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December 10, 2012


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Specials and Events

The December 10th, 2012 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Alleged Con-Artist Remanded:
    The arrest and subsequent imprisonment, on remand, of Leroy Richards, is reported by San Ignacio Police as the dismantling of the operations of a con-man. The activities of this alleged con-artist began to unravel with the November 26 reporting of a stolen motorcycle. Humberto Requena of a Collins Boulevard address in San Ignacio reported that sometime between 10:00 pm on Sunday, November 25 and 5:00 am on Monday, November 26, 2012, someone stole his black Melium brand motor cycle, valued at $1,594.40, from inside his yard. The investigation led to the recovery of Requena’s motorcycle from a residence in Unitedville.
  • Guatemalan Begins Serving Real Prison Time:
    On the basis of a not guilty plea to a drug trafficking charge, Guatemala, Ebner Adan Gonzalez, has been anguishing in prison for almost a year after he was allegedly busted with almost four pounds of marijuana on December 29, 2011. As he continued to maintain the not guilty plea, the case, which has gone through several adjournments, came up again up in court on Tuesday, December 4, where he changed the plea to guilty thereby bring the matter to an abrupt end. He was ordered to forthwith pay a ten thousand dollar fine or three years prison time in default of payment. Gonzalez, 18 years at the time, arrived at this juncture in his life when on December 29, 2011 a team of policemen, on mobile patrol on George Price Avenue in the Trapiche area of Santa Elena, saw him taking out something from a black knap sack and throwing it into nearby bushes.
  • BTB’s Taste Of Belize Huge Success In San Ignacio:
    The Belize Tourism Board held the 10th Taste of Belize on December 1st and 2nd in San Ignacio, Cayo. The event attracted hundreds of patrons and saw the participation of close to twenty professionals in four culinary competitions. On Saturday night at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, guests were taken on a culinary journey through a five course meal prepared by Chef Sean Kuylen, which included Macal River Jute Snails, Lobster & Chayote Pot Pie, as well as Gibnut, Goat & Pork Skewers. Patrons were treated to free wines and beers for the cock-tail hour; body painted models with exotic animals; cultural entertainment from the Belize National Dance Company, along with Marimba music from Alma Belicena; free photos, and complimentary gift bags. Guests for the evening, were not only entertained and inspired, but also educated through a special screening of a documentary entitled, ‘Taste of Belize,’ a video that traces the evolution of Belizean cuisine and explores the depth of the Belizean culture through food. The guests were also treated to three live culinary competitions in the Pro Chef, also took home a brand new grill courtesy of James Brodie & Company Limited, along with one thousand dollars courtesy of the BTB.
  • Cayo Welcomes The Cayo Welcome Center:
    Over this past weekend the Belize Tourism Board brought its annual Taste of Belize Competition to San Ignacio. The event began on Saturday night at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. It ended on Sunday with the Belize Bar-B-Que and Food Festival 2012 at the soon to be officially inaugurated Cayo Welcome Center in the heart of San Ignacio Town. Sunday's event provided a rare opportunity for the people of San Ignacio, Santa Elena and surrounding communities along with visitors to interact within the confines of this new and impressive facility. The occasion and the facility likewise provided a spin-off boost in economic activity as local crafts people and entrepreneurs grasped the opportunity to make money.
  • Driving In The Rain: This May Save Your Life:
    We are not sure why it is so effective; just try this method when it rains heavily. This method was given me by a Police friend who had experienced and confirmed it. It is useful....even driving at night. One method used by Canadian Military Drivers for years. Most of the motorists would turn on HIGH or FASTEST SPEED of the wipers during heavy downpour, yet the visibility in front of the windshield is still bad. In the event you face such a situation, just try your SUN GLASSES (any model will do), and miracle! All of a sudden, your visibility in front of your windshield is perfectly clear, as if there is no rain. Make sure you always have a pair of SUN GLASSES in your car, as you are not only helping yourself to drive safely with good vision, but also might save your friend's life by giving him this idea.. Try it yourself and share it with your friends! Amazing, you still see the drops on the windshield, but not the sheet of rain falling. NEVER DRIVE IN THE RAIN WITH YOUR CRUISE CONTROL ON.
  • Ix Chel Tropical Research GROW TO LEARN GARDEN:
    School gardens teach children responsibility, a caring for nature, and an understanding of agriculture, science, relationships, and life processes. IxChel tropical Research Centre has launched a new program, The Grow to Learn Garden, at the Santa Elena Primary School here in the Cayo District. We’re starting this program with an 18 x 10 plot of land to grow herbs and vegetables. This “garden classroom”, will give students an understanding of how the local food system works and serves as a link to local farmers, and others involved in agriculture. Also growing herbs and vegetables in the same plot will educate the children about plants that serve as medicine and food. The kids will be in charge of weeding, watering and overall protecting the plants, of course with the supervision of their class teacher and IxChel’s project coordinator, Ms Salome Oliver. We will grow lemon grass, oregano, barsley, calalu, aloe vera, rue, mint, tree of life and sorosi. Chives, cilantro, lettuce, cucumbers, chilis and lettuce will fill the vegetable boxes.
  • Philippines: Typhoon Bopha Death Toll Rises:
    The death toll from a powerful storm battering the southern Philippines has risen to about 200, as rescue teams arrive in affected areas. At least 156 people are known to have died in Compostela Valley province alone when Typhoon Bopha struck eastern Mindanao, local officials mentioned. Rescuers have reached most areas, but have had difficulty getting to some isolated communities. Many were evacuated ahead of the storm, now over the western island of Palawan. The typhoon is expected to move out into the South China Sea on Thursday.
  • Sacred Heart Junior College’s Second Open Day:
    On Wednesday, November 28, 2012, Sacred Heart Junior College (SHJC) held its second annual Open Day on SHJC grounds. SHJC is known for being one of the leading junior colleges in the country offering quality, affordable, hands-on Associate degrees and Certificate Programs in the areas of Accounting, Business, Biology, Natural Resource Management, Primary Education, General Studies, Tourism Management, Information Technology, and Pre-Medical Studies. With a student population of approximately 600 students and dynamic, professional, qualified mentors, SHJC stands true to being the conducive, learning environment where students are motivated, inspired, and transformed.
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  • Editorial:
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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

Wolfe’s Woofers: Free Ride

San Pedro’s 2012 Bible Parade a great success
The Biblesta, (a combination of the words Bible and Fiesta) has been a mainstay in Humboldt, Kansas USA the first Saturday in October, every year since 1957. The main attraction of the event is a bible parade with bands, marching and equestrian units and featured floats depicting biblical events. The floats begin the parade in the book of Genesis, and stay in biblical order through the book of Revelations. While the churches from San Pedro have not adopted the entire event, what will certainly become a mainstay on our island community will be the annual Bible Parade and the presentations that follow at Central Park. This year’s parade took place on Saturday, December 1st and saw the participation of nine congregations. The parade took worshippers from the starting point at Banyan Bay, northbound on Coconut drive, onto back street (Almond Street), through the old football field and onto Angel Coral St. to Caribeña St. then east to Pescador Drive, south on Pescador Drive to Tarpon Street, east on Tarpon Street to Barrier Reef Drive then north on Barrier Reef Drive, culminating at the Central Park.

Dr. Love: Being a Godparent
Since my employee and good friend asked me to be the godparent of his new baby, I have started to worry about what being a godparent means here in Belize.

Misc Belizean Sources

$168m drug case crumbles
Belize’s biggest drug case collapsed early Tuesday morning, December 4th, in the culture capital of Dangriga. Thirty out of fifty six witnesses had trickled through the Supreme Court of Justice Dennis Hanomansingh since Monday 12 November to Friday 30 November when the prosecution closed its case. The prosecution had made some effort to locate a witness whose statement in the file was frightening and suspicious. Her testimony would have come under severe attack from the defense attorneys as it was too weird and unbelievable to carry credibility with a jury. That witness quite sensibly kept away from the Court. It would be interesting, most interesting, if we could learn why she had said such things as appeared in her statement. Two years ago, in the early morning of 13 November 2010, Daniel Samos, a member of Belize’s security apparatus, was on watch at a semi-secret location where electronic devices linked to satellites circling the earth detect the movements of objects entering Belize’s airspace. This is how Belize protects itself or its airspace from Guatemalan invasion; arms smuggling and drug places. You won’t believe it, and our American friends must be pissed, but our radar to detect the location of aircrafts was not working. It was the Ministry of Defence of Mexico which called Daniel Samos to inform Belize that a plane was heading into the aerospace of Southern Belize. Samos immediately reacted the way he is trained to react. He alerted our army, Police and Anti-Drug Unit. They sprang into action. One of the persons receiving a call from Samos was Superintendent of Police Lincoln Hemsley who is also the Commander of Belize’s anti-drug division. He promptly issued instructions to his various divisions. One such division is headed by Sergeant John Sanchez in Belmopan who gathered his team and raced to the Southern areas of Belize. Commander Hemsley also spoke to Lieutenant Rogelio Ramirez who with a team of Belize Defense Force soldiers was already patrolling the southern highway. Around this time, Special Constable Freddy Martinez, Special Constable Juan Veliz with Corporal Edgar Moralez, were doing routine patrol in the Bella Vista area. It is the diligence of these three which gave the Police investigation great help. Special Constables are part time Police. Freddy Martinez lives in Independence Village for many years.

Izzies Surgery at BWRC
They successfully operated on Izzie the spider monkey today at the Belize Wildlife Referral Clinic. Daniel Velazquez was on hand to get some really detailed shots of the surgery. Many thanks to Dr. Maas from the Center for Bird and Exotic Animal Medicine in Bothel, Washington. "Wildtracks Update: Izzie is out of the operating room and starting to wake up. Her bones are joined by plates, and the operation declared a success (unless there are unforeseen complications)...what a relief!"

Cayo Road Improvements
The SISE Town Council is fixing up many of the streets. Kudos to them.

Basketball Regionals at MCHS
Sacred Heart College went to Mount Carmel for the basketball regionals.

BBQ Competition at Cayo Welcome Center
More great pictures from the opening of the Cayo Welcome Center, which corresponded with the Taste of Belize's BBQ competition. Thanks to Mariposa for the great pictures. "The sun was hot, the beers were cold and the environment was welcoming. The kids had the opportunity to ride a small train and their smiles brighten the environment even more. As the evening took over many presentations took place including the lighting of the Christmas tree. It was a great day for the San Ignacio people and for those that visited from other districts and other countries."


San Pedro lighted boat parade 2012
I do not know what my ADD brain was thinking when I mentioned in yesterdays post that I would live stream the parade if I could get internet on the dock, because I suddenly did not grow 2 extra arms to be able to do that and take pictures at the same time. Of course I opted for the latter. It was off to a bit of a rough start as my unpredictable cannon does not always cooperate and give me what I am looking for, but I think I made out ok for boat parade pictures in the end. I met up with Cowboy, Leisa Pete and his wife at Caprice before the parade started then headed out to the dock with Lara, Mary, Dorian, Gerry to watch the action. Paul alternated between hanging with us and the beach. Unfortunately the boats seemed to think the people sitting at the picnic at the next dock were the judges and did their drive by’s close to them. We still got to enjoy a close enough view of the boats passing by and hearing the crew cheering and singing. This year many of the boats outdid themselves for decorating and put on a fantastic lighted boat parade, I have to say hands down I fell in love with the Jelly Fish boat and I know I am not the only one. I heard it took a week to decorate and I am not surprised, they did a fantastic job as you will see below.

REQUIRED YEARLY ATTENDANCE IN BELIZE: The San Pedro Annual Holiday Lighted Boat Parade
Required. 100%. This is the best party of the year. Such a fantastic holiday kick-off, such a fun event for the entire town, such a great atmosphere. But let me back up a bit... Rasta Claus and Miss San Pedro and her gorgeous shoes. This year San Pedro hosted its 7th Annual Holiday Light Boat Parade. (For pictures of the 6th, click here.) 12 or 13 boats lined up, fully lit, at Wayo's Bar to parade south of town and then back around to end in Central Park. SAGA Humane Society (with Santa), Casa Picasso, the AIDs Society, the Lions Den and a few others had set up a block party with DJ Habo, plenty of food, treats and drinks, pictures with Santa and lots of lights for the perfect place to watch... This year was the best ever. (And I apologize just like I did last year...taking pictures of the moving boats at night is not easy! But I'll try to capture how fun this event is...) These guys were doing flips in front of the dock, turning in a circle faster than I thought a boat could. The town dock and the beach were packed with kids, couples...

International Sources

Belize hopes push New World higher
New World Oil and Gas (NEW) said on Monday that its chances of discovering commercial oil at its Belize project had "materially increased". An extension to an existing well at the B Crest prospect confirmed the presence of a working hydrocarbon system of 45% to 65% oil saturation. Investors welcomed the news, as shares in the explorer climbed 4% and the stock became one of the most heavily bought on Interactive Investor. The Blue Creek 2A well is being drilled to an angle of 35 degrees, relocating the bottom hole location of Blue Creek 2 by some 4,535 feet. The company said seismic data had shown a "wedging or thickening effect" which could indicate a significant oil trap. The Blue Creek 2 well commenced drilling operations on 27 September and reached its initial target depth of 7,000 feet in mid-October, but failed to find commercial oil. The extension was expected to reach its new target depth by the end of the year. Analysts at FoxDavies commented: "The company's update is a positive as it has intersected a horizon with oil shows, sufficiently strong as to be interpreted as being below the oil-water contact. "This is positive news, but... shows do not yet indicate a commercial find, and ultimately, this is what success should be determined by."

New World eyes commercial discovery at Blue Creek #2 in Belize
Oil and gas company New World Oil and Gas said its chances of making a commercial discovery in Belize have greatly improved, and expects to confirm this in coming weeks. In Belize, the company's B Crest Prospect is located in the productive Petén Basin Its Blue Creek #2 well confirmed the presence of a working hydrocarbon system. New World said there was about 45% and 65% oil saturation in the lower Cretaceous Dolomites of the Y3 and Hill Bank formations following petrophysical interpretation of open-hole logs It was currently drilling a deviated well, the Blue Creek #2A ST, targeting potential commercial oil accumulation up structure above the interpreted oil water contact. The Well will be drilled to an angle of 35 degrees relocating the bottom hole location of Blue Creek #2 by some 4,535 feet to the SSE and up-structure 300 feet. At December 7, the well was at 4,500 feet. "The directors believe the chances of discovering a commercial oil accumulation at B Crest have materially increased," New World said. At 9:23am: [LON:NEW] New Look Group share price was +0.26p at 9.63p

Shares in New World Oil and Gas jump on exploration update
The share price for AIM-listed New World Oil and Gas rose 5.33 per cent to 9.88p at 08:16 on Monday following publication of an update by the company. The oil and gas exploration and development company revealed confirmed the presence of a working hydrocarbon system at its Blue Creek Well 2 in Belize. Directors of the company stated that they believe the chances of discovering a commercial oil accumulation at the B Crest prospect, part of the Blue Creek project in the Petin Basin, had materially increased. The company further revealed that 2D seismic data for its Denmark-based license in the South Permian Basin, completed in September 2012, is in the final stages of completion. CEO optimistic of oil production propsects William Kelleher, Chief Executive Officer, commented: ‘We are extremely encouraged by the results of our efforts across our portfolio to date. We believe our chances of making a commercial discovery in Belize have greatly improved, which we should be in a position to confirm in the weeks to come. ‘Our de-risking programme at both licences in Denmark remains on track and we will shortly be able to decide on the best way forward at each project. These are very exciting and busy times for New World and I can assure all our shareholders that the management of the company is working tirelessly on all fronts, as we work towards our objectives of making a hydrocarbon discovery and building value. I look forward to updating the market on our progress as and when new developments arise.’

A Winter Escape to Ambergris Caye, Belize
One of my favorite winter get-away destinations is the island of Ambergris Caye in Belize. Ambergris Caye is one of hundreds of beautiful tropical islands in the Caribbean Sea all along the coast of Belize and is the most popular tourist vacation destination in Belize. With the second longest barrier reef in the world just off shore it offers fantastic snorkeling and scuba diving and is a paradise for birdwatchers and nature lovers. The government of Belize has put a number of restrictions on development to protect the environment including designating several marine reserves, restricting the size of buildings and resorts and requiring that beaches be in maintained in their natural state . The island is about 25 miles long and only about a mile wide. The height restrictions keep buildings below the top of the tallest palm trees with no buildings over 44 feet tall. Ambergris Caye has few paved roads and the primary mode of motorized transportation is golf carts. There are no major hotel chains which gives the island a relaxed retro ambience. Belize is an especially easy place for people from the US to visit because it is the only country in Central America where the official language is English and the Belizean dollar is tied to the US dollar with a super easy to calculate 2 to 1 exchange rate - 2 Belizean dollars = $1 US. For those who want an ecofriendly, unique winter getaway, take a look at what it is like to take a trip to Ambergris Caye in Belize.

John McAfee Gains Reprieve in Guatemala
The software pioneer John McAfee believes he will be given time in Guatemala to appeal against his deportation back to Belize. It was initially believed that McAfee would be deported back to Belize within 48 hours of presenting himself to Guatemalan authorities last Wednesday. McAfee was immediately arrested for illegally crossing the border from Belize into Guatemala with his 20-year-old girlfriend, Samantha. McAfee has been on the run since 11 November when his neighbour Gregory Faull was found dead in his house on the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye. McAfee is wanted for questioning by the Belize authorities in relation to the death. McAfee's lawyers filed papers with the courts in Guatemala to grant him leave to stay in the country until his legal appeals against deportation have been settled, which could take months. The court has up to 30 days to rule on his request, but McAfee's lawyers said on Sunday they expect a ruling in the American's favor as early as Monday.

John McAfee May Be in Guatemala for Months
Though the Guatemalan government initially said that John McAfee would be quickly shipped back to Belize, he's managed to buy himself some time. Reuters reports that McAfee's lawyers have filed a request to allow him to stay in the country until a court rules on his appeals against deportation, which could take months. "The government of Guatemala respects the courts and we have to wait for them to make a decision," said a government spokesman. Since arriving in the country last week, the tech mogul has already been arrested and had a heart attack scare that landed him in the hospital, but we trust that he'll be able to come up with some new antics in the coming days and weeks.

December 9, 2012


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

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

Abel Wiebe & family need your help
It began with a distinct scratchiness of the throat; his voice grew weaker, and he felt a rattle when he breathed or spoke. That was in March of 2012. After he felt a worsening, Isidro Abel Wiebe went to Belize City to seek medical help. He got a biopsy, and shortly after, he was informed that he had been diagnosed with Laryngeal Carcinoma. Abel Wiebe worked for 11 years at a popular nightclub in downtown San Pedro, and before that, he had worked one year at a now-defunct nightclub south of town. He was never a smoker, yet, he is suffering the effects of cigarette smoke; second-hand smoke is deadly, and he is a prime example. But this story is not ALL about the effect of the smoke he passively inhaled over the years he worked to put food on his family’s table. The sad issue is that he has been diagnosed, and in the ensuing panic that overtakes when one hears that dreaded word “cancer”, he followed doctor’s orders, not even taking a chance at a second opinion, or reaching out to the organizations that could have helped him with some options. As such, funds that were raised by family, friends and (former) co-workers went towards paying expensive treatments that in the end did him no good. When funding ran out, he had to come back to Belize, to explore other options. The Dangriga Cancer Center in Belize is offering treatment to him: chemotherapy, which he needs to undergo before heading to Guatemala for the operation that could possibly save his life, and perhaps even his voice.

San Pedro AIDS Commission continues to lead in the Fight against HIV/AIDS on the island.
Throughout the month of November, committees and organizations around the country of Belize and the world engage in activities focusing on the fight against HIV/AIDS. The activities lead up to December 1st, a day set aside internationally to be observed as World AIDS Day. The day provides an opportunity for individuals to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS, to show support for persons living with HIV/AIDS as well as to memorialize loved ones who have passed. A constant in the fight against HIV/AIDS is the stigma and discrimination that is related to the disease and virus. In San Pedro, the local San Pedro AIDS Commission has had a long history of working towards ending such stigma and discrimination as well as providing financial assistance to persons living with HIV/AIDS through their various fundraisers and socials. As part of their activities leading to December 1st, Commission members took to the San Pedro High School on Friday, November 30th where they shared the Red Ribbon with both faculty and students at the institution. Apart from sharing the ribbon, the team also provided informative pamphlets on HIV/AIDS as well as an explanation about the significance of the Red Ribbon.

“Well Above-Average” hurricane season puts Belize to the test
The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season which includes the North Atlantic, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico area came to an end on November 30th. The 2012 hurricane season saw 19 named systems, one of which put Belize’s emergency plan to a test. This occurred when hurricane Ernesto made landfall south of Mahahual in the state of Quintana Roo Mexico on the 27th August at about 9:15PM. The 2012 season was considered to have been well above-average and differed from what was projected at the start of the season. The hurricane season, which begins on June 1st and ends on the 30th of November, did not bring any hurricane systems directly to Belize. Chief Meteorologist Dennis Gonguez of the Belize Meteorological Service outlined the season, looking back at the activities in the Atlantic area. “This past 2012 hurricane season was rather active. We saw well above average tropical cyclone activities. During this year there were 19 named systems and in a typical year you would have about nine to ten so we saw almost twice as many systems this year. Of the 19 named systems, ten became hurricanes and in a typical year we would have about six hurricanes; again it shows that the activities were well above normal. Of the ten hurricanes, one became a major hurricane (Hurricane Michael – Cat 3). So this year’s activities were well above normal”. He also added that the forecast did not stand out as projected, as there were more named storms than there were intense systems, stating that “the suppressing phenomenon” which the forecasters had expected did not develop as strongly and as timely as projected. “The El Niño phenomenon, which normally has a dampening affect on our hurricane season did not evolve as strongly as we had expected, so we did not have that increase in storm intensity this year,” said Gonguez.

Misc Belizean Sources

Video: Dr. Jaime Awe Explains Why Archaeologists Sometimes Make Destructive Decisions
If you missed the backstory of this week-long video series with Dr. Jaime Awe, Belize’s most prominent archaeologist, please start by reading the series introduction. In yesterday’s video, Dr. Awe explained the features of Maya architecture that are exhibited at the Caracol site and put those in context of global architecture across time and cultures. In today’s video, Dr. Awe talks about a difficult decision he made to destroy a small part of a structure at Caracol. I always love the backstories and understories of people’s work, so this video is my favorite yet. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Video: Dr. Jaime Awe Introduces the History & Features of the Belizean Maya Site, Caracol
In March 2012, I had the honor and privilege of attending the first of four overnight camping trips at Caracol, which is considered by Belize’s National Institute of Culture and History to be one of the country’s most important–if not THE most important–Maya sites. Whereas some other countries with Mayan heritage (and, it’s important to note, living Maya cultures) decided to play up the apocalypse and doomsday interpretations that gained so much traction in mainstream US media, Belize kept things classy and real, insisting upon the importance of using the luxury of a year-long spotlight on all things Maya as an opportunity to both educate people and celebrate Maya culture. All programming was designed with these dual objectives in mind. One of the novel ways the country decided to fulfill those objectives was by hosting a series of overnight camping trips at Caracol, during which Dr. Jaime Awe, Belize’s most prominent archaeologist, would personally guide visitors around the site. Each camping trip would truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience: each was scheduled to fall on an equinox or solstice during the year when the Maya’s long-form calendar ended. Each camping trip (the last is scheduled for December 20 and is sold out) would be limited to 100 visitors, who, in addition to meeting Dr. Awe, would also enjoy a traditional Maya dinner and, very early the following morning, a special Maya fire ceremony. The entire experience was incredible; it lived up to its once-in-a-lifetime billing, and I doubt I’ll forget any of it. But Dr. Awe was, without question, the highlight. It’s rare enough, I think, to feel oneself in the presence of a genius. And if that happens, it’s rarer still to find that person completely accessible, his or her passion so palpable that you can’t help but absorb it and let it live inside you for a long, long time to come.

CCRCS Variety Show!
Un-deniably Xmas is a time for children!! Their excitement for the magic of Santa Clause brings us all back to some of fondest memories of our childhood and watching them celebrate this special time is pure joy! Last night was the Caye Caulker Roman Catholic’s Variety Show 2012. The students have spent most of last week rehearsing and their parents patiently sewing costumes, purchasing Xmas hats and or putting together their best red or green clothes!! Each class performed, most probably twice and most if not all children took part whilst parents stood and watched this colorful spectacle! Thank you for all took part for bringing in the Xmas spirit to Caye Caulker this year … roll on today and Ocean Academy’s Extravaganza at the Park!!

VIDEO: Christmas fireworks in Belmopan
A spectacular fireworks display brought the curtain down in dramatic fashion on the program for the lighting of the Christmas Tree in Belmopan on Saturday, December 8th., 2012.


Still in recovery mode and the last 48 hrs
This post was started last Thursday in the midst of getting my new laptop set and ready for work, I started experiencing a big bout of ADD and my brain was feeling like 220 plugged into a 110 socket. I knew I needed to just walk away from it all and shut down which is easier said than done. I decided that I was not going to do emails only, not blog or take any pictures during Dick’s 2 last days on the island before he starts traveling to Antarctic for his next contract. The plan was to go between taking as much quiet time with myself and Paul as I could and hanging out with Dick. Darth Vader our joyride cart was down so we ended up on foot most of the time, we did get lucky and score a ride from Glenn the day we went souvenir shopping. Dick had promised to buy the girls at the Canadian office some picture frames and I was his wing-man for the job. I tried to be optimistic as we set out and kept my mouth shut on the topic as I truly believe that sometimes when you have nothing good to say it is better to say nothing. As we started hitting the stores down front street and looking at frames Dick quickly realized that not only were they over budget, most of the were not impressing him. After a few stores I told him the moral of this story is that it is ok to tell someone you are bringing them a Belize souvenir, but never tell them you are a specific item unless you have found one that meets your souvenir buying criteria first. You could go as far as to even ask if there is a special request with no guarantees disclaimer, you never know who has a fridge magnet, shot glass or a coffee cup collection

Carrie Hits Southern Belize: A Look at Placencia & Dangriga
Hello again, SanPedroScoop fans! I think that the cold weather in New Jersey affected Rebecca's brain - she told you all that I was going down to Punta Gorda with Kathy.... but she was wrong. Placencia is as far south as we went on this trip, and here are some more pics of our days there: I actually went to Placencia for a reason other than just to show Kathy around - I wanted to go talk to someone about a job at this fun little beach bar, the Tipsy Tuna - Everything is cute and colorful at this bar - even the bike racks: They have PLENTY of seating.... In the shade - Or in the sun- Right on the beach, even - They also have a hotel with another bar inside - which I believe is their "club" for late night dance music, if that's what you're into - Yeah... I could work there. More in Placencia...part of the "longest continuous sidewalk in the world" Signs everywhere, directing you to all of the good spots! Very handy. Placencia cemetery After Placencia, Kathy and I grabbed a bus and got to Alta Vista, where my house is, and spent one night there. Nothing too thrilling to tell you about - Kathy just wanted to see the house and the land and meet the goat that I named after her...

International Sources

Self-publishing your book: 5 benefits, 3 drawbacks
Writers don't have to rely on traditional publishing houses to get their work to the public anymore. As costs drop and digital opportunities grow, many writers avoid traditional steps. As self-publishing costs drop and digital opportunities grow, many writers are avoiding traditional publishing houses. Self-publishing can be an appealing option, but success is hard to come by. While it's tempting, it's still tough to make a living on self-published works. Most of the books sell fewer than 150 copies, The New York Times reported earlier this year. Guy Kawasaki, the co-founder of and a founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures, joined The Daily Circuit Thursday, Dec. 6. He co-wrote an upcoming book, "Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to Publish a Book." Author Lee Goldberg and Andrew Karre, editorial director of Carolrhoda Books, Carolrhoda Lab and Darby Creek, also joined the discussion.

Belize Supreme Court to decide legality of homosexuality in May
Belize’s Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the country’s sodomy law which treats homosexuality as if it was the same thing as bestiality The Supreme Court of Belize will decide on the future of the Central American country’s colonial era sodomy law early next year, with a hearing set to begin on May 7. Prospects for the hearing did not look good at first when Justice Michelle Arana decided that LGBT rights group the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) could not challenge the constitutionality of the law as it was not a person in May of this year. However she allowed UNIBAM president Caleb Orozco to challenge the law as an individual and has now allowed UNIBAM to participate as an interested party in the case as she had already allowed representatives of Christian churches in Belize to be interested parties along side the government of Belize. The churches and government want to retain Section 53 of the country’s criminal code which outlaws homosexuality alongside bestiality as carnal intercourse ‘against the order of nature.’ Orozco told the Amandala newspaper that he was hopeful of a positive verdict in a case about ‘fundamental rights and freedom,’ and welcomed recent statements from US officials urging progress in the region on LGBT rights. ‘There is a layer of comfort from the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s support for our cause here in Belize,’ Orozco said. However a spokesman for the churches, Pastor Scott Stirm, claimed that UNIBAM was trying to push a foreign agenda on Belize

John McAfee Is Ready to Come Home Now
Fallen anti-virus mogul and possible murderer John McAfee seems to have tired of his big, crazy international adventure. "My goal is to get back to America as soon as possible," McAfee told Reuters in a phone call from the Guatemalan detention center where he is being held after unsuccessfully seeking asylum there. "I wish I could just pack my bags and go to Miami," he added. Unfortunately for McAfee, who is wanted for questioning in Belize over the death of his neighbor, the United States government can't just book him on the next flight to Florida. A State Department spokesperson responded to his remarks by pointing out that Americans traveling abroad are subject to local laws, and that the U.S. can only ensure that they are "treated properly within this framework." McAfee also told Reuters that, because he is now without Internet access, he has handed over control of his consistently updated blog to some friends in Seattle, who have begun posting "a series of files claiming to detail Belize's corruption." This is apparently an attempt to discredit the Belizean police's previous claims that McAfee was manufacturing narcotics and possessed illegal firearms. "People are saying I'm paranoid and crazy but it's difficult for people to comprehend what has been happening to me," he explained. "It's so unusual, so out of the mainstream." For once, that statement is entirely true, but it's not likely to get him back to South Beach any time soon.

From malware to madman: A brief history of John McAfee’s lunacy binge
Technology's favorite crazy man John McAfee is currently sitting in a jail in Guatemala after fleeing police in Belize who suspect him of murdering his neighbor. Here's a complete rundown of how he ended up in such crazy, sad place in this world. John McAfee is one crazy son of a bitch. But you already know that, thanks to the ridiculous escapade that started back in November after McAfee’s neighbor was found dead, and McAfee fled into the jungles of Belize. It’s a sordid tale, with many ins, outs, and what-have-yous – one of the most spectacular displays of utter madness the technology world has ever seen. McAfee’s absurd story actually starts much earlier, all the way back in the 1990s. So sit back, grab yourself a hit of bath salts, and come with us on a journey through John McAfee’s long, hilarious descent into madness. 1987: McAfee Associates launches After nearly two decades working as a programmer for NASA, Univac, and Xerox, McAfee lands a job at Lockheed Martin where he begins developing anti-virus software. In 1987, he launches his own company, McAfee Associates, which becomes the world’s go-to anti-virus company. 1992: Michelangelo virus stir-up This is when McAfee’s crazy streak first begins to reveal itself. McAfee tells the world that a virus dubbed “Michelangelo,” which had the charming feature of completely wiping the hard drive of infected computers, had made its way into as many as 5 million PCs. On March 6, McAfee said, Michelagelo would trigger a meltdown in all infected computers at once. His declaration caused a near-panic in the computer-using world, much as the Y2K D-Day scare did some eight years later. But by March 7, nothing had happened. Nothing. McAfee was blamed for creating a false threat to sell more of his anti-virus elixir – which he did. McAfee’s anti-virus software sales reportedly “skyrocketed” that year, with more than half of the companies in the Fortune 100 having purchased McAfee software. Of course, this only furthered the theory that McAfee had just made up the whole damn thing. 1994: McAfee cashes out The Michelangelo fiasco eventually took its toll on McAfee’s reputation within the company. By 1994, he was forced out of his own firm. He cashed out most of his stock in the company, plunking a whopping $100 million into his bank account. At 47, McAfee is massively rich, retired, and bored. 1994 to 1999: The dark years Flush with millions of dollars in cash, McAfee purchases a 280-acre compound in Woodland Park, Colorado for $25 million. The sprawling estate includes a 10,000-square-foot mansion, two apartments, and nine guest cabins. It was from this home base that McAfee developed one of the first Internet instant messaging and VoIP clients, PowWow, which precluded eventual winners in the space, like AOL Instant Messenger and Skype. He launched the product under a new company called Tribal Voices, a Native American-themed venture that foreshadowed McAfee’s eventual turn into a hippy-dippy yoga junkie.

John McAfee: The multimillionaire fugitive -- in his own words
The software king, wanted by police following the murder of a neighbour, talks of sensationalist reporting and why he's relieved to be in Guatemala. By the time I contacted him on Wednesday, even by his own recent standards, John McAfee was having an unpredictable week. Seven days ago the multimillionaire internet security pioneer was still hiding in the jungle of Belize wanted for questioning by police in connection with the murder of his neighbour, Gregory Faull, who had been found shot dead at his home on November 11. McAfee had subsequently fled only to reappear on the internet, expressing fears that he was being set up by the Belize government, which he believed wanted him killed for refusing to pay a bribe. Last Monday, after evading police for three weeks, there were reports of McAfee being arrested crossing the border into Mexico. In fact, the detained individual turned out to be a lookalike and the real 67-year-old self-styled adventurer was being smuggled across a different border, into Guatemala. As his blog later revealed, he was in the company of his 20-year-old girlfriend, Sam Vanegas, and two reporters from Vice, an American magazine. McAfee was wearing a disguise that involved a dyed black goatee and flattened wads of chewing gum under his upper lip to make it protrude. On Tuesday, one of those Vice reporters, apparently unable to believe his gonzo journalist luck, posted a picture of himself alongside McAfee on the internet, with the headline "We're with John McAfee, suckers". The photograph was very quickly examined by a Twitter user, @simplenomad, who discovered from its image file an exact grid reference for the runaway quartet: they were staying at an exclusive resort in Guatemala called Ranchon Mary. The picture had been taken next to the pool. McAfee, the anti-virus security guru, realising that he had been exposed by this schoolboy data error, made himself known to the Guatemalan authorities in the company of the "best criminal lawyer in the country" Telesforo Guerra, who also happened to be his girlfriend's uncle. The fugitive had abandoned his beachwear and surfer's peroxide in favour of a sober suit and trimmed beard, and announced that he was seeking asylum in Guatemala. On

John McAfee wants to return to US
Software guru John McAfee, fighting deportation from Guatemala to Belize to face questions about the slaying of a neighbor, said on Saturday he wants to return to the United States. "My goal is to get back to America as soon as possible," McAfee, 67, said in a phone call to Reuters from the immigration facility where he is being held for illegally crossing the border to Guatemala with his 20-year-old girlfriend. "I wish I could just pack my bags and go to Miami," McAfee said. "I don't think I fully understood the political situation. I'm an embarrassment to the Guatemalan government and I'm jeopardizing their relationship with Belize." The two neighboring countries in Central America are locked in a decades-long territorial dispute and voters in 2013 will decide in a referendum how to proceed. Responding to McAfee's remarks, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said U.S. citizens in foreign countries are subject to local laws. Officials can only ensure they are "treated properly within this framework," she said. On Wednesday, Guatemalan authorities arrested McAfee in a hotel in Guatemala City where he was holed up with his Belizean girlfriend.

December 8, 2012


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The San Pedro Sun

Minister Heredia requested Corporal Young’s transfer and offers no apologies; PUP and NTUCB condemn Heredia’s actions
The San Pedro Sun first reported on November 29th about an incident in which 43 year old nurse Lisa Marie Merz, US National of Syracuse New York, was arrested, charged and found guilty for several offences while vacationing on Ambergris Caye. The arresting officer was the Head of the Tourism Police Unite in San Pedro, Corporal Sharmane Young. Following the incident involving the tourist, Young was arbitrary and coincidentally transferred without a reason, believed to have been caused by political interference. According to San Pedro Police, both the Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia Jr and the Commissioner of Police David Henderson became involved in the arrest of Merz, eventually securing a police bail the day of her arrest. Since The San Pedro Sun first broke the story, the transfer of Young has the subject of national discussion prompting the Heredia Jr. to speak about the issue. Heredia told the media on Wednesday December 5th that he indeed became involved in the incident and had in fact has requested the transfer of Young months prior to the incident. Heredia said that the reason he became involved after being informed of Merz’s arrest was because she has been bringing tourists to the country for over 15 years.

Dominican Republic announces full integration into SITCA
The Dominican Republic has officially integrated itself into the Central American Tourism Integration System (SITCA) the tourism arm of Central American Integration System (SICA). The announcement was made by the representative of island’s republic during a SICA Tourism meeting on Ambergris Caye on Thursday November 29th. The country has been an observer to SICA for many years and is now fully integrated, which had the support of other SICA Tourism Ministers from the region. At the end of the SICA Tourism meeting the Deputy Minister of International Affairs of Dominican Republic Luis Simo Maceo announced the country’s full integration into Central America Tourism Integration System and officially moved away from having a special observer’s status. Maceo told The San Pedro Sun that Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic Franciso Javier Garcia has already extended an official invitation to his Central American tourism counterparts to a working and technical visit where they will get to see what is being done in the more developed part of the country. “We want the Central American Tourism stakeholders to visit us and be able to evaluate and see what are some of the advantages of developing tourism destination that has worked in the Dominican Republic and in one way or the other contribute to the development of tourism in Central America,” said Deputy Minister Maceo.

San Pedro local football competition moves to semi-final rounds
After seven weeks of competition, four teams have moved to the semi final leg of the Football Federation of Belize’s San Pedro competition. The semi finals will start this Sunday at the Ambergris Stadium. Moving onto the Semi Finals were, based on placement: United FC in first place; Captain Shark’s Veterans in second place; Los Catrachos in third and taking fourth place was Suga Boys Juventus. The semi final games will be played in a home and away format. This means that each game will be played twice to the teams that will go up in the finals for first and second place. The two top teams will be chosen to represent the island in the Inter-District competition slated to commence early 2013. The games begin at 1:30pm on Sunday with Los Catrachos going up against Captain Shark’s Veterans. The second game is scheduled for 3:30PM when United FC goes up against Suga Boys Juventus. The finals have been scheduled for Sunday December 23rd. Ambergris Stadium is the place to be this Sunday for the Semi Finals of the FFB’s San Pedro tournament.

Saga Humane Society – how you can help!

Ambergris Today

San Pedro PUP Asks for Minister Heredia’s Resignation
The People's United Party (PUP) sent out a press release to the Belize media on Thursday, December 6, 2012, in which it states that the political party strongly condemns the gross insensitivity, negligence and abuse being shown towards women and children as displayed in two instances that have come to national attention in recent days. The first is the case of apparent medical negligence and malpractice at the Northern Regional Hospital within the past three months. There are a minimum of nine incidents in which both mothers and babies have either sustained severe injuries or have died; the most recent being two days ago in which baby Harmony died. The second is the matter of Police Corporal Sharmane Young serving at San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, who has been suddenly and arbitrarily transferred primarily due to the arrest of a tourist. The Corporal was carrying out her duties as the Tourist involved in the incident was found guilty of assaulting her by a court of law. In an email sent out by the San Pedro PUP, it further demands “that Hon Manuel Heredia resign from his post as Minister of Tourism and that Corporal Young not to be transferd for doing her job and Officer in Charge for the San Pedro Branch be given an apology from Manuel Heredia for doing her job.” Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism and Area Representative of Belize Rural South, is under a lot of scrutiny on his actions after the arrest case of Liza Marie Mertz on November 24, 2012. Female Police Corporal Sharmane Young is being removed from the San Pedro Police Unit after she arrested and charged US tourist Liza Mertz who reportedly cursed and manhandled the officer. Syracuse resident Liza Marie Mertz apparently interrupted and yelled obscenities at Police Corporal Sharmane Young whilst Young was searching a man who was allegedly selling drugs.

Mexico Trains Belizean Forensic Ballistic Analysts
Two Belizeans have just returned from Mexico after receiving specialized training in the science of Forensic Ballistics. The two Belizeans underwent an intensive five-day crash-course in various aspects of Forensic Ballistics, including the use of the Integrated Ballistics Imaging System (IBIS). The training course was conducted in Mexico City from November 22 to 26 through the Mexican Program for International Cooperation for Development. With the training received the Belizean forensic ballistic analysts will be able to operate the IBIS TRAX 3D System recently donated to Belize by Canada, which is being set up within the National Forensic Science Service headquartered in Ladyville.

Misc Belizean Sources

PM Barrow Travels To Miami-Florida On Official Trip
The Office of the Prime Minister informs that the Hon. Dean Barrow departs the country today, Friday, 7th December 2012, for Miami, Florida where he will participate in scheduled official meetings over the weekend. Prime Minister Barrow is expected to return to the country on Sunday, 9th December, 2012. During Prime Minister Barrow’s absence, the Hon. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister of Belize will act as Prime Minister.

CCA Christmas Play
The Cayo Christian Academy is doing their Christmas play, 'A Walk Thru D Life of Christ,' tonight and tomorrow. It starts at 7pm both nights, and is free. "Put it on your calendar! On December 7 & 8, CCA presents "A Walk Thru The Life of Christ" featuring a live cast of 200 persons! Don't miss it! It is a FREE EVENT so bring the entire family! Donations are welcomed! GATE OPENS 7 PM."

Mistah Geeh's New Mix on Soundcloud
Mistah Geeh mixed at the Stork Club with Cloud 9 and DJ Ritchis last weekend for New Exchange Magazine's Luscious party. Danny Chung was there to capture the moment. Mistah Geeh has a new DJ Mix that you can download for free, entitled 'This is What I Call Music.' It's very well done, with a wide variety of 90's groups on it, and it gives you a feeling for why he's so passionate about music. If you want a great mix that will keep you smiling for an hour, definitely check it out. LINK. Mix Grade: A- (due only to a few too many self promos in the beginning)

In his own words ... Minister Manuel Heredia asked for Corporal Sharmane Young to be booted out of San Pedro.

Survey on Police Transfer
The recent incident in San Pedro town resulting int he transfer of a police officer has sparked a lot of discussion. What is your thoughts on the issue? Please vote in our survey.

Channel 7

Killing Beside Church, In Front Of City School
It had been almost two weeks since there was a murder in Belize City - but this afternoon, a killer struck with ruthless precision right beside a church and in front of a primary school. 7News arrived at the same time as the police - and Daniel Ortiz reports:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting 29 year-old Marvin Nunez met his end right outside the main entrance of Saint Ignatius Primary School. 7news got there a few minutes after and the blood spot marks where he fell, just a few feet away from the entrance. Right across the street, the Saint Ignatius Church was deep in service for a funeral in remembrance of a dead loved one; the people in attendance were oblivious to another loss of life happening right outside. It is one of the biggest schools Belize City, and about around the time when the school bell rang signaling the end of afternoon break, a gunman ambushed him. The assailant shot him dead execution style, 3 bullets to the head and one to the shoulder. It didn't matter that there were innocent school children in the area, and other parents who were also outside dropping off their children. The assailant waited patiently, and attacked just as Nunez's girlfriend went onto the compound. In fact, she heard the gunshots and ran out only to find her boyfriend dying on the street. His family told us off-camera, what they knew so far:

McAfee May Spend Christmas In Guatemala
John McAfee has been getting all the attention he craves in the past two days - but tonight, he is back in an Immigration holding center in Guatemala City. And while the international press has made much of his supposed pair of heart attacks - according to best information, Doctors say he the most he may have had was an irregular heart rhythm. He was released from a Police Hospital last night in good health. Doctors said his heart rhythm and blood pressure were normal. Now, his attorney Telesforo Guerra has mounted multiple legal challenges in the Guatemalan courts. First, he is asking the constitutional court to seek a review of the foreign ministry's decision to deny McAfee political asylum. He will argue that his client's human rights are not being addressed. And then, there's also the legal challenge in the Guatemalan Supreme Court which seeks to overturn an expulsion order issued by Guatemalan Immigration. With all that ahead - seasoned observers say that McAfee may well end up spending Christmas in Guatemala. But rather than Feliz Navidad, he's trying to drop the bomb on the Belizean government - releasing what he calls The Corruption Files on his blog. The first rather unremarkable posting - which was also posted weeks ago - seeks to implicate a villager from Carmelita who McAfee fired. It compiles about 20 minutes of surreptitious audio chatter of what appears to be bar-room talk between men plotting the undoing of their former boss.

PM Met With IDB VP
And while McAfee's trying to get Prime Minister Dean Barrow's attention - we'd wager that he'll have to do slightly better than that. Yesterday the PM led a meeting with visiting IDB officials - the first reconciliation after the PM and Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno, had a famous falling out. That episode involved a partial guarantee of Belize debt restructuring and when Moreno backed off because the US Treasury was opposed to the loan, the PM publicly - and privately - accused Moreno of perpetrating quote, "a crass act of cowardice." But, both sides are turning the page, and the IDB Vice President Roberto Vellutini met in Belize City yesterday with the PM, accompanied by his Minister of State Santino Castillo, Financial Secretary Joe Waight, Economic Ambassador Mark Espat. A government release says the meeting was to quote, "discuss the future of their partnership and strategies to advance the country's social and economic agenda," unquote. The release adds that Belize intends to remain an active member of the IDB. The release adds that, quote "the Bank and Government will continue to explore alternatives to help Belize to surpass its development challenges and achieve its national development goals." In related news, the Prime Minister left the country today, for Miami, where - a release from his office says - he will participate in scheduled official meetings over the weekend. It doesn't say what the meetings are about, but they are believed to be related to Superbond negotiations.

Tourism Minister Roundly Condemned For Moving Cop
On Wednesday, you hear Tourism Minister Manuel Juniour Herredia defend his position on why he asked for Corporal Sharmane Young to be transferred from San Pedro. This is after Young arrested and charged an unruly tourist, Lisa Marie Merz - who ended up pleading guilty to a number of the charges. Well, since his staunch public defence of his action, Herredia has been roundly condemned. Today the NTUCB issued a statement saying that quote, "this type of political mis-step will not be tolerated," end quote. They demand that the transfer be immediately rescinded. The PUP also issued a release yesterday saying that quote, "The PUP decries the political meddling and high handedness of a government Minister in Police work." And while those are official positions, we've been called by townspeople - including UDP friendly one's - in San Pedro who are also unhappy about their Representative's actions - and are talking about mounting a protest.

Xate: the Toll Taken
Ten years ago, most of us didn't even know what the word "Xate" referred to. But since then Xate has gone mainstream - and by now - after dozens of news stories - most of us know it is an ornamental leaf that grows plentifully in Belizean forests - and is highly sought after by Guatemalan poachers. Now, the Friends For Conservation and Development, which co-manages the Chiquibul National Park has quantified exactly how many leaves have been taken - and how many remain in the Chiquibul. After over a year of field work and in house analysis - they presented their report today in Belmopan at the Convention Hotel. 7news was there. Jules Vasquez reporting In an exhaustive - and no doubt exhausting survey of the Xate plants in the Chiquibul forest, for eight months - six persons surveyed 60 plots of the forest - each plot about half a hectare: Boris Arrevalo, Biologist & Research Coordinator, FCD "Within those plots we counted all the Xate plants. We counted them, identify them, how many leaves they had, how many have been extracted, how many commercial leaves and how many leaves had evidence that they had been eaten by animals."

Another Guatemalan In Chiquibul
And while Xate extraction is experiencing resurgence, other encroachments in Chiquibul remain constant. Yesterday, Park Rangers found 36 year old Guatemalan Eliseo Coc in Chiquibul hunting with a loaded shotgun. The Melchor resident was detained and taken into the San Ignaico police station where he was charged for Possession of Unlicensed Firearm and Ammunition - which means he has been remanded to prison.

Woman Charged For Drug Trafficking
Tonight, 35 year-old Tricia Stephanie Jeffries Dominguez is out on bail after police say that she was busted with over 2 pounds of marijuana. According to police, acting on information, they conducted a search at her home at #37 Santa Barbara Street. Dominguez was present when police allegedly found 2 white buckets which contained 5 small plastic bags, one garbage back and a transparent plastic bag, all containing about two and a half pounds of weed. She was charged with drug trafficking, and arraigned before Magistrate Adolph Lucas today. She pleaded not guilty, and was granted bail of $5,000, which she met. She is to return to court on February 7, 2013. Dominguez is the niece of the former Commissioner of Police - now Commissioner of Transport Crispin Jeffries.

Weed Found In Yard, Eleven Charged For Drug Traffic
Tonight, a group of 11 including family and friends are facing drug trafficking charges after they were busted in a home with weed last night. Police conducted a search at around 7:30 at #57 Iguana Street Extension, which had 3 houses on the property. Present at the time were 20 year-old Aaron Gordon, 22 year-old Kendall Sanchez, 20 year-old Lindon Hinds, 36 year-old Luis Matthews, 19 year-old Andrea Buller, a 16 year-old male minor, 29 year-old Juanita Hinds, 28 year-old Claudia Hinds, 18 year-old Kevin Buller, 56 year-old Gloria Buller, and a 15 year-old male minor. Police found 2 black plastic bags underneath one of the houses, which contained 179 grams of weed. As a result, they were all charged jointly with drug trafficking, and they were arraigned today before Magistrate Adolph Lucas. Lindon Hinds pleaded guilty to the charge, and due to the fact that this was his first conviction, he was sentenced to pay a fine of $10,000 by July 31, 2012, or he will spend 3 years in prison if he defaults.

The Real Oscar Coigny
On Wednesday we told you about Owen Parham - who was wanted for a string of burglaries in Corozal. One of his aliases is Oscar Coigny - but the real Oscar Coigny - who is Parham's cousin called us to say he's in no way involved. Coigny now lives in Switzerland and says his cousin had done the same thing with his name a few years ago. He calls it identity theft - and says the embarrassment has forced him to cancel a trip he was planning to Belize.

Yhony Denies Involvement In Gun Business
Yoni Rosado - is the owner of and one of the first to open the cave tubing business in Belize over 20 years ago. You've seen him on the news before as a firebrand frontline member of FECTAB, but tonight his freedom is on the line. Last Thursday Rosado was picked up in the village of Blackman Eddy at his worksite by Belmopan police. He was taken to Belmopan police station pending investigation for firing his licensed weapon indiscriminately- supposedly in a dispute with someone else from the industry. Despite the report that a number of persons made statements against him, he hasn't been arrested and charged for firearm offence - which carries an automatic remand. He is free tonight but his freedom depends on what the DPP decides. Today in an interview with 7news, he told us when police picked him up and locked him down; he had no idea what he was being detained for: Yoni Rosado, "It happened the previous Thursday - I was doing my job like everything else. I am a tour operator and I had to meet my guest at the Tourism Village and I had to go to the caves to make sure that they get their tubes and everything, so I was doing my job when about 1pm the police came looking for me in the village of Frank's Eddy. When they came and pick me up, they ask me my name and I told them Yoni Rosado, then they told me to get in the truck because they had information to arrest you. I ask the officer can I know for what because I know I haven't done anything wrong other than being on TV and fighting for our rights in the tube business. No information was given, they put me in the back of the truck and they drove me very fast."

BEL Debenture Offer Oversubscribed, Closes Early
We've reported extensively on the success of the first tranche of the city Council's Municipal Bond Offering - which sold like hotcakes. And while that bond instrument was mopping up some of the excess liquidity in the banking system, quietly BEL's Series 5 Debenture was doing just the same. The $25 million dollar Offer attracted almost 40 million dollars in subscription requests! And with that robust market response, BEL closed it off yesterday, eleven days before the scheduled closing date. The Series 5 Debenture offer a fixed interest rate of 7 per cent and matures in 12 years. Each debenture cost $100 dollars. BEL is now considering offer another series of debentures in 2013 to meet the excess demand for financial instruments with an attractive interest yield - since the commercial banks are offering very low interest rates on savings - and in fact turning away many large depositors.

The Cycling Back And Forth Continues
Last night, 7News told you about the trump card that current President of Belize Cycling Association Emil Moreno pulled in his effort to resist that vote of no-confidence being put together by Deputy Mayor Dion Leslie, who wants to be the next president. He presented a letter written by the President of the Pan-American Cycling Federation, Jose Manuel Palaez Rodriguez, who stated explicitly that his organization and the International Cycling Union currently only recognize Moreno's executive as the ruling body over the BCA. Well, the Minister of State with responsibility for Sports, Herman Longsworth, has responded to Rodriguez's letter. He explains that the Sports Council is the only governing body in Belize which has the authority to recognize the executives of any sport - or to rescind that recognition. According to Longsworth, the current BCA constitution that the Sports Council has on file is the only one being recognized - and we must note that is not the one on record with the Pan-American Cycling Federation. Longsworth added that here is another general meeting scheduled for tomorrow where the membership will decide on which constitution they will run the BCA elections by.

"New Thing" For Neonates
Tonight the KHMH has a new device, called a radiant infant warmer. It was donated by Alan and Colleen Spring in memory of their son Thomas Spring. Like incubators, the radiant infant warmer will be used to regulate body temperature in newborn infants, humidify the air and add extra oxygen. The Director of Medical Services explained:.. Dr. Adrian Coye "This morning is a very special because through the generosity of Alan and Colleen the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit/Special Care Nursery is the beneficiary of this excellent donation which is an infant warmer. This has been a labor of love from them and a labor also of patience because the offer has been there for quite a while. We've been finally able to connect and they'd able to deliver this very important medical equipment." "It will be used in the Special Care Nursery and the in fact warmer has the purpose of keeping the temperature of newborn infant at a certain level and also for nursing care. Babies are at risk of losing insensible heat loss very quickly and it affects how they recover and respond to treatment and we are very glad for their generosity."

NICH Makes It Official
Last night we told you about the cancellation of the December 21st international concert at the Xunantunich Mayan Site. Well, in what we take to be a face-saving maneuver, NICH sheepishly announced today that it is quote "being postponed as a result of logistical difficulties and time constraints." An e-mail from the international promoter Eyezzon Productions says vaguely that it quote, "remains committed to global preservation efforts and sustainable economic growth." But there's lots of internet chatter that doesn't place the concert cancellation in such a favorable light. We've received multiple emails suggesting that the entire venture was shady.

Digicell Says, Believe The Hype
But one concert that doesn't have any taint of that is the Digicell 10th. Anniversary event planned for next week Friday. It's got a long list of reggae stars participating - and the marketing machine has already been cranked up to tell everyone that they can believe the hype, headliner, Beenie man and a cast of stars are coming. We spoke with two of the promoters and two of the performers via telephone from Jamaica today. Thalia Myvette, Promoter "It all starts next week Thursday actually at the launch of Envy Magazine. We are actually going to have an autograph night at the Tropicana Lounge where we are going to have some of the artists that will be performing at the concert there to do their appearance." Tamara, Promoter "We are going to have 6 international artists; Beenie Man, Babycham, Leftside "Dr. Evil," Chan Dizzy, Trever Off Key and we are also going to have 4 Belizean artists. We will have about 6 hours of international artists, so it's not going to be a 20 minute show at 2 in the morning and it's over. You are going to get your money's worth." "If we have to charter a private jet - they will be here." Tickets for the concert event are 70 dollars - and the red carpet pre broadcast will be aired live on Channel 7.


Ministry Of Works Orange Walk Terminates Two Employees Terminated
In March of this year, shortly after the general and municipal elections, a letter written by the then Administrative Officer of the Ministry of Works Alfredo Cruz, was published, and exposed Minister of Works and Transport, Honorable Rene Montero’s plan to fire seven employees of the Ministry of Works here in Orange Walk. The plan was partially executed as Adrian Wade and Cirilio Teul were fired one week after the publishing of the letter. Then, there were five. But to add insult to injury, a few weeks later, three more employees of the Ministry of Works in Orange Walk were given their walking papers. Steve Leiva, Cesar Cal and Cornelio Leiva, who were also on the list of seven, were fired without given a valid reason. Note that four of the five former employees, had been working with the ministry for more than ten years. There were several assumptions as to why the terminations occurred; the most likely reason was due to political affiliation. Out of the list of seven, only Cecilio Carballo and Shelma Herbert remained as employees of the Ministry of Works that is until yesterday. With only 20 days away from Christmas, Carballo and Herbert found themselves jobless as they were handed their termination letters yesterday evening after working at the ministry of works for 24 years and 8 years respectively. The reason for their termination is still unknown to us as we have been unable to speak with both former employees. We’ll have more on this story in tomorrow’s newscast.

He Committed The Crime Now He'll Do The Time
After three weeks of being convicted for the crime of carnal knowledge at the northern session of the Supreme Court, today 67 year old Romero Jimenez, Naturalized Belizean of San Joaquin Village in the Corozal District, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. It’s the minimum sentence for carnal knowledge and it was handed down by Justice Herbert Lord at the Supreme Court this morning. An expressionless Romero was escorted to the court room and as he stood before Judge Herbert Lord waiting for sentencing, you could have heard a pin drop. The moment was tense as his family, including his children, waited for the sentencing to be read. And just before noon Justice Herbert Lord sentenced Romero to 12 years in prison after a jury of his peers found him guilty of carnal knowledge on November 8th 2012. This morning when we spoke to Romero’s Attorney Simeon Sampson, he disclosed that his client will appeal sentencing. Simeon Sampson- Attorney “I took it to the court of appeal and the court of appeal ruled in our favour and ordered a re-trial but unfortunately the found him guilty during the re-trial. Four weeks ago a majority of the jury 7-2 found him guilty again and so we may appeal and see where we can go from there we plan to appeal again and again forever.”

Cane Farmers Receive Fuel Assistance
More than one week has transitioned into the new crop season and as usual cane farmers are anxiously waiting for the disbursement of their fuel tickets and with the price of fuel so high, who wouldn’t. The good news is that the tickets, which automatically award cane farmers a less payment for a gallon of diesel, are now in the hands of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. Alfredo Ortega- Chair BSCFA “Caneros que entregaron cana desde el primer día de zafra y también aquellos que han entregado esta semana que cerro esta semana el Martes pueden llegar al Sugar Board a buscar sus boletos. Estos boletos van a reflejar $2.46 por gallón de combustible, de diesel, el canero tiene que pagar $0.07 por cada gallón por conseguir este boleto en el Sugar Board y ya desde mañana pueden llega a conseguir estos boletos.” Last year cane farmers paid $2.11 cents less for a gallon of fuel. This year they received a reduction of $2.46 cents per gallon. Chairman of the BSCFA Committee of Management, Alfredo Ortega, also urges all farmers who have not licensed their trucks or tractors to do so immediately in order to dismiss any challenges with the rules and regulations of the transport department.

Guatemala Rejects McAfee Asylum Request
John McAfee has been on the run from Belizean authorities for over three weeks now and yesterday, the anti-virus pioneer confirmed that he was seeking asylum in Guatemala after Vice Magazine accidentally uploaded a picture which revealed his location. His initial intentions were to seek refuge in Guatemala, but last night, in a turn of events, McAfee was detained in Guatemala City at the Intercontinental Hotel for illegal entry into the country. As seen in the video, he was taken away by Guatemalan authorities with the help of Interpol. McAfee was put in jail; however, it seems that he was certainly enjoying the comfort of the Guatemalan prison as he continued to update his blog. In a recent post he wrote, “I asked for a computer and one magically appeared. The coffee is also excellent.” Word was that the eccentric millionaire was to be extradited to Belize and he would arrive at the Philip Goldson International Airport around ten this morning where he would be handed over to Belizean Authorities. But that never happened as McAfee’s attorney, Former Guatemalan attorney general Telesforo Guerra, applied for an injunction at the Guatemalan Court. The papers were reviewed by the judge and around 2:00 this afternoon the injunction was denied. But, McAfee is not giving up soon. Today he was found lying on the floor of his prison cell, unresponsively. He was taken to the Guatemalan City hospital after possibly suffering two minor heart attacks. Upon his arrival at the hospital, he was wheeled in on a gurney and when nurses began taking off his clothes, he miraculously became responsive and said “Please, not in front of the press.” McAfee is now pleading to the people of Guatemala to email the President in order to show their support and influence the president to grant him permission to seek the political asylum he is requesting, which according to Guatemala's Foreign Minister Harold Caballeros has been rejected. So has McAfee’s time run out? That’s left to be seen.

Krismar Espinosa Acquitted Of One Murder
On September 17th 2007, the badly decomposed body of twenty-four year old Rachel Cicely Chun was removed from an unfinished concrete house on Santa Familia Street here in Orange Walk Town. At the crime scene, a bloody cement block, which was believed to be the murder weapon, was also found. That same day, Krismar Espinosa, an Orange Walk resident, who was only seventeen years old at the time, was arrested since he was the last person Chun was seen with and due to the conversations he had following the murder. Espinosa was remanded to the Belize Central Prison. Two years later, on December 24th 2009, Keon Swasey, who was on remand for a number of charges, was stabbed to death in a prison cell at the Belize Central Prison. Krismar Espinosa immediately became a suspect since he was taking a phone call around the same area the stabbing took place, and because it was believed that there was an old beef between the two inmates. After being handed over to the Criminal Investigative Branch, Espinosa was processed and charged for the murder of twenty one year old Keon Swasey. Espinosa’s murder trial began on November 26th 2012 and yesterday he was acquitted of the murder of Swasey after Justice Troadio Gonzalez upheld a no case submission made by Espinosa’s attorney Rachel Montejo. The jury of four women and eight men were directed to acquit him of the charge on the basis that the crown council’s two main witnesses, prison officers Floyd Neal, and Punciano Cowo, provided no evidence that Espinosa indeed committed the murder and further more were unable to identify him as the person who committed the killing. A total of 10 witnesses were called to the stand. While Espinosa was acquitted of the charges levied against him for the murder of Keon Swasey, he was not set free since he is still awaiting trial in the Northern Session of the Supreme Court for the 2007 murder of Rachel Cicely Chun.

It's That Time Of Giving
Christmas is fast approaching and there are many families who don’t know where the gifts and food will come from. This year, Centro Escolar Junior College is steadfast on making a difference. This afternoon students, accompanied by teachers, made the holidays a little brighter for those less fortunate as they visited several families in the neighboring villages of San Roman Corozal, and surprised them with food baskets. The idea to give back to the community was conceived by Agriculture Lecturer Gaspar Cordova. Hugo Gonzales-Dean CEMJC “It was an initiative which was brought my attention, one of my agriculture lecturer Mr. Gaspari Cordova who came up with the idea to ask our students including teachers, staff, administration that we should come together and donate small items in order for us to make some hampers and take out our people that live in our neighboring communities that are in need, so what we did today is to put up quite a number of hampers and went to various families who are in need to share in the Christmas spirit and to show them that CEMJC is not only about education but we also manage a very healthy outreach program and that we want them to feel bless and loved and cared for this Christmas.” In order for the Christmas project to be a success, the families were selected by a group of teachers and students.


Mid-Afternoon shooting leaves Marvin Nunez dead
Mid afternoon shooting leaves one man dead. A 29 year old man identified as Marvin Nunez of a Rocky Road address in...

FECTAB member, Yhony Rosado may be going to jail
FECTAB vocal member, Yhony Rosado may be going to jail. Two weeks ago Yhony Rosado the owner of cave was...

Garbage problems in Belize City
Belize City Council is getting ready to write business owner Arun Huchandani about his garbage disposal practices. ...

Ladyville business owner pleads guilty to Sales Tax charges
On Wednesday, Ming Pei Chen, a Belizean-Chinese national and owner of several well-established businesses in the La...

Open Day celebrates Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 64 on Monday, Dec. 10. Adopted by the General Assembly of the Unite...

PM in Miami on official business
Prime Minister Barrow has left the country on official business. A Government press release states that the Prime M...

Disability Week observed with week of events
This week was observed as Disability Week. Activities took place across the country as the week of events started o...

Karel Galvez Sr on remand for having sex with 15 years-old
A resident of Jane Usher Boulevard 36 year Karel Galvez Sr is now a resident of Kolbe Foundation. Galvez was sent t...

Belize City resident is found with a large amount of cannabis
A Belize City resident is found with a large amount of cannabis in her home. Acting on information, a team of Beliz...

Two men arraigned for allegedly shooting a man in Ladyville
Raheem Crawford and Mason Patnett have been remanded to prison. They were arraigned for allegedly shooting a man in...

PUP claim apparent medical negligence and malpractice at the Northern Regional Hospital
The People's United Party has issued a release condemning the gross insensitivity, negligence and abuse being shown...

Three Ambassadors presented their Letters of Credence
Three Ambassadors today presented their Letters of Credence to the Governor-General of Belize, His Excellency, Sir ...

The closure of Xunantunich to stage a concert has been cancelled
The closure of Xunantunich for two weeks to stage a major international concert has been cancelled. The concert was...

Guatemalan national charged for Possession of Unlicensed Firearm
A Guatemalan national has been charged for Possession of Unlicensed Firearm and Ammunition. Last night just before ...

Police in San Ignacio investigate an armed robbery
Police in San Ignacio are looking for a man as they investigate an armed robbery. Lloyd Molina a 22 years-old Pharm...

Armed robbers get away with goods worth $860
Armed robbers get away with goods worth $860 from a Belize City business. Carlos Williams a 38 years-old Artist of ...

BEL Debenture Offer has been fully subscribed.
In a press release Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) has confirmed that its $25 million Series 5 Debenture Offer has...

KHMH receives donation of a radiant infant warmer
KHMH receives generous donation from the Spring Family. Alan and Colleen Spring of Table Rock Jungle Lodge in the C...


The wily American antivirus pioneer has managed to evade Belize authorities and flee to Guatemala, where authorities arrested him John McAfee, 67, of McAfee Antivirus fame, has managed to elude Belize police one more time, even though Police Press Officer Rafael Martinez told Amandala that they don’t want to “arrest” him; they just want to “talk to him.” McAfee has been on the run from Belizean authorities since the murder of fellow American Gregory Faull, his neighbor in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, on Sunday, November 11, 2012, over three weeks ago. McAfee, whose sanity Prime Minister Dean Barrow has publicly called into question, fled San Pedro, then Belize, all the while keeping in touch with different media houses, some in-country, some abroad, airing his side of the story. While blogging on the run, McAfee’s reports of his tricks in successfully avoiding Belize police have sounded somewhat “Indiana Jones-ish.” Apart from denying that he killed Faull, McAfee’s main themes are that Belize police will kill him if they lay hands on him; the government is corrupt; and that the plot against him in the murder of Faull stems from his refusal to donate money to a politician in the north of the country. On Tuesday, Reuters news agency had reported that McAfee had managed to cross into Guatemala and was asking for asylum there, quoting the aforesaid “plot against his life and corruption of the government” as his excuse. McAfee reportedly spoke with Reuters by telephone from Guatemala’s Supreme Court, and with him was his Belizean girlfriend, Samantha Vanegas, 20, and his lawyer, former Guatemalan attorney general, Telesforo Guerra.

“…xaté populations in the Chiquibul Forest are under stress, and if adequate management and conservation measures are not set in place, the species may face commercial to local extinction.” Whereas recent reports of illegal activities inside the Chiquibul Forest have been shining the light on illegal logging and gold panning, illegal xaté harvesting activities by Guatemalans inside Belizean territory, reported since the 1970’s, has been picking up again, according to Boris Arevalo, researcher at Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD). FCD describes illegal xaté harvesting as “an acute problem,” and in January 2010, FCD had warned of the potential decimation of the native palm sold as a pricey exotic species on the foreign market. According to Arevalo, Belize has lost an estimated BZ$1.2 million worth of xaté from illegal harvesting activities inside the Chiquibul Forest, including the Chiquibul National Park and the Caracol Archaeological Reserve. The FCD, working in partnership with El Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) and the FAO/FLEGT Support Programme, undertook a study between January and November 2012 to determine how much xaté is still in the Chiquibul Forest, to estimate its productive capacity, and to estimate the gross economic value of illegally harvested and available xaté stocks in the forest. “Illegal harvesters have managed to extract over 14 million leaves of C. ernesti-augusti [xaté] worth US$624,592.00…,” said the report, “US$309,211.00 for the Chiquibul Forest Reserve alone.” A formal presentation of the study, “An assessment of xaté populations and the effect of habitat complexity on xaté stocks in the Chiquibul Forest, Belize,” will take place at the Belmopan Convention Hotel at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, December 7, 2012.

The Minister had to be taken back to the US because of health issues News was received yesterday, Wednesday, that the visit to Belize of the leader of the Nation of Islam, Minister Louis Farrakhan, who was scheduled to be in Belize today, Thursday, had to be postponed until further notice due to unforeseen circumstances surrounding Minister Farrakhan’s health. Sources close to the Minister said that Farrakhan was suffering from dehydration and had to abort his Caribbean tour, in which Belize was to be the next stop on the charismatic leader’s agenda. Preparations had already been made by the organizers of the event to host Minister Farrakhan, and planned activities had included meetings with Belizean heads of state and civil society, an interview on KREM radio, a youth rally, a public address, and a meeting with Amandala publisher Evan X Hyde. Sources in the Nation of Islam say that the decision was made in Saint Croix, Virgin Islands, as Minister Farrakhan was scheduled to speak, and that the Minister experienced a change in his health and had to be taken back to the United States for medical attention.

Two prominent Belizeans were today honoured by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. They are Sister Maria Caritas Lawrence, RSM, EDD; and Right Reverend Philip Wright B.A. (Hons) M.A. who were bestowed with the insignia of the Order of the British Empire. The Governor-General of Belize, His Excellency Sir Colville Young, pinned the emblematic medals on them, reciting a short biography of each for the benefit of a number of distinguished invitees to the occasion. Bishop Wright currently sits on the Board of Governors of the University of Belize, is a member of the Council of Churches, and works with a number of NGO groups within the church in the Province of the West Indies; and now is the third most Senior Diocesan Bishop in the Province. Today, Bishop Wright was honoured by the Queen for his outstanding services to Belize in the field of religion. Bishop Wright is married to Mrs. Carla Suite-Wright. Sister Maria Caritas Lawrence is the eighth of ten children born to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Lawrence. Her career as an educator spans forty-six years, with forty-three of those years dedicated in loving service to the people of her beloved Belize. Sister Caritas holds a Doctorate in Leadership Education. Today Sister Caritas, as she is affectionately called, was honoured by the Queen for her years of outstanding accomplishments and service in the field of religion and education.

The landmark case of the government of Belize and the churches versus UNIBAM continued this week as the defense and the prosecution made new statements in court. It is believed by some UNIBAM supporters that Justice Michelle Arana, in addressing the position of UNIBAM’s preliminary filing of the case, struck out its claim for individual rights but did recognise them as an organization that can claim human rights under the law. UNIBAM representative, Caleb Orozco, stated that he feels positive about the December 5, 2012 court decision, and that Justice Arana’s ruling in pushing the full hearing of the case to May 7-10 of 2013 has given them time to prepare for the next stage, where they will be able to submit extensions by February 18, 2013. He reiterated that UNIBAM is relentless in its struggle for what he called, “fundamental rights and freedom.” But critics are noting an attempt by UNIBAM to exploit the recent statement made by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that governments like Belize must do everything in their jurisdiction to modify their laws to protect people who are transgender or who are engaged in same-sex relations. Pastor Scott Stirm, a spokesperson representing the Belizean churches, still felt that the churches have made some inroads on the case and expressed deep support of the church’s position to stand its ground. “UNIBAM is trying to use the preamble of the constitution to push a lifestyle in Belize that is unacceptable,” he stated, “They are trying to push this issue as a human rights issue. And there is an international/global agenda that is pushing homosexuality and abortion.”

Dangriga police, laudably, offer free escort services to the bank, but Hong Mai Chen did not ask for it A Chinese business woman, Hong Mai Chen, 39, a nationalized Belizean, owner and manager of the Grigalizean Supermarket on George Price Drive, Dangriga, was attacked and robbed while she was going to the bank to deposit her money, and the thieves got away with about $65,000. Mai Chen told police that at about 9:30 a.m. yesterday, she was going to the Belize Bank to make a deposit. She had pulled up on Oak Street just a short distance from the bank, and as she was getting out of her vehicle, two men approached and attacked her. One of the men punched her in her face and the other beat her on the shoulder, causing her to almost lose consciousness. One of the robbers then grabbed her money bag off her shoulder. She tried to struggle, but one of the men beat her in the back of her head, and she fell down. The two thieves then ran away with her money bag. Police came quickly and searched the area, but the thieves were nowhere to be found. Police are now looking for two persons known to them.

The Belize Billiards Sports Federation (BBSF) is happy to share that the players who went to participate in an individual shoot-out at Estadio Mateo Flores, Guatemala City, on December 1 and 2, dominated, as they won seven out of twelve medals. We congratulate and thank the guys who represented the Jewel and gained maximum respect from the players who participated from Guatemala and Salvador. Here are the rankings: In 8-Ball – Mark Reyes of Orange Walk ranked 1st place, while Jevon Parham of Toledo ranked 4th. Muy bien, mi amigos! 2nd and 3rd place went to the Guatemalans. In 9-Ball – A Guatemalan ranked 1st, but thereafter, the Belizeans rounded-up the top 4, as Elder “Small Chino” Paredes of Belmopan ranked 2nd, Leroy Jacobs of Orange Walk ranked 3rd, and Jevon Parham again of Toledo ranked 4th. Mucho respecto!! In 10-Ball – Yes, 10-Ball. Well, we don’t play this game in Belize; but after a crash course on the rules, our boys decided to compete for the first time in this game. And they sure enough embarrassed some Guatemalans on their game and their home table, as Jevon Parham ranked 3rd and Mark Reyes ranked 4th, while the Guatemalans took 1st place and Salvador took 2nd. It was a long ride to the Guatemala City, but the players showed that they’ve got skills and the ability to represent their country on the international table. We truly appreciate the efforts and the medals earned. You guys are champs, and we take our hats off to you. Special thanks extended to Rapidito Loan of Corozal, Panifipadora La Popular Bakery of Orange Walk, Price Premier Products of Belize City, and Mr. Isaias Lima, President of the BBSF, who accompanied the team and assisted in making the trip a reality. Much thanks also to the Billiards Federation of Guatemala who hosted the tournament and provided hotel accommodation and food. Congrats again, guys! You are considered BIG GUNS in Belize Billiards.

“At the dock of the big port of Antwerp he sees his company’s ships arriving filled to the hatch covers with valuable cargoes of rubber and ivory. But when they cast off their hawsers to steam back to the Congo, while military bands play on the pier and eager young men in uniform line the ships’ rails, what they carry is mostly army officers, firearms, and ammunition. There is no trade going on here. Little or nothing is being exchanged for the rubber and ivory. As Morel watches these riches streaming to Europe with almost no goods being sent to Africa to pay for them, he realizes that there can be only one explanation for their source: slave labor.” - pg. 2, KING LEOPOLD’S GHOST, Adam Hochschild, Houghton Mifflin, New York, 1999 “I began to read more. The further I explored, the more it was clear that the Congo of a century ago had indeed seen a death toll of Holocaust dimensions.” - pgs. 3, 4, ibid. “Underlying much of Europe’s excitement was the hope that Africa would be a source of raw materials to feed the Industrial Revolution, just as the search for raw materials – slaves – for the colonial plantation economy had driven most of Europe’s earlier dealings with Africa. Expectations quickened dramatically after prospectors discovered diamonds in South Africa in 1867 and gold some two decades later. But Europeans liked to think of themselves as having higher motives. The British, in particular, fervently believed in bringing ‘civilisation’ and Christianity to the natives; they were curious about what lay in the continent’s unknown interior, and they were filled with righteousness about combating slavery. “Britain, of course, had only a dubious right to the high moral view of slavery. British ships had long dominated the slave trade, and only in 1838 had slavery’s vestiges been abolished in the British Empire. But the English quickly forgot all this, just as they forgot that there had been slave revolts in the West Indies and that economic factors had hastened slavery’s end by making it less profitable. In their opinion, slavery had come to an end throughout most of the world for one reason only: British virtue. When London’s Albert Memorial was built in 1872, one of its statues showed a young black African, naked except for some leaves over his loins. The memorial’s inaugural handbook explained that he was a ‘representative of the uncivilised races’ listening to a European woman’s teaching, and that the ‘broken chains at his feet refer to the part taken by Great Britain in the emancipation of slavery.’”

Six men who were charged with drug trafficking and aiding in landing a plane that brought 2 tons of cocaine into the country have been freed of the charges by the Supreme Court in Dangriga yesterday, December 4, bringing the case to a close. The case began on Monday, November 12, and 36 witnesses testified for the prosecution. The six men, five of whom are policemen, are Renel Grant, Lawrence Humes, Jacinto Roches, Mark Middleton, Harold Usher and a civilian, Victor Logan. Although they were released from police custody, the five policemen still have a “possession of unlicensed ammunition” charge before the court, to which they must still answer. However, police said that they had already been granted bail for that charge, and they were free to leave the court. Richard “Dickey” Bradley, the lead defense attorney for the men, said that the defense made a no-case submission due to the insufficient evidence. The prosecution had not been able to link any of the men to the plane or the drug, and Justice Denis Hanomansingh upheld the no-case submission and directed the jury to find the six accused not guilty of drug trafficking.

The 2012 1st Annual Primary Schools Table Tennis Tournament, sponsored by Santiago Castillo Limited, took place last Friday, November 30, at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium. Competing in this inaugural year event were 5 of the main primary schools in Belize City – St. Mary’s Primary, Wesley Upper, Trinity Methodist, St Joseph Primary, and host Belize Elementary. With some 40 students participating, the tournament began with a Round Robin competition in which the students were separated into 8 groups of 5. The top 2 from each group would advance to the FINAL-16 Double Elimination competition. Making it to the Final-16 round were: Matthew Usher, Wayne Parham, Amiri Hoare, Latrel Solis, Jaylen Nicholson, Lynn Augustine, Zack Ortiz, Rohan Gillett, Tyrone Brown, Alexis Tun, Cuison Wong, Mario Galindo, Idelfonso Cu, Kristian Swasey, Luis Bardalez, and Edwin Quan. And taking the top four positions were: 1st – Matthew Usher (Belize Elementary); 2nd – Tyrone Brown (St. Joseph Primary); 3rd – Kristian Swasey (Belize Elementary); and 4th – Rohan Gillett (St. Joseph Primary).

First, here are the official Week 14 game stats as released by the Premier League of Belize (PLB) Secretariat: Saturday, December 1 – Verdes FC (Julio Ayala 17’; Julian Maldonado 68’; Walter Chinchillas 88’) 3:2 Paradise/Freedom Fighters (Eduardo Martinez 31’; Delroy Flores 90’+) at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium. Belmopan Bandits (Jeremy James 44’) 1:1 Belize Defense Force (Victor Nunez 86’) at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium. Sunday, December 2 – Police United FC (Evan Mariano 12’; Daniel Jimenez 41’ & 79’; Lennox Castillo 90’+) 4:2 San Ignacio United FC (Rosny Martinez 22’; Joel Guzman 87’). F.C. Belize (John King 24’, 37’, 70’, 76’ & 88’; Francisco Briceno 77’; David Ramos 80’; Christian Perez 82’ PK) 8:0 FC San Felipe Barcelona at San Felipe Football Field. Placencia Assassins (Ernie Whyte 60’; Brent Whyte 71’; Dalton Eiley 75’ PK) 3:0 R.G. City Boys United at MCC Grounds. San Pedro Sea Dogs (3:0) by default over Juventus FC at Ambergris Stadium). It was a decisive weekend for 5 teams in contention for playoff spots (Bmp Bandits were already into the semifinals), and points total was not enough to determine 2 of the 3 remaining spots in the semifinal playoffs. In the South, Police clinched their semifinal berth with a 4-2 win, giving them 30 points to lead their group. Both Verdes and Placencia Assassins also won their games, but, tied in points at 29, the nod went to the Assassins who were ahead in the Goal Difference column.

For quite a few years now, the ladies of the UBAD Educational Foundation (UEF) on Partridge Street have organized the celebration of the Kwanzaa ceremonies around Christmas time. Kwanzaa, which features some beautiful, traditional African concepts, was introduced by Dr. Ron Maulana Karenga in 1966, which was, incidentally, the year when the black power phenomenon first swept across the United States. So then, Kwanzaa will be 46 years old this Christmas. One of the UEF ladies asked us to provide some editorial ideas on the concept of unity (umoja), which is the very first concept of Kwanzaa. Umoja calls for unity in the family, the community, the race, and the nation. It sounds really good, but life is really real. Sounds are one thing: life is something else. The most important thing to understand about unity in any group is that those who are enemies of that group will make it their priority to divide the said group. If the enemies of your group are more powerful than your group is, then you will have a difficult time achieving unity. During the processes of slavery and colonialism, those who were opposed to unity amongst us Belizeans were basically white men from Great Britain. But, even if there had been only black and brown people in this territory, without the dominant British, unity would still have been a difficult goal to achieve. Why is that? Unity in a group is a difficult goal to achieve because unity requires, it presupposes leadership. The absolute importance of leadership has to do with decision making. There are occasions when critical decisions have to be made. There are times when decisions have to be made quickly, under substantial pressure. These are the occasions and these are the times when good leadership, honest leadership, tried and proven leadership, strong leadership, is at a premium.


“The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things.” – Alice in Wonderland – An object lesson I would like to tell you a story about a businessman, who lived in San Ignacio. His name is Escandar Bedran. It will be a short story. In fact, it will be only a glimpse into the mind of the man. Escandar embarked on many business ventures and all of them were successful. Was he lucky? What was the secret of his success? “No secret, at all,” said my good friend Telford Vernon, who was, also, one of Escandar’s many friends. He made friends very easily because, he had an angelic disposition and, was the soul of courtesy. Telford told me that there were two things he observed about Escandar. He cultivated the people whose minds he respected, and he picked their brains. He had a habit of beginning a conversation asking, “Bwai, weh yu tink bout….” Then, he would give his friend the bare bones of the scheme he was contemplating. Escandar was a good listener. He already had his basic plans, now he would refine them, based on the valuable information, provided by his friend. There was no secret to Escandar Bedran’s success. It started with his having a good mind for business. Then, he prepared himself by seeking and obtaining knowledge and information about the project. He tried to find out as much as he could about his undertaking, before he made his move. Come to think about it, this is a good object lesson for all of us. Perhaps, some of the initiatives undertaken by those in high places would have been more effective, if there were wider consultations.

The Reporter

Espat to bondholders: “GoB will not reconsider”
The Government of Belize will not reconsider its rejection of Belize Coordinating Committee’s proposals, Leader of the Debt Review Team, Mark Espat, said Tuesday. On Tuesday this week, the Committee issued a press release in which it said GoB’s rejection of the three counter-proposals, which the creditors sent on November 21, has jeopardized an opportunity for a timely resolution to the re-negotiation talks for Belize’s U.S. Dollar Step-Up Bond due in 2029 (superbond). “We are surprised that the GOB has rejected the Committee’s proposal and only inched forward, when a timely agreement would be in the interests of all,” A.J Mediratta, of Greylock Capital Management, Co-Chair of the Committee, said. Mediratta urged GOB to reconsider their proposals, and elucidated that “the debt relief at levels sought by GOB could only be justified with more tangible and objective signs of the country’s stated distress, such as the acceptance of an IMF [International Monetary Fund] program.” Espat said, “The [Committee]’s premise that further debt relief can only be justified by greater fiscal consolidation or an IMF program is patently disingenuous.” He said that were GoB to seek to increase its primary budget surplus projections from two to four percent as the Committee suggests, it would “entail retrenchment and tax hikes,” neither of which are options the government is willing to explore.

House of Representatives recommends new Ombudsman
Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced in the House of Representatives last Friday that they have finally recommended a new Ombudsman: Mr. Lionel Arzu, a teacher at Julian Cho Technical High school. Arzu, who has a Masters of Science in International Commerce and Policy and a Bachelor degree in Management and Computer Science, will serve as the Ombudsman for three years, 2013 to 2016. He also has a wealth of experience in both public and private sectors dating as far back as the late 1980’s. He has worked as an adjunct Economics and International Business lecturer at the University of Belize, an extension officer with the Department of Agriculture, and more. On Friday, Barrow said that after reviewing Arzu’s curriculum vitae, the House feels that he is a “fit and proper person to be appointed as Ombudsman” and recommended him to the Governor General. By law the functions of the Ombudsman are to investigate incidences in which authorities abuse their authority or engage in any other form of corruption or wrong doing. Mr. Arzu replaces former Ombudsman, Cynthia Pitts, whose contract expired in December 2011, and was not renewed because of a technicality. While Part 2 section 7.1 of the Ombudsman Act, Chapter 5 of the Laws of Belize, makes provisions for a temporary Ombudsman to be appointed on recommendation to the Governor General, no such recommendation was made and Belize was 11 months without an Ombudsman to serve the people.

John McAfee seeking asylum in Guatemala, but gets arrested!
The anti virus software tycoon, John McAfee, 67, who has been on the run from San Pedro Police since last month, was arrested in Guatemala City at the Intercontinental Hotel on Thursday, December 6. McAfee, who was reportedly seeking asylum in Guatemala, was arrested with the help of Interpol, after he illegally crossed into Guatemala from Belize on Monday, December 3. Live footage of his arrest was posted on the Internet by Vice Magazine, a Mexican publication that has sent a journalist and videographer to document McAfee’s flight to freedom from Belize. But on Thursday afternoon, reports coming out of Guatemala City indicate that McAfee was transported by ambulance from the detention center to a hospital, after he was found unresponsive in his cell. Earlier during the day, he had complained of chest pains. It is unclear if he had indeed suffered a heart attack, or if his complaint of “chest pains” is another of his elaborate hoaxes to avoid being sent back to Belize. He was scheduled to be returned to Belize on Thursday, and would have been handed over to the Belize Police. In Guatemala, McAfee has hired a former attorney general, Telesforo Guerra, as his attorney. Guerra is said to be an uncle of McAfee twenty-year-old girlfriend, Samantha Venegas. McAfee has continued to echo his irrational fears that Belize authorities want to summarily execute him, because he has exposed official corruption and has refused to donate money to the political party in power. His request for asylum in Guatemala was turned down on Thursday, but his attorney has indicated that he will appeal the decision. McAfee has been named as a person of interest in the murder investigation of his neighbour, retired American businessman Gregory Faull, who was found in his home on northern Ambergris Caye with a bullet to the back of his head in the early morning hours of Sunday, November 11.

Belize City gets Sir Barry Bowen Municipal Airport
The Ministry of Works is inviting bids for the expansion of the Belize City Municipal Airstrip. Work will begin in January on the new expanded facility which will be renamed the Sir Barry Bowen Municipal Airport. The Belize Airports Authority has borrowed $9.5 million from the Social Security Board for the project, signing a loan agreement with the SSB on Wednesday, December 5. After this BAA General Manager Kenworth Tillett broke ground for the expansion project at the municipal airstrip. A $5.00 rider fee has been added to the price of tickets on every flight landing or departing from the Municipal to repay the SSB loan. Belize’s tourism industry has grown tremendously since the airstrip was first built in the 60’s, and the airstrip is now handling 120 flights per day, making it the second busiest airport in the region. Tillett explained that the project will double the size of the airport, as it will now have brand landing strip, equipped with landing lights to accommodate night flights. The new runaway will be built on 16 acres of land acquired from the Landivar campus of St. John’s College. The project also calls for a new approach and exit road to the airport with a proper office building for the Belize Airports Authority, which is presently accommodated in a small wooden bungalow. The project has been more than 20 years in the planning, but with sea erosion and rising sea levels threatening the existing landing surface, the need for expansion has become urgent.

Mexico swears in president amid violent protests
Enrique Peña Nieto took the oath of office as Mexico’s new president Saturday vowing to restore peace and security and take on the vested interests that have hindered economic prosperity. As several hundred protesters threw fire bombs at police and smashed plate glass windows, Peña Nieto marked the return of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, with a 13-point plan heavy on old-party populist handouts but with reforms designed to boost the economy and modernize the education and justice systems. Inaugural events were marred all day by protesters opposed to the return of the PRI after a 12-year hiatus. Inside and outside the congressional chambers where he took the oath of office, his opponents called his inauguration an “imposition” of a party that ruled for 71 years using a mix of handouts, graft and rigged elections. At least 76 people were treated for injuries, including 29 who hospitalized, as the result of clashes between protesters and tear-gas firing police, the Red Cross said. City officials said 103 people were detained, including 11 minors. Vandals smashed windows of stores, banks and a hotel and made bonfires of furniture dragged into the streets. One downtown bank office where all the windows were broken had the words “Welcome Peña” painted across the facade in green.

Women’s groups call for EU-wide sex pay ban
More than 200 women’s rights groups are calling for laws to make paying for sex a crime across the European Union. Campaigners will present key policy recommendations for legislation to MEPs in Brussels on Wednesday. But opponents say the move is likely to drive the prostitution industry further underground. The European Women’s Lobby (EWL), which leads the campaign, wants EU member states to implement six key policies, including the criminalisation of all forms of procuring, and the creation of effective exit programmes for sex workers. “The most important thing to understand about prostitution is that imposing sexual intercourse with money is a form of violence that shouldn’t be accepted,” said EWL spokeswoman Pierrette Pape. “If we understand that, we can then put comprehensive policies into place that will change mentalities and respect gender equality between women and men.” EWL cites Sweden as a successful example, saying that street prostitution had halved there since paying for sex was outlawed a decade ago. In contrast, there has been no significant improvement of the conditions of sex workers in the Netherlands where the sector has been legalised, Ms Pape said. She said the issue now needs regulating on an international level, beyond country-specific laws. So far 36 European MEPs are already supporting the proposal, Ms Pape said.


GingerScoop Reports: 2nd Annual Ladies’ Luncheon At Casa Picasso
This past Tuesday was the Ladies’ luncheon held at Casa Picasso in honor of the San Pedro PolyClinic. (For the 1st Lunch last year, click here.) All of the proceeds were donated directly to the clinic to assist in supplies that are in need. The event consisted of lunch and drinks with friends, a raffle of prizes, and an ornament exchange. Casa Picasso was definitely in the holiday spirit, with stockings hung and the Christmas tree twinkling. Who doesn’t love Christmas tunes in the tropics? The main attraction, to my surprise, was the array of Poly Dollies. What are Poly Dollies? Check it out. There were over 80 dolls, each with a name tag that included what she enjoyed to do. They were definitely the hit of the party. I think I went through and read each and every one. I was happy I arrived early to have the time to pick one out for myself. Carnita, she was drawn to me. Who doesn’t love to make tacos? And her hair, my favorite! Here are a few others that caught my eye. I think this one was made for SanPedroScoop, but I didn’t grab it in time….she was already gone.

International Sources

VIDEO: The New Fly Fisher at El Pescador
Bonus, Tom Rosenbauer from Orvis is along on the trip as The New Fly Fisher heads to El Pescador in Belize.

US, Belizean governments prepare for major exercise
U.S. embassy and military personnel conducted final site surveys in the Central American country of Belize last week for a major exercise that will test U.S. military members' ability to deploy while building partnerships with host-nation medical and civil engineering experts. The exercise, called New Horizons, is an annual civil engineering and medical event overseen by U.S. Southern Command, and planned and executed by its air arm, Air Forces Southern. This year's exercise is slated to begin in April and will entail several construction projects to add new classrooms and buildings to existing schools with manpower provided by both U.S. and Belizean military engineers. In addition, combined U.S. and Belizean medical teams will conduct multiple medical events to provide medical, dental, surgical and veterinary services for rural Belizeans. Although the exercise won't begin until the spring, preparations have been going on for months. "Our first survey took place in June and the things we're finalizing during this trip include talking with potential contractors for pre-exercise site work, materials and solidifying timelines for construction and medical projects," said Capt. Richard Hallon, one of the lead planners for the exercise. "The work we're doing now will set us up for success during the exercise itself."

Archaeologist sues over use of artifact likeness in Indiana Jones crystal skull
A Belize archaeologist is suing the makers of a blockbuster ‘Indiana Jones’ film for using a likeness of a so-called Crystal Skull, which he says is a stolen national treasure. Dr. Jaime Awe claims the skull was stolen from Belize 88 years ago, and that filmmakers had no right to use a model of it in 2008's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, according to the Hollywood Reporter. In a lawsuit filed in Illinois this week, Awe is demanding the return of the Crystal Skull, which he says is a national treasure, from a treasure-hunting family who allegedly stole it, said the industry journal Friday. But the legal action also targets Lucasfilm, its new owner the Walt Disney and Paramount Pictures which released the film by Steven Spielberg, for allegedly using a replica "likeness" of the skull. Awe, head of the Institute of Archaeology of Belize, claims that the skull was found by the daughter of an adventurer named F.A. Mitchell-Hedges under a collapsed altar in temple ruins in Belize, and taken to the US in 1930. The family is said to have made money exhibiting the skull, described as five inches high, seve inches long and five inches wide, which Awe says was used as a model for the Indiana Jones movie. "LucasFilm never sought, nor was given permission to utilise the Mitchell-Hedges Skull or its likeness in the film," says the lawsuit, a copy of which was published by the Hollywood Reporter.

Creditors and Belize square off on restructuring agreement
Belize is now unlikely to reach a restructuring agreement with holders of its US$544m 2029 "superbond" after a 60-day standstill period expired with the country and its creditors still some distance apart. Creditors last week urged Belize to reconsider their restructuring proposals, noting that they have offered US$150m-plus in debt relief over the next 10 years versus the existing 2029s and have provided the government with enough flexibility to refinance at a later stage. This came in response to the country's broad rejection of creditors' counter-proposal to the sovereign's own new plan to restructure its debt. Belize's revised proposal includes a 40-year par bond with no principal reduction, a mortgage-style repayment, a 10-year grace period and a coupon that pays 2.75% during the first five years and 4.5% thereafter. Also on the table is a 30-year discount bond with a 33% principal reduction, a mortgage-style repayment, a five-year grace period and a coupon that pays 4.5% for the first five years and 6.75% thereafter. "While these improved on the scenarios presented in August, which asked for near-unprecedented levels of debt relief, the committee believes they are not yet close to acceptable burden-sharing or Belize's own long-term interest," the creditor committee said in a statement.

McAfee wins stay of deportation from Guatemala
A judge in Guatemala has granted a stay of the deportation of John McAfee to Belize, where authorities want to question him about the killing of a neighbor, an attorney for the internet software pioneer said Friday. Under the order, McAfee will remain in Guatemala until his immigration case is heard in court, which may be more than a month, Telesforo Guerra told CNN. McAfee remains in an immigration detention center in Guatemala City but could be released as early as next week, the lawyer said. Authorities in Belize want to talk to him about the November 11 killing of his neighbor, American businessman Gregory Faull. The judicial victory came a day after McAfee's bid for asylum was rejected. Also Thursday, the 67-year-old was taken to a police hospital, where he was treated for cardiovascular problems, his legal team said. Later, attorney Guerra said McAfee had suffered a nervous breakdown and that tests had shown he did not have heart problems. McAfee was feeling better Friday, Guerra said. Standing outside the police hospital, attorney Karla Paz said officials had rejected McAfee's petition without weighing the evidence. Due process has been violated," she said. "The right to defense has not been respected."

Four hours with John McAfee
Exclusive interview with multi-millionaire creator of antivirus software, who went on the run from his Belize home last month The meeting Belize City bus station is a small building set on a dusty street in the downtown area of the capital. Its only entrance gives on to a long and narrow waiting room with a spine of wooden benches set back to back and two-tone walls on either side – wheat-coloured to the thigh and yellow from there up. A crisp breeze was blowing through the terminal, which on this Saturday morning was full of Belizeans wrapped in coats and even scarves as they waited for their ride – former US school buses now in their final phase of life – to different corners of this tiny Central American country. I noticed all of this because I had time on my hands – about an hour, according to the deep, oaky, American voice that had called my mobile a while earlier and told me to wait exactly where I was. The voice belonged to John McAfee, mathematician, multimillionaire, creator of the ubiquitous McAfee antivirus software, alpha male. Except that in Belize, the country of about 350,000 people to which he had moved four years ago, he was now the focus of a nationwide manhunt – a “person of interest” in an investigation into the recent murder of Gregory Faull, a US citizen and a neighbour of McAfee’s on the picture-postcard island of Ambergris Caye. In other words, McAfee was on the run. My people-gazing stopped suddenly when I realised that a perfect stranger – middle-aged, medium height, plain clothes – was looking right at me. “A mutual friend would like to see you,” he said with an outstretched hand to take my bag. The next half an hour was a movie reel of Belizean side streets, back alleys, highways and byways – anything and every­thing to shake off potential tails. We pulled over and waited for a couple of minutes. A check in the rear-view mirror and we were moving again, zigzagging our way through a string of neighbourhoods – middle-class but only just. And then, just as it all began to seem routine, we stopped again. “Step out of the car, you’re going to cross the road and then keep walking. Somebody will meet you.” One hundred yards later, a figure rounded a corner and started walking in my direction. He was white, about 6ft, in a black short-sleeved shirt, black baseball cap, black shorts and those Vibram five-toe shoes popularised by “barefoot” ultra-marathon runners. Only this man was no athlete: he was dragging his right foot, kicking up dust as it trailed behind him. His right arm was bent up, tight like a cooked chicken wing, and his fingers were twisted into a claw. “Follow me, please, sir,” he said. It was McAfee, the most wanted man in the country.

Girls, guns and yoga: John McAfee's odd life in "pirate haven"
To the many people who crossed his path on a tropical island in Belize, it was apparent John McAfee's life had taken some bizarre turns in the past few years. The anti-virus software guru, who started McAfee Associates in 1989, has been in hiding since police said they wanted to question him about the weekend murder of his neighbor, fellow American Gregory Faull, with whom McAfee had quarreled. Despite his disappearance, McAfee, 67, has remained in contact with the media, providing a stream of colorful bulletins over his predicament, state of mind and his claim that Belize's authorities want to kill him. Residents of the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye and others who know him paint the picture of an eccentric, impulsive man who gave up a career as a successful entrepreneur in the United States for a life of semi-seclusion in the former pirate haven of Belize, surrounded by bodyguards and young women. "Never mind the dog, beware of owner," counsels a small sign, embellished with a sketched hand gripping a large pistol, tacked to the fence separating McAfee's beachfront swimming pool from the pier that cuts into the azure sea. McAfee, a yoga fan who has lived on the island for about four years, often moves around with bodyguards, wearing pistols in his belt. Since going into hiding, he has compared his lot to that of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is battling extradition from Britain from inside the Ecuadorean Embassy. Officials suspect McAfee used designer drugs, and neighbors say he tried to chase them off the public beach in front of his house.

December 7, 2012


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The San Pedro Sun

John McAfee detained in Guatemala and his political asylum denied
Authorities in Guatemala have arrested John McAfee. The 67 year old anti-virus pioneer is wanted for questioning in Belize but fled to Guatemala, arriving in the country’s capital on Tuesday accompanied by his Belizean girlfriend Samantha Vanegas. In Guatemala, McAfee confessed to have entered the country illegally and had requested political asylum through his attorney Telesforo Guerra. The multimillionaire and businessman is wanted in Belize for questioning in regards to the murder investigation of his neighbor, 52 year old American national Gregory Faull. Faull was found dead with a shot to the back of his head on November 11th. “We made the decision to deny (the asylum) and we will not give it to him, it is a right of this state,” said Foreign Minister, Harold Caballeros. Meanwhile, Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina explained that the request was denied because of his background in Belize, where he has been photographed heavily armed. According to the Government of Guatemala, they have already notified McAfee’s attorney of the decision and explained that McAfee will be deported as soon as they resolve an appeal by his lawyer. Minister Caballeros said that the Guatemalan government received a correspondent from their Belizean counterparts requesting that McAfee be transferred to Belize. “The gentleman has not been charged with a crime, he is simply wanted for questioning,” reaffirmed Caballeros. McAfee and his girlfriend have been at the immigration department, located in Zone 5 in Guatemala City, since he was detained by Interpol and Immigration officials Wednesday night at his hotel room. The Prensa Libre reports that an officer of the U.S. Embassy visited with McAfee and informed him that there is not much that the embassy could do, but they would see that his treated in a dignified way.

The Belize Barrier Reef gets its 2012 Report Card
The Belize Barrier Reef, one of, if not THE major source of income for the entire country of Belize, has been in the media for quite some time now. With the threat of losing the status of a World Heritage Site, and the threat of offshore oil drilling, the health condition of our reef is at the forefront of the minds of almost everyone living in the country that is aware of its value. In San Pedro Town, it is the jewel that we take pride in having at our fingertips. It is a selling point for individuals marketing timeshares, condos and property on the island. It provides food for most fishermen that have made fishing their livelihoods. It provides a habitat for a vast variety of marine life and is home to some of the most beautiful corals in the world; all balancing a delicate marine ecosystem. On December 4th Healthy Reef Initiative (HRI) issued their 2012 report card on the state of the world’s second largest uninterrupted barrier reef. According to Dr. Melanie McField, Director of HRI, this is somewhat of an annual physical assessment of the reef’s health. The report looks at four specific indicators, two of which deals with the hard bottom of the reef. The other two components include measuring the amount of fish, and in particular the omnivores fish, such as parrot fish, tangs and surgeonfish. The fourth component is measuring the top predators or commercial fish such as the groupers and snappers. The 2012 Report Card highlights three focal sections: existing and emerging threats to the reefs health; an assessment on the current state of the reef and social context; highlights of reef conservation actions across the region, including the prioritized recommendations to foster healthy reefs and healthy people.

“Poly Dolly” helps raise funds for the Polyclinic
On Tuesday afternoon, December 4th a group of lovely ladies, decked in holiday attire and eager to dine and socialize met for a “Ladies Holiday Charity Luncheon.” Hosted by Casa Picasso, the luncheon was organized by Ti Southwell, Amy Knox, Tina Hayden and Tammy Peterson. The get-together was not only an opportunity to visit with friends, enjoy fine food and wine while bringing in the holiday season, but an occasion to help raise money for the community. While the guests enjoyed a delicious lunch and cocktails, a raffle was held where a variety of gifts were presented to the lucky ticket holders. Generously donated by local business, the prizes ranged from sunset cruises and gift certificates to baskets of chocolate. There was also an ornament exchange which was enjoyed by all who brought one to the luncheon. While there were plenty of local San Pedro “socialites” in attendance, the true guest of honor was Poly Dolly. Multi-colored and multi-ethnic, the colorful handcrafted fabric Poly Dolly dolls, fashioned by three Sagebrush Community Church members were created to raise funds for the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II. Each unique doll, stuffed with bean bellies and rice legs, donned a Poly Dolly tag with a name and interest penned on it, such as “Hi! My name is Emma and I like to go on adventures!” Of course the sophisticated ladies were immediately reduced to young girls, enamored with the darling dolls as they admired each and every one. With a total of 80 to choose from, soon the number dwindled as gifts for granddaughters, nieces and neighborhood cuties were rapidly purchased. For only $25, many bought two or more, thrilled to find a unique gift while helping the Polyclinic. With 100% of the proceeds going to the clinic, the guests enthusiastically purchased the dolls.

A miracle for Fatima
Fatima Arceo was born with spina bifida, and abandoned at birth on September 29th, 2006. In her short six (6) years of life, she has had ten shunt revisions and five operations, and has many more procedures to undergo. In particular, she is expected to undergo an MRI to investigate whether Fatima can receive corrective surgery to enable her to eventually walk. She is a beautiful, happy soul, constantly smiling and despite being in a wheelchair most of her life, enjoys music and dancing, not letting a set of wheels get in her way of a good time. Everyone who meets Fatima instantly falls in love with her, taken in by her glowing smile and general cheerful attitude. One person who was touched by this little girl was photographer Olivera “Oli” Rusu, and she is offering a special photo session to help raise some much needed funds for the upcoming procedures that Fatima must undergo. On Friday, December 7th starting at 7PM, Oli will be doing a Christmas photo shoot at Bistro Mestizo Restaurant. For $25BZ, you get two (2) photographs for web display. For the best photos, Oli recommends solid colors such as white, red, or green, even black. Get your Christmas portraits while helping a lovely young girl with her medical expenses. There will be specials at Bistro as well, so don’t miss out! See you there!!

United Nations Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties COP-18
The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Senator Honourable Lisel Alamilla is presently leading a delegation comprised of senior technical government officials and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre representatives to the Climate Change Conference of the Parties — 18 (COP 18) being held in Doha, Qatar. It is focusing on four main themes: a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol; successful closure of the ad-hoc working group on Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA); a work programme for the development of a new legally binding climate change regime post-2020 under the Ad-hoc working group on the Durban Platform for enhanced action (ADP); and securing the necessary financing for developing countries to ensure we reach the target of a $100 billion USD annually by 2020. Yesterday, Thursday December 5th, 2012, Minister Alamilla presented Belize’s position on Climate Change and the intended outcomes of the COP-18 to the High-Level plenary.

Ambergris Today

Infamous McAfee on Way Back to Belize After Arrest in Guatemala
Software mogul John McAfee could be deported to Belize today, Thursday, after being detained by immigration officials, a Guatemalan official said. Authorities took McAfee into custody Wednesday, December 5, 2012, said Francisco Cuevas, a spokesman for Guatemala's president, Otto Perez Molina. "He entered the country illegally and we are going to seek his expulsion for this crime," Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said. McAfee was detained by Guatemalan police and a member of Interpol at the upscale Intercontinental hotel in Guatemala City. After weeks in hiding and eluding authorities here in San Pedro, Belize, the 67-year-old Internet security pioneer emerged publicly on Tuesday, December 4, 2012, in Guatemala's capital, hundreds of miles away from his home where his next-door neighbor was found dead. Guatemala's foreign minister said earlier on Wednesday, December 5, 2012, that officials there did not know how McAfee entered the country and that there was no record of McAfee entering legally at any official border crossing.

Two Belizeans Honored by Queen Elizabeth II
Two prominent Belizeans were today honored by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. They are Sister Maria Caritas Lawrence, RSM, EDD; and Right Reverend Philip Wright B.A. (Hons) M.A. who were bestowed with the insignia of the Order of the British Empire. The Governor-General of Belize, His Excellency Sir Colville Young pinned the emblematic medals on them, reciting a short biography of each for the benefit of a number of distinguished invitees to the occasion. Bishop Wright currently sits on the Board of Governors of the University of Belize, is a member of the Council of Churches, and works with a number of NGO groups within the church in the Province of the West Indies; and now is the third most Senior Diocesan Bishop in the Province. Today Bishop Wright was honored by the Queen for his outstanding services to Belize in the field of religion. Bishop Wright is married to Mrs. Carla Suite-Wright. Sister Maria Caritas Lawrence is the eighth of ten children born to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Lawrence. Her career as an educator spans forty-six years, with forty-three of those years dedicated in loving service to the people of her beloved Belize. Sister Caritas holds a Doctorate in Leadership Education. Today Sister Caritas, as she is affectionately called, was honored by the Queen for her years of outstanding accomplishments and service in the field of religion and education.

Founder’s Day Celebrated San Pedro High School
The birthday of Principal Angel Nuñez was always a BIG event at San Pedro High School. The senior class was always responsible to come forth with a super birthday party to rival last year’s celebrations. But now that Mr. Nuñez has retired from the position as principal, the school still celebrates his birthday but now as part of Founder’s Day that is observed on his birthday, December 5th. This year the celebrations were nothing short of fun and entertaining as years past. The entire school gathered at the R. Angel Nuñez Auditorium and the different classes organized dances and musical presentations, among other entertainment, for Mr. Angel Nuñez. The highlight of the celebration was a skit performed by the drama club of the school. They gave rendition to Mr. Nuñez by reenacting key points of his life, from going up as a young boy 25 years ago, meeting and dating his girlfriend, marrying his wife Ligia and the founding of San Pedro High School. Here are some highlights of the celebrations. Happy Birthday Mr. Angel Nuñez!

Emo Teens Deal Depression with ‘Cutting’
So this week I would like to talk about cutting and depression and I believe this is a very big issue with teens today. When going to school I have noticed a lot of people with cut scars on their wrists and these same people that do are the ones that always seem happy and are living a good life. It’s funny how what you see on the outside does not compare to what is on the inside. For example, a regular boy that always has a lot of friends and is super happy could just, on the next day, kill himself. Teens could be depressed for many things. Maybe it’s their parents’ neglect on their social, emotional or even educational problems. Also, another reason is that they believe cutting themselves is a style or fashion because there are actual groups that pretend to act sad and cut themselves because they are trying to be ‘Emo’. I have actually seen on a lot of these types of social networks - a girl would post a status saying “Omg! ‘Emo’ Boys are so cute!” Then a boy sees this and cuts his hand and tries to be this ‘emo’ person, but there are actual real depressed people, actual ‘emo’ people who do come together in groups to cut or do different rituals. The only difference between these two is that the real ‘emo’ group is actually depressed for some reason and could lead to suicidal tendencies. However, the ones pretending to be ‘emo’ would not go as far as to kill themselves. So if you are depressed, you need to talk to someone and try to change what is making you depressed. I know it might sound hard but as soon as you are willing to conquer your depression, it’s a piece of cake. If you cut yourself to relieve your depression, then I got to tell you something; it doesn’t work. All that it does is give you pain and scars on your hands.

Reaching Our Students
In Strengthening the Balance I pointed out that our students want very much to know that we, their educators, care whether they learn or not. Even more pressing to them than that, though, our students want to know how the coursework that they work on everyday connects to their lives and to the world in which they live. Why do they have to study the lessons that we give them in the classroom everyday? Why do they get homework based on those lessons? A recent comment posted by a reader indicates that as a student in high school he once asked his Math teacher, “When will we use Math formulas in real life?” In response, the teacher immediately gave him 5 demerits and sent him to detention. Sadly, that incident seems typical of many teachers – past and present. Yet, it’s the total opposite of trying to connect a student’s day-to-day work with the world in which the student lives. Was that teacher someone who seemed to care whether his student was learning or not? Without a doubt, the incident reported in that comment showcases to the world how not to reach out to, or care about, students. Notwithstanding the many “Do’s and Don’ts” in the classroom that both teachers and students must adhere to everyday, once they develop positive relationships between and amongst themselves they nurture learning, and allow it to blossom beautifully and productively. Study after study in Education continue to show that, despite what many teachers mistakenly believe, the vast majority of students do not mind being academically challenged and being held accountable. Actually, as social beings they crave the recognition! However, what they do mind is when a teacher refuses to think of them or treat them as partners in learning, but instead, insists on ruling them as feudal subjects when the teacher is in the classroom. Such teachers do not stimulate or encourage students to want to learn and reach their potential. On the contrary, any teacher with dictator-like teaching methods will merely increase his/her students’ apathy towards learning, and he/she will destroy any high academic expectations they may have, or want to have.

Misc Belizean Sources

Mexico trains forensic ballistic analysts in Belize
Two Belizeans have just returned from Mexico after receiving specialized training in the science of forensic ballistics. The two Belizeans underwent an intensive five-day crash-course in various aspects of forensic ballistics, including the use of the integrated ballistics imaging system (IBIS). The training course was conducted in Mexico City from November 22 to 26 through the Mexican Program for International Cooperation for Development. With the training received, the Belizean forensic ballistic analysts will be able to operate the IBIS TRAX 3D System recently donated to Belize by Canada, which is being set up within the National Forensic Science Service headquartered in Ladyville. It has been agreed that the possibility will be explored for further training and follow-up courses, as well as continuous exchange in techniques and practices in forensic ballistics and related specialized fields.

The San Pedro Holiday Lighted Boat Parade
Come witness the alluring “Isla Bonita” glittering throughout the night, as the “San Pedro Holiday Lighted Boat Parade” progresses on its 2 mile route along the shores, this December 8th, 2012! “Get-in-the-spirit” of the Christmas Season in San Pedro-Ambergris Caye, and enjoy ALL the wonderful activities scheduled for this event including a Block Party. Activities include: The San Pedro Holiday Lighted Boat Parade Isla Bonita Marching Band Presentation Award Ceremony The Christmas Caroling Competition Food and Drinks on sale Music As an annual tradition, this year marks the 7th Annual San Pedro Holiday Lighted Boat Parade, a fun-filled event for all ages! Visiting Belize for the winter season? Then take a trip out here and relish in the lineup of island activities. Cheer on the parade participants at Wayo’s dock (starting at 6:00 p.m.) and watch the 2 mile course heading south toward the Caribbean Villas Hotel, as it brings joy to onlookers. The parade then concludes at the Central Park pier, where all the fun activities will be held! To get more information about this exciting Holiday event, contact Seaduced by Belize at: 226-2254 & 610-1697 or the San Pedro Business Association at: 226-2799.

Benque Viejo Posadas
The Benque House of Culture is starting the annual Posada on December 15th, at 7:30, in Centennial Park, and it'll continue until Christmas. It'll be a huge cultural event, with Marimba music of course. They've been posting tons of pictures from the Benque celebrations over the years. Be sure and check those out. "Traditional Posadas in Benque Viejo Del Carmen, celebrations start on the 15th of December until December 25th, follow us to learn which homes will be hosting and sharing delightful and traditional treats this season."

Panoramic History of El Cayo
The Institute for Social and Cultural Research is having the 1st annual Elias Awe Memorial Lecture tonight at the Octavia Waight Conference Center. The theme is 'A Panoramic History of El Cayo,' and they'll have a great lineup of speakers. Dr. Jaime Awe will present on Anthropological history, Don Hector Silva will cover Political history, Melanie Smith will talk about Sociological history, and Alfonso Tzul will explain Agricultural history. It starts at 7pm.

Real Lifejobs that use Calculus in Belize [FUNNY GRAPH]

Channel 7

Bze Police Await McAfee Expulsion, He's Hospitalized With Heart Problems
Last night when we left you John McAfee was profiling and preening for the cameras in Guatemala City - where he was asking for political asylum. But, in 24 hours, a lot can change in McAfee's topsy-turvy world - and it has! Tonight, he's in a Guatemala City hospital - and reports are that he may have suffered two mild heart attacks. Quite a scene was created in Guatemala City this afternoon - as an ambulance took him from his private holding room at an Immigration Detention Center. He ended up in that center after he was picked up last night on immigration charges. The immigration issue is that McAfee openly admits to entering Guatemala illegally from Belize - which is an offence. Now it may be considered permissible in the case of a person genuinely fleeing persecution and seeking asylum - but Guatemalan authorities don't think McAfee qualifies as such a case. And so last night - Guatemalan immigration authorities accompanied by Interpol officers went to his hotel and put him under arrest. They had every intention of expelling him, sending him back to the country he came from - in this case Belize - which is the standard procedure for illegal immigrants. But, McAfee's got a resourceful attorney, former Attorney General Telesforo Guerra - known as "Telesh" - who is originally from Benque Viejo, Belize. Guerra is pulling out all the stops to keep McAfee from being put on a plane and to be sent back to Belize. We've pieced together video and pictures from various news reports - and here's a rundown of what all has happened since last night:.. Jules Vasquez reporting Last night at around 9:00 Guatemalan Police and Immigration authorities arrested John McAfee at his hotel in Guatemala City.

Man On Bike, Man In Car Teamed Up For Ladyville Shooting
Tonight, 18 year-old Raheem Crawford and 25 year-old Mason Patnett are in prison after they were arraigned for allegedly shooting a man in Ladyville. According to police, 21 year-old Marvin Bol reported that he was in a yard on Dove Street on Saturday, December 1. He said that he was speaking to a friend when a black car and a man on the bicycle approached the yard. The car then stopped, and the driver of the vehicle got out. He then handed a firearm to the man on the bicycle, who then immediately fired several shots at Bol, hitting him in the right shoulder. Both men then made their escape, and Bol was rushed to the hospital and successfully treated for his wound. Police investigated this incident, and they arrested and charged Crawford and Patnett with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, and wounding. Patnett was additionally charged with abetment to commit murder. They were arraigned before Senior Magistrate Frazer today, who remanded them to prison until their next court date, which is scheduled for January 15, 2013.

Stevedores Threaten Industrial Action
Since March of this year, the Christian Workers Union and the Waterfront Workers have been in negotiations with the receivership management of the Port of Belize. They're trying to hammer out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement - and it's been slow going. Some forward progress has been realized, but today they made two steps back. In a meeting at the Port of Belize, they were discussing three things: reducing the size of the work gangs, reducing the number of hours of work for work gangs, and a retirement package. But, the Stevedores say the port management took one of those items off the table. That's when the CWU walked away from the table. President of the Union Antonio Gonzalez told us why they felt they had no choice:.. Antonio Gonzalez, CWU President "We left the meeting in an abrupt way." Jules Vasquez "It sounds like the meeting was broken up." Antonio Gonzalez, CWU President "It didn't break up but we didn't leave in a contented position." Jules Vasquez "No resolution?" Antonio Gonzalez, CWU President "No resolution, so we intended to go back to the table. We have three issues; retirement package, the gang situation and the hours of work. It appears that they want to dismember the hours of work from these three other issues. The three of them has to go hand-in-hand. Right now they moved from 15 hours to 18 hours - that is their proposal. We are saying no, let us negotiate this and see if we can improve on that. This evening when we put out those feelers and those new issues that we mentioned earlier - they are trying to get our confirmation. Let us agree to the hours of work; if we let go the hours then that means that we only have two other issues - three goes together."

Child Abuser Gets A Dozen
4 weeks ago, 7News told you about 54 year-old Romero Jimenez, the man who was convicted a second time for carnal knowledge in the Orange Walk Supreme Court. Well, he has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for it. As we reported, the 12 year old girl testified against that in July of 2008 Jimenez entered her home, tied her hands, and raped her. In the original trial, Jimenez was convicted and sentenced to spend 17 years in jail for it, but in October of 2010, he successfully appealed his case, which was granted. The Court of Appeal set aside his conviction and ordered a new trial, and he was convicted again. His family has indicated that they will take the matter to the Appeal Court a second time.

Accused of A Carnal Crime
36 year Karel Galvez Sr., a resident of Jane Usher Boulevard is in jail tonight after it was alleged that he had sexual relations with a 15 year-old girl. According to police, they received information that Galvez was having relations with the girl, and as a result, they went to her home and detained her mother. The child, in the presence of her mother, reported that during the month of October 2012, Galvez, who she identified as her boyfriend, had intercourse with her 7 times. She claims that they have been together for over a year. She was examined by a doctor, who certified that she was carnally known. As a result, police arrested Galvez and charged him with unlawful carnal knowledge, and he was arraigned today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer. Due to the nature of the offence, no plea was taken and Galvez was remanded into prison until January 18, 2013, his next court date.

Cycling Dispute Goes to Governing Body
Last night, 7News told you about Deputy Belize City Mayor Dion Leslie who has been organizing a vote of no-confidence against the current Belize Cycling Association President, Emil Moreno. It is part of an ongoing power struggle between both men, over the AGM which was called to elect a new executive. Those elections had to postponed because they can't agree on whether the BCA is an association or a federation. Leslie, who wants to become the next president of the association, claims to have major support from the cyclists, who, according to him, have already been signing the no-confidence document en-masse. But, Moreno has pulled out a trump card - a letter from the regional governing body recognizing his executive. In a letter dated November 26, 2012, the President of Pan-American Cycling Federation, Jose Manuel Rodriguez, addressed Sports Minister Patrick Faber requesting that elections of the BCA be postponed until January 20, 2013, when he will make a visit to Belize. He reiterated that his organization and the International Cycling Union currently only recognizes Moreno's executive. They also recognize the constitution lodged with them, which is for a Federation. The constitution lodged with the Sports Council is for an Association.

Xunantunich Concert Cancelled
The villagers in Succotz have raised an uproar about Xunantunich being shut down for two weeks during the tourist high season - and tonight it seems the Gods of Failed Concert Promotions have heard their cries. Unofficial, but reliable reports to 7news are that the major international concert planned for December 21st at Xunantunich has been cancelled. According to our reports, the international promoters who were renting Xunantunich from NICH to hold the concert had to abandon their plans for their own logistical reasons. The concert was supposed to have major international artists performing for a global audience and was expected to raise significant revenues for NICH. And so while it wasn't cancelled due to pressure from Succotz - we're sure leaders in that Western Village are happy tonight that there will be no closure.

Police Find Weed By the Pound
Special Branch information has proved accurate again, as it led police to an abandoned lot in Rowland's Alley this morning. They found 2 black plastic bags with 1.8 kilos - about four pounds - of cannabis. No one was in the immediate area and so the drugs were labeled as Found Property.

Bze Minister Talks About Climate Change In Qatar
MINISTER OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, Lisel Alamilla is in Doha, Qatar at a major Climate Change conference. In her address, Alamilla noted that Belize has the highest percent of natural forest cover in the Mesoamerican region. She noted also that Belize's national mangrove cover has remained relatively stable over a 30-year period from 1980-2010. But on the downside, she noted that Global warming has increased coral bleaching episodes and rising sea levels is increasing erosion on the mainland and offshore islands. She noted also what we've been reporting that during the annual spring tides, the municipal airport in Belize City is now being inundated twice a day, disrupting domestic air transport. She warned that if "the international community fails to undertake ambitious actions to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, then the impacts of climate change to Belize will be significantly greater and more extensive."

In Memory Of Peetaz!
The second annual Mista Peetaz Brukdong Bram will be taking place this Saturday at the Black Orchid Resort in Burrell Boom. It is all a part of the Institute of Creative Arts Christmas celebrations in Creole style. The public will be entertained with traditional Creole songs by musicians who will be using instruments like the grater, pint bottles and the famous mouth organ. And while there won't be a Brukdong Bram competition this year, there will be a concert in the night with all of the Bands. Organizer Timothy Stamp told us more:.. Joseph Stamp Romero, Coordinator "This Saturday starting at 3pm we invite the general public to join us a celebration to Mr. Peters birthday - it's his birthday bram. We kinda celebrate Mr. Peters on a whole even though he is not here and not his actual birthday but we celebrate Mr. Peters in Belize and the fact that he gave so much to this country in his music especially. On that day we have artists coming together like Sam Harris, Mr. Peters brukdown band and artists like Nello Player, Lisa Alvarez and others like the queen of brukdown Ms. Lila Vernon. We have those artists coming together in celebrating this momentous occasion in brukdown music in saying that brukdown is alive and it continues to be a part of our culture and history. We invite everybody to come out. We have rides, we have food, we have a concert event and a dance event and there is also a bus running from 5 in the evening. There is no reason not to come over and enjoy this really great occasion with us."

Damian Lights The Way with New Art
Tomorrow evening the Image Factory is launching a new exhibit by sculptor and assemblage designer, Damian Perdomo. The exhibit is called "Luminous," where Perdomo experiments with the behavior of light on glass and other reflective and transparent mediums. And, if you're scratching your head trying to figure out what we're talking about, we dropped by the Image Factory and got a preview of his pieces: Damien Perdomo, Artist ""Luminous" is a show involving artwork that uses light, either it produces light or it reflects light in some way. I really wanted to investigate the limitations of glass and with working with glass you have to be extremely patient; the minute you try to rush the job it breaks on you especially when it comes to drilling holes in glass - if there is too much pressure or too much heat or vibration from you equipment it breaks and you have to start at square one."

PROFILE: Marlon Rodriguez
Every week on the "I Am Belize Profile" we feature regular folks with extraordinary stories of dedication, determination and perseverance. And, in the normal course, Marlon Rodriguez is not the type of person you'd expected to see on the feature. The young man is intellectually impaired and that might cause some to say he's not ready to tell his story in a profile. But this teacher's assistant has his own moving study of a triumph over adversity. And in this disabilities week, we thought it would be just the right fit - and so here's his story with the help of his special needs teacher:..

Hundreds More Turn Up For McDonald's Hiring
Last night we told you about the frenzy at the Radisson where a Canadian Company was hiring Belizeans to work at McDonald's in Western Canada. Well, 250+ persons went in for interviews yesterday - and today - with a publicity bump from our news - it was almost 400!! Actyl - which is the company doing the hiring - reports that 7 persons have been hired. The job interviews continue tomorrow and they expect to hire over 70 by the weekend. They expect to recruit 150 Belizeans for jobs this year.

Florida Cruise Assoc. Gives
It's a Christmas tradition that every year the Belize Tourism Board teams up with the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association to bring a little Christmas cheer to deserving primary school children of Belize City. The FCCA and the BTB held that Christmas Party yesterday at the House of Culture in Belize City and Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia told us why the FCCA gives: Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism "Today what we are having over here is just another year, it started 15 years ago with this project between BTB and Florida Caribbean Cruise Association that have partnered to make sure that we can bring joy and happiness to the under privilege schools in Belize City and every year we try to bring at least 200 students over to receive their toys from the Norwegian Cruise that is handing over these toys. Apart from that BTB provide the food and drinks to these kids so that they can have a lot of fun every year on this occasion."

Channel 5

Busted! Guatemala arrests and wants McAfee deported
“Thank God I am in a place where there is some sanity. I chose Guatemala carefully” Those were the words John McAfee said before being arrested in Guatemala City on Wednesday night for illegal entry. Earlier today, the Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Harold Caballeros, turned down his request for political asylum and McAfee was expected to [...]

Did John McAfee get a heart attack in Guatemala?
McAfee’s lawyers are fighting his deportation. Prior to his arrest, however McAfee also spoke to Thomson Reuters and ABC News.   John McAfee “The plan was always Guatemala; there was no other country I could have gone to.”   Reporter, Thomson Reuters “Why is that?”   John McAfee “Mexico is extremely friendly to Belize for [...]

Trade license gone up
With the record pace at which the Mayor of Belize City is repairing streets, streamlining the council’s collection of fees is also on a fast pace, much to the chagrin of some businesses. In some cases trade licenses for businesses have shot up by sixty percent. But Mayor Darrell Bradley says, he’s only equalizing the [...]

Millennium Development Goals released
A final report of a survey on how women and children are faring in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals will be released this Friday. And you can catch the proceedings live on this station or by streaming video. The report was compiled by the government through the Statistical Institute with financial and technical [...]

Belizeans flood employment opportunities for Canada
For two days, long lines of unemployed persons formed at the Radisson hoping to get jobs in the Canadian market. The process has been expeditious and after interviews and short listing, by the end of this afternoon, many received good news that they will be among the two hundred persons heading to Canada next January. [...]

Cycling Association; a petition to remove its executive
The cycling election that should have been held at the Aguada Hotel in Santa Elena did not occur at the end of November and President Emil Moreno is being challenged by Belize City Deputy Mayor Dion Leslie. Because those elections did not take place, Leslie’s camp has set out to sign a petition for a [...]

End of Mayan calendar coincides with aborted Xunantunich concert?
On Wednesday night, we reported that the closure of Xunantunich in the height of the Maya Celebrations was being opposed by tour guides and vendors in Succotz Village. Well, there is some development which indicates that a planned concert at the Mayan site has now been postponed, which means that the site will not have [...]

She’s 15, he’s 36; court says it’s Carnal Knowledge
A fifteen year old student of Belize City is claiming that her boyfriend, who is at least twenty years older than her, has been having sex with her since mid-October of this year and as recently as last week.   Today, thirty-six year old Karel Galvez Senior, of Jane Usher Boulevard was arraigned in the Magistrate’s [...]

Youths convicted of stealing bicycle
A fifteen year old minor and twenty-three year old Evan Bruhier were convicted this evening of the crime of robbery.   The duo is accused of stealing a beach cruiser bicycle from Oscar Dimas, and robbing him of his cell phone.  After they were found guilty, Bruhier and the minor were remanded into custody until December [...]

Old beef over stolen bicycle motive for attempted murder
The main cause of violence in Belize City streets continues to have its roots in cattle. Well, on the street it’s called “Old Beef.” And apparently an attempted murder occurred because of an ancient but not forgotten dispute over a bicycle. Eighteen year-old Raheem Crawford, an unemployed youth of Gibnut Street and twenty-five year old [...]

Assistance needed; can you help?
Life has been tough for thirteen year old Gerald Augustine of Seine Bight Village and he now needs your help to travel abroad for medical treatment. Gerald was left paralyzed after an accident over ten years ago. Due to complications caused by his condition, his mother now fears that he may not survive, but the [...]

Cruise Association & B.T.B.’s Christmas Party for Kids
About two hundred children had a chance to be merry. The Belize Tourism Board and the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association held their annual Christmas party for needy children on Wednesday. They were treated to food, face painting and Santa was on hand with the goodies… and so was Duane Moody.   Duane Moody, Reporting Some [...]

The Debut of the National Choir and Orchestra of Belize
The National Choir and Orchestra of Belize had its debut performance on Newton Barracks on Wednesday. It was an evening of light classics, jazz and Belizean folk music played by students and teachers, including several familiar faces from the Pallotti music school. They were directed by Colville Young Junior, who says the orchestra and choir [...]

Healthy Living catching, treating and preventing flu
As the daily temperature gets lower and fluctuates, the frequency of the sniffles and coughs increases. But do granny’s home remedies and advice really work on the flu? Healthy Living, this week went on a myth busting mission on common beliefs about catching, treating and preventing the flu.   Marleni Cuellar, Reporting In Belize, our [...]


Two Men Charged With Attempted Murder
18 year old Raheem Crawford and 25 year old Mason Patnett, were charged with attempted murder when they appeared in Court today. They were also charged with wounding and use of deadly means of harm. Crawford, an unemployed of Gibnut Street was also charged with a second count of woundi...

Welder Charged With Carnal Knowledge
Thirty-six year old Karel Galvez, a welder of Jane Usher Boulevard, was charged with unlawful carnal knowledge of a female high school student 15 years and eight months old when he appeared in Court. No plea was taken because the offence is indictable. Neither could the Senior Magistra...

International Concert at Xunantunich Postponed
The international concert which was scheduled by NICH to take place in Xunantunich on the twenty first of December, has been postponed. The event sparked controversy with locals which include Tour Guides and the Village Council of San Jose Succotz over the lack of com...

Belize Represented at Climate Change Conference in Qatar
Belize has representation at the ongoing Climate Change Conference known as COP-18 in Doha, Qatar. According to a government press release, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development Lisel Alamilla is leading the Belize delegation to the conference. On Wednesday,...

Belize Participates in Regional Workshop In Jamaica
Belize is participating along with eighteen other countries in a Regional Small-Scale Fisheries Workshop which kicked off today in Kingston Jamaica. The workshop is part of the consultative process for the development and negotiation of the final draft guidelines for the Internat...

New Ambassadors Present Credentials to Governor General
Three new ambassadors presented their credentials to the Governor General in Belmopan this morning Sujan Chinoy is India’s new ambassador to Belize; Susanne Kaekkerup is Denmarks’s new top diplomat in Belmopan and Jalal Kalantary is the new Iranian ambassador to...

Belize Electricity Company Boasts Good Response to Its Shares
City Hall is not the only entity that is boasting a good response to shares in its bond. The Belize Electricity Limited is advising that although its Series Five offer in debentures in the company has been fully subscribed and closed, the Series One Debentures will mature on Dece...

Opposition Party Speaks Out On Current Health and Police Issues
In our newscast yesterday we heard Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia comment on his involvement in the removal of Police Corporal Sharmane Young from San Pedro following an incident involving a tourist. Today the opposition People’s United Party condemned the Minister&rsqu...


Hearing dates set for challenge to Section 53 of the Criminal Code
In April of this year, the Caleb Orozco and the United Belize Advocacy Movement suffered a setback in their challenge of section fifty three of Belize’s criminal code when the judge in the case Michelle Arana struck off UNIBAM as a claimant in the case. Section fifty three makes it a criminal offence for same sex intercourse, calling it carnal intercourse against the order of nature and Orozco and UNIBAM were contending that the law contravenes their constitutional rights to human dignity and fundamental rights and freedoms. The move to have UNIBAM struck off was one of the primary applications made by the church as an interested party in the proceedings. But UNIBAM and its president Caleb Orozco are persistent if nothing else, and so when the case came back to court today for a continuation of the preliminaries, UNIBAM scored a comeback. According to Orozco who is the first claimant in the case, UNIBAM is now on equal standing as the churches, having been accepted as an interested party in the case. In an interview this afternoon, Orozco told Love News that a date for the full hearing of the challenge to section fifty three of the Criminal Code has been set.


Backlash after Minister’s admission in overruling police officer
Minister of Tourism and area representative for Belize Rural South Manuel Heredia, Junior, confirmed to reporters t...

Teenager knocked down and injured in Belmopan
A 19 year old young lady is knocked down and injured in Belmopan. Just after 7pm on Wednesday night (Dec 5) Miriam ...

Belize City Municipal Airport to be doubled in size
The Belize City Municipal Airport has been serving Belize City for years.

Belize City Council has wrapped up the first 10 million dollars tranche of its bond offering
$20 million dollars to be spent in 8 months: That’s the ambitious plan for spending $10 million in the first tranch...

2013 Inspiration Calendar is launched
The Special Envoy for Women and Children launched the 2013 Inspiration Calendar and agendas at the Belize Biltmore ...

Nation of Islam Leader's visit postponed
Louis Farrakhan Mohammed Sr. renowned international religious and motivational speaker visit to Belize has been pos...

Belize City Mayor says increased taxes are justifiable
Do better streets mean more taxes for business owners? That was the question posed to Mayor Bradley when he was ask...

Farmers trained in best practices in the use of Pesticides
Pesticide Control Office yesterday held a launching ceremony for best practices in the use of Pesticides. The Pesti...

Belize not on 2012 Corruption Index; insufficient data
For the fourth consecutive year, 2009, 2010, 2011, and now 2012, Transparency International just released its corru...

1,806 grams of cannabis found in Belize City
Early this morning (DEC 6) a team of Special Branch officers responded to a tip and conducted a search in an abando...

Three charged in Corozal for Cocaine possession
Corozal Police arrested and charged two Belizeans, one Alfonso Iglesias Sr. of Corozal Town, and Jose Alberto Nuñez...

Belize’s Barrier Reef is doing poorly, but improving
Belize’s Barrier Reef and the connected Mesoamerican Reef System which includes Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, is ...

Two Belizeans trained in the science of Forensic Ballistics
Two Belizeans have recently returned from Mexico after receiving specialized training in the science of Forensic Ba...

Telemedia to launch Digicell 4G Network
Telemedia is amping up the ante as they get ready to launch the much touted Digicell 4G network. Customers in Beliz...

McAfee suffers 2 minor heart attacks in Guatemala
Software mogul John McAfee could be deported to Belize after being detained by immigration officials, a Guatemalan ...

Minister of Forestry leads delegation to Climate Change Conference in Qatar
The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Senator Honourable Lisel Alamilla is in Doha, Qata...

Three Ambassadors present their Letters of Credence
Three Ambassadors today presented their Letters of Credence to the Governor-General of Belize, His Excellency, Sir ...

22 year old charged with keeping an unlicensed firearm
In Dangriga a 22 year old was charged with keeping an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. On Monday at about 10:00am...

The Guardian

Guatemala forces McAfee back to Belize
On Wednesday, December 5th, Immigration officials in Guatemala, aided by Interpol, detained the eccentric and oft-unbalanced U.S. national, 67-year-old John McAfee. Reports indicate that McAfee was arrested in Guatemala for illegally entering that country and indications are that the Guatemalan Government is seeking to expel him to Belize. Reuters quoted Guatemala's Interior Minister, Mauricio Lopez Bonilla as saying, "He entered the country illegally and we are going to seek his expulsion for this crime." Francisco Cuevas, a spokesperson for the Guatemalan Government told CNN that McAfee is being held at a shelter belonging to the Guatemalan Immigration Department where he is awaiting processing after which he will be expelled from the country. He reiterated that he is not being arrested, rather he will be expelled from Guatemala at the very point where he entered. That point, according to McAfee himself, was somewhere in Santa Elena at the Western Border. Just hours earlier, McAfee, through his attorney, Telesforo Guerra, had started legal proceedings seeking asylum in Guatemala. According to Cuevas, those proceedings are now null since he entered the country illegally. The processing of McAfee is expected to see him returned to Belize's Western Border sometime between 6 a.m. and 12 noon on Thursday. Since Sunday, November 11th when his neighbor, 52-year-old U.S. national, Gregory Viant Faull, was found dead in his home with a bullet to the back of the head, John McAfee has been on the run from police. Since that time, he has been playing an elaborate game of cloak and dagger with Belizean law enforcement personnel, often telling fantastic stories of narrow escapes from police in Belize. He's attracted so much attention on the international media that there are many who are following his escapades as an almost daily soap opera dose.

Track Scholarships for Belizeans in premiere U.S. Prep School
Minister of Sports, Hon. Herman Longsworth has been able to secure at least two scholarships for students to study at the American Heritage Prep School in Florida. Hon. Longsworth explained to the Guardian that over the past weekend he visited the U.S. for a fundraiser in South Florida hosted by Belizean-Americans. During his visit, he had the opportunity to meet former decathlete Corey Hicks, who is currently the athletic director for track and field at the American Heritage Prep School. After holding talks with Hicks, he immediately made two scholarships available for students to complete their high school education at American Heritage. He also offered to provide training for coaches as well as to help establish a full track and field program in Belize centered around the upgraded facilities at Marion Jones Sports Complex. According to Hon. Longsworth, he immediately took up the offer and the Sports Council is in the process of identifying one student to take up the scholarship. That student will take up the scholarship as early as January of next year and will be followed shortly by a second student. While the scholarship is all inclusive, it does not cover boarding but Belizean-Americans in Florida have pledged that they will identify a host family for whichever student is selected.

Ambulance Racket
The Ministry of Health has been left to try to clear up a mess created by an NGO, which by all appearance, is trying to run a hustle with two ambulances which were presumably donated to Belize to be specifically be deployed to Dangriga. According to the information received by the Guardian Newspaper, an organization, operating out of the city of Chicago, Illinois in the United States, secured and handed over two ambulances to the Ministry of Health. When it was time to get the ambulances into the county, the organization reportedly explained that it would cost $16,800 to have them shipped to Belize. The Ministry of Health enlisted the assistance of the Government of Belize and BNE Trust fund which, through its own channels, found a shipping company to get the ambulances into the country at a price tag of $10,600. That's a difference of $6,200 and any NGO with sincere intentions would have immediately jumped at the offer; however, the Ministry is now faced with a situation where the NGO is simply refusing to release the ambulances unless it is shipped through their agent. The Ministry is holding strong, however, and will not pay the $6,200 in excess of what the vehicles can be brought in for and a standoff has developed. Listening to the People's United Party at the House of Representatives, they are trying to lead the county into believing that something had gone wrong with the acquisition of the ambulances and that the Government is not interested. The truth of the matter is that this Government will simply not overpay for services which can be gotten at cheaper prices.

For the Development of Belize City, It’s a MUNICIPAL BOND Deal
Belize City Council Vision: “Our vision for Belize City is to have all residents live in a modern, clean, and secure environment. A city abounding with civic pride, patriotism, unity and opportunities for all.” It is said that where there is no vision, many things perished and so it is with the vision of the Belize City Council that the Mayor and Councilors launched the Prospectus for the sale of Municipal bonds or ‘munis’ as they are called. We are seeing the transformation of Belize City and more can only be done if the residents of Belize City take ownership of that vision and help to see it to fruition. The Council has been strapped with expenditures and other obligations that make it difficult to realize some of their goals and meet their mandate, but visionary thinking has prevailed, and what once didn’t seem possible is now a reality. The Council launched its Prospectus for the sale of munis to the public, which includes business houses, members of the public, and other entities that are seeking a sound investment that ensures a guaranteed rate of return. Municipal bonds, in all respects are known to be the safest category of bonds and the purpose, for which they are sold, includes the development of Belize City to ensure, as stated above, that there be a :clean, safe, and secure environment.” When you buy municipal bonds, your money is lent to the Belize City Council for projects that make life better for the average person. They may be used to construct roads, bridges, hospitals, sewage plants, and other public works. In this case, we have seen the number of cemented streets, which has allowed easy access and less wear and tear on vehicles, which can be costly. The Council needs the partnership of the residents, though we know that presently there are some inconveniences due to repairs, but in the end, the infrastructure should be developed to allow Belize City to transform into a welcoming tourist destination. This would bring revenue, not only to the City, but to the general economy of Belize. Your investment in purchasing the munis are twofold, because your loan will help the Council to realize its goal, and secondly, that you get a guaranteed rate of return (interest) on your investment. At some point in the future, on the maturity date, you are promised the return of the par value of the bond itself. In most cases, certainly in the case of a traditional tax-free municipal bond, this is equal to the amount of money you originally lent to the City Council.

Two Belizeans honoured by the Queen
Sister Caritas and Bishop Philip Wright receive emblematic medals from Governor General Sir Colville Young (center) Belmopan, 5th December, 2012. Two prominent Belizeans were today honoured by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. They are Sister Maria Caritas Lawrence, RSM, EDD; and Right Reverend Philip Wright B.A., (Hons) M.A., who were bestowed with the insignia of the Order of the British Empire. The Governor-General of Belize, His Excellency Sir Colville Young pinned the emblematic medals on them, reciting a short biography of each for the benefit of a number of distinguished invitees to the occasion. Bishop Wright currently sits on the Board of Governors of the University of Belize, is a member of the Council of Churches, and works with a number of NGO groups within the church in the Province of the West Indies; and now is the third most Senior Diocesan Bishop in the Province. Today, Bishop Wright was honoured by the Queen for his outstanding services to Belize in the field of religion. Bishop Wright is married to Mrs. Carla Suite-Wright. Sister Maria Caritas Lawrence is the eighth of ten children born to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Lawrence. Her career as an educator spans forty-six years, with forty-three of those years dedicated in loving service to the people of her beloved Belize. Sister Caritas holds a Doctorate in Leadership Education. Today Sister Caritas, as she is affectionately called, was honoured by the Queen for her years of outstanding accomplishments and service in the field of religion and education.

Bugger, Lee Henkis sentenced to 8 years
On November 21st, 43-year-old, Lee Henkis was convicted of sodomizing a 9-year-old primary school boy and on Friday, November 30th, he was sentenced to 8 years in prison. Henkis appeared before Justice Troadio Gonzalez where Henkis was not ashamed to admit to the court that he had been convicted before for molesting two other boys before. Lee Henkis was first convicted on May 15th, 2000 for committing an aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon a boy. He was sentence to 9 months imprisonment. Then, within less than 2 years, he picked up a second conviction when he was found guilty of committing an unnatural crime upon another boy. He was then sentenced to 7 years in February 2002. Despite his record, however, Justice Gonzalez stated that he could not impose the maximum sentence of 10 years on Henkis since the records are old.

Wesley College stops St. Catherine Academy in its Tracks
The Central Region Secondary Schools Basketball Competition commenced its playoffs round on Monday December 3rd, 2012, at the Bird’s Isle with game 1 in the female and male categories. In the female game played, St. Catherine Academy the defending Central Region and National Champions and the tournament’s favourite were promptly eliminated from the rest of this year’s competition by no other than the most likely candidates Wesley College. At the sound of the long buzzer it was a 33-31 victory for the Wesley girls, who had lost to St. Catherine Academy on two previous outings. The top scorers for Wesley College were Shanice Humes with 8 points and Genae Samuels and Shanice Neal with 7 points each. For St. Catherine Acadmey, the top scorers were Gilda Estrada with 17 points and Halle Spence with 7 points. In the male semi-final game, Gwen Lizarraga eliminated Anglican Cathedral College by the score of 69-64. The top scorers for Gwen Lizarraga were Akeem Richardson with 18 points and Emmanuel Velasquez with 12 points. Meanwhile, the top scorers for Anglican Cathedral College were Brandon Rose with 18 points, and Douglas Valley and Kelvin Hendy with 12 points each.

The Singapore Man
There was a section in the editorial of the Amandala newspaper dated November 27th, 2012 which caught my attention, since it inferred a reasoning which I had long ago drawn conclusion to regarding ,the skewed results of the March 7th, 2012 General Elections. In this election, the UDP Government did quite well in Belize City, but had disappointing returns in the districts, especially Cayo and OW. Since Belize City is the media hub of our country, I had concluded that all the PUP blitz, which smothered the air waves before the elections had been neutralized by city-based TV and radio hosts; but these latter neutral or UDP-leaning talk shows never did reach the districts and villages, who went blue for the most part. So the question posed by the Amandala was, “Was the national monopoly (media) house as neutral in 2012 as it had been in the previous four general elections?” Let us probe the editor’s question a little. After listening to the local news Monday night past, I began flipping through the TV channels since I was feeling bored. I stopped at Love TV and listened in a little to Mr. Gordon speaking about religion, poverty and crime, or something along those lines. Thing is, as soon as the camera panned out to capture the entire panel on the show, I said to myself, “jeez, what is Grandpa from the Munsters doing on this show?” Then I realized it was Gegg, who was slouching in a chair to the left of the screen. In seeing him, it came back to me why I had previously concluded that Love TV had really hurt the UDP in the districts in the last election. Not only did the PUP invest a lot of money at Love in ads, but Love’s management allowed this team of so called “neutral” political pundits to air the show “Talk Politics” regularly, which bombarded the UDP for entire two-hour periods during prime time at night, its vile attacks reaching all corners of Belize.

Spelling Bee for the Hearing Impaired
Omica Chan and Wilfred Coc are the best spellers in the Senior and Junior categories (respectively) for the Crystal Spelling Bee. Chan is joined by Yoselin Manzanero, who took second place and Franklin Zetina, who garnered third place. Meanwhile, Jacob Chun received second place in the junior category and Lisbeth Shish finished third in the same category.

Armored Catfish makes News 13 years after It was caught
Eusebio Jr., and the embalmed armored catfish A species of fish that is said to be unfamiliar to Belizean waters and which, was caught over a decade ago in Orange Walk has made the news.

Networking Conference held in Cayo
A Conference named, ‘Connecting Cayo Communities,’ was held on November 30th, 2012 at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. The event was hosted by Mary Open Doors, a Non-Government Organization, dedicated to assisting domestic violence victims. Mary Open Doors has been working to assist women and children who suffer from domestic abuse since its founding in 2008. Last year, after being the recipient of a grant from Full Basket Belize, the organization started an outreach to villages in the Cayo District. The goal was to connect to thirty two villages, to sensitize them about the nature of domestic violence, legal rights as well as share basic data on the transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS. Now at the midpoint of their outreach project, Mary Open Doors met on Friday last with those who have contributed to make the project a success as well as meet with new community members to inform on what to expect in the program. Principal among those associates was Diana Shaw, the Chairperson and founder of the Child Development Foundation, an organization which focuses on children who are victims of sexual violence. Shaw, who is an Attorney-at-Law by profession told The Guardian that she was in attendance at the Conference to speak about the legal implication sof domestic violence as well as what the law says about the subject. Shaw also wanted to remind attendees about the other support services that are available through Mary Open Doors, and other organizations that provide support to women who are victims of domestic violence.

Pedestrian Crossings at Accident Prone Area
Over the years, there have been multiple traffic fatalities on the Phillip Goldson Highway between mileS 2 and 3 as pedestrians have been knocked down and killed by vehicles. As a response to requests by residents in the area, the Ministry of Works and Transport began work on placing two pedestrian crossings in the area. One of the crossings will be located in front of the Devine Mercy Church and a second will be placed near Chetumal Street opposite the Scotia Bank offices. Construction on the crossings began on Saturday, December 1st and are expected to be completed by Thursday, December 7th.

Chinese Businessman pleads Guilty for not keeping Sales Books
On Wednesday, December 5th, Ming Pei Chen, the Belizean-Chinese national and owner of several well-established businesses in the Ladyville area including 24/7 Gas Station, Honey’s Supermarket and Happy Hour Club, was convicted of a misdemeanor. The General Sales Tax Department took Chen to court on a single charge of failure to produce documents. Allegations are that on October 24th, 2012, a GST team visited Chen’s gas station, located at the junction of the Phillip Goldson Highway and the entrance into Lord’s Bank, where they asked him to produce sales books of the business and he did not at the time. When asked if he understood the charge, Chen said yes, and while he admitted to not producing the documents when requested by GST personnel, he told Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer that the documents were at his accountant’s office. Despite this, he pleaded guilty to the offense. Since he was a first time offender, he was imposed half of the maximum penalty and was ordered to pay $500 plus a $5.00 cost of court, which he is to pay by December 15th, 2012 or in default, 3 months imprisonment. Ming presently has a charge of keeping ammunition before the court for which he awaits trial.

Major Heist in Dangriga
A major heist was reported in Dangriga Town on Monday, December 3rd. Hong Mai Chen, 39, a Business Woman and owner of Grigalizean Supermarket, located on George Price Drive, reported to police that at around 9:30 on that morning, she parked her vehicle on Oak Street in Dangriga. As Chen exited her vehicle, she was attacked by two men who punched her to the shoulder in order for her to let go of a bag she was carrying. During the struggle, she was also hit to the back of the head, which caused her to become slightly disoriented. The men then made off with the bag. Chen says that inside the bag she had $60,000. Police are investigating the report.

Murder Acquittal for Krismar Espinosa
On Wednesday, December 5th, 23-year-old prison inmate, Krismar Espinosa, of Orange Walk Town was acquitted of the murder of another inmate, 21-year-old Keon Kyle Swasey. Swasey had been stabbed twice whilst locked up in the Tango 8 area of the Belize Central Prison on December 24th, 2009. The acquittal came after Justice Troadio Gonzalez upheld a no case submission made by Swasey’s attorney, Rachel Montejo. A jury of 12 people was then directed to acquit him of the charge of murder. The acquittal came after questions were raised as to whether there was proper identification of Espinosa was done by the Crown’s two witnesses, two prison officers. The testimonies of the prosecution’s witnesses brought doubt as to the identity of the person who caused Swasey’s death. In court, one of the witnesses said that he was not sure if it was Espinosa whom he had seen in an altercation with Swasey.

Zane Galvez pleads Not Guilty to Aggravated Assault
On Tuesday, December 4th, Zane Galvez was detained by police after a misunderstanding outside the Belize City Magistrate’s Court involving a prison officer. He appeared in court on Wednesday and was read a single charge of aggravated assault with a deadly instrument. That deadly instrument is said to be his black Volkswagen Jetta. Galvez, who was unrepresented, appeared before Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer, where he was charged with assaulting prison officer, Michael Gladden. He pleaded not guilty to the charge and was offered bail in the sum of $1,500. He is to reappear in court on February 6th. The charge was levied on Galvez after he tried to reverse his vehicle into a parking lot located behind the Belize City Magistrate’s Court. As a result, he blocked the way of a prison bus during which he got involved in a verbal confrontation with Gladden. Police later intervened and he was detained as it appeared be was behavior disorderly.

Murder in St. Mathews
Police are yet to arrest anyone following the shooting death of 31-year-old Roylee Young in St. Matthews Village. Police report that at around 9:30 on Sunday night, Young was at El Pedrigal Shop and Bar in the village, when he was shot to the back of the head. Young's body was found in a seated position in a chair on the verandah of the establishment. Young was reportedly shot a couple of months ago, and has just recently recovered from that shooting. He was the father of 3 children.

Shorty knocked down and killed; 20-year-old charged
On Monday, December 3rd, 20-year-old Amrick Escobar appeared in Magistrate's Court before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith. Escobar, who was represented by Attorney, Michael Peyreffitte, was charged with manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention and driving a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit. The Chief Magistrate took his plea for driving the motor vehicle without due care and attention and driving a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit for which he pleaded not guilty to.

Nolle Prosequi in the Case of Murder against Rasheed Woods
On Wednesday, December 5th, Rasheed Woods was set free of a murder charge in the July 6th, 2009 killing of 19-year-old Steven "Eggie" Grant. Prosecutor in the case, Sheneiza Smith, entered a Nolle Prosequi in the court of Justice Adolph Lucas, Sr. against Woods after the main witness in the case could not be located. Woods was represented by Attorney, Alifah Elrington-Hyde. Woods now joins 24-year-old Shain Louriano, who also saw the charge dropped against him on August 19th, 2010. Louriano was set free from Grant’s murder when a directive was sent to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court during the preliminary inquiry. The directive came because of a lack of evidence against him. At the conclusion of that same Preliminary Inquiry, the court ruled that there was sufficient evidence to commit Woods to stand trial in the Supreme Court for Grant’s murder. On July 9th, 2009, Grant, also known as “Eggie”, was in the North Creek Area, when a blue vehicle drove up on him and a hail of bullets was unleashed from inside. Grant was hit several times, including once to the head. He died instantly.

Delille Academy and Stann Creek Ecumenical are Southern Region Champions
The Southern Region Secondary Schools Basketball Competition was played on Saturday, December 1st, 2012, at the Stann Creek Ecumenical Campus in Dangriga Town. In the first female game of the day, Delille Academy defeated Georgetown Egrets by the score of 15-8. In the second game, Delille Academy also defeated Toledo Community College by the score of 17-11. In game three, Georgetown Egrets defeated Toledo Community College by the score of 25-10. The female competition continued with the championship game in which Delille Academy defeated Georgetown Egrets by the score of,19-10 to capture the Southern Region Secondary Schools Basketball Title. Meanwhile, in the male competition and in game one, Georgetown Egrets defeated Toledo Community College Scorpions by the score of 41-34. In game two, it was Stann Creek Ecumenical winning over Georgetown Egrets by the score of 45-37. In game three, Toledo Community College Scorpions defeated Georgetown Egrets by the score of 40-36. In the male championship game, Stann Creek Ecumenical College defeated Toledo Community College Egrets by the score of 39-17 to capture the 2012-2013 Southern Region Secondary Schools Basketball Competition. Delille Academy girls and Stann Creek Ecumenical boys will represent the Southern Region at this year’s National Secondary Schools Basketball Competition.

Belmopan Bandits and Police United seeded as One into the Playoffs
The 2012 Premier League of Belize Football Tournament regular season came to an end on Sunday, December 2nd, with 4 games across the country. On Saturday, December 1st, at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Independence Village, the visiting Verdes FC nipped the home team Paradise/Freedom Fighters in a nail-biting game by the score of 3-2. The visiting Verdes FC were the first to get onto the scoreboard when Julio Ayala scored the 1st goal of the game in the 17th minute of play to give his team a 1-0 lead. However, the home team Paradise/Freedom Fighters were able to get on the scoreboard when Eduardo Martinez scored the equalizing goal in the 31st minute of play. In the second half of the game the Verdes Offence were able to penetrate the defence of the Paradise/Freedom Fighters and tallied two more times. Verdes’ go-ahead goal was scored by Julian Maldonado in the 68th minute of play for a 2-1 lead and then the winning goal was scored by Walter Chinchillas in the 88th minute of play. Meanwhile, the Paradise/Freedom Fighters were able to cut the deficit to one when Delroy Flores scored in the 90th minute of play. At the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the league’s leading team the Belmopan Bandits and the Belize Defence Force played to a 1-1 draw. The goal for the Belmopan Bandits was scored by Jerome James in the 44th minute of play, while the goal for the Belize Defence Force was scored by Victor Nuñez in the 86th minute of play.

Port of Belize vs BWSL in Firms Basketball showdown
The 2012 Belize District Basketball Association U-23 and Firms competitions are fast winding down at the Bird’s Isle in Belize City. On Saturday, December 1st, in the third and final game between Port of Belize and Airport, it was the number one seed into the playoffs Port of Belize eliminated Airport by the score of 64-53. The top scorers for Port of Belize were Lennox Bowman and Ian Augustine with 21 points each, and Maxwell Nicholson with 8 points, 1, rebound, 2 assists and 2 steals. Meanwhile, the top scorers for Airport were Paul Swasey with 16 points, 15 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals; and Kelvin Gillett with 11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals. In the second game of the evening, which was also a must-win game three, BWSL eliminated BTL by the score of 67-47. The top scorers for BWSL were Travis Lennan and Ashley Hemsley with 14 points each, and Lawrence Young with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. On Friday, November 30th, in the first game of the evening of the second semi-final game, Airport defeated Port of Belize by the score of 60-49 to force the necessary game three between Airport and Port of Belize. The top scorers for the Airport in that game were Charles Armstrong with 21 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and a steal; and Paul Swasey with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 3 steals. For Port of Belize, the top scorers were Ian Augustine with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and an assist; and Lennox Bowman, who scored 16 points, and 4 rebounds. In the second game of the evening which was also the second in the semi-final series, BTL edged BWSL by the score of 39-37 to force the must-win game three on Saturday. The top scorers for BTL were Edward Thompson with 13 points, and 6 rebounds; and Lupito Acosta with 8 points. For BWSL, the top scorers were Ashley Hemsley with 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 steals, and Benson Matthews with 9 points and 9 rebounds.

National Primary Schools Football Championships this Friday
The 2012-2013 National Primary Schools Football Championships will be played this Friday, December 7th, at the MCC Grounds and ITVET Grounds here in Belize City. The Official Opening Ceremony is scheduled for 8:45 am at the MCC Grounds with the Guest Speaker being Ruperto Vicente, President of the Football Federation of Belize. The Official closing will also take place at the MCC Grounds with the Hon. Herman Longsworth, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and with direct responsibilities for Youth and Sports, will present the championships medals, and trophies. The schools that will participate in this year’s championship are Holy Ghost (girls) and Christ the King Anglican (boys) from the Stann Creek District; Belize Elementary School (girls) and San Pedro Roman Catholic School (boys) from the Belize District; Santa Elena Primary School (girls) and Faith Nazarene (boys) from the Cayo District; Trial Farm Government School (girls) and La Immaculada (boys) from the Orange Walk District, Golden Stream Government School (boys and girls) from the Toledo District and Ranchito Government School (girls) and Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic (boys) from the Corozal District.

Security Boost for the Twin Towns in Cayo
Security levels within the Twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena and surrounding areas have recently been dramatically boosted. This security re-setting comes as a result of the donation of two Polaris Sportsman 500 H.O (obtained from Benny’s Home Center at mile 2 1/2on the Phillip Goldson Highway at reduced rates), twenty Omstar bicycles, communication handsets, binoculars and other gear courtesy of the United States Embassy. The items were presented to a joint force of the San Ignacio Police and the Cayo Neighbourhood Watch Association (CNWA) on November 30th, 2012 by Joseph Boski, Political and Economic Section Chief of the U.S Embassy in Belmopan.

Major Medical Upgrade at KHMH
Over the past couple of weeks, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) has done 7 major surgeries, where the gall bladder of patients were removed and the patients left the hospital within a matter of hours. To hear of people going home so quickly after major surgery is a thing unheard of at the KHMH but, that is exactly what is taking place at the institution.

Infant Champions for Children with Cancer
On December 14th, the Standard 1 class of Hummingbird Elementary School will be donating over $3,150 to the Dangriga Cancer Center. The money is proceeds of two fundraisers spearheaded by 7-year-old, Salima Barrow.

Mexico trains Belizean Forensic Ballistic Analysts
Two Belizeans have just returned from Mexico after receiving specialized training in the science of Forensic Ballistics. The two Belizeans underwent an intensive five-day crashcourse in various aspects of Forensic Ballistics, including the use of the Integrated Ballistics Imaging System (IBIS). The training course was conducted in Mexico City from November 22nd to 26th through the Mexican Program for International Cooperation for Development. With the training received the Belizean forensic ballistic analysts will be able to operate the IBIS TRAX 3D System recently donated to Belize by Canada, which is being set up within the National Forensic Science Service eadquartered in Ladyville. It has been agreed that the possibility will be explored for further training and follow-up courses, as well as continuous exchange in techniques and practices in Forensic Ballistics and related specialized fields.

Taste of Belize held in Cayo
A variety of culinary events were held in the Cayo District, during December 1st and 2nd, opening up a rush of the festive season in this part of the country. These were organized by the Belize Tourist Board BTB, with the purpose of highlighting Belize’s many talented chefs.Marcia Nunez, winner in the Pro-Chef category receives cheque from Minister Manuel Heredia.

The Reporter

Team Garage wins Bros. Habet 1st & 2nd Divisions table tennis championships
The Garage First and Second Division teams both repeated as champions of the Brother Habet Table Tennis Tournament, organized under the auspices of the Belize Table Tennis Association at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium on Sunday, November 25. The Garage team won 5-4 over the Cuz team to win their second consecutive championship. Garage’s Mandy Gomez triumphed 3-0 over Dan Habet and Jorge Habet 3-0, while Eric Stamp overwhelmed Jorge Espat, Dan Habet and Mishek Martin 3-0 each. Nick Martin won 3-0 over Mario Guerrero and 3-0 over Mandy Gomez, while Jorge Espat and Dan Habet each clipped Guerrero 3-0. The Garage team also won 5-2 over Rivero’s Welders in the semifinals as Mandy Gomez spanked Ernesto Rivero 3-1. Eric Stamp was invincible winning 3-0 victories against Mike Rivero, Ian Mcfield and Ernesto Rivero. Mario Guerrero stopped Mike Rivero 3-1. Ian Mcfield outlasted Gomez 3-1, and Ernesto Rivero prevailed 3-2 over Guerrero. Team Cuz advanced to the finals by eliminating the Hurricanes 5-4 in the semifinals.

Belize Elementary wins 1st Primary School Table Tennis Championships
Matthew Usher of Belize Elementary School won the first annual primary schools table tennis tournament organized by the Belize Table Tennis Association at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium on Friday, November 30. Usher remained undefeated throughout, and triumphed 2-0 over second placed Tyrone Brown of St. Joseph’s RC School in the championship final. Usher had also won 2-0 over Wayne Parham of St Mary’s Primary School in the first round of the double-elimination. Then he went on to a 2-0 win over Amiri Hoare of St. Joseph’s in the second round. He handed Rohan Gillette of St. Joseph’s his first loss: 2-0 in the third round, before moving on to the finals by a 2-0 victory over Kristian Swasey of BES in the fourth round. Tyrone Brown had also won 2-0 over Alexis Tun of St. Joseph in the first round, then 2-0 over Cuison Wong of BES in the second round, before he lost 0-2 to Kristian Swasey in the third round. Tyrone then battled out of the losers’ bracket with a 2-0 victory over Lynn Augustine of St. Mary’s. Then he eliminated Rohan Gillette 2-0 for Gillette’s second loss. He then moved on to win the rematch with Kristian Swasey 2-1, to challenge Usher in the finals

Ranguy on suicide watch! First his family and now he wants his own life
Jared Ranguy, 26, the man accused of brutally murdering his mother, his sister and stepfather last Sunday, is on suicide watch, Earl Jones, the Chief Executive Officer of the Kolbe managed Belize Central Prison, confirmed Tuesday. Jones explained that since Ranguy was remanded to prison last week on three counts of murder, he has been acting strangely. The prison administrators are worried that his actions indicate that he would harm himself, and found it necessary to put him in a special cell, Jones added. “We have taken away everything that he could use to harm himself, including his belt,” Jones explained, before adding that they have also provided Ranguy with counselling sessions. According to Jones, only a few persons have visited him since he was remanded to prison. Ranguy’s three family members were killed inside their home, located on Mirage Road, Ladyville Village, in the early morning hours of Sunday, November 25.

Recognize an abusive relationship
It is a sobering fact that once domestic abuse starts, it’s likely only going to escalate and continue, says Steven Stosny, Ph.D., author of Love Without Hurt: Turn Your Resentful, Angry, or Emotionally Abusive Relationship into a Compassionate, Loving One. “Once a behavioural threshold has been crossed, that person is more likely to continue the behavior,” Stosny says. Unfortunately, the longer someone stays in an abusive relationship, the harder it becomes to walk away, Stosny explains. One possible explanation: When a woman becomes attached, she may start to overlook destructive actions with hopes of changing her partner’s actions over time. Moreover, abuse tends to start small and escalate. Abusers follow a pattern of behavior where they put down and belittle their partners, thereby destroying their self-esteem and sense of self-worth. Once emotional abuse escalates into physical abuse, many victims have such damaged self-worth that they blame themselves. Those feelings are compounded by the fact that abusers often isolate their victims from friends and loved ones. With all of these factors working together, sometimes it feels as if leaving is impossible. That said, while it’s hard to escape an abusive relationship, it’s not impossible. If you think that you may be involved in an unhealthy and potentially abusive relationship, follow Stosny’s guidelines for identifying the bad behavior, and getting the help you need.

Why you need to stop touching your face
Unless you wash your hands every time you use your phone, keyboard, or doorknob, the best way to avoid sickness is to touch your face less, according to a new paper published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. Researchers observed 249 people in public areas and subways in two cities. They found that the average person touches communal surfaces about three times an hour, and touches her own mouth or nose even more frequently. That’s a problem, because viruses and bacteria enter the body through mucus membranes in your nostrils, mouth, and eyes. When you scratch your nose or rub your eyes, you hand-deliver the germs you’ve picked up from touching common surfaces, and increase your risk of infection. And because any object you touch between hand-washings can contaminate your hands, experts say the solution isn’t just washing more, but also touching your face less. “Washing our hands and avoiding hand-to-face contact are equally important in preventing any infectious disease,” says Stephen Dahmer, MD, a physician affiliated with the Continuum Center for Health and Healing. “But we’re not washing our hands often enough, and most people don’t do it correctly.” To wash your hands the right way, use antibacterial soap, rub your hands together vigorously for 20 seconds, and be sure to scrub up to the wrist, including the back of your hands, between the fingers, and beneath the nails. Then use an elbow to turn off the faucet, and a paper towel or air dryer instead of a reusable cloth. To decrease your chance of infection no matter how well you wash, use these strategies to quit touching your face.

What we ought to learn from our superbond
In last week’s Ripple Effect entitled “Where the real power lies”, I quoted United States President Obama saying to his electorate, “The lesson is that when enough people get involved, we have a pretty good track record of making Congress work.” Of course, that principle is applicable to our context as well. This he said during his post-election campaign to voters to get them involved and rally their members of congress to make a deal that would supposedly solve their fast-approaching fiscal cliff, which is generally the simultaneous expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts that would see more than US$500 million taken out of the economy and sharp reductions in defense and non-defense spending. The president wants the tax rates for families making less than $250,000 to remain the same, while those who make more than $250,000 to pay more in taxes. However, his opponents, the Republican-controlled Congress—who, in principle, seem to agree with the “no tax increases on the middle class” position—also want to see the government cut more spending. In essence, they want to see more austerity measures. Thus, unable to agree, they’re stalemated, with only days to go before they reach the fiscal cliff, which experts say would be so abrupt and arbitrary it could throw “the United States back into a recession next.” Because it affects every citizen, the US President has brought the issue to the people, informing them and urging them to help secure the bipartisan deal, before they start “cliffhanging” or worse. Parallels to our Superbond dilemma There are indeed some strong parallels that could be drawn between the ongoing negotiations in the US over the fiscal cliff and renegotiations between the Government of Belize and the holders of Belize’s US Dollar Step-Up Bond due 2029 (Superbond), Belize’s Debt Review Team Leader Mark Espat told the Reporter Wednesday. But there’s one conspicuous difference: the Belizean people aren’t so involved in our negotiation process, as both GOB and the Belize Coordinating Committee that represents US$338 million of the outstanding US$544 million of bonds have agreed to do so behind closed doors. We won’t complain about that, because it’s natural to think that private entities would prefer to negotiate in private. Notwithstanding the confidential nature of the negotiations, this version of our “fiscal cliff” negotiations—which has its own version of proposed tax increases and spending cuts—is something that no Belizean should take lightly, and information is indeed very important as we move forward in this matter, because only an informed people can be adequately, and objectively involved.

Point and Counter Point: UB twelve years later
The University of Belize (UB) turned twelve this year, having been established as the country’s national university in 2000. As 2012 comes to an end I thought it would be appropriate for us a nation to reflect on where this institution is heading in light of where it has come from over the last dozen or so years. One of the questions that could help to guide our reflections is this: what progress has the national university made towards its mission after twelve years of state and non-state funding? Another would be: What do we know now, and what more do we need to find out, before we can make an informed judgment on how best we can all contribute to make this institution the sort of place we all dreamed it could become especially for our youths and young adults to grow, to become and to be? My thoughts on these questions, and some of the other related questions they raise, is the subject of this column. We know that regardless of the current vision, the two interrelated goals of UB as a tertiary level education provider remains that of any public university anywhere in the world. As Gordon Wells has pointed out, these are, first, to ensure cultural continuity through the transmission to each new generation of Belizeans of artifacts (intellectual, social and cultural) which embody the achievement of the past, both local and global. Secondly, to enable individual students to appropriate these artifacts and to transform the associated knowledge and practices into a resource that both empowers them personally and enables them to contribute to the solution of problems facing the country in innovative ways. Progress must be judged against the extent to which UB is performing these two basic functions. We also know that one the challenges of the past, that seems to persist even today, is that of taking responsibility. Though our PM, as the statutory head of UB, has always taken full responsibility for ensuring that the university receives the state’s contribution of the institution’s annual financing, he has for the most part always divested the responsibility of overseeing the growth and development of the university to the his Minister of Education. In the last twelve years Musa divested to Hyde and Fonseca and Barrow to Patrick Faber, who in turn pass on that responsibility to the Chairman of the UB Board of Trustees – Hyde to Evan X, Fonseca to Dr. Zabaneh, and Faber to Fairweather.

Lee Henkis, 43, sentenced to eight years for sodomy
Lee Henkis, a repeat offender who was convicted of an unnatural crime, was sentenced to eight years in prison, after Supreme Court Justice Troaido Gonzalez heard a mitigation plea on his behalf on Friday, November 30. The forty-five-year old Henkis was convicted on Wednesday, November 21, after a jury of four men and five women returned with a unanimous guilty verdict, after deliberating for four hours.

Queen honors outstanding Belizeans
Two Belizeans were honoured by Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday December 5 for outstanding accomplishments in the fields of religion and education. Sr. Maria Caritas Lawrence, RSM, EDD and the Rt. Reverend Phillip Wright B.A., M.A. were both presented with the Order of the British Empire medals by Governor General, Sir Colville Young at Belize House in Belmopan. Having worked as an educator for the last forty six years, Sr. Caritas Lawrence’s work in religion and education was acknowledged by the Queen and was duly honoured with the OBE medal. Born and raised on the southside of Belize City, her entire childhood and adolescent years were lived on Cemetery Road. She entered the Sisters of Mercy in 1960 and took her final vows in 1968. With a Doctorate in Leadership Education under her belt, Sr. Caritas has served her country teaching, promoting educational development, and supervised primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in rural and urban Belize. She also taught in Rhode Island and worked as chaplain for one year at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus in Tunapuna, Trinidad and Tobago.

Barrier Reef in poor health
The anti-offshore oil exploration lobby recently estimated that the Meso-American Barrier reef is worth over US$350 million to Belize annually in tourism, fisheries and storm surge protection, but the reef itself is in poor health, according to a recent survey carried out by the Healthy Reefs Initiative. Belize must take a white-water to blue water approach to conserving the health of the reef, since everything that man does on land inevitably affects what happens offshore on the reef. Rains wash excess fertilizer and other nutrients washed off farmland into rivers, which carry them out to sea, where the excess nutrients stimulates the growth of macro-algae, which compete for sunlight and space on the reef with the living polyps. Any sewage from coastal communities that spills into the sea also encourages the growth of macro-algae. Sedimentation from dredging and other human activities also threaten the coral polyps. Belizeans must control these activities or accept part of the blame for the death of our reef. In presenting the Meso-American reef report card at the Radisson Hotel on Tuesday, December 4, Melanie McField of the Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Conservation NGO explained that the survey had measured four parameters: the percentage of the reef which was occupied by live coral polyps, the presence of macro-algae, the bio-mass of herbivorous fish which consume the macro-algae and the bio-mass of commercial species or larger, carnivorous fish.

Coast Guard commander promoted to Rear Admiral on 7th anniversary
The Belize Defence Force Maritime Unit morphed into the Belize National Coast Guard in 2005, and its current commander, Captain John Borland was promoted to Rear Admiral when the Coast Guard celebrated its seventh anniversary at its new headquarters at mile 4 on the George Price Highway Friday, November 30. That fledgling force of 44 ex-BDF sailors and 10 police officers piloting six skiffs has since grown to 152 officers with several more vessels, including two Boston Whalers donated by the United States government. The Coast Guard’s role in interdicting Colombian drug traffickers at sea and their capture of “square grouper” have prompted the US Government to also donate radar, night vision goggles, navigation equipment and communications gear to their efforts. Rear Admiral John Borland, who has served in Belize security forces for the past 25 years and has prepared for his new rank by attending the Royal Naval College, announced plans to double the size of his force to 332 men, serving effectively as the naval enforcement of all Belize’s maritime laws , including fisheries regulations. The Coast Guard also has a humanitarian role. It helps with search-and-rescue efforts for those lost at sea, and it plays a significant role in evacuation procedures when there is a hurricane threat, and other natural disasters. The Coast Guard also assists port management and other environmental agencies when a vessel runs aground, and there’s possibility of an oil/fuel spill.


A Christmas-y Morning in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
I am home at last! My journey back from Providence, Rhode Island took me to Dulles Airport, Washington, DC to Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen for a night's stay and then finally back home to San Pedro. More about that trip (at least the Mexico part) later. But I do love an international airport that decorates its tower with Corona. Perfect welcome to Cancun. About one hour south, I woke up early yesterday to hit Walmart in Playa del Carmen. On the way over, I saw quite a few businesses decorating for the upcoming holidays. Starbuck's Mexico has some different choices than the US ones. What's a backed apple? And lots of these...not sure what it is... Just the hint of fruit cake (those icky green fruit pieces) had me looking at other items... A giant tree and manger scene had been erected in the "town square".

Trip Advisor Nominates Belize as a Top Beach Destination in Central America
Belize has been nominated as a top beach destination in Central America by Trip Advisor, the world’s largest travel site that assists individuals to plan trips using advice from real travelers. According to the newly released “Top 10 Beach Destinations in Central America”, Belize ranked seventh through ninth on the Trip Advisor list. The three popular beaches nominated were: San Pedro, Placencia and Caye Caulker. San Pedro is “La Isla Bonita” that Madonna made famous and is a tourist mecca that boasts great beaches and plenty of dive shops where you can enjoy the sun, sand, and sea. Placencia Peninsula is a lovely little Belizean seacoast village in Southern Belize with sixteen miles of white sandy beaches and is a favorite destination for diving and snorkeling. Caye Caulker is a small island with a rare combination of rustic, laid back charm and comfortable amenities that has very little resemblance to the more hustle and bustle Caribbean hot spots.Travelers report that it’s “not for the party animal,” and appeals especially to backpackers, painters, divers and snorkelers. Other Central American Countries that made it on the Traveler’s Choice 2012 Awards list were Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Hondura.

International Sources

Deportation looms for tech guru McAfee after heart drama
Software guru John McAfee, fighting deportation to Belize, was rushed to a hospital in Guatemala on Thursday shortly after his asylum request was rejected, but a suspected heart attack turned out to be stress in a fresh twist to the saga. The 67-year-old U.S. computer software pioneer was taken swiftly from a hospital in a police car out of the sight of media, after earlier arriving in an ambulance lying on a stretcher. His lawyer said he was being taken back to an immigration department cottage where he has been detained since crossing illegally into Guatemala from neighbouring Belize, where police want to question him in connection with his neighbour's murder. "He never had a heart attack, nothing like that," said Telesforo Guerra, a former attorney general who had earlier said McAfee had two mild heart attacks. "I'm not a doctor. I'm just telling you what the doctors told me," he added. "He was suffering from stress, hypertension and tachycardia (an abnormally fast heartbeat)." McAfee was posting on his blog in the morning, the time he suffered the stress attack. "I don't think a heart attack prevents one from using one's blog," Guerra had said at the time. Guerra's assistant, Karla Paz, earlier said she found McAfee lying on the ground and unable to move his body or speak. McAfee was detained by Guatemalan police on Wednesday for illegally sneaking across the border with his 20-year-old girlfriend to escape authorities in Belize. He has said he fears authorities in Belize will kill him if he returns. Guatemala's foreign minister, Harold Caballeros, said earlier McAfee's request for asylum was rejected.

Now John McAfee Is Writing An Insane Blog While He’s In Jail
The John McAfee circus came to a head last night when McAfee was finally arrested in Guatemala. Except, uh, now he’s blogging from a computer the Guatemalan police gave him in his jail cell. Here’s how the first prison-based post starts: I am in jail in Guatemala. Vastly superior to Belize jails. I asked for a computer and one magically appeared. The coffee is also excellent. And that pretty much sets the table for how this is going to go. He’s issued a few other missives, updating about the state of his extradition proceedings (he’s safe from being shipped back to Belize, for now). The longest, by far, is titled, of course, “Can’t Sleep”. Here’s an excerpt: I am using the computer of one of the wardens, or whatever title is used here. He is a sweet man and a gentleman. The world is heavilly [sic] populated with gentle people. He makes me coffee and tells tender stories about his life. He is a good companion. I believe I could spend weeks in the desert with him as a sole companion without once becoming irritated. His name is Gino Ennati. This whole thing is passing surreal into the unknowable. That video up top is of McAfee hanging out with some reporters from Vice, just before and during being arrested. It’s a totally bizarre scene, with McAfee leaning in and whispering, “Guatemalan jails have beds, dude. And food. It’s pretty awesome,” to the Vice cameraman. Then he buys a tourist’s flute and jams on it a bit, before being very cordially picked up by Guatemalan authorities. And then he just hops into the SUV as nonchalantly as if he were heading to the beach, arm draped over the back seat, taking up all the leg room from the arresting agent like an arse. Somehow, it seems like the most natural thing in the world. So John McAfee is basically live-blogging his jail stint on a South American murder rap from the personal computer of a Guatemalan jail warden. Now you know.

How Trusting in Vice Led to John McAfee’s Downfall
By now, you are aware of John McAfee. If there’s one thing that the sexagenarian millionaire antivirus founder seems to love more than teenage girls, it’s publicity. And he is extremely adroit at getting it. His misadventures in Central America have eaten the media whole. Even now, in the hospital where he was taken after suffering chest pain, he is surrounded by a crush of media. He’s a natural story, as I learned firsthand earlier this year. Charming and good-looking, he peppers his speech in Virginia-accented “sirs.” It’s disarming, like some patrician version of neuro-linguistic programming. Combined with his wild stories, it means reporters love to talk to him. And of course, he is a media magnet for other reasons too, all related to his bizarre lifestyle. His relocation to Belize. His fights with that nation’s government. His coterie of young women. The armed gang members he associates with. The allegations of drug use. The McAfee story, with its drugs and guns and prostitutes and allegations of police corruption, seemed tailor-made for Vice, a publication that revels in all of those subjects on a regular basis. It is as if some hipster god reached down and extended a smelly, fickle finger of fate to Vice editor-in-chief Rocco Castoro, muttering “here’s a cool story, bro.” Naturally, Vice scuttled down to Belize, and traveled with McAfee as he fled the country, penning a blog post titled “We Are With John McAfee Right Now, Suckers.” Vice is just the most recent media crew McAfee has latched onto. And if the past is prologue, it won’t go well. The chummy relationship McAfee tends to enjoy with his contacts in the media almost always goes south. He’s previously attached his media ambitions on Jeff Wise, only to then smear him, and then subsequently apologize. Wired’s own Joshua Davis also enjoyed his attentions, and when McAfee first went on the lam, he gave Davis exclusive interviews. This lasted until Davis wrote stories McAfee didn’t like, at which point the old man in the jungle claimed it had all been a ruse and quit talking to Davis. So now he’s with Vice. In a blog post he later deleted, he claimed they would tell his real story. That Vice would show once and for all whether or not he is a drug-crazed madman. Instead, he’s in a hospital in Guatemala after having been detained by police, and facing likely deportation. Oddly, Vice directly contributed to McAfee’s capture by revealing his location in the metadata of a photo it published. This was deeply stupid. People have been pointing out the dangers of inadvertently leaving GPS tags in cellphone pictures for years and years. Vice is the same publication that regularly drops in on revolutions and all manner of criminals. They should have known better. Then, it followed up this egregiously stupid action with a far worse one. Vice photographer Robert King apparently lied on his Facebook page and Twitter in order to protect McAfee. Like McAfee, he claimed that the geodata in the photo had been manipulated to conceal their true location. This explanation, of course, made no damn sense at all. If McAfee and King were trying to conceal their location by spreading disinformation, why immediately admit to it?

McAfee blogs five times while in custody, ends up in hospital
Just when it seemed his story couldn't get any stranger, software pioneer-turned-fugitive John McAfee followed up his Wednesday night capture with a series of bizarre blog posts from a Guatemalan detention center, then collapsed and was carried from a facility on a stretcher. His attorney said McAfee suffered two mild heart attacks, then backtracked hours later and told Reuters that McAfee only suffered from stress, hypertension and an abnormally rapid heart beat. Meanwhile, Guatemalan authorities were locked in negotiations with Belizean ministers about whether to return McAfee to Belize, where he is wanted for questioning in the slaying of his neighbor. The latest chapters in a tale no screenwriter could concoct played out, as earlier installments have, before Central American media and a rapt online audience. In several weeks on the lam, McAfee has adopted disguises, falsified GPS coordinates, even buried himself underground -- or so he has claimed. All the while, the 67-year-old Silicon Valley anti-virus software guru has seemed to enjoy himself thoroughly, even after being seized by Interpol officers outside a posh Guatemala City hotel Wednesday night.

McAfee returns to Guatemalan detention center after hospital visit
Software pioneer John McAfee ended the day Thursday as he started it: imprisoned in a Guatemalan immigration detention center. Earlier, a neon green ambulance had whisked the 67-year-old to a police hospital just hours after officials rejected his bid for asylum. McAfee’s legal team said doctors were treating him for cardiovascular problems. Later, attorney Telesforo Guerra offered a different diagnosis: McAfee had suffered a nervous breakdown, but tests showed he did not have heart problems. The series of events were the latest dramatic twists in a saga that reads like a best-selling mystery, with poisoned dogs, a dead neighbor and international intrigue fueled by weeks on the run. The next chapter could unfold in Belize, where Guatemalan officials said they were preparing to deport McAfee after rejecting his asylum bid. Police in Belize are ready to meet McAfee at the airport if he’s deported, spokesman Raphael Martinez said. Authorities there have said they want to talk to McAfee about the November 11 shooting of his neighbor, American businessman Gregory Faull.

Technology pioneer John McAfee suffers 'two heart attacks' after asylum denial
JOHN McAfee, the anti-virus software pioneer wanted for questioning in connection with the murder of an American neighbour in Belize, was rushed to hospital with chest pains tonight after he was denied political asylum by Guatemala. It had seemed that Mr McAfee would be sent back to Belize until he was carried on a stretcher out of the building where he was being held, with his lawyer saying he had suffered two mild heart attacks while hit by anxiety and hypertension. Mr McAfee had earlier posted a pleading message on his blog site asking supporters to email the President of Guatemala, Otto Pérez Molina, asking that he be allowed to stay in his country. Asked how he had uploaded the posts, his lawyer Telesforo Guerra said: "I don't think a heart attack prevents one from using one's blog." Of his legal status, Mr Guerra said: "It seems that there's been a government decision to throw him out of Guatemala. He will be in danger if he is returned to Belize, where he has denounced authorities. From the moment he asked for asylum he has to have the protection of the Guatemalan government." While the English-born Mr McAfee, who surrendered control of the anti-virus software firm that made him a multi-millionaire and which still bears his name, had successfully eluded the authorities until yesterday, in all other ways he had been anything but discreet, giving interviews by phone and posting entries on his blog. Mr McAfee, whose life since moving to Belize three years ago reads like the pages of a James Ellroy crime novel, contends the government there is out to kill him, in part because he has refused to pass them money under the table. "It's a wild, wild country," he said in an interview inside Guatemala with Reuters. "Everyone sees one part of Belize. They think it's a wonderful, peaceful, lovely place, blue waters, so McAfee has got to be crazy. Maybe I am crazy. If I were, I wouldn't know."

December 6, 2012


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The San Pedro Sun

McAfee Arrested in Guatemala
The San Pedro Sun has confirmed tonight (Wed. Dec. 5th) that John McAfee, anti-virus pioneer, has been detained in Guatemala City by Interpol and Immigration Officials of Guatemala. McAfee was arrested on suspicion of illegal entry into that country. The San Pedro Sun has also received reports from the Foreign Affairs Office of Guatemala that McAfee is in the process of being returned to Belize tomorrow morning and it is believed that he will then be flown to San Pedro Town for police questioning in regards to the murder investigation of US National, Gregory Faull.

Southern Belize shines at Taste of Belize
The 10th annual Taste of Belize, Belize Tourism Board’s (BTB) signature culinary event, took place in the beautiful town of San Ignacio, Cayo. The two-day event took place on December 1st and 2nd, with the first day showcasing the beverage and final round of the food competitions. The event ran simultaneously with the gala event while day two saw grilling connoisseurs compete for the title of Grill Master of Belize on the grounds of the San Ignacio Visitor Welcome Center. On the night of the Gala Event on December 1st, the San Ignacio Resort sparkled and came to life with a Maya theme. Models were covered in body paint, some holding exotic Belizean animals as they stood posed in strategic spots throughout the entertainment area. Minister of Tourism and Culture Hon Manuel Heredia declared the event open following his brief remarks. In his address Heredia said that the Taste of Belize is geared to highlights the culinary aspect of Belize. “The event was created to fulfill two major goals; one to build interest for local Belizeans to enter into the culinary field and two to create an event that can build our local tourism. It was also envisioned that the event would have a sell-over effect in assisting to boost tourism arrivals…We are also proud to boast that that the skills of our Belizean chefs, bartenders and cake decorators have been greatly enhanced…in particular, the Master Chef Competition has become more difficult over the few years, moving from cooking one meal with one mystery meat ingredient in one hour to cooking three meals with four mystery basket ingredients in one hour. The event has also grown from being a one day event to a two-day event,” said Heredia.

Dr. Giovanni Solorzano is new Clinical Coordinator and Medical Director at the Dr. Otto Rodriguez Poly Clinic II
Dr. Giovanni Solarzano has now joined the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro PolyClinic II in the capacity of Clinical Coordinator/Medical Director as of November 16, 2012. Dr. Solorzano replaces Dr. Javier Zuniga, who has left to further his studies. Solorzano, a resident of San Pedro has been working in the Medical field for over 20 years. Most residents will know him from his private practice at the San Carlos Medical Clinic. Before taking on his new position, he was previously employed by the Pan American Health Organization as a maternal and family child health consultant. Prior to this, he was employed at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) as the Deputy Director of Health Services at the KHMH where he was responsible for Quality Assurance. Dr. Solorzano told The San Pedro Sun that his employment relationship with the Government of Belize goes way back to 1991. Dr. Solorzano came to the island for the first time as the Medical Officer with the GOB [...]

Ambergris Today

Andy Palacio Day observed in Houston, Texas
Did you know that there is an Andy Palacio Day? Yes, that’s right! Belizean musical artist Andy Palacio passed away on January 19 of 2007, but he is still very much remembered as the musical icon that was foremost in promoting the Garifuna music and putting Belize on the world stage. At the time of his death, Andy was at his peak; his Watina CD had been released and the young man from Barranco had been named Belize’s Culture Ambassador and the UNESCO Artist for Peace. To show that he continues to make an impact as a poet, musician and artist, the Mayor of Houston, Texas, has declared December 2nd as Andy Palacio Day. The Proclamation was signed by Mayor Bill White on November 26 of 2009.

Carmelita & Mauricio Aquino Wedding
Congratulations to Carmelita Caceres and Mauricio Aquino who tied the knot on Saturday, December 1, 2012, in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Their wedding ceremony was conducted aboard a catamaran that was a wedding gift from their close friends, in which they celebrated into the sunset. We wish Carmelita and Mauricio a great life together as they commence their journey of matrimony.

Misc Belizean Sources

1st Annual Elias A. Awe Memorial Lecture A PANORAMIC HISTORY OF EL CAYO Presenters: Dr. Jaime Awe- An Anthropological History Don Hector Silva- A Political History Melanie Smith- A Sociological History Mr. Alfonso Tzul- Agricultural Economy 7 p.m. December 7th, 2012 Octavia Waight Conference Center for more information contact: Melanie Smith-604-7924

VIDEO: Belize World Class Diving, Turneffe Atoll
Turneffe Atoll is the largest and most biologically diverse coral atoll in the Western Hempisphere. The marine life at Turneffe Island makes the scuba diving an adventure like no other dive destination in the Caribbean. The vastness and variety of marine life and coral formations are truly unmatched.

Cornerstone Celebrates Aids Awareness
The Cornerstone Foundation had a rally at Constitution Park for Aids Awareness Day. Their Feed the Children Christmas Fair will be on December 15th at Falcon Field from 8am until 5pm.

Belizean Christmas Ham
When growing up in Belize we would always get this salty smoked ham at Christmas time. I don't like ham that has honey or brown sugar, so this ham is perfect for me. I usually served at breakfast time with eggs or I make sandwiches.

The State of Mobile Technology in Belize
Many of us have realized that mobile technology is on its way to taking over the entire universe. What this means is that people will be using mobile gadgets to do everything: internet surfing, emails, shopping, selling, socializing, banking and just about everything that you normally do to get through your busy day. In Belize, we don't really see this change happening, as in other countries, because of the lack of support for such technology. First of all the service providers have poor service so mobile gadgets can't be used to their full potential. This doesn't stop others, as everyday that passes I see more and more people buying their tablets and expensive smart phones. In fact, I believe that almost every Belizean have access to the internet through their mobile phones. This is amazing, isn't it? Nowadays I see more and more new gadgets making their way into Belize at a much faster rate. This must only mean that the demand for mobile devices has sky-rocketed in Belize. This is good news for all computer stores in Belize. I know it must be hard for them to obtain these new gadgets, upon release, but they are still doing a wonderful job of having them available for the Belizean community.

Channel 7

McAfee Calls GOB "Corrupt" In Guatemala
John McAfee is tonight in Guatemala City - and at the center of a media whirlwind. McAfee who is wanted for questioning in connection with a murder in Belize says he will be seeking asylum in Guatemala and has retained high profile Guatemalan attorney and former Attorney General, Telesforo Guerra. VICE Magazine from Mexico has been following him and his girlfriend Sam Vanegas from Belize. Today, VICE released a video of his first encounter with Guerra in Guatemala, and a sidewalk press conference in front of the Guatemalan Courthouse - with a reality show diversion as he quickly tailored a suit to meet the press: McAfee has a formal press conference planned for 4:00 pm tomorrow in Guatemala City. He has offered to meet Prime Minister Dean Barrow in a neutral country to discuss corruption in Belize. There has been no response from the PM's Office, and none is expected. In another charming reality show type aside - the Vice video shows McAfee staging a prank call to his own website - to make a false report that he had been intercepted at the Belize Mexico border.

Farrakhan Visit Cancelled
Preparations were in high gear for tomorrow afternoon's arrival of Minister Louis Farrakhan, but the visit has been cancelled. The announcement came out this morning that Farrakhan - who is 79 - has fallen ill in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. That was the fifth stop on his 7 nation Caribbean tour - and he has had to cancel visits to Bahamas and Belize. A press release form the local organizer says that Farrakhan is suffering from exhaustion and dehydration and did not speak in St. Croix. Doctors have strongly recommended immediate rest. No plans have been announced for a make-up visit by the Leader of the Nation of Islam.

Hundreds Rush Opportunity to Work At McDonalds In Canada
2012 figures say that unemployment in Belize is at 14.4 percent - the highest that it's been in over a decade. And the well known fact that people desperately need work was amply demonstrated today when a company came from Canada to recruit workers for Macdonalds. 7news was there and here's what it looked like: Jules Vasquez Reporting Today, hundreds of people stood outside the Radisson for hours - without water of bathroom breaks - in fact - the line started to take shape at 6:00 am. They are here for a job - and waiting for this man to call their name. That's when they go up into the VIP room and fill out this work permit questionnaire - which will put them in a pool of available low skilled and semi-skilled labour for Western Canada: Dr. Linda West - President, ACTYL "We're here recruiting people to come to Canada because there's a shortage of workers in Canada, particularly in Sascatuan and Alberta. Today, in Sascatuan there are about 12,000 jobs going unfilled. In Alberta, there's probably 50,000 or 60,000 - I didn't look it up. So, between the 2 provinces we're probably 70,000 or 80,000 jobs going unfilled today. So, that's the major issue, but the other issue for McDonalds is that we have very few young people. Our birthrate is about 1.4%, so that we haven't replaced ourselves. So, our young adults are very few. The traditional McDonalds workforce, or fast food workforce has disappeared on us. So, we need other people to come in and fill those jobs."

Man Gets Off Prison Murder Rap
23 year-old Krismar Espinosa, who was charged with the prison stabbing murder of Keon Kyle Swasey, was acquitted of the charge today in the courtroom of Justice Troadio Gonzalez. Crown Counsel Thalia Meagan Francis called several witnesses in the case which started on Monday, but none of them provided the court with any incriminating evidence against Espinosa. As a result, when she closed her case today, Espinosa's attorney, Rachel Montejo, made a no-case submission, and after considering all the evidence, Justice Gonzalez upheld it. He directed the jury of 12 to return a not guilty verdict against Espinosa this afternoon, and he was freed of the charge. He was not able to go home because he is still awaiting trial for another murder which occurred in Orange Walk in September of 2007. According to police, Swasey was in his cell at the prison at around 9 a.m. on December 24, 2009, when his assailant ambushed him and fatally stabbed him with a prison knife known as a "bora".

UNIBAM Regains Ground In Court
The last time we told you about the UNIBAM constitutional challenge, they had suffered a minor loss to the Churches and the Attorney General Ministry. The attorney for the Churches, Michel Chebat, was able to successfully argue before Justice Arana that UNIBAM be removed from the case as the second claimant for highly technical legal reasons. It meant that the Caleb Orozco, the organization's Executive President, being the first claimant, was the only one who could continue the challenge. Well, today, the matter went back to court, and UNIBAM's attorney, Lisa Shoman, made 2 applications before Justice Arana, the main one of which to get UNIBAM to join the case once again. The position is that this organization represents over 100 persons who wish to remain anonymous, but believe that at section 53 of the constitution violates their rights to have sexual relations with same sex partners. Shoman was successful on those 2 applications, and outside of court, 7News asked her and Orozco about the importance of today's outcome. Here's what they said: Lisa Shoman - Attorney for UNIBAM " The previous ruling was that UNIBAM as an organization had no rights, especially no rights of privacy, no rights relating to how they conduct themselves sexually. As an organization, the organization does not actually reproduce or have sexual rights, so therefore, the organization was struck off. This application was different. It is saying that the members do have those rights and want UNIBAM to represent them. Essentially, what it has come down to is that UNIBAM has been appointed not as a representative claimant, but as an interested. It is now exactly on the same footing as the churches, no different.

City Will Get New Airport, to Replace Over-run "Airstrip"
The municipal airstrip in Belize City had outgrown itself like 20 years ago - which means that right about now, it's not old, it's ancient! There's been talk about upgrading it for decades, but those plans have been like a sputtering plane that can't generate enough lift to get off the ground. But now there's a plan and there's money at hand. We found out more today: Jules Vasquez Reporting The Belize City Municipal Airstrip is one of the busiest in the country - with an average of 120 flights landing and taking off from here everyday. The Belize It is the second busiest airport in the region. And now, it's going to get a major overhaul - this is the rendering of the new Sir Barry Bowen Belize City Municipal Airport. The project was launched today at a ceremony at the Municipal Airstrip. It's a 9.5 million dollar project with funding from Social Security - which signed the loan agreement with the Belize Airports Authority today: Kenworth Tillett - General Manager, Belize Airports Authority "We're going to double the size of the airport. We're going to put in a brand new taxi way. We're going to be putting lights, so that we can operational at night. We're going to be building a road - a different exit, and we're also going to be building an office building for the Belize Airports Authority."

Police Says Zane tried To Run Him Over
Last night, 7News told you about 23 year-old Zane Galvez's latest violent encounter with law enforcement in the parking lot of the courthouse. Well, he has been criminally charged for it. As we reported, Galvez showed up to court yesterday for his case before the Chief Justice where he is suing the police department because officers of the GSU allegedly broke his arm and brutalized him in that famous George Street Incident in August of last year. He was about to park his vehicle in the parking lot behind the court when he got into an argument with Prison Officer Michael Gladden over a parking spot. The story gets bizarre from there because according to police, Gladden reported that Galvez tried to run him over with his vehicle after their verbal altercation over the spot. As a result, Galvez, who according to his family, was roughed up and immediately escorted to Queen Street Police station, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, being his vehicle.

First Municipal Bond Offer Fully Subscribed And Closed
Due to robust market response, the Belize City Council has wrapped up the first 10 million dollars tranche of its bond offering early. As we told you - there were more offers than there were bonds available - and so the council decided to wrap it up. The Mayor explained: Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council "The investment has been significant, and it a fair mix between strategic institutional investors, and person who just wanted to a $10,000. We have a couple people who just invested $200 because they had indicated that they symbolically wanted to invest in the building of their city. So, it's a good cross-section. It's not a lot of bondholders. It's a manageable group. What we've done is that we've closed that, so we're taking offers now for the second $10 million, and we've gotten some healthy responses, and we've already accepted bids on the second tranche, which will be released in 4 to 6 months' time. And we expect that this will be subscribed to fully as well."

Trade License Fees Shoot Up
And while bond purchasers are providing the capital infusion for those 150 streets, city residents and business owners will also be paying more. We've told you about the ten dollar per dwelling residential garbage tax - but business owners are complaining that they're also being made ot pay - with sharp increases in trade license fees. We've spoken to a number of business owners whose fees have gone up 60% or even more. That's a difference of thousands of dollars - and so we asked the mayor today, is he trying to gouge business owners to pay for those fancy streets? Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council "One of the things that we had done is that we had looked at the trade rolls which are public, so every person can check how everybody else pays in terms of trade licenses. And what noticed is that there was a significant amount of disparity. And the actual calculation and assessment wasn't being followed. So, you had persons who were paying significant amounts, and persons who are paying very little. And what we did is that we equalized it. Some persons, we brought them down to manageable limits, and then, others persons who were paying very little compared to their rental value, we had to increase them so that we could match it. The reason why some people will experience an increase is because of that balance, and every single increase that we have made, we can justify. And persons had written us, and what we are doing is that we are providing justification. The increases were not predicated on any principle of increased revenue. Of course, if there is net increase overall in the roll, that endures to the benefit of the Council. But those increases were not as a result of any desire to increase revenue- "

The Other Way Of Spelling
The National Coca Cola Spelling Bee brings celebrates the country's best spellers - but that's for hearing children. Hearing Impaired kids have the Finger Spelling B. It showcases some of the best finger-spellers who use sign language to spell out their words. 7News was there and with a little help from sign language translators, we spoke with the winners of the junior and senior categories. Here's what they told us: Floriano Chun - Father of Omica, 1st Place Sr. "I am very proud of her. I know that she was going to be in the top ranks, and I am glad for her achievement. She is a deaf student, but she really tries hard. She works on sign language dictionaries, and research on the internet. We are also giving her a lot of encouragement and motivation as parents." Isaac Penner - Translator "She started on November 5 practicing. For 3 weeks she was just practicing." Geovanni Brackett - Plus TV "Ask her if she was nervous at the end there." Isaac Penner - Translator "A little bit." Geovanni Brackett - Plus TV "Ask her if she expected to win, because it was so close." Isaac Penner "She felt she would, yeah."

Inspiration Information
And that was not the only event which showcased the special abilities of disabled children. Today, the Special Envoy for Women and Children launched its 2013 agenda and calendar. You may ask, "What's so special about it?" Well, each month in the calendar was designed using drawings of 12 young talented children living with disabilities. Today, the Special Envoy, Kim Simplis - Barrow, told us today that the proceeds from the sales of the agendas and the calendars will go directly to fund the Inspiration Center project: Kim Simplis - Barrow - Special Envoy for Women and Children "Today is the launch of our 2013 calendar. This is the third one that we're producing, and we're also launching 2013 agenda, and this is the second year that we're doing it. The calendar really is sort of like an avenue for us to really continue our advocacy work, for children with disabilities. And so, we get children who have a disability to do art over the summer, and then we produce the calendar with whatever drawings they would do. In terms of the agenda, we collaborated with McNab Design to produce the agenda for us. And the proceeds of the Agenda go directly to the construction of the Inspiration Center." And at the event, Tanya McNab of McNab Designs donated a check for $33,000 to the Special Envoy for the Inspiration Center.

Police Have The Prints, Now They Point The Finger!
Tonight, Police say that they need your help in locating Owen Parham because he is wanted for burglaries in the Corozal district, where he allegedly stole a firearm loaded with ammunition. According to Police, Hensley Jones, a businessman of Ranchito Village reported that he left his home at around 11 a.m. fully secured, and when he returned 7 hours later, he realized that someone burglarized his home and stole a 9mm pistol with a magazine which was loaded with 16 rounds of ammunition, and an assortment of household items to a total value of $10,580. According to police, Audomaro Tzul, a sales representative of Calcutta Village, reported that someone broke into his home between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on November 27, 2012, and stole a gold pin and $250 in cash. Well, police say that the Scenes of Crime personnel combed the scenes of these burglaries and found prints at both which matched those in the AFIS system of Owen Parham, who, according to police, goes by the alias, Oscar Junior Coyni of Roaring Creek Village. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Ballistics Training For Belizean Technicians
2 months ago, 7News told you about the major Canadian donation of the Integrated Ballistic Identification Systems - known as IBIS - which is the very latest in Ballistics technology. But what good is an upgrade in technology if there is no one who knows how to use the machine? Well, 2 Belizeans have just returned from Mexico after receiving specialized training in forensic ballistics, which occurred from November 22 to 26. They took part in an intensive 5-day crash-course in various aspects of ballistics imaging and a working knowledge of the IBIS system. With this training, these 2 Belizeans will be able to enhance prosecution resources by helping to provide ballistics evidence in firearm related crimes.

Tourism Minister Says Why He Wanted Island Cop Removed
Tourism Minister, Manuel Juniour Herredia made headlines in yesterday's Amandala - and it wasn't because tourism numbers are up. Herredia is accused of forcing out the head of the island's tourism police unit after she arrested a tourist who has a lot of clout. Woman Corporal Sharmane Young, who's been a police officer for 15 years, told the Amandala today that she was angry, because she felt she was punished for doing her job. She arrested 43 year old Lisa Marie Merz, and charged her with with using indecent words, using insulting words, boisterous behavior, assaulting a uniformed police officer and resisting lawful police arrest. Area representative and tourism minister Manuel Juniour Herredia got involved - and went to check on the tourist at the police. He told us today what happened after that: Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. - Minister of Tourism "This one had to do with a tourist that had been coming to this island for 15 years, bringing groups of scuba divers at Amigos Del Mar. And I was called by an employee of Amigos Del Mar, who told me that this person had been locked up, and was in police custody, and that they wouldn't release her until so many days. So, I went immediately to the station, and the officer that was in charge over said that Cpl. Young is not in office, and she will probably not be in until later in the night, or the next day because she was out at Fido's doing a security job. But, I managed to speak with the officer in charge of San Pedro Command, Ms. Robinson, and I asked Ms. Robinson about the situation with this tourist. Ms. Robinson said, 'I heard from Cpl. Young that the tourist was behaving not in a very polite manner.

Cycling Membership Makes "No confidence" Vote In President
Last month we told you about the power struggle in the Belize Cycling Association. Deputy Belize City Mayor Dion Leslie wants to replace president Emil Moreno - but Moreno is not going out so easily. Leslie says he ahs a support of a majority of the members - while Moreno says he better check the constitution because the Association is now a Federation and he has the support of the district delegates. It should have come to a head last month at the AGM but that was postponed when Leslie showed up with a busload of cyclists. The matter is now in the hands of the Sports council but now Leslie's supporters are pushing forward a no confidence petition. He explained it to us today: Dion Leslie - President Aspirant, Belize Cycling Association "The cyclist decided that the best way to show that the disapproval for the current executive is to come together and sign a document of no-confidence for the president and his executive, and that's what is being done. I believe that we have close to over 50% of registered cyclists in the country; we have signed that document. Those who haven't signed, they haven't been able to see the document as yet, but we understand that they are willing to sign it because everyone is on the same page. They want Mr. Moreno to please step down. The show of attendance at the meeting in late November in Cayo showed the man that they don't want him anymore. They want a new vision for cycling. They just want to move forward, and that's what this is about."

Channel 5

Minister asked for Cop to be transferred before incident with tourist
On Tuesday News Five reported on the strange case of a police corporal being transferred following the arrest of a vacationing tourist in San Pedro. Syracuse resident Liza Marie Mertz apparently interrupted and yelled obscenities at Police Corporal Sharmane Young whilst Young was searching a man who was allegedly selling drugs. A question lingered on [...]

Farrakhan falls ill and postpones visit to Belize
The highly anticipated visit of the Head of the Nation of Islam, Minister Louis Farrakhan, has been postponed at the eleventh hour. Arrangements had all been put in place for the high security visit of one of the most controversial, yet inspirational speakers. The seventy-nine year old minister, who was to arrive in the jewel [...]

Super attorneys contracted by bondholders
As was reported on Tuesday, superbond negotiations between bondholders and the government have hit a major snag. The bondholders have rejected government’s latest counter proposal and have hired a team of lawyers including the former US executive director of the World Bank as an advisor, which according to the Financial Times, “Is a clear warning [...]

Are you surprised that biggest drug trial results in not guilty?
Tonight’s question is: Does it surprise you that the six accused in the biggest drug trial were found not guilty? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote on our e-poll at You can also send an email with your comments to [email protected]

McAfee’s Flavor of Love, lifestyle taken to Guatemala
The strange and interesting life of John McAfee on the run continues to make international headlines. McAfee is a person of interest that police want to question about the murder of his neighbor Gregory Faull. McAfee went into hiding before officers could question him, his compound in the Mata Grande area of north Ambergris Caye [...]

Tranche one, 10 Million of Municipal Bond Sold!!
While the government’s superbond negotiations are not going well, the Belize City Council is well under way in floating the twenty million dollar municipal bond. The first tranche is valued at ten million dollars and according to the mayor that tranche is fully subscribed and the funds will be drawn upon immediately to continue upgrading [...]

Municipal Airstrip extension and renamed after Sir Barry
The Municipal Airstrip in Belize City is getting a nine point five million dollar upgrade. Works got underway today and it will take two years to complete. Notably, the airstrip will be named posthumously after Sir Barry Bowen who was killed in a plane accident in February 2010. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.   Jose [...]

Consumer Price Index shows prices up by eight percent
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for October 2012 has been released. It shows that prices went up by point eight percent over the same period last year. The biggest increase was in health, which went up by six point eight percent and trailing behind were Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages, which went up by one point [...]

Murder case falls apart in Court; Krismar Espinosa acquitted
Two murder cases fell apart in the courts today. Twenty-three year old Krismar Espinosa of Orange Walk was acquitted this afternoon of the murder of inmate, Keon Kyle Swasey, who was stabbed twice while at the Belize Central Prison. The acquittal came when Justice Troadio Gonzalez upheld a no case submission made by Espinosa’s attorney, [...]

Rasheed Woods also freed of murder charge
In the Belize City Supreme Court, Rasheed Woods was set free of murder when his case concluded in nolle prosequi because witnesses could not be located. Woods was charged back in July of 2009 for the murder of nineteen year-old Steven Anthony Grant, aka “Eggie”. Woods was told he was free to go for now [...]

All today’s buzz was at the Spelling BEE
The winners of the Spelling Bee for the Hearing Impaired took it all; and they hail from the Cayo Deaf Institute. This morning Wilford Coc and Jacob Chun won the first and second places in the competition at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium. The annual event has grown by leaps and bounds over the years [...]

Xunantunich, the concert and the Succotz residents
In the west, emotions are running high among the tour guides and vendors in Succotz Village over the planned two-week closure of Xunantunich next Wednesday. The closure by NICH coincides with the height of the Mayan calendar celebrations and the residents say they were not consulted and it will cut into their Christmas earnings. News [...]

Kim Simpliss Barrow launches 3rd Inspiration Calendar
The third edition of the Inspiration Calendar was launched this morning by the office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children. The calendar showcases the artwork of children with special needs from across the country and the young artists were on hand at the launch to receive their copies. With the support of McNab [...]


UNIBAM applies to be a “representative party” in court challenge to Homosexual law
Yesterday we told you that a preliminary hearing in Claim No. 668 of 2010 between activist Caleb Orozco and his org...

Zane Galvez charged with Aggravated Assault with a Vehicle
The Galvez family has been on the news several times and yesterday, we reported on another incident involving Zane ...

Police are looking for Owen Parham aka Oscar
Junior Coyni who may be armed and dangerous. Police are looking for Oscar Junior Coyni, because his fingerprints have connected him to a robbery in Corozal Dist...

Romero Jimenez found guilty of rape on re-trial
Romero Jimenez re-trial case ends in the Orange Walk sitting of the Supreme Court. 48 year old Guatemalan Romero Ji...

Krismar Espinosa acquitted of the murder of Keon Kyle Swasey
“23-year-old Krismar Espinosa was acquitted this afternoon of the murder of 21-year-old prison inmate, Keon Kyle Sw...

John McAfee is in Guatemala
Yes it's true! John McAfee is in Guatemala. VICE PIC

KHMH provides Laparoscopic Surgery
Yesterday we shared that the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital is upgrading to cutting edge medical technology with th...

Belize Assembly for Persons with Diverse Abilities honours ten organizations
International Day for Persons with Disabilities was observed on Monday and this week is Disability Week. On Monday ...

Special Envoy for Women and Children launches the 2013 Inspiration Calendar
This morning the office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children launched the 2013 Inspiration Calendar and agen...

Prosecution unable to locate main witness in murder case
The term nolle pros is a familiar one in Belize, although we must say it has not been heard of recently in the Supr...


International Volunteer Day
Today is International Volunteer Day, and I got a forwarded email from Lily Bowman Director General of the Belize Red Cross about celebrating over 13 million Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers around the world and strengthening the commitment to creating safe and enabling environments in which the Red Cross Volunteers can continue their extraordinary work. She also went into include her own note of thanks in appreciation for the volunteers in every Branch, every program and every project. Without them, Belize Red Cross would never have achieved all its goals. I would like to thank all those [and there are many] who are slowly but surely helping the San Pedro Branch and the Belize Medical Safety program come together. We are currently looking for people to be nominated for the San Pedro Branch board and the following volunteer positions needed to be filled are as follows: Chairperson Vice-Chairperson Treasurer Youth representative 2 ordinary members Secretary If you or someone you know is a good candidate for any of the positions above please email me at [email protected] We are also in need an office coordinator a few days a week. As for the medical safety program, in January 2013, San Pedro and Belmopan are the two branches that will hold certified first aid training.

The Biggest New Year’s Celebration in History
All around the world many people are waiting to see what will happen in 2012. But here at Chaa Creek, in the Heartland of the Maya, one thing is certain – we’re having our biggest party ever during the week of December 21 2012 to celebrate the beginning of a new Maya era. The Lodge at Chaa Creek is offering a once in a lifetime opportunity to join the Maya people – and the world – in celebrating the Winter Solstice of 2012 in the Maya Heartland of Belize. This is a time of great cultural significance, as one cycle spanning millennia ends and another begins with the completion of the Maya Long Count’s 13th Ba’ k tun. Forget sensationalism and misinformation surrounding 2012, Chaa Creek will be hosting celebrations that focus on the true nature of this epoch with factual information, cultural integrity and respect for the people of this vibrant civilisation who still make up a significant portion of Belize’s population.

International Sources

U.S. gingerly expands security role in Central America
Central American governments were already struggling with the legacy of poverty, inequality, civil warfare and dictatorships when drug runners, with their corrupting cash, came roaring through the region in the late 2000s, seeking to avoid a robust U.S.-led interdiction program in the Caribbean. In response, the U.S. military's Southern Command, or Southcom, stepped up the policing of trafficking routes. In the first 10 months of this year, Southcom says the program disrupted the flow of 120 tons of cocaine and 25,250 pounds of marijuana. In recent years, the U.S. has also showered Central American governments with hardware to help stem the flow of drugs: aircraft, boats, X-ray cargo scanners, ballistic vests and wiretapping centers. Villa Nueva's video surveillance system is one of several projects meant to help fight the explosion in violent crime that has destabilized local governments and prompted some residents to head north toward the U.S., often illegally, in search of peace. But the crime-fighting initiative goes far beyond surveillance cameras. The U.S. is also investing in civic projects under the theory that the drug war here cannot be won without more skilled and trustworthy police and prosecutors, along with an engaged citizenry that has reason to hope.

Bondholders reject latest Belize restructuring offer
Bondholders have rejected a new offer from the Belize Debt Review Team on the restructuring the country’s US$544 million “super bonds” scheduled for maturity in 2029. The bondholders say they have also hired lawyers since a 60 day reprieve on legal action has expired. Bondholders had agreed not to pursue legal action for 60 days after Belize paid half of the US$23.5 million interest payment due in August. But the grace period has now expired. Last week, the Belize government presented new counter-proposal to the bondholders and according to an official statement, the counter-proposal puts forward alternative scenarios all of which the government says offers only "temporary reductions in the current coupon rate with modest extensions in average life”. These alternative scenarios include temporary reduction in the coupon rate and an extension in the average life of the bond; a return to the 8.5 per cent coupon rate at the expiry of the reduced coupon period and a series of "Required Terms" which includes "GDP (Gross Domestic Product) warrants and oil recovery certificates," and the payment of what's called consent fees to participating creditors. The Barrow administration's proposal was in response to an earlier counter offer by the bondholders. The government said that the proposed return to the current 8.5 per cent coupon rate "is designed to be no worse than NPV neutral once the combined effect of the Required Terms is factored in”. Read more:

Belize: undercooking the debt
Sovereign debt restructuring is like baking a cake, some experts quip. With the appropriate ingredients – creditor pain stirred in, a sprinkle of fiscal adjustments – the process can be relatively smooth and the outcome fairly equitable. So far, it seems Belize is not following the right recipe. After presenting exceptionally harsh restructuring terms to its bondholders this summer, Belize exacerbated tensions with creditors further by missing a $23m coupon payment on August 20, pushing the country’s $547m “superbond” into a default. After bondholders howled, Belize paid half of the overdue coupon in September in return for a promise that bondholders – led by Greylock Capital, a US hedge fund – would not seek “legal remedies” for a further 60 days to allow restructuring talks to continue more amicably. Those 60 days have now expired, and talks again seem to be taking a testy turn. On November 21, Belize’s creditors committee offered debt relief amounting to more than $150m over the next decade, but Belize swiftly turned this down, and countered with slightly sweetened restructuring terms on November 29. While acknowledging that the Committee’s counter-proposal provides a degree of short-term cash flow relief, [Belize] considers it to be wholly incompatible with its objective of placing the country’s debt burden on a sustainable footing – a goal that the Committee itself has indicated it is committed to at various stages. [Belize] believes that the counter-proposal ignores Belize’s high overall debt levels, and that it amounts to little more than a short-term fix.

Belize Gets Help from Mexico on Forensic Ballistics Analysis
A pair of Belizeans have completed a two-day training course in Mexico in forensic ballistics analysis. The five-day crash course, which was conducted in Mexico City, included the use of the Integrated Ballistics Imaging System. Thanks to the training, the analysts will be able to operate the IBIS TRAX 3D System that was recently donated to Belize by the government of Canada. The system is currently being set up in the National Forensic Science Service in Ladyville. The two sides could explore further training and followup courses, along with additional technical exchanges between Belize and Mexico, according to a government release.

In Guatemala, software guru McAfee to seek asylum: lawyer
U.S. anti-virus software guru John McAfee, who is on the run from police in Belize seeking to question him in a murder probe, has crossed into Guatemala and said on Tuesday he will seek political asylum there. McAfee has been in hiding for three weeks since police in Belize said they wanted to question him as "a person of interest" about the murder of fellow American Gregory Faull, with whom McAfee had quarreled. McAfee smuggled himself and his girlfriend, Samantha, across the porous land border that Belize shares with Guatemala. He stayed at a hotel in a national park before heading for Guatemala City on Monday evening. "I have no plans much for the future now. The reason I chose Guatemala is two-fold," McAfee told Reuters by telephone from Guatemala's Supreme Court, flanked by his lawyer, former attorney general and lawyer Telesforo Guerra. "It is a country bordering Belize, it is a country that understands the corruption within Belize and most importantly, the former attorney general of the country is Samantha's uncle and I knew that he would assist us with legal proceedings."

Guatemala detains McAfee, to expel him to Belize
Guatemalan police arrested U.S. software guru John McAfee on Wednesday for illegally entering the country and said it would seek to expel him to neighboring Belize, which he fled after being sought for questioning over his neighbor's murder. McAfee, who had been in hiding for three weeks, crossed into Guatemala with his 20-year-old girlfriend to evade authorities in Belize who wanted to quiz him as "a person of interest" about the killing of fellow American Gregory Faull. "He entered the country illegally and we are going to seek his expulsion for this crime," Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said. McAfee was detained by Guatemalan police and a member of Interpol at the upscale Intercontinental hotel in Guatemala City. One of Silicon Valley's first entrepreneurs to build an Internet fortune, the 67-year-old made millions of dollars through the antivirus software that now carries his name. McAfee's behavior has been increasingly erratic in recent years but there is no international arrest warrant for him. Police in Belize say he is not a prime suspect. Government spokesman Francisco Cuevas said the entrepreneur would be expelled to Belize and he expected the process to be completed by early Thursday morning. Fernando Lucero, spokesman for Guatemala's immigration department, saidimmediate deportation had been ruled out. McAfee's lawyer Telesforo Guerra was seeking an injunction to have him released and the American said on his blog that he would not now be returned to the Belize border until a higher judge reviewed the case.

December 5, 2012


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Specials and Events

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Ambergris Today

Taste of Belize 2012 Celebrates Belizean Cuisine
The Belize Tourism Board held the 10th Taste of Belize on December 1 and 2, 2012, in San Ignacio, Cayo. The event attracted hundreds of patrons and saw the participation of close to 20 professionals in four culinary competitions. On Saturday night at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, guests were taken on a culinary journey through a five course meal prepared by Chef Sean Kuylen, which included Macal River Jute Snails, Lobster & Chayote Pot Pie, as well as Gibnut, Goat & Pork Skewers. Patrons were treated to free wines and beers for the cock-tail hour; body painted models with exotic animals; cultural entertainment from the Belize National Dance Company, along with Marimba music from Alma Belicena; free photos, and complimentary gift bags. Guests for the evening, were not only entertained and inspired, but also educated through a special screening of a documentary entitled, ‘Taste of Belize,’ a video that traces the evolution of Belizean cuisine and explores the depth of the Belizean culture through food. The guests were also treated to three live culinary competitions in the Pro Chef, Bartending and Cake Decorating categories. The BTB is proud to announce and congratulate the winners of the competitions over the weekend. Marcia Nuñez of Hamanasi was named Belize’s Master Chef and received $2,500 and an award from the BTB. Hamanasi’s Sheridan Polanco was named Cake Decorator of the year and won $1,000 and an award. Southern Belize continued on a winning streak, when Fermin Coc of The Placencia Hotel was named Bartender of the year. He took home $1,500 and an award from the BTB. On day two of Taste of Belize, the BTB awarded Nazim Juan of Maya Walk with the award of Grill Master 2012. Mr. Juan also took home a brand new grill courtesy of James Brodie & Company Limited, along with one thousand dollars courtesy of the BTB.

Belize Tourism Industry Association Looks Forward to Fulfilling New Year
The BTIA hosts successful 27th Annual General Meeting events. The Belize Tourism Industry Association is pleased to announce that it hosted a very successful Travel Agent and Consumer Trends Seminar and a stellar 27th Annual General Meeting on November 28 and 29 respectively, at the Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina's Caracol Room. The events were a culmination of the perseverance, dedication and hard-work of the Association throughout 2012 and a launch-pad an even more prosperous and fulfilling 2013. Our Travel Agent and Consumer Trends Seminar, held on November 28th , was open to all persons interested in learning more about Travel Agents, Destination Marketing and Tourist/Consumer Trends for 2013. The events guest speakers: Mr. Greg and Mrs. Jane Custer, of Trav Alliance Media (a U.S. based firm), conducted the full day presentation and shared their knowledge, experiences and expertise of the global tourism industry to all attendees. Following the seminar, a cocktail was held to merge industry partners and other tourism pioneers in celebration of the achievements the industry has experienced over the years. The Association also acknowledged our Diamond, Gold and Special Event Sponsors at this event. The BTIA was able to achieve many of its goals and objectives during 2012 through the generous support and commitment of our Sponsors. “Focusing on ways in which we can move forward to a brighter future as an Association, the BTIA hosted its 27th Annual General Meeting on Thursday November 29; the event was well attended by BTIA members, dignitaries, industry partners and students from various tertiary level institutions. The AGM provided the audience with the Association's annual report on activities and issues undertaken and addressed in 2012, including important occurrences in our country and its impact on the tourism industry. Mr. James Scott completed a successful two year term, which culminated at the AGM and he now assumes the post of Immediate Past President of the Association; Mr. Scott received a commemorative plaque from the BTIA for his remarkable service to our Association.” The Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security, was the honorary guest speaker and he gave a presentation on the crime situation in Belize and what measures the Government is undertaking to ensure the safety of both local citizens and international travelers. "My ministry is currently involved in a number of projects that are being coordinated through the Central American Integrated System, SICA; one of which is an integrated system of tourism security among SICA participating states,” stated Hon. Saldivar. “This program, I believe will not only provide uniformity to the security of tourists in the region, but will afford us a data system for tourist complaints and hopefully, when the legislative challenges are sorted out, will provide a legal framework where incidents involving tourists are dealt with in a more expeditious and acceptable manner." These statements by Hon. John Saldivar are an assurance to the Association that the prevalence of crime in our country will be a key priority in 2013 and beyond, for the betterment of all Belize's citizens and international visitors.

Flashbacks: Christmas at the peak of progress in San Pedro
Christmas comes in different colors and sizes and in San Pedro it is no exception. This flashback photo takes us back at least fifty years when San Pedro was at its peak of progress in the lobster exporting business. In a sense there was affluence in the community. A few still used a branch of a cypress tree for a Christmas tree but the more prosperous had artificial trees. And there were large toys to symbolize grandeur. Dolls were so large, that they were almost the actual size of a human baby. Dolls could walk, say “mama”, cry, drink a bottle or even wet their diapers. Quite likely Aida Ruth Nunez’s doll could do all of these and probably walked as fast as her little brother Luis. Indeed even the black and white photo takes us back to the 1960’s.

Note to Taxpayers in the San Pedro Area!
Recently I was listening to a conversation and heard that a businessman in San Pedro received an assessment from the Income Tax Dept and he did not receive any notice that he needed to present his records for viewing by a Tax Officer nor did anyone from that Department visited his store and requested to see his records. Yet when he visited the San Pedro Income Tax office to see the tax officer he was told that the assessment was done by someone in Belize City and that if he does not pay it by the end of the month he will be taken to court. The business man then agreed to sign an arrangement to pay a monthly fee because he did not want to be taken to court. After hearing this I was shocked because it was clear that due process and the principle of natural justice was not applied. To the best of my knowledge when someone from the Tax Dept. is about to assess a taxpayer a letter should be sent to them requesting their records. In some cases the Tax Officer can visit the business establishment and inform the taxpayer that a review of their records will be done. Common courtesy does not hurt the process. If the taxpayer fails to provide the required documentations/records within reasonable time a best judgment can be done. After the best judgment is done and the Taxpayer received the assessments he has 15 days to appeal stating the grounds or reason for not agreeing with the assessments. You cannot be taken to court immediately and if the taxpayer has his business records of sales he can prove that he is not making the assessed amount. There is no reason to be scared or bullied into signing an arrangement to pay if you think that you are being assessed unfairly. The taxpayer should have at least been told of his right to appeal by the Tax Officer. There should be no need to threaten a taxpayer with court action in order for them to sign an arrangement to pay off a tax debt. An arrangement to pay should be an option that the taxpayer chooses after he is satisfied that he has been assessed reasonably or it can be ordered by a court. Whilst such behavior by a Tax Officer is not criminal it is bordering unethical behavior and can be considered an abuse of power if the proper due process was not followed.

Christmas Benefit Fundraiser for Hector Duran Family

Misc Belizean Sources

Taste of Belize video
This past weekend the Belize Tourism Board held an event in San Ignacio, Cayo called “Taste of Belize”.

VIDEO: Lamanai Series Three- The Temples of Lamanai
Lamanai was occupied continuously for over 3,000 years and it's remoteness contributed to it's continuous occupation, well beyond most other Maya sites, until at least 1,650 AD. The vast majority of the site remained unexcavated until the mid-1970s.

Cayo Welcome Center Grand Opening
What a way to celebrate the grand opening of the new Cayo Welcome Center! During the day they had the Taste of Belize BBQ competition. At night, they had Panerrifix playing the steel drums, along with other live music, and a beer tent in front of the new Bamboo bar. The drinks were flowing.

Taste Of Belize at the SIRH
The San Ignacio Resort Hotel hosted the BTB's Taste of Belize on Saturday. Danny Chung got some beautiful pictures of the event. The winners are as follows: Marcia Nunez: Master Chef of the Year (Hamanasi) Sheridan Polanco: Cake Decorator of the Year (Hamanasi) Fermin Coc: Bartender of the Year (The Placencia) Nazim Juan: Grill Master of the Year (Maya Walk) "Congratulations to Belize Tourism Board on a fantastic Taste of Belize 2012. Here is a little Taste of images from San Ignacio Resort Hotel."

Taste of Belize BBQ in Cayo
They got some good pictures of the Taste of Belize BBQ competition in this article. Hey, that's Tre Roberson, from Barn and Grill - thought for sure he'd take first place. "Western Belize is famous, among other things, for some of the best BBQ anywhere in the world."

Xunantunich Closing for Two Weeks
NICH and the Institute of Archaeology have released a bulletin that Xunantunich will be closing from December 12th until the 26th. The reason for the closure is to organize the launch of an upcoming international music festival which will also promote Belize as a key tourism destination. It should be an internationally televised event. El Pilar, anyone?

Channel 7

Lawmen "Not Guilty" Of Landing Drug Plane
Two years and a few weeks after they were accused of landing an airplane with one of the biggest drug cargoes ever seen in Belize, tonight five lawmen and a civilian are clear of that charge and are at home - their first time out of jail since late 2010. They are Corporal Renel Grant, Corporal Nelson Middleton, Sergeant Lawrence Humes, Customs Boatman Harold Usher, Sergeant Jacinto Roches, and civilian Victor Logan. The incident is forever etched in Belize's history: In November of 2010, a twin Engine Beechcraft King Air 200 landed and offloaded thousands of pounds of compressed cocaine in the Bladden area of the Southern Highway. In the month-long trial before Justice Denis Hanomansingh, an extensive list of witnesses was called, and there was a team of 3 crown counsels prosecuting the case: Cecil Ramirez, Leroy Banner, and Kayshia Grant. After the crown closed their case, the attorneys for the defense, Simeon Sampson, Dickey Bradley and Kevin Arthurs chose to forego having their clients offer any defense. They all made no-case submissions before Justice Hanomansingh, who after considering the evidence for 3 days, directed the jury to acquit all 6 of the men on the basis of lack of evidence.

Gunmen Grabbed 60K From 'Griga Grocer
And while that case was going on at the courtroom in Dangriga, Yesterday inside the town, the owner of the popular Grigalizean Supermarket, was robbed of $60,000 in cash when she went to make a deposit at the bank. 7News spoke to Dangriga Police today and they told us about the information they have so far: Sgt. Wilfredo Ferrufino - OIC CIB, Dangriga "About 10 a.m. yesterday, Ms. Hong May Chen reported that at about 9:30, she was on her way to the bank to make a deposit, when she was accosted by a male person. She struggled with that individual, and apparently another individual came and subsequently relieved her a bag that she was carrying with the business deposit." Daniel Ortiz "Sir, do you know at this point how much money was in that bag?" Sgt. Wilfredo Ferrufino "I wouldn't want to disclose the exact amount, but it's a substantial amount of money from the sales of that business." Daniel Ortiz "Sir, in relation to this, has she given you any information as to any kind of identities, or any kind of leads in relation to these men?"

Accused Family-Killer On Suicide Watch
A week ago, 26 year-old Jared Ranguy was charged for killing his mother, Karen Skeen Vellos, his sister, Teena Skeen, and his step-father, Roberto Vellos Sr. When police found him in the house he told investigators that he wanted to take his own life too, but the gun jammed. And tonight his despondency continues; 7news has confirmed that Ranguy is on a special suicide watch inside the Kolbe Foundation Prison. We spoke the CEO of the Prison, Earl Jones, who told us that counselors who have spoken with Ranguy have concluded that his emotional state is such that there is a risk he may try to take his own life. As a result, the authorities at Kolbe have him locked up in a special holding cell where they are keeping a close eye on him, and he continues to receive counseling to try to cope with the shock of losing his entire family - and being accused of being responsible for it.

McAfee Turns Up In Guatemala With High Profile Lawyer
John McAfee is in Guatemala tonight - where it seems he's seeking asylum - though we aren't quite sure from what. VICE Magazine - with which he seems to have ironed out his differences - reports that McAfee has retained highly regarded Guatemalan lawyer and former Attorney General Telésforo Guerra. It's unclear how a Guatemalan attorney will help him iron out his legal difficulties in Belize - where Guatemalans cannot practice law - but Guerra took the job, and he and McAfee are pictured handshaking after a breakfast meeting. Interestingly, McAfee is with his 20 year old Belizean girlfriend Sam Vanegas - who claims to be Guerra's niece. McAfee told Guerra that he entered Guatemala illegally. VICE Magazine reports that McAfee will have a press conference in Guatemala City in the coming days. On his blog, McAfee reports that he will contact the US Embassy in Guatemala City and makes a special offer to Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow. He agrees to meet PM Barrow in a quote, "neutral country to discuss mutual issues." Unquote.

Bond Talks In Trouble: Creditor Committee Not Happy With Belize, GOB Unfazed
And while the McAfee's coverage is making major international headlines - the renegotiation of the Superbond is also making news. The Creditor Committee whose members hold more than 50% of the bond issued a release this afternoon saying they aren't happy with Belize's latest response. The release says the Committee, quote, "expressed its regret that the GOB dismissively rejected the Committee's three…proposals…" The release quotes committee co-chair AJ Mediratta as saying that with its latest counter-proposals, the government has only inched forward. The Committee urges Government to reconsider the proposals and warns that - for the kind of relief GOB wants, it would have to accept an IMF program. And so, with this rejection, talk turns to a default - since the agreed 60 day break from litigation has passed. Mediratta says quote, "Unfortunately it seems we may be missing the window for a timely resolution." The Committee has engaged the firm of Arnold & Porter to act as its legal counsel. The committee membership holds 338 million of the 544 million dollar Superbond. A government spokesperson today told us that GoB did not "inch" forward, as the release claims; in fact, various investment bank and analyst reports issued since last week said the proposals were a significant improvement on the August indicative scenarios. The representative says the creditor committee wants to have its cake and eat it too as it calls for fiscal consolidation and for higher growth at the same time.

What's The Status Of Belize’s Reef?
Like me, you probably grew up hearing and saying the mantra that Belize has the second largest uninterrupted barrier reef on earth. And where's the first largest? Well that would be the great barrier reef in Australia - the longest in the world. But, did you know that experts agree the Great Barrier reef is dying? That's right, it's the victim of climate change and pollution. And, as we all know, when that happens on one side of the world - the other can't be too far behind. So how is Belize's reef system doing? That's what we found out when its report card was presented today:.. Jules Vasquez reporting The Mesoamerican Reef system covers the reefs of Mexico, Belize and Honduras. And every two years, marine biologists go into the water with pen and paper - the waterproof version to document its health.

Zane Galvez And The Law, Part 10
There was a commotion outside the Supreme Court this morning after a man was allegedly beaten up by police officers and then taken away to the Queen Street police Station. Turns out it's the Zane Galvez - Yolanda Shakron's nephew - who's had a long history of violent encounters with police. In fact, that's why he was at court! To appear for a lawsuit he filed against the police department after the GSU officers broke his arm on George Street in the famous incident in August of 2011. But while out at court things got heated up - reportedly over a parking spot - and instead of attending his court case, Galvez was thrown in jail for allegedly assaulting a police officer. We caught up with his family this morning who were disturbed at the fact that their loved one was locked up in a holding cell and was allegedly refused medical attention. Jermyn Galvez, brother of Zane Galvez "They wake me a little bit after 9 o' clock and told me that I should go check on my brother because the police had chance him and police were beating him. I rush over at the courthouse with a worker who worked for my father and when I reach there everyone was telling me that Castillanos and another police officer chance him for nothing. I know Castillanos because he used to work as a security guard for us couple years ago. I went to him and ask him about my little brother and he started cursing me, he said, 'do not ask the officer nothing and don't ask anyone out here anything because nobody have to answer to you, you are nobody out here,' he started to tripped on me, so I just walk away from him. A lady called me and told me that they chance my brother, she says that she was there and that she saw everything. She told me that she will not shut up because she is tired of seeing people getting chance for nothing."

KHMH Gets Vein Viewer
Tonight the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital is proud to be the first institution in the country to acquire the latest technology in vascular imaging. It's called "The Vein Viewer" and it is donated by the Hope Presbyterian Church of Memphis Tennessee. The machine uses specialized technologies to compose an image of a patient's veins - then projects that image in real time onto patient's skin - providing the opportunity to see through skin. The handing over ceremony of the machine took place this morning at the KHMH Medical Imaging Unit and 7news got a firsthand look. Dr. Francis Gary Longsworth - CEO, KHMH "What has brought us here today was a chance meeting between these two gentlemen on an airline flight several months ago. The conversation as I understand it led to an offer of help for the medical services in Belize by Mr. Long and this later culminated in the donation of 5 vein viewers to the KHMH by the Hope Presbyterian Church of Memphis Tennessee." "Throughout this process Mr. Aikman maintains regular communication with Dr. Adrian Coye, our Director of Medical Services to ensure that the donation was transported, ship, cleared and delivered to the KHMH which occurred a few weeks ago. In all of this I can claim very little credit as my role was simply one of facilitation and support."

Local Leaders, Blue And Red, Hobnob In Placencia
This weekend, PUP and UDP Mayor's and Administrators were in Placencia - they weren't partying - they were at a workshop at Robert's Grove. The bi-partisan event was organized by the Social Investment Fund - and we found out that leaders from both sides of the political spectrum were learning from each other:.. Clifford King, Local Government Officer "Today we are hosting what we refer to as a best practice and a peer sharing workshop for municipal leaders on revenue enhancement and collection." "This workshop falls under a program that we are running right now through the Belize Municipal Development Project called the Revenue Enhancement and Support Program. The municipal leaders have taken the initiatives to improve on revenue collection that in turn will result in the development of the municipalities in Belize." Mayor Darrell Bradley "We can share best practices among each other and we could discuss what each of us do in terms of the various revenue components; trade license, liquor license, traffic, so that we could adapt what other municipalities do and increase our capacity and we could understand and explain to each other what are our best practices." "The idea is at the end of the conference we could come up with a list of recommendations, a list of practices that all of us can move to implement jointly."

Andy P, We Reminisce Over You...
It passed without notice, but Andy Palacio would have been 52 yesterday and we are reminded that in 2009, the city of Houston, Texas in the USA declared December second Andy Palacio day. As we close tonight we do so remembering him fondly.

Channel 5

4 cops not guilty of 2 ton drug plane shipment
The biggest drug trial, involving more than two tons of cocaine with a value of one hundred and sixty eight million dollars came to a close today in the Dangriga Supreme Court. Four police officers: Renel Grant, Lawrence Humes, Jacinto Roches, Mark Middleton, former Customs Officer, Harold Usher and Mango Creek resident, Victor Logan, were [...]

Bondholders rejects new G.O.B. offer and hires lawyers
Late this evening, Belize bondholders rejected a new offer from the Belize Debt Review Team on the restructuring its five hundred and fifty million dollar superbond. In this latest hurdle in the negotiations, the Bondholders say they have also hired lawyers since a sixty day reprieve on legal action has expired. Bondholders had agreed not [...]

Baby Harmony dies less than 24 hours after birth
The Northern Regional Hospital has been in the news for months now because a number of women and their newborns have experienced life-threatening complications after receiving treatment at the hospital. Just this Friday, the area representative for Orange Walk East, Doctor Marco Tulio Mendez, raised the matter in the House of Representatives, but did not [...]

Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez explains why newborn died
A post mortem examination conducted on the baby Harmony revealed that the baby died from a lack of oxygen to the body caused by the ingestion of fecal matter during the birthing process. Doctor Mendez explains the cause of death.   Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, Area Rep., Orange Walk East “According to the death certificate, [...]

Parents speak about death of infant
And while the Ministry of Health says that their preliminary investigations show there is no malpractice, the Medical Council has recommended that the attending doctor, a Nicaraguan national, should be placed on administrative leave. Doctor Mendez has gone further to ask for her removal from the Northern Regional.   Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, Area Representative [...]

Beaten twice by cops; this time at the courthouse
Zane Galvez is the brother of Chris Galvez, who was allegedly killed by police back in 2010. Zane headed to court this morning for a case he brought against the Gang Suppression Unit. But even before he could appear in Court, in the parking lot he was roughed up and beaten by police. This afternoon, [...]

Cop transferred from the island after arresting tourist
There is another story involving a police, but this time, the female corporal is being removed from the San Pedro Police Unit after a US tourist was charged and arrested in the island. P.C. Sharmane Young was reportedly cursed and manhandled by Liza Marie Mertz, a nurse from Syracuse who was vacationing in the island. [...]

Report Card out on Mesoamerican Reef Health
The 2012 Mesoamerican Reef Report Card was released by Healthy Reef Initiative. The findings of a study conducted along the coast of Belize and neighboring countries that comprise Mesoamerica show that the health of the eco-region is not in good shape and that fish stock and coral are at risk. News Five’s Duane Moody reports. [...]

Burglars take about $10,000 worth of Food and Beverage
In crime news; thieves are not only targeting homes for jewelry and people for cash. But before the Christmas holidays can even get started, burglars have stolen thousands of dollars in food and household items from a Belize City business. The Food and Beverage Company on New Road was targeted sometime between six p.m. on [...]

Sympathy for Honduran national in Court
Thirty-two year old Gloria Yadira Lambert Marcelino, a Honduran national who has been living in Belize since 2001, appeared in court today where she was arraigned for the offense of Failure to Comply with a Visitor’s Permit.  Allegations are that Marcelino entered the country on July tenth, 2001 via the Blue Creek Port as a [...]

Flu spreads at murder trial?
Twenty-one year-old Leon Linsford Gomez, accused of stabbing Salvador Martinez to death in 2010, had his day in court on Monday, but the murder trial was discontinued at the last minute.  Gomez, who allegedly inflicted multiple stabs wounds on Martinez during a high school football game at the M.C.C. Grounds, appeared before Justice Adolph Lucas [...]

Vein viewers, K.H.M.H. gets top notch equipment
Public healthcare has often trailed behind the advances that private healthcare facilities have obtained. But that’s beginning to change. Belize’s primary health care provider, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, happens to be the first medical facility in the country to acquire the latest technology in vascular imaging. It’s called the VeinViewer and it is manufactured [...]

John McAfee in Guatemala
John McAfee’s life on the run has so many updates; it contains the stuff that was made for a reality television show. And it seems that concept may soon be fact. He has teamed up with Vice, an online magazine, who has been following him for a week, making a video documentary of his life. [...]

December 2nd will forever be Houston’s Andy Palacio Day
Andy Palacio passed away on January nineteenth of 2007, but he is still very much remembered as the musical icon who was foremost in promoting the Garifuna music and putting Belize on the world stage. At the time of his death, Andy was at his peak; his Watina CD had been released and the young [...]

How to make Christmas Black Cake
Christmas is upon us and in most kitchens across Belize the baking of the black cake is part of the season’s traditions. Today we revisit a feature on the famous black cake which is a Belizean must have at Christmas time. A well known Pastry Chef whips up the black fruit cake with her personal [...]


Belize Delegation Returns From Regional Forum in El Salvador
The Belize delegation to the regional forum on youths against violence which was held last week in El Salvador has returned home. Representatives of all the Central American countries came, together to discuss common issues impacting the sub-region, chief among them: crime and vi...

Belize Biggest Drug Case Falls Apart
Belize’s biggest drug case involving the landing of an aircraft on the Southern Highway has ended with the defendants freed of the major charges. The judge’s decision was handed down this morning in the southern session of the Supreme Court in Dangriga town. Cor...

McAfee Escapes From Belize to Guatemala
The bizarre saga of John McAfee today took another twist as multiple international media outlets reported that the sixty seven year old businessman is now seeking asylum in Guatemala. McAfee is wanted for questioning by Belize police as they investigate the murder of fifty two ye...

Belize and Bondholders Fail To Reach Agreement
Belize’s efforts to restructure the country’s foreign debt, also known as the super bond today hit another bump in the road when the bondholders rejected the new offer put forward by the Belize government. Reuters News Agency is reporting that the bondholders have als...


John McAfee Is In Guatemala, He Dares The PM To Meet Him Face To Face
We all know that the relationship shared between antivirus Guru John McAfee and the Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow, is going through turbulent waters. So much so that the P.M has accused McAfee as being bonkers in other words off the deep end. McAfee has stated on record that the United Democratic Party sought election funding from him and when it was denied he became a target of the present government. The Prime Minister denies that allegation. Tonight as the internet pioneer continues in hiding, allegedly somewhere in Guatemala City, he calls out on the Prime Minister of Belize to meet with him face to face at a neutral location. The blog was posted at about 2.30pm today and states quote “To the Prime Minister of Belize I make the following offer: I will agree to meet you in a neutral country to discuss our mutual issues. It is entirely possible that you have little or no knowledge of the level of corruption being propagated throughout every branch of your government. I will turn over to you thousands of hours of video and audio as proof, providing that we meet as gentlemen and are mutually convinced of our honesty.” Sounds interesting right? But it’s left to be seen if the Prime Minster will be curious enough about those videos and audios to meet with McAfee. In his blog McAfee also sent out a message to Belizean authorities. He states and we quote “To the Belizean Police: I will answer any questions that you may have over the phone. If I am indeed merely wanted for questioning, this should suffice.”

16 Year Old Minor Accuses Corozal Resident Of Forcible Abduction
On December 3rd 2012, Corozal Police received a report from a 16 year old female minor who recounted that on September 1st, 2012 at approximately 6:30pm; she boarded a taxi from the Corozal Free Zone to the Northern border. Upon reaching the customs check point, the taxi driver surprisingly did not stop; instead he increased speed preventing the minor from exiting the vehicle. Despite the minor’s pleads the driver did not stop and continued driving to the junction of Chan Chen in the Corozal District where he stopped at a feeder road. Seeing an opportunity to escape, the minor attempted to exit the vehicle; however, she was held back by the driver who threatened to rape and kill her. Somehow the minor managed to escape and was assisted by the driver of an oncoming vehicle. During an I.D Parade the minor identified 36 year old Crisantos Suarez of Chan Chen Village as her attacker. As a result Suarez was charged for forcible abduction and when he appeared before the Corozal Magistrates Court he was offered and met bail of $8,000.00. His case was adjourned for January 31st, 2013.

New Born Baby Dies, Parents Accuse The NRH Of Malpractice
Over the past few months there have been constant reports of alleged malpractice at the Northern Regional Hospital where women have experienced complications after surgery and babies have suffered brain damage among other complications during delivery. So far at least five women from the Orange Walk District have come forward accusing the NRH of malpractice and at least two of them have sought legal action against the community hospital. According to the CEO in the Ministry of Health, Peter Allen, the allegations are being investigated but so far findings don’t point to negligence on the part of the hospital. Tonight the Ministry has one more case to investigate, this time involving the death of new born baby girl. On Thursday November 29th, 22 year old Reina Gomez was admitted at the Northern Regional Hospital with labor pains. By 7:00pm, Gomez had dilated to 3 centimeters. During the course of the night her labor pains intensified yet she was told by nurses that she was still not ready to give birth. Luis Burgos- Father of deceased “Around midnight she said she was having more severe pain because the baby at that time was already up or passed the time so something had to be done but I guess they went with the normal process thinking that it was a normal process that she was going through and they thought that she was dehydrated so they put some drips on her and so that didn’t help. She said that she had the strong pain and she asked the nurse if C-section was possible and the nurse told her that it was a normal process and that what she was feeling they were confusing the pain that they thought that she was nervous and they put it as if she was dehydrated and so they put drips on her seeing if that would work and at that time she knew something was wrong and the baby was moving and something was wrong the baby was indicating that she needed to come out.” Gomez gave birth to her daughter Harmony around 8:00 Friday morning. The baby was not shown to her and at not time was she informed that the child was born with complications. Luis Burgos found out about the complications his daughter was suffering, around ten in the morning.

2012/2013 Crop Season Off To A Good Start
Today marks the completion of the 1st week of the 2012/2013 crop season and all indications are that the crop is off to a good start. Here is an update on the first week of the crop season. Elmer Cornejo - Reporting The aim of both the producer and the miller is to ensure a delivery of 1.1 million tons of cane to the factory producing 110 to 114 thousand tons of sugar at a TCTS of 10 percent. This year instead of milling 6,000 tons of cane per day, the factory plans to mill 7,000 tons an increase of 1,000 tons further per day. And today, marks the completion of the first week of the crop season 2012/2013. Alfredo Ortega, Chairman of the BSCFA, Committee of Management gave us a rundown of what the first days of delivery and production looked like. Alfredo Ortega- Chair BSCFA “Hasta en estos momentos tenemos resumen de ayer porque hoy cierra la semana pero cierra a media noche así es de que sale el reporte semanal pero hasta mañana Miércoles va a demostrar la semana completo, sin embargo tenemos información de que se a entregado hasta ayer adonde la compañía Cane Growing Project a entregado 2,708 toneladas, Orange Walk a entregado 22,440, Corozal a entregado 19,060, Research a entregado 1,165 que da un total de 45,075 toneladas hasta ayer, bueno que cerro esta mañana a las diez de la mañana en día que es 24 horas de entrega de diez de la mañana del día antes y cierra diez de la mañana del día de hoy.” Apparently all seems to be transitioning in excellent motion from the cane field to the factory to the production of the sugar at the mill.

Catholic Faithful Honour La Virgen De Guadalupe
Many Catholics worldwide are starting to celebrate the novenas of the Virgin of Guadalupe today. The Virgin of Guadalupe has her origin in the Mexican territory when she appeared to faithful Catholic Juan Diego on December 9th of 1534 on the Tepeyac Hill. The novenas are part of nine day series held until the final celebration on December 12th, when it is believed that the Virgin of Guadalupe made her final appearance on the cloak of Juan Diego. On the days leading up to December 12th, hundreds of thousands of catholic faithful around the world including Belize decorate their homes, light candles and celebrate the rosary in honor of la Guadalupana. In Mexico the celebration of La Guadalupana, is one of the most important holidays in Mexico. It is as much a religious holiday as it is a patriotic holiday because La Virgen De Guadalupe is uniquely Mexican and is one of the country’s most important icons.

Preparing For The 2013 Hurricane Season
The hurricane season culminated on the 30th of November, and while Belize did come directly under threat, the Belize Red Cross Organization has begun preparing for next year’s hurricane season, in the case of an unfortunate disaster. The Belize Red Cross Organization has developed a program which focuses on improving rural and urban communities, especially in the area of disaster preparedness. The aim of the Integrated Participatory Assessment Program, financed by the American Red Cross Organization, is to work hand in hand with the rural and urban communities of the north by assessing their specific needs. Ian Glory- Field Coordinator Belize Red Cross Organization “This Project is a program, the Integrated Participatory Assessment Program which is aimed to develop the needs of the community that we are going to work in order to find out what their needs are and from there develop projects that will enhance their response to disaster awareness.” In order to achieve its objective the organization is working along with NEMO, town councils and numerous ministries. Ian Glory- Field Coordinator Belize Red Cross Organization “We are in full contact and working along with for example NEMO, we are working with the ministry of education, ministry of rural development, the ministry of human development, and all other stakeholders including the Mayor and the Town Board and all people that play a major role in the communities, so working along with them we will incorporate and create better communication between the communities and the other government entities, we will be able to take out results that I believe will benefit all stakeholders.” What differentiates the Integrated Participatory Assessment Program from others is that it will cater to the specific proposals of the community. Ian Glory- Field Coordinator Belize Red Cross Organization “Yes, we have communities both in Corozal and in Orange Walk Town and this is the first of its kind it is a pilot project in which besides looking at the communities or villages in both districts we are also going to work along in the urban area of the two towns, so in Corozal town we will be doing Corozal Town itself plus the village of Consejo and the village of San Victor an in Orange Walk we have the San Antonio and the Santa Cruz Rio Hondo communities along with Orange Walk itself.” The aim is to complete the assessment of a community in one week. The program is expected to be ready by February 2013, which ensures communities that they will be well prepared in the case of a hurricane disaster. The Organization hopes to later expand the program to the remainder of the country.

Tis The Season To Be Jolly And Safe
Tis the season to be jolly! And for many of us who have waited patiently for Christmas for the past 11 months, the good news is that December is finally here. The use of decorative, festive lights during the Christmas season, is a long standing tradition in many Christian cultures, so today we took the time out to inform the public on the safety measures and precautions they should take heed of over the holidays. Today we spoke to Chief Sub Fire Station Officer for the Orange Walk District, Kenneth Mortis, who gave out tips on how to keep safe over the holidays. Kenneth Mortis- Fire Chief “We know that the candle lighting is a big thing in some of the homes that don’t have electricity so we want to stress that don’t leave the candles unattended, try to use it with supervision and once you don’t needed no more just put out the candle. Candles where open windows where breeze and curtains are blowing is not a match for us and that is a big no, no for us. When it comes to the light and decorations, we have here the basic extension cord which isn’t really certified for over excessive use of lighting and so forth, they serve the purpose but it has a flaw meaning that if it is overload it short circuits and what you spend year and couple hundred dollars invested in you will lose in a couple minute. Our best recommendation is to avoid this and go to something of what we call a more heavy duty type; it is design for the load and also design for the amount of excessive amount of lights that you may want to use in your homes. The last thing the fire department wants to do is to response to a fire in the time of celebration and festivities because of an overload extension cord caused by this.”


Belize’s delegates return from El Salvador forum against violence
The Belize delegation to the regional forum on youths against violence which was held in El Salvador has returned home. Representatives of all the Central American countries came, together to discuss common issues impacting the sub-region, chief among them: crime and violence. Two of the participants, Denzel Wade and Andrea Enriquez from Youth Against Violence Belize, told Love News that the experience in El Salvador was an eye opener for them, and they are now anxious to work on developing local strategies that could assist in the reduction of crime and violence on the home front. A total of twenty young persons from all over Belize attended the forum last week. Wade and Enriquez are thankful to the National Committee for Families and Children and Youth for the Future for assisting the group in traveling to El Salvador for the meeting.

Continued concerns over the presence of armored catfish in Belize
Last week, the Fisheries department announced they have launched a campaign to capture and eliminate the armored cat fish from fresh water in Belize. According to the fisheries department, they became aware the fish was in Belize after three samples were caught hear Rio Bravo by some local fishermen of Orange Walk district. But it seems the fish has been present in a Belize fresh water body, the New River, for more than a decade. At least one has been caught by some fishermen of Trial Farm. We spoke with Usebio Urbina Sr. who said the catch happened behind Loskot Lumber Yard some thirteen years ago. Urbina and his son have embalmed the fish and are exhibiting the prized fish to locals. They told us they have plans of donating it to the Banquitas House of Culture. He also told us they have not informed the Fisheries department so they can confirm if the embalmed fish is really an armored catch fish.

John McAfee surfaces on CNN
The search continues for San Pedro businessman John McAfee as Belize police investigate the murder of American national Gregory Faull. McAfee has been on the run and has eluded police on a bizarre chase. Over the weekend, McAfee spoke with the Atlanta-based Cable News Network. Over the weekend there were widespread reports online that McAfee had been taken into custody near the Mexican border; but a check with the police press officer Raphael Martinez confirmed that no such apprehension has taken place. Martinez told Love News via text, quote: nothing has changed, end of quote.

Belmopan Taxi drivers not happy
Some taxi men from the city of Belmopan have expressed dissatisfaction with the decision taken by the City Council of removing certain taxi men from the stop near the bus terminal. One of the taxi men, Uberto Chacon, spoke with us this morning and told us that a month ago they were informed by the council that only 21 taxi men will be allowed to continue operating from the said location. Chacon tells us that in all three taxi unions will be affected, Best Choice, Sunrise, and City Light. Chacon told us more. According to Chacon, the council has told them the taxi men will be removed by the 8th of the month. We will try get comments from the Belmopan City Council for our subsequent news report.

Minister Louis Farrakhan coming to Belize
The Leader of the Nation of Islam in the United States Louis Farrakhan will be visiting Belize this month. Farrakhan is a profound motivational and inspirational speaker and the person who inspired the Million Man March which in 1975 brought together over a million black men in the United States to look at ways they could improve life for black Americans. About five years after, the Million Family March was held. Chairman of the Welcome Committee for Farrakhan in Belize, Nuri Mohammed says that Farrakhan has been saying that while the system is to blame for many things it is we who are responsible for correcting what the system has done. Mohammed told Love News that Farrakhan does not only reach out to the Muslim community. Farrakhan’s visit to Belize comes as part of his now ongoing Caribbean Tour. This will mark Farrakhan’s third visit to Belize, since he came to the country in 1975 and a second time in 1986. Mohammed told us what the impact of his visits has been. Several activities will be held during Farrakhan’s visit including a Youth Rally on Friday and a speech session at Birds Isle on Saturday. Mohammed says that this is not a profit making event and is free to all, that is, if there is enough space. He calls on everybody to attend the events. Mohammed says most organizations like the Radisson, Princess and Birds Isle cooperated in giving discounts for the activities. The events are expected to be broadcast nationally and live streaming is also expected to take place. Mohammed says the committee hopes that the visit of Farrakhan pays off in the sense that it be of great benefit to all people at this time when we are struggling to keep a focus and keep hope alive.

FECTAB burns fire on Chukka again; but Chukka fights back
The Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize, FECTAB, has lashed out at Chukka Caribbean Adventures and its Country Representative, Valerie Woods. Last Friday, FECTAB fired off a press release, accusing Woods of hurting the same people she once defended. The accusations are heavy and include things like Chukka Caribbean being able to exclude a vast amount of local tour operators with the help of relevant tourism organizations. According to FECTAB, Woods is attempting to control overnight stays in our country. The accusations follow an incident that happened at Lost World Canopy, a tour destination operated by Tom Wilson and located several miles off the Coastal Road. Love News spoke today with Tom Greenwood and Yhonny Rosado of FECTAB, who explained why they say what they say. Yhonny Rosado, Member, FECTAB But Chukka Belize’s Country Representative, Valerie Woods, at a press briefing this afternoon, totally denies the allegations and said that everything that was on the compound was the property of Chukka Belize. Tom Greenwood, President, FECTAB Rosado and Greenwood are asking the agencies that govern tourism operations in Belize to either get Chukka to operate within the standards or get out. Woods again rejected the allegations that it is not operating within the realm of the law. Woods says that Chukka will continue to operate in Belize with the same level of competency that it has been since its presence in the country.

Robbery in Dangriga Town
An armed robbery was reported this morning in Dangriga town. Our Stann Creek correspondent Harry Arzu has the details in the following report.

Murder in St. Matthew’s village, Cayo district
A man was shot and killed last night in St. Matthew’s village in the Cayo district. Correspondent Fem Cruz reports.


Cops accused in drug plane landing acquitted
Back in November of 2010 Police made the biggest drug seizure ever recorded in Belize. Authorities had been alerted...

Guatemalan National serving time for Immigration offences
a Guatemalan National, 46 year-old Maria Hernandez Nunez, is at Kolbe Foundation after she was charged with immigra...

KHMH recieves VeinViewer
Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital is on the cutting edge of ADVANCED tertiary care. The KHMH is the first hospital in ...

Zane Galvez is allegedly beaten up by police officers
Yolanda Schakron’s nephew is allegedly beaten up by police officers. Zane Galvez son of Martin Galvez, brother of d...

Chukka Manager answers her critics
FECTAB is on the war path as tensions rise between the organization and Chukka Tours (Belize). The foreign owned To...

CNN interviews John McAfee
John McAfee has been in hiding since November 12th after Police named him as one of the persons wanted for question...

Controversy over closure of Xunantunich Maya Site
The natives of Succotz Village are restless because of the planned closure of the Xunantunich Maya Site until after...

Belize represented in Mexico for President's inauguration
Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Gaspar Vega led the Belize delegation representing the Government of Belize at the offic...

New Pedestrian Crossings in Belize City should promote safety
The free and often fast flow of traffic makes for a potentially dangerous stretch of road along the Philip Goldson ...

The case of Caleb Orosco versus the Government of Belize resumes
The case of Caleb Orosco versus the Government of Belize has received much media publicity will be having a prelimi...

Road Traffic Collision on Rio Grande Avenue in Belmopan A small fender bender took place on Rio Grande Avenue shortly after 9am this morning. The incident involved a grey ...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Ocean Academy’s Annual Christmas Extravaganza
Come out and support Ocean Academy’s Annual Christmas Extravaganza!! It all starts on Saturday, December 8th 2012 at 11 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with games. There will be lots of entertainment for the whole family. Santa is arriving at 6:00 p.m. so bring out your kids to take pictures with him. The variety show and Kids Dance Contest all starts at 7:00 p.m. Entrance fee: Kids – $1.00 / Adults – $2.00 You will also get a ticket to win one of our great prizes!! Tickets for Special Sponsorhip Banquet during the variety show is available at Healing Touch Day Spa – Ms Eva McFarlane, Ms Lacy Harrison and Mrs. Heidi Curry. Support Ocean Academy! Support Education on Caye Caulker!!


Tourism Minister or police? Female cop’s superiors did not know of her sudden transfer, without a replacement! A female police corporal in charge of the Tourist Police Unit San Pedro Branch has been transferred back to Belize City as of Saturday, December 15, after she charged a female American tourist in court, allegedly against the wishes of Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia. Woman Corporal Sharmane Young, a veteran tourist police officer of 15 years, told Amandala today that she is angry, because she believes that she is being punished because she did her job – to wit, she charged the American woman, Lisa Marie Merz, 43, a nurse from Syracuse, New York, with using indecent words, using insulting words, boisterous behavior, assaulting a uniformed police officer and resisting lawful police arrest. Police said that they were on patrol along the beachfront in San Pedro around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 24, when they saw and searched a man who they believe was selling drugs to the tourists. One of the tourists, a woman, began to curse at the drugs vendor loudly, saying that the drugs were fake. She had demanded to witness the searching of the vendor, and when the police declined her request, she allegedly began to shout profanities at them. Corporal Young, who came to see what was happening, asked the tourist to discontinue her behavior, but the woman reportedly continued cursing at them on Barrier Reef Drive. Police claimed that after she was warned, Merz swore at the corporal again and that’s when Young told her that she was under arrest. It is claimed by police that when they arrested Merz, she pushed Corporal Young to the ground with both of her hands, and began to utter more obscenities, after which, according to police, she resisted arrest by walking away. Police who responded to the incident restrained Merz and took her into custody. While in custody, police say, Merz continued to utter profanities at Young.

Esmond Rudolph Wright, 43, of Lauren Burgess Avenue in the Belama Phase 3 area of the city, was knocked down and killed while riding his bicycle on the Philip Goldson Highway around 10:45 p.m. on Friday, November 30. He suffered massive head and body injuries and was declared dead on the spot. The incident occurred in front of the Traveller’s Bar and Lounge near Mile 3 1/2. Police who responded to the scene reported that on their arrival, they saw Wright, who also went by the nickname “Shorty,” lying face down on the right side of the highway with severe head injuries, and his bicycle, which was badly damaged, was beside him. Police said that their initial investigations revealed that Amrick Escobar, 22, of Lords Bank, Ladyville, was driving a blue-grey Avenger car with L/P BC – C 404087 on the Philip Goldson Highway from the direction of Haulover Bridge to Belize City, and upon arriving in front of Traveller’s Bar, Escobar knocked down Wright. Escobar was arrested and charged with causing death through careless conduct, driving without due care and attention, manslaughter by negligence and driving with over the prescribed alcohol limit.

A man who survived a shotgun blast to his legs in April did not survive the second attempt on his life. Roy Lee Young 32, a construction worker and resident of St. Matthews Village, was shot in his head by a man who sneaked up on him while he was sitting under a shed at a bar in the village. Young was rushed to the Belmopan Hospital, but he was pronounced dead on arrival. The incident occurred around 9:30 p.m. at the El Madrigal Bar in St. Matthews Village, Mile 38 on the George Price Highway. Witnesses said that Young was sitting under the shed when his killer sneaked up behind him through a patch of red bell flowers and shot him in the back of the head, execution style, and disappeared into the surrounding area. The other customers who were in the shed ran away when the gunman approached and shot Young. Witnesses told police that the killer did not come from the road, because he would have been seen. A neighbor who heard the gunshot went to the shed and saw Young, still in the sitting position, his head on the table.

Henkis told the court he is no longer afraid; he has made peace with God On Wednesday, November 21, Lee Henkis, 43, was found guilty of an unnatural act, and today, Justice Troadio Gonzalez sentenced him to eight years behind bars. Sentencing was to have occurred on Wednesday, November 28; however, no one appeared in court to speak on Henkis’ behalf, and the judge adjourned the matter to today. Henkis was convicted of an incident which occurred in July of 2009, in which a then 9-year-old-boy reported that Henkis had had anal sex with him on two separate occasions. According to the child’s testimony, Henkis had promised him a cell phone, and when he arrived at Henkis’ house that day, he was told that the phone was inside Henkis’ room. When the boy entered the room, Henkis followed him inside, undressed him then undressed himself. After doing so, he proceeded to have anal sex with the child. Today, only one person appeared to speak on Henkis’ behalf – one Gayle Banner. She told the court that she has known Henkis almost her entire life, as they grew up together. She went on to say that she will always remember the good of him, and that he was good with his hands and loved to cook. She described what Henkis was convicted of as a mistake.

There were rumours that Mexican gunmen would have attempted to free him Zurisaday Villasenior Mendez, 22, a Mexican, who was on remand, was taken to the Corozal Magistrate’s Court on Friday, November 30, where he was further remanded to prison until Friday, December 7. Police say that during a raid on Tuesday, October 30, 2012, in his room at the Las Vegas Hotel at the northern border, he was busted with a total of 7 guns, 12 magazines and 144 bullets. Police charged Mendez with 1 count of keeping a prohibited firearm, 2 counts of keeping prohibited ammunition, 3 counts of keeping an unlicensed firearm, 4 counts of keeping unlicensed ammunition, 5 counts of drug trafficking, and 6 counts of possession of controlled drugs. His attorney, Arthur Saldivar, waived his client’s rights for disclosure, and opted to go to trial a week later, on Friday, December 7. Mendez, who lives in Quintana Roo, Mexico, was first taken to the Corozal Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, October 31, and was remanded to prison until Friday, November 30. Police said that they had received information that gunmen from Mexico would attempt to rescue Mendez from custody, and he was escorted to court under heavy police security. Police ADU and the GSU provided the security, and the entire area around the Corozal Magistrate Court was under guard.

Amrick Escobar, 20, a resident of Lords Bank village, was today taken before Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith, where four charges were read to him – manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, driving without due care and attention, and driving a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit. Police say that at 10:45 p.m. on Friday, November 30, Escobar was driving his blue Dodge Avenger car bearing license plate #BZC40487. He was coming from the direction of Chetumal Street toward the Ventura round-about when he knocked down Esmond Rudolph Wright, 43, a resident of Belama Phase 3. In a report, police said that Wright was riding his green mountain bike when he was knocked down, and died on the spot as a result of massive head and body injuries he sustained. When they arrived on the scene, police observed Wright on the ground, lying motionless; he was transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at midnight.

As predicted earlier in the season, the Premier League of Belize Opening Season 2012-2013 ended its regular competition this past weekend with tight races in both zones, where a number of teams had “must win” games, and the points total was not enough to determine one spot in each zone. In the south, where both Placencia Assassins and Verdes FC ended up tied with 29 points each, the Assassins clinched the playoff spot by virtue of a 7-goal advantage in the goal difference column. (See standings below.) Police United had sealed the top spot with their 30 points to top the South Zone. But in the North, where Belmopan Bandits were clear front runners with 31 points, the situation was even tighter between Belize Defense Force (BDF) and F.C. Belize, who were not only tied with 28 points, but also tied with a goal difference of 15, after F.C. Belize had loaded up FC San Felipe Barcelona, 8-nil, in San Felipe yesterday. This one had to be decided according to another yardstick (see “PLB announces playoff berths” elsewhere in this issue.) On Saturday night at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium, visiting Verdes FC pulled out the 3-2 win (goal scorers not yet available) over Paradise/Freedom Fighters. Meanwhile, in the “game of the week” at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, BDF had to come from behind in the waning minutes to secure a 1-1 draw against Belmopan Bandits, and garner the 1 point that was needed to salvage a spot in the playoffs. Jerome “Jarro” James put the Bandits in front at the 44th minute, but defender Victor Nunez tied it up for BDF at the 86th.

When a man or a woman decides to become an activist, this means that that person is going against the grain, so to speak, and the chances are that the activist will experience personal pain, danger, fear, self-doubt, sometimes incarceration, even death. It has been said that most twentieth-century revolutions, while featuring the national masses, were led by men from the middle or educated class. Examples of such leaders would include Mao Tse-tung in China, Lenin and Trotsky in Russia, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, Mahatma Gandhi in India, Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Fidel Castro in Cuba, and so on. The activist, then, has not in his personal life usually felt as much pain as the people he seeks to liberate have been suffering, and so when he becomes deeply embroiled in the struggle, the activist will sometimes experience periods of weakness in which he will wonder why he chose such a rough road to travel, it being the case that he previously would have had personal options. Perhaps more negative than self-doubt or second guessing one’s self, is bitterness towards those of one’s contemporaries who did not decide to take up the cross. If you have made an activist choice, and someone else has not, that is that person’s right and privilege. You had your free will, and that was your decision, in the fullness of your adulthood. It should be noted that there is, on the other side of the coin, substantial satisfaction, often happiness, in activism, because one is asserting one’s self, one is facing up to reality, and one is taking on what one sees as one’s responsibility, one’s cause, one’s raison d’etre. In the UBAD years of activism, we were not facing bullets or bombs. We were threatened with jail a few times, but, more constant, as time went on, was the economic marginalization, and some social ostracism. Activism has to be financed in different ways; essentially, the activists have to eat, wear clothes, and rest their head in abodes. In an urban setting, all these things require money. Many of us had family responsibilities, apart from our personal needs.

Amandala chats with U-15 Gold Medal team coach, Santi Valencia Jamaican reggay legend Jimmy Cliff once sang, “the harder the battle, you see, it’s the sweeter the victory.” And victory for our Belizean male U-15 football team and their inspired head coach Santi Valencia was sweet indeed this past Sunday in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the very city that witnessed the Gold Medal achievement by our Belizean females in softball almost four decades ago. The YWAM-Belize U-15 squad departed on American Airlines on Wednesday last, November 21, and returned home to a grand welcome at the Philip Goldson International Airport on Tuesday, November 27, sporting their Gold Medals and the championship cup for the tournament that involved teams from Dominican Republic, Haiti, Belize and Mexico. But it was a hard fought victory indeed. We spoke with Santi this morning after he had visited Krem WUB along with his wife, Lilian, three players from the team – his sons Mario and Eddie along with Dmitri Fabro, and FFB National Development Director Renan Couoh, who oversaw the training of the team in Belize. However, Santi Valencia is the head coach that travelled with the team to Santo Domingo and steered them through to victory. Santi had words of thanks and appreciation to many people, including sponsors and especially the parents, whose support was vital in the whole process. But we took the opportunity to focus our discussion on the game, and get a feel of the experience our team endured, and specifically through the eyes of the coach, on their way to making history. Amandala: The training and the commitment you put into the team… Like you said, you are a pastor? Santi: Yes, sir. I’m a pastor, I’m a director, an administrator…

Perhaps lost in the usual roundup on the television news of Friday’s sitting of the House of Representatives was that the country will finally have an Ombudsman again, after almost a year without one. We don’t know enough to comment with authority about Cabinet’s pick for the post, 45-year-old Lionel Arzu. We can’t say whether he is the right choice. We pray he is. But we are happy that the country finally has an Ombudsman. There are some who thought that we should have taken all the time we needed to get the right person – someone with the requisite “intellect, integrity, and motivation.” But, we daresay, a year was too long. At the start of the current administration’s first term in 2008, they also went months and months without appointing an Ombudsman – it was as if they didn’t think it was important. They eventually appointed Cynthia Pitts, a retired public officer and attorney-at-law. Ms. Pitts appeared, to us, to have been an able Ombudsman. It would appear, though, that government didn’t think so, because at the end of last year when her three-year contract had expired, they used a technicality to “hambug” her. Our understanding is that because she had not given the required three-month notice that she wanted her contract renewed, by the time she finally gave official indication she wanted to keep the job, the government refused to re-appoint her. And once again, the days turned into weeks, and the weeks into months – and we were without an Ombudsman for damn near a year. This is not a sexy post – but if a person is committed and up to the challenge, he/she can make a difference. An effective Ombudsman is there for those who need help the most in navigating the official delinquency and abuse that exist in a lot of government departments. Those in authority tend to abuse their authority. That’s how it’s been from time immemorial. The Ombudsman is there for those who have been wronged by those in authority. He/she is there to give protection and assistance to anyone in the public who has been discriminated against by officialdom. The truth is, in the case of Pitts, the government had a right to move on, and install the person they really wanted in the post. And, at the same time, the public had a right to have the Office of the Ombudsman filled in the shortest possible time.



Tuesday Nite Trivia
They don’t have moonshine, but they do have tequila… local rum… Belikin beer… and…. Tuesday Nite Trivia. Come on out and test your knowledge against fellow beach bar buddies and a few island trivia buffs at Coco Locos weekly Trivia – the only trivia game north of the bridge. Start time is 7:00pm sharp, there is a small buy in, teams can be up to 4 people and there will be prizes coming soon.

We’re not doomed: Why the world won’t end this month
When Gabrielle Vail tells people she studies ancient Mayan writings known as codices, their first question is nearly always the same: “Is the world really going to end on Dec. 21?” The apocalyptic prophecy based on the end of a Mayan era has become fodder for countless Internet theories and inspired the Hollywood blockbuster “2012.” Believers of the “2012 phenomenon” depict ancient Mayan astronomers as sages privy to knowledge long since lost to modern science. They forecast cataclysmic events like the sun exploding or Earth succumbing to a black hole. Well, not quite, according to Vail, a New College of Florida anthropology professor who has studied Mayan culture for 23 years. In her lecture “The Destruction and Re-Creation of the World in Sacred Mayan Texts” at the South Florida Museum on Wednesday, Vail will address how the doomsday forecast arose. Her conclusion: People’s biggest worry on Dec. 22 is likely to be last-minute Christmas shopping. Rumors of Earth’s demise stem from misinterpretations of Mayan codices and possibly from one textbook that suggested Mayans may have viewed the end of a calendar era as a world-ending event, Vail said. It’s a notion that is largely dismissed by most scholars who adhere to the view that Dec. 21 marks merely the end of the 13th baktun, a 144,000-day cycle roughly equivalent to 394 years. The cycle dates back to more than 3000 B.C. “The Mayans have a very long view of time that goes way past this completion,” Vail said. But in the Internet age, truth rarely troubles a good rumor.

International Sources

The increasingly bizarre tale of John McAfee
Prostitutes, gun-toting bodyguards, experimental drugs, police raids, poisoned dogs, murder, elaborate disguises, cloak-and-dagger interviews: welcome to the incredible world of John McAfee. In a plotline worthy of a Hollywood thriller, the American anti-virus software pioneer went on the run from his Belize island home hours after his Florida expat neighbor Gregory Faull was murdered early on Nov 11. With 20-year-old girlfriend Sam in tow, McAfee has evaded capture for more than three weeks. He claimed on Monday that the fugitive pair have secured safe passage out of the country, although no one has a clue where they are. McAfee's ramblings are laid bare for the public at, the blog he set up to counter the lies he says the media and the Belize government have perpetuated in the wake of his disappearance. On Saturday, a posting cited an unconfirmed report that the 67-year-old McAfee had been captured at the border of Belize and Mexico. But, as anyone accustomed with the blog would know, nothing should be taken at face value. On Monday morning, McAfee posted an update apologising for the misdirection, saying he had conjured it up to mislead the Belizean authorities, who have declared him a "person of interest" in the case. "I am currently safe and in the company of two intrepid journalist(s) from Vice Magazine, and, of course, Sam. We are not in Belize, but not quite out of the woods yet," his post said. "My 'double', carrying on a North Korean passport under my name, was in fact detained in Mexico for pre-planned misbehavior, but due to indifference on the part of authorities was evicted from the jail and was unable to serve his intended purpose in our exit plan," it added. What is fiction? What is reality? In the McAfee story, the truth is an enigma. Did he actually commit the crime? If he did, why leave such an elaborate e-trail? If he didn't, why go on the run at all?

Software tycoon John McAfee appears in public for first time after weeks on the run to protest innocence over murder - and celebrates escape from Belize with kiss for his 20-year-old fiancee
Anti-virus software magnate goes public in Guatemala, where he has hired a lawyer in bid for asylum there. McAfee has been on the run since the shooting of fellow American Gregory Viant Faull in Belize. McAfee claims he 'has body double in Mexico with North Korean passport'. After weeks on the run, anti-virus software founder John McAfee has gone public in Guatemala, where he plans to ask for asylum because he fears persecution in Belize. McAfee made two public appearances on Tuesday in Guatemala City, where he fielded questions from reporters and proclaimed his innocence in the November murder of a neighbor. McAfee spoke to The Associated Press in a restaurant near a high-end hotel where he is staying in Guatemala City after sneaking out of neighboring Belize. There, the 67-year-old millionaire was pictured kissing his 20-year-old girlfriend Sam Vanegas. He is also in the company of high-powered attorney Telésforo Guerra, a former Guatemalan attorney general and an uncle of Vanegas. Also present at the hotel were Rocco Castoro, the editor-in-chief of New York's Vice magazine, and photographer/videographer Robert King, who snapped a few candid photos of McAfee as he dined with Guerra. Castoro wrote: '[McAfee] retained the services of Mr. Guerra. He has agreed to help John untangle the web of confusion and - according to John - corruption that has taken over his life in Belize since April.' Castoro and King have been traveling with McAfee for the last five days, and are filming a documentary that will accompany a magazine article about McAfee's time on the run. McAfee later appeared with Guerra during a press conference in front of the Supreme Court in Guatemala City. Police in Belize have called McAfee a person of interest in the November slaying of a fellow American ex-pat, Gregory Viant Faull. McAfee says he is being persecuted by the Belizean government, and he has some dirt about official corruption in the country where he lived in a compound guarded by aggressive dogs and armed guards. 'I need a safe place where I can actually speak out,' McAfee said. 'Now that I'm here I can speak freely. I can speak openly.'

Fugitive software pioneer to seek asylum in Guatemala
GUATEMALA CITY — Software company founder John McAfee has surfaced in public for the first time in weeks, saying Tuesday that he plans to ask for asylum in Guatemala because he fears persecution in Belize. McAfee spoke to The Associated Press in a restaurant near a high-end hotel where he is staying in Guatemala City after sneaking out of neighboring Belize. Police in Belize have called him a person of interest in the November slaying of a fellow American ex-pat but say there is no warrant for his arrest. Since there are no restrictions on his travels, it's unclear why he would need any special status in order to stay in Guatemala. McAfee says he is being persecuted by the Belizean government, and he has sensitive information about official corruption in the country where he lived in a compound guarded by aggressive dogs and armed guards. He has hired a well-known Guatemalan lawyer to assist him. "I need a safe place where I can actually speak out," McAfee said. "Now that I'm here I can speak freely. I can speak openly." Belizean police have denied they are persecuting McAfee or are motivated by corruption, saying they have simply been investigating a crime about which McAfee may have information. Prime minister Dean Barrow has expressed doubts about McAfee's mental state, saying: "I don't want to be unkind to the gentleman, but I believe he is extremely paranoid, even bonkers." McAfee told the Associated Press that he will petition the Guatemalan government to allow him to stay. McAfee said he fears he will be killed if he turns himself in for questioning in Belize. "Belize does not have a good track record of providing safety when they ask to question you," he said. "I felt much more secure crossing the border into a country that had laws that were backed by the justice system."

John McAfee still on the run
John McAfee continued to tease and deceive on Monday. The Silicon Valley guru-turned-fugitive claimed in a blog post that he manipulated his cellphone so a photo of him taken during his flight from police made it appear the picture was shot in Guatemala, just south of Belize where McAfee has been sought for three weeks as a "person of interest" in the death of his neighbor. It was all part of a flurry of McAfee-related news, tweets and blogs Monday monitoring the 67-year-old, anti-virus software creator who claims to have used disguises to hide in plain sight from authorities. In his first blog post of the day, McAfee referred to a pair of "intrepid journalists" from Vice magazine who were traveling with him and had posted a photo of McAfee under the headline, "We Are With John McAfee Right Now, Suckers." The Twitter-verse then exploded with posts from people claiming that GPS tracking data showed the iPhone photo had been taken in Livingston, Guatemala, and that Vice had unwittingly outed McAfee's location. Almost instantly, others began tweeting that the GPS data was probably bogus, and likely just one more of McAfee's sometimes preposterous, often elaborate ruses to avoid detection by authorities in Belize while keeping the media spotlight shining on him. At the least, the exercise over the GPS location of Vice's photo led McAfee to abandon his short-lived relationship with his "intrepid journalists." "I, for my own safety, manipulated the xif data on the image taken from my cellphone, and created a fake emrgency (sic) so that the urgency of movement led, as I knew it would, to the hasty posting on their website. I felt that our tenuous situation demanded action, and that was the action that I chose. I do not believe that Vice will remain with me further." It has been a typically strange few days for McAfee. Early Monday, McAfee's "official spokesperson" Brian Fitzgerald blogged that an anonymous voice mail said that McAfee had been picked up while crossing the Mexico border. McAfee then blogged Monday that Mexican authorities on Friday had, in fact, temporarily detained his "double" who was carrying a North Korean passport with McAfee's name. At the same time, CNN continued to air an on-camera interview that McAfee granted Friday from a "safe house on a tropical island paradise."

Creditor Group Rejects Belize Debt Proposal
Investors holding more than half of Belize's outstanding bonds rejected a government proposal to restructure the country's debt Tuesday. Belize and its creditors have been negotiating a debt restructuring ever since the Central American country defaulted in September, a month after it failed to make a payment on its $548.3 million debt. In its first major public concession to creditors, Belize released two restructuring proposals Nov. 29 that asked creditors to forgive 33% of what they are owed, or allow the country to delay debt payments for 10 years. The initial debt restructuring proposal Belize released in August asked bondholders to forgive 45% of what they are owed, or allow the country to delay any debt payments for 15 years. "While these improved on the scenarios presented by [Belize] in August, which asked for near unprecedented levels of debt relief, the Committee believes they are not yet close to acceptable burden sharing," the creditor committee's statement said. On Nov. 29, Belize rejected a counterproposal from the creditors' committee that included three scenarios, all of which included temporarily reducing the bond's current coupon rate while extending the life of the bond, and eventually returning to the 8.5% coupon. Analysts say that Belize's recent economic improvement could jeopardize its case for such a large debt reduction. In November, the International Monetary Fund said it expects Belize's economy to grow 3.5% in 2012, compared to 2.5% in 2011. However, Belize and its creditors seem to disagree on their expectations for the country's economic growth. "Our analysis suggests the potential for brighter prospects for Belize than the Government's forecasts," financial adviser to the committee Mike Gerrard said in the statement.

Belize debtholders reject revised 'superbond' offer
Belize bondholders on Tuesday rejected a new offer from the country's government on restructuring its $550 million "superbond" and said they had hired lawyers after the expiry of a reprieve on legal action. Belize, which says it cannot afford to meet rising interest payments on the bond, revised its offer last week after shocking investors with its original suggestion that they take a haircut of up to 45 percent. But a committee set up to represent bondholders said the new proposals still fell short and they had hired law firm Arnold & Porter to act as their legal counsel. Bondholders had agreed not to pursue legal action for 60 days after Belize paid half of the $23.5 million interest payment due in August. But the grace period has now expired. "Unfortunately, it seems we may be missing the window for a timely resolution," said AJ Mediratta, of Greylock Capital Management, co-chair of the bondholders committee. "The committee will be spending the next few weeks evaluating its options, but remains strongly committed to a good-faith collaborative process and will make itself available to the (government of Belize) as required." The revised offer included a lower haircut of 33 percent and an initial interest rate of 4.5 percent that would step up to 6.75 percent after five years - more than the 3.5 percent interest Belize originally proposed. Another option involved no haircut but lower interest rates over 40 years, from 50 years originally, and a grace period of 10 years on principal repayments, from 15 years originally.

Eat Too Much: Drink Too Much: Want Too Much (How To Roll in Belize)
Snaps from the “Taste of Belize” in San Ignacio, Belize, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2012. If the music or the spirit moves you, just get down and get funky and nobody will even give you a second look in Belize. Except maybe obsessive people watchers like yours truly perhaps. It’s a hard thing for a Texan who grew up on all that great Texas BBQ, but Western Belize is famous, among other things, for some of the best BBQ anywhere in the world.

Tres Leches Cake
Tres Leches cake is of course made with 3 milks. The cake is at first baked as you would a normal cake, then breathing holes are poked into the cake. Afterward 3 different sweet milks are poured onto the cake until it is totally saturated. A light frosting can be added topped by a Maraschino cherry.

The second wave of industrial destruction agains the MAYANS in BELIZE...first taking TIMBER AND LAND...and now OIL is moving in for destruction

December 4, 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

SPHS celebrates Drug Awareness Week
Hundreds of students of the San Pedro High School gathered at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium on Monday December 3rd for the opening ceremonies for 2012’s SPHS Red Ribbon – Drug Awareness Week. The week is being held throughout the week of December 3rd through December 7, 2012, under the theme “Drugs are like a whirlpool, d...

Elvi’s Kitchen donates picnic tables to two primary schools via SPTC
Picnic tables donated from Elvi's Kitchen through the San Pedro Town Council were delivered to New Horizon SDA and San Pedro RC School on Wednesday.

Ambergris Today

World AIDS Day 2012 Activities Held in San Pedro
The San Pedro AIDS Commission had a weekend full of activities in commemoration of World AIDS Day 2012. The non-profit group is made up of solely volunteers from all walks of life dedicated to bringing HIV/AIDS education and awareness to our community. On Friday, November 30, 2012, members of the San Pedro AIDS Commission visited the students of San Pedro High School as part of their educational campaign. Students were provided with the red ribbon and given a brief lecture on the history of the red ribbon, as well as factual and important information on HIV/AIDS.

SITCA Meets in Belize to Strengthen Tourism in Region
Belize was host to one of its most highly technical international meetings of the year, that of the Central American Integration System (SICA). On Friday, November 30, 2012, SITCA hosted a press briefing with local media at the Villas at Banyan Bay in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. The significance of this assembly of the Central American countries representatives, Government and private sector, was to review the progress of tourism initiatives and to structure a way forward as a unified regional body. This one-day high level discussion acted as a platform for invested bodies, such as CATA, the Central American Travel Agency, which is governed by the Private Sector, will engage in dialogue about its future as well as the impact of past restructuring efforts by the SICA countries. Other tabled discussions were made by the Central American Tourism Integration System (SITCA) as well as the layout “2013 Action Plan,” for SICA and the update on the 2013 CATAM Tradeshow. SITCA is the governing body for the seven (7) Central American Countries, each sending representatives. These representatives include: The Minister of Tourism and Culture for Belize, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr.; Minister of Tourism for Nicaragua, Mario Salinas Pasos; Minister of Panama Tourism, Salomon Shamah; Vice Minister of Honduras Tourism, Synthia Solomon; Vice Minister of El Salvador Tourism, Walter Aleman; Vice Minister of Costa Rica Tourism, Juan Carlos Borbon; and the Director of Tourism of Guatemala, Pedro Pablo Duchez.

Why did San Pedro need Township?
Now what kind of services did the villagers expect from the village council and its alcalde? It was not a long list of duties like we have today. The village council had to provide upkeep of the public latrines located in the lagoon by rebuilding the short pier and latrines whenever they deteriorated. Additionally the village council maintained the main wooden pier which was used by fishermen, coconut farmers, and the unloading of supplies, groceries and hardware coming from Belize City. What about street repairs? Nah. What about collection of garbage? Nope. How about upkeep of the park? Yeah. And the cleaning of the cemetery? Yes. And the cleaning of the beach? No. To repair the main pier and the six public latrines located over the lagoon the village council requested money or the materials from the area representative when it did not have the funds. Cleaning of the streets on a regular basis as were the cemetery and beach were the responsibility of the people in the neighborhood. Whenever the garbage dump sites were overfull, the village chairman would call a ‘fajina’ (workaton) and all the men would show up to rake, chop and burn the debris. Workatons were also called to provide maintenance to the central park, chop the weeds and grass of La Plaza de San Pedro, and clean the beach.

Pic of the Week: Gone Fishing!
The weekend was a bit wet but that was no reason for fishing aficionados to stay home sulking. We know that the lover of fishing will head out to sea no matter what the weather conditions are. It’s a popular pastime, hobby and profession for many on the island and there are plenty of ‘Gone Fishing’ days on San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Misc Belizean Sources

October 2012 Consumer Price Index for Belize
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for October 2012 stood at 102.1, up 0.8% from the corresponding month in 2011. This change was driven primarily by increases in the indices for “Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages” (1.0%), “Health” (6.8%), “Recreation and Culture” (5.0%), and “Miscellaneous Goods and Services” (4.1%). Among the goods and services contributing to these increases were: hospital accommodation, surgery, nightclub entertainment, and health and motor vehicle insurance. The average national inflation rate as of the end of October 2012 was 1.4%, a slight decrease from the 1.5% recorded in the previous month. As in September, the increase in the food index was driven by higher prices of meat products (4.1%). The average price of a pound of whole chicken, for example, rose by 9.2% from $2.51 to $2.74. The “Fish and Seafood” index rose by 5.7% mainly as a result of higher shrimp prices. In contrast, vegetables prices declined by an average of 3.5%, with cabbage, sweet peppers and tomatoes recording the most significant decreases. The cost of transportation remained virtually unchanged, as higher prices for fuels and lubricants were completely offset by lower international airfares. In the case of fuel, the average price of premium gasoline jumped by 20.0% from $10.84 to $13.01 per gallon while that of diesel increased by 12.0% from $9.97 to $11.17 per gallon.

Galen's Western District Scholarships
Galen University has announced 15 new scholarships for students that graduate from Cayo schools. The scholarships honor 3 Belizeans from Cayo: Dr. Jaime Awe, Don. Hector Silva, and Mr. Joseph Andrews. Thanks, Galen! "To be eligible, applicants must reside or attend school in, or have graduated from a high school or junior college in the Western Cayo District and must be accepted into a Galen University undergraduate program. Scholarship recipients are expected to enroll full time for a maximum of two years or 70 credit hours. The purpose of the scholarship program is to offer students the opportunity to achieve their dreams and their goals. Galen continues to be committed to excellence in education to students and to adhering to the principles of sustainable development. Additional districts scholarships will be launched in January 2013 to further this commitment and to celebrate outstanding Belizean citizens."

SHC's Tarde Cultural
Sacred Heart College had their annual La Tarde Cultural.

Women's Self Defense Class at UB
Another round of women's self defense classes were given in Cayo this weekend. Belmopan City Online was at the University of Belize to cover the event. Thanks, Renee Wentz, for all your time and effort to keep the ladies safe. "Don't MESS with these ladies!! (in fact don't mess with ANY lady). A Great self-defence class was held this Satuday free of charge at UB. The girls and women who participated learned great tips on how to conduct themselves to avoid becoming victims, what to do if you're being followed, and how to fight back during an actual attack. Everyone left feeling empowered and a little safer. To find out about more upcoming sessions, 'like' the 'S.H.E. Thing...' page:

Tres Leches

What’s new on Caye Caulker ..
Just in time for the 2012 – 2013 Xmas and New Year high season we have two new eateries that have opened on Caye Caulker in the last week. First and foremost we are delighted to say that the island hot spot, the Palapa Bar has been handed over to two enormously popular locals – Miss Estella and Keith. Miss Stella is renowned for her skill in the kitchen will be cooking the mouth watering edibles that she is now famous for – her pastries, particularly her lemon pie is something that once you eat, you just cannot forget!! It is heartwarming that a true local like Miss Stella, who has always been the silent hero in the kitchen, now deserves to take centre stage in her own place on the island. And the Palapa itself, now of course Pat and Stel’s is looking brighter and more attractive than ever – with good lick of paint and some additional refurbishment – the bar with arguably the best view on the island, now is quite the place to hang out – that, along with the undeniably good food that will come out of the kitchen, sounds like somewhere you should visit!!! And secondly – the new Friend’s restaurant. This is located and what we still refer to as the old Herbal Tribe (RIP Giovanni!!) – some things never die!! These guys, originally and successfully from in San Pedro, re-located to Caye Caulker for a change. They have taken time in their renovations and the place looks totally different and inviting. Their food is from falafel, to roasted chicken, humus and even kebabs. With their Arabic flavors offer something different on the island and I can say from first hand experience the food is good.

Channel 7

A Murder in St. Matthews
We report tonight on the first murder of 2012 in the western village of Saint Matthews. 31 year-old Roylee Young was killed last night at around 9:30 at a bar where he was socializing. His murder was done execution-style, where the gunman ambushed him from behind. 7News learned today that he had many enemies, one of whom may have targeted him because they suspect that he was an informant for police. Here's what we found out today: Daniel Ortiz reporting The family of 31 old Roylee Young to try up figure who carried out his execution style killing last night. He spent the last few minutes at El Pedrigal Shop and bar in the heart of Saint Matthews. His mother explained off-camera about the little information they know at this point. Voice Of: Mother of Deceased "I was at home, I had just went in bed when my niece came and tell me that she understand that my son has been shot. I told her no and she told me that she doesn't know if it's true but that she was going back to find out and return back. I told her okay. She went and returns back quickly and says that she saw him sitting down in the chair where he was shot. She says that he was shot in the back of his head." "I could not believe it because he came home a little while ago - he came around 7pm last night and he left a bag at the girl that he lived with and he told her that he was coming back right now." He never did make it back home that night.

Drunk Driver Killed Esmond
And in the city, a well-known local character was knocked down and killed, police say most likely by a drunk driver. Esmond White was knocked down and killed on the Northern Highway between Traveler's Bar and Friendship restaurant. It's a stretch of road that's always heavily trafficked, and on Friday nights - add in the drunk drivers and hotheads, and it's barely controlled chaos. And it is in that chaos that the diminutive Esmond White lost his life. He's well known in the area as what you might call a "run-man" - but on Friday night, he ran into a drunk driver. Monica Bodden reports:.. Monica Bodden reporting The fatal traffic accident happened here in front of Travellers One Barrel Bar on Friday night just before 11. 44 year old Esmond Wright was knocked down from off his green mountain bike- By a blue Avenger car which was travelling in the direction towards Belize City. He received severe head and body injuries and died on the spot. Cecil Tillett - Brother of Decease "I got the news in the morning. The police found me and they told me about it."

Former Chukka Belize Partner Accuses Company of Vandalism
This afternoon, police investigators went to a tourist park known as Big Hill at mile 9 on the Coastal Road. The owner, Tom Wilson is claiming that his property was vandalized. But, it's not some random act of lawlessness - he's accusing his former partners, Chukka Tours of vandalizing the property they once shared. That was until both sides agreed to terminate the contract recently - and Chukka undertook , in writing, to remove everything they had put in, right down to the toilet fixtures. Wilson told police in a complaint that they went too far, beyond what was agreed. But tonight Chukka's country manager is defending her company's actions; she says they only took out what they put in. Here's the interview she gave the media today:.. Valerie Woods, Country Manager - CHUKKA Belize "We did not vandalize. The fact of the matter here guys is very simple - it's a landlord and tenant situation and the landlord had nothing on the property when the tenant came. The tenant put pretty much everything on that property including the very road that one drives on to utilize the property - hundreds of thousands of dollars alone for the road. We removed all items that were ours and this was stated clearly. Were doors removed? Yes. Were toilets and urinals removed? Yes - all those that would have resulted of breakage of tiles which we had agreed to. Were sheets of zincs removed? yes because those are ours and we could use them at the other locations where we do business as well. We can recycle the use of those."

FECTAB On Chukka Bz: "I Told You So... "
And the reason they have those arrangements is because they used to be business partners. In fact, it's Tom and Yvette Wilson who first brought Chukka to Belize as minority shareholders in their company Bakkabush Tours. If that name sounds familiar, it should. In 2010, because of that Chukka partnership, Bakkabush was the principal target of FECTAB. And targets they were, with the Wilson's even receiving death threats and suffering damage to property. Since then, the partnership has dissolved, Bakkabush's operations have been absorbed into Chukka Belize, and, Chukka has arranged to purchase the Wilson's shareholdings. All that background is important because tonight it comes right back to FECTAB. Though they bashed Wilson when he was in business with Chukka in 2010, tonight, they are coming to his rescue - if only to illustrate what they've been saying all along - that Chukka has no friends in Belize. The FECTAB threesome came to our studio this morning and here's how they explained the turn of events and their shifting alliance:.. Yhony Rosado - "Jules, I've been noticing CHUKKA from the very first moment of having my own enemies - even Tom Wilson who we are defending today - he was once upon a time my worst enemy. He almost came on record to say that I have something with him personally. If it is true that CHUKKA had break more than what they were supposed to breaking at Mr. Tom Wilson place - it is the same truth we are bringing out today is the same thing that will happen at Jaguar Paw because remember they dint buy anything - they only lease and rent. If they get mad with NICH or government they will do the same thing."

Chukka Bz Boss Unfazed By Fectab
And so while FECTAB is saying "I told you so…" and pal-ing up to Tom Wilson, Chukka's country manager isn't impressed. She says it's all an arrangement of convenience which she won't entertain:.. Valerie Woods, Country Manager - CHUKKA Belize "Ladies and gentlemen, I simply will not dignify the ranting of FECTAB because they have a personal vendetta against those who own CHUKKA and obviously I am the face of CHUKKA Belize and so they transcended that to myself." "I will not simply go away because they don't like me and I will not go away because they don't like CHUKKA. We are not doing anything wrong. We continue to employ Belizeans, we continue to do so." Jules Vasquez "How to you view the whole thing in so far as the fact that FECTAB whose original mandate is to demonize Wilson, BAKKABUSH Tours and CHUKKA who were partners is now an advocate for Tom Wilson against CHUKKA?" Valerie Woods "I don't know whose terms is this "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."" Jules Vasquez "Do you see how they handled Tom Wilson's property - then the extension is made - what wouldn't they do to any of us or to anyone else. This is the brutish way that CHUKKA operates, that's what your opponents are saying - this illustrates it. How do you respond to that?"

Another Bogus Birth Certificate
46 year-old Guatemalan National Maria Hernandez Nunez is in prison tonight after she was charged with immigration offences because she impersonated a Belizean to apply for a social security card. Nunez, who claims to have been living in Belize for 17 years, went to the Social Security Board on last week Friday to try to apply for a social security card under the name of Juanita Campos. The problem is that one of the employees of SSB knew the real Juanita Campos, and as a result, Immigration authorities were called in, who detained Nunez. They realized that she was in possession of Campos' birth certificate, and as a result, she was charged with using a document she was not entitled to use. She was arraigned today before Magistrate Adolph Lucas, where she pleaded guilty to the charge. She was also deemed to be a prohibited immigration, and as a result, she was fined $3,000 dollars which she had to pay forthwith, or spend 2 years in prison in default.

Special Branch Finds Gun, Weed
The Special Branch is making the news again tonight for some high value seizures they made this weekend. Foremost among them is a 20 gauge pump action shotgun along with ONE live cartridge. Based on information, this was found on an abandoned lot in Maskall Village on Saturday. No was in the area and the shotgun and cartridge were classed as "FOUND PROPERTY". Back in the city, on Friday afternoon, the Special Branch also found 109 grammes, about four ounces of marijuana stashed in the bumper of a car in Pink's Alley. On Saturday afternoon, using Special Branch information, Police searched an abandoned lot in the vicinity of Linda Vista area, where they found a black plastic bag with 102 grams of cannabis. In other police news, On Friday night, a family dispute turned into gunplay after a windshield was broken. At 11:15, 27 year old mechanic Brandon James, was at his Raceocurse street home when he heard a bang and saw that someone had smashed the windshield on a 1995 BMW that he was repairing.

XUNANTUNICH: The Concert Event
On Friday, we told you about the plan to close Xunantunich until after Christmas. This is so that a giant stage and amenities can be built in the main plaza to accommodate a major international concert. And we're not talking a few acts flown in from Kingston, according to UNOFFICIAL reports, organizers are hoping to book major American rock stars such as Neil Young and Sarah Mclachlan The concert will be held on December 21st. to coincide with the end of the Mayan Calendar and will be transmitted to a global audience. It will also be shown on big screen at four venues in Belize - and there are also plans to stream it on YOUTUBE. But the two week closure from December 12th to 26th doesn't sit well with the villagers form the nearby Succotz. Many of them make a living off selling their wares in Succotz and say they haven't been consulted. Director of the Institute of Archaeology, Dr. JaIme Awe says he did hold a meeting in the village on Friday night - but only 20 villagers and no village leaders showed up.

Why Farrakhan Still Matters
Last week, we told you about the visit of Nation of Islam Leader Minister Louis Farrakhan who arrives in Belize on Thursday December sixth for a 4 day tour. We've been only able to give you a broad outline of his schedule while here in Belize, today, the main organizer of the event, Nuri Muhammad, spoke to us on the details. Farrakhan arrives on Thursday afternoon at 2:00 - after which he will have a press conference, and then go to meet Prime Minister Dean Barrow at his Belize City Office. That night, Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington will host him at a formal reception. On Saturday, he begins to make his public appearances starting on the KREM WUB morning talk show followed by a number of addresses. Muhammed explained: Nuri Muhammed - Farrakhan Trip Organizer "Then he moves later on that day to the mosque, the Muslim place of prayer on Central American Boulevard where he will address the Muslim community. Later that afternoon at about 2pm he will be at the King's Room at the Princess Hotel where there is an expected large crowd of youth organized by the Department of Youth Services." "The following morning he will go to central prison in Hattieville manage by the Kolbe Foundation where he will speak to the entire inmate population and then his last talk that same Saturday night will be his return to Bird's Isle - the third time that he is going to Bird's Isle which he is looking forward to that because he has fun memories of his first time at Bird's Isle 37 years ago."

McAfee's Psychiatric Circus Continues
Gregory Faull was killed three weeks ago - and his murder joins about 90 other Belizean homicides in 2012 for which no arrest has been made. The primary person of interest to police, John McAfee remains on the run, a fugitive of his own design, and he continues to make a rather dramatic production out of it. He's set up a website where he breathlessly blogs about his various imagined intrigues, not-so-near-misses with law enforcement, and other fugitive fantasies. This weekend - as things were beginning to drag - McAfee livened it up with his first on-camera interview. He granted it to CNN where reporter Martin Savidge wasn't quite sure what to think after leasing with the manic McAfee. Savidge didn't state his location, but the area where he was reporting from looked a lot like San Pedro - which would suggest that McAfee's hiding in plain sight.

Channel 5

Roy Lee Young executed in St. Matthews Village
An execution-style murder has shocked the village of St Mathews on the George Price Highway. Roy Lee Young had a survived a previous attempt on his life but on Sunday night, he was fatally shot in the head as he sat on the verandah of a community shop, socializing with friends. About an hour before [...]

Esmond ‘Shorty’ Wright knocked down and killed
Another man lost his life at the start of the weekend in Belize City. Esmond Wright, who is well known as Shorty and a fixture at Travelers Bar was knocked down as he crossed the road to...

Farrakhan on his way to Belize
Minister Louis Farrakhan, Head of the Nation of Islam, is expected to draw a large crowd when he arrives in Belize this Thursday. On his third visit to Belize, as part of the Caribbean 2012 Tour, Farrakhan...

FECTAB alleges Chukka engaged in property destruction
It’s not the first time that the Federation of Cruise Tourism Association of Belize (FECTAB) has been in dispute with Chukka, the Jamaican owned tour operator who controls a big chunk of the local tourism industry. FECTAB...

McAfee briefly comes out of hiding
John McAfee has brought more publicity to Belize than any individual has in recent years. The founder of the antivirus company that bears his name allegedly lost most of his hundred million U.S. dollar fortune during a...

Faking it, but immigration offense has real fine
An attempt at identity theft was foiled at the Social Security Board’s Belize City office on Friday. Forty-six year old Guatemalan national, Maria Francisca Hernandez, was caught applying for a social security card using a birth certificate...

Another faker, Monica Miguel was never kidnapped by a Dread
Another woman appeared before Magistrate Adolph Lucas today for being dishonest; not with the Social Security Board, but with the police. Last Thursday, twenty-two year old Monica Miguel visited the Queen Street Police Station and filed a...

Marijuana in the motor vehicle
The Police Special Branch was conducting operations over the weekend. At around three-thirty on Friday afternoon, the officers searched an area in Pink’s Alley where they found a black plastic bag containing a hundred and nine grams...

Enrique Pena Nieto, Mexico’s new president
The new government of Mexico was installed over the weekend. The PRI’s Enrique Pena Nieto took over the five year term presidency from Felipe Calderon of the PAN which was in government for twelve years. Pena Nieto...

Have you seen Scott? He ran from home
There are regular reports from the police about teens and children who go missing. The incidents don’t regularly make the evening news because within a day, the youths return home. But in this case Elvira Thompson of...

Youths to present anti-violence plan to Central American governments
Twenty youths headed for San Salvador on November twenty-eighth to participate in an anti-violence forum at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. One hundred and forty youths represented seven countries in the First Central American Youth Against Violence Forum. ...

Please donate! Toy Drive for Faber’s Road and Pinks Alley kids
Tis the season to be jolly and some enterprising residents of Faber’s Road and Pinks Alley hope to make the wishes of the neighborhood kids come true. The trio comprised of Edmond Staine, Ada Toro and Brian...

Weekend sports roundup with James Adderly
Good evening I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday. The final regular season schedule in the P.B.L. football competition staged over the weekend found at least three ball clubs mounting a last ditch effort to make...


Chinese Business Owner Robbed On Her Way to the Bank
Over sixty thousand dollars in cash was stolen in an armed hold-up this morning in Dangriga Town. Correspondent Harry Arzu reports. “A Chinese woman was robbed today at about ten o’clock this morning. The incident occurred in this municipality on ...

Police News
Police in Orange Walk town are investigating a burglary. Fifty eight year old Maria Campos reported to police that sometime between seven o’clock on Friday night and six o’clock last night someone broke into the upper flat of her house. Campos says that a number of el...

Belizean American To Represent Belize at UN Pageant
Belizean-American Artesha Welch has been chosen to represent Belize n the upcoming Miss Tourism United Nations Pageant. The international event will be held on Saturday night in Kingston, Jamaica. According to a release published on Sunday, Welch, whose parents are from Dangriga ...

Prohibited Immigrant Caught Trying to Acquire Belizean Social Security Card
Forty-six year old Guatemalan national Maria Nunez who tried to get a social security card with a Belizean birth certificate in the name of Juanita Campos, was fined a total of $3,000.00 after she pled guilty to using a document she is not entitled to use and being a prohibited immigra...

Drunk Driver Knocks Down Resident
Twenty year old Amrick Escobar, an unemployed of Lord’s Bank Road who allegedly knocked down and killed 44-year old Desmond Wright, was charged with manslaughter by negligence and three other offences when he appeared in court. The other charges were for driving motor vehicle...


Doctor Marco Tulio Mendez Demands Answers From Pablo Marin
At the House of Representatives on Friday eight bills were introduced including Money Laundering and Terrorism Prevention Bill, the Domestic Banks and Financial Institution Bill, The Crime Control and Criminal Justice Bill, the Income Tax (Avoidance of Double Taxation) (Caricom) Amendment Bill, a bill against trafficking in persons and a commercial sexual exploitation of children bill. Of course it would not have been a normal day inside the House of Representatives if there were no heated discussions. And the first signal went off when the Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca, chastised the Prime Minister of Belize as it pertains to the Super Bond negotiations. The second spark went off when Orange Walk East Area Representative Honorable Doctor Marco Tulio Mendez, questioned Minister of Health Honorable Pablo Marin on the numerous allegations of malpractice made against the NRH by women who gave birth at the hospital. Of note is that before Friday Minister Marin had not spoken on the issue. Doctor Marco Tulio Mendez- Orange Walk East Area Representative "Now after hearing the stories of this patient - of these suffering mothers, when you see them depress, devastated, in grief, that loneliness that they are going through - it really make you wonder. It makes you wonder what the hell went wrong. Now Mr. Speaker, there are many patients. I just want to briefly give you some of them. We have Ms. Magdalena Chable, 31 years old. She reported that she had a rapture bladder and a child with severe asphyxia. If you may allow me Mr. Speaker, I just want to show - this is an image of that baby. We always say that photos are worth more than a thousand words - this cat scan on this baby has suffered brain damage with severe - I would say more than a million neurons, million brain cells that have died. This child won't be able to speak, walk, and learn. This is not the only patient; we have Ms. Coh, a 17 year old patient, just a teenager. Her baby has severe asphyxia - they reach on a timely hour at the hospital. They did their pre-natal care, yet that baby has severe asphyxia, severe brain damage - the same. That baby will have disability for the rest of their life."

House Broken Into More Than $6,000 In Items Stolen
Orange Walk Police are tonight investigating a burglary that has left one woman from the Orange Walk District out of more than $6,000 in stolen items after the upper flat of her two storey concrete house was broken into. The incident played out between 7:00pm on the 30th of November and 6:00pm on the 2nd of December when a thief or thieves gained access to the residence of 58 year old Maria Campos, Belizean domestic of Belize Corozal Road Orange Walk Town, by prying open the back door located on the east side of the building. Stolen from the residence was one Phillip brand Television valued at $2,000.00bcy, one black stereo valued at $3,000.00bcy, one blender valued at $185.00bcy and assortment of jewelries valued at $1,500.00bcy. All stolen items are valued at a total of $6,885.00bcy. Police are investigating.

Teacher From Orange Walk Robbed In Belize City
With the high criminal rate in Belize City one often thinks twice before making a trip to the old capital, and with good reason. Tonight a 35 year old teacher from Orange Walk Town is recuperating from a frightful ordeal after she was robbed at gun point while walking on Dolphin Street heading towards Cemetery Road in Belize City. The victim reported to police that as she was heading towards her destination, she was approached by male individual of Creole decent riding a beach cruiser. The individual pulled out a silver and black handgun, pointed it at the victim and demanded that she hand over her belongings. Fearing for her life the teacher did as she was told and handed over her cellular phone and her purse containing bank cards and other personal items valued at a total of $75.00. The individual then made good his escape by riding towards Gibnut Street. Police are investigating.

McAfee Gives Interview To CNN
It is now day 22 of the John MacAfee ongoing trivia with Belize’s law enforcement officers and today there are some new details into this saga. Over the weekend, a post on MacAfee’s personal blog suggested that he had been captured by Belizean authorities while crossing the Mexican border. However, the report was disregarded by authorities here in Belize. Earlier today the anti-virus pioneer updated the world as he once again posted on his web blog. “I am currently safe and in the company of two intrepid journalists from Vice Magazine, and, of course, Sam. We are not in Belize, but not quite out of the woods yet.” wrote McAfee. He further goes on to say that his body double who was carrying a North Korean passport under his name was detained in Mexico but released shortly after, and is now safely out of Mexico. MacAfee claims to have fled Belize because of suspicions that Sam was in danger of being captured, Sam being the young woman he has been hiding out with. He also posted that he will be returning to Belize, after he has secured Sam, because quote “my fight is in Belize, and I can do little in exile” end of quote. In the first on camera interview since he went on the run, McAfee told CNN reporter Martin Savidge that the Government of Belize is out to get him. The interview, which was conducted at an undisclosed location in Belize, was aired on CNN on Sunday.

Celebrating Disability Week
This week is being celebrated as Disability Week under the theme “Removing Barriers to create an inclusiveness and accessible society for all. From the 2nd to the 8th of December the various organizations, which work with persons with special needs, highlight their everyday issues and everyday triumphs. Today the National Resource Centre for Inclusive Education, formerly known as the Special Education Unit, kicked off Disability Week in Corozal. But during the event there was no room for sympathy or special treatment since participants proved that when it comes to ability, disability is not a barrier. Elmer Cornejo - Reporting Way too often children have always encountered factors that limit them from enjoying a complete inclusiveness in the process of their education. Such factors include all those that place children at a disadvantage such as, physical disabilities, learning deficiencies, effects of HIV and Aids on families and children, illness, social and cultural differences and any form of discrimination. However, Belize has constantly tried to aim for inclusion or inclusive education for all children. That is why the National Resource Centre for Inclusive Education officially gave opening to Disability Week today at the Corozal Central Park. During the program children with disabilities were the main performers confirming that disability is not a barrier to ability.

Work At International Bridge Soon To Commence
Certainly, the new bridge near the border with Mexico was an issue for discussion on Friday’s Sitting of the House Representatives. The bridge has already been built but it’s yet impassable but that’s not because Mexico has not been able to keep their side of the bargain. Belize is the one who is halting the process since Government has not been able to keep up with its commitment. But according to the Prime Minister the work will soon commence. Honorable Dean Barrow- Prime Minister of Belize “The rest of the infrastructure work that we need to do on our side, is being funded by a loan that we got from CABEI, the Central American Bank of Economic Integration. Now, the processes of the bank were extraordinarily slow. In fact, when I was in Honduras, three or so weeks ago, I went to the bank and we spoke about that. But the contract has, I believe that was signed. The contractor was chosen after the tenders were opened and the letter of no objection from CABEI has been received. So the work should commence, I would imagine, within another week or so.”

North's Special Olympic Team Brings Home The Gold
On November 2nd the Northern Regional Special Olympics were held at the Orange Walk People’s Stadium and the qualifying athletes were selected to represent the north in the National Olympics held this past Saturday and Sunday in Punta Gorda. Tonight we have a lot to be proud of since the North’s Special Olympics team performed exceptionally well, winning a total of 36 medals at the Olympics. Estelita Carlos – Parents Alliance for Persons with Special Needs “First of all I want to thank all the athletes, they performed overwhelming, they did a tremendous job and I want to give them that great, great thank you for their performance, although and despite of the bad weather but they were there all out especially the football team.” Negril Crawford – Reporter “Can you tell me how many children represented the group from the north?” Estelita Carlos – Parents Alliance for Persons with Special Needs “The total from Orange Walk District is twenty eight athletes which are the football team composed of the junior and the senior and also the athletes for the track and field event.” Negril Crawford – Reporter “What would be the difficulties faced while preparing for their Olympics?”


African American with Caribbean Roots graduate of the Islamic University of Madinah
Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick, an African American with Caribbean Roots graduate of the Islamic University of Madinah in Saudi Arabia is visiting Belize as part of an all Caribbean Tour. Dr. Quick arrived yesterday and will be staying for about five days. His main purpose is to visit the communities in Belize, specifically the Muslim communities. During this time he will also give lectures to students at the University of Belize. Love News spoke with Doctor Quick this morning and he told us more about what his lectures concentrate on. Dr. Quick said it is not the first time he visits Belize. Deeper Roots is a book written by Dr. Quick and he explained that the book will be incorporated with his lectures. The Caribbean Tour is been going well so far according to Dr. Quick and this is the seventh day since it began. He says he hopes to be able to come back to the country once again.

In Belize City participants gathered at the ITVET
A Literacy Workshop is being held countrywide for teachers and other personnel from the area of education. In Belize City participants gathered at the ITVET training room on Freetown Road and Literacy Coordinator at the Belize Literacy Unit, Alma Paredez gave us details on the training. Facilitator for the workshop is Joni Turville a Canadian who works with Professional Development of teachers in Alberta Canada. She also works with students with special needs and in areas of policy and advocacy for teachers. Turville talked to us about some of the strategies being discussed at the workshop. Two of the workshop participants, Education Officer for San Pedro and Caye Caulker, Miriam Codd and Teacher of Saint John Vianney School, Mona Ramos seemed very satisfied with the training and told us how this is helping them grow. Both the facilitator and the participants expressed the desire for more training sessions such as these to be held more often in the country.

A event grader youths in Crown Plaza, San Salvdor
Belize has representation at the first of its kind Central American Youth Forum against violence. The event, which opened this morning at the Crown Plaza hotel in San Salvador, brings together over a hundred young people from the countries of Central America, including Belize to discuss the issue of crime and violence. Love News spoke with the coordinator for Youth Against Violence Belize Andrea Enriquez this morning via telephone from San Salvador, El Salvador. The twenty-member Belize delegation to the Central American Youth Forum on crime and violence is due back in the country on Saturday.

27th Annual General Meeting for the BTIA
Tourism is one of the country’s greatest revenue earners and today, the folks that mould the industry through their businesses and services elected new leadership for the next two years. Today was the 27th Annual General Meeting for the Belize Tourism Industry Association and, according to immediate past President, Jim Scott, the Board, under his stewardship, saw quite a few accomplishments. Elected to serve as the new president is Herbert Haylock, who already has a vision for the next two years. Aside from Haylock who was elected as President, Valerie Woods was elected as First Vice President and Peter Tonti was chosen as Second Vice President.

Belmopan businessman robbed
A Belmopan businessman was held up and robbed. Correspondent Fem Cruz reports.

Sixty three year old Belize City woman robbed
A sixty three year old Belize City woman was the victim of a callous robbery committed by two men. Veronica Allen who is a missionary with the Jehovah’s Witness church was one her way home around eleven thirty on Wednesday morning when she was accosted and robbed at the corner of Vernon Street and Magazine Road. Allen says that she struggled with her attackers but the still managed to get away with her jewelry. She recounted her ordeal in a telephone interview late this evening with Love TV’s Patrick Jones. Police say that the thieves got away with Allen’s bracelet valued at four hundred and seventy five dollars and one of her earrings valued at one hundred dollars. And even though the robbery has left her shaken, Allen says she has no plans of giving up her Christian ministry. Police investigations into the robbery continue.

Workshop held at the Southern Regional Hospital
A workshop was held today at the Southern Regional Hospital. Correspondent Harry Arzu reports.

Special Olympics Belize in Punta Gorda
Plans are in place for the national games of Special Olympics Belize to be held in Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details.


Drunk driving claims another innocent life
A traffic accident has claimed the life of one man.. On Friday (Nov 30) around 11 pm, 43 year old Esmond Rudolph Wr...

PM promises "Demonstration Corridor" along the George Price Highway
While this latest traffic accident occurred on the Phillip Goldson Highway, statistics show that The George Price H...

Chukka Tours and Tom Wilson sever ties
Chukka Tours and Tom Wilson sever ties and FECTAB says Chukka needs to go. Foreign owned Tour Company Chukka Tours ...

John McAfee still at large
The Belize Police Department has categorically denied that they have high profile fugitive, John McAfee in custody ...

PM promises timely completion of border crossing with Mexico
In Friday's House Meeting at the National assembly in Belmopan. PUP Corozal South East Area Representative, Florenc...

Dangriga Police seize illegal firearms
Dangriga Police have been making progress in the seizure of illegal firearms over the last couple of weeks in that ...

Supermarket owner held up and robbed on way to bank
Owner of Dangriga grocery store is held up and robbed at gunpoint. Hong Mei, the owner of Griga-lizaen Supermarket ...

Drugs found in Linda Vista area of Belize City
On Saturday afternoon a team of Police officers responded to a tip about drugs being stashed at vacant lot in the v...

Louis Farrakhan Muhammad, Sr. is visiting Belize
Louis Farrakhan Muhammad, Sr. renowned international religious and motivational speaker is visiting Belize as part ...

"Sell Tacos Not Children" attended by over 200 youth
The UB Gym was the venue for a unique youth event called “Sell tacos not children.” The event which was held on Sat...

Youth Friendly Drop in Center opens at the Caribbean Shores Police Substation
Opening ceremonies were held last week for a Youth Friendly Drop in Center at the Caribbean Shores police substatio...

Belize City mechanic escapes bullet
A Belize City mechanic escaped a bullet on Friday night. Brandon Tray James, a Mechanic of Racecourse Street, was a...

An Orange Walk resident robbed at gunpoint in Belize City
An Orange Walk resident was robbed at gunpoint in Belize City. The teacher reported that on Friday (Nov 30) she was...

Teacher's home caught fire in Belize City
Another teacher also suffered loss when his Belize City home caught on fire. Elston Lord, a Teacher of Pelican Stre...


Surprise party!
Yesterday we attended a surprise party here at Grand Caribe for Leisa's birthday. When we arrived, Melody, who works at the front desk, and Laurie (aka Tacogirl) were busy decorating the gorgeous condo over the Grand Caribe office, where Leisa's parents were staying. There was a beautiful cake, snack food, and plenty of balloons. Here we are waiting for the guest of honor to arrive. Tacogirl snapped this photo with my camera so is not in it, unfortunately.... Once Leisa and her parents got back from being out on a boat for the day, they all went over to Cowboy Doug and Leisa's condo, and everyone was trying to figure out how to get Leisa up to the party room so that we could yell "Surprise!" Melody came up with the idea of calling Leisa and telling her that there was a water leak in the unit where her parents were staying and that Leisa was needed to help out. Melody was very convincing, even when Leisa started asking questions about where housekeeping and maintenance were. Leisa was sure she was no expert on water leaks and wondered why they needed her, but she wasn't suspicious at all. Apparently she had been kind of in the dumps that it had been raining so much since her parents arrival on the island, after so much gorgeous, sunny weather prior to that; and this so-called water leak was the final straw. She sent her parents up to their unit, but Leisa just went out on her veranda to chill before coming up herself. She really did not want any more problems. We were all waiting with cake and cameras, ready to yell "SURPRISE", but we had to put everything down and wait since her folks came up, but not Leisa!

I'll Be Home For Christmas...
In fact, I'll be home a whole lot sooner than that. I'm at my final destination in the good ole' United younger brother's house in Providence, Rhode Island. The weather has been good for the past two weeks. Cold but not exceptionally so. I've been making due with one pair of jeans from Old Navy ($9USD), two turtlenecks and...well...that's basically it. We did have a bit of snow in Providence a few days ago. More of a pretty dusting than a wintry nightmare. Here is my bro, his wife and two sons' house. Snow around the corner... Holiday decorating seems to start early...way early. We hit the Christmas tree farm yesterday to find a good one. We were about 20 minutes out of Providence. It becomes quite rural really quickly. And pretty foggy.

International Sources

St. Andrew's students send backpacks and school supplies to 325 students in Belize
Just before Thanksgiving break, middle school students at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School packaged 325 backpacks for students in Belize. The schoolwide service learning project brought students together from every grade level in an effort to serve those in need. The backpacks will go directly to children attending a school in Valley of Peace, Belize. Every child at that school will receive a backpack with his or her name on it, a personalized letter or picture and age-appropriate educational materials. Students at St. Andrew’s collected everything from pencils, pens and crayons to books and binders. Students also raised money so every child in Belize would receive a small toy. The backpacks are scheduled to arrive in Belize in time for Christmas. This is the first time St. Andrew’s students have undertaken this type of initiative. According to Service-Learning Coordinator Tara Lowery-Hart, one of the most interesting aspects of this project was the way St. Andrew’s students felt connected to another individual child who was in a completely different place and culture. “I could see our children really thinking about this other student they were helping as they wrote their notes and letters — who they might be, what they might like to do.” Students at St. Andrew’s hand-made bookmarks, and every St. Andrew’s student in first through eighth grades wrote a personalized note or letter to go in a backpack.

Incredible Snorkeling in Belize
Even though I’m a scuba diver one of the funnest and most memorable things I did on my trip to Belize was snorkeling. The first half of the trip I stayed on Ambergris Caye, the largest island in Belize. We spent a 5 hours snorkeling just a few miles from our hotel. The tour operator took us on a boat filled with people and we headed about 20 or so minutes away to a protected marine reserve called Hol Chan (translated in Mayan language it means little channel) and a second site called Shark Ray Alley. These are the two most popular snorkeling destinations in Belize and it was fairly crowded with other boats and groups of snorkelers. Once we arrived and the guide told us to hop in everyone else on the boat was hesitating, most of them were inexperienced and after all the ocean can be intimidating. I strapped my fins on and took the lead plunging into the warm water. It was shallow and crystal clear, minus the sand I managed to kick up all over the place jumping in. At first all I could see were a few small fish, but the further our group paddled along the better it got.

Come Sail Away: Belize Raggamuffin Tour, Day Three
We woke that morning to the sound of seagulls calling and a gentle breeze blowing across our sea salt-encrusted skin. After camping in paradise during a tropical storm and witnessing the hatching of baby sea turtles, we weren’t sure the third, and final, day of our sailing and snorkeling adventure with Raggamuffin Tours in Belize could even come close to topping the previous two days. And we were right. It didn’t. Although there was no impressive crescendo at the end of this day, it was relaxing, amazing, and equally enjoyable, nonetheless. When you wake to a view like this, who could complain? Because our tents and bedding remained soaked from the storm of night one, we slept in basic, but cozy, rooms on Tobacco Caye on night two. Although this meant we didn’t get to camp again (something which we really looked forward to, despite the previous night’s storm), it did provide us with a second-story view of the turqoise waters of the Caribbean from the comfort of the balcony hammock. We had several hours to lounge around the island and get in some last-minute snorkeling before it was time to set sail and head toward our final destination: Placencia.

Belize Adjusts Restructuring Offer
Following upward adjustments to Belize’s medium-term fiscal projections and a freeing up of additional resources, the government has revised the indicative debt restructuring offer it pitched in August, as it continues dialogue with holders of its 2029 Superbonds. The sovereign revised two scenarios for its par and discount bonds, it says, offering a smaller haircut, shorter maturity and higher coupons. The government now offers one scenario with no reduction in principal, a 10-year grace period, 2052 maturity, and 2.75% coupon for five years and 4.5% thereafter – altering the previous 15-year grace period, 2.0% coupon and final maturity of 2062. A second possibility entails a 33% haircut, 5-year grace period, 2042 maturity and 4.5% coupon for five years and 6.75% thereafter – altering the previous 45% haircut and 3.5% coupon. A third scenario pitched in August, also involving a 45% haircut, was not addressed. “The terms are less severe than the ones set out last August, namely, shorter grace periods, less duration extension and higher coupons. As such, there is a meaningful increase in the valuation of the [government’s] proposal, particularly in the case of the par option,” Nomura says in a report. An ad-hoc group of bondholders representing at least $200m of the debt had sent a counter proposal to the government’s initial scenarios offering three alternative scenarios based on par structures. Their three alternatives involve a return to the current 8.5% coupon upon the expiry of the reduced coupon period, required terms which include issuance of GDP warrants and oil recovery certificates, inclusion of net present value reinstatement clauses, and payment of consent fees to participating creditors. “While acknowledging that the committee’s counter proposal provides a degree of short-term cash flow relief, the government considers it to be wholly incompatible with its objective of placing the country’s debt burden on a sustainable footing,” the government says.

I am safe - From John McAfee
I apologize for the silence, and misdirection. I am currently safe and in the company of two intrepid journalist from Vice Magazine, and, of course, Sam. We are not in Belize, but not quite out of the woods yet. I will do a more detailed posting later today if all goes well. My “double”, carrying on a North Korean passport under my name, was in fact detained in Mexico for pre-planned misbehavior, but due to indifference on the part of authorities was evicted from the jail and was unable to serve his intended purpose in our exit plan. He is now safely out of Mexico. We are are well, but extremely tired. Vice Magazine, later today will do a posting, with video. I left Belize because of a series of events which led both Sam and I to believe that she was in danger of capture. She has been my go-between and my eyes and ears in the outside world. I decided to make the move. I will be returning to Belize after I have place Sam in a safe position. My fight is in Belize, and I can do little in exile. My lifeline of information pertaining to the inner workings of the government depends on my physical presence. As an aside, I would like to point to the extraordinary lengths the mainstream media will go to maintain a sensationalist story. The New York times piece, for example, not one time mentioned that three of my friends were arrested and are still in prison, or that for a week, they held two women friends, one with a child who was still nursing. How long can the press maintain the “Drug crazed madman” perspective? I think it will end with Vice Magazine’s story. They have seen, and heard everything.

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits, 12/3/12 – Blogging in the jungle with John McAfee
§ One of the best spectator sports the last week or so has been the John McAfee story—basically, the guy who invented that anti-virus software that spammed you endlessly in the “cyber” era, is actually a paranoid oddball who has been living in Belize and has fled to the jungle after being accused of killing his neighbor. Whoa, buddy, that software was supposed to stamp out COMPUTER viruses, not NEIGHBORS! Even in the jungle, he managed to launch a blog defending himself. Also in the mix a bit is cartoonist Chad Essley, who, Aaron Colter at Wired tells us, was originally hired two years ago to make a comic for McAfee: The relationship between the fugitive and the cartoonist began in 2010 on a private internet forum where an anonymous entrepreneur hired Essley to produce an animated web short for an antibiotic venture called Quorumex. The mysterious businessman soon revealed himself as McAfee, and the two struck up a friendship. When the news broke this April that a gang suppression unit had raided McAfee’s property in Belize, Essley was taken aback. Eventually Essley did go down for a visit, and since then, he’s has begun a comic called THE HINTERLANDS based on his adventures with McAfee. However, he’s also become one of McAfee’s few trusted people and is actually the person who helped McAfee get a website up and running while still on the lam. “I did it because I had the ability to do so for free, in a keystroke or two,” says Essley. Since then, he has kept McAfee’s often rambling personal blog up and running, and served as one of the only contacts to the millionaire fugitive, who is still on the run.

McAfee: I’m on the run, ‘not out of the woods yet’
Software company founder John McAfee said Monday he has fled from Belize using a bizarre ruse, adding yet another chapter in what threatens to become one of the biggest media fugitive frenzies since O.J. Simpson led police on a low-speed chase in 1994. McAfee claimed in a blog posting he had evaded authorities by staging an elaborate distraction in neighbouring Mexico. In an email to The Associated Press, McAfee confirmed a posting to his website in which he described, in what appeared to be joking tones, how he mounted the ruse. “My ‘double,’ carrying on (sic) a North Korean passport under my name, was detained in Mexico for pre-planned misbehaviour,” McAfee wrote, “but due to indifference on the part of authorities (he) was evicted from the jail and was unable to serve his intended purpose in our exit plan.” It was a turn typical of the bizarre saga of the eccentric anti-virus company founder wanted for questioning in connection with the killing of fellow American ex-pat Gregory Viant Faull, who was shot to death at the Belize island where they both had homes in early November. Since then, McAfee has refused to turn himself in for questioning, saying he fears Belizean police would kill him, and has titillated the media with phone calls, emails and blog posts detailing his life on the lam. It has all resulted in a rather undignified media scrum to get interviews with McAfee, complete with taunts. Vice magazine, two of whose journalists are reportedly travelling with McAfee, posted a story entitled We Are with John McAfee Right Now, Suckers.

Wanted man McAfee says he's safe -- and out of Belize
The long, strange trip of fugitive software pioneer John McAfee has taken a bizarre detour. The eccentric pioneer of the anti-virus company bearing his name — wanted for questioning about a slaying in Belize — posted a notice on his blog Monday that he is "safe" and no longer in the Caribbean nation. The post comes a day after the website,, reported that McAfee was arrested at the Mexican border. "I apologize for the silence, and misdirection," the post says. "I am currently safe and in the company of two intrepid journalists from Vice Magazine. ... We are not in Belize, but not quite out of the woods yet. I will do a more detailed posting later today if all goes well." McAfee, 67, says that as a diversion, he had a "double" carrying a North Korean passport under McAfee's name. The post says the double was detained in Mexico. McAfee says his "double" was released from jail in Mexico and is no longer in that country. He says he will return to Belize. "My fight is in Belize, and I can do little in exile," he says in the post. "My lifeline of information pertaining to the inner workings of the government depends on my physical presence." Late Monday afternoon, there were reports that Vice did not delete location data from a photo showing where editor in chief Rocco Castoro and a photographer/videographer -- and McAfee -- are (or perhaps were). According to Google Maps, the photo was taken in Franja Transversal del Norte, Guatemala. Later, he posted "another apology," stating he had manipulated the image data. I openly apologize to Vice Magazine for manipulating their recently published photo. I have been ferocioously put my place by Mr. Rocco for "interfering" with the objectivity of their reporting. I, for my own safety, manipulated the xif data on the image taken from my cellphone, and created a fake emrgency so that the urgency of movement led, as I knew it would, to the hasty posting on their website. I felt that our tenuous situation demanded action, and that was the action that I chose. I do not believe that Vice will remain with me further. Again, my apologies.

December 3, 2012


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

The December 3rd, 2012 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Tut’s Death Ruled As Suicide:
    The passing of Reyes Martin Tut from Cristo Rey Village, Cayo, has left the grieving family asking what on earth could have prompted him to end his life and to have done so in such a vicious manner. The blood stained grass and pieces of a broken soda bottle are all that remains on the scene where Reyes Martin Tut, 36, Belizean laborer of Cristo Rey Village made the ultimate decision to violently end his life. Acting upon information received at around 2:00 pm on Sunday, November 25, 2012, a team of policemen rushed to the Loma Luz Hospital in Santa Elena Town where they were directed to the lifeless body of a male person identified, by a member of the family, as Reyes Martin Tut. An inspection of the body revealed two cut wounds, one to the chin and the other a slash across the throat. The initial investigation revealed that the deceased began acting strangely during the early hours on Sunday morning. He reportedly told the family that there were bad spirits in his room and that the devil was pinching him.
  • Boyfriend Escapes - Girlfriend Remanded:
    A young woman was today remanded to prison, after she was found in proximity with a stash of weed, while the boyfriend ran off before the police could lay hands on him. San Ignacio police informed that, armed with a warrant, at around 5:30 on the morning of Sunday, November 25, they visited the residence of Luis Flores, located between miles 68 and 69 on the George Price Highway, to conduct a search for marijuana. Just as the team of policemen were approaching the residence, they reportedly saw Flores as he ran behind the house disappearing into nearby bushes. A policeman’s knock on the main entrance door to the house was reportedly answered by a female who told the police that she was Flores’ girlfriend, Nancy Henry. Although not needed in the search of marijuana, the police nonetheless proceeded to read to her the search warrant. She offered no resistance to the search at the end of which nothing incriminating was found.
  • Bedran’s Building Burglarized:
    San Ignacio police are investigating the theft of various power tools from a house, under construction, in Santa Elena, Cayo. In a statement to the police, San Ignacio businessman Cesar Bedran informed that on Sunday, November 25, 2012, he arrived at his house, under construction, located in Eden Drive in Santa Elena Town, and observed that a window was damaged. Upon checking inside the building, Bedran discovered that the house was indeed burglarized and that the following items were missing: An orange Sthill weed eater valued at $1,200, a red Millweik skill saw and a drill of the same color and brand valued at $750 each, all for a total value of $2,700.
  • Bringing Smiles To Arenal Children:
    Bearing Christmas gifts for less privileged children attending La Inmaculada Roman Catholic Primary School, a group of third form students from St. Ignatius High school in Santa Elena boarded a bus this Wednesday afternoon for the ride to Arenal Village on the western border with Guatemala near Benque Veijo Town. The aim of involving these third form students in community service activities is to ensure they develop new relationships, gain important experiences from helping others and draw upon or discover unused talents which they may not even realize they had. Due to the importance and many benefits of the community service projects being undertaken by the school, the faculty at St. Ignatius High School requires that their students actively participate in the community service program as part of the graduation requirement. In this year’s community service program, students from third form were engaged in a massive toy and gift drive. The community service committee had seen the need to reach out to a school that is in much need of help in the Cayo District. As such La Inmaculada R.C School in Arenal was chosen to be the first recipients of the much deserved gifts from the students of St. Ignatius High School.
  • Mexican President-Elect Pena Nieto Meets Obama:
    The Mexican president-elect, Enrique Pena Nieto, has told US President Barack Obama during talks at the White House that his main goal on taking office will be reducing violence. Mr Pena Nieto, who takes office on Saturday, is expected to revise Mexico's war on the drug cartels. It has cost more than 50,000 lives since it was launched six years ago. President Obama complimented Mr Pena Nieto on what he described as an "ambitious reform agenda". "What happens in Mexico has an impact on our society," he told Mr Pena Nieto. He said he expected to build on the good relationship he had with outgoing President Felipe Calderon. Mr Obama, who will be represented by Vice-President Joe Biden at the inauguration ceremony in Mexico City, joked and said he was "jealous".
  • Teach Your Children About The Gift Of Giving:
    with rewards and skills that will last long after the holiday season has faded. Here's how. We all know that kids love getting presents at the holidays, but what truly makes the season special is the genuine sense of goodwill all around them. That's why now is the best time to show a child how to spread that warmth by helping others. Yes, it's great for the needy, but it's even better for your kid. Children love being helpful (it makes them feel grown-up), and volunteering "gives them the chance to experience the deeply rewarding payoff that comes from making someone else happy," says Deborah Spaide, author of Teaching Your Kids to Care. When Your Child Gives, He Gets... Courage to initiate change. When a child improves someone else's life, he sees that he can change the world around him
  • President Obama's Official World AIDS Day 2012 Proclamation:
    President Obama echoed Sec. of State Hillary Clinton's earlier stated goal of obtaining an HIV-free generation in an official proclamation for World AIDS Day on Saturday. Today, we reflect on the strides we have taken toward overcoming HIV/ AIDS, honor those who have made our progress possible, and keep in our thoughts all those who have known the devastating consequences of this illness. The road toward an AIDSfree generation is long -- but as we mark this important observance, let us also remember that if we move forward every day with the same passion, persistence, and drive that has brought us this far, we can reach our goal. We can beat this disease. On World AIDS Day, in memory of those no longer with us and in solidarity with all who carry on the fight, let us pledge to make that vision a reality. NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States do hereby proclaim December 1, 2012, as World AIDS Day. I urge the Governors of the States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, officials of the other territories subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and the American people to join me in appropriate activities to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS and to provide support and comfort to those living with this disease.
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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

Do we speak, or hide the truth?
In July, 2010 in an interview with Channel 7 News, the then Minister of Police, Hon. Doug Sing conceded that the police department was plagued by corruption. Singh stated, “I think the primary, if I can identify a primary problem, is a problem of confidence and a problem of trust between the public and the police department and I start there, it may look like a little issue but it’s a tremendous issue because everything leads to that, or that loss of confidence is as a result of a lot of malfunctions throughout the system. There are several reasons for that loss of confidence: corruption within the department. If we are unable to do something about that I think we will never be able to get the public confidence to a certain level.” On May 18, 2011 Channel 7 News reported that an unidentified senior police officer was under scrutiny after he tried to deposit $1,600US in counterfeit notes at a Belize Bank branch. The sergeant, who was attached to the Special Branch, went to the bank to try and deposit the money in to his account. As per procedure, bank personnel called the police at the sight of 16, one-hundred US dollar notes – all which tested positive as counterfeit. According to the report officers from the Crime Investigation Branch unit responded and found the well-known officer. They collected his ID, his deposit slip and the money but did not arrest or detain the Sergeant – which is a departure from procedure. Typically, when such situations occur, the person with the counterfeit would have his or her home searched and they would be questioned at some length, pending charges of possession of counterfeit currency. The officer returned back to work and was never charged for the offense.

Doctor Love: Affairs – Breakups – Makeups?
Dear Doctor Love, I got married when I was in my early twenties and I have one child, my daughter. My first boyfriend was my husband and when we got married, I quit my job and became a housewife. Being a housewife is the most boring thing that I can imagine, but I stood it [...]

Wolfe’s Woofers: “Language Lesson”
“What are you up to today, Charlie?” I asked. “Oh, not much,” Charlie said. “I’ve just been sitting here in the restaurant, drinking coffee and talking with the customers.” A well-dressed older Spanish gentleman sat at the table next to us. He turned to Charlie and said, “Buenas dias.” Charlie nodded and said, “Charles Worthington.” [...]

Misc Belizean Sources

Up Boom Creek: Listening to the beats of Belize/a>
Suddenly, in the darkness, I forget where I am. It has been a long day of movement and miles. I know I am paddling a canoe at night, on my knees in the bow, twisting my body with each stroke, trying to make as little noise in the water as possible. There are drums on the breeze, a faint rhythm that comes and goes. The blue-black shapes around me are pure jungle, a dense canopy of plants and animals, close on all sides. I pull my paddle through the water again, our boat glides forward, and, just as suddenly, I know: I'm in Belize. The drums continue in the distance, louder with the breeze, then softer; there is Garifuna dancing in Hopkins, the beat drifting across the mangroves to our boat in Boom Creek. My guide for the evening, Ernesto, paddles silently behind me, and my fellow traveler, Danielle, sits between us and turns on the super-powered flashlight at the slightest noise in the bush. This morning, I woke up on the bank of the Caves Branch River and went for a morning dip as the broadleaf forest awoke around me- toucans, parrots, and breezy palm fronds. Then I packed my pack and moved out of yet another brief home, another cabana in the wild. Danielle and I caught a ride to the highway on a tractor and missed the bus to Dangriga. During the two hours that followed, we stood on the side of the Hummingbird Highway, at the entrance to Blue Hole National Park. We passed the time kicking a rock around, singing to each other, and chatting with a passing Mayan family; we met a Belizean guide who also rock climbed and trained local fireman in rescue techniques; and we spoke with a Peace Corps Volunteer who was taking a break from teaching in the schools of Cayo to go birding with his parents, down from Texas.

VIDEO: Diving Turneffe, Dolphins Welcome Papa Changa
Three tank dive, day trip from San Pedro, Amigos Del Mar.

Belizean-American Artesha Welch, residing in Los Angeles, California, has been chosen to represent Belize in the upcoming Miss Tourism United Nations Pageant.
The pageant is schedule for Saturday, December 8 in Kingston, Jamaica. For Regional pageants, candidates can just be hand picked by a committee. Only if you are sending a candidate to Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss Earth or Miss International - then you need to have a pageant to select the rep. These are the big 4 pageants and they have big contracts which stipulates the big rules. But for pageants like Miss Costa Maya, Miss Ethnic World, Miss Tourism, you can just cast a candidate and send her. If you go all the way back to 1946 when the late Rita Lewis became the first Queen of the Bay members from one or two ethnic groups have never been selected as beauty pageant winners or even a runner up. Indeed, individuals from these groups have never offered themselves as contestants in these pageants. On one hand I am tempted to say that the dominance of black women (namely of Creole descent, but there have also been a number of Garifuna beauty queens) in these pageants since Lewis became Queen of the Bay has something to do with Creole cultural hegemony, but then I would have to address the issue of the politicization of the two major pageants leading up to Independence (the Queen of the Bay and Miss Independence). There is also the issue of the somatic norm image of Belizean society. If nothing else, the selection of Belizean women of all hue says something positive about the country. But where stature is concerned, is it equally possible to have a Mayan beauty queen as you would a "Spanish"/mestiza (of mixed racial ancestry) beauty queen? I didn't want to "go there" with my comment. Hence, the issue of representation as it relates to requirements (especially in international competition). Bear in mind that while Mayas in the north and west of Belize are for the most part mesticized, Mayas in the south are for the most part acculturated and many now even structurally assimilated. This would bring into question the issue of values. Furthermore, I don't think they are immune to "outside influences," if they are somehow culturally isolated.


GOB Says No Counter Proposal Presented By Creditors Committee
Three months ago the Government of Belize made public three Indicative Restructuring Scenarios that would reduce the Super Bond Payment. The proposal was presented to the creditors committee which holds more than 50% of the five hundred and forty-four million US dollars Super Bond Debt. After reviewing the three scenarios the creditors committee rejected the proposal and in good faith accepted a partial payment from the Government in the month of September and even gave a sixty days extension for negotiations to continue. With the 60 days extension expired, a counter proposal was presented by the creditors committee on November 21st. The scenarios combine in different measures temporary reductions in the current coupon rate with modest extensions. All of them involve a return to the current 8.5% coupon upon the expiry of the reduced coupon period. The Debt Review Team; however, has rejected the counter proposal as they find it incompatible. In a release posted on the Central Bank website the Debt Review Team states and we quote “GOB considers it to be wholly incompatible with its objective of placing the country’s debt burden on a sustainable footing. Gob believes that the counter-proposal ignores Belize’s high overall debt levels, and that it amounts to little more than a short-term fix. The release also states that GOB views the recently-submitted scenarios as unsustainable, and is disappointed that a counter-proposal of this nature has come five months after discussions with the Committee began. But truth of the fact is Government must continue with the negotiations and has offered two new restructuring scenarios to the creditors committee. The first scenario proposes a principal reduction of 33% - which is down from the 45% that was proposed in August. And it also increases the proposed interest rate from 3.5% to 4.5% for the first five years and 6.75% for the next thirty years. The second revised scenario does not include a principal reduction, but suggests extending the life of the bond to 40 years - down from 50 in the first proposal. It also offers a higher interest rate than the 2% which had first been proposed. So, it’s back to the drawing table. We’ll see how the negotiations play out.

Corozal Police Clarifies Rumours Of Police Brutality
Since Monday rumors have been circulating that a police officer attached to the Corozal Police Department brutalized a male individual who was socializing at a restaurant located inside the Corozal Free Zone. On Monday, when we received the report just before the evening news, we were informed that during the altercation the police officer hit a child. Other information indicated that a couple, accompanied by their 3 year old daughter, was socializing at the free zone when they started arguing. Police were called in and when they arrived at the scene they began hitting the wife and husband who was holding the baby at the time. Allegations are that one of the officers hit the child several times on the face causing her to pass out. The couple was arrested and according to reports the child was left on the side of the road where a woman of Mexican Nationality grabbed the child and headed towards her car. Reports are that a friend of the couple witnessed the incident and managed to take away the child from the woman. It’s a complicated story and the couple’s family is being tight lipped about the situation since they want no more trouble with police. But as they say there are two sides to a story and while we may never get the couple’s version, the Corozal Police Department has decided to but an end to the rumors by giving their account of what transpired on Monday.

2012 Hurricane Season Comes To An End
It's the last day of November and for us here in Belize that's reason to celebrate. Why? It marks the end of Hurricane Season. In the month of August Belize was threatened by Tropical Storm Ernesto. Predictions were that Ernesto could hit Belize or along Mexico's southern Yucatan coast as a strong Category 1 storm. With winds of over 85 miles per hour, Hurricane Ernesto slammed into the southern Yucatán coast near Mahahual, as a category one hurricane. As it continued its path over land, Ernesto weakened and was downgraded to a tropical storm with winds of over 50 miles per hour. In Mexico, although no injuries were reported, Ernesto did cause thousands of tourists to evacuate from their lush hotel rooms near the coast, to safer grounds. Belize was spared once more but the north, especially the Corozal District, was hit by tropical storm winds and heavy rainfall causing some serious flooding and damaging hundreds of thousands of dollars in crop. If you look at the numbers, this year would be impressive. Nineteen storms were named for the third straight year; well above the average of nine. Ten of the storms became hurricanes, but most of those had relatively low winds with only Michael becoming a major hurricane. The season got off to a fast start, with Alberto and Beryl forming before the traditional June 1 start date. But the season will be summed up with two storms that won't soon be forgotten in the US. In August, Isaac churned through the Caribbean, eventually emerging into the Gulf of Mexico before smashing into the Louisiana coast just south of New Orleans. The storm stalled out and brought flooding rains that claimed seven lives and ruined homes of many more people. In October, Hurricane Sandy formed in the Caribbean and slammed into Jamaica and Cuba before heading north aiming at New York and New Jersey. The storm claimed 130 lives in the US. In the end, the 2012 season was one that saw many storms, but only a select few that made impacts.

Columbia Pulls Out Of ICJ
In the year 2013 Belize and Guatemala will hold a referendum on whether or not to take the territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice. And while that resolution will take place in 2013, the country of Columbia has decided to pull out of the ICJ. On Wednesday, during a National Coffee Congress being held in the capital Bogota, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos announced his country's withdrawal from the 1948 Bogota Pact, which recognizes the authority of The Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) in regional disputes. The decision follows a recent ruling by the World Court that Colombia claims grants some 75,000 square kilometers of its Caribbean waters to Nicaragua. The ICJ ruling recognizes Colombia's sovereignty over a series of islands in the Caribbean's San Andres archipelago, but also grants Nicaragua jurisdiction over some waters surrounding the islands. Santos explained the ruling not only adversely affects Colombia’s border treaties with Honduras and Panama, but also affects the livelihood of fishermen living on San Andres and Providencia islands by reducing the waters where they can fish. Nicaragua has argued that the ruling remains valid despite Colombia's withdrawal from the pact.

CEMJC Holds Tourism Expo
Tourism stakeholders here in the north are constantly looking for different means and ways to develop the north as one of the main tourist destinations. Today, they would have gotten some pretty good ideas from the tourism management class of Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College who held their first ever tourism expo highlighting a number of ideas that could easily attract tourist to the north of Belize. Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College offers a course in tourism management and today those taking the course participated in the first ever tourism expo held at the school grounds. Lizbeth Cabral- Tourism Lecturer/CEMJC “We wanted to showcase the talent, the creativity, the knowledge of the students here at CMEJC, it is the first time ever but we wanted to become something annually and it is a combination or a joint effort of both first year and second year students, we have a total of 70 tourism students here at CEMJC and it has been increasing for the past two years and we are going into the third year with the tourism program. The idea and the focus really is to big up tourism here in the north, Corozal and Orange walk so what I did with the students is that we sat down and we talked about it and we included the four major sectors of tourism here in the north; accommodation, food and beverage, transportation, and attraction so they came up with these project and so that they can showcase realistic businesses that you can open in either Corozal or Orange Walk or any part of the country. To kind of teach the students on how to invest and how to turn over money they went around fund raising asking for sponsors and they got a lot of sponsors for these projects and also the school invested money to make this a success.”

Getting To The Zero Goal
Tomorrow 1st of December marks the end of World Aids Week celebrated this year under the theme “Getting to zero discrimination, zero new infection and zero AIDS related deaths”. The culmination of the week of activities does not signify that the war against the deadly disease is over. The fight continues until the getting to zero goal is accomplished. But in order to reach that goal everyone must be tested. With that in mind, today the Ministry of Health, in partnership with the National AIDS Commission Corozal Committee, held a free HIV testing at the Corozal Free Zone. By the end of 2016, it is expected that Belize will have continued to reduce the number of HIV infections; extended the length and quality of life of people with HIV and their families; significantly reduced discrimination against persons vulnerable to HIV; and effectively coordinated a multi-sectoral response which is human rights based and gender responsive. In order to carry out these goals and to accomplish the goal of getting to zero discrimination, zero new infection and zero AIDS related deaths, Belize has to respond as one to this disease. With that in mind, today the National Aids Commission/Country Coordinating Committee Corozal, in collaboration with the Corozal Community Hospital, directed under Dr. Nelson Marin, offered free HIV testing to all employees and owners of the different establishments at the Corozal Free Zone.

Belize Votes In Favour of Palestine
Yesterday the United Nations voted overwhelmingly to recognize a Palestinian state a victory decades in the making for the Palestinians after years of occupation and war. In an extraordinary lineup of international support, more than two-thirds of the world body's 193 member states including Belize approved the resolution upgrading the Palestinians to a non-member observer state, a status that falls well short of independence but provides Palestinians with limited privileges as a state, including the right to join the International Criminal Court and other international treaty bodies. One hundred and thirty eight members voted in favor, nine voted against including the United States, Israel, Canada, Czech Republic, the Marshall Islands and Panama and forty one abstained. The U.N. victory for the Palestinians is seen as a diplomatic setback for the United States and Israel.

International Sources

Belizean police deny having John McAfee in custody
Police in Belize deny that they have fugitive software pioneer John McAfee in custody after a post on McAfee’s blog suggested they did. “We have received an unconfirmed report that John McAfee has been captured at the border of Belize and Mexico,” said a statement that appeared on McAfee’s blog Saturday evening. A spokesman for McAfee also backed up the blog’s contention, though he explained to The Daily Caller Sunday that he couldn’t confirm with certainty that McAfee was in custody. “We received a call from someone that said he was with John when he was arrested,” McAfee spokesman Brian Fitzgerald said. “And we have not heard from John since Saturday early morning. We still cannot confirm, but we believe this is true. We are scrambling to find where he is.” McAfee started a blog after he was first reported to be on the run from authorities in the Central American country in mid-November as a suspect for the murder of American expatriate Gregory Viant Faull.

Software developer JohnMcAfee has not been captured, say Belize police
PIONEERING software developer John McAfee, who is wanted for questioning over the murder of his neighbour, is still on the run. Despite posting a cryptic post on his blog saying that he was in police custody, McAfee has not been caught, Belize national police have told the Daily Mail. Police say they simply want to question the 67-year-old about the murder of fellow American Gregory Faull, a Florida native who was found dead at his home last month in a pool of blood on the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye. McAfee's blog,, was updated on Saturday with an "unconfirmed report that John McAfee has been captured at the border of Belize and Mexico." 'That is not true. He is not in police custody,' Officer Martinez told MailOnline. In Belize, a source at the US Embassy said that friends of McAfee denied he had been captured and that they and the police had no information on a possible arrest, the MailOnline reported. Rumours that the software developer has been apprehended come directly after an interview with CNN, in which he claimed his life was in danger.

Reports of John McAfee's capture have been exaggerated it seems
AFTER almost three weeks hiding from police in Belize, John McAfee, the anti-virus software pioneer who is wanted for questioning about the murder of a neighbour, was thought to be still at large despite a report on his own website that he had been captured. On Saturday night the website launched by Mr McAfee while on the run posted an update: "We have received an unconfirmed report that John McAfee has been captured at the border of Belize and Mexico." Yesterday, a spokesman for the Belize Ministry of National Security said the report was incorrect and police still had no idea of Mr McAfee's whereabouts. The internet tycoon has used the website to record his escapades, protest his innocence and publish claims that the police and government of Belize are corrupt and engaged in a conspiracy against him. While declining to be interviewed by the police, claiming he would be killed if he were taken into custody, he agreed to appear on CNN for a TV interview that was broadcast at the weekend. "It hasn't been a lot of fun," he said, sitting in a whitewashed bedroom before a double bed with a dark wood headstand. "I miss my prior life. Much of it has been deprivation. No baths, poor food." Digital Pass $1 for first 28 Days He had warned that should anything befall him, Chad Essley, a cartoonist from Oregon who was composing a graphic novel of his exploits, would take over the running of the blog and publish reams of fresh material. Mr Essley did not respond to a request for comment. A weary-sounding Raphael Martinez, of the Belize Ministry of National Security, said: "No sir, it's not correct that he has been captured. The police do not know where he is."

Tourists are encouraged to spear the invasive species that has devastated local fish populations. Sinking slowly through Belize’s turquoise sea, Giovanni Gonzalez has murder on his mind. The dive guide scans the reef, his dreadlocks moving like a sea creature. I see only the usual confetti of tropical fish, but I can tell that Gio has spotted a lionfish tucked into the coral. He readies his spear, takes aim and fires. The impaled fish materializes in a cloud of silt, thrashing to free itself — or at least sink a poison-barbed fin into someone’s skin. No fool, Gio pulls out a pair of scissors and disarms the fish by snipping off its spiky fins. Gio is clearly having a lot of fun, but he’s also ridding the reef of a dangerous invader. Native to the Indian and Pacific oceans, lionfish were released into the Atlantic in the 1980s — most likely by Florida aquarium owners who tired of feeding the voracious creatures. Since then, these orange-and red-striped devils have colonized coastal waters, devastating local fish populations wherever they go. In Belize, they’re making a meal of the tropical fish that tourists like me fly hundreds of miles to see. So, to protect the marine ecosystem and their own livelihoods, fishermen and dive professionals began hunting lionfish in 2002, Gio tells me once we’re back on the boat. “There was a bounty then,” he says. “Fifty dollars a fish.” “We need tourists to spear lionfish, and we really need people to start eating them,” Gio says. When I’d booked my ticket to Belize, hunting and eating poisonous fish hadn’t been on the top of my to-do list. But beneath the ocean’s surface, I discovered a world of fearsome creatures engaged in a fierce battle for survival — and I got pulled into the melee myself.

December 2, 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

First San Pedro Town Mayor Chico Gomez receives donation from SPTC
First Mayor of San Pedro Gilberto “Chico” Gomez on Monday, November 26th received an official visit from the Mayor of San Pedro Town Daniel Guerrero at his Pelican Street home. The visit between Mayor Guerrero to Chico Gomez was to fulfill a commitment made to assist him with his ongoing medical expenses. As such Mayor Guerrero, on behalf of the San Pedro Town Council, presented Gomez with a check in the sum of $2,500. “It is a small token to show appreciation to you (Gomez) as a former leader. We are one big family in San Pedro and we are grateful for your contribution to this community,” said Mayor Guerrero to Gomez in handing the check, stating that he is fully aware of Gomez’s medical condition and is hoping that the SPTC can continue to assist on occasion.“It is a good gesture on behalf of the San Pedro Town Council, one that is appreciated,” Gomez expressed to Mayor Guerrero. Mayor Guerrero pledged the assistance during a special dinner where current and past council members were invited as part of the activities for the 28th Anniversary of Township Day of which Gomez was unable to attend due to his illness.

SICA Tourism ministers hosted on Ambergris Caye
The Government of Belize, through the Ministry of Tourism, hosted the Central American Integration System (SICA) meeting with representatives from all Central American Countries. The event took place at the Banyan Bay Resort on Ambergris Caye. The delegation was welcomed on the night of Thursday November 29th by the Mayor of San Pedro Daniel Guerrero at a special dinner hosted by the Belize Tourism Board at El Secreto Resort. In welcoming the vice-ministers of tourism of Central American, Mayor Guerrero said, “It is a privilege and an honor for me to welcome you to this reunion of all the tourism SICA members and similarly we have always welcome our Central American brothers and sisters to our country. In these times, it is very important that we have good ties and working relationships between our brothers and sisters of neighboring countries. It is one way we can strengthen Central America and work together in developing our region to make things better for our people and our region.” On Friday November 30th, the Ministers met at the Banyan Bay conference room during which the assembly of the Central American countries’ representatives, Government and private sectors, reviewed the progress of tourism initiatives to structure a way forward as a unified regional body. The tourism ministers held discussions that will act as a platform for invested bodies, such as the Central American Travel Agency (CATA) which is governed by the private sector. They also engage in dialogue about the future of CATA as well as the impact of past restructuring efforts by the SICA countries.

Over 100 to gather for multi-agency fisheries meetings in Jamaica
Over a hundred stakeholders from government and grassroots agencies, as well as regional and international organizations, will be gathering next week in Kingston, Jamaica, for a series of five multi-agency fisheries meetings spanning Wednesday, December 5 to Wednesday, December 12. Speaking of the significance of the meetings, Milton Haughton, Executive Director of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) said: “It is an opportunity for the countries and stakeholders, meaning government representatives as well as fisher folk and other stakeholders – including non-government organizations and civil society organizations – to get together to discuss issues of common interest and to come up with plans and programs for a brighter future.” The meetings are convened by the CRFM in collaboration with the FAO Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC), the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), through funding and technical assistance provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Haughton said that the performance of the CRFM as an organization will be assessed during the course of the meetings. “We’ve been in operations now for almost 8 years, so we are stopping and taking stock of our performance over the last few years…” he said. The review will pave the way for the CRFM Member States and collaborators to formulate a new eight-year strategic plan for the CRFM (2013 -2021). Whereas the first two meetings will be focused on administrative work, the remaining three will focus on driving major fisheries initiatives forward, as we seek to transform, modernize and improve the aquaculture and fisheries sector. These meetings are aimed at ensuring a more secure future for those persons who depend upon fisheries and aquaculture resources for their livelihoods, particularly small-scale fishers and their families.

Misc Belizean Sources

Make this Christmas GREEN for ACES
Bid on this one of a kind, handmade, 22k German Gold plated Viking Knit necklace with Moss Jasper, Yellow Turquoise, Swarovski Crystals, humming birds and Brass Crocodile pennant. The fiber optics glow yellow-green like a croc's eye in the sunshine. (18" with 3" extension). Bidding Starts Black Friday, November 23, 2012, at 1:00am CST. Opening Bid is $80USD (all bids must be in US currency) All funds from this auction are for the construction of two secure crocodile holding habitats at ACES Wildlife & Croc Refuge in San Mateo, Ambergris Caye. One of the habitats is for "Jaws" and the other is for the rehabilitation of rescued crocodiles prior to re-release or transportation to ACES in Ladyville. These crocodile habitats are needed on the island due to the ever increasing development leading to higher numbers of croc-human conflicts in Isla Bonita; and will bring income to the San Mateo area.

The Monkey River Campaign – Give a Little to Help a Lot
The village of Monkey River in Belize is surrounded by river, sea, and forest. It is a beautiful place, but difficult to reach. Like rural communities everywhere in the world, access to health care can be challenging. Lucky for those who live in Monkey River, there are folks, like Walt Reed , Ted Hoskins, and emergency physician Joe Babbitt (AKA the Monkey River Crew -all from the Blue Hill and Deer Isle area of Maine) who want to help bring health care to to them. Let travel along with Ted via video, as he makes a trip to the village: Why Monkey River? According to Walt, he had never heard of Monkey River, but was interested in participating in a medical mission. So he spoke with Ted Hoskins, a minister and fisherman from Blue Hill, Maine, with whom he’d worked on a non-profit board for several years. Ted had first visited Monkey River Town, Belize in 2001 in order to help rebuild this remote fishing island village after a damaging hurricane. He had been returning ever since. Ted told Walt that medical care was almost non-existent there. After talking with Dr. Jane Garfield, a physician who had been there, Walt took his first trip the following year. The Needs are Great Walt discovered that diabetes and hypertension were very prevalent in the Monkey River villagers, particularly in the women. So he set about measuring blood pressures and glucose levels of the villagers. And he started talking with the villagers about the importance of of losing weight, eating right (meaning to include vegetables & fruits in their diet) and getting more exercise. It seemed to work. Walt says that when he arrived in the village last year, one of the women he had been working with came up to him and said proudly, “please check my sugar.” It was down considerably to a much more manageable level. He was thrilled and so was she. He was also able to gave her a glucometer and strips so that she could monitor her progress herself. Unfortunately, there isn’t an ideal solution for people who need more advanced care, such as medications or medical tests. They are referred to the physician in Independence, the nearest city with regular medical care. However, it is difficult to reach due to the rugged terrain. A clinic has been built in the village to try to provide more local care, however, it has fallen into disrepair and termites are devouring it!

The Cayo Welcome Center Grand Opening Today!
The Cayo Welcome Center is ready for its grand opening today. The BTB will be having the Taste of Belize BBQ competition there. Go see the competition taste some great BBQ, and have some fun. "30th of November, right before the grand opening weekend."

Rotaract Christmas Toy Drive
The Rotaract Club of San Ignacio is having a Christmas toy drive for children in need. "If you have any toys that you no longer use, please donate it to our cause. All toys will be given to children in need during the Christmas season. Look out for our drop off bins around town. Contact us via facebook or email us at [email protected]"

Sacred Heart Junior College Open Day
Danny Chung was at SHJC's Open Day, and he captured the awe of interacting with green iguanas that the SIRH brought over from the Green Iguana Conservation Project. "San Ignacio Resort Hotel set up a stall to educate and teach students about the importance of conservation of our beautiful Green Iguanas in Belize. Photos Courtesy of Danny Chung"

Youth Fest in Belmopan
To Coincide with the 16 Days of Activism, Youth Fest is tonight at the University of Belize Gym. There will be live music, speakers, food, games, and even a 'dalla' auction. "Sell Tacos Not Children Youth Fest! Spread the word!!"


New anti-Human Trafficking legislation goes before Parliament
New legislation has been introduced to parliament that will prescribe harsher penalties for persons convicted of the crime of human trafficking. The Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Bill was among a set of eight pieces of legislation that was brought to the House of Representatives during its regular sitting this morning. In his introduction of the Bill, Minister of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation Anthony Martinez said that it is a sad reality that centuries after the abolition of slavery, that people are still being subjected to this kind of ugly crime. Another important, if not complimentary piece of legislation that was introduced today is the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Prohibition Bill which will prescribes punishment for acts of commercial sexual exploitation of children in Belize. The preamble of the Bill also sets out the effect of implementing the optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. These two Bills and the other six will be brought back to parliament at the next sitting of the House of Representatives which has been scheduled for Friday, December Fourteenth in what will more than likely be the final sitting of the House for 2012.

Belize National Coast Guard celebrates Seventh Anniversary
The Belize National Coast Guard is celebrating an important milestone. Love TV’s Marion Ali reports.

World AIDS Day activities in PG
Activities in connection with World AIDS Day are being held in Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details.

BCCI to host Christmas Expo
The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season is in full swing. And if you are still not sure where to find those good Christmas deals, then perhaps you might want to check out the Christmas Expo on Sunday. It’s an initiative put forward by the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The extravaganza will take place inside the King’s Room at the Princess Hotel and membership officer for the Chamber Delmi Novelo told Love News that everyone is excited about the event. The Christmas Expo is scheduled to start at nine o’clock on Sunday morning. Entrance fee is only three dollars.

Youths take part in AIDS awareness exercise
On Saturday, Belize will join the rest of the world in observing World AIDS day. Today, an open day was held where young people were given an opportunity to be exposed to important information on the disease. Love TV’s Natalie Novelo reports.

Regional Tourism officials meet in San Pedro Town
The Central American Integration System, SICA, convened in San Pedro Town where Tourism Representatives from member countries including our Minister of Tourism and Culture, Manuel Heredia were to carry out several discussions pertaining to the Tourism Industry in Central America. This morning a press conference was held in which Representatives from Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala and others spoke about the objectives of the meeting which according to Minister Heredia include the attraction of more Tourists to the Central American Region. Each of the Representatives present shared some of the issues they were looking forward to discussing. Minister Heredia pointed out that one way to tackle issues that might be affecting the tourism industry not only in Belize but in the rest of the Central American countries is to share information with each other on possible solutions.

Special Olympics national games to be held in PG
Plans are in place for the national games of Special Olympics Belize to be held in Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details.

Prime Minister and Opposition Leader spar over Super Bond renegotiation
The House of Representatives meeting today ended without much of the traditional back and forth that have come to characterize these sessions. On the adjournment, several members of the Opposition People’s United Party raised issues of national concern. The first was Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca who asked for more disclosure on what he termed the now stalled super bond renegotiation process. When Fonseca finished his presentation, Prime Minister Dean Barrow provided an update of the situation stating that the negotiations are ongoing, and that from time to time, government will speak to the media and via the media to the general public on the progress of the talks. And while he was providing an update on the super bond renegotiations, Prime Minister Barrow hit a nerve, when he suggested that the agents of the opposition are in collusion with a well known adversary of the government to try and scuttle the negotiations. Regarding his criticisms of the president of the Inter-American Development Bank and the US treasury, Prime Minister Barrow said he has no reservations about standing up for Belize.

International Sources

John McAfee Plays Hide-and-Seek in Belize
DANIEL GUERRERO promised during his campaign for mayor here to clean up San Pedro, the only town on this island, a 20-minute puddle jump from the mainland. But if he ever runs for re-election, don’t expect him to mention that vow. “I meant clean up the trash, the traffic, that sort of thing,” he says. “I didn’t mean this.” “This” is a full-blown international media frenzy and the kind of mess that no politician could have seen coming. It started on Nov. 11, the morning that Gregory Faull, a 52-year-old American, was found dead, lying face up in a pool of blood in his home. He had been shot in the head. His laptop and iPhone were missing. A 9-millimeter shell was found nearby. What happened next turned this from a local crime story to worldwide news: The police announced that a “person of interest” in the investigation was a neighbor, John McAfee, a Silicon Valley legend who years ago earned millions from the computer virus-fighting software company that still bears his name. A priapic 67-year-old, with an improbable mop of blond-highlighted hair and a rotating group of young girlfriends, Mr. McAfee quickly melted into the island’s lush green forest. Then, for Belizean authorities, the real embarrassment began. Asserting his innocence, Mr. McAfee became a multiplatform cyberdissident, with a Twitter account, and a blog at with audio links, a comments section, photographs and a stream of invective against the government and the police of Belize. He has done interviews on podcasts, like the “Joe Rogan Experience,” and offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of “the person or persons” who killed Mr. Faull. He has turned lamming it into a kind of high-tech performance art. “I am asking all people of conscience to read this blog, especially the links in the ‘Background’ section,’ and see the ugly truth unfolding here,” he posted on Nov. 18. “Speak out. Write your congressmen. Write the prime minister. Do what you can.” Before he went underground, Mr. McAfee led a noisy, opulent and increasingly stressful life here. He was known for the retinue of prostitutes who he says moved in and out of his house, and for employing armed guards, some of whom stood watch on the beach abutting his house. He also kept a pack of untethered dogs on his property who barked at and sometimes bit passers-by.

John McAfee Captured at Belize-Mexico Border, Says Official Blog
John McAfee, the founder of the McAfee anti-virus software firm, has been arrested after weeks on the run, according to an unconfirmed report on his official blog. The 67-year-old, who went into hiding following the alleged murder of his neighbour, has reportedly been captured alive. "We have received an unconfirmed report that John McAfee has been captured at the border of Belize and Mexico. More information as it is received," the blog said. The blog website was launched by the anti-virus software pioneer to provide his version of the incident for which he is being sought, a version that is at odds with claims made by media and authorities. If the blog report is true, it will bring an end to a month-long saga that began with the death of McAfee's neighbour Gregory Faull, 52, who was found dead with a bullet wound to the head at his villa, off the coast of Belize, on 11 November.

CNN’s Martin Savidge Uses Secret Passwords, Changes Vehicles to Interview McAfee Founder
CNN’s Martin Savidge is in Belize where he interviewed John McAfee, the founder of McAfee anti-virus software who has been on the run for weeks accused of a murder he says he didn’t commit. McAfee has done phone interviews with CNBC and others. But Savidge’s is the first on-camera interview since he went on the run. Savidge says Friday’s interview was one of the most bizarre of his television career. Before seeing McAfee, he had to utter secret passwords, jump into different vehicles and met with people in disguise who took him to McAfee.

John McAfee still on the lam, mayor of San Pedro says
Cyberspace has been abuzz with reports that John McAfee – the elusive and eccentric Silicon Valley software magnate who’s been on the lam since one of his neighbors was shot to death — has been captured. The flames were fanned by a post on McAfee’s own blog, which somehow seems not to know where McAfee is; but some posters on the blog have been authoritatively stating that McAfee and a female companion were nabbed near the border of Mexico and Belize. Cops in Belize City tell me they don’t know anything about that, referring me to their counterparts in San Pedro, the beachside town some 160 miles away where McAfee has made his home in recent years. But Mayor Daniel Guerrero said: “It’s not true.” While he said rumors have been flying since McAfee gave a brief and bizarre interview to CNN, Guerrero said local cops have assured him McAfee’s still on the loose. He added that police have been conducting house-to-house searches on the north end of Ambergris Caye, the island where San Pedro sits. Also debunking the Paul is dead John is captured reports is Jorge Aldana, a senior reporter at the San Pedro Sun newspaper who’s been covering the case and chatting periodically with my colleague, Dan Nakaso (and probably every other reporter in the Western Hemisphere). “I can tell you positively that John McAfee has not been captured,” Aldana said Saturday night. And as proof, he said he was talking to me from a late-night function that the country’s Minister of National Security, who oversees all law enforcement operations, was also attending. “He’s shaking his head,” Aldana said. “”I’m telling you, John has not been captured.” (He wouldn’t put the minister on the phone, but Guerrero was at the same event and verified the minister was there.) Aldana added that McAfee’s blog — on which the world’s most interesting software executive also has claimed to have disguised himself to spy on police searching his home — “has been very deceitful.” Police, for the record, have said they merely want to question McAfee about the November murder of his feuding neighbor, Gregory Faull; but McAfee insists he’ll be killed himself if taken into custody.

Wild to go adventuring in old-time Belize
This is a hot spot for saltwater fly-fishing. While Belize’s northern islands host polished lodges with gourmet meals and groomed bartenders, those to the south remain wild paradises where the fish are plentiful. Placencia sits on the southern tip of the Placencia Peninsula, a 20-mile-long spit of land with a creamy-green lagoon on the west and the Caribbean Sea on the east. It holds a string of villages with names like Maya Beach and Seine Bight, and still-rustic throngs of shacks that provide a glimpse of what the peninsula must have been like until 1991, when power, phone, cable, and pavement were brought in. Before then homes were lighted by hurricane lamps, and families fished for tuna and lobster and lived in a bartering society where life was simple. The peninsula has changed dramatically. Cozy cabanas line the beach, inexpensive but refined restaurants dot the sidewalks in town, and large vacation homes are starting to pop up. It’s an area recently discovered by a growing number of expatriates, some with deep pockets. On the northern end monstrous mansions are being erected and a casino will soon open. This paradise, whose amenities are still in their infancy, is on the verge of a tourism explosion. But offshore, none of that is happening. Eight miles off the southeastern coast Julian Cabral, 45, operates Whipray Caye Lodge, a rustic set of drafty bungalows that sit on this private, three-acre isle. Cabral is revered as one of the best saltwater fly-fishing guides in the area for the pursuit of tarpon, bonefish, and permit, three of angling’s most sought-after gamefish. Life is slow here but the fishing action is not. Shallow “flats,” patches of ocean that are only shin-deep, run thick with permit. Cabral seemed to have X-ray vision, peering through the glare to direct me where to cast as he pushed a battered wooden boat through the water with a long pole. “Tail, three-o-clock,” he’d say. I’d cast, feel a bump, a tug on the line, then nothing. Although we fished all day, they weren’t feeding and we came up with only one. Still, I had one of the best days I’ve ever had fishing. Cabral reminded me, “That’s why they call it fishing and not catching.”

CNN Exclusive: McAfee comes out of hiding to talk about life on the run
The journey to interview Internet security guru John McAfee began with a secret phrase, a mysterious driver and a circuitous route full of left turns, right turns and U-turns. It concluded at a safe house on a tropical island paradise, where the 67-year-old was waiting in disguise --as an old man with salt and pepper hair -- to tell his bizarre tale. "It hasn't been a lot of fun. I miss my prior life. Much of it has been deprivation. No baths, poor food," McAfee told CNN Friday in his first on-camera interview since going on the run from Belize authorities who want to question him in the killing of his neighbor. Belize authorities say they only want to talk to McAfee about the November 11 shooting death of American businessman Gregory Faull, who was found dead in his home near San Pedro, on the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye. The case began to unfold on November 9, when McAfee told police someone poisoned four of his dogs. To put them out of their misery, he shot each in the head and buried them on his property, a former girlfriend said. Officials say the dogs' barking and aggressive behavior was a frequent source of friction between McAfee and Faull, a 52-year-old contractor who retired to Belize from Florida and lived next door. Two days later someone shot Faull in the head in his own living room. A 9 mm shell was found on the second step on the first floor, and Faull was found dead on the second floor.

VIDEO: Dolphins Jumping Around the Boat in Belize
As we were rushing back to port in Belize, we started seeing dolphins jumping out of the water. I was able to catch a few of them on video. Amazing to see them jumping through the the water. Beautiful and looked like they were playing with us. They followed us for a bit until Capt. Ricco finally powered away from them to get us into port.

VIDEO: Tiny Island in Belize
This the small island we went to just outside of Belize where we went snorkeling. Beautiful water! It was so clear! Carrie went snorkeling with us too, but she was not planning on it until we got there and we saw the water. We saw so much wild life in the ocean, it was amazing!

December 1, 2012


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The San Pedro Sun

Turneffe Atoll is officially a Marine Reserve
Turneffe Atoll is now a Marine Reserve after a commemoration ceremony was held on Thursday November 22nd to officially declare the atoll the latest marine reserve in Belize. In September of this year, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development Honorable Lisel Alamilla took a proposal to the Belize Cabinet to have the Turneffe Atoll declared a marine reserve. Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow, along with his Cabinet, endorsed, supported and enacted the proposal which was finally signed into law. The newly form Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve spans over 325,000 acres and now becomes the largest Marine Reserve in Belize and is considered one of the largest and most biologically diverse atoll in the Caribbean. Speaking at the event, Minister Alamilla said that the signing is historical. “Well, I think it’s really a historical event because from my understanding, the Turneffe Atoll has been a gap, like a big hole in the marine protected areas system of Belize. It was already recognized that it is of ecological importance, and that we needed to protect and manage it. But for whatever reasons, that had not transpired, so today, that was made possible. So, it’s really – some people are telling me that more than 20 years ago – it was recognized that this was an area which really needed to be protected. It will be managed like any other marine reserve. Really, the way we manage and utilize marine reserves is that it’s really to enhance them; it’s a tool to manage the fisheries sector. Only 10% of the area is a no-take zone. So all the other areas, people can fish in and conduct other activities. So, it’s really more enforcement, monitoring and research going on. We were fortunate enough to have gotten a major contribution for the Bertarelli Foundation in millions of dollars, which will be used to set up the management for Turneffe Atoll,” disclosed Alamilla. Earlier this month, Belize was listed as being among eight countries listed by the European Commission as having a poor track record in dealing with illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The report indicated that that Belize, who was not yet blacklisted, is being given an opportunity to formally respond, refute and take measures to rectify the situation. According to Alamilla, while a separate piece of legislation will be presented to the Solicitor General that will address the issues highlighted by the European Commission, the enactment of Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve is a step in the right direction and is a form of commitment that Belize is prepared to look at positives measures to regulate the use of its waters, especially in the fisheries industry.

US National charged for assaulting officer…Arresting officer transferred with immediate effect
A US national vacationing on Ambergris Caye faced five charges after she disrespected Woman Police Corporal Sharmane Young and also assaulted the female corporal while being detained. The US national is 43-year-old Lisa Marie Merz, a nurse from Syracuse, New York. The incident happened on Saturday, November 24th along the beach in the downtown area of San Pedro Town, after the police proceeded to search a man who was suspected of selling drugs to tourists. According to police, sometime around 12:30AM, while on duty, Corporal Young’s attention was brought to a dark-skinned male who appeared to be selling drugs to some tourists. According to police, a female tourist was cursing at the man in a loud manner since he had offered her drugs. Police said that with the assistance of a special constable, they attempted to search the individual. It is reported by police that the female tourist was demanding that she witness the process. The tourist, later identified as Merz, was in the company of another male, 18-year-old Swiss national Jonathan Pacheles, who was trying to calm Merz down. Pacheles told police that while he only met Merz at a night club a few hours before, all he wanted was for her to calm down and as such took her away. But Merz returned and according to police, that’s when she began cursing at them on Barrier Reef Drive. Both Pacheles and the police said that Corporal Young asked her to discontinue her behavior and gave her the option to leave the area. Police claimed that when she was warned, Merz swore at the Corporal again and that’s when she was informed that she was under arrest. While police proceeded to arrest Merz, she allegedly pushed Young with both of her hands. Merz is alleged to have uttered to Corporal Young, “$%*! You! Don’t tell me a mother $%*!” after which she proceeded to resist arrest by walking away. With the assistance of other police officers who responded to the area, Merz was restrained. While in custody, police said that Merz continued to utter very crude and offensive obscenities at Young, causing the officer to feel “very insulted and disrespected” especially since she is tasked directly with the responsibility of tourism safety on Ambergris Caye. In his statement to police, witness Pacheles explained that “Lisa’s behavior was uninvited and unprovoked and in my mind, as a tourist, it was disrespectful even after she was given the option to leave the area.”

The Belize Zoo: The Best Little Zoo in the World Indeed!
“Make sure you pull your hair back from your forehead,” instructed Sharon Matola. “Hair will most definitely be an issue for Junior.” Junior Buddy was the gorgeous jaguar who presently sat purring above us, only a wire cage keeping him from joining us in the box we sat in. We were at the Belize Zoo, considered the “best little zoo” in the whole world. Junior was just one of the many animals we had seen during our behind the scenes visit with founder and all-around amazing Zoo director Sharon Matola. But back to the foreheads (hair pulled back): I went first, one trembling hand pulling back my hair, and then slowly, I put my forehead against the cage right next to his big, furry face. Through the cage the roughest yet gentlest tongue began LICKING MY FOREHEAD!! It was the most excruciating and exhilarating experience – here I was, in a zoo with jungle-like environment, and mere threaded metal holding back hundreds of pounds of big cat with a 900lb crushing power per inch of tooth, and he was licking my forehead like any old kitty. My companions were thrilled and they too eagerly offered up their foreheads. One of them was so delicious Junior drooled all over her. I have to admit I was just a smidge jealous – I wanted Junior to drool over me. But there you go, either in the zoo or jungle, even a jaguar didn’t think I was drool-worthy; sigh. Junior is one of the most well-known jaguars throughout Belize, and is a perfect example of enrichment training. Junior Buddy was born at the zoo to a problematic sheep-killing jaguar, and his mother rejected him a mere two days after being born. Jaguars are highly intelligent creatures, and the zoo staff, especially Sharon, have found creative ways to keep his mind agile. One of the fun tricks he has learned is somersaulting. Yes, big ole kitty tumbling just doesn’t seem to be right, yet there he was, doing tricks for us (there is video evidence below!). Treats are in order after such impressive tricks, (he also loves applause, but treats are so much nicer) and we can’t help but feel awe when a jaguar gently takes a chicken gizzard or neck from our hands after it’s shown off its impressive skills.

Ambergris Today

John McAfee Claims Gang Suppression Unit Raided His San Pedro Home
Word was out that Belize’s Gang Suppression Unit conducted a search raid at John McAfee’s house located on North Ambergris Caye, yesterday, Thursday, November 29, 2012. Ambergris Today got word of this from neighbors in the area, but both the police press officer and the head of the GSU say that there was no search at McAfee’s property and that in fact, the unit was not even in San Pedro. The following was posted on McAfee’s blog yesterday, Thursday, November 29, 2012: “The GSU and the Coast Gasurd raided my property in San Pedro. They confiscated approximately $400,000 worth of property – cameras, computers, police gear purchased for donations (Note: I had donated tasers, pepper spray, to the SP Police department 4 weeks ago) and other items. They spent 3 hours ransacking every one of my buildings. This is the 8th search of my property since my disappearance. It is certain, in my mind that something or other was planted during this search. What it may be, I have no clue. This is the first time that they have openly taken items from me since the first raid in April of this year. This is all I know for now. Stay tuned. Update: Sam’s father has just been arrested. Threatened to taser him. Locked my housekeeper in her house. Terrorized her. This is April all over again.

Mrs. Barrow & Ambassador Wu donate wheelchairs to Belizeans
The Special Envoy for Women and Children along with the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and CARE-Belize this morning donated 20 wheelchairs to physically challenged Belizeans and the Belize City Emergency Management Organization (CEMO). Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow was present for the handing over along with Taiwanese Ambassador, H.E. David Wu and CARE-Belize Director, Evan Cowo. Four of the chairs went to children in Belize City, 10 to residents of Orange Walk and Corozal, 1 to a child from Cayo, while Councilor in charge of CEMO, Phillip Willoughby, received 5. The 20 wheelchairs are a part of 150 mobility aids, which were procured through the assistance of the Taiwanese Embassy. The list includes: 5 Adaptable pediatric wheelchairs; 10 Personal energy transportation (PET) carts; 20 Adaptable Adult Wheelchairs; 50 Standard children chairs; 55 Adult Folding Wheelchairs; and 10 Table recliners.

Isla Bonita Marching Band Readies for Band Fest 2013
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize is one of the most caring and generous towns that I know. Wednesday, November 28, 2012, islanders tuned into the local Morning Show on Reef TV to help out the Isla Bonita Marching Band to raise funds to represent San Pedro at Band Fest 2013. I was honored to give a helping hand at their Radiothon and Dollar Drive that took place this week. I must admit that this was the first time that I ever participated in a radiothon. It was an awesome experience and feeling to know that you are helping out, especially the youths. Personally, I am very impressed and proud of this marching band for their dedication. I have witnessed their outstanding performance for every special occasion that they have been invited to participate in. On behalf of the Isla Bonita Marching Band, I extend a huge THANK YOU to the entire community of San Pedro who helped support the successful Radiothon and Dollar Drive. They still need a bit more funds and any assistance that can be rendered to them would be greatly appreciated. If you wish to help out the Isla Bonita Marching Band, check out my video below for all the information.

Misc Belizean Sources

Travellers Have Top Reasons for Christmas in Belize
While Belize is known for many things, such as a top dive spot, for its rainforests dotted with many Maya temples and archaeological sites and a laid back lifestyle, it can also be the perfect place for a Christmas holiday, according to Denise Duran, Chaa Creek’s Guest Services Coordinator. Ms Duran said that based on her own observations and feedback from guests, she’s picked three of the top reasons why Belize is the perfect Christmas holiday destination for families, couples, singles and groups of friends. “If you consider all the factors including natural beauty, weather, close proximity to the major US airports and what you get for your money, Belize begins looking like the perfect Christmas vacation destination,” she said, and listed three of the most mentioned reasons why. One - Weather. “The weather is wonderful this time of year, with temperatures between 71°F (22°C) with and 80°F (27°C) and a monthly average of around 75°F (24°C) in December.” Two - Affordability. “People always tell me that they don’t realise what a good deal it is here until after they arrive and see how much there is to do. Over the years Chaa Creek has really become a destination within a destination, meaning that once you arrive here, you can have a complete, affordable Belize experience without leaving our 365 acre rainforest reserve.” she said. “For instance, last year the father of a family said they had the time of their lives and spent less than the previous year at home, because everything everyone wanted to do, from the adults, the teens to the young children, was right here and included in their all-inclusive Belize vacation package. With the horseback riding, mountain bikes, canoes, nature walks, pool and everything else, they never ran out of things to do, and since all meals, tips, taxes and everything is included in one price, they just didn’t spend much money after they arrived. He said that back home, things like dinners out, movie tickets, and all the little treats during Christmas added up to a lot of money they didn’t need to spend this year. Let’s just say he was very happy.

Belize Jewel Series: Tony Rath Photography
Nice write up by a travel writer Lily Girma about a few days we spent together exploring Southern Belize..... Earlier this month, I received a request from my publisher to submit an author bio and photo for my guidebook by December. It has haunted me ever since, because a) I cringe when I have to write about myself in the third person, and b) if you ask me how many times I’ve been in front of a lens since becoming a travel photographer four years ago, I can count them on one hand. For all the months I’ve spent in Belize, the multiple round trips, the gorgeous backdrops I’ve captured and experienced, the thousands upon thousands of shots — I’ve rarely, ever felt the need to be in them. If I have a photo, either a tour guide or friend suggested it, or it was a quick handheld shot. I just don’t think about having my photo taken anymore. Ironic, for someone who used to model on the side, years ago — from bridal to local runway shows in Washington DC — and who loved doing the “tourist” thing back in my 20s (you know, the obligatory stand-in-front-of-everything photo). Well, I spent the past week in Dangriga, to continue my work on the South Coast chapter and to attend the November 19 Garifuna Settlement Day celebrations. Anyone who knows Belize and Dangriga, knows that the best photographer in the country lives here (in my humble opinion, he is the best). It’s a name you’ve probably even seen yourself, online or in print:

BBG Having Second Gardener Class
The Belize Botanic Gardens is conducting its second professional class for certifying gardeners. From our partners at Belize Botanic Gardens. BBG is conducting the second class to certify gardeners. This is a very successful program and it is getting high praise from Belizean and foreign press. The Belize Botanic Gardens have a beautiful website at:

Tripple Bar Launch Party at Aguada
The Aguada will host the Tripple Bar Scents & Things launch party tonight starting at 3pm. It's a great event to find those Christmas gifts for the one you love. "A new company that caters to the fragrance desires of Belize. “Tripple Bar Scents n’ Things” is Belize’s first company to bring you products such as Highly Scented: "Hand Poured” Jar Candles Aroma Beads Goat Milk Soaps Salt & Sugar Scrubs Effusion lamps And other fragrance related items We also specialize in customizing special items for your company’s needs as well as a standard line of products for everyone."

Channel 7

Henkis, Serial Pedophile, Jailed For A Third Time
43 year-old Lee Henkis, a Belize City man convicted of sodomizing a 9-year-old boy, will spend 8 years in prison for it. As we reported, in his trial the victim testified that in July of 2010, he went to Henkis's house on Dean Street to pick up a phone which Henkis had promised him earlier that day. The boy said that Henkis took him to a bedroom, took off his clothes, and sodomized him. And Henkis' depravity got worse when he took out a video camera and videotaped the 9 year-old boy while he was nude. The boy said that Henkis put back on the clothes, gave him the cell phone he had promised, and sent him home. In his mitigation hearing today, Henkis called 1 character witness who spoke well of him in their years of interaction when they were growing up. This witness also recounted that Henkis is now the father of 2 week-old baby boy, and she told the court that she hopes that Henkis will still be able to get to know his son later in life. Because Henkis had 2 convictions of an unnatural crime, spanning back to the days when it was known as aggravated assault of an indecent nature against 2 other boys, he was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Barrow and F. Fonseca Clash On Superbond Negotiations
The House of Representatives met today in Belmopan where a raft of new pieces of legislation was presented for first reading. They include amendments to the Banking and Financial Institution Bill, A trafficking in persons prohibition bill, A commercial sexual exploitation of children bill and five other pieces of legislation. All were tabled today and will be presented for debate at a house meeting in two weeks. In short, it was an unusually productive day at the House, and the formal business finished before noon. And that's when the sparring began - first with the leader of the opposition Francis Fonseca and Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Speaking on the adjournment, Fonseca said that the debt renegotiation has been going so poorly that the PM has been throwing tantrums:.. Hon. Francis Fonseca - Leader of the Opposition "And I have to say, Mr. Speaker, that temper tantrums thrown by our Prime Minister in moments of frustration do not help the process; in fact, it further erodes the confidence of the international community in the restructuring exercise. Calling out the IDB President, and the US President, is in my view personal; it's petty, and offers no answers to the Belizean people. And keep in mind, Mr. Speaker, that this is the same IDB President - and Mr. Moreno has been the IDB president now, I believe - if I am not mistaken - for about 8 years, and has been very helpful to Belize in other initiatives. Now, we're at the point where we're scolding - the Leader of our country - is scolding President Obama. I don't know who this helps, Mr. Speaker. It may be for the Prime Minister's ego, but it sure isn't good for Belize. We have to, of course, place in context the Prime Minister's remarks, you know. He was doing all this chest thumping and name calling, standing of course in front of the Zinc Fence, the Kremandala Empire, where of course he goes from time to time to renew his nationalist credentials. So, maybe that's all it was; maybe we shouldn't read too much into it. Maybe that's all it was, a lot of hot air. Despite the disrespect, despite the lack of information, we continue to sincerely hope - as I said - that even at this stage, the restructuring exercise meets with success."

Barrow Says No Int'l Reaction To Bond Counter-Offer Yet
And while the Prime Minister's harsh words about the IDB President have stirred some positive response from that institution - the bondholder community is not so easily moved. Yesterday at noon, Government launched a revised set of Superbond 2.0 scenarios - with some concessions made to bondholders. Will it be enough to arrive at a new deal? That's what we asked the Prime Minister today:... Jose Sanchez "Have the bondholders offered a position as yet in response to the Government's new offerings." Prime Minister Dean Barrow "To the new ones, no, not as yet." Jules Vasquez "Now, how far are we prepared to go? This is a counterproposal, to their counterproposal. Are we prepared to make yet another counterproposal? We are at well beyond the 90 days." Prime Minister Dean Barrow "Clearly, one we're talking, there must be, on both side, a willingness to be flexible. One doesn't make a counterproposal as we've done just for the sake of making a counterproposal. In other words, it is not -we don't see it as merely one more bargaining chip. Serious work has gone into the counterproposal, and the counterproposal is, in the revised circumstances we think, absolutely justified. If the counterproposal is as it is - driven actual reality, numbers, projections - then you know that it's not a proposal from which we would be prepared to depart easily.

McAfee Security Chief Gets Bail
His boss is in hiding, but tonight John McAfee's chief of security William Mulligan is free on bail. As we've reported, on November 14th, Mulligan was charged for multiple counts of kept firearm and ammunition without a license - for which remand is automatic. The firearms were part of an arsenal police found at McAfee's home on northern Ambergris Caye as they investigated the murder of American Gregory Faull. On Sunday 11th November, police found a 12 gauge Remington pump action shot gun loaded with seven cartridges and one Baikal brand 12 gauge single action shot gun. William Mulligan was at the home and charged for kept firearm and ammunition without a gun license for which remand is automatic. Today, Mulligan's attorney, Ellis Arnold took his bail petition to the Supreme Court before Justice Herbert Lord. Crown Counsel Christophe Rodriguez, who represented the DPP's office objected on the sole ground that while in custody Mulligan told investigators that he was a British National. Rodriguez told the court that if that information was accurate, it meant that Mulligan was a flight risk, which was prosecution's main ground for objecting to bail. Ellis Arnold produced an authentic copy of Mulligan's immigration document, which verified that he has dual British and Belizean Nationalities, therefore proving that his Belizean ties indicates that he isn't a flight risk.

The Coast Guard Is Strong At Seven
Ten years ago - if you had a maritime emergency or a crime on the seas - you'd call the BDF Maritime Unit. But 7 years ago, those duties were handed over to a then fledgling Coast Guard. Since then, with major funding and support from the US Government, that law enforcement agency has moved from strength to strength - with a few hiccups along the way. Today it celebrated those strengths in a seventh anniversary celebration. Monica Bodden was there:... Monica Bodden reporting The Belize Coast Guard was formed on the twenty eight of November 2005 - and ever since then - they have commemorated their anniversary annually. This year marks their 7th Anniversary - and this morning the official ceremonies were held at the Coast Guard Headquarters on the Western Highway. The one hundred and fifty two members both men and women were on full display today in front of an audience that included dignitaries and military personnel. At this morning's ceremony, Captain John Borland, Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard was also promoted to Rear Admiral - the highest rank in the maritime agency.

He Cashed A Stolen Check
32 year-old Darren Gonzalez is facing criminal charges tonight after police said that he knowingly cashed a stolen check. According to police, Elisabeth Villanueva reported that on August 31, someone stole several personal checks from her Atlantic Bank checkbook. Well, police say that sometime between August 31 and October 12, Gonzalez forged his name onto one of those checks as the recipient, and cashed out $600 of Villanueva's money from her account. As a result, he was arraigned this afternoon before Magistrate Adolph Lucas on charges of forgery, theft and claiming upon a false document. The charges will be treated as indictable, so no plea was taken, but Gonzalez was granted bail of $5,000. He was not able to meet bail today, so he was taken to prison this evening.

Alleged Armed Robber Remanded
18 year old Steven Bernard is at prison tonight after police say that he committed an armed robbery. According to police, yesterday he robbed Inio Martinez of $30 in different denominations along with several coins. They further allege he retreated to his home on Electric Avenue after the robbery where he and 21 year old Lucia Moreno, who lives at the same residence tried to get rid of the money. As a result, Bernard was charged with robbery and threatening words because he allegedly issued a death threat after he robbed Martinez. Moreno was separately charged with abetment to commit robbery in connection with this incident. Both accused were arraigned before Magistrate Adolph Lucas, and due to the nature of the charges, Bernard was remanded until December 27. Moreno was granted bail of $4,000 which she was able to meet. She is also expected to return to court on December 27.

Hard Talk About Northern Regional At House Meeting
The Northern Regional Hospital has been much in the news recently for a number of obstetric and neo-natal mishaps. Today at the House of Representatives, Area Representative for Orange Walk East and private clinic owner Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez openly catalogued a number of those sad cases in graphic detail and demanded an answer from the Minister of Health, Corozal Bay's Pablo Marin:.. Hon. Marco Tulio Mendez "Now after hearing the stories of this patient - of these suffering mothers, when you see them depress, devastated, in grief, that loneliness that they are going through - it really make you wonder. It makes you wonder what the hell went wrong. Now Mr. Speaker, there are many patients. I just want to briefly give you some of them. We have Ms. Magdelena Chable, 31 years old. She reported that she had a rapture bladder and a child with severe asphyxia. If you may allow me Mr. Speaker, I just want to show - this is an image of that baby. We always say that photos are worth more than a thousand words - this cat scan on this baby has suffered brain damage with severe - I would say more than a million neurons, million brain cells that have died. This child won't be able to speak, walk, and learn. This is not the only patient; we have Ms. Coh, a 17 year old patient, just a teenager. Her baby has severe asphyxia - they reach on a timely hour at the hospital. They did their pre-natal care, yet that baby has severe asphyxia, severe brain damage - the same. That baby will have disability for the rest of their life." "We have Ms. Alicia Pott, you saw her in the media, a very brave woman. She went through 3 operations, ended up at the Karl Heusner Memorial hospital, almost dead. It is very important for the ministry, for the Minister to come out with a statement. This is not personal Minister and I hope that you are not personal on this occasion."

Belize Border Road "Soon Come"
Also discussed in the house today - with less heated disagreement - were the new border facilities in Mexico. As we've reported, they've built the bridge and the road on their side - and are now waiting on Belize to do its part. Speaking on the adjournment, the area representative for Corozal Southeast asked the Prime Minister when will Belize step up:.. Hon. Florencio Marin "We saw that the Mexican President who has one more day, today is his last official day as president, President Calderon inaugurating the bridge. The only thing about that is that you cross which I did just yesterday we are still using the old border and there are still no access to the new bridge and I would like for the government at least inform us as to when will this access come through." "When going to the north Mr. Speaker if you look left you will see the bridge, its already there, everything is ready. The Mexican facilities are already in the place." Hon. Dean Barrow "The rest of the infrastructure work that we need to do on our side is being funded by a loan that we got from CABEI (The Central American Bank of Economic Integration), now the processes of the bank were extraordinarily slow. In fact when I was in Honduras 3 or so weeks ago, I went to the bank and we spoke about that, But the contract has I believe now been signed. The contractor was chosen after the tenders were open and the letter of no objection from CABEI has been received so the works should commence I would imagine within another week or so."

Major Int'l Fest Planned For Xunantunich
NICH today announced that the Xunantunich Archaeological Reserve will be closed from December 12th to December 26th, 2012. A release from NICH says that quote, "the closure is to prepare for the launch of an International Musical Event." We couldn't reach anyone to tell us what that event is - but we do know that there's been talk about an concert with international artists to coincide with the end of the Mayan Calendar on December 21st., 2012. According to NICH, the internationally televised concert will raise funds for the conservation of Belize's cultural heritage and its archaeological parks.

Pedestrian Crossings For Deadly Stretch Of Road
Tomorrow - after a number of fatalities over the years - pedestrian crossings will be put on the northern highway between Brodies and the Divine Mercy Church. A public notice says that The Ministry of Works and Transport will be installing 2 pedestrian crossings at mile 2 1/2. It is expected that the crossings will be completed by Next week Thursday. Motorists travelling in that area are advised that there will be works on the road which will cause some blockage of the normal flow of traffic.

Primary School "Ping-Pang"
The first primary school table tennis competition was held today at the Belize Elementary Auditorium. 40 students from five different primary schools in Belize City took part in the event. Those schools included, St Mary's Anglican Primary School, St Joseph, Trinity Methodist, Wesley Upper and The Belize Elementary. At the end of the competition, the home team Belize Elementary took both First and third place while St Joseph primary took home both second and fourth place. The competition started at 9 this morning and wrapped up at 3 this afternoon. We spoke to the organizer and some of the winners:.. Arturo Vasquez - President, Belize Table Tennis Association "We had the first primary school table tennis competition, the first of its kind. It will be an annual event." Monica Bodden "Tell us a little bit about the competition?" Arturo Vasquez "We started with 40 kids, 5 schools. We played robin competition where all kids play each other in 8 groups and from there the 16 winners advance to a double elimination finals." Monica Bodden "The students are from around the country or only Belize City?"

The City Of Blinding Lights
Ready or not, the Christmas season is upon us, and tonight, downtown Belize City looks the part. That's because the towering Bowen and Bowen Christmas Tree was lit up two hours ago. 7News caught up with the Belize City Mayor before the lighting and he told us that the Bowen Group of Companies has a surprise this year: Mayor Darrell Bradley "There is a new program that has been designed by the Bowen and Bowen group. I don't want to let the cat out of the bag, it's supposed to be very novel - it's something that they do all throughout the world and it's the first time that its being done in Belize. This is always an exciting time for the City Council - we partnered with Bowen & Bowen now for several years and we also have a lot of other sponsors and its really like an electrifying event. Young people are out here, the Bowen group has been out here since morning putting up the tree, setting up everything. The City Council staff has been out here ensuring traffic management, security, ensuring that all the goodies and gifts have been properly organized and are going to be distributed properly."

Channel 5

Prime Minister explains why government rejected bondholders plan
Belize’s super bond debt stands close to five hundred and fifty million US dollars. The government’s initial proposal was rejected by bondholders but the committee representing bondholders and the government continued negotiations that concluded in a counter offer by the bondholders. The rejection of the terms proposed by the bondholders was posted on the Central [...]

PM says negotiations continue with counter proposals
The government’s two counter proposals, one which includes a haircut of thirty-three percent and an interest rate of four point five percent that would increase to six point seven-five percent after five years. The second proposal had no haircut but lower interest rates over forty years along with a grace period of ten years on [...]

New ombudsman, sexual exploitation bill and US$7 million loan tabled
The government’s counter offer is posted on the Central Bank of Belize website. But the bond was not the only item of business attended to at today’s House Meeting. Eight bills and two motions were vetted into a compact session. There was a frivolous argument over two ambulances that were donated by a group in [...]

Belize Coastguard reaches a milestone
It was a proud day for the Belize Coast Guard as two significant achievements were celebrated; the seventh anniversary of the service was on November twenty-eighth and the commandant has been promoted to a higher rank. Both occasions were rolled into a grand ceremony this morning. The uniforms were crisp, the band was on point [...]

Coastguard Says it was not a part of McAfee house raid
We reported on Thursday night that John McAfee, the anti-virus founder who is hiding from police, had claimed on his blog that his San Pedro property had been raided by the Gang Suppression (GSU) and the Belize Coast Guard. The GSU and police denied that a search was carried out and today News Five found [...]

Child molester gets eight years in prison
In court news, Lee Henkis, the forty-three year old man who was convicted on November twenty-first of Committing an Unnatural Crime reappeared for sentencing today. Since Henkis was unrepresented, Justice Troadio Gonzalez heard mitigation pleas from his childhood friend, Gale Banner, who told the court that they grew up together and she remembers the good [...]

Bonnie and Clyde? Couple charged for robbery
A man was robbed at gunpoint on Thursday and police were quick to arrest the suspected gunman and a woman believed to have been his accomplice. This afternoon, eighteen year old Steven Bernard and twenty-one year old Lucia Moreno appeared before Magistrate Adolph Lucas. Bernard was charged with Robbery and Threatening Words while Moreno was [...]

Police Community Awareness Day in zone 4 crime ridden area
Police efforts to build relationships with residents of various areas of the city continued today. A Community Awareness Day was held in zone four of the crime ridden areas and the Community Policing Unit invited several agencies to provide information on services residents may not know are available to them. Students and members of the [...]

Tourism reps of Central America meet on Ambergris Caye
The Central American Tourism Integration System, known by its Spanish acronym SITCA, held a meeting in San Pedro earlier today to discuss and review the development of tourism initiatives within the region. SITCA, an arm of the Central American Integration System, represents seven member states which collectively reported that upwards of eight million tourists have [...]

Xunan gets to the point in regional fencing tournament
It’s a sport that’s not well known in Belize, but a fourteen year old from Belmopan competed in two Fencing tournaments in El Salvador this week. Xunan Smith attended the sixth annual Giorgio Scarso International Tournament and the Central American and Caribbean Championship. On Sunday, in the Giorgio Scarso International Tournament, Smith was at fifth [...]

First ever primary schools table tennis tournament
Fencing is a new opportunity that will hopefully draw more youths to engage in competitive activity. But soccer and basketball are no doubt the two most popular sports in Belize. But one sport that carries no height advantage is table tennis. It’s played by both the strong and disabled and it’s now an official sporting [...]

Xunantunich shuts down for two weeks
That tournament has come to a close and in less than a month the Mayan calendar also winds down. And by no cosmic relation, the Xunantunich Archaeological Reserve is also on lock down. Visitors to the site are advised that the site will be closed from December twelfth to the twenty-sixth, in order to organize [...]

Weh di road deh to new border bridge?
Earlier on the newscast you heard about the U.S. seven point two million dollar loan that the government is receiving to upgrade roads and infrastructure. One particular piece of real estate near the border with Mexico has been under constant discussion lately. Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon is leaving office and his government has financed a [...]

San Pedranos get international DJs for the weekend
What’s Happening Belize may have gone quietly into the sunset a year ago but weekend activities are still pretty much a staple across the country. Residents of a La Isla Bonita will be treated to an exclusive partnership between Miami’s Black Chiney sound crew and Jamaica’s Coppa Shot sounds as they team up to celebrate [...]

Healthy Living with HIV part 2
On Thursday night, we brought the first of a two part series on living with HIV in Belize. It looks into the lives of two very different persons who have faced similar struggles since testing positive. We’re using the aliases of Morton and T to protect their identities as they share their stories to help [...]


Belize Rejects Counter Proposal from External Creditors
The government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow has rejected a counter proposal from external creditors who collectively own five hundred and forty eight million US dollars in bonds, scheduled for maturity in 2029. Negotiation of Belize’s external debt, also known as the super...

Immigration Nabs Man for Human Trafficking
48-year-old Guatemalan national, Rolando Velasquez Darbon was arrested as part of an ongoing Immigration sting that continues in Belize City. Darbon pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting a Salvadoran and Guatemalan national and fined $3,000.00. He was ordered to pay the fine fort...


Prime Minister addresses the on going negotiations with bond holders.
The Government of Belize has largely rejected a counter-proposal set forth by holders of the superbond..The two sid... Government introduces a Trafficking in Persons Prevention Bill.

Government introduces a Trafficking in Persons Prevention Bill.
The Hon. Anthony Boots Martinez, who is the Minister of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Allevi... Government introduces commercial sexual exploitation of children bill

Government introduces commercial sexual exploitation of children bill
At this morning’s House Meeting, besides the Trafficking in Persons Bill, Hon. Anthony Martinez also introduced a c... CDF hold event to mobilize youth against CSEC

CDF hold event to mobilize youth against CSEC
One organization that will be very happy about that bill is the Child Development Foundation. It has been advocatin...

Lee Henkis gets 8 years for sodomizing a nine year old boy
Lee Henkis was sentenced today to eight years in prison. Last week, Henkis was convicted for sodomizing a nine year...

John McAfee is still in hiding
John McAfee is still in hiding as police in Belize want him for questioning in relation to the shooting murder of h...

PUP facing internal turmoil
Media reports are that the northern caucus of the People’s United Party has been having some internal turmoil follo...

National Neighbourhood Watch Association receives CARCIE grant
With the rise of crime, particularly burglaries and home invasions, neighbourhood watches are becoming more vigilan...


Francis and Florencio bow to “Papas” and Johnny!
“Papas” Garcia may make bid for chairman of the PUP Corozal Bay committee Trouble has been brewing up north inside Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. Over two weeks ago on Saturday, November 10, the PUP’s 2012 standard-bearer for Corozal Bay, Gregorio “Papas” Garcia, Jr., was not allowed to enter a hastily convened convention to elect an executive committee for the constituency. “Papas” Garcia, who lost by 148 votes in the March 7 general elections, and who is considered by some to be an emerging young leader in the party, had expected that there would have been a contested convention sometime before the end of January – the deadline set by the party’s Northern Caucus for branch conventions for the 8 northern constituencies. But days before November 10, Garcia got wind that the present chairman of the committee, Roberto Pasos, was making arrangements to have a closed-door convention without the participation of Garcia and his supporters inside the existing executive and the wider PUP community. Pasos, our sources say, was claiming that he was acting on directives from the party’s leadership. Garcia and former PUP leader and Orange Walk PUP boss, John Briceño, complained to party leader Francis Fonseca, but to no avail. On Saturday, November 10, reportedly at the home of PUP Corozal Southeast area representative Florencio Marin, Jr., Pasos and his cohorts went ahead with a convention, denying entry to Garcia and a number of his would-be supporters. Elected on that new branch executive for Corozal Bay were at least two of the three Corozal Bay politicians Garcia had in fact beaten to become standard-bearer for the constituency in January 2011.

GOB rejects bondholders’ offer
A memorandum released today from the Belize Ministry of Finance and Economic Development announces that the government has rejected counterproposals made by a committee of creditors holding the majority of Belize’s US $544 million super-bond which matures in 2029, because the terms, although they could mean short-term savings, will eventually put Belize back in the same situation as the existing bond, under which it found itself unable to meet US$23 million in debt service obligations on August 20. The Government of Belize (GoB) paid only half that sum the following month, while negotiations with creditors have been ongoing for the past five months to iron out better terms. Government presented three restructuring scenarios on August 8, and creditors, who were very unhappy with what some analysts described not as a “haircut” but as a “scalping”, finally responded with their counter-proposals last week, November 21. “The scenarios combine, in different measure, temporary reductions in the current coupon rate with modest extensions in average life,” today’s update said. “All of them involve a return to the current 8.5% coupon upon the expiry of the reduced coupon period.” Disappointed with those counter-proposals, GoB responded today with a second set of proposals, in the hope that the chasm can be bridged between what creditors want and what GoB deems sustainable in the long-term. Head of Belize’s Debt Negotiating Team Mark Espat told Amandala that whereas the proposal made by the creditor committee, representing Greylock, Zurich, and UTC of Trinidad and Tobago and others, does mean near-term savings for Belize, the arrangements would, in the longer-term, be unsustainable for the country.

Belize U-15 football team returns from San Domingo with gold
It’s been generations since Belizean female softball players won Gold in the Central American and Caribbean Games in Santo Domingo back in 1974, and finally in 2012, it took the little ones to win the first Gold in male football at the international level. The YWAM-Belize U-15 football selection, with technical assistance from the FFB, on Sunday clinched the Gold medal in a quadrangular tournament in the Dominican Republic (DR) that included a team from Guadalajara, Mexico, considered the favorites to win it all. There were 5 teams from DR along with a team each from Belize, Haiti and Mexico. Belize was placed in the toughest group, which included Mexico; but our boys rose to the occasion, after being down 1-nil, and defeated Mexico, 2-1. It was the same in the championship match against the Dominican national youth selection; Belize was down 1-nil in the first half, but came back to win by a 2-1 score. According to our sources, many Santo Domingo fans knew little about Belize; but they will surely be learning a lot about Belize in the days to come, as they analyze the stunning defeats they suffered from these kids out of the Jewel. The Belize team left quietly on American Airlines last Wednesday, November 21, but returned to a heroes’ welcome on Tuesday of this week after their stunning and historic accomplishment. Congratulations to our young heroes and their head coach, YWAM Director Santiago “Santi” Valencia, who says he has emphasized discipline and moral/spiritual fortitude as the foundation upon which his team is built. The FFB gave invaluable support with the assistance of National Development Director Renan Couoh. “He took us to another level,” said coach Santi. It was truly a Belize team effort, and all can be justly proud of their great accomplishment. Accompanying the team to Santo Domingo was head coach Santi Valencia and his wife, Liliana, who travelled as team chaperone.

Jared Avery Ranguy, 26, arraigned for murdering his mother, sister and stepfather
The murders occurred on Marage Road in Ladyville Jared Avery Ranguy, 26, an unemployed resident of #5 Marage Road in Ladyville, was today taken before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith to be arraigned for the murders of his sister, Teena Beth Skeen, 32, his mother, Abbidale Karen Vellos, 51, and his stepfather, Robert Vellos, Sr., 72. Police say that Ranguy is the person who committed the heinous killings, shooting his stepfather and sister, and stabbing his mother multiple times. Police responded to a call of gunshots being fired in Ladyville and when they arrived, they found Ranguy with a machete in his hand, screaming. But when police searched the house Monday morning, they found a black bag containing a silver and black Taurus pistol loaded with one live round, an orange knife with a 7- inch blade, a T-shirt and black trousers – all hidden in the attic. All the items found were covered with blood. Ranguy’s father was the only family member present in court when his son was arraigned for the murders. Jared appeared zombie-like in his movements, almost mechanical. After being read the first charge and asked if he understood them, with his head bowed, he merely shook it. The Chief Magistrate then informed him that he had to answer, and he only replied “yes”. No eye contact was made between himself and the magistrate.

Belize Bank Bulldogs sweep Truckers on their way to 2012 Finals
78-58 and 78-63 were the final scores shown this past Friday and Saturday night, respectively, on the windswept scoreboard perched in the aged rafters at Big Bird’s Isle. 78 obviously was the lucky number for the Bulldogs and clearly their recipe for success, as they were able to sweep their opponents, “Truckers,” in resounding fashion, by the aforementioned scores, and as a result are now headed to the 2012 U-23 Basketball Finals. The Bulldogs’ balanced offensive attack, team speed, and depth continue to be their strong points. This was on display over the entire weekend, which saw Lennox Spencer and Brian White contributing 13 pts each in the close-out win on Saturday night, followed closely by Jamir Flores 12 pts and Lincey Lopez 11 pts. Meanwhile, the southern connection of Ray Cruz and Edgar Mitchell contributed 8 pts each, with Macario Augustine from Hopkins scoring 6 pts while snagging 13 rebs. On Friday night, despite an offensive challenge brought on by the strong north winds, the Bulldogs nevertheless was able to pull away late in the third quarter to post the big 20-point blow-out. Again, the offensive leaders were spread out evenly, with Brian White totaling 21 pts 14 rebs 3 asst, followed by Lincey Lopez 16 pts 3 rebs 5 asst, Lennox Spencer 14 pts 2 rebs 3 stls, and Macario Augustine with 10 pts 22 rebs. Meanwhile, for Truckers the top performer over the past weekend was Glenford Chimilio 14 pts 8 rebs and Stannis Thomas 12 pts 5 rebs on Friday, and on Saturday, it was the latter once again totaling 20 pts 4 rebs, followed by Carlston Barrera with 10 pts. The Bulldogs as a team shot 39 % from the field on Friday night, and followed that up with a 48% shooting clip on Saturday night; while their opponents could only muster a FG% of 32 % for both nights.

Human bones found in downtown Belize City
The bones of two human skeletons were found near the Caye Caulker Water Taxi Terminal on North Front Street yesterday around 10:00 a.m., and a second amount was found around 1:40 p.m. on the same day. About 85 pieces of bones were found in all, and they were taken by police and the Forensics Services. The bones will be examined by the Department of Archeology. The bones were found by workers of the Belize Water Services, who are digging up the road to put down new water lines. Bert Forman, Jr., of the BWS work team, said that they were digging the road when the backhoe scooped up a bucket of earth from the hole, and he saw bones among the earth. He noted immediately that the bones appeared to be those of a human being. He put them on the ground to make the pattern, and the more they dug, the more bones they found. Foreman then put the bones together, and about 200 people came to view them. Police and the media came and police blocked off the area. Forman told Amandala that they were told to cease work for a while, and at about 1:40 p.m. when they began to work again, they found more bones, and again police were called. This is the first time they have found human bones during an excavation of the area, he said.

Belize Sugar Industry under new management commences operations for the New Year
The Belize Sugar Industry begins its operations for the New Year 2012 – 2013 today at the Tower Hill Sugar Factory under new management, which is the American Sugar Refinery, an American company that bought majority shares in the industry, and the operation starts today, Tuesday, November 27. Under the new management, the sugar factory at Tower Hill is expected to mill 1,070,000 tons of cane, to produce about 110 thousand tons of sugar. The Belize Cane Farmers Association said that the past season was good, and the Tower Hill Factory milled around 1,070128 tons of cane out of which 114,536 tons of sugar were produced. It is expected that this year’s sugar season will also be a good year, and very profitable to the cane farmers.

Conclusion of 2012 Hurricane Season
Today, Friday, November 30, marks the conclusion of the 2012 hurricane season. It was a season that saw well above average activity. During this year’s season, there were 19 named systems. Of these, nine were tropical storms. Ten systems became hurricanes and one attained major hurricane status. Hurricane Michael was the only major hurricane of the season, with maximum wind speed of 115 miles per hour. In a typical season based on the period covering the years 1950 to 2000, there would be on average 9 to 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 to 3 major hurricanes of category 3, 4 or 5. Conditions such as the El Niño phenomenon which was to have a suppressing effect on this year’s tropical cyclone activity did not evolve as timely as predicted – hence the above average tropical cyclone activity this year. Here at home, Belize had a close call with Hurricane Ernesto. This hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, made landfall just south of Mahahual, Quintana Roo, Mexico at about 9:15 p.m. on Tuesday, August 7. The track of Hurricane Ernesto focused the likely impacts mainly on the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts. However, impacts to infrastructure were negligible, with the agricultural sector suffering some losses. Ernesto not only turned out to be largely an inconvenience, but also set the stage for a major flooding event that was to follow in the following six days or so in the Corozal District, particularly in the town itself. Citizens are advised to review their preparedness plans in order to identify those parts that did not function properly this past 2012 season, with an aim to improving on those failures and weaknesses. This would lead to enhanced safety and preparedness for the 2013 season. We at the National Meteorological Service will continue to work diligently to improve on our products and services during this off season, so as to be better able to provide even more timely and accurate tropical cyclone forecasts in addition to the other routine services provided daily.

Belize Bank Bulldogs sweep Truckers on their way to 2012 Finals
78-58 and 78-63 were the final scores shown this past Friday and Saturday night, respectively, on the windswept scoreboard perched in the aged rafters at Big Bird’s Isle. 78 obviously was the lucky number for the Bulldogs and clearly their recipe for success, as they were able to sweep their opponents, “Truckers,” in resounding fashion, by the aforementioned scores, and as a result are now headed to the 2012 U-23 Basketball Finals. The Bulldogs’ balanced offensive attack, team speed, and depth continue to be their strong points. This was on display over the entire weekend, which saw Lennox Spencer and Brian White contributing 13 pts each in the close-out win on Saturday night, followed closely by Jamir Flores 12 pts and Lincey Lopez 11 pts. Meanwhile, the southern connection of Ray Cruz and Edgar Mitchell contributed 8 pts each, with Macario Augustine from Hopkins scoring 6 pts while snagging 13 rebs. On Friday night, despite an offensive challenge brought on by the strong north winds, the Bulldogs nevertheless was able to pull away late in the third quarter to post the big 20-point blow-out. Again, the offensive leaders were spread out evenly, with Brian White totaling 21 pts 14 rebs 3 asst, followed by Lincey Lopez 16 pts 3 rebs 5 asst, Lennox Spencer 14 pts 2 rebs 3 stls, and Macario Augustine with 10 pts 22 rebs. Meanwhile, for Truckers the top performer over the past weekend was Glenford Chimilio 14 pts 8 rebs and Stannis Thomas 12 pts 5 rebs on Friday, and on Saturday, it was the latter once again totaling 20 pts 4 rebs, followed by Carlston Barrera with 10 pts. The Bulldogs as a team shot 39 % from the field on Friday night, and followed that up with a 48% shooting clip on Saturday night; while their opponents could only muster a FG% of 32 % for both nights.

From The Publisher
The importance of the visit to Belize of a regional leader/personality like Minister Louis Farrakhan, is the fact that during and immediately after the Minister’s visit, the infighting and wrangling amongst leaders and leaders aspirant in the black community will cease. Everyone will fall into line, and there will be some clarity for a change, though only for a while. The thing that is always muddying Belizean waters is party politics. Take the issue of violent crime, which is essentially a matter of sociology and economics. The party politicians who are out of power find it almost impossible not to blame violent crime on the party in power. So they say, vote us back in and we will take care of business. Although most of us know that it really doesn’t matter that much which party is in power where violent crime is concerned, still some of us, as desperate as we are, are tempted to think that any change is better than no change at all. It being the case that the two major political parties are the largest and most powerful standing organizations in this nation, when they are fighting each other, like the elephants that they are, we grass end up trampled. Nowadays it appears that Belize is in a state of permanent political campaigning: the landscape has changed. In the old days, the party which lost general elections would collapse for a year or two, sometimes even three. Take 1979, for instance. The UDP lost general elections late that year, and immediately collapsed. As late as mid-1981, two and a half years after losing, the UDP remained so weak and traumatized that it was an ad hoc organization, the Belize Action Movement (BAM), which had to lead the fight against the dangerous Heads of Agreement. In the vacuum which used to be created when the defeated party crashed, such ad hoc groups as BAM would emerge. The politicians who were in Opposition knew they wouldn’t be able to raise any significant funding until eighteen months or so before the next general elections. So, they were chilling until the cheese was running.

40 years later: back to Bird’s Isle
When this newspaper began spending every spare dollar we could find on football in 1972 (and continued doing the same with both football and basketball, until six years ago), there were a bunch of people in leadership positions in this community who were writing this off as just a case of sports fanaticism on Partridge Street’s part. Today, forty years later, desperation has set in amongst the various PUDP community leaders, and you will hear them speak wistfully of sports programs. They are almost apologetic; they say it will keep the youngsters busy, keep them out of trouble. We were ahead of our time, is how some people put it. We began pushing the idea of professionalism in football as early as 1975. Our belief was that anything worth doing was worth doing well, and the highest level of any activity is when that activity is professional in nature. Belize was a colonial society, and the amateur sports structure in British Honduras emphasized the power of the referees. Those who inherited the internal power of the British after self-government in 1964, in retrospect, were just as colonial in their thinking when it came to sports. They were immediately opposed to professionalism in sports, because they saw that the players would become important, maybe prominent. Where would the stars come from? The saga of football Dunlop in the late 1950s and the changes in basketball after the sport moved to the St. Ignatius School basketball court in the mid-1960s, clearly suggested that the stars would come from the downtrodden. In Belize City fifty years ago, “downtrodden” meant one thing – black!

Letters: Murderers Day
I hope you don’t think I am being cynical, but I do believe it is time for us as a society to put aside a day to focus all attention on our murderers. We have dedicated special days to concentrate on major ills and evils in our society – HIV/AIDS, Diabetes, Cancer, Gender Based Violence, etc. And we have put aside special occasions to honor and remember those who we consider worthy of attention and discussion – Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Children’s Day, Queen’s Birthday Honors, Heroes and Patriots Day, Remembrance Day for World War I and II veterans, Murder Victims, etc. But there is one group, apparently growing in size, that may be starving for attention. And perhaps it is time they are given that attention. Why? It’s not to “big them up,” of course; but as a community, we need to face reality. All the marches, speeches and candlelight processions have had no effect on this problem that keeps growing and getting worse. Our murderers are getting younger, and they are getting more proficient; and the number of victims keeps growing. These young men responsible for this dire situation are growing in number, and they live right among us, but still effectively on the fringes of our society. They don’t pay much attention to what is written in newspapers, reported on the radio or T.V. news about their victims. They do what they feel they need to do, because that is how they see society as leaving them to survive how they can. Life has maybe dealt them some hard cards; and the name of the game, as far as they are concerned, is to deal hard cards right back. It’s a jungle, as they see it; and life is short, so get “yours” while you can, and to hell with who gets hurt. Nobody cares about them; so they care about nobody. That’s their mentality; how else could they do the things they do, and still live with themselves?

The Reporter

Bravo Belize Youths!
The undefeated under-15 boys football selection from Belmopan returned home to a heroes’ welcome on Tuesday morning, November 27, after their stunning and unprecedented triumph of winning gold in a quadrangular under-15 football tournament in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic last Sunday, November 25. Minister of State with responsibility for Sports, Hon. Herman Longsworth, welcomed the boys home at a press conference held at the VIP lounge at the Philip Goldson International Airport. He pledged a $1,000 contribution to the efforts of the Belmopan organizers who made the trip possible. Organizers noted that their travel expenses for the tournament had been in excess of $40,000. The delegation would not have been possible without many kind donations from interested business people who support football in Belize. The Belize boys entered the tournament as underdogs, but they won the gold medal finals, winning 2-1 over the national “A” selection of the Dominican Republic.

Human bones unearthed on North Front Street
Belize Water Services Limited (BWSL) employees unearthed the partial remains of a human skeleton during a routine mid-morning pipe repair exercise in front of the Water Taxi Terminal on North Front Street, Belize City, on Wednesday. The BWSL backhoe had completed digging across the full width of the street and the workers were shovelling away the remaining dirt in order to repair piping four feet down when they discovered the set of bones, which included most of the rib cage, chest plate, femurs, and a full set of top dentures. The bones, made brown from years of decay in the ground, are believed to have belonged to someone who perished in either the 1931 category-four Hurricane or the 1961 Hurricane Hattie. Both hurricanes claimed a total of more than 1,800 lives. Many of the people who died in 1931 were crushed to death when entire buildings, then mostly wooden, collapsed under the force of winds upwards of 125 mph or the storm surge that reached as high as 20 feet. Photos taken from atop the former Paslow Building at the foot of the Swing Bridge hours after Hattie ripped through the old capital clearly show the bridge inundated by flood water. Video footage show wrecked buildings and countless corpses of people and animals that died in the storm. Archaeologists who have seen the bones have said that they believe the remains are those of someone who likely died in Hurricane Hattie. They based their conclusions on the condition of the bones themselves and wooden beams that were retrieved nearby, as well as the layers of earth and sand that cover them. The Scenes of Crimes personnel took away the bones for testing to determine whether the person was the victim of a crime or died a natural death.

GOB offers new terms to “Superbond” holders
The Government of Belize (GoB) has proposed two new repayment schedules to the holders of the “super bond”, and is now waiting for the creditors’ feedback. Via a Ministry of Finance and Economic Development memorandum posted on the Central Bank of Belize (CBB)’s website on Thursday, GOB’s revised Indicative Restructuring Scenarios offer bondholders a choice between a 30 or 40 year maturity date. The 40-year option (Revised Scenario A), which is closely patterned after the original Indicative Scenario A that GoB presented in early September and which had a 50-year maturity date, suggests no reduction to the principal for the US$544 million bond. It does, however, shave five years off the principal grace period, bringing it down to ten instead of 15 years. Revised Scenario A has a mortgage-style payment structure, as opposed to the original that proposed “equal semiannual principal instalments after grace period”. While the original Scenario A asked for a 2 percent coupon payment throughout, the revised version would pay bondholders 2.75 percent interest for the first 5 years, and 4.5 percent thereafter. The 30-year option—patterned after the original Scenario C—keeps most things intact with its predecessor. Both propose a maturity date of 2042, a 5-year grace period, and a mortgage-styled repayment system. However, the revised and the original differ as it pertains to discount on the principal, as Revised Scenario C lowers the discount amount to 33 percent from the previous 45 percent. The new Scenario C also deviates from the across-the-board 3.5 percent and offers bondholders 4.5 percent for the first five years, and 6.75 percent thereafter.

BNE on the decline?
Belize Natural Energy (BNE) recorded a 27.5 percent decline in production from January to June this year, and the gloomy downward trend will continue if the company doesn’t get a new oil exploration license, BNE’s Marketing Manager Daniel Gutierez said Tuesday. According to the Central Bank of Belize (CBB)’s economic brief for the first half of 2012, the decline in oil production is “significantly steeper than the 10.0% annual average decline that had been projected.” BNE produced 545, 441 barrels of petroleum during the first half of the year. This is much lower than the 752, 546 and the 776, 920 barrels that the company produced in the same period for 2011 and 2010, respectively. While it is difficult to determine exactly how much longer BNE has before its Spanish Lookout and Never Delay wells expire, Gutierez said it is possible that the company may have anywhere between five to ten more years before they have to end their operations. The Spanish Lookout site, which produces 2600 barrels per day, is the primary well. But Gutierez explained that with the expected depletion of that well, the company has been looking for strategic ways to increase the output of the Never Delay well, which currently provides only 200 to 300 barrels per day. To date, BNE has the only commercial oil fields in Belize, but based on a Cabinet decision late last year, the Department of Geology and Petroleum did not renew the company’s eight-year exploration license which expired last January.

Inspiration Center gets $17,000 donation
The Inspiration Center, a facility that will offer rehabilitative care for children suffering from disabilities, is $17,000 closer to being completed thanks to the kind contributions of three organizations on Tuesday. At the handing-over ceremony held at the future site for the center, the staff of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) contributed $10,000. BTL’s Human Resource Manager Suzette Tillett said that some staff members made their donations up front, but others went as far as to have their contributions deducted from their salaries. Edmund Quan, chairman of the Chinese Association, presented a cheque for $5,000. This donation came from a charity group that presented acrobats at the Bliss Center for Performing Arts earlier this year. The third and final contribution came from Alex Chang, the chairman of Fen Lan Development Company, who donated $2000. The Inspiration Center is a project undertaken by the Special Envoy for Women and Children, Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow, who was on hand to receive the three donations. Mrs. Barrow explained that completion is expected within a year. She said: “The Inspiration Center is not a cure-all for all that ails persons with disabilities in Belize. There is still a mountain of work that needs to be done by the society and government to ensure that all the other gaps are closed so that persons with disabilities are assured their rightful place as functioning members and citizens of Belize.” The recent donations adds to the $1,093, 368 that the Special Envoy’s office has raised at the inspiration telethon which was held on Saturday, June 30.

Problems of maritime poaching could be solved by nationalizing IMMARBE, Oceana says
Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing accounts for roughly 19% of the worldwide fish catch, and has become a nightmare problem for the government of Belize. The problem has become so great that the European Commission has put Belize its list along with seven other countries for failing to deal with illegal poachers who steal fish from Belizean waters. The EU blacklisting has caught the attention of Oceana Belize, and the NGO has called on the Government to act swiftly and decisively to protect Belize’s reputation and also to comply with our international obligations to stop the international poachers. Chief offenders in this international racket are the foreign vessels flying the Belize Flag of convenience, simply because they happen to be registered with the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize (IMMARBE). IMMARBE is no longer a quasi-government body, since it is now a private entity, Oceana points out. Therefore the Fisheries Department no longer has a supervisory role in the IMMARBE’s decision-making process. The fees IMMARBE collects for registering foreign ships under the Belize Flag go to private owners, and only a small fee is paid to the Belizean Treasury. Belize reaps no substantial economic benefit, but is besmirched by the infractions committed by these foreign vessels flying the Belize Flag, Oceana says. The European Commission report says that “There are strong indications that these countries are not fulfilling their duties as flag, coastal, port or market states ...

Grain growers meet, Biotech presented
One of the herbicides that is used with Bt crops is glyphosate (trademark Roundup) that has been advertised as safe. GM crops are also genetically modified to make them glyphosate-resistant. More than 30 % of all herbicides used globally contain it. However, glyphosate’s dark side is beginning to come out.

Three charged for death of former BDF soldier James Noralez
Three men, believed to be affiliates of the Ghost Town Crips, were remanded to prison Monday for last Friday night’s execution-style killing of 28-year-old former Belize Defence Force soldier, James Noralez. The three men, Tyrone Meighan, 19; Brandon Baptist, 24; and businessman Orel Leslie, 24, were all arraigned before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer.

Gregory August gets life in prison for the murder of Alvin Robinson
Supreme Court Justice, Adolph Lucas, after listening to three character witnesses in mitigation pleas on behalf of convicted killer, 24 year-old Gregory August, handed down a life-in-prison sentence, on Monday, November 26. Justice Lucas stipulated that August’s sentence is to run from May 26, 2009, the date when he was first arrested and charged with the murder of Alvin Robinson, a resident of eight and a half miles, Western Highway.

Grapefruit and pills mix warning
Doctors have warned of a “lack of knowledge” about the dangers of mixing some medications with grapefruit. The fruit can cause overdoses of some drugs by stopping the medicines being broken down in the intestines and the liver. The researchers who first identified the link said the number of drugs that became dangerous with grapefruit was increasing rapidly.

HIV vaccine under study may last a lifetime
A genetically-engineered HIV vaccine under study by Texas researchers works in a novel way. It targets specific cells exactly where the virus enters the body, stimulating them to generate an immune response so the virus can’t take hold. If the strategy bears out, the vaccine will be a single dose and last a lifetime, says Marie-Claire Gauduin, PhD, assistant scientist at Texas Biomedical Research Institute.

Police United & Belmopan Bandits lead in PLB football
Police United FC and the Placencia Assassins are leading the Southern Zone following big wins in the 13th week of the Premier League of Belize Football Competition, while the Belmopan Bandits and the Belize Defence Force are leading the Northern None also with easy wins over the weekend.

Ports Belize Ltd & BWSL lead firms’ basketball semifinals
Ports Belize Ltd and Belize Water Services Ltd won the first games of the Belize City Firms’ Basketball Semifinals at Bird’s Isle last Saturday night, November 24. Ports Belize Ltd. took the first game of the semifinal series: 69-55 over Airport.

Election sees setback for Catalan secessionist
Voters in the economically powerful region of Catalonia on Sunday punished the leader who made a referendum over breaking away from Spain a central plank of his campaign, seeing his party’s majority reduced by a dozen seats. Regional president Artur Mas called the early election as part of a power struggle with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy regarding the size of Catalonia’s contribution to national coffers. But what began as a quarrel over money turned into a test of Spain’s territorial integrity. Mas had asked the electorate to give him an absolute majority to lend weight to his Convergence and Union party’s centre-right policies, including the call for a referendum. Instead, voters have left him 18 votes short and in need to form a coalition to guarantee staying in power. His party now has 50 seats in the 135-seat regional legislature. The leader of center-right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Artur Mas, cast his vote during elections for the ‘Generalitat de Catalunya’ (Catalan Autonomous Government) in Barcelona, Sunday. The second-most voted party is the pro-referendum Republican Left, which has been very critical of Mas’ austerity drive.

Global recovery under threat, says OECD
Decisive policy action is needed to ensure the world is not “plunged back into recession,” according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which represents the world’s richest nations. The group’s economies will grow by 1.4% next year, rather than the 2.2% forecast in May, it said. The Eurozone recession will also cut deeper and be more prolonged than previously thought, it added. The group highlighted the so-called US fiscal cliff and the Eurozone debt crisis as the biggest risks to the global economy. The fiscal cliff refers to spending cuts and tax increases, designed to reduce the US government’s debt levels, that are due to kick in in the new year. “The world economy is far from being out of the woods,” said the OECD’s secretary general, Angel Gurria. “The US fiscal cliff, if it materialises, could tip an already weak economy into recession, while failure to solve the Euro area debt crisis could lead to a major financial shock and global downturn.” The OECD cut its growth forecast across its 34 members for this year and next. It also revised down sharply its estimate for the eurozone economy, which it now believes will contract by 0.1% in 2013, rather than grow by 0.9% as forecast in May.


International Sources

Eccentric fugitive millionaire software developer John McAfee drops f-bomb live on CNBC while hiding from Belize government
Eccentric fugitive millionaire software mogul John McAfee, who is on the run from police in Belize for questioning tied to the murder of his neighbour, dropped the f-bomb on live television Friday while explaining his dislike for local politicians. ‘I do not donate to any political party. When I was asked to donate, I said, “Get the f*** off my property,”’ McAfee, 67, said during a telephone interview with CNBC from ‘an undisclosed location.’ He then apologized to the cable network for his verbal slip-up, one of many recent gaffes. McAfee was in the midst of recounting an incident earlier this month in which 42 armed Belizean officers allegedly stormed his compound, arrested him and detained him for 14 hours with no found or water, and then let him go without charges. When CNBC reporter, Robert Frank, asked McAfee why he thought the police had done that, he said it was because he ‘does not play by the rules.’ McAfee said that he has donated millions of dollars to the local economy, including police departments and homeless agencies, but not through the Belizean government itself. ‘I don’t do it by giving to the government and letting them dole it out because if I give $5 million to the government, $10,000 goes to the people and $4 million plus change goes into the pockets of the politicians,’ he said. ‘I give directly to the people. And I have been doing this all along.’

John McAfee: My Options Are Diminishing
At 3:30 AM, John McAfee, who is still in hiding from police in Belize, posted to his blog that his “options are diminishing,” as his sources indicate that armed forces are “closing in”. If you haven’t been keeping up with the saga, you can start here. McAfee writes: Chad Essley, in the event of my arrest, has over 2 million words – posts that he will continue to publish – words that I, and others, have written over the past seven months. He has 9,000 photos, and thousands of hours of audio and video. These will be released in the time frame that I have instructed. A good story depends, most of all, on proper timing. I have been asked why I don’t release everything at once. This is the bane of the modern press. The mass of information is too great for an intelligent digestion in the time frame allotted to a journalist prior to the publisher’s deadline. The press stories will describe what they allways describe – a twisted shadow in an ill-lit room. I must control the flow, so that the necessary glue of understanding has time to set.

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