't think that Belizean would expect us to involve the Opposition in any serious way, in terms of the restructuring exercise. What's this? It's almost a kind of moral hazard. How will they-? So, what, later on they can say that they helped us to solve it? 'We had to kind of create that debt problem so that you all could have solve it.' Like when they destroyed the economy in order to save it - no, we will try to be at least minimally respectful of the fact that the Opposition is the Opposition, and it has a constitutional role to play. But, practically speaking, you will forgive us if we proceed very carefully."

Willacey Suspended From Pulpit And Principal's Chair
The Board of Management of the Belmopan Baptist High School met in an emergency session this afternoon to decide what they'll do about Principal and School Counselor Norman Willacey - who's admitted to "messing around" with a 16 year old former student. Late reports are that the board has decided to suspend Willacey pending a 15 day investigation. And while we await official word on that from the school, the Baptist Association of Belize has taken the lead on disciplining Willacey. After meeting with Willacey, the Belmopan Baptist Church and the child's mother they have made their initial findings. And, based on that, their release says that, quote, "(Willacey) has been placed on administrative leave from the church and pulpit pending the outcome of our investigation." Now we're waiting for an announcement from the school management to see what they will do. But the Minister of Education came out today to make it clear that it is a matter of urgency that they act decisively and swiftly: Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education "I will tell you that I, at this point of the day, I am every disturbed, and very concerned that the Baptist Management has not acted swiftly. In fact, I have asked my CEO to indicate to them that they must do something the situation - at least put out some kind of release to say what it is they intend to do, and I am asking for that to be done by today. It's not that the Government can necessarily punish Baptist Management in any way, and there is no need to create a quarrel about this. I am making the plea to the Baptist Management to deal with this matter swiftly, to make right whatever slow pace they've been going on so far, and in dealing with the rest of the situation, because of course, you know that they can't try the man and produce a verdict in one day. Do it according to those rules, and move swiftly in getting just."

GSU Gets "Soup" For A Pipe
Tonight, the Gang Suppression Unit is reporting that they have arrested and charged key figures in 2 Gangs. At around 5:40 p.m. yesterday, a GSU team conducted a search at the residence of 32 year old Desmond Haylock, which is located at #7C Matron Roberts Street. Haylock was present at the time with his brother, 40 year-old Duke Wright. Police searched the lower flat of the house and found a chrome and black 9mm pistol, which was loaded with 5 live rounds of ammunition in Haylock's room. As a result, he was arrested and charged with keeping a unlicensed firearm, and keeping unlicensed ammunition. According to the GSU, he was associated with the Rolling 20's Neighborhood Bloods gang, which is based in Los Angeles, and he was deported back to Belize in May of 2011 for Possession and Purchase of Cocaine.

OCEANA VS. GOB To Be Decided In Court
If you've been keeping up with the news, you may know about Oceana Belize's Supreme Court challenge to several of the offshore oil drilling contracts which Government issued in 2007. A month ago, Justice Oswell Legall, adjourned it to allow time for both sides to prepare their arguments for a strike out application from the Government Crown Counsel. But, Oceana quoted a recent judgment from the Court of Appeal on the Froyland Gilharry case as being similar to this claim, which - if it is - would force Justice Legall to rule in their favor. So today, they came back to court armed with their submissions about whether or not the Gilharry case is a precedent. After the hearing, the media spoke to both sides about what this decision could mean for the case. Here's what they told us: Herbert Panton - Crown Counsel, Attorney General Ministry "This morning was submissions on whether or not that decision Court of Appeal decision applies to this case. And of course, it is our submission that the Court of Appeal Decision Does not apply." Daniel Ortiz "So, that means that the strike out application has not been heard as yet?" Herbert Panton "Well this is in the process of hearing the application to strike out. If in fact the judge rules that the Court of Appeal decision does not apply, the matter will then be struck out."

Worldwide Drought Pushing Poultry Price Up
A world grain shortage caused by a prolonged drought could drive up the price of poultry products here in Belize. A release from the International Poultry Council warns that "drought in the soybean and corn producing regions in the United States, coupled with excessive rains in Northern Europe, is having a significant impact on poultry meat production worldwide." That has driven up prices and which, experts say, makes poultry price increases inevitable. We could not reach Poultry Association President Orlando Habet who is out of the country.

PM Says Deputy Vega's Comments Not Objectionable
The Prime Minister's Press Conference today as all about the missed Superbond Payment - but the media did manage to get in a few questions edgewise about other burning issues. The first thing we wanted to know is: what was the PM's response to the remarkable interview given by his Deputy three weeks ago. Vega freely admitted that he had quote "given" lands to his family members - and that he was entitled to do so because he was quote, "not a normal person in Belize" - a status earned by his, quote, "working much harder than other people." The Prime Minister said he does not find that objectionable... Prime Minister Dean Barrow "You see, I didn't see the interview, and I didn't see your piece. I don't know whether you put it quite like that in the piece. But, at least you're saying that if he said, he was not a normal person, he explained what he meant by that, 'I work harder than normal persons' If you just put that out there, 'I'm not a normal person,' that sounds awful. But, if you put it in context, then, it's not nearly so bad, is it? I just hope that you did put it in context for the news, as you're doing now. So put, 'I am not normal because I work harder than most people.' I find that unobjectionable."

The Bottom Line: No $$$ From Taiwan
The Prime Minister was far more forthcoming when the press asked him to give the bottom line on the visit by the Taiwanese Vice President. Somewhat regrettably, because of more than a decade of dollar diplomacy, the public expectation was the some lavish grant or aid might have been given. The PM explained: that is not the case: Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "This visit did not produce any - well, he never came to bring the big check. He never came to bring any check, but there is a re-commitment to the program which sees us get $10 million a year, the $50 million over 5 years grant/loan arrangement, which does help with budget support. And of course, they do a lot of things in education, scholarships, training, technical cooperation expertise. They have this rice seed project at Central Farm, and they're helping with papaya, various things. But if you're asking me directly whether we're contemplating any sort of a diplomatic shift to Mainland China, the answer certainly is no."

GSU Looking For Gaza In Crooked Tree
The GSU is taking flack and under scrutiny again tonight after they allegedly roughed up as much as 20 young men in the Village of Crooked Tree. The men allege that on Monday night at around 8:30 while they were playing basketball on the village court, the GSU swarmed in and began to brutalize them - using pepper spray and tasers on them. The men said when they asked what was going on; they were told by the officers that they were looking for the GAZA leader. The incident left the entire village shaken and outraged at the treatment they received. Today their Area Representative Edmund Castro along with the Commissioned of Police - David Henderson both visited the young men and now an investigation into the matter of the alleged brutality is underway. Commissioner Henderson told us why it is a matter of concern: David Henderson - Commissioner of Police "Well, it is an allegation. We will be sending in a team from the Internal Affairs. They will be coming in; they will be interviewing persons. A full investigation will be carried out, and whatever needs to be done, will be done. I have not seen any report. It is only an allegation. As soon as it is fully investigated, then we'll be able to really address it."

Fantasy Five Awards Biggest Jackpot
The biggest lottery payout in Belize's history went today to a 27 year old Corozal man - who is the Fantasy 5 Winner. The jackpot had been accumulating so long, folks were getting suspicious, but Ronnie Hernandez stayed in the game - and won, a record four hundred and sixty eight thousand dollars! He and his family walked into Brad's Store this afternoon to pick up his cheque. He told 7news how his lucky numbers were chosen. Ronnie Hernandez - Fantasy 5 Winner "I was buying Fantasy 5 for like 4 months, and I used to buy only quick picks. But I stopped and I just stick to 2 numbers up to now. And with those 2 numbers that I was playing, those were the lucky numbers that fell. I Never believed that it was me who won it first of all." Monica Bodden "So how did you find out? Were you guys watching the draw?" Ronnie Hernandez "No, I wasn't watching the TV. Sometimes I just watch the news, and I went on my bike downtown. I was going to buy something, and I went first to check the ticket. I went there; the owner was right there in Corozal. I told him to check this ticket for me, and told me that I won a free ticket. I saw the number right there, and I saw 06, 01, 09, I got those 3 numbers. And I remember my ticket. I had 20, and I told him about it. He told me that I won and not to faint. I got goose bumps. I never believe it. He gave me my ticket. The people started to crowd around. I caught a taxi and went home."

Well-Liked Musician and Mentor Passes
Tonight, 7News notes the passing of 50 year-old Leroy "Bass" Castillo, a veteran, Belize City-based musician, who was well-known and influential in the musical community. Castillo was born with an enlarged heart, and according to his family, this caused him to suffer medical complications which forced him to be in and out of the hospital. He went to Belmopan Regional hospital this weekend, and his family thought that it would be a regular visit, but he slipped into a coma, and didn't wake up. He passed away at around 1 a.m. this morning, and now, all of his friends and associates join his family in mourning his loss. We spoke to several of his colleagues today, and they told us that he was a good friend and mentor: Here's what they told us about his personality: Leon Banks - Musician "Bass Cas, I met him about 8 years ago. He started me off in the performing arts, actually playing in my first band, I should say. We played in the Player's Band together."

Channel 5

P.M. sends Superbond team to negotiate
The Prime Minister addressed the nation via a press conference today looking for support in the re-structuring of the five hundred and forty-four million US dollar super bond. On Monday government missed a coupon payment of twenty three million dollars which caused a quick downgrade by Standard and Poor’s. While the Prime Minister says there [...]

Will international banks sound in on Superbond?
Still on the Superbond, while the PM says he is not contemplating going to the I.M.F., he says that the government is unable to pay in the immediate or near term and that, “if it is make or break, then break it will be.” The government will go to the House this Thursday for the [...]

Pastor suspended, but minister hopes he won’t be back
Another big story for today involves, Pastor Norman Willacey, who has been placed on a fifteen day suspension from the Belmopan Baptist High School, effective today. Willacey, the principal of the school, fell from grace after the mother of a sixteen year old student told the media that he was having a sexual relationship with [...]

Oceana fights 6 oil concessions in Court
Oceana went back to court today to fight six slick oil contracts. Oceana insists that the contracts granted to Island Oil Belize, Tropical Energy, PetroBelize Company, Princess Petroleum, Providence Energy Belize, and Sol Oil Belize Ltd. are invalid since they fall short of the conditions under the Petroleum Act. On July twenty-fifth, arguments were first [...]

Oceana says challenge seeks to expose issuance of questionable concessions
According to Oceana’s Vice President, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, the challenge seeks to expose the government for the issuance of questionable oil concessions. She told the media this morning that the case is revealing shady oil contracts that have been granted in the past years.   Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Vice President, Oceana “Well our position is basically that [...]

Chicken licking prices caused by global feed grain shortages
Chicken prices are up by ten cents per pound for whole chicken and twelve cents for parts. This news may not settle well with consumers, but the short of it is that countries across the world are bracing for the hike in prices of one of the most affordable and favorite proteins. Today, the Belize [...]

Faber says P.U.P. decision goes against party regulation
Earlier in the month the executive of the People’s United Party took an unusual decision, which goes against the well established party regulation that allows challenges to the current leadership. The resolution protects the party leader and current elected P.U.P. area representatives from challenges at the next national convention. The resolution was presented by deputy [...]

“I am not a normal person” P.M. explains Vega’s soliloquy
At the press conference this morning, the prime minister also touched on the land grab. Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega recently came under fire for giving out large tracts of land, about twenty eight parcels across the country, to members of his family. When confronted with the evidence of the transactions, Vega told the media [...]

GSU uncovers illegal firearms
The Gang Suppression Unit has not yet responded to allegations that twenty Crooked Tree residents were brutalized by its officers; one resident complained that he had been pepper sprayed on his private parts. But today the GSU released information on other recent operations. On Tuesday evening at around five-forty, a search was carried out at [...]

A musical refrain for musician Leroy “Bass” Castillo as he passes away
Belize has lost one of its most gifted artists. Early this morning, Leroy “Bass” Castillo succumbed to a heart illness that he had been battling with for years. News of his death shook the music industry and tributes have been pouring in from those who acknowledge his gift as a musician, composer, writer and singer. [...]

Fantasy 5 gives a large cheque to its winner!
Twenty-seven year old Ronny Hernandez skipped work and hightailed it from Corozal to Belize City with his wife and two kids when he found out this morning that he had won Tuesday night’s Fantasy Five draw. At four hundred and sixty-eight thousand dollars, it’s the largest jackpot in the country’s history and it went to [...]

You can be the Next Superstar!
The Bliss rocked on Tuesday night with hilarious drama, song and dance. It was a sold-out performance for the latest episode of Be the Next Superstar. For three Group B performers, it was nail biting as the knock out round would determine who was home safe. After the votes were tallied, the judges had the [...]

CTV3

Hit and Run Accident Leads To The Death of Corozal Resident
One man is tonight dead after a hit and run traffic accident claimed his life last night. Reports are that around 9:00pm 32 year old Kamal Jamal Sutherland, a resident of 2nd Street South Corozal Town, was walking along the right hand side of the Northern Highway between miles 81 and 82 near the Village of Ranchito, when he was knocked down by an unknown vehicle travelling in the same direction. Sutherland, we understand, received severe head and body injuries and died on the spot. According to one person living in the area, she was inside her residence when she heard a loud bang. By the time she looked out her window all she saw was Sutherland’s lifeless body lying on the side of the road. Witness “When we came out we didn’t see anything only the man that dropped down dead right there.” Hipolito Novelo – Reporter “At about time was this miss?” Witness “About nine.” Hipolito Novelo – Reporter “How loud was the bang?” Witness “Like when a tire burst.” Hipolito Novelo – Reporter “And when you came out and see the person was he still breathing or he died on the spot?” Witness “We never see him breath or nothing we only see him thrown right there, that’s all.”

Xaibe Residents Demand Assistance
Tensions are running high in the village of Xaibe in the Corozal District as flooded waters are yet to recede. Tonight 5 families from the village are still affected by the stagnant water which seems to have nowhere to go. Concerned for their health, on Saturday, villagers joined hands and began digging a drain that runs along the recently paved road in order for the water flow out of the village. But their efforts were halted when Corozal Police was called out to the area and instructed villagers to stop the digging immediately since they were damaging the road. We travelled to Xaibe this morning and spoke to residents who say that something must give or else. Frustrated that the flood water has not receded and that assistance on behalf of the relevant authorities is hard to come by, Villagers of Xaibe in the Corozal District took actions into their own hands. Bright and early on Saturday morning, the men, women and children of the village took it upon themselves to further open the drain that runs along the newly paved road in order to assist the more than five families that are being affected by the stagnant water. “Nosotros queremos ver que podemos hacer en esta situación porque nosotros lo estamos viviendo no ellos, ellos están secos, nosotros hay días que ni comemos pero gracias a mi vecinos que nos estiro el bocado es que por eso estamos comiendo, eso es lo que yo pido que nos hagan caso y nos saquen esa agua.

Honourable Marco Tulio Mendez, Working For His People
The damaged caused by the torrential rains that fell last week were minimal here in Orange Walk. The heavy downpour; however, did affect the infrastructure of certain areas. In the Villages of San Jose Nuevo Palmar and Carmelita certain streets were damaged and drains were clogged leaving the need for upgrading. And that’s where Orange Walk East Area Representative Honorable Doctor Marco Tulio Mendez comes in. As you can see in this footage, work began in the area over the weekend. With the assistance of the town council’s heavy machinery streets received a much needed facelift and drains were cleaned. “Las calles se deterioraron en almas aldeas. Palmar nos presento un proyecto en las cuales también iba a haber participación de la comunidad y atreves de otras contribuciones que nos ayudaron para poder levar acabo este servicio para Palmar. Tenemos que también agradecer al alcalde de Orange Walk ya que él nos ayudo con el quipo de la municipalidad y así pudimos arreglar alguna de las necesidades que estaban pasando la gente.

Fiesta Rama Funds Signifies Work For Youths
On July 27th, 28th and 29th Orange Walkenos and visitors from across the country flocked to the People’s Stadium where Fiesta Rama 2012 was taking place. The three day event even attracted the business community adding that extra oomph to the entire activity. Fiesta Rama was organized by the Orange Walk Town Council in order to generate funds that would later be used for a special project catering to the youths of Orange Walk. Keeping in line with their pledge of accountability and transparency, today the Orange Walk Town Council released the financial report of Fiesta Rama. “On the income itself we go a total of donations of $3,000 from different businesses. We had income on the booth sales at $4,810. We also got revenue from the marble games of $150.00, mechanical rides we got an income of $5,500, you have a gate sale of $26,084.50 for the three days. The bar sales we have $37,862.05, food vendors contributed $1,102.00. All of these add up to $78,693.55 on revenue for the three days.” Sounds like a lot of money. But the report shows that there were also huge expenses. “We had expense on advertisement $250.00, we had expenses for the bands $4700.25, we paid Bowen $30,735.78. The cultural presentations cost us $3,150.00. The DJ Competition cost us $825.00, DJ services $425.00 and we had to invest in electrical wiring which we did not have before but this is good because next year it is an investment we won’t have to make. The Rock Concert itself cost us $2150.00 and stipends for workers came out to $8,625.00 for the three days. Total expenses came out to $67,797 this left us with a net profit of $10,898.76.”

Work Gets Underway On Avilez Lane and Tangerine Street
If you happen to pass by Avilez Lane and Tangarine Street you might have noticed that work is under way in the area. Both streets will be upgraded under the Belize Municipal Development Project and according to Mayor Kevin Bernard the streets are presently being prepared for paving. “Residents should be aware that they will be seeing works in those areas and I want to take the opportunity at the same time to advice resident’s ling in the area to cooperate with the individuals working in the area because the street will be closed off temporarily due to the heavy equipment’s. In addition the last time I did an interview with you all I informed you that the San Ignacio Street and the Tangerine Street bids were being sent out and I understand that the San Ignacio bid has been accepted and has been awarded to Demar’s Stone Company owned by Denny Grijalva. They are informing us that after the necessary works and insurances have been issued they should be commencing within the next two weeks on San Ignacio Street. Just to update a little in terms of the paving Avilez lane will be hot mix paving and it will not only include Avilez Lane the section, it will also include the a little bit of the crossing on the Queen Victoria Avenue by the traffic light because a lot of vehicular traffic is in the area and then Tangerine Street will be a two coat asphalt.”

OWTC Networking System To Be Upgraded
Falling under the umbrella of the Belize Municipal Development Project is the Revenue Enhancement Program headed by Edmund Zuniga. The program scrutinizes the internal controls set in place by each municipal body and the Orange Walk Town Council is no exception. “I must say proudly that we got a very good response from these consultants on the work that we have done so far on improving the internal controls of this council. Part of the Revenue Enhancement Program is to give the municipalities the necessary resources as you know one part of it is that they have allocated five computers and those computers are now at SIF and will be deployed to the council. I understand that agreements have been made with the person who will be doing the entire networking at all municipalities and I know that by next week we should be getting a scheduled date when that person will be coming into the council to work on our networking system.” Since the council has updated most of their networking system. The computers will be used for the upgrading of the transport department.

Karol Mello Freed of All Charges
Forty two year old Karol Mello has been in and out of the courtroom and since his detention on July 11th in San Pedro; the media has been closely following the developments of the case brought against him by the government of Belize. After arguing in court, Mello’s attorney, Godfrey Smith, managed to get bail for his client. Mello’s series of court appearances ended yesterday morning in the courtroom of Senior Magistrate Linsbert Willis. But Mello is no longer out on bail because Magistrate Willis withdrew the charges of perjury and uttering an invalid passport that was levied against him on August 10th. Mello, the man who is accused of organizing several murders in Slovakia, was released in his homeland last summer due to alleged procedural failings and fled the country. Mello was detained by Belizean authorities on July 11th as a result of a police operation organized by Interpol in cooperation with Slovak police.

LOVE TV

Residents of Crooked Tree Village assaulted by GSU
Some male residents of Crooked Tree village allege that they were victims of brutality under the Gang Suppression Unit. Reporter Patrick Jones and Videographer Brian Castillo travelled to the village and bring you the details in the following report. Late this evening Police Press Officer Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood told Love News that the aggrieved Crooked Tree residents should make their complaints at the Police Special Branch office situated at the Raccoon Street Police Station.

The Sustainable Tourism Program’s Project
We’ve often times heard of five star hotels and the like in first-world countries. Those are the luxurious, top-notch places that we call home away from home. In Belize, the Belize Tourism Board and relevant partners are seeking not necessarily to make five-stars out the 700 hotels in the country, but just to encourage them to upgrade their status to being a little better in the face of a competitive region. To help create the drive among hoteliers to get on board with the idea, the tourism industry has come up with a classification of all in-country inns, motels and hotels. In essence, what this does, according to the Sustainable Tourism Program’s Project Director, Christy Mastry, is lists each hotel in a specific class and this will help in not only exposing them to visitors, but also hold them to the level of expectation that comes with the prestige. And while we sport some pretty posh accommodations, Belize, by international standards, still falls a little short of having a five-star hotel, says Mastry. But with this new initiative, that may change things a bit. Consultations are currently underway and will be for the next several months will hoteliers towards getting onboard with the program and the changes are expectation to gradually take shape over the next two years.

Toledo Rice formers wait for their pay
The Toledo Rice Corn and Beans Producers Association remains concerned about payment of such money owed to Toledo Rice Farmers. Paul Mahung reports

A hit and run incident in the Ranchito Village
Another male person also lost his life to a hit and run accident, but this time it occurred further along the Northern Highway in Ranchito Village. According to police, they visited the scene between Miles eighty one and eighty two on the Northern Highway where they saw the motionless body of a male person lying on the right had side of the road. The man was later identified as thirty two year old Jamar Sutherland, an unemployed resident of number seventy six G Street South, Corozal Town. Initial investigations by police revealed that around 9:20 last night someone in the area heard a loud bang and came out of their home to see the a vehicle speeding away in the distance. The type of vehicle could not be identified since it was already a distance away and police are still investigating. Sutherland’s body was transported to the Corozal Community hospital where it now awaits a post-mortem examination.

Philip Willoughby’s idea to improve the Council’s business
Belize City Councilor, Philip Willoughby, has come up with a plan which he will present to Mayor Darrel Bradley and his fellow Councilors on how to better streamline the business of the Council. Willoughby shared his plan with Love News today. He said that in order for services and better enhancement to take place at the Council, the first thing that needs to change is the departmentalization of the support staff. This would give one member of a particular department in the Council the same authority to execute the duties of any other member from another of the Council’s departments. Willoughby says that if all the procedures are followed, then the changes, if implemented as proposed, should not create any headaches. The plan was derived, according to Willoughby, after much study and after listening to the people that voted in the Belize City Council elections. Willoughby expects to present his plan to the Council at the next caucus this week.

Chopping incident in Dangriga
Two men from the Stann Creek District were hospitalized following separate chopping incidents. Correspondent Harry Arzu has the details

Snake pit found in family’s yard
The recent rains seem to have brought along much more than just flooding some areas. It also brought along some exotic creatures that many people don’t want to be around. This boa constrictor was discovered in a yard at 30 A Iguana Street this morning, already in a decomposing state. It appears that it died while trying to swallow a meal, perhaps one of several neighborhood cats that went missing over the last few weeks This is one of a number of these slithery creatures reportedly roaming an open yard which houses a derelict house. The next door resident, Rita King, told Love News today that her family members are always in the company of snakes, not to their liking. King says that the snakes, which seem to have reproduced in the yard, have had some rude awakenings. This afternoon we called the Sanitation Department at the Belize City Council to inform them of the decomposing snake. Also, Ms King says that she has been told that help is on the way to help with repairing her home. However, she calls on the owner of the open lot and derelict house to cut the overgrown grass so that her slithery co-inhabitants can relocate elsewhere.

Blogs

7 Unique Festivals to Experience in Belize
Nice roundup of festivals in Belize by a very talented writer/photographer... "...From scuba diving to hiking up Mayan ruins or caving like Indiana Jones, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities in Belize. You’re probably thinking that you’ve been there and done that in Central America—perhaps in Costa Rica or Mexico. But more than likely, you haven’t experienced what makes Belize unique from its neighbors: its fusion of Caribbean, African, Latin and Mayan cultures. From a West-Indian style carnival in Belize City to lobster feasts, Garifuna John Canoe dance contests and chocolate celebrations in Punta Gorda, planning a visit around one of the following seven local events will give you unique insight into the melting pot that is Belize—the kind you won’t experience across the border..."

Back In Belize: Strange, Funny, Interesting, Tasty Things I Saw While I Was in Mexico
I'm back home now in San Pedro, Belize after an amazing trip to Mexico. Super fun. Here are some random things that I saw while I was away...Mexico rocks. What is not funny about this? (side street Tulum, Mexico) The items that don't translate so appealingly into English...(Cancun Walmart) Though "Leche de Burra" doesn't really scream "rub on your body" to me either. At least she is nestled on a bed of flowers. The oh-so-close knock-offs for name brand items...(Walmart Cancun) Who needs knock-offs when a real box of Ritz crackers is less than $2 USD? The huge selection of CHEAP veggies, herbs and fruits just 20 miles away from us. Doesn't everyone need fresh chamomile for 8 pesos a kilo? That's probably enough to brew 100,000 cups of tea. Mexicans must have an unparalleled love of yogurt. The selection is massive in all stores...scoopable and drinkable. (Tulum Chedraui) The birthday cake section of the store or Postremania (Dessert Mania). One or two large sheet cakes are left out so that you can buy them by the slice. How many kids have dragged their fingers across these? It's looking good so far...

Island kids treated to a balloon fiesta!
In so many ways the children of Caye Caulker are truly blessed with their barefoot, free spirited life-style that is so charmed. But once in a while we have to give thanks to the tourist/ passers by who wish to share their gifts - be it their talent, their knowledge even their purse to benefit our children! Yesterday was one of those days as Rachel Fournet-Fayard, travelling from Paris, France wished to entertain the kids with her creative and fun talent – balloon shaping! Rachel met up with Adela at the Raggamuffin Tours office two days ago and together they hatched their plan for Adela to hold a kids party for her daughter Joannie the following day. Rachel’s talent is truly beyond what any of us have ever imagined and the kids were amazed at what she created – from Octopus, horses, dogs, fairy wands and hats etc etc. Rachel even allowed the kids to interact with her creative technique and witness how she was able to put together these works of art! If you want to see more of what Rachel’s artwork – please have a look at her website www.rachelanimation.com. Thank Rachel for entertaining our kids all afternoon!!

International Sources

Google Street View now available for Mexico archaeological sites
For travelers who've never been to the ancient Maya city of Chichen Itza, a virtual window into the site's pyramids and plazas is available online, among 30 archaeological zones in Mexico now mapped by history's greatest peeping Tom: Google Street View. From the comfort of a computer, any Internet user anywhere can now zoom in and examine the perfect form of Chichen Itza's Kukulkan pyramid, known also El Castillo, or the Castle. On Google Street View, a viewer can almost feel like they might tumble into the Sacred Cenote, or natural sinkhole, where Maya priests practiced ritual sacrifice. Or imagine cavorting on the Plaza of the Thousand Columns. Or maybe do some souvenir browsing, up close and in intensely high resolution. Google and Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, or INAH, announced the new maps last week. Using a 360-degree camera mounted on a bicycle, Google captured "street views" of other major archaeological sites in Mexico, such as Monte Alban in Oaxaca and Teotihuacan outside Mexico City. Lesser-known Mesoamerican sites are also now mapped by Google Street View, including Tula in the state of Hidalgo and Xochicalco in Morelos.

"Dramatic" New Maya Temple Found, Covered With Giant Faces
Archaeological "gold mine" illuminates connection between king and sun god. Some 1,600 years ago, the Temple of the Night Sun was a blood-red beacon visible for miles and adorned with giant masks of the Maya sun god as a shark, blood drinker, and jaguar. Long since lost to the Guatemalan jungle, the temple is finally showing its faces to archaeologists, and revealing new clues about the rivalrous kingdoms of the Maya. Unlike the relatively centralized Aztec and Inca empires, the Maya civilization—which spanned much of what are now Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico's Yucatán region (Maya map)—was a loose aggregation of city-states. (Read about the rise and fall of the Maya in National Geographic magazine.) "This has been a growing awareness to us since the 1990s, when it became clear that a few kingdoms were more important than others," said Brown University archaeologist Stephen Houston, who announced the discovery of the new temple Thursday. El Zotz, in what's now Guatemala, was one of the smaller kingdoms, but one apparently bent on making a big impression. By 2010 archaeologists working on a hilltop near the ancient city center had discovered 45-foot-tall (13-meter-tall) Diablo Pyramid. Atop it they found a royal palace and a tomb, believed to hold the city's first ruler, who lived around A.D. 350 to 400. Around the same time, Houston and a colleague spotted the first hints of the Temple of the Night Sun, behind the royal tomb on Diablo Pyramid. Only recently, though, have excavations uncovered the unprecedented artworks under centuries of overgrowth.

The Dance Between Belize and Its Bondholders
In Debt August 22, 2012, 3:14 pmComment The Dance Between Belize and Its Bondholders By STEPHEN J. LUBBEN Michael Nagle for The New York Times Jeremy Bales/Bloomberg News Michael Stravato for The New York Times 1 2 3 The streets of Belize are lined with shanties and shacks. Spade: If you kill me, how are you gonna get the bird? And if I know you can’t afford to kill me, how are you gonna scare me into giving it to you? Gutman: Well, sir, there are other means of persuasion besides killing and threatening to kill. Spade: Yes, that’s, that’s true. But – they’re none of ‘em any good unless the threat of death is behind them – do you see what I mean? If you start something, I’ll make it a matter of your having to kill me or call it off. Gutman: (chuckling) That’s an attitude, sir, that calls for the most delicate judgment on both sides. ‘Cause as you know, sir, in the heat of action, men are likely to forget where their best interests lie and that their emotions carry them away. – From the movie “The Maltese Falcon” (1941). This is the dynamic at work in the negotiations between Belize and its bondholders. Really it’s the dynamic in most sovereign debt restructurings. On one level, sovereign debt restructuring is just like corporate debt restructuring. You have bondholders, you have holdout bondholders and you have a debtor that is more worried about surviving today than honoring commitments made long, long ago. On another level, it’s entirely different. Most obviously, there is no bankruptcy code for sovereign nations. But it’s not clear there need be such a mechanism, since sovereign nations have, of course, sovereign immunity. A bondholder can’t get a New York City marshal to issue a levy on the minivan in front of the consulate. So Belize has made an offer to its bondholders, which they have reportedly rejected. The bondholders have no direct way of making Belize pay, but they can make life difficult for Belize in the future, trying to snatch funds that flow through New York and causing no end of political hassles for the country. Moreover, as a relatively small borrower, Belize probably has to worry more about long-term access to the financial markets than a country like Argentina or even Greece. The threat to shut a country like Belize out of the market is far more credible.

Argentina-Style Default Not Belize’s Model, Prime Minister Says
Belize hired the same law firm as Argentina when deciding to push for its second bond restructuring in five years. Prime Minister Dean Barrow wants the comparisons between the countries to end there. Barrow sought yesterday to assuage the concerns of Greylock Capital Management, TCW Group Inc., and other holders of $544 million in bonds after it missed an Aug. 20 coupon payment. His administration is open to all restructuring proposals put forward by investors as long as they lead to “sustainable” debt payments for the $1.4 billion Central American economy, he said in a national address. The 61-year-old premier sent a team of finance officials to Washington to meet with representatives of the U.S. Treasury Department, the International Monetary Fund and Inter-American Development Bank to discuss funding options after missing the $23 million coupon payment. The government is working with New York-based law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLC, which advised Argentina on its two debt restructurings following a 2001 default on $95 billion of bonds.

Belizean PM says "confident" of debt renegotiation
Belize is confident that it can renegotiate its external debt with international bondholders to avoid default, Prime Minister Dean Barrow of the Central American nation said Wednesday. "We are absolutely confident that we will succeed. We are absolutely confident that we can achieve a negotiated solution," reports reaching here from the Belizean capital of Belmopan quoted him as saying. He denied that Belize was approaching default, saying the country was prepared to assume the consequences if current negotiations with bondholders failed. Officials were ready to consider and discuss creditors' proposals, Barrow said, adding that he was "obliged to underscore that Belize's government will only accept a proposal that reflects the country's payment capacity." The prime minister asked for a balanced renegotiation, and rejected the possibility of tax increases demanded by the International Monetary Fund. On Monday, Belize failed to make a scheduled payment of $23 million in interest on a $547-million bond. As the country was already in negotiations with creditors, it escaped "default" labeling. But Belize has to reschedule its debt in a 30-day grace period, until September 19, or it will fall into default.

Taiwanese draftee develops app for Belizean farmers
An Android app designed to calculate the exact amount of fertilizer needed to be applied to crops has been invented by a Taiwanese national who is performing his alternative military service with a technical mission in Belize. Lai Chun-fa, who graduated from the Department of Information Management at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, said Tuesday that the idea was inspired by Cheng Kun-mu, a technician with a Taiwanese agricultural technical mission who has been helping local farmers in the Central American nation for several years. With Cheng's help, Lai learned agricultural knowledge from step one and finally developed his app, the main purpose of which is to help technicians promote the concept of using fertilizer among local framers. Use of the app can allows technicians to calculate the exact amount of fertilizer farmers need to apply to different crops, which could greatly reduce costs and time, he said.

Belize credit rating cut following missed bond payment
On Tuesday, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered its long- and short-term foreign currency sovereign credit ratings on Belize to 'SD' (selective default) from 'CC/C'. At the same time, the agency lowered its rating on Belize's bond due in 2029 to 'D'. The ratings on the government's local currency debt remain at 'CCC+/C'. The recovery rating on Belize's foreign currency debt is '4', indicating an estimated post-default recovery of 30%-50%. The rating action follows the government of Belize's failure to pay the US$23 million semiannual interest coupon due on August 20, 2012, on its US$547 million bond due in 2029. The bond, which has a step-up interest rate, began accruing interest at 8.5% annually in February 2012. Belize, which currently is in debt rescheduling discussions with the creditors of the 2029 bond, initiated a review of its external public debt on March 19 and, on August 8, the government published potential rescheduling scenarios for a distressed debt exchange. Last week, the government announced it would not pay the US$23 million (an estimated 6% of government revenues and 1% of GDP) interest payment due on August 20.

August 22, 2012

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The San Pedro Sun

Western Regional Hospital to be officially certified as Mother–Baby Friendly Hospital
The Ministry of Health and the United Nations Children’s fund (UNICEF) is pleased to announce that Western Regional Hospital is the latest hospital to have met the necessary international requirements to be certified as Mother – Baby Friendly Hospital. The Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin is especially proud of this achievement as Western Regional Hospital is the sixth hospital within the country to have met all criteria in the promotion, protection and support to successful breastfeeding. No private hospital has yet to achieve this certification. The Mother and Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (MBFHI) is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to encourage and recognize hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding. Breastfed infants have a decreased risk of diarrhea, respiratory, ear infections, and allergic skin disorders among others. The MBFHI is an effort to ensure that all hospitals become centers for breastfeeding support. The maternity facility becomes “Baby Friendly” when it has successfully implemented 10 specific steps to support successful breastfeeding.

If we want to change our society, we need to report crime!
I am of the strong opinion that no crime is a perfect crime. When a crime is committed there is always someone other than the criminal that knows what has happened. Lately, there have been numerous burglaries in and around San Pedro Town and by all appearances it seems that our society has seen nothing. One of the most appalling acts was the break-in at the Lions’ Den a few weeks ago, and since then the burglaries continue; a dive shop almost opposite the Lions’ Den was burglarized, various businesses in the town core were burglarized as recently as this weekend, and even the office of the San Pedro Tourists Guide Association was broken into. The criminals storm into these places, break parts of the structure and without any regard for the hard working owners, they shamelessly walk away with the belongings of others, and they remain unreported. It is a fact that at one end of this criminal act is another part of our society, those that buy these stolen items without any consideration to the real owners or the law for that matter. There is also the part of society that just “don’t give a damn” and would see a crime committed and play as if they haven’t “seen or heard” anything. But then this is the same sector of society that cries and condemns the law enforcement agencies for not dismantling drug rings and wants to see the so called “crack heads” and “drug addicts” be dealt with. Well guess what? It will never happen as long as we as a society keep harboring these thieves. It will never happen until we stop buying those stolen items from the criminals who steal to support their addiction – or merely do so because they prefer it to an honest day’s work. And it will never stop as long as we don’t make it our goal to report any suspicious activity every single time we see something ‘fishy’ happening.

Ambergris Today

Vote for National Song Competition, September Celebrations
September is almost here and Belizeans from far and near will be celebrating the 31st Anniversary of our Independence and the 214th Anniversary of The Battle of St. George's Caye. The time has come once again for everybody to vote for their favorite National Song for this year’s September Celebrations. There are nine finalists in the patriotic song category, six finalists in the carnival song category and three junior entries. Finalists include M.I.K., Dennis Requena, Devon Jones, Nello Player, Noel Lee Castillo, Patrick McPherson, Leroy “Boss” Castillo, Timothy Martinez and Joseph Villafranco - for the patriotic finalists. For the carnival finalists there is TR Burgess, Mr. Program, Ray Good, Sharon Martinez, Salus Magaña and Boss Lady. For junior category there is Tara Gill, Bernard Cayetano and Morelia Pop. You can listen to all the song entries and then vote for your favorite at www.mynationalsong.bz. You are allowed to vote once for each song in all the different categories. So listen to them all and cast your vote on the ones you like.

Slovakian Accused of Ties with Mafia is Set Free in San Pedro
There are currently no criminal charges whatsoever pending against Mr. Karol Mello, an alleged crime boss in Central Europe, who was detained in July in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, due to extradition order issued by the Government of Belize and subsequent immigration charges brought forward by the Immigration Department. The month-long legal saga involving 42-year-old Karol Mello, since his detention in San Pedro, moved to the Belmopan Magistrate Court where it culminated on Monday, August 20, 2012, in the courtroom of Senior Magistrate Linsbert Willis. Two charges, perjury and uttering upon an invalid passport, levied upon Mello immediately following an order by Supreme Court Justice Oswell Legall to have him set free on August 10, were subsequently withdrawn when he presented himself in court. The charge of uttering upon an invalid passport was dismissed by the magistrate and the prosecution withdrew the other charge of perjury.

Court Says Government Owes ACES for Riot Damages to Property
The Roses got a lawyer and sued the government for permitting a riot to ensue which destroyed their property. Under the Riot Compensation Act, the government is responsible for damages that arise during a riot. Supreme Court by Justice Oswell Legall agreed with the Rose's Attorney Agnes Segura - Gillett and found that the government is liable. Agnes Segura stated to the Belize City media that the court handed down its decision that there was a finding of a riot on that September 5, 2010. The Roses now still have to prove their case with regards as to how much will be awarded to them. The three structures that were destroyed included the Rose’s home and two guest houses that were used for students who came to study about crocodiles. They also had all of their household possessions destroyed, including vehicles. They are seeking about $907,000Bze plus in compensation. That determination is yet to be made as to how much would be awarded. What has been determined already is that the Rose's properties were destroyed as a result of a riotous assembly and that the government is responsible to pay compensation to the Rose's. According to Segura, "The whole reasoning behind the riots compensation act is that the state is deemed to be responsible to ensure that people's properties are safe - that people lives are safe and there were rumors beforehand that the villagers intended to go to burn down the sanctuary to look for the children there.” The police indicated that they did all they could to prevent the incident, but the Roses think otherwise.

Schools Receive Truckloads Of Landfill From Town Council
The San Pedro Town Council is delivering truckloads of white sand to most schools on the island, to those who need it. The work started yesterday, Monday, August 20, 2012, with the delivery of ten truck-loads (8 yards of sand each) to the New Horizon Academy compound in the Escalante Subdivision. Streets in the surrounding area of New Horizon were just recently upgraded to ensure that children were not walking through puddles each morning during their commute to school. The school yard was also in much need of land fill and the sand could not have come at a better time for New Horizon.

Belize in Prelimenary Stage of National Classification System For Hotels And Tour Operators
The Sustainable Tourism Program (STP) and the Quality Assurance Department at the BTB is in its preliminary stage of executing a “Belize National Classification System for Hotels and Tour Operators”. The system’s overall goal is to define realistic classifications with clear definitions and minimum standards as basic mandatory licensing requirements for each recommended class. “This is a great opportunity for Belize to take the lead in destination competitiveness,” stated Terry Wright, Tourism/Environment Project Coordinator at the STP. “The firm Tourism and Leisure Europraxis has been awarded the consultancy to develop a classification scheme for accommodation facilities and tour operators throughout the country based on international standards but adapted to the country’s reality. It is intended that the scheme will guide and incentivize the hotel and tour operator industry by promoting excellence as a national priority. It will also serve as a valuable marketing tool.”

Art in the Park – Arts and Craft Exhibition
San Pedro House of Culture presents “Art in the Park – Arts and Craft Exhibition” Thursday, August 30th and Friday, August 31st 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. San Pedro Central Park Music by: Man at Work, Special C, Barry’s Cultural Band, MeloCat, Ras Tabu and Garifuna Drummers Artists: Papo, Terryl, Gomez, Kinishu, Linarez, Robby, Modesto, Chiquitin, Melody, Ricky, Dimas and many more.

Belize’s Obsession with Tacos
I have always heard that Orange Walk Town has the best tacos in Belize. My friends rave about them, I keep seeing posts on Facebook about how great they are and everybody who makes their way through the town seems to make a mandatory stop for tacos! I, for one, had only heard about the delicious Orange Walk tacos until a few weeks ago when I had them for the first time. Needless to say, they were delicious. And Belizeans are also used to having tacos for breakfast. Yes! Some people cannot function without a morning order of $3 dollar tacos, much like those who crave their Johnny Cakes, Fry Jacks or flour tortillas. I had been hearing about Neri’s Tacos for ages here in San Pedro, but never managed to make it to the small taco shop which probably whips out over 1,000 tacos every day. The small eatery gained so much popularity on the island that people waited in lines to get their favorite tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Unfortunately a devastating fire burnt down their place about a year ago, but with much support from the community, they got back on their feet and opened back up.

Misc Belizean Sources

VIDEO: Sunrise at Half Moon Caye
Sunrise Timelapse at Half Moon Caye, Lighthouse Reef, Belize. July 2012

Rice & Beans with Brown Rice
Rice and beans are a Belizean's staple food. Usually it's made with long grained white rice and red kidney beans. In this video Joe show us how to make this meal healthier, by using brown rice instead of white. As usual, this meal is exquisite because it's made with coconut milk.

Belize Youth Awards Nominations
Now is the time to nominate outstanding youths for the Belize Youth Awards. Nominations can be made until September 3rd. You can email them at [email protected] Good luck to all youths! "The Belize Youth Award is a prestigious national honor bestowed on outstanding young Belizeans from age 15 to 29 who demonstrated high standards of achievement and commitment within their various fields. The categories are: Sports, medial, Citizenship, Arts and Culture, Mentally and Physically Challenged, Youth Ministers Entrepreneurship and Academic Excellence. The nominees come from all districts across the country. The targeted age cohort is representative of the group for which programs are planned and implemented by the Youth Department of Belize also known as Youth for the Future."

VIDEO: Hidden Valley MPR 4x4 Race
Here's the promo for the Hidden Valley 4x4 offroad race that is this Saturday, the 25th of August. It has some good shots of the rough terrain and off roading that the teams have to navigate through to win. Teams will have to complete 100 kilometers through Mountain Pine Ridge. See you there!

Caves Branch Botanical Gardens
Caves Branch has botanical gardens too. Been there yet? Cayo gets more attractions every month. "Have you been to our botanical Gardens? Its a beautiful place where you can learn about local flora and even see some fauna!"

Escandar Bedran Family Hotel Scholarship Recipient
Congratulations to Edmund Bennett, for receiving a scholarship to Sacred Heart Junior College, where he is pursuing a degree in Tourism Management. He is the first scholarship recipient. Thanks go out to the SIRH for implementing this scholarship. Good luck, Edmund! "Edmund Junior Bennett is the fourth of five children of Ms. Lydia Garcia (single parent) who is an employee of the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. Edmund is pursuing tertiary level studies in Tourism at the Sacred Heart Junior College. The staff is excited to be mentors to this promising young man and has pledged to offer their guidance and full support."

Maybelline Launch in Cayo
Maria Estella teamed up with Maybelline to bring their product to Cayo. They had a launch party at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. Will Moreno was there to take some amazing pictures of the event. "Maybelline New York Launch in San Ignacio, Cayo District of Belize. All photos by: Will Moreno Location: San Ignacio Hotel Myabelline Distributor and Sales in Belize: Maria Estella Recinos

Lucky Boy's Fund Raiser BBQ
Feelgood news of the day. The BBQ fund raiser for Lucky Boy, the jaguar rescued from the resort down south - which mysteriously burned to the ground last week - was fun and raised not only some much needed money, but raised awareness of Lucky Boy's plight. He should be fine. There are 5 days left to donate money online on indiegogo. http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/187353 "Again, we all thank our Lucky Boy BBQ supporters for the splendid help on Saturday. The future for Lucky Boy is a bright one, thanks to such a magnificent show of caring solidarity!"

Channel 7

Opposition Leader Speaks On Bond Restructuring
By now, everyone knows that the government of Belize did not make the 46 million dollar Superbond payment that was due yesterday. International bondholders are up in arms, but there haven't been howls of protest on the domestic front because the debt restructuring team led by Economic Ambassador Mark Espat engaged the social partners - everyone from NTUCB to the Chamber to COLA - to explain what would happen before it happened. It seems everyone was invited to the party except the opposition. And that's why the PUP Party Leader seems to be in a sort of quandary: he wants to be consulted, but beyond that, he can hardly argue with the restructuring exercise; after all, the 543 million dollar Superbond comprises commercial debts incurred between 1999 to 2006 - and for most of that period, Fonseca was part of the Musa Administration. So, the original Superbond and now Superbond 2.0 is kind of cleaning up the mess made during the PUP's terms in office - and maybe that's why when we spoke to Fonseca today he was circumspect about the missed Superbond payment - but still demanded consultation:.. Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "We have not been consulted at all on this matter. We have not been briefed at all on this matter as the 14 elected members of the opposition. As the leader of the opposition I have heard absolutely nothing from the Prime Minister or from anybody in the government on this matter. We have received no official briefing. What we know is what we heard from you on the television news or what we gather from the internet from the Central Bank website and that kind of thing."

Taiwanese Vice President Finishes Official Visit to Belize
Taiwanese Vice President Wu Den-yih concluded his three day official visit to Belize today. This afternoon at 1:00 his motorcade left for the Phillip Goldson International where he was greeted by members of the Taiwanese community. And while he had support from his people - from a media perspective, his official visit was relatively low profile - and 7news was the only independent media at the airport when he left. Minister of Foreign Affairs Sedi Elrington saw him off and we asked him what came out of the visit. Here's what he told Daniel Ortiz:.. Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs "He has just boarded the plane and the last word that the ambassador said to me was that he was very happy. He thought that he had a very successful trip to Belize." Daniel Ortiz "Can you tell us a little bit about the meetings that you guys had as the top level ministers?" Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs "We had a very meeting really. It was really one of getting to know each other very briefly and then just to express our appreciation with the nature of the relationship which we had with Taiwan - we see it as a partnership whereby we assist them and we assist them in terms of their own conflict with China and the support we give them in the United Nations and other forum and they assist us in terms of our developmental programs.

Alleged Drug Traffickers To Court
Yesterday, 7News told you about the GSU raid on Kelly Street which led to the discovery a large quantity of marijuana. Today, the people who the officers busted with the drugs were taken to Magistrate's Court. According to GSU, they executed a search at a house located at #1 Kelly Street. Present at the time were the 3 residents, 29 year-old Latoya Price, 38 year-old Michelle Henry, and 41 year-old Francis Gill. The officers found a transparent plastic bag which contained 230 grams of cannabis inside the house, and as result, they were jointly charged with drug trafficking. Today, they were arraigned before Magistrate Aretha Ford where they all pleaded not guilty.

Foreign Minister: We Need More Extradition Treaties
Yesterday, we told you about the end of the saga to expel reputed Slovakian gangster Karol Mello. There has been no official explanation as to why the case was aborted so abruptly yesterday at the Belmopan Magistrate's Court. We asked Attorney General Wilfred Elrington about the case and what it means for future cases where other countries ask for criminals to be handed over to them - without a formal extradition treaty. Here's what he told us about the solution to that issue and what role the Office of the DPP played in yesterday's proceedings. Hon. Wilfred Elrington "The attorney general has no responsibility for the director of public persecutions. She really has kind of autonomy - she acts on her own advice really. I did not hear of it before you raise it with me. Actually I have not been listening to the news, so I would not be able to add to that." "What needs to happen is for us to enter into a treaty with all the countries that we can enter into treaties with which would allow for us to do that. Countries have to act with legal authority. Legal authorities is vested in countries through treaties, so what we will have to do is to try to expand the treaties that we have with those countries that we don't have treaties with for extradition. That's about all we could do."

PUP's UWG Urges Action Against Principal Willacey
School at Belmopan Baptist High starts on Friday and still the school management has not announced what it will do about Principal Norman Willacey. As has been well publicized - Willacey is being accused of an inappropriate relationship with a 16 year old student dating back to March of this year. And while the Management hems and haws, the PUP's United Women's Group has come out swinging. A release from that group says, quote: "The UWG finds this report against this individual very disturbing. At a time when our young people are faced with lack of opportunities and positive role models, those in positions of authority entrusted as the guardians of the welfare of our children and youth, must not betray this trust for their own selfish gratification." End quote. The UWG also calls on the Ministry of Education, the Belize Association of High School Principals, the Baptist Association of Belize and the Belize Council of Churches to deal with the matter decisively.

Leon Pinks: I Am No Criminal
Over the weekend, there was a shooting in Orange Walk Town, which left 2 men injured. They are 18 year-old Henry Lozano, and 24 year-old Juan Ku. According to police they were riding their bicycles on Santa Familia Street when a man rode up and fired several shots at them. Lozano suffered injuries to the left upper chest, left ribcage, the right hand and left forearm, while Ku suffered a single gunshot wound to the right rib cage. Police are investigating the matter, but yesterday, the Police Press Officer called the names of 2 men who were detained. For context, we'll air the section of that press conference from yesterday, in which Yearwood spoke of the incident. Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood - Police Press Officer "Police visited the Northern Regional Hospital where they Henry Javier Lozano, 18 years, suffering from gunshots wounds to the upper chest, left rib cage, right hand and left forearm. They also saw Juan Ku, 24 years, laborer of Orange Walk Town, suffering from a single gunshot wound to the right rib cage."

Poor 2012 C-SEC Grades
Every year we report on the PSE - and this year, it was about how the grades may be trending up - ever so slightly. But we haven't told you about the C-SEC, what used to be call the CXC exam for those finishing high school. All over the Caribbean - the results have raised alarms because only 33 per cent of the those sitting the Mathematics exam achieved Grades I - III. This is down from 35 percent in 2011, and 41 percent in 2010. That downturn was also evident in Belize where grades were down in English A, Mathematics and Principles of Accounts where the results were also down from the previous two years. We can't say down by how much, because the Ministry of Education has not provided comparative figures - nor has it disclosed what percentage of students passed and with what grade. But in Jamaica that figure is 31.7% - which has caused the Education minister in that country to point out that there is a gross deficiency in trained teachers.

Will Memorial Park Be Ready for September Celebrations?
Over the last couple months, the Fort Point Facelift, which is part of the Sustainable Tourism Project, has been underway, and the first phase of project is almost finished. But, the beginning of September Celebrations is only 3 weeks away, and if you've passed by the Memorial Park recently, you're probably thinking that it won't be ready in time for the ceremonies which are traditionally staged there. And it's kind of tough to even conceive of the Tenth Day Ceremony, the 20th night Flag Raising and other festivities being hosted anywhere else! So, today, we spoke to the project coordinator, and we asked if it will be ready in time. Here's what she told us: Christy Mastry, Sustainable Tourism Project "Right now we are kind of in the final phase prepping the front area the stage and plaza in front of the stage and some of the open space hardscapes for the September celebrations. As we know it's been on everybody's mind - will it be ready and the answer is yes. As you can see the stage is well underway. We'll be putting roofing structure and the actual corrugated metal later this week. We have electricity running temporary through the park but we will have the stage electrified by September 9th celebrations for everything that will be happening on the stage and you can see we can walk through later on and you can take some video of the red brick pavers that will be going in as well as the concrete slab that's in front to accommodate over 200 seated guests under the tent that we have on the 9th ceremonies during the day."

2012 September Celebrations Calendar
And so, the park will be ready for September ninth - but not before that - meaning that a few of the events which are usually staged there will now be moved to other locations. The September Celebrations Calendar was released yesterday and it features all of the usual official events such as the official launch of the Celebrations on September second at St. George's Caye. But the fun begins before that - with the National Patriotic and Carnival Song Competition on this Saturday, August 25th at the MCC Grounds. Co-Chair of the Celebrations Commission Dianne Haylock outlined some of the more festive events for us:.. Dianne Haylock, Co-Chair of the Celebrations Commission "The first activity really is the national song competition which takes place this coming Saturday at the MCC Grounds; that is the national patriotic and carnival song competition. People have made their submissions in the patriotic category as well as the carnival category. That includes juniors and seniors. So that takes place at 7 this Saturday 25th August at MCC Grounds."

Black Guaybera Concert To Finish School Tour
It is called the Strong Youth Tour - and it features some of Belize's most talented artists. Since May 29, artists such as Nello Player, Jenko Veli, Denise and Jackie Castillo along with poets from Youth Voices have been staging concerts at schools countrywide. But they'll take it to the big stage on September 1st, when the tour hits the big stage at the BTL Park in a concert called the Black Guayabera, Strong Youth Concert. Today 7news sat down with a couple of the artists who explained the tour to us and spoke a bit about next weekend's concert. Jenko Veli, artist "The tour is collaboration between Pocono Boy and Global Parish, so far it's been extremely successful. We put together the tour and so far we've made it to E.P. Yorke, ACC, Wesley College, St. Catherine's and we intend to head out district to play for other schools." "The tour includes myself, Nello Player and will soon include Denise and Jackie Castillo all bank by the live band "Remaining"."

Channel 5

GSU and 20 Crooked Tree residents clash
There is an alarming report coming from Crooked Tree tonight. At least twenty persons are claiming that they were brutalized and violated by the Gang Suppression Unit. The alleged abuse went so far that one of the victims says he was peppered sprayed on his private parts when the GSU went on a wild rampage, [...]

Baptist won’t make decision on principal’s sex scandal soon enough
The mother of the sixteen year old girl who was in a relationship with the principal of the Baptist High School met with the Baptist Board on Saturday. The outcome of the meeting was not what she expected. Instead of finding comfort that the pastor and counselor would in the least be suspended, the board [...]

Mother of 16 year old minor wants campaign to change age of consent
Late this evening the People’s United Party’s women’s group also sent a release regarding the situation. It says, “the People’s United Party is appalled by the recent reports of sexual misconduct of adult men with minors, by persons in positions of trust and authority; and in particular by the matter involving the Principal and Pastor [...]

Shake your tail feather; chicken price gone up!
Two dollars and thirty eight cents would have bought you a pound of chicken on Monday, but not today; the price for the favorite protein on dinner tables is now two dollars and forty-eight cents per pound. It is anticipated that the increase in chicken prices will be across the board; for Quality Poultry Products, [...]

Does Superbond nonpayment economically impacts your life?
Tonight’s question is: Do you think that the non-payment of the super bond will have an economic impact on your life? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote on our e-poll at channel5belize.com. You can also send an email with your comments to [email protected]

Superbond restructure talks resound locally and internationally
Locally, the private sector says it is in favor of the restructuring of the Superbond and that the government must pay its debts. The opposition has asked the prime minister the nation and says it wasn’t consulted when the government decided not to pay the twenty-three million US dollar coupon. But internationally, the Superbond continues [...]

Croc Couple sues government under Riot Act and wins
Two years after their crocodile sanctuary was destroyed by an angry mob, Vincent and Cherie Rose are rebounding. The couple lost everything when their property was set on fire in Toledo when two children, who were never found, disappeared without a trace. The Roses moved to San Pedro to pick up the pieces and rebuilt [...]

Gift of Life saving heart surgery for kids
A month ago we told you about the successful open heart surgeries carried out by Dr. Adrian Coye at the K.H.M.H; they were the first in the history of Belize. Well, Dr. Coye has done it again; with the assistance of Dr. Paul Chai of the U.S.A, he carried out three successful pediatric heart surgeries. [...]

Volleyball team gets bronze medal and advances
The Belize Senior Women’s Volleyball Team returned on Monday from the World Championship Qualification Tournament, held in Panama City. And they didn’t come back empty handed; the team placed third and brought home the bronze trophy, a first for the country in female volleyball. According to the coach and President of the Belize Volleyball Association, [...]

Black Guayabera Tour goes to school
Black Guayabera is the unusual name for a concert that takes place next weekend in Belize City. It is being staged by Jenko Veli whose music has been capturing the essence of a decadent society. Veli’s message was inspired by the grim daily news which he has turned around to bring positive vibes to vulnerable [...]

Who will be the next Superstar?
Be the Next Superstar, starts within an hour live from the Bliss in downtown Belize City. The show has taken the town by storm and if you won‘t be a part of the live audience then sit back and get ready for tonight’s episode and follow it either on streaming video or by posting your [...]

LOVE FM

Corozal Police Investigate Hit and Run
Another man lost his life in a hit and run accident, but this time it occurred further along the Northern Highway in Ranchito Village in the Corozal District. According to police, they visited the scene between Miles eighty one and eighty two on the Northern Highway where they sa...

City Councilor Proposes Plan for Enforcement in the City
Belize City Councilor, Philip Willoughby, has come up with a plan which he will present to Mayor Darrel Bradley and his fellow Councilors on how to better streamline the business of the Council. Willoughby shared his plan with Love News today. He said that in order for serv...

Fatal Hit and Run In Ladyville
A man was killed in a traffic accident in Ladyville on Friday night shortly before eight o’clock. Police investigations revealed that fifty eight year old Ruperto Alvarez of Barrier Reef Crescent in Ladyville was crossing the road heading toward the Shell One Stop Gas Stati...

PUP's United Women's Group Comments on Recent Reports of Sexual Misconduct
On Monday the Ministry of Education issued a statement on allegations of an inappropriate relationship between the Principal of the Belmopan Baptist High School, Norman Willacy and a student under his care. Today the United Women’s Group of the People’s United Party i...

Gang Suppression Unit Accused of Police Brutality
Some residents of Crooked Tree village are alleging that they were victims of brutality under the Gang Suppression Unit. Reporter Patrick Jones is in the village and filed the following report. PATRICK JONES Senior News Reporter Love FM “Residents of Crooked...

Father of Two Killed on His Steps
A father of two young children was executed on Sunday night in Belize City. Thirty-three year old Felix Godoy, also known as “Munchie” was shot dead while sitting on the back steps of his house at 6572 Corner Doris Brooks Street and Boots Crescent. The employee ..

LOVE TV

Murder in the Belize city
Marion Ali reports on the city murder. A family is looking for answers following the execution of their loved one in a brutal attack on Sunday night in Belize City. Reporter Marion Ali and video journalist Brian Castillo went looking for answers.

Galen’s Graduation
Galen’s Graduates marches up. On Sunday the San Ignacio Resort was the venue for the graduation ceremonies for Galen University. Certificates were presented to seventy graduates who pursued studies at the Associates, Bachelor and Master’s Degree levels. At the start of Sunday’s graduation, Dr. Lydia Balderamos Loskot was introduced as the University’s new interim President. Dr. Loskot told the graduates that Galen University continues to play a key role affording higher education to all Belizeans. Keynote speaker at yesterday’s graduation, Minister of Education Patrick Faber said that he and his ministry have high confidence in Galen University to provide a solid, higher education to all who enroll in its programs. The Minister used a big part of his presentation to encourage the graduates to keep reaching for their dreams. Also during yesterday’s graduation, a honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree was conferred on Senator Godwin Hulse.

Flowers Bank headed to national women’s championship
The twenty second National Women’s Softball Championship is set to take place this coming weekend in Belize City. It will feature teams from Belize City, Cayo and Belize River Valley area. One of the proud participants in the competition is the team from Flowers Bank, who after several years as runner up the Belize Rural competition, this year prevailed against Sand Hill to claim the championship. Margaret Lockwood is the team pitcher and the driving force behind the team that’s headed to the big stage this weekend. The National Women’s Softball Championship will be played at the Roger’s Stadium in Belize City. The competition is headed by Tournament Director Edison Parks, assisted by Jerjett Thompson. The Umpire in Chief for the games is Joel Westby.

Robbery in the Belize Red Cross building
Two years ago someone set fire to the Belize Red Cross headquarters building on Handyside Street and caused severe damages to the structure, equipment and supplies for the needy. Now the organization is reeling from yet another attack. This time, it was thieves who broke into the building over the weekend and who managed to escape police detection because they entered through the roof of the building. Director General of the Belize Red Cross, Lily Bowman, said that the burglars removed equipped worth around thirty-five thousand dollars. Red Cross officials made the distressing discovery when they showed up for work today. The crafty thieves did not stir any attention because of the way they entered the building. This is the third time in recent memory that the Belize Red Cross has suffered at the hands of criminals. Bowman says that just last week the building was targeted again by someone who was caught helping himself to food from the kitchen, and she feels that they are being deliberately targetted. While the setback will significantly delay the work of the organization, their major setback is the loss of the records stored on the computers that were stolen.

Over the weekend killing and drugs
Sunday night’s murder of Felix Godoy is not the only incident that the police have on their hands. At their regular Monday morning conference, Police Press Officer, Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood, shed some light into a shooting that occurred early on Saturday morning in Orange Walk Town. There was also a drug bust last Friday, according to Yearwood, during which a stash of cocaine weighing almost eight pounds was confiscated from a vehicle on the Northern Highway an five persons were charged with drug trafficking. There was also a stabbing incident in Punta Gorda Town, as Yearwood informed. There were other unofficial reports reaching our various newsrooms of incidents that Yearwood could not, for lack of information, confirm.

The Muslim celebration known as Ramadan comes to an end
The Muslim celebration known as Ramadan ended on Sunday. Muslims in Belize joined over a billion of their brothers and sisters around the world in observing the thirty days of fasting. During the observance of Ramadan Muslims refrain from eating food or drinking water during daylight hours, or typically from four in the morning until six thirty in the evening. Ramadan ended on Sunday with the spotting of the new moon, and a joyous celebration marking the breaking of the fast was held at the Mosque on Central American Boulevard. Iman Kaleem El-Amin conducted the prayers at the Eid al-Fitr. The annual observance of Ramadan is regarded as one of the five pillars of Islam.

The welfare of employees of Belize Sugar Industries
Last Friday we reported on new developments within the Belize Workers Union, the Union looking after the welfare of employees of Belize Sugar Industries. The newly elected Chairman of Union,… told Love News there are a number of issues to be taken up with the factory’s management. Reporter Arturo Cantun has the story.

Taiwan’s VP visits Belize
The vice president of the Republic of China, Taiwan Wu Den-yih is in on an official visit to Belize. Vice president Wu arrived at the Phillip Goldson International Airport on Saturday morning at the tail end of a twelve day visit to Latin America. During a press conference and speaking through an interpreter, vice president Wu said Belize and Taiwan share a lot in common. On hand to welcome VP Wu to Belize on Saturday morning were Governor General Sir Colville Young and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfed Elrington. This morning vice president Wu traveled to Belmopan for a meeting with Prime Minister Dean Barrow.

PlusTV

Unions unhappy, give GOB deadline to seal the deal!
Representatives of three of the more influential unions appeared on Rise and Shine this morning to publicize their ...

PlusNews interviews Ministry of Education on Willacey Accusations
The fallout of the Norman Willacey scandal has very serious implications. And although PLusnews has had some diffic...

Attorney Arthur saldivar responds to Gentry Allegations
Attorney at Law Arthur Saldivar is no stranger to the media. He has been in the political lime light and he has rep...

Mega Bingo gives Four- year scholarships; recants after One year
On June 3rd of last year, ten primary school students entering high school were awarded tuition scholarships by J.D...

More Training for Women interested in Politics
The Belize Women Political Caucus (BWPC) held a one-day retreat on Saturday, August 18, in Dangriga. Participating ...

Emerson Trapp receives 5 years for firearm offences
Emerson Trapp of Belize City has received a 5 year sentence. The 25 year old was convicted of firearms offences in ...

GSU arrest and charge Eight for drug Trafficking
Eight persons were arrested and charged with drug trafficking after GSU raided a yard they were in. Last week Wedne...

Teacher accused of fondling two little girls
A school teacher is facing a charge of indecent assault against two little girls. The 32 year old teacher has been ...

Two men on bikes shot in Orange Walk Town.
Two men were shot in Orange Walk. On Saturday night, 18 year old Henry JAVIER LOZANO and 24 year old Juan Ku were r...

Belize Women's volleyball team wins Bronze
Last week Tuesday, the Belize Senior Women's Volleyball Team travelled to Panama City to compete as part of Group G...

Amandala

Driver sleeping in truck murdered for $3,000
Fernando Quib, 33, a truck driver from San Vicente village in Toledo, was killed in Orange Walk Town on Thursday after being shot several times in what is believed to be an armed robbery. Police said [...]

$25,000 worth of cocaine found floating at sea
Twelve packs of pure cocaine weighing around 25 kilograms were handed over to the Dangriga police at the Stann Creek Town pier by the Belize Coast Guard in Dangriga around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 19. [...]

Youth and murder statistics
To date in 2012 there have been 92 murders, exceeding the record paces set at this point in 2010 and 2011, when there were 131 and 123 murders, respectively, for the entire year. After eight consecutive [...]

Veteran football star Ruperto passes away
We received the shocking news yesterday that early on Friday night, former football star of the 1970’s Ruperto “Puerto” Alvarez, known in his prime as the “Frogman” because of his acrobatic performances in goal for a number of top rated football teams in the Belize City 1st Division competition, had passed away as a result of a hit and run accident on the Northern Highway. Our sincere condolences from the sports desk to the family of our football brother, Ruperto “the Frogman” Alvarez. R.I.P.

Keith still “Superman,” Tuff E Nuff wins IBL Championship
The game 5 postponement and additional rest due to the threat from Tropical Storm Ernesto may have favored the veteran legs of Tuff E Nuff’s Keith “Superman” Acosta, who was a monster on the boards for [...]

Belize Volleyball wins Bronze
The Belize Senior Women’s Volleyball Team won Bronze at the World Championship Qualification Tournament, Group G, held in Panama City, Panama this past weekend. This is a first for Belize’s [...]

Editorial: A debt of gratitude
Today, Monday, August 20, the Belize government was due to make a $46 million coupon payment on the Super Bond. But one week ago they indicated to the bondholders and the world, via press release, that they would not be able to make the payment. A couple weeks ago, the government had laid out three different restructuring scenarios to the bondholders – this, after months of consultations. The bondholders balked; they found the proposed scenarios disappointing. They were not going to voluntarily come to the table, it seems. But once the government announced they could not pay, and in fact do not pay today, the bondholders, we believe, will have to relent and come to the negotiating table. They cannot run the risk of not getting anything, as would essentially be the case in the event of an official default. Today’s non-payment does not constitute a default. That would be so constituted in 30 days, by September 19, just in time for our Independence anniversary, if the government and a majority of the bondholders fail to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Both sides cannot court failure, so the ensuing 30 days will be a poker match, a test of steely nerves.

From The Publisher
Bob Marley flew from Kingston, Jamaica, to Wilmington, Delaware in February of 1966, the day after marrying Rita Anderson Marley. Bob’s mother, Cedella, had migrated to Delaware, was married there, and had been pressuring her son to leave Kingston. When the U.S. Army tried to draft him for the Vietnam War in October of that year, however, Nesta went home immediately. There were many young men from Belize (as from Jamaica and other Caribbean islands), nevertheless, who felt that going back home was a waste of time, and they decided to try their luck with Uncle Sam. Throughout human history, the military has been an institution which offers opportunities for brave young men from the base of the social pyramid. In America in the mid-1960s, my generation saw that first hand when the mighty America began to scramble to get bodies for the rice paddies in Southeast Asia. Bob Marley’s decision to return home to poverty-stricken Jamaica, incidentally, was not a problem with bravery. Bob Marley was a tough guy on the Kingston streets, which are as tough as they come. He had a street fighter reputation from youth. This column is not about Bob Marley, It is about how successful black men have been in the Yucatán area going way back to the middle of the sixteenth century, with the military (militias) being the most notable vehicle for their upward mobility, as documented in the research of Penn State professor Matthew Restall.

Unemployment rate, 14.4%, highest on record in 14 years
Half the labor force not literate, survey says BELIZE CITY, Mon. Aug. 20, 2012 The latest labor force survey indicates that unemployment rates have surpassed the record set in 1998, meaning that they are the highest [...]

Vincent and Cherie Rose sue GOB for destroyed ACES property
In September of 2010, villagers of San Marcos, Toledo District, out searching for missing children Benjamin and Onelia Rash, were convinced that American couple Vincent and Cherie Rose, who operated the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary, ACES, just outside of Punta Gorda Town, had something to do with their disappearance. As a result, the home and business of the Roses, now based in Ladyville, was burnt to the ground, forcing them to relocate, but the children have never been found. The couple has sued the Government of Belize, charging that they lost $907,380.71 in property including buildings, household possessions, and vehicles, because police failed to ensure that the situation with the rioters did not escalate to the point where the aggrieved villagers felt they had to take justice into their own hands, leading to the loss of that property. Attorney representing the Roses, Agnes Segura-Gillett, said that the suit, heard by Supreme Court Justice Oswell Legall, was filed to determine both the issue of liability and compensation. On the matter of liability, the applicants had to prove that a riotous assembly as defined in the Riots Compensation Act, Cap. 338 of the Laws of Belize, occurred – that is, persons were assembled with the purpose of committing a riot as defined in the Criminal Code, and if such liability was proven, then the matter of compensation would be determined.

Jessel Lauriano crowned Miss Earth Belize 2012 – 2013
A new Miss Earth Belize was crowned Saturday night at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts, and she is Jessel Lauriano. A total of four contestants — Katalina Jones, Claudia Lara, Jessel Lauriano, and Idolly Saldivar, vied for the coveted title, with the winner to represent Belize in Bali, Indonesia. Jessel was the third of the four contestants to step onto the stage, and when she did, she did so with great confidence, displaying her costume made of environmentally friendly materials, including coconuts. Idolly also came out strong in the beginning, and immediately, it was clear that the fight for the crown would be between these two contestants. After the introductions of the judges, the women then strutted onto the stage in lovely aqua-colored bathing suits, modeling like experts and showcasing their toned bodies.

Beleaguered Red Cross hit again, this time by burglars
$35,000 in equipment and invaluable information lost. Volunteer relief organization the Belize Red Cross Society was badly hit by a “malicious” arson on its Gabourel Lane headquarters on December 2, 2010, which wrecked much of the inside of the building and destroyed much of the organization’s equipment and some relief supplies. The Society has been able to rebuild, but burglars managed to defeat their security procedures and make off with $35,000 in invaluable equipment for the organization early Sunday morning, August 19. The Police Department has yet to provide official details, but director of the Society, Lily Bowman, told us this afternoon that the security firm they hired after the 2010 arson, Elite Security, reported that they received an alarm at their headquarters around 2:55 a.m. Sunday, and called the police. Apparently, the police responded and circled the area, but saw nothing obviously amiss, and none of the Red Cross staff was alerted.

Felix Godoy, 33, shot to death on house step
A man was executed in his yard, at the corner of Doris Brooks Street and Boots Crescent in the city’s southside, and his family is mourning his death and trying to understand why he was killed. Felix Godoy, Jr., 33, was sitting on the back step of his family’s house around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 19, when a gunman ran into the yard and shot him in his head and body, killing him almost immediately. The gunman then ran out and escaped into the surrounding area. Police were called by the alarmed neighbors, and after processing the scene, Godoy’s body was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival. He was then taken into the morgue, where he is now awaiting a post-mortem. The murder occurred shortly after a meeting was held by the police with men in the area, called after the murder of Kirk Hemmans, 16, which occurred around 10:30 p.m. on Monday, August 13. Police had declared that the shooting was gang related.

Bert Vasquez stabbed in “minor incident” at Kolbe
Amandala has confirmed that accused murderer/sex offender Bert Haylock Vasquez, 28, was on Friday involved in what prison officials claim was a “minor scrape” that resulted in his being stabbed on Friday morning, August 17. Vasquez is charged with the murder of Jasmine Lowe, 13, and sixteen other unrelated charges of common assault and similar charges based on reports from female minors in the San Ignacio/Santa Elena Town area that he was attempting to solicit them. We were unable to confirm the exact circumstances of the incident, as senior prison officials have officially declined comment. However, we are told that the incident was so minor that “it would not cause a blink of an eye” if it were another inmate – and presumably not Vasquez – that was involved.

Blogs

Hooray for laundry
I have never loved doing laundry so much as the first few washes after being without a machine for 2 weeks, cancel that it was really when we got a machine here after living without for a year that tops the chart ha ha. Thanks to David the cute washing machine guy that Walter recommended, we have laundry again. He was magically able to fix the trouble. I say magically because I was watching what he was doing while I worked and I know washing machines can be a giant can of worms. Also the fact that this was repair guy number 2 and he did not hang up the phone on me after promising to call and come over the next morning right after I told him no one would be home, like the Raul did. David definitely qualified for brownie points. 2 of my guy friends said I was bad for telling them he was cute, I replied back that he got even cuter as soon as the machine was fixed and immediately called Paul at work to tell him give David a tip when he paid. Our net has been down since last night so this morning I decided to do 2 worthwhile things – back up my laptop to my Samsung external hard drive and my Kingston data travelers and do a natural hair treatment I saw on Pinterest. It called for olive oil and honey, I substituted coconut oil. Earlier this week I did the same and used coconut oil with an egg yolk and water. I liked the feeling of the honey one more afterward, but can tell I need the protein from the egg, will try all 3 together and see what I get.

Some Random Tulum, Mexico: The Town, The Secret Garden, The Food, The Crafts, The Skulls and Some Diving Information
My pictures from yesterday prove it to be true: the beach in Tulum is just over the top glorious. Perfection. Day Two wasn't so bad either... Lodging is plentiful in this area of Mexico. There are tons of very cute hotels on the beach. You can camp or rent a sand floor, wind cooled cabana or stay at a high end boutique eco-lodge...you've got lots of options. But I really love to stay in town. And I'm back at my favorite: The Secret Garden Tulum. Lovely clean basic rooms surrounding...well...a secret garden. Or not so secret...in the morning and evening, guests are usually lounging under the trees on the comfy couches. And the price is fantastic. Check them out on Facebook, they've got lots of great deals. Most of the town dwellers are locals and there are plenty of old style houses...and many more modern. That's my turn off... Lots of local food vendors, carts, bicycles... You can grab tacos el pastor from a vendor or a small local restaurant. Antojito's about one block south of the bus station is my fave. (This brown conic depiction doesn't do the food justice...this place is always packed. And closed on Sundays) Cheap, simple, here is a glistening pile of pastor I'd like to take home... I love the stone pig bowls they serve the five critical taco condiments in (from huge bowl to smallest): habanero hot sauce, runny guacamole sauce, chopped onions and cilantro, shredded cabbage and carrot in lime and lime wedges. ($1 USD is about $13 pesos right now.) I like the gringas best...flour tortilla with a bit of cheese. 2-3 of any of these will make a hearty dinner. You've really got to try this place.

International Sources

Worse-Than-Argentina Debt Offer Rejected by Belize Bondholders
Belize is offering bondholders 20 cents on the dollar in a debt restructuring, worse than what Argentina gave creditors following its 2001 default, according to Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) and Citigroup Inc. Investors are wagering that a better offer is coming. Belize, the Central American nation that’s home to the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, missed a $23 million coupon payment yesterday on $544 million of dollar bonds due in 2029. The government is unlikely to make the payment during a 30-day grace period, Finance Secretary Joseph Waight said in an interview. While the bonds are trading at 35 cents on the dollar, Scotiabank says the government’s three proposals to restructure the debt give the securities a net present value of about 20 cents, the least among 16 sovereign debt restructurings since 1998. Belize’s offer “is not a haircut, it’s a scalping,” said Arturo Porzecanski, a professor of international finance at American University in Washington. “It puts Belize in the same league as the most punishing restructurings in sovereign history.”

Moody's Revises Belize Outlook to Negative
Moody's Investors Service revised its outlook on Belize's ratings to negative from developing, after the Central American government failed to make a payment on its bonds maturing 2029. Belize currently has a foreign currency rating of Ca, which denotes highly speculative credit. The outlook revision comes a day after Belize's government failed to make an interest payment, giving the government and its lenders until Sept. 19 to agree on a restructured bond. Belize is in talks with investors to negotiate how to restructure the country's only bond, however the creditors haven't agreed to the country's proposal that includes either forgiving 45% of what they are owed, or delaying payments for 15 years. The missed payment prompted fellow ratings firm Standard & Poor's to lower Belize's rating to selective default from double-C. Both Moody's and S&P have issued several downgrades on Belize this year, citing concerns about the possibility of another debt restructuring there.

Ratings agencies see steep losses on Belize superbond
Ratings agencies said on Tuesday holders of Belize's so-called superbonds would likely face severe losses on their investments after the country missed an interest payment this week and has made little headway on talks about debt restructuring options. Belize said it hoped to reach a deal with bondholders by the end of the year but could not afford to service the loan after a step-up in the interest rate to 8.5 percent pushed a regular interest payment scheduled for Aug. 20 up to $23.5 million. In response to the missed payment, Standard & Poor's cut Belize's foreign currency sovereign credit ratings to selective default and estimated bondholders would recover 30 to 50 percent of principal on the bonds. Moody's changed the outlook on Belize's ratings to negative and said investors would probably have to absorb losses of 70 to 80 percent in net present value terms. Belize has a final deadline of Sept. 19 to pay the coupon but a senior finance ministry official said it was unclear whether the Central American country would pay or default.

August 21, 2012

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The San Pedro Sun

Karol Mello finally a free man in Belize
Wanted Slovakian Karol Mello is a free man in Belize. Immigration charges against the 42 year old Mello was struck out in the municipal court in Belmopan City shortly after 10AM on Monday August 20th. When Mello appeared before Magistrate Judge Hurl Hamilton of the Belmopan Magistrate Court, there was no prosecutor representing the Crown. Mello has been in and out of court in Belize following his arrest on July 11th where he successfully challenged an extradition order issued by the Government of Belize (GOB) and immigration charges brought forward by GOB’s Immigration Department. Mello was in court in the company of his actress wife Zuzana Marosova and his attorney Senior Council Godfrey Smith. The Slovakian was accused by immigration authorities in Belize for the offences of perjury and uttering a passport which he was not entitled to utter. The allegation was in relation to Mello’s Slovak passport with serial number 3191427 which was reportedly withdrawn by the Slovak Government on or around July 2011. The Immigration alleged that on September 17th, 2011 Mello used the said passport to successfully obtain his Belizean permanent residence status.

Supreme Court decides in favor of ACES
On Friday, August 17, 2012 the Supreme Court of Belize handed down a decision that now gives the couple a new faith in a justice system that many have grown to doubt. Early this year with the legal representation of Arnold and Company, Mrs. Agnes Gillett -Segura and Mrs. Andrea McKoy-McSweaney (who took their case on a contingency basis), a claim was filed on behalf of the Roses against the Government of Belize under the Riot Compensation Act, seeking damages for the arson at the ACES property. Court was first heard on March 5, 2012 in an attempt to determine that indeed a riot had occurred, and if so to argue that the Roses were protected under the Riot Compensation Act. After five court hearings over a span of six months the long awaited, unprecedented decision was handed down on August 17th by Judge of the Supreme Court Oswell Legall. The decision concluded that, “A declaration is granted that a riotous assembly of persons, as defined in section 2 of the Riot Compensation Act Chapter 338 assembled at the claimants’ property situated at Water Hole Road, Forest Home village, Toledo District for the purpose of executing a common purpose with violence and without lawful authority used such violence for that purpose to wit: they intentionally set fire and destroyed three houses, furniture, household utensils and other property owned by the claimants. I will now hear the parties on the issue of compensation. JUDGE OF THE SUPREME COURT Oswell Legall Aug. 17th, 2012.” With the judgment the compensation hearing has been scheduled for December, where the Roses are seeking close to $907,000bz in damages.

Belize’s September Celebrations 2012 Calendar of Events
This September, Belize celebrates 31 years of Independence and the 214th anniversary of The Battle of St. George’s Caye. The official calendar of events is out… are you ready to celebrate?

Belize National Classification System For Hotels And Tour Operators
The Sustainable Tourism Program (STP) and the Quality Assurance Department at the BTB is in its preliminary stage of executing a “Belize National Classification System for Hotels and Tour Operators”. The system’s overall goal is to define realistic classifications with clear definitions and minimum standards as basic mandatory licensing requirements for each recommended class. “This is a great opportunity for Belize to take the lead in destination competitiveness,” stated Terry Wright, Tourism/Environment Project Coordinator at the STP. “The firm Tourism and Leisure Europraxis has been awarded the consultancy to develop a classification scheme for accommodation facilities and tour operators throughout the country based on international standards but adapted to the country’s reality. It is intended that the scheme will guide and incentivize the hotel and tour operator industry by promoting excellence as a national priority. It will also serve as a valuable marketing tool.”

Ambergris Today

Marketing Summit Comes to Belize
Ambergris Today’s Editor, Dorian Nuñez, will be an active participant at the Belize Tourism Industry Association’s (BTIA) 2012 Real-time Marketing Masterclass - Marketing & PR Summit taking place this week in Belize City. The one day summit will run from 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. on August 23rd, 2012 at the Princess Hotel & Casino. Real -Time Marketing Masterclass features three 90-minute presentations, with a panel discussion after each segment, which will include discussions with successful industry stakeholders (both local and international), providing added insight in the on three main subject areas including; Content marketing, Real-Time Marketing & PR, and Social Media.

Belizean Film 'The Curse of the Xtabai' is a Hit in San Pedro
It was a packed house that the Paradise Theatre during the final day of screening the movie “Di Kurse a di Xtabai” (The Curse of the Xtabai), as the Belizean production managed to capture the attention of movie goers and lure them into watching the tale of a very prominent folkloric character of Belizean culture. The theater maxed out in capacity for the first time since its opening and director of the movie, Matthiew Klinck, could not have been more ecstatic with the response his movie received here in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Di Kurse of the Xtabai was featured on both Friday, August 17 and Saturday, August 18 with two showings at 7p.m. and 9p.m. on both days. Word got out during the first day about how great the movie was and then residents flocked to the theater on Saturday to catch the movie about this mystical character which is the Xtabai. Planning of future screenings for the movie at the Paradise Theater are in the works for those who missed it this first time around.

Cruising Island Dogs
There are many Dog Lovers on the island and this week we got a very cute and funny picture by one of our readers. Dogs are really spoiled and pampered by their masters, even if its just by getting a new chew toy or long walks along the beach. Recently many dogs in San Pedro have gotten used in going around town and cruising on a golf cart; a great way to beat the heat! On your next visit make sure to keep your eyes peeled for many cruising puppies.

The Cultural Aspect of Raising Pet Dogs in San Pedro
The ongoing problem with dogs on Ambergris Caye will not have an easy nor quick solution because owning pet dogs and how you deal with them is cultural. I will not even attempt to try to offer the solution (not in this column) but simply attempt to show you how different cultures deal with pet dogs so that you might at least understand the problem. First of all there are some cultures that allow their dogs to lie on the sofa and sleep on their beds, so much that they consider their dogs as children in the family. That is not the case with most Belizeans. To most Sanpedranos a dog is just a dog, and even though they love their pets, and do pamper them by giving them all the necessary comforts, it is still just a dog. Twenty five years ago our parents would never allow a dog to lick our faces. They rightly pointed out that a dog licks all parts of its body, if you know what I mean, so they rightly taught us that such a practice was gross.

FLASHBACK: A Look Back at Old Downtown San Pedro (Then and Now)
Were these young men standing in the middle of the street to stop all vehicles for the Dollar Drive Fund Raiser? If they were, they surely would not make a single dollar. The next question is why are they all not wearing shoes? Well, who would think of wearing shoes in a place where all streets were sandy? And why are their short pants so short? Well, you are looking at a flashback of the 1970’s when these were in style. And why was there grass on the side of the street? Was it because the town council was not doing its job? Not at all because back then it was the home owner’s responsibility to clean his side of the street. Finally, where is that cute yellow wooden building which used to be a landmark on Middle Street Now Pescador Drive? Indeed Miss Jane’s fine yellow building has been replaced with a spanking building now the home of Reef Radio.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize to introduce national classification system for hotels and tour operators
The Sustainable Tourism Program (STP) and the quality assurance department at the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is in its preliminary stage of executing a “Belize National Classification System for Hotels and Tour Operators”. The system’s overall goal is to define realistic classifications with clear definitions and minimum standards as basic mandatory licensing requirements for each recommended class. “This is a great opportunity for Belize to take the lead in destination competitiveness,” stated Terry Wright, tourism/environment project coordinator at the STP. “The firm Tourism and Leisure Europraxis has been awarded the consultancy to develop a classification scheme for accommodation facilities and tour operators throughout the country based on international standards but adapted to the country’s reality. It is intended that the scheme will guide and incentivize the hotel and tour operator industry by promoting excellence as a national priority. It will also serve as a valuable marketing tool.” The initial stages of developing the system include meetings with tourism stakeholders and a presentation of the framework of the system to tourism industry partners. Following stakeholder consultation, there will be a verification, assessment and training period anticipated to begin in September 2012, with the establishment of a new cadre of BTB hotel inspectors focused on standards and quality. Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of accommodation establishments within the country will also form a component of the consultancy scheduled for completion in January 2013.

VIDEO: Lionfish Divas On The Hunt
Mission Objective-Reduce Lionfish numbers ar local dive sites. Island Divers Belize, San Pedro Ambergris Caye

Belize Female Volleyball Team Takes Bronze
Congratulations to the Belize Senior Female Volleyball Team! "The Belize Senior Women’s Volleyball Team won Bronze at the World Championship Qualification Tournament, Group G, held in Panama City, Panama this past weekend. This is a first for Belize female team and is the result of the development of players and teams despite the many challenges faced. Belize females returned to international competition in 2008 and in four years improved well enough to qualify to the second round of the World Championship qualification process which will take place in 2013."

Cornerstone's Dance 4 Life pictures
Cornerstone had their Dance 4 Life workshop last week. Thanks, Cornerstone! "Dance4Life is a program that empowers young leaders to take action to push back the spread of HIV through youth driven interventions and novel strategies. Dance4Life engages. educates and activates young people in a fun and interactive way, strengthening their voice through music, dance, sports and the arts- inspiring them to make positive contributions to their communities."

Iguana Adoptions at the Iguana Hatchery
The Green Iguana Conservation Project has a program where you can adopt an iguana. Have you been to the Iguana Hatchery lately? Now might be the time. It's located on the site of the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, and the tours leave every hour on the hour, except at noon. It is ranked number 1 on Trip Advisor for things to do in San Ignacio. "The Green Iguana Gonservation Project extends a special thank you and Congratulations to these proud adoptive parents of green iguanas!"

Thank You, 4 the World Belize
The Benque House of Culture, along with everyone in Cayo, thanks 4 the World Belize for bringing in Robbie Russell to teach the self defense workshops for women and children. We'd also like to thank Renee Wentz, UB's counselor, for doing a class here in Cayo. More classes should be coming. "A Special "THANK YOU" to Robbie Russell for going to Belize to run these workshops! We have had many requests for Robbie to return to Belize to train more women and children in the art of self defense! — with Robbie Russell."

Beach Volleyball at the Split – Caye Caulker style!
Even if you only half like beach volleyball this weekend was a resounding success. The Lazy Lizard and Crystal sponsored a beach volleyball competition that entertained us all weekend and we have to thank them for that. Not only was the island packed with tourists, but locals from far and wide came to cheer on their favorite doubles act in both women and mens competitions. With six teams entering the mens competition (three from Caye Caulker and three from Belize) this commenced first on Saturday and the finals took place on Sunday. For the womens, only four teams entered and one team from Caye Caulker their competition took place on Sunday. For those who may not be in Belize in the moment please understand that this weekend was very much about the sweltering heat and the beating hot sun. It can be commented that only the foolhardy or the immensely fearless and physically fit that would even consider entering this competition and therefore you have to take your hats off to each and every competitor!

Belize Mega Bingo Results For (18 August 2012)
Straight Line 100.00 Each (8 Balls) 25 ­55 ­13 ­32 ­36 ­31 ­11 ­37­ Y 125.00 Each (10 Balls) 25 ­55 ­13 ­32 ­36 ­31 ­11 ­37 ­68 ­71­ T 150.00 Each (21 Balls) 25 ­55 ­13 ­32 ­36 ­31 ­11 ­37 ­68 ­71 ­42 ­38 ­60 ­12 ­74 ­10 ­39 53 ­73 ­21 ­65­

Channel 7

Man Executed On His Stairs
There's plenty of news to report tonight - including government going malpago on the Superbond, and the freeing of Karol Mello. But, we begin with murder. This one happened last night in Belize City at 7:00 pm. Like many other murders we've seen recently - it is an execution, a deliberate act carried out with ruthless, murderous precision. And this one is also unexplained. 7news was on the scene, and here's the story:.. Jules Vasquez reporting An onlooker just held her head in stunned disbelief last night as 33 year old Felix "Munchy" Godoy lay dead on the stairs in front of her. He was sitting there relaxing right next to the door for his apartment when - police say - a gunman came up from behind and opened fire. Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood - Police Press Officer "Initial investigation revealed that about 7pm Godoy was sitting on his stairs when he was approach from behind by a lone gunman who fired several shots at him fatally injuring him." Voice of: Arlon "Oreo" Godoy, brother of deceased "I understand that he just came from the ball court playing ball and that was it." Marion Ali, Reporter "He was sitting on the steps by himself?" Arlon "Oreo" Godoy, brother of deceased "Yes, getting ready to smoke a weed, cooling up to go inside with his family. I got a phone call from my co-worker stating that my brother got shot. I wasn't really panicking because I didn't think he was dead, but when I reach there I saw him brutally murdered."

Karol Mello Free Of Charges
Last week Friday, reputed international gangster Karol Mello, got bail. But tonight - he's not on bail anymore; and that's because he doesn't need it, the Slovakian with Belizean permanent residence is free of charges. Today, in an unexpected move, the 2 immigration charges against him were withdrawn - and it appears to be one more mis-step in a case that he been full of them. Viewers will remember that the Sol Gen's office used these charges to keep him locked up after he won the habeas corpus case before Justice Legall. But, on Friday in the Supremem Court, Justice Hannomansingh had already made it clear that the charges were weak and today in Belmopan Magistrate's court the police prosecutor announced to the magistrate that his instructions were to withdraw the charges. We spoke to his attorney outside of court about what this acquittal of all criminal offences in Belize means for the Mello family. Here's what he told us: Godfrey Smith - Attorney for Karol Mello "Karol Mello was granted Habeas Corpus, which means he was ordered to be released from prison. Following that, the State Government brought 2 charges against him for perjury and for uttering upon a passport that was not valid. He was granted bail, and this morning was set for the commencement of the prosecution in relation to those charges. Essentially, what transpired in court, is that the prosecution informed the Magistrate that they had no instructions to prosecute this matter, and the Attorney General Ministry, being responsible for civil matters, obviously didn't have the power to prosecute the matter. The Magistrate asked the prosecution to reconfirm what his instructions were, and the prosecutor came back to report to the Magistrate, that based on the fact that the DPP's Office was not going to have the matter prosecuted, that his instructions were from the AG Ministry that the charges should be withdrawn. So, in relation to the charge of uttering, that has been dismissed by the Magistrate, and in relation to the perjury, that has been withdrawn. It is open to the state to bring back the charge of perjury, if they so wish at a later time, but not in relation to the charge of uttering on an invalid passport. So, as the matter now stands, there are currently no criminal charges pending against Mr. Mello."

Government Skips 46M Superbond Payment, or Dog Bites Man
A week ago, the government announced that it would not pay make the Superbond payment that was due today, and, true to its word, it has not. Technically Belize does not enter a formal default mode until next month, 30 days after the payment is due, but government doesn't seem to be sweating it too much. But, bondholders surely are - and it is felt that by Government holding off on the payment - will force those bondholders to the bargaining table where the terms for a restructured bond could be hammered out. Government has proposed three restructuring scenarios - which have been met with some degree of consternation by vocal bondholders. Basically, the proposals are either to write off 45% of the 543 million dollar bond, or stretch out the payment for another 15 years. So what will happen next? Well, nothing really - not right now at least. Belize's rating may be downgraded to selective default - but we were there in December of 2006 when the Superbond was first being launched. The Prime Minister will have a press conference on Wednesday to outline government's plan going forward.

Will Principal Willacey Be Sent Home For Misconduct?
Tonight, principal of Belmopan Baptist and Pastor Norman Willacey is at the center of a growing controversy - and, he is now under investigation by his school management. As we reported on Friday night - the child's mother came to the media to allege and offer proof that the Principal had an inappropriate relationship with her daughter, who was a 16 year old student at the time. In response, Willacey did the most incredible thing: he confessed to, quote, "messing around" with a 16 year old fourth form student - to whom he was principal, counselor, and pastor. And he confessed it in a most unusual way - he did it by accident: Willacey told 7news that he made a major mistake: he meant to send a text to his lawyer, but instead sent it to one of our media colleagues who was following up on the story. That is a major oops - because in the text he said, quote: "(the young lady) produced a facebook conversation from Easter break when we were messing around." It continues, quote: "I deleted my copy and repented and told her to do the same immediately. She didn't and that is what will be published tonight." When we asked Willacey about the text - he said it's true: they were "messing around" in March. He was new to Facebook and thought if he deleted their messaging thread at his end, it would be deleted at her end too.

Taiwanese VP In Belize
The Vice President of Taiwan is visiting, and on the average news night - it would have been the headline. But, with the Karol Mello, the Superbond, Principal Willacy and other matters, it's couldn't be, but also, there's something else: Relations between Belize and Taiwan have cooled somewhat in the past five years since that country started to smooth things out with mainland China. And that cooling - had a lot to do also with cash: Belize no longer received the lavish budgetary support that it once did from Taiwan. But there are still a number of ongoing programmes - particularly in agriculture -and there is committed Taiwanese community proud of their place of birth, and their new country. They were at the airport on Saturday to greet their Vice President flew in from a vice presidential inauguration in the Dominican Republic - here's what the scene at the airport looked like:.. Jules Vasquez reporting Taiwanese-Belizeans were at the airport on Saturday afternoon to greet their Vice President Wu Den-yih in his first official trip since he was sworn in in May. It is also the first time since President Ma visited in 2009 that a high level Taiwanese official has visited Belize.

Red Cross Cruelly Targetted By Burglars
While the Belize City Red Cross volunteers were in the Corozal district over the weekend helping those flood victims, their Belize City headquarters was targeted by burglars. Tens of thousands of dollars in equipment were stolen from the NGO. The burglary is believed to have taken place sometime before 3 on Sunday morning when their building alarm system went off and alerted their Security Company. The police were called to the area but saw nothing - that is because according to the Director General - Lily Bowman - the burglars made entry through the roof of the building which would probably make it difficult for anyone to see them. Lily Bowman - Director General, Belize Red Cross "It was a surprise for us this morning when we opened the doors and went into the lock offices - there we were dismayed to see the offices in disarray. Apparently burglars in the wee hours of yesterday morning according to the Elite Security officer must have come in through the roof - bored through my lock office and took out all the equipment from in there; computers, CPU, printers, hard drives, fax machines, radios, then through the ceiling again bored through the wall of another lock office, the Disaster Reduction Office and again they clean that out; laptops, computers, hand held radios that we used in times of disasters, all that was gone. Then they bored through the wall there to go into the finance office which is the next locked office and again we had laptops that are kept in there, those were gone. They tried to get into our safe, which there was nothing there because we deposited the little we had on Friday. They couldn't pry it open, so they just left that, but they destroyed the walls, the ceiling and equipment that they took - you know that is really setting us back tremendously because those equipment are for use in our projects that we have on-going right now and then it's all the information gone."

Trapp In Jail
25 Year-old Emerson Trapp is spending his first night of a 5 year sentence, after he was convicted of firearms offences in the courtroom of Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith today. According to police, in December of 2011, they found a 9mm pistol in Trapp's bedroom. They also found a black plastic bag, which contained an additional 9 rounds of live ammunition. In his defence, Trapp told the court under oath that on that day, he was at home when a friend visited him. He left to run an errand, and when he returned, the officers were there. While the officers were searching, his friend allegedly told him that he just placed a firearm in the house. The police arrested both of them, but he was the only one charged. Under cross examination, Trapp admitted that no one else had access to his room. After listening to all the evidence of the case, Chief Magistrate Smith found him guilty of the offences, and sentenced him to 5 years for each charge, with the sentences to run concurrently meaning, he will only spend 5 years.

Heart Surgery for Kids
Rotary's gift of Life programme is offering heart surgery in Belize for pediatric cardiac surgeries. Children with heart abnormalities form all over the country are here to receive treatment from doctors from Tampa Children's hospital. This is the first time heart surgeries are being conducted in Belize and Monica Bodden found out more:... Monica Bodden reporting Today this waiting room area at the KHMH was packed with parents from all over the country who have brought their young ones to seek specialized medical care - the kind that most of them cannot afford. This is the first time in history that Belize is conducting a clinic for Pediatric cardiac surgeries - which are being done by a team of specialist from the Tampa Children's hospital along with Belize's very own Doctor Adrian Coye. Doctor Paul Chai - Tampa Florida Children's Hospital "I've been basically been helping Dr. Coye." Monica Bodden "How many patients have you guys seen so far?" Doctor Paul Chai - Tampa Florida Children's Hospital "We've don two today and we have one more waiting in the operating room. There are 7 of us here. There is me and my cardiac surgeon, a cardiologist, some nurse practitioners and echo cardiographers; we have 7 of us all together."

Where There's Smoke, There's "Fiyahaawt"
The annual Fiyaa Haawth festival was held this weekend in Willow's Bank. And while cooking on the fiyaa haawth may be a dying practice - the flavour it produces cannot be duplicated. We found out what makes it special when we visited this weekend: Jules Vasquez reporting The grounds at the Willows Bank community center was the scene for the Fiyaah Haawht festival. And while there were all kinds of attractions - The day was about the fiya haawt - that fire fed tradition and it's soot stained pots. The main event was the cook off between Double Head and Willow's bank - three teams of cooks - who had to make a Fiyaah Haawth Feast and bake a dessert - right on the open fire - fuelled by oak embers. This Willow's bank team was making an okra rich cowfoot soup. Jules Vasquez "What is the secret to you soup that will make you win?" Eleanor Sutherland, Willow's Bank "I don't want to tell my secret right now - the secret is in the tasting." And while no secrets were being shared, the preparing was happening right there in the open. And there's no secret about what makes the fiyaah haawt food tasty:

GSU Vs PIV
The GSU says that it arrested some major personalities from the PIV gang. Last week Wednesday morning at 3:45 the GSU searched a home at #17 Fern Lane, which belongs to Leon Gray. At the time of the search, Gray was present along with, 30 year-old Edwin Flowers, 24 Year-old Kareem Smith, 25 year-old Albert Clother, 23 year-old Carlton Pakeman, 38 year-old Moses Middleton, 21 year-old Julia Vaccaro, and 41 year-old Anna Garbutt. The GSU officers didn't find anything in the house, but when the searched the yard, they found 30 grams of cannabis stuffed in a cement block. As a result, all 8 persons were charged with possession of controlled drugs. On Wednesday, at around 12:30 p.m., another GSU team searched the residence of 40 year-old Jason Bruce, which is located at #20 Guerrero Street. At the time of the search were Bruce, 23 year-old Gloria Flores, and 17 year-old minor. The officers found 95 grams of cannabis on one of the window louvers of the house, and as a result, all 3 were arrested and charged jointly with drug trafficking.

Victory For Volleyballers
Last week Tuesday, the Belize Senior Women's Volleyball Team left Belize to compete as part of Group G for the World Championship Qualification Tournament, which was held in Panama City. The ladies competed in the tournament, which was held from August 17-19, and at the end, they were able to win the bronze medal and advance to the next round of qualifications, which will be held next year. 7News caught up with the team as they arrived home this afternoon, and they commented on the tough competition they faced. Here's what they told us about their experience, which included winning a set against the host country, Panama, which is ranked among the highest in the tournament. Alan Sharpe, Coach - women's senior team "We just came back for the world championship qualification tournament first round Group G whereby they had some countries from Central America and countries out of the Caribbean and we manage to place 3rd. It's the first time for female volleyball to medal at the senior level, so this is a major accomplishment for the female volleyball in Belize. There were a total of 4 teams - the way it's played; it's in a round-robin format so you have teams that have to compete to get points. It's based on a point system. We played very close matches with the teams that we did not beat and in fact we manage to take a set and almost pull the match against Panama who is the highest ranked of the teams we met there - they are the second rank in Central America and we came so close but I think we loss due to the lack of experience."

New Ms. Earth Crowned
Jessel Lauriano is the new Miss Earth Belize. She was chosen on Saturday night from a group of six contestants. She replaces reigning queen Kimberly Robateau. Tonight 7news has her shining moment on video and also an interview with the beauty queen. Jessel Lauriano, Miss Earth Belize 2012 "I came out very strong in the beginning and at the end - at the questions and answers I was a bit nervous, but I still turned out to be Miss Earth." Monica Bodden "What was the most challenging part for you?" Jessel Lauriano, Miss Earth Belize 2012 "I think the questions and answers segment because like other pageants we've always seen the questions before but at the night of the pageant that's when each girl had turned in their questions, so it was a bot nerve racking because we don't know what's going to be asked." Monica Bodden "Tell us a little bit about your journey leading up to the pageant. What was it like working along with other girls and so forth?"

Channel 5

Superbond’s non-payment bomb drops on bondholders
We start tonight with financial news on the accumulated five hundred and forty four U.S. million dollar Superbond which has become the most pressing issue before the government. Following an announcement on August eight offering three repayment scenarios, the government missed the coupon payment due today for some twenty-three million U.S. dollars. A one month [...]

Murder victim leaves behind 2 daughters
As government grapples with the non-payment of the Superbond, it also has to deal with another major headache; crime. Urban violence shook the Old Capital again over the weekend. It was relatively quiet on Friday and Saturday, but around seven o’clock on Sunday night, an employee of CYDP was killed execution style inside his yard [...]

Sex scandal with principal and student, Belmopan Baptist slow on decision
Last week Friday, the mother of a Belmopan Baptist High School student, came forward with allegations of sexual impropriety between her sixteen year old daughter and the principal of the high school. The school principal, Pastor Normal Willacey, has not responded to requests to tell his side of the story other than a text sent [...]

Unemployment highest rate since 1998
The government missed the Superbond payment today. That bad news is accompanied by even more depressing news. The Statistical Institute of Belize’s recent survey regarding employment levels in the country shows that unemployment is at its highest in over a decade and that unemployment is highest among women. The survey involved close to ten thousand [...]

Friend from East, Vice-President Wu of Taiwan visits Belize
At this time the government is toasting one of its most generous friends; the government of Taiwan. The Taiwanese Vice-President arrived on Saturday and leaves our shores on Tuesday after talks with the government and a meeting with the Taiwanese community. Wu Den Yih is receiving the protocol afforded to a head of state. Belize [...]

News Five wins 2 regional awards
Turning focus from Asia to regional partners, Channel Five is a member of the Caribbean Broadcast Union (CBU). The CBU is the leading body in which Caribbean media houses converge for training, sharing expertise and awarding excellence in the region. This year, News Five has just won two awards from the CBU. Andrea Polanco and [...]

Karol Mello freed again
The month-long legal saga involving forty-two year old Karol Mello, since his detention in San Pedro on July eleventh, moved to the Belmopan Magistrate Court where it culminated this morning in the courtroom of Senior Magistrate Linsbert Willis. And we can say that Mello is home safe tonight.  Two charges, perjury and uttering upon an [...]

Bert Vasquez prison scrape
Bert Vasquez has been remanded at the Central Prison since June twentieth. Vasquez is the man accused of the murder of thirteen year old Jasmine Lowe of Santa Elena and for the common assault against eleven minors from the area. Vasquez, it is reported, has been placed in solitary confinement at the prison but on [...]

2 shot in Orange Walk
A shooting in Orange Walk Town has left two men injured. Over the weekend, Henry Lozano and Juan Ku were shot as they were riding on Santa Familia Street. The gunman was also on bicycle. Orange Walk police have detained two men in connection with this incident. Police Press Officer, Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood has the [...]

Cattle Landing Villager stabbed in abdomen
A resident from Cattle Landing Village in the southernmost district is tonight in serious condition at the Punta Gorda Hospital where he is receiving treatment for several stab wounds to the abdomen. According to reports, just before four on Saturday afternoon, Punta Gorda Police responded to a scene on Ogaldez Street where thirty-nine year old [...]

Toll Bridge collection: 8 pounds of cocaine
Up north, a drug bust over the weekend in Orange Walk District left five men from various villages within Corozal District charged with drug trafficking. On Friday, police conducted a search on a vehicle at the Orange Walk Toll Bridge that was en route to Belize City where the passengers were found in possession of [...]

GSU arrests gang members
The Gang Suppression Unit also made a significant number of arrests for drug possession and trafficking.  On August fifteenth, a late afternoon raid on the premises of forty-one year old Anna Garbutt, a resident of Fern Lane in the Lake Independence Area, resulted in the arrest of six reputed members of the PIV gang.  Shortly [...]

Belize Red Cross victim of burglary
Thieves have no limits or boundaries when selecting targets and just before dawn on Sunday, the Belize Red Cross, the humanitarian organization that provides relief for residents affected by disasters, was burglarized. Thousands of dollars worth of equipment and supplies were stolen and the culprits ransacked the offices while avoiding the cameras and the alarms [...]

Hit and Run death on Northern Highway
A fatal hit and run on Friday night claimed the life of fifty-eight year old Ruperto Alvarez of Vista Del Mar. Around eight that night Alvarez was knocked down near mile eight and a half in front of the Shell Gas Station in Ladyville when he attempted to cross the street. According to residents of [...]

B.T.I.A.’s renowned marketing strategist for tourism insiders
Earlier this month, it was announced that the tourism industry is on the rebound. The number of visitors to the jewel in the first half of this year has surpassed previous figures; an overall increase of nine percent. Still yet, there are strategies in the pipeline to further boost the numbers. The Belize Tourism Industry [...]

Miss Earth Belize is Jessel Lauriano
Over the weekend, the Miss Earth Belize pageant was held and after four rounds of competition, Jessel Lauriano was crowned. Twenty-four year old Lauriano will be representing Belize at the International Miss Earth Pageant later this year. The newly crowned queen stopped by News Five studio to tell us about what she’ll be doing during [...]

Jaw-dropping sports update with James Adderley
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and welcome to this edition of Sports Monday.   The Casa’s Cycling Organization presented a massive 38 mile race on Saturday that ran 5 laps around the Willows Bank Road cut-off/Landing Bridge Circuit which attracted 34 of the best in the business. As they take off we know this one [...]

LOVE FM

Father of Two Killed on His Steps
A father of two young children was executed on Sunday night in Belize City. Thirty-three year old Felix Godoy, also known as “Munchie” was shot dead while sitting on the back steps of his house at 6572 Corner Doris Brooks Street and Boots Crescent. The employee ...

Belizeans to See A Rise in the Poultry Price
Chicken is one of the staples in most kitchens. On Tuesday, the price of chicken will increase, but only for some of the distributors. A quick check today revealed that the price of one of the ingredients used to produce chicken feed has gone up, resulting in the price adju...

Belize's Prime Minister to Address the Super Bond Issue During a Press Conference
Tonight, the question is: will Belize go into default of its debt obligation on the stepped up US-dollar bond. The first payment, under the stepped-up eight and a half percent interest rate was due today; but as announced last week by the Prime Minister, government does not now h...

CTV3

Two Belizean's Detained In Mexico
Two Belizeans are detained in Mexico after they were caught without proper documentation. According to an article posted on poresto.net, four individuals were detained on Friday afternoon by Mexico’s Immigration Officials after they approached a checkpoint in La Union. The two Belizeans, who are yet to be identified, were travelling in a taxi. It is believed they were headed to Cancun before travelling to the United States. The other two persons who were arrested are of Honduran Nationality. It is expected that the four individuals will be deported to their country of origin.

O/W Police Confiscates 3 kilos Of Cocaine, Five Men Are Detained
Five men, four from the Corozal District and one from the old capital are tonight enjoying the comforts of the Belize Central Prison after they were charged for possession of controlled drugs. On Friday August 17th Orange Walk Police set up a checkpoint near the toll bridge where they intercepted a red Geo Prism with taxi license plates BC D-7173. Travelling in the vehicle were 31 year old Rene Caseres of Belize City, 30 year old Noel Tun and 32 year old Leonardo Tun, both Belizean fishermen of Chunox Village, Abimael Aki, 30 year old Belizean fisherman of Copperbank Village and 40 year old Cornelio Mendez Belizean fisherman of Chunox Village. Reports indicate that the men were acting suspiciously hence the vehicle was searched and that is when police hit the jackpot. Hidden in three separate school bags, police found three kilos of cocaine. Two of the parcels, weighing one kilo each, were wrapped in brown tape and were labeled with (2) X’s. The third parcel, also weighing one kilo, was labeled with the letters PZ and was wrapped with black tape. As a result of the findings the men were escorted to the Orange Walk Police Station where they were officially charged with possession of controlled drugs with the purpose of supplying it to another person for drug trafficking.

19 shots fired on Santa Familia Street, Two Persons Injured
Two persons are in the hospital tonight as a result of a shooting incident that occurred over the weekend here in Orange Walk Town. It happened at around 2:20 on Saturday morning on Santa Familia Street. Reports are that 18 year old Henry Javier Lozano, a mechanic of Belize Corozal Road and 24 year old Juan Ku, a laborer of Mangal Street were riding their bicycles on Santa Familia Street when upon reaching the intersection of Belize Corozal Road they were stopped by a male individual who was riding a bicycle in the opposite direction. Reports are that the individual took out a 9mm pistol and unleashed a barrage of bullets at Lozano and Ku who ran for safety. But it seems that nothing could save both men from being injured. Lozano received gunshot wounds to the left upper chest, left rib cage, right hand and left forearm while Ku was injured to the right side of the rib cage. By the time police arrived at the scene Lozano and Ku’s shooter was nowhere to be found.

How Harvest For Kids Works
Last Friday we told you about “Harvest for Kids”, an initiative embarked by the Belize Camping Experience, a nongovernmental organization which seeks to make a difference by positively impacting the lives of over 1000 children. Most of the children who form part of the organization live in Belize City in neighborhoods where the crime rate and poverty level is sky high. Through sporting activities and summer camps Belize Camping Experience seeks to make a difference in the life of each child. But in order to do so financing is needed and that’s where Harvest for Kids comes in. Through the program BCE hopes to raise money by planting acres and acres of corn which will be sold as soon as harvested. Over the weekend we were invited to the Village of San Carlos where 20 acres of prime land, named Harvest for Kids field, is already populated with mature golden corn. Here is how Harvest for kids seeks to change lives. Located in San Carlos Village; this 20 acre corn field is known as the Harvest for Kids fields that now reaps thousands of thousands of corn. The seeds were planted on June 8th and now, ten weeks after, the corn is mature and ready to be harvested. It’s a massive and extraordinary fundraiser embarked by the Belize Camping Experience. According to the camp’s director, Alexander Perez, the fundraiser is geared to assist children from Belize City living in poverty stricken communities where the crime rate is extremely high.

Will Dividends Be Paid To BSI Employees?
It’s been a while since we’ve received any updates pertaining to the sale of the Belize Sugar Industries Limited to ASR, American Sugar Refinery. Viewers might recall that in the month of May news broke out that ASR was interested in purchasing the cash strapped sugar company. In March of 2012 ASR made a written proposal for the investment of equity in the company and further capital investment in the industry. In early May 2012, the BSI Board approved the proposal in principle and authorized Management to complete the due diligence and conclude negotiations by the 30th of June 2012. ASR proposes to inject US$60 million into the Sugar Industry making them the major shareholders of BSI. In the draft ASR also proposed to clear off BSI debts including $6 million worth in dividends owed to employees of the company. After much discussion BSI employees, who are the majority shareholders of the trust, gave BSI management the go ahead to sell the company, accepting ASR’s proposal that 50% of the due dividends would be paid two weeks after June 30th, 30% in April of 2013 and 20% in January of 2014. Based on the proposal BSI employees should have received $2.5 million in dividends on July 13th.

GOB Misses Bond Payment
Today the Government of Belize was expected to pay $46 million coupon payment on the 2029 bonds, which they didn’t. On August 8th, GOB presented 3 scenarios which the super bond restructuring team formulated to pay off the $550 US million external debt. It is too early to tell if government will pay interest owed to bondholders or default on its debt since they have 30 days grace period to meet payment. According to Finance Secretary Joseph Waight Belize is awaiting a response from bondholders on the restructuring proposals put forward earlier this month, which could involve a cut of up to 45 percent. Prime Minister Dean Barrow has said Belize cannot afford to service the $550 million dollar bond which presently stands at an interest rate of 8.5%. Whether or not the Dean Barrow Administration will make the payment is still uncertain, but if GOB doesn’t then there is no doubt that the default will cause serious negative impacts on the country’s Economy. GOB has not until September 19th to make the payment.

Belize's Unemployment Rate Highest In 14 Years
There is some alarming news to report tonight as it pertains to the country’s unemployment rate. In a survey conducted on 2,800 randomly selected households from across the country, almost 10,000 persons were asked whether or not they were employed. The survey reveled that a whopping 14.4% or 1,400 persons answered that they are without a job. You might recall that in the 2011 census, it was estimated that the unemployment rate was close to 24%. Statisticians all agreed that the census was not the right method to use in order to know a country’s unemployment rate. Whatever the case may be, 14.4% is still alarming, in fact14.4% is the highest that Belize’s unemployment rate has reached in the last 14 years. When it comes to the individual districts, Cayo has the highest unemployment rate at 18.3% and the Belize District has the lowest at 12.1%. Here at home the unemployment rate stands at 12.6% while in Corozal it is at 14.5%. Gender wise, the survey shows that unemployment in women, which stands at 22.3%, is higher than in men which is recorded at 9.1%. Among ethnicities, unemployment proved to be the highest among Maya's at 18.3% and lowest among Mestizo's at 13.6%. The survey also found that the unemployment rates for persons between the ages of 14 and 24 is at 25% making them the most affected while unemployment is at 12% for persons between the ages of 25 and 44. The survey was conducted in April 2012.

LOVE TV

International Youth Day at the MCC Grounds
Hundreds of young people from all over the country traveled to Belize City to take part in activities for International Youth Day. The event was staged at the MCC Grounds and included display booths and stage performances. Kirk Augustus is the manager of the violence reduction unit at Youth for the Future and one of the organizers of today’s event. Jamaican artist “Pressure entertained the youths at the rally.

The Performing Arts in Belize City, Queen Of The Bay Pageant
Tricia Pelayo tells Love News more about the queen of the bay.. The pageant is set for seven thirty p.m. on Saturday night at the Bliss Centre for the Performing Arts in Belize City. But while four young ladies are vying for Miss Earth, half a hemisphere away, another Belizean beauty will be strutting her stuff on the international stage. Miss World Belize, Chantae Guy, will vie tonight in the Miss World Pageant in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China, where she has spent the last few weeks preparing for the event. She has garnered much support in various competitions since her arrival in China, and Chantae has done Belize proud already by making the top ten in the semifinals in the Top Model competition because of the difference in time zones, the pageant will air on E! Entertainment TV early Saturday morning. The event starts at six o’clock on Saturday morning, Belize time. Meanwhile, Saturday will be a day filled with pageantry as the Miss Queen of the Bay Contest will be held in Belmopan to select a representative for the nation’s capital in the national pageant.

The volleyball national secondary school male champion in Punta Gorda
An ongoing competition to promote volleyball and to support the national secondary school male champion will end this weekend in Punta Gorda.

More FM hosts a bikini car wash event
Girls in bikini, food and cold beers, every man’s dream and it becomes a reality as More FM hosts a car wash and block party on Slaughterhouse Road in Belize City. Cars will be washed from morning to evening by the Ice Cream Girls and in case you were wondering who they are, coordinator of the More Fm Ice cream girls, bikini car wash and More FM events, Leticia Herrera explains. Leticia Herrera tells us about the female Dj... Herrera told us about tomorrow’s event. Music at tomorrow’s block party will be provided by More Fm’s very own Dj’s.

A Corozal team wins the three on three Sprite and Belikin Basketball Competition
On the 4th of August, a team from Corozal emerged as the champion of the three on three Sprite and Belikin Basketball Competition. Today the men are travelling to New York City where they will proudly represent Belize in the FIBA three on three World Tour. Love News spoke with two of the players who were making their final preparations at the Philip Goldson International Airport, before boarding their flight to the U.S.A. Benedict Terry one of the lucky players told us a little bit about himself and his expectations for the competition. Farron Lauriano also travelling to represent Belize, says he is excited to be going to New York for the first time. The other players who are travelling to New York today are Alton Herrera, Marcel Richards and their Coach, Jarrett Arnold. The team is expected to return to Belize on Monday.

Update on the Corozal flooding
Williard Levy the Demo coordinator, Corozal Speaks about the weather at the Corozal Distrtict... Residents of the Corozal district continue to endure flooded villages and neighborhoods. Overnight rains on Wednesday caused at least nine villages and parts of Corozal town itself to be inundated. A number of persons from affected areas had to seek refuge in the Guadalupe Church building in the Chula Vista area of Corozal town. Willard Levy is the District Emergency Coordinator in Corozal and he told Love News via telephone this morning that the sun is out and the worst of the flooding is over. On Thursday, an advisory was sent out asking residents of flooded areas not to consume untreated water as a precautionary measure because many of the wells may be contaminated. Levy told Love News that about seven people remain holed up in the Guadeloupe Church in the Chula Vista area of Corozal town and they are expected to remain there for the next two to three days until they can return to their homes.

September’s Celebrations, the first ever National Service Day
Elsie Zamora speak to love news about the new event in the September celebration, National Service Day... Patriotic songs are playing on the radio, September promotions stretch nationwide, all a reminder that the most patriotic month of year, September is around the bend and celebrations are ready to kick off. A new event in this year’s Calendar that adds importance to September’s Celebrations is the first ever National Service Day, a day to commemorate the Right Honorable George Cadle Price who once said quote, “I believe that happiness consists in serving others and not oneself” end quote. Coordinator of the George Price Center for Peace and Development, Elsie Zamora told Love News what is expected of that day. Zamora says that she encourages organizations to start thinking about what they can do on this day to be of service for their community. Those who wish to participate can contact the George Price Center for Peace at telephone number 822-1054.

The Toledo District two day training program
A two-day training for inspectors of a local organic certification scheme ended on Wednesday in the Toledo District. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details in the following report.

Traffic Accident in the Northen highway
Only yesterday we reported on Community activist and one time Mayoral candidate, Stephen Okeke’s suggestion of installing special speed bumps on the Northern Highway to at least alert motorists that they are traversing a residential area. This came about because of the constant traffic accidents in that area and that is exactly what happened this morning some time after eight when a collision between a pick-up truck and a motorcycle left the motorcycle rider injured. The incident occurred in front of Brodies on the Northern Highway and the injured man was transported to the hospital shortly after. The condition of the man is unknown at this time.

US National Park Service
Eric Heyden public affairs officer, US embassy told Love News about the national park... People whose jobs encompass dealing with the environment gathered this morning for a workshop at the Radisson Fort George Hotel on best practices in administration and capacity management at national parks. The session was held by the US Embassy, who invited one of their environmental experts to share his ideas and experiences with his local counterparts. According to the US Embassy’s Public Affairs Officer, Eric Heyden, there is much to be gained from the exchange. Jim Bacon, an expert with the US National Park Service, conducted the workshop and told Love News that despite the difference in landscapes and temperatures between Belize and the US, there are commonalities. Jim Bacon has visited Belize before and has extensive experience in environmental matters. Before joining the US National Park Service he was a Peace Corps Volunteer.

The Corozal District floods out
The Corozal district is tonight facing a disaster as several villages and the town itself is flooded. According to the National Meteorological Service, since midnight an unprecedented seven and a half inches of rainfall was recorded at Consejo, while in Orange Walk two point two inches of rainfall was recorded. Chief Meteorologist Dennis Gonguez, told Love News that radar observations fromlast night show that it was raining constantly in the north at about a rate of one to one and a half inches per hour for a five to six hour period. It’s the effects of the tropical wave which crossed the country, the remnants of Tropical Depression Number Seven. Observers say that saturated soils after the passage of Hurricane Ernesto combined with the overnight rains made for a flooded mess today. Love TV’s Patrick Jones and video journalist Brian Castillo were in the flooded areas today and bring you the following report.

The fire department pass their practical
To paraphrase an old saying: in time of calm prepare for an emergency. And that is just what the National Fire Service has been doing. After a busted attempt at testing the readiness of firemen who were on professional development training a couple of weeks ago, today, the Fire Chief and his crew gave it another try. And once again, Love TV’s Patrick Jones, this time accompanied by video journalist Brian Castillo was on hand to evaluate the performance of the firemen. Here is their report.

The new street in Belize, Emmanuel Street
Mayor Bradley speaks about the new street in Belize... If you live in the Lake Independence area then more than likely you will have noticed a newly paved street that runs directly behind the Charles Bartlett Hyde building. The street was officially named Holy Emmanuel Street during a brief ceremony this morning. On hand for the occasion was Belize City Mayor, Darrel Bradley, who told Love News that the paving and opening of the street is but one of several upgrades that city residents can expect in the coming months. Holy Emmanuel Street includes sixteen culverts that were dug for proper drainage in the area.

OCEANA Belize has teamed up with the Belize City Council
Hipolito Bautista Jr. comment on the team up with the Belize City Council... OCEANA Belize has teamed up with the Belize City Council to give a group of children a memorable trip to one of our offshore islands. It was part of the organization’s first-timer reef visit program. Hipolito Bautista Junior is the Communications and Marketing Officer for Oceana-Belize.

Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) helps thirty young students with their education
Nestor Vasquez the Chairman of BTL speak about the scholarships... Education is the key to success and today Belize Telemedia Limited cemented the first phase for a promising future for thirty young Belizeans. The twenty eight primary school and two high school students received scholarships to continue their studies at the high schools and sixth forms of their choice respectively. A ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments was held at the Radisson Fort George Hotel. BTL Executive Chairman, Nestor Vasquez, said that the company endeavors to assist in offering full scholarships to needy and deserving students. Patrick Faber Minister of education encourage parent help their kids to do good in school... Meanwhile, Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, encouraged everyone, including parents to make the children’s education their business. Rowan Garel gives thanks to BTL... The gift was a blessing for recipient, Rowan Garel, who has shown that his visual limitations have not hindered him from conquering difficult feats.

Blogs

The World's Best Beach: Tulum, Mexico. A Mere Stone's Throw From Belize.
I'm not going to call it "one of the world's best beaches" anymore and I'm just going to name it THE BEST. Tulum, Mexico's beach is absolute perfection. I don't see what could make a beach better. Powdery pinkish white sand that never gets hot sloping down to the perfect warm ocean, never crowded, lined with small palapa boutique hotels, Mexican beers and ceviche...I love it. I guess it's best to just to show you some pictures of the beach yesterday. The view from my beach chair... The beach club/hotel that I like...a bucket of 5 Coronas is $12USD. They are very generous about always allowing us to use their super comfortable chairs and their amazing view. The set-up as you enter. What the hotels, house and hotels all look like... A very interesting and tall tree house like palapa that is under construction...

Canoeing through Barton Creek Cave
Barton Creek Cave gets another great write up, this time in escapingabroad.com. They uploaded a cool video of entering the cave too. "We were suited up with safety helmets, lights and life jackets and began are journey into the darkness. This cave is considered one of the largest in the world, estimated to be over 4 and a half miles long and in some places 100 feet tall. It is also filled with a rich and mysterious history as it was used by the Mayans who believed caves to be entrances into the ‘underworld.’ Evidence of Mayan use was left behind in artifacts and the remains of at least 28 discovered bodies inside."

International Sources

In The Aftermath Of The Greek Blue Light Precedent: Belize Demands Half Off On Its Debt... Or Else

Belize Unable to Make Bond Payment Due Today, Official Says
(Bloomberg) -- Belize “does not have the capacity” to make a $23 million bond payment due today and is unlikely to make the payment during a 30-day grace period, Finance Secretary Joseph Waight said in a telephone interview.

Belize on the brink of default
he leader of the Central American nation of Belize says his country won't make a $23 million bond payment by Monday's deadline, bringing the country one step closer to formal default on a total debt of $544 million. Prime Minister Dean Barrow also says his government is unlikely to make the payment during the ensuing 30-day grace period. Barrow said Monday that his government simply doesn't have the money to make the payment. He told reporters the government expects to meet with creditors later this week. The government has offered bondholders a harsh restructuring proposal that would imply reductions in the amount owed, lower interest rates or extended repayment terms. Belize's government is struggling with a heavy debt from infrastructure projects and recent nationalizations of companies.

Belize Skips Bond Payment Today
The Belize government has confirmed that no 2029 bond payments will be made Monday, giving the government and its lenders until Sept. 19 to agree on a restructured bond. If no deal is reached, the country will default on its $543.8 million in debt outstanding. Belize is in talks with investors to negotiate how to restructure the country's only bond, however the creditors haven't agreed to the country's proposal that includes either forgiving 45% of what they are owed, or delaying payments for 15 years. "I don't see much room for a major departure" from the terms outlined in the proposal, Belize Financial Secretary Joseph Waight said on Monday. A sluggish global economy has caused a slowdown in tourism and foreign direct investment in Belize. The bond restructuring proposed is designed to close the hole in the budget, the government says. "Even if we were able to put our hands on short-term financing, it would not have assisted the process in the long run, and would have misled our creditors into believing the fiscal position was better than it really is," Mr. Waight added.


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